Their coats are long and fuzzy, but Sisters Country horses are getting ready for another season of competition with the Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) from Sisters High School. Team Coach Theresa Siler just secured a practice location for the six students planning to participate next year. Their first practice will be December 1. Siler is excited to welcome back returning athletes as well as some new faces to the team.

The first meet for competitors will be in February, then another in March and April.

“If our athletes do well, they’ll compete at the State meet held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds. If they do well at State, they can participate in Regionals, which is between Oregon and Washington competitors,” said Siler. “We’d love people to come out and cheer us on at the meets held at Brasada Ranch, which is a beautiful facility.”

The OHSET members compete in a variety of events or patterns, including Drill Team, Gaming, Trail, Dressage, Reining, Hunt Seat over Fences, Western Horsemanship, Working Pairs, and Rancher and Showmanship. Siler says returning athletes will compete in gaming (timed events like barrel racing), and performance events like showmanship or in-hand trail. A new team member plans to compete in jumping. Although not always the case, current athletes all own their own horses.

“We’re also excited about our drill team,” said Siler. “I help out coaching the drill team with my daughter. This will be our second year competing, which is like synchronized swimming on horseback. We have a team of five, and are in the beginning steps of creating our pattern, which happens first on foot. We’re putting maneuvers and patterns together. Hopefully, in December we’ll begin practicing on horseback.”

The OHSET season began officially on November 1, and depending on how competitors do, sometimes doesn’t end until June. Athletes will begin practicing once a week at first to let the horses get back into shape, then they’ll ease into the season with practices twice per week.

To learn more, visit https://web.ohset.com. Students can join up until the first meet, so there’s still time to get involved. Students in grades 9-12 interested in participating in OHSET can contact Theresa Siler to learn more at tstic364@aol.com or 541-891-5500.