Heidi Sjule has been riding horses for 30 years. She and about 25 other riders competed in the Cove Saddle Club’s high point competition Saturday afternoon.

Practice is key when it comes to preparing for competitions, Sjule said.

“I ride for fun and therapy because I have a bad back,” she said. “Riding a horse helps with core balance and repositions all your core strength and weight.”

The event brought out riders of all ages who competed in seven classes. The club is a family-oriented organization of horse enthusiasts who enjoy riding and competing in speed events, said Tony Pospisil, president.

“Adults and children come out to have a good time and compete with each other,” he said. “People here are normally novelist riders but we do have a few competitors.”

He said Saturday’s high point competition was one of seven the club hosts throughout the year.

“At the end of the seven high points, then we add up all the times to determine who will be the winner,” he said.

One of the challenges is called “baseball.”

“The object is to grab the ball on one barrel, and put it in the other barrel at the highest speed they can get,” Pospisil said.

Eriqa Brixus, who has ridden for 15 years, has built a strong bond through training with her horse, Indian.

“The horse has to know what to do and be mentally prepared,” she said. “If you are nervous then the horse is going to be nervous so you can’t be.”

She said the joy of being “one with the horse” motivated her to compete over the years.

Raymond “Sarge” Mainville has competed in speed competitions for 28 years and is also the region vice president for the American Association of Sheriff Posses and Riding Club. He developed a strong love for the sport for three reasons.

“Practice, having fun and enjoying ourselves,” he said.

Competition winners were awarded ribbons in their respective classes.

Pospisil said anyone interested in signing up for the club can participate in their club meetings scheduled for 7:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at Lil-Tex Restaurant.

For more information, call (254) 681-6346.

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