Sisters rider competes in national horse show
Last updated 3/15/2022 at Noon
Alessandra Wentworth and her mare Q recently participated in one of the biggest horse shows in Southern California. Competition ran from January 22 through February 7.
The show in Thermal, California, takes place at Desert International Horse Park, where Olympic athletes train, one of the largest competitive parks. It is also where the World Cup Qualifiers are also held every year.
“I had wanted to go for a couple years with my other horse, but this year I finally had the opportunity to go based on timing and getting training in with my newer horse,” said Wentworth.
Wentworth has been on horseback for nine years, starting when she and her family moved to Central Oregon from Connecticut. She started riding at a barn in Redmond in the Western discipline, and then moved into the English discipline and fell in love with English.
“Once I started the discipline I just kind of fell into it. It’s really fun and I did pretty well starting out, and I just stuck with it. I love it,” said Wentworth.
Wentworth boards her current horse and trains at JGW Ranch in Tumalo with Cindy Shonka.
She began by leasing her first horse, Penny, who she showed in jumping for six years before Penny began experiencing back pain. Penny is now retired at an equine facility. She now rides Kilkenny I.Q., who she simply refers to as “Q.”
Q needed some intensive training before being show-ready, because Wentworth got Q during the height of the pandemic, and there weren’t any shows happening at that time.
But Wentworth decided she was show-ready by the end of the fall.
“I decided she had the potential to be show-ready, and do this show once the opportunity presented itself,” she said.
Wentworth had a friend help her by hauling a trailer on an 18-hour drive down to Palm Desert.
“Q did really well, had some of her baby moments, but overall it was a really great experience for her,” she said.
The horse show grounds have some of the largest training pens and jumping zones in the Western U.S., and because it is where qualifiers are held and Olympic athletes train, the courses and training areas are of the highest standards. This gave Wentworth an opportunity to compete on coveted ground.
“I got to work with Jeff Cooke, a really well-known trainer, and had the chance to work with a lot more coaches and trainers, which always makes you better,” she said.
“The environment there was different than anything we had been in as well; it was hot and there were a lot of horses and people around. There were well over 3,000 horses on the property during the show weekend,” she said.
This was the first big event that Q and Wentworth showed in together.
“We placed fifth, seventh, and eighth out of about 25 people in our classes, which is pretty good for a horse that doesn’t have much showing experience,” she said. “Overall, Thermal was a really great experience, and it was great because my parents (Jeanne and David Wentworth) were able to come down for a couple days of the event.”
Wentworth is planning on continuing her riding career as she enters college this year at Oregon State University (OSU). She is majoring in animal science and plans to try to compete on the equestrian team at OSU. Wentworth is currently a senior at Sisters High School, president of the Sisters High School Choir and is graduating this June.
“My plan is to take Q with me to school and rise on the equestrian team there,” said Wentworth.
One of the reasons Wentworth chose OSU specifically is because they allow you to ride your own horse instead of riding from a draw of horses that they provide.
“The events and shows there are categorized in different leagues, so it’ll be a different world than the types of shows I am doing here, but I am glad I get to train with Q,” said Wentworth. There is also the opportunity for Wentworth to enter clubs at school and continue riding Q during her schooling.
“I want to be able to do what I can when I am there while studying animal science and there is a little bit of everything there that I can work with,” she said.
Wentworth plans to continue to train and ride leading up to her departure for college in October, and hopefully enter shows happening in the area.