Michelle and Coke On Course at the Carriage House Classic Horse Show in Big Timber.
Warming up with Crazy Horse Mountains in background.
Accepting first place in hunter class.
May 25, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
A young Seeley Lake girl, graduating this year from Cliff Nelson Junior High, is winning blue ribbons and championships against adults and trainers on the Montana State Hunter/Jumper Association (MSHJA) circuit.
Michelle Noland, who turned 15 last month, jumped her horse, Coke, in her first circuit show at Missoula's Equestrian Park three weeks ago, entering only a few classes but finishing third in a 2'6" low jumper class of 19 entries in a timed jump-off. She added a second place in an equitation class of 18 and finished fourth in a beginning hunter under saddle class of 20.
At the Carriage House Ranch Classic Horse Show a week later in Big Timber, the pair gained a lot of recognition when they out-jumped 15 riders from all over the state in the 2'6" Training Hunter Over Fences Division and won the Championship Award for overall Hunter Classes All Ages. They also added a second-place win in the open Hunter Hack, again a class of 15, where riders jumped two jumps and then performed flat work on the rail.
The best to date, though, came last Saturday when Michelle and her Quarter horse turned in an outstanding performance in the hunter/jumper classes at Missoula's Equestrian Park again, stealing the show with six first-place wins at heights of 2'3", 2'6", and 2'9" and in three divisional championship competitions, she won two and was reserve champion in the third. In eleven classes, she had six first-place finishes, three second-place finishes, one third and one fourth.
Michelle, who last year earned a trip to Fort Worth with the Montana Youth Quarter Horse Team by finishing second for the year in Youth Western Pleasure, has always longed to jump horses, and she and Coke have fully regained their confidence after her horse went down over a 3-foot fence and she broke a collar bone in the landing a year and a half ago.