Deans headed to nationals

Jamie and Meriruth

Redlands Community College sophomore Jamie Deans take her riding to a new level as she moves on to national competition.

Deans, from Yukon, earned the honor after her recent win as reserve champion in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association semifinals.

Deans only began competing in western riding contests last April, when her Redlands instructor encouraged her to take a chance.

“I was nervous about it, but once I started, I loved it,” Deans said. “Since starting I have won a regional championship, reserve championship and reserve zone championship. “

The IHSA western show features competition where the student draws a horse he or she has never before ridden. With no time to warm up, the competitor must deal with issues that come up during the session, Redlands equestrian coach Meriruth Cohenour said.

“This makes mental skill just as important as physical skill,” Cohenour said. “The rider has to learn on the fly and deal with the situation as it arises, all while being judged.”

In order to qualify for regional competition, riders must earn enough points in the regular season. Deans had to compete against eight other students to earn the title of regional champion. After that, she moved into the semifinals where she made it through the preliminary round and won the reserve championship during finals.

Deans will be heading to Harrington, Pa. on May 4 to compete in the National Championship against the top 12 students in the United States.

I am so thankful for those who have pushed me and taught me, I couldn’t have done it without them.”