She’ll be testing her horse sense |

She’ll be testing her horse sense

by Kate Gardner

This is a story about a girl and her horse. Or, rather, a girl and her knowledge of horses.

Kristen Bricker, 14, will take part in the U.S. Pony Club national competition in Lexington, Ky., today through Aug. 4.

There are several events that take place during the competition and Kristen will compete in the “know down,” a Jeopardy-type contest.

“My horse it too old to take, so it was like know down or nothing at all,” Kristen said.

Her mother, Cheryl Bricker, an adviser at Douglas High School, is going to Kentucky, along with her other daughter, Kellyn, 11, who also participates in the Pony Club.

“Kristen competed in a regional competition in March in Chico. She placed fifth, but another girl placed in another competition so Kristen got to go. We’re pretty excited,” Cheryl Bricker said.

The regional competition occurs every year and the national competition only every four years. Kristen and Kellyn’s region consists of 19 pony clubs in Northern Nevada and Northern California and is called the Sierra Pacific Region.

“Everything in the competition is in teams,” Cheryl Bricker explained. “Every Monday the girls on Kristen’s team would meet and we would have to drive up to Santa Rosa. Once we met in Sacramento, which was nice.”

In the competition, each girl stands up, introduces herself and says which pony club she is from. She is asked a question and has 15 seconds to answer. The number of points awarded depends on the merit of the answer. Kristen’s team already has a bit of a handicap because it’s only a three-person team.

“The girls will have to do a bit extra to make up for the fourth team member,” Cheryl Bricker said.

The questions can include anything from rules for dressage, specific rules, horse nutrition, show jumping, cross country riding and fox hunting which, according to Cheryl Bricker, “the East Coast girls clean up on.”

Also, each girl has a manual for the level they are in, A-D, with D being lowest. Kristen, who is in level C, is expected to know all the information for level D and C, and in a tie, may be asked questions from manuals for higher levels.

“I have been studying so much,” Kristen said. “I really want to be ready for this.”

Kellyn recently made level C and is “very excited and happy about that,” according to Cheryl Bricker.

The competitions last for three days and then the girls participate in Festival of Friends, which takes place Aug. 5-9, and includes competitions in a much friendlier atmosphere.

“It’s a chance for the girls to meet with girls from all across the country and to just have fun,” Cheryl Bricker said.

“I’m getting very excited,” Kristen said, “also, kind of scared.”

The club pays some of Kristen’s expenses, but not for any family members.

“My mom and sister are going with me. It should be really fun,” Kristen said.

Kristen will be in the 9th grade at Carson Valley Middle School and Kellyn will be in the 6th grade at Pinon Hills Elementary School.

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