Cindy McAllister and Mickie Hattrup try their skills at Competitive Mounted Orienteering

January 18, 2014 was a busy day at the Southwest Washington Regional Appaloosa Club's Camp Windy, a 3 acre property that abuts the Capitol Forest. Besides the very well attended BCHW Scattercreek/Capitol Riders work party, sprucing up the Equine Loop Trail, there was the first ever Appaloosa Club Competitive Mounted Orienteering contest. Two of the Appaloosa Club's members, Cheryl Ahern and Linda Knutson, are National and State Champions in the sport. Their team, known as the Donner Party, has proven their talents and they wanted to bring some of the fun back to their local club.

Cindy and Mickie on horseback
Cindy on the left riding Chief and Mickie on the right riding Romeo (both registered Appaloosa's)

It's all about finding your way, on your horse, and doing it efficiently. You start with a map that shows you where you will find clues, landmarks from which you must take compass bearings that will point to the location of the objects of the game, paper plates. There are generally ten paper plates to find and three landmarks are associated with each of the plates. This day, the competition involved eight plates.

To be competitive, it helps to have a horse that follows directions and can stand still when in the right position. That's when the rider finishes taking the bearing and noting the direction to the hidden plate. The next bearing should cross the first at the location of the plate. The third bearing is for good measure and should make it abundantly clear where to find the paper plate.

Cindy and Mickie participated as a team. They didn't find all of the paper plates but they found most of them and their performance earned them the title of "winners". In this case, it didn't hurt their chances that they were the only team that showed up for the competition. Oh well, as Cindy says, "It was fun" and "I got better at using a compass".

Relaxing before the competition

Mickie and Cindy
Mickie on Romeo and Cindy on Chief

Mickie and Cindy

at the check in

at the check in

Mickie on Romeo
Mickie on Romeo ("We did it!")

Cindy leading Chief
Cindy and Chief