Members of 4-H win big at state event
Six Jackson County 4-H equestrians won medallions in the Oregon State Fair ' a feat unequaled in at least 30 years, according to Gina Chadd, county 4-H horse superintendent.

More than 500 kids from Oregon competed in the 4-H State Fair equestrian events, held Aug. 15-19 in Salem.

Students who make the top 10 percent in each event move on to the final round, where judges choose medallion winners from the top 5 percent, said Pam Armstrong, 4-H leader.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Laura Armstrong, took a medallion in the dressage competition.
— I didn't think that I would have been able to win this year, said Laura. Eventually, it would have been a goal.

All of the riders were required to compete in showmanship, one equitation event and as many other events as they desired.

In addition to dressage, Laura competed in English equestrian and showmanship, receiving a medallion ribbon in both.

This was her second year at state, but her first time winning a medallion.

It will make me work a lot harder, not to fall below that, Laura said.

For Katie vonTagen, 16, it was also her first time winning a medallion.

She took home a medallion in gaming in the flags event.

In the flags competition, the rider races with her horse down to the end of the arena, grabs a flag and rides back. The rider with the best time wins.

VonTagen also took home two medallion ribbons in the gaming events, keyhole race and figure 8.

She participated in showmanship, trail, western equitation, pole bending and barrel racing.

I just hope that I can improve, said vonTagen. You never stop learning; you can always improve if you try hard enough.

All of the competitors trained for the event differently. Some trained with their horses every day, others less frequently.

Kate-Marie Pellissier, 18, took it easy with her horse, Vashti, because of Vashti's age.

She's older, so I wouldn't take her out a lot, a half-hour at most, Pellissier said.

Pellissier was the only senior from Jackson County who placed. She won a medallion in cart-driving and took home a medallion ribbon in showmanship.

It was good because it's something I have never done before, and I'm never going to have another chance to do it, said Pellissier. I worked really hard. ... I was pleased and it was just a really nice way to finish my 4-H experience.

She also competed in hunt-seat equestrian, showmanship, cart-driving and dressage.

Although this was Pellissier's last year competing in 4-H, she will continue to ride horses and hopes to participate in the equestrian team at Oregon State University.

Other local intermediate riders who won a medallion are: Cassie Snowden, ground training (yearling); Christina Muswieck, trail; and Rebekah McCaw, trail and western equitation.