Emily McCarthy finished second in the hunt seat over fences competition at the Pacific Northwest Invitational Championship.

by: SPALMAKERPHOTOSTUDIO - Emily McCarthy jumping with her horse over a fence during her second-place performance at regionals.

Two days before the first ever Pacific Northwest Invitational Championships, Romano, the horse Wilsonville equestrian athlete Emily McCarthy had been practicing with for one month, came up lame.

Consequently, Emily, who just finished her freshman year at Wilsonville, had just two days to get used to riding Dickens, her old horse she stopped riding one month ago.

Before the competition, Emily wasn’t sure how she would perform sans Romano.

“She was very concerned,” Emily’s dad Brian said.

He added: “Riding a horse is like riding a bike, but you still have to get used to the gear shifts.”

McCarthy rode Romano to a fourth place finish in the hunt seat over fences competition at the state championships. Because she finished in the top-five in Oregon, she qualified for regionals.

However, against the top competitors in Oregon and Washington, Emily surpassed her state finals effort, finishing second in the Pacific Northwest without her preferred horse.

“It’s good to see all your months of training before the event pay off,” Emily said.

She pointed to her aptitude for jumping over fences as the root of her success.

“I have good equitation over fences which helps us do well,” she said.

Emily finished with a score of 125. First-place finisher Emma Glaunert bested Emily by 10-points, tallying a total score of 135. Glaunert finished third at state.

Prarie athletes Kylie Vroman and Beca Thomas, as well as Spokane’s Madeleine James, finished tied for third.

“It was really exciting to be able to compete against the best in Oregon and Washington,” Emily said.

Brian described the experience as “nerve-racking” but had confidence his daughter could power through adversity.

“She’s been riding for eight years, is a great rider and a very accomplished rider. We’re relieved, but not surprised,” he said.

Despite placing higher at regionals, Emily said she put forth a superior performance at state.

“I feel like my state performance was better than regionals. My round flowed a little more,” she said.

Emily said Romano’s tranquility allowed for an easier ride.

“At state, the horse was a little nicer than the one at regionals. If you have a really nice horse, you are going to do a little better,” Emily said.

However, she said her second-place finish is among the biggest accomplishments of her career.

“It feels really good. I’m really proud of my horse and getting this far and representing Wilsonville in a big way,” she said.

After the event reached its conclusion, it was time for the McCarthy family to unwind after a stressful last few months preparing for state and regionals.

Brian said: “There has been a lot of pressure on her.”

He added: “It is now time to relax and enjoy the summer.”

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