Some memorable news from a year in - and out of - the arena
JANUARY: Every year kicks off with hope and enthusiasm, and 2014 has been no different. After all, it’s the Chinese “Year of the Horse”, as well as a World Equestrian Games year.
Out of the gate, 2014 featured change, as the Sierra Empire Arabian Horse Association moved the 39th version of its popular January show from the Fairplex in Pomona to a new venue, the expanded George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco. Happiest of all may have been Gordon and Paula Jahr of Wrightwood, whose 6-year-old Half-Arab gelding, WW Ive Been Spotted, went home with the Supreme Halter Championship.
Halfway across the nation in Oklahoma City, Lakeside horsewoman Elisa Swenson was named the 2014 Miss Rodeo USA at a pressure-filled competition at the International Professional Rodeo Association World Finals. Upon winning, the 25-year-old San Diego County native credited horses and her supportive father, Thomas Swenson, for overcoming some of life’s stumbling blocks.
JANUARY: From start to end, 2014 was a good year for Nicolas Barthelemy and owner Sheri Jamieson. The Ramona-based Barthelemy kick-started his season at the Horse Expo Pomona, winning the inaugural Toyota California Classic aboard Jans Rey Cuatro, edging Marjie Robinson on MH Its Only Boon.
FEBRUARY: California stars shined in Fort Worth, the new home of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions and World Championship Finals events. Doug Williamson took the Celebration Open Derby on Short And Smart, owned by Rocking J Ranch, and Phillip Ralls was reserve on Estelle Roitblat’s Jackies Sparkle. Tish Wilhite rode her Smokin My Cash to the NRCHA Non Pro Two Rein World Championship.
Damp weather didn’t dampen spirits of the West Coast reiners who launched their year at the WCRHA Affiliate 1 show. TessaLIndberg and Chicaderowere sharp, taking the Intermediate Non Pro, Limited Non Pro and Youth 14-18 titles.
JANUARY: In their first grand prix of the season, Saer Coulter and Springtime kicked off 2014 on the highest of notes, topping 30 other jumpers in the $50,000 StrongidC 2X CSI-W2* — a qualifier for the approaching FEI World Cup Finals.
FEBRUARY: Legolas 92 began his year like the ended the previous one – brilliantly. Along with Steffen Peters, the pair showed at California Dreaming Productions’ Mid-Winter Dressage Fair why they were favorites to lead the U.S. Dressage Team to France for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In the Grand Prix Special Feb. 22, their unanimous victory included the FEI High Percentage Championship (76.540).
In Thermal, Mandy Porter enjoyed a memorable catch-ride, taking Lexico to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak GrandPrix when Lexito’s regular rider, Toni McIntosh, was sidelined by injury.
Equestrian communities continue to thrive in East San Diego County
EASTERN SAN DIEGO COUNTY – In the not-too-distant past, Eastern San Diego County was mostly grazing land for cattle, dotted with small farm towns. Today, this part of the county is a growing bedroom community, only 15 miles from downtown San Diego. Yet despite its significant growth over the last 50 years, Eastern San Diego still holds on to its agricultural roots. The evidence? Horses are still a big part of life here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Teresa Kackert, trainer at the Menifee-based All American Horses has been named Instructor of the Year by the Certified Horsemanship Association.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Legolas 92, the 12-year-old, 17-hand Westfalen gelding ridden by Steffen Peters in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, has been named this year’s Adequan/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year.
“I like boarding at Heartland Ranch in East County. It’s not as congested with traffic and has lower population density than other areas. The natural beauty of this part of San Diego is appealing to me. I also love the equestrian center where my horse lives as the owners are very proactive in keeping the amenities in great condition and adding new amenities.”
Bad attitudes result in bad behaviors. If you aren’t able to determine the cause and make appropriate corrections, then bad behaviors never stay at the same level — they escalate. What was a reluctance to go forward will progress into bucking or rearing. Ear-pinning while being cinched will progress into nipping. Confused spooking can result in bolting.
Fifth in a series
Les takes a look at why a martingale serves a purpose in early stages of training.
I will use a running martingale occasionally, and I recommend them for many riders. I like a heavy leather one, and I want it adjusted so that the rings of the martingale can go all the way to the horse’s throatlatch when he’s standing relaxed. That means his head, or your hands, would have to really get up there before the rings actually pulled on the reins. The martingale is not there to pull your horse’s head down; its main function is to add weight and balance to the reins during the learning process.
I like to introduce the harness a few pieces at a time, in this order: saddle, back strap with crupper, then the breeching. This just seems to make sense to the horse and is less overwhelming to his senses.
You want to introduce the harness piece-by-piece, so they won’t get frightened. A few times around on the lunge or round pen for each piece is usually sufficient. You simply want the equine to be relaxed and accepting without fear. When introducing the crupper (that’s the part that goes under the tail), it’s important to prepare your horse to relax its tail by gently stretching the tail upwards and letting the horse drop it down without resistance. Rub the underside of your horse’s tail with your hands to get him used to feeling something there. When the tail is in its normal position, the crupper is properly fitted when there are about one to two fingers of room between the underside of the tail and the roll of the crupper. It’s not to be fitted too tight or too loose, which can cause the equine to clamp or swish his tail in discomfort or anxiety. When introducing the crupper for the first time BE CAREFUL, as your horse may clamp his tail, scoot forward, and possibly buck and kick! Do your homework before and desensitize them, and you‘ll have less resistance. You may want to do this the first time in a stall. Don’t punish your horse if he objects — leave him alone to work it out and accept it. The underside of the tail is very sensitive and easily rubbed, so make sure your crupper is clean, not cracked, and of the appropriate size. You might even want to put a piece of sheepskin around it to cushion it.