Hallie, age 9, and her horse Dakota show a nice bond as Hallie demonstrates a flag pose during practice with Harborview Vaulters at Four Winds Riding Center on Creviston Drive. Photo by Ed Johnson, KP News

There’s a very large new metal building on Creviston Drive that’s home to the Four Winds Riding Center. Harborview Vaulters, a group of 10 young ladies whose passion is doing gymnastics while riding horseback, uses the building to improve their skills.

Run by Kathy Seelye and Lori Robison, the group meets three times a week to practice for two hours, running through their mandatory exercises and moving on to their free-style programs.

Vaulting is defined as gymnastics and dance performed on the back of a horse. As opposed to the gymnastics we see in the Olympics, these young ladies aren’t past their prime at the age of 14. The movements on horseback require a great deal of strength and the girls improve with practice but also as their muscles mature. The desired goal of the moves is to display a bond with the horse.

Hallie, 9, began vaulting four years ago, while Dani, at 11 years of age, has been vaulting for 14 months. Lilie, nine years old, started at the same time as Dani. Cosette has been vaulting for 10 months and is 12 years old, and Hazel at 11 is the newcomer in the group with two months experience.

The girls are first introduced to movements while the horse travels at a walk. They advance to performing at a trot and finally at one of four levels of canter. The routines are set to music in competition. The competition schedule starts in October.

The Harborview Vaulters competed in a meet in Cle Elum on the weekend of June 18 and will be hosting a season kick off event at the Donida Farm in Auburn on August 8 and 9.

Besides vaulting, managing partner, Lori Robison also offers equine-assisted psychotherapy and leads business groups in bonding exercises focused on horses.

Four Winds Riding Center can be reached at 253-691-0676 and for more information visit www.fourwindsrc.com.

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