Jordyn Karl competes in pole bending at a prior event. Submitted photo.

Forest Grove’s Jordyn Karl headed to the National High School Finals Rodeo again

‘I worked really hard this year and I was really glad I was able to make the team again’

Student-athlete Jordyn Karl will be going back to Rock Springs, Wyo. for the second time as she competes in the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).

A Grade 11 student at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (distant learning) Karl will compete in the pole bending and reined cow horse competitions as part of Team British Columbia.

“It’s good. I worked really hard this year and I was really glad I was able to make the team again,” said Karl.

She started competing in rodeos in Grade 8 but was pole pending previously with the same horse. Reined cow horse is a new discipline for her.

“I’ve only been doing reining cow horse since this spring, actually. I was really excited to get into that,” she said. “Before, I was kind of interested in it, but not that much. I had a horse that was trained really well for reining and so I thought I might as well do it because it will just make my horse better for my other events. I tried it and I actually really liked it, so I decided to keep going and I made finals.”

Reined cow horse is a discipline where riders and their horses perform specific manoeuvres such as circling a cow, turning and performing a reining pattern. Teams are judged on their performance and how well they handle the cow. The performance is split into two sessions – dry work and cow work.

Dry work consists of the reining pattern. Karl’s favourite part is the cow work, which includes holding the cow at one end of the arena before manoeuvring it into the centre and making it run in a tight circle.

At the NHSFR, Karl will be one of about 1,600 competitors. More than $150,000 is available in prize money. Additionally, contestants will also compete for more than $375,000 in post-secondary scholarships.

The NHSFR World Championship title is up for grabs; however, to get the title, contestants have to finish in the top 20 based on their combined times/scores in the first two rounds to advance to the final round. The world champion for each discipline will then be selected based on their three rounds of combined times/scores.

“Some of them are riding $100,000 horses,” said Karl about her peers. “So we’re not going there to win. It’s just going to be a really good experience. I think it will be really good for my horse too. They do free clinics down there, so I can learn a lot.”

Her goal for this year is making it to the ‘short go’ (final round) in pole bending, after missing out last year.

“I didn’t make short go because that’s really tough,” she recalled. “They (competitors) were running 19 seconds and I was running 21, which is still really good. The average was 22/23 [seconds].”

For reined cow horse, she said she doesn’t have high expectations due to only starting it this year.

“I’ll go and learn and have fun. It will be a very good experience for me and my horse.”

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