OHIO VALLEY — A Gallia County teen was recently named as the 25,000th Ranch Sorting National Championship member while also winning the rated youth class at the organization’s Congress Super Sort in Jackson.
Jenna Wood, 16, of Gallipolis, has said she has been riding horses since around the age of three.
“I did trails and stuff,” said Wood. “When I was 9, I got into showing and western pleasure (horse showing) and then I got another horse and moved into English (riding), hunt seat and equitation. Then here the last year, I went into cow, horse and reigning. Ashlee and Dustin Deckard are my trainers.”
Wood was featured in a profile as part of a feature for ranchsorting.com in December 2016.
The Deckards own Point of Grace Ranch near the Wood family in Gallia County. She trains there with her partner Luke Paulus, who also was named a winner in the rate youth class at the super sort competition. Wood’s sister Abby was named a reserve champion in the same class.
Wood said she typically takes part in cow, horse and reigning activities but decided to take a shot at the sorting competition just for the fun of it with Paulus. Ranch sorting is a style of equestrian sport which evolved from ranch work which required herd animals to be sorted for activities such as transport or medical care.
“The horse I was showing at this event was (registered) with Sareece Brown,” said Wood. “The reason why he (the horse) was at (the ranch) was because he just recovered not too long ago from a stifle injury and wasn’t even really supposed to walk again. He was there for a 7-year-old to learn to ride doing the cow and horse stuff. Then I got to show him some and we’ve been really competitive and I’ve won a lot with him recently.”
The horse goes by the name Black as Cat.
Wood said she expects that she will stick with reigning and cow and horse competitions. Reigning competitions consist of leading a horse through a pattern that takes up an entire riding arena. Cow and horse uses reigning skills while also having the rider move into a herd of cows. Riders choose a target animal and stick to that one animal and then prompt the cow to move away from the heard with directed motions from the horse. Riders then keep the cow away from the herd.
“I think the thing I like best about the cow and horse (activities) are the friendships you make,” said Wood. “Everybody makes you feel at home. Even though you’re competing against people and want to beat them, you’re supporting them just like you support the people that also train at your barn. Everybody is always cheering each other on.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.