The Northeast at Zone was formed as an organized part of Washington State Horsemen in 1953 with the election of Earl Whipple as president. Two years later they put up a steel-post-and-hay-twine ring in a farmer’s field and sponsored a Horse Show open to novice horses and riders. In 1956 the first Zone High Point award was a silver buckle presented to Rhea Shipley.
A Western Games Division came on board in 1959, with five individual events that were open to riders of all ages. These were Keyhole, Polebending, Texas Barrels, and Five-Barrel Straightaway. Four-man team events were Team Baton, Team Polebending and Bareback Relay. Today more events are offered and riders are ranked A, B, C, or D, according to their times so every rider competes with others of equal ability. The young, the new and the inexperienced have a chance to win at an entry level and then move up as soon as skill is gained. The Donny Kenworthy Memorial is awards to the High Point Junior Games Horse and Rider. Other special awards offered by the Western Games Division include the Blue Memorial Outstanding Games Horse and the Jet Bar Joker Memorial Most Versatile Games Horse. The Joan Deardorff Memorial recognizes a non-rider for their hard work in and around the arena.
New folks of the horse show persuasion also have appropriate areas of competition with Green, Novice, Limit, and Beginning classes for English, Western, and Driving Horses. Little ones have a chance to shine in Leadline (6 & under) and Walk Trot (10 & Under) classes. The top exhibitor in his first year of showing in recognized shows earns the impressive Theo Memorial perpetual trophy and the title of High Point Rookie of the Year that goes with it. The division also supports a full complement of breed and open halter and performance classes, as well as equitation and showmanship for five age groups from 11 & Under through 31 & Over. In 2007 ninty-seven horses were on the books for High Score Awards, and twenty members were Rookies.
For those who enjoy a more leisurely equine pursuit, there is a Trails and Pleasure Division. Riders log miles ridden and turn their numbers in to the T&P Chair. The top eight receive a plaque with space for a photo and a plate with year and miles ridden. A new plate can be added each year until, with nine plates, the plaque is full.
All zone children are welcome to participate in the Zone Youth Merit program, which is separate from, but affiliated with, Youth Merit at the WSH level. Children may also compete in any or the riding divisions, but this is not required. Those who do not ride because of age or disability or do not have access to a horse are equally welcome. A variety of social and learning activities are provided, and accomplishments are rewarded at each level. Savings bonds for higher education can be earned at the top levels.
Those who reside outside the boundaries of the Northeast Zone are welcome to become members upon request. The easiest way for those who want to do this is to take WSH membership through an NEZone club. There are several clubs ready and willing to extend membership to non-NEZone residents.
The Zone holds regular meetings the first Thursday of each month January-May and Sept-November. Members are encouraged to come, but attendance is not mandatory for participation in any zone program. Division Chairs are always available to answer questions and provide information to anyone interested.
Hoofbeats is the Zone newsletter, which is distributed monthly (usually), via email to everyone who has it, and by USPS to those who don’t, but sign up for it. News that is of general interest to other areas of the state appears in the WSH publication, The Canter, which comes out ten times a year.