Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

UP AND OVER – Laina Prentice riding Highland McDuff competes during the Yukon Championship Horse Show Hunter 3’ Division event on Saturday at the Northern Tempo Equestrian Centre.

Equestrians ride in Yukon Championships

Yukon equestrians put on a fine riding display during the Yukon Championship Horse Show this weekend at the Northern Tempo Equestrian Centre.

By John Tonin on August 30, 2019

Yukon equestrians put on a fine riding display during the Yukon Championship Horse Show this weekend at the Northern Tempo Equestrian Centre.

The weekend began with gymkhana on Friday. Gymkhana consists of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders and horses.

It was the young riders who were competing Friday. They weaved through poles, jumped over low fences and did figure-eights between barrels.

Riding Yukon Smoken’em Royal, Alix Walchuk was crowned as the peewee division gymkhana champion. Reserve champion was awarded to Brooke Beecher who was riding Electra.

The sounds heard while at the show cannot be understated, they are incredible. The sound of the horses’ hooves on the dirt make your body vibrate and their neighs were so loud as they echoed off the surrounding mountains.

The Saturday rain moved the Horse Show into the main arena for the Hunter Classes.

This class features jumps over fences of varying sizes.

During the Yukon Summer Horse Show in July, guest judge Lee Hardy, from B.C. told the Star what a judge is looking for in the Hunter Class. The riders and the horses did a flat class and then jumping.

“They just go through different maneuvers,” said Hardy. “What you are looking for in the hunters is a very stylish horse that has beautiful rhythm and a lovely flowing movement. Great shoulder movement that tracks up from behind and is just a pleasure to ride.

“Hopefully that carries that over into the jumping portion. Hopefully they have consistent strides because everything is measured in 12-foot increments. They have to take off six feet before the jump and land six feet after the jump.”

Laina Prentice was the big winner on Saturday winning four ribbons. She won the Hunter Barely Jumps while riding Lulu and the Hunter 2’9” Division and Hunter 3’ Division while riding Highland’s McDuff.

Joey Lavoie and Mojo were the reserve champions in both the Hunter 2’9” and 3’ Division.

Prentice was the Hunter overall champion and Lavoie was named reserve champion.

Prentice said she feels most comfortable competing with Highland McDuff.

“Sometimes I’ll ride other horses but mostly him,” said Prentice. “I’ve been leasing him for about two years now.”

In a few classes, Prentice was the only rider but said it can be just as tough when competing against herself.

“It was all smooth and no drama,” said Prentice. “I was just trying to focus on some of my goals like keeping him straight and getting my stride lengths.”

She believed McDuff had an excellent day of competition.

“He was awesome he just went around and looked after me,” said Prentice as McDuff looked over and gently nudged her arm.

Having ridden Highland McDuff for two years Prentice described what has gone into their relationship to make them a successful pair.

“I have to tell him what to do and be clear on what I want so he knows what he has to do,” said Prentice. “Then I just have to let him do his own thing and help him along.”

Other Hunter Class winners were Mya Heebink and Wilson in the Cross Rails Division. Reserve went to Celeste Findlay and Onyx.

Hunter 2’-2’3” was won by Kianna Ingram and Olive and Olivia Barker and Wilson reigned atop the Hunter 2’6” Division.

Sunday gave way to the Jumper Classes which Prentice described as more “twisty and turny” than the hunter rounds.

A jumper class is a timed event where horse and rider are tested over a designated course of a minimum of eight to ten obstacles. Horse and rider are judged on performance only with time and faults determining placing.

Prentice and Lavoie shared the title of champion in the Jumper .90m Division followed by reserve champion Claire Campbell on River.

Other jumper champions were Olivia Barker on Hollywood, Kianna Ingram and Olive, and Campbell.

English Performance champion in the Open Division was Lavoie and Mojo. Reserve champion was Lacia Kinnear and Diamonds are Forever.

Junior Division champion was Marina Boulerice and Jay. Reserve champion went to Alia Krueger and Wilson.

In English Performance horses are to be shown at the flat-footed walk, normal trot, and easy canter, with light contact to be maintained. It is judged on manners, performance, quality, and conformation.

The equestrian competitions don’t stop with the Yukon Championships. This weekend a dressage show will be held.

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