Despite needing substitutes for several horses and riders, Canby racked up 1,793 points in the final standings to cruise past Sherwood in the large-team category.
During the pivotal drill competition of the Canby equestrian teams third and final district meet, something appeared to spook Ricky Vitas horse.
But the junior didnt let the incident keep the Cougars from notching a major milestone.
Vita calmed the horse, dusted himself off, remounted and resumed the performance, exemplifying the teams determination and adaptability as it captured a 10th-consecutive North Valley District championship April 4-6 in Salem.
Despite needing substitutes for several horses and riders, Canby racked up 1,793 points in the final standings to cruise past runner-up Sherwood (1,262) in the large-team category as riders earned district medals and bids to the state championships May 15-18 at Deschutes County Fairgrounds & Expo Center in Redmond.
We had to patch together riders and horses and had some pleasant surprises, coach Katie Trapp said.
With Aunika Turner filling in for senior Jordan Hitchcock, the Cougars managed to take third place in the in-hand obstacle relay. Hitchcock, Darby OHearn and seniors Sydney Morgan and Caitlyn Tietz will represent Canby in the event at the OHSET state meet.
The Cougars state-qualifying drill team includes Vita and Hitchcock as well as sophomore Amber Cook, junior Brittany Scott and seniors Joanna Vincent and Emmaly Widmer.
Morgan was outstanding once again, earning gold medals in showmanship and trail equitation as she earned high-point honors in the performance events.
Her teammates also turned in strong efforts. Scott took first place in the saddle-seat equitation event, freshman Julia Forell seized a silver medal in dressage, Tietz snagged bronze in in-hand trail and Hitchcock placed third in saddle-seat equitation.
Tietz, sophomore Callie Walker and junior Katie Stanfield qualified for the state meet in team penning. Turner took fourth in working rancher.
Canby was neck-and-neck with its competition heading into the final day of the meet, but then the gamers took charge.
Turner, Stanfield and Vita nabbed state berths after engineering a 1-2-3 finish in individual flags, and Walker also received a state bid in the event. Vita, Walker and Widmer qualified in Figure 8 as well.
Hitchcock joined Cook, Walker, Lanee Bare and Ronee Eckert to take silver in Canadian flags.
The Cougars advanced Cook and Turner and well as Vita and Widmer to the state championships in two-man birangle.
Other qualifiers in the gaming events included Vita and Walker in pole bending and Widmer in barrels.
The dedication and support from athletes and parents is what makes (Canby OHSET) so incredibly unique, Trapp said. The time these athletes put into their horsemanship skills is key to this team, now district winners another year.
Trapp also credited the work of assistant coach Kim Turner, Samantha Steinke, advisor Michelle Widmer and the rest of the advisory committee.
I cant wait for state in May, Trapp said.