The horse whistler

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There is no question that Ady Crosby is in charge.

When she whistles, horses and dogs come running, showing their delight to see her.

Crosby, a Sequim High School graduate, is a sophomore at Western Washington University in Bellingham, so the animals don’t see her as often as they’d like. She’s worked with horses and riders as long as she can remember and is active in Interstate, a competition among gaming champions from Washington and Oregon.

Gaming is little known outside the competitors and their families.

Crosby says it is something like rodeo but that competitors are more supportive of each other and celebrate everyone’s successful rides.

Barrels and flags
In gaming, horse and rider work together in events such as riding around poles or barrels, moving flags from one place to another and working as a team. Horsemanship is a must, with each rider being judged on communicating with the horse subtly with shifts of weight and nudges with knees. The trick comes in completing the task as fast as possible.

Competition levels are determined by speed. This is one place where the supportive atmosphere comes into play. Competitors will celebrate with another whose speed has moved him/her to a new level even if the new placement doesn’t bring a win.

Crosby has been selected as Washington state princess candidate for Interstate queen.

The Interstate competition brings together the top 10 riders from each state on Labor Day weekend at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Ridgefield. This is the 54th tourney.

Sells sponsorships
As a princess, it’s Crosby’s job to raise money for the event. She does this by selling sponsorships to individuals and business-es. Sponsors get advertisements in the program and displays at the site. They also can buy announcements during the event.

Crosby says soon after she was born, her mother would put her into a backpack for rides, and she got her first pony at 9 months. She has been riding competitively for 11 years and has been in the Interstate competition since 2003. Like many youths, she started in 4-H but left when 4-H and gaming events conflicted.

Until fall 2008, Crosby had a beautiful palomino horse that carried her through gaming events with joy and ease.

Sonny died of colic.

Reign the reins
Crosby now has another horse, Batman, that she has trained since he was foaled, She is bringing him along slowly, but he is not ready for competition.

Consequently she was not going to enter Interstate this year. She has had offers of horses to borrow, though, so she’ll  support the sport she loves.

Crosby says the queen competition is a beauty pageant for horses. She will have to give a speech, answer impromptu questions, have a personal interview, be judged on her horsemanship, decorate her horses’ stalls and keep the horses clean and show-ready all the time with the help of her chaperones.

The winner gets a crown and a saddle.

To help fund Crosby’s efforts, call her at 360-670-9965 or her mother at 360-670-3970.

Reach Dana Casey at
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