By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– Equestrian is one of those sports in which you literally have to go seven days a week/365 days a year to make sure not just yourself but your horse is good to go come Game Day.
For Scio Junior Allaina West, like a lot of other OHSET riders right now across the State, are in the stalls like West is at Branton Arena in Jefferson brushing her 12-year-old horse Mystery and cleaning her stall as they prepare for State next month in Redmond.
“It’s rough because they get tired very easily because they’re the one’s who are running and doing all the work for me, expect it’s a team effort,” said West on working with Mystery heading into State. “Just work on the basics, just getting their brain mentality prepared with doing things like circle-drills, I mean that’s half the gaming events is turning.”
West was apart of the Logger Drill team as a freshman two years ago, but couldn’t go and perform with the team. But as a sophomore, she competed in the barrel event before qualifying for four events this season that includes the barrels again, and with the taste of State entering this season, that taste of going to State is just that much better.
“It’s awesome because last year, we only made it in one event and we didn’t get gold or any of that stuff, it was that other 10-percent of riders that get to go,” said West. “This year has been really cool because we’ve been working really hard for it, we’ve never been able to do this before.
“I’m finding her buttons, I feel like we’re getting farther than we did before.”
Now with the four events that the junior qualified for, that’s where the extra practice comes in handy even though Wednesday’s practice was more of a ‘walkthrough’-practice to loosen up Mystery’s muscles and joints and just get the blood pumping through her veins coming off of Sunday’s District Meet in Albany.
And even then, the trick’s going to be getting the horse to go through the events it may necessarily enjoy or like to do, like West points out with Mystery and her favorite event.
“There’s more stuff I have to work on, then one event. I have to practice each individual event than just one, so there’s a lot more technique to each event, it’s different,” laughed and smiled West. “And it’s kind of hard because the horse, you can tell they have a event that they like and they’ll just do it, they’re driven to do it, but it also varies with the rider too.
“I like barrels and poles and she’s loves Figure 8’s which is a complete different event, so it’s mainly get her connect with me more on a event even though it may not be her favorite.”
West jokes too that Mystery, who’s hanging out in the walkway occasionally peaking her head over to her rider like trying to get her attention and was yawning and making an occasional sound in front of her stall, loves to run and just wants to do just that. Mystery’s action is as if she was signaling that she was ready to get back to work and not stand around all day with everyone talking.
But West knows that the connection between her and Mystery will help during training and for State.
As for what goals and what she is expecting out of this go-around to the Big Show? Just having a good time and do their thing.
“I just want honestly everything to be clean, I’m not expecting everything to be perfect because sometimes I am just lucky with her, we have amazing runs,” said West. “But I’m not expecting everything to be perfect, but I know she’s going to give it her all for me.”