Cheam vaulters take on the world and win

Chilliwack's Cheam Vaulters proved themselves against international competition at last weekend's CIV 2012 competition.

Over 150 equestrian vaulters made their way to Chilliwack last weekend for the CVI 2012 vaulting competition, the biggest competition that will be held in Canada this year.

At the end of the event, Chilliwack competitors had reeled in major international awards, gold medals and a stable full of ribbons.

Twenty members of the local Cheam Vaulters competed in events ranging from beginner walk levels to qualifying classes for the world championships.

In the international squad competition, Cheam’s Team Radiance claimed gold for Canada.

Squad vaulting features a freestyle performance with up to three vaulters on the horse at the same time, performing intricate pyramids and acrobatics on a cantering horse.

This was the first time Canada has entered the squad competition at the international level. Radiance members were Abigale Wynberg, Ali McKitrick, Jessica Church, Hagan Pavan, Cassie Sponchia and Alisa Schmidt.

Schmidt is also head coach of the team. Radiance vaulted to victory aboard Rosie, who was lunged by Josh Anema.

In the new children’s international division, Wynberg won gold with a standout performance aboard Cetoma, lunged by Barb Schmidt.

Cetoma also carried his owner, Chelsey Wierks, to gold in the senior women’s 1* event.

Making her first appearance at the international level, Jessica Church placed fourth in that same class.

Pavan competed individually on Rosie, winning gold in the senior men’s 1* event.

Cassie Sponchia took bronze in the junior women’s 1* class, vaulting on Tanner (lunged by Amanda Knuckey).

In the Canadian national team class, Cheam’s Team Serenity grabbed first place ribbons for an outstanding performance on Tanner, lunged by Polly Sutcliffe.

Team members were Pavan, Church, Levi Pankonin, Taylor Eamor, Breanna Frewin and Darla Ricka.

Taylor Eamor earned a second place ribbon in individual division D canter.

Three local vaulters placed well in the Division C walk division, the largest in the competition. Sierra Pankonin placed first, Leah Overduin was third and Deseray Smith was fifth.

One of Cheam’s youngest students, Sage Benedictson, performed in the FUNdamentals demonstration for a large crowd at the Saturday evening special performance.

The Cheam Vaulters is one of Canada’s oldest equestrian vaulting clubs, with training programs in both Rosedale and Chilliwack.

Classes are available for children, youth and adults at both the recreational and competitive levels. For more information, contact Alisa Schmidt at

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