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This summer, a familiar face will welcome campers. Greg Gill, who has been with the Horsemanship Program for several years, has taken the reins of leadership as Horsemanship Director. Past Director, Mark Skipton has accepted a call to a Camp outside of San Diego where he will be closer to kids and grandkids.
We sat down with Greg Gill, the new Horsemanship Director, and asked some of the questions we thought our campers would be dying to know. Greg, ever the bright-eyed cowboy, let us have a glimpse into his past and his hopes for the future.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Aberdeen, Washington, which is right next to Cosmopolis. Actually, you just head down to Olympia and hang a right till you hit the beach.
Q: What kind of kid were you?
A: I was kind of a wild kid. I’m the youngest of three. I jumped off things and tried to rope things off my bicycle. That was how I learned to rope. Off my bicycle.
Q: What got you into horsemanship?
A: I always wanted to be a cowboy ever since I can remember. My sister had a horse and my dad loves horses. I really didn’t think being a cowboy was going to be probable after we sold our horse. So I went to auto mechanic school. The summer of 2009, I had a free summer and my dad suggested I be a wrangler here (Warm Beach Camp). I sent in an application and got a call from Skip (Past Director, Mark Skipton) and he asked me some really simple questions about riding and I didn’t answer them correctly and…he didn’t hire me as a wrangler. So the first summer, I was a horse camp counselor. It was fun but I spent all my free time at the horse barn. I finished auto mechanic school and came back in 2010 as a wrangler and then stayed on as an intern, and then as the Assistant Director of the Horsemanship Program.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse at the camp?
A: Yeah, his name’s Eban. He’s pretty cool. When we got him, he was pretty crazy. You couldn’t even keep a saddle on him. Now we can use him in the trail string. He was how I learned to ride. Skip just put me on him and put me in the round pen and said, “Go for it.”
Q: Do horses have a sense of humor?
A: Yeah, I think so. We have one horse that when you let him out into the arena, he’ll pick up one of the ground poles and start whacking the other horses with it. He really enjoys doing that. He does it with traffic cones too. But they like playing with him. The other horses will get in a tug-of-war with him. And I think they think it’s funny when you fall off.
Q: Do you have a most embarrassing story?
A: Oh yeah, a bunch. I was on this trail ride with a bunch of high schoolers and I turned around talking to them about some stupid movie and three kids ran right out in front of me and scared Eban, my horse. He spun around and started running the other direction and I flew off into the bushes. All the other kids stayed on their horses. It was kind of embarrassing.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about working with Warm Beach Camp’s Horsemanship Program?
A: I enjoy doing the chapels a lot. Especially when you can tell that, wow, this is really clicking with people. This time of year, I also enjoy spending time with the volunteers at the barn.
Q: Heading into the future, what is your focus for the Horsemanship Program in your new role as Director?
A: I’d like to develop a bigger English riding program, and just a bigger lesson program in general, maybe some bare back and jumping as well. I’d like to add more riding time to the summer camp schedule and put in more diversity of riding disciplines to the camp program, especially the upper levels.
Q: If you weren’t in horsemanship what would you be doing?
A: Well, I like surfing a lot but I’d really like to be a pastor. So, I’d probably be focusing on that.
Keep an eye out for more insights into this summer’s Horsemanship Camps. Space is available for summer sessions now! Horsemanship Camps
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Congratulations to the Warm Beach Vaulters for their outstanding performances at the American Vaulting Association National Championships in Denver, Colorado, August 7-11, 2013.
- B Team - AVA/USEF National Champions
- Kaleb Patterson – AVA/USEF National Men’s Silver Champion
- Daniel Janes – AVA/USEF National Men’s Bronze Champion
- Luke Overton – Reserve National Men’s Bronze Champion
- Chad Anderson – 3rd Men’s Bronze
- Hadessah Rynning – 3rd place Women’s Silver (class of 31)
- Kalli Roberts – 10th place Women’s Silver
- Kaylee Evan – 3rd Bronze Freestyle and 15th Over-all Women’s Bronze (class of 38)
- Courtney Cavinaw – 5th in Freestyle and 8th Over-all Women’s Bronze
- Maddy Bell – 14th Over-all Women’s Bronze
- Trot Team – Reserve National Champions (by 4/1000 of a point!)
- Trot Individuals – (class of 41) Leah Tintinger – 4th, Kyla Waldron – 9th, Sara Lee – 10th and Hailey Olmsted – 11th
- C Team – 4th
- A Team – Reserve National Champions
As the Pacific Northwest largest club, the Warm Beach Vaulters brought four teams, twenty-five competitors, and five vaulting horses to the national competition. Along with the great performances, the vaulters conveyed a team spirit of unity and camaraderie, and kindness and support to all teams and competitors.
Thank you to Rhodes River Ranch and the other sponsors for their support of The Warm Beach Vaulters.Add a comment
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For about 80 Northwest vaulters, the Winter Warm Up Fest is a competition weekend of “firsts.”
