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Building a stable place

Only horseshoe prints interrupt a smooth sheet of sand where mud puddles settled from a rainy September a few short weeks ago.

The once open grass-seed field now hosts a soon-to-be-completed barn designed to attract wandering equestrians and horse clubs without communal quarters.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Corinne Dimick walks through the unfinished barn, imagining what the finished product will mean for her and other local riders.

Although the Ride On Ranch, located at 30190 N.W. Scotch Church Road in Hillsboro, is a private business, it was designed with local youth in mind, said barn manager and trainer Corinne Dimick.

Dimick, a coach for the Hillsboro High School equestrian team, noticed a need, pointing out there is “almost nowhere” for high school teams and 4-H Club kids to practice competition patterns and events involving cows.

The 100-foot by 238-foot arena should do the trick.

Boarders won’t be able to move in for a couple months, Dimick said as a work crew lifted boards and roof parts into the fog on a recent October morning.

What is just the skeleton of a barn now will soon be a hub for local equestrian teams, 4-H clubs and winter riders looking to practice. At least that’s what Dimick envisions.

Jasmine Jones, a Hilhi senior who has been with the school’s equestrian team for four years, sees the barn as a reliable place to practice for competitions coming up in spring.

Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) competitions started in 1993 in southern Oregon and have spread to more than 100 schools statewide with more than 1,000 athletes participating, including students attending Hillsboro, Glencoe, Aloha, Liberty, Century, Forest Grove, Gaston and Banks high schools.

Team members participate in individual equitation tests, driving and in-hand events as well as group events including drill team and team penning.

Practicing for drill team competition, which involves multiple equestrians riding a pattern in unison, and team penning, in which a team of riders chase cows from their starting points into pens, requires a lot of arena space.

Last year, Jones’ drill team moved from barn to barn, most of which weren’t big enough to practice their entire pattern, leaving them trying out one part at a time.

Because OHSET meets are in the spring, practicing ahead of time is a requirement for success, but riding outside isn’t an option because of inclement weather, mud and rugged terrain.

In addition, Dimick said local 4-H clubs are often searching for spaces to gather their members to prepare for fairs and hold events.

While the barn isn’t just for kids — adult drill and rodeo teams, mounted shooting groups and riding clubs will be able to make use of the facility, too — Dimick said providing a space for young riders is high on her priority list because of the animal’s empowering and motivating potential.

“If you can move around a 1,200-pound animal, you can do anything,” said Dimick, who grew up riding. “The kids become independent, strong individuals. I like teaching kids and watching them progress.”

Dimick, who has coached the team for more than a decade, has watched as the equestrian team held up students falling short of academic basics.

She’s seen kids with their attention focused away from school keep their grades up and graduate so they could ride with the team. She’s worked with pregnant girls who avoided dropping out with other teen moms because they were driven to ride.

Donna and Tom Rampone are the financial backers of the operation, and are hoping to eventually break even.

“We’ll be delighted if this business makes any money,” Tom Rampone said.

But for Tom, who’s now retired from Intel, it’s not about making money.

“I think Corinne’s leadership for the kids is really valuable,” Rampone said. “We’re working with Corinne to make sure she has what she needs so kids in the future can benefit from her tutelage.”

The Rampones’ daughters rode with the Hilhi team, and now they’re looking forward to seeing kids from all local teams benefit from the new space.

“There are a lot of kids working hard to support their spot on a team,” Rampone said. “Hopefully, with this space, we’ll see a lot of kids be able to ride, take care of their animals and be part of a team.”




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  • 13 Jul 2014

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