“I was amazed. I was expecting more like 20th,” said Copper Individual Women’s Reserve Champion, Kalli Roberts. She was even more excited for her best friend Hadessah who took first place. “I was SO happy for my friend Hadessah who got first. She did amazingly well and I am so proud of her.” Hadessah Rynning, Copper Individual Women’s Champion, exclaimed, “I was very surprised and couldn’t have dreamed of a better nationals! What made it so special was having my best friend getting second and standing next to me on the podium!”
Hadessah started vaulting with the Warm Beach Vaulters consistently in December 2009 and Kalli January 2008. They were competing their first year in the Copper level, which is the beginning canter class. Along with the rest of the Warm Beach Vaulters, Hadessah and Kalli practice several times a week all year long at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. In addition, they attend camps and perform at exhibitions and competitions throughout the Northwest. For Kalli, Nationals in Santa Barbara California, were the best ever. “I will never forget this Nationals all my life.” Hadessah agreed saying, “It was a once in a lifetime experience for me!”
Vaulting is the art of dance and gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. Dating back to Roman times when vaulting was used for cavalry training, it has become more stylized and closer to gymnastics. Popular for many years in Europe, vaulting came to America in the 1970’s and has been gaining in popularity ever since.
Vaulters perform on the horse as it travels around a sixty foot diameter circle controlled by a person in the center called the Longer. They demonstrate the required seven compulsory exercises where they are judged on the basis of balance, form, relaxation, and rhythm with the horse. In addition, they perform a one minute freestyle routine to music, which enables them to show off their artistic and athletic graces.
Just a month prior to Nationals, Hadessah worked with her family fishing in Alaska. “I worked hard on stretching and keeping in shape as I did not want to fall behind my team mates,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without Patti, my amazing coach. She believed in me! And of course, I loved my horses, Promise and Tanner!!”
“It took a lot of hard work and training,” Kalli exclaimed. “The coach’s were a great support as were my teammates. We all help each other with our vaulting. I could have never done it without them and without God who helped me prepare and led me along. Whenever I wanted to quit, He kept me going.”
The girls are looking forward to the fall vaulting season in September where they will begin preparing for competition at the Bronze level. Canter vaulters perform at four designated levels, copper, bronze, silver, and gold. Each level carries higher expectations for form, artistry, athleticism, balance, and harmony with the horse. In addition to performing individually, the Warm Beach Vaulters also compete in teams of six performing four minute routines with up to three riders on the horse at one time. The Warm Beach Trot Team won first place in national competition this year and Warm Beach Vaulter, Camille Birch won Reserve Champion for Women’s Individual Trot.