Equine enthusiasts bond at BGHS

posted Nov 9, 2017, 1:49 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 11:50 AM ]

Equine Enthusiasts Bond at BGHS 

November 9, 2017

The equestrian group at Battle Ground High School can be seen during Clubs and Activity time discussing all things equine. The students in the group have a passion for horses and compete outside of school. Of the 15 members, 3 of them are seniors, and many have belonged to the group their entire high school careers. 

Equestrian is not the only club and activity that students can choose from. Clubs and Activity time at Battle Ground High School allows students to get together and discuss things they are interested in. Every three weeks during Tiger Time students are able to stay in their classroom to study, or can participate in clubs and activities. Students can pick from a list of more than 30 ASB approved clubs and activities to be a part of, such as Drama Club; Unity, Toughness, Class (UTC); and more. Nearly all of the middle and high schools in the Battle Ground Public Schools district have student clubs and activities.

“School clubs are a great way to connect students to something they’re passionate about,” said Heather Ichimura, one of Battle Ground High School’s assistant principals. “We hope to harness those interests and build relationships; both peer to peer, and peer to adult, that will help students connect to and be successful in school." During the first club meeting of the year in October, more than 200 students signed into a club or activity meeting, and the school expects the number of club and activities participants to grow.  

Over the last four years, the equestrian group at Battle Ground High School has seen a resurgence of members after teacher Katie Cholewa took over as advisor. The general consensus is that the students love the equestrian group because of the competitions, horses, and friendships that are formed. Emma Massie, a sophomore who has been in the group for two years, appreciates the opportunity to bond with other horse enthusiasts. “I love my team,” she said. Massie competes with her three horses, Kit, Maggie, and Slick. 

Some equestrian group members who own horses participate in shows and events with the Washington High School Equestrian Team (WAHSET). BGHS Senior Dana Waddell enjoys competing in WAHSET events with her horses Cooper and Britches. WAHSET offers a variety of disciplines, including gaming, drill, cow work, hunter, hunter under saddle, dressage, and more. Among the members of the equestrian group, barrel racing, cow sorting, pole bending, and reining are the most popular. 

Ellie Ballensky, a sophomore at BGHS, likes equestrian because the group “works together as a team” during outside competitions. She also participates in 4-H with her horses Mazie, Scarlet, and Jessica. 

The main goal of the group is to bring together students interested in equestrian activities and to promote good fellowship, and sportsmanship. All you have to do is attend one group meeting to get a sense of the participants' “cooperative horsemanship,” Cholewa said. Any student interested in learning more about horses and horsemanship can join. Students do not have to own a horse to participate. 

Junior Taylre Byford, who has been in the group for three years, said she decided to join the equestrian group over other clubs “because I enjoy it!” She has three horses, Kola, Dozer and Willie.