- First competition of the season
- First time performing new routines
- First time competing with new team members
All winter long, vaulters refine their compulsory move skills, experiment with new free-style routines, and stretch their limits of physical conditioning. For some, this is their first competition ever and for others the first competition at a new level. The first competition of the Spring is a chance to see the fruits of a long winter of preparation.
Warm Beach Vaulters were blessed to win first place in all but two rounds of competition and there they won second place. Vaulting is a team sport with every vaulter supported by parents, horses, lungers, coaches, and fellow vaulters. Such a strong showing at the first competition of the season is a tribute to the dedication of each vaulter and the team of supporters that surround them.
Congratulations, Warm Beach Vaulters!
Warm Beach Vaulters comprise nearly half of any regional competition they attend. Their positive influence, uplifting attitudes, and support to other clubs contribute mightily to the strength of the region. Even more important than their accomplishments in the vaulting ring is the influence they have as God’s love shines through these amazing athletes, coaches, and staff.
The next competition is May 28-29 at Fallbrook Farms in Hillsboro Oregon and then Regionals June 18-19 at the Washington State Horse Park in Ellensberg, WA. We hope to see you there!Add a comment
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“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.Add a comment
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by Mark Cutshall
Imagine standing on the back of a young teenage girl riding a 2,000-lb. horse cantering in a 60-ft radius circle while holding your stance, arms outstretched, for four, five, six, seven, eight seconds. Whoooa.
During this actual move, one she’s done countless times, 15-year-old Alexandria Jaynes confesses, “As a flyer, I have no control of what my riding partners (“bases”) are going to do or even of the horse.”
Talk about trust. It’s what Alexandria has learned in her three-plus years of vaulting, a combination of dance and gymnastics on a steadily moving horse. At Warm Beach Camp, vaulting is more than sport…it’s a fun, demanding challenge that builds faith.
“In vaulting, you have to trust others as well as the horse. The horse has to hold up everything. Without that foundation, we couldn’t make it at all,” says Alexandria who will travel, along with her fellow participants and their parents and staff from Warm Beach Camp to Lexington, Kentucky, this summer for the World Equestrian Games.
“Vaulting has shown me how to trust God instead of trusting my own individual instincts. In vaulting, you can form great friendships built on trust.” All this, while enjoying the ride of her life.
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On March 6, 2010, three Warm Beach Vaulters received awards at the national convention of the American Vaulting Association (AVA) held in Portland, Oregon March 5-7, 2010.
Coach Patti Skipton received the “2009 Trainer of the Year” award in recognition of her outstanding horse training ability. Nancy Stevens-Brown, AVA past president told Patti, “I am giving you this award because your horses always look so happy when they compete.” Patti will also be coaching the Friendship Team at the World Equestrian Games held at the Kentucky Horse Park this fall in Lexington Kentucky.
Stanwood High School Graduate (2009) and Seattle Pacific University student, Kimberly Barnes, received the 2009 Silver Women’s High Point award. This award recognizes vaulters who accumulate the most points in at least three AVA recognized competitions throughout the year.
“I was so surprised at first. I really didn’t expect it. It was an awesome way to end my vaulting career, since I’m off to university now,” said Kimberly.
Twin City Elementary Fifth Grader, Kaleb Patterson, received the Bronze Men’s High Point award. This is Kaleb’s second 2009 High Point Award, having received the Copper High Point award for 2008.
“Winning two times in a row was really exciting and showed that I earned may way to the Silver level,” said Kaleb.
Vaulting is the sport of dance and gymnastics performed on the back of a moving horse. Since arriving from Europe in the 1970’s, this sport has made its way to Snohomish County in a big way. The Warm Beach Vaulters, from Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood Washington, is the third largest club in the nation growing from just a few vaulters in 2006 to over 40 today. Warm Beach Vaulters are based at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, Washington.
Situated on a picturesque bluff overlooking Port Susan Bay, Warm Beach Camp hosts over 300 church, school, non-profit, and governmental agency groups a year. In addition to hosting camps, conferences, and retreats, Warm Beach Camp also provides programs for all ages including environmental education, challenge course team-building, horsemanship camps, special needs camps, and the Northwest’s premier holiday event, The Lights of Christmas. For more information on Warm Beach Camp and the Warm Beach Vaulters, log on to www.warmbeach.comAdd a comment
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For the second year in a row, the Warm Beach Vaulters were the only Pacific Northwest Vaulting program participating in the team competition at the American Vaulting Association (AVA) National Competition. The Warm Beach Vaulters took 21 participants and three horses to Watsonville, CA, August 9-12, 2008 to compete. Add a comment
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by Kathy Rynning
There is definately something special with this team. It still makes me tear up to think about it. It's everything.......first and foremost, the Lord is right in the forefront, and the evidence of it is everywhere. From the group prayer before entering the arena to the special one on one hugs by the coach, Patti Skipton, before each vaulter goes out, to the hugs/tears/smile/laughter when a class is completed. This is very rare and very very special. I think back to when coach Patti and I, Kyle and Danielle all met up to talk and pray, and how Patti explained why she put such an emphsis on team, well, I saw it 'in action' and it was truly a beautiful thing to witness.Add a comment