BALANCE - Avery Malone of Innisfail is preparing for the 2018 Canadian Nationals/World Equestrian Games Qualifier July 13th-15th at the Calnash Ag. Event Centre in Ponoka. Alex Thomas / AThomas Photo

Vaulters from across Canada prepare for vaulting qualifier in Ponoka

Qualifier will see 119 teams across the country compete

Avery Malone of Innisfail is looking forward to the 2018 Canadian Nationals/World Equestrian Games Qualifier July 13th-15th at the Calnash Ag. Event Centre in Ponoka.

“This year has been such a journey. I feel so blessed to be able to even have this opportunity and it’s just been so exciting to travel so much this year and have the experiences that I’ve had with the team,” she said.

Her team, consisting of six people, will be competing in vaulting, which is a combination of dance and gymnastics on a horse.

There will be 13 different clubs attending from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan with 119 participants competing along with 29 horses.

The competition is for all levels of vaulting from beginners’ vaulting on a stationary barrel and competing in walk classes to more advanced vaulters vaulting at canter in individual, pairs and teams.

Malone, who is part of the Meadow Creek Vaulting Club, will be competing in a round of compulsories and two rounds of freestyle with team.

The compulsories is a set of seven moves and everybody does them and you are scored out of 10 on those, while the freestyle is the vaulter’s own style, doing different, interesting moves on the horse.

“This year our team has done Beauty and the Beast. I’m the character Belle,” said Malone.

Some of the vaulters competing will be trying to qualify for the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina this coming September. Canada is able to send one Canadian Squad, two sets of pairs and three individual males and three individual female vaulters.

There are three Canadian teams in contention for a spot to represent Canada at the games, including Malone’s team.

The upcoming event in Ponoka is their nationals, the last qualifier of the year.

Malone said that for the whole year they’ve been competing and travelling because in order to qualify for the World Equestrian Games you need to score into it at an international level and need to be the top team in Canada.

“We’ve been travelling throughout the U.S. this year going through a lot of CVIs, which are international competitions, and selection trials are just competitions that the U.S. holds in order to gain our score.”

Malone added that although vaulting isn’t very popular in Alberta, the sport has been growing,

“Its been nice to have that friendly competition and be able to go and represent your country,” she said.

Malone started vaulting when she was really young and had no previous gymnastics or horse background.

“My friends had started doing it and I found it really interesting and just started doing it. I fell in love with it and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

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