A life-threatening disease has only made Ryan Melendez take the reins of his life even more firmly in hand
“I am sure my dad had me on horses as soon as I could sit up by myself,” Ryan, who’ll turn 18 in July, says of Bill Melendez. “I remember riding like six or seven horses a day, and it was a lot of fun.
“He didn’t always put me on the best of the best horses,” he adds. “I felt like he put me on horses that were going to teach me how to learn to ride — that’s probably the best thing that he could have done because to be a really good rider, I wasn’t going to get there by riding just the easy horses.”
His main ride, a mare named AM Liberty Parade, tried to buck off the 7-year-old Ryan in their very first horsemanship class, a 10-under test at the Scottsdale Arabian Show. They stayed together and years later, in 2014, they won an Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals Championship in Horsemanship.
“That’s my most memorable, best championship,” Ryan says. “Years and years of hard work. In the beginning, she definitely was not happy with being out there. One year at Youth Nationals, she actually flipped over on me, and then we went in the class and got Top 10. I like challenges — what’s the point, if you are not going to work hard for it?”
Friends and family make for a success story at Region 1
DEL MAR — Sisters share a special bond, and when you add a horse — well, good things happen.
That’s the case with Ashley and Samantha Price and Dress Blues, a trio whose history together goes back several years and whose immediate past is terrific: a fresh pair of championships and a reserve at the 2016 Arabian Horse Association Championship Show, held May 18-22 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The gelding was foaled on Memorial Day in the backyard of Molly Jenks, a family friend of the Price sisters and their trainer mom, Debbie Price of Priceless Arabians in ALta Loma. When Molly brought Dress Blues, named in part for her husband, a former U.S. Marine, to Priceless Arabians to present to potential buyers, Ashley was anything but in the market, as she has just lost her own horse after 13 years of riding together. However, “Trooper,” as he would soon be called, turned the ehads of a couple others — namely Debbie and Samantha.
The Paso Robles Horse Park came to life recently, as two weeks of the 2016 Spring Central California Horse Show Series were filled with trainer and exhibitor parties, complimentary wine tastings — and great competition. John French topped the field of competition in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented byCross Creek Farm, and Guy Thomas overcame a tricky course to be the only clear round and take home the blue in the CWD Grand Prix of Paso Robles Presented by Travel Paso.
“Congratulations to everyone on a successful two weeks of competition,” said Adrienne Karazissis of West Palms Events. “Thank you to all our sponsors, trainers, competitors, owners and spectators for supporting the Central California Horse Show Series! Don’t forget to join us this Summer in Huntington Beach!”
4-year-old futurities,non-pro action enliven newest Brumley reining
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The Wild Card Reining Challenge made a complete set of the Brumley Management Group’s annual offering of reining shows, as the inaugural five-day Memorial Day event filled the South Point Equestrian Center May 25-29.
The Wild Card is aptly named — a departure and step outside the box for the reining industry — first, with its spotlight on 4-year-olds instead of 3-year-olds. The concept allows equine athletes a chance to mature physically and mentally, prior to the extreme stress in competition.
Actually, the Wild Card show was largely geared toward newness, from innovative ideas to continuing education and the future.
The show overall had a nice complement of non pro competition. With a 72, Robyn Schiller posted Wednesday’s high score of the day with CD Star Commander, winning the Wild Card Reining Challenge 1 Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and the Novice Non Pro Levels 2 and 1.
As you improve your horsemanship skills, there will be habits that need breaking. The easiest way to change one pattern of behavior is to replace it with a new one. When a horse spooks or threatens to bolt or buck, the safest way to keep yourself and your horse safe is to use one rein and bring your Horse’s nose to your toe and disengage his hips. If you have practiced disengaging hips safely at home at all gaits, you and your horse will be better prepared to manage unforeseen situations that arise away from home. However, for many people their first impulse is to tighten up on both reins and pull. They feel a sense of security by pulling on both reins at once, but by doing so, this pulls the rider forward lifting their seat out of the saddle causing their legs to extend behind their body close to the horse’s flanks. When they become unseated, they clamp on with their legs and if they are wearing spurs, this can escalate into a more dangerous situation in a hurry.
Dressage is a systematic training for every horse and discipline through progressive exercises. I believe that many people are confused about the concepts and how it can help them achieve their goals in competition. The structure of the levels – training through advanced – is meant to guide the horse through its training in a progressive manner, and every horse should be give the time to work honestly through these steps. Taking shortcuts means skipping or failing to develop any one of the qualities in the training scale. Shortcuts result in the improper physical and mental development of the horse. One way to help is by following the German Training Scale, as explained later in this column.
Having control of the horse’s hips will prove to be quite critical for almost all of your reining maneuvers. You’ll need it for departures, lead changes and turnarounds particularly. Since many of the body control exercises that we’ll be working on in the next level will require you to have some hip control, you need to get started on it early in the program.
Point to Remember:
On this and most other things, you teach your horse. We’ll never be strong enough to make a horse do anything, but we can be smart enough to make him want to do it, and that’s what riding is all about.
Topsails Rien Maker, the only 3-time NRCHA 'World's Greatest,' dies at 17
WYNNEWOOD, Okla. — The reined cow horse world lost one of its greatest champions May 22 when Topsails Rien Maker, the only three-time winner of the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s “World’s Greatest Horseman” competition, died of kidney failure at the ranch of his longtime trainer and co-owner, Russell Dilday.
The 17-year-old stallion was a popular favorite in the reined cow horse community, and the pairing with the gutsy, colorful Dilday made for a memorable record-setting run of aged events over the last decade.
His wins are NRCHA Hall of Fame material — the three World’s Greatest titles, two National Stock Horse Association World’s Richest Stock Horse crowns, NRCHA National Championships — and other accomplishments that speak of an ability to close the biggest of deals. Not to just compete at the highest level, but to finish on top.
Newest Show Jumping Hall of Famer sees bright futures in West Coast
Susie Hutchison was recently elected to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. The official induction ceremony will take place on the East Coast during the Devon Horse Show in June, but Blenheim EquiSports will honor her on the West Coast before the home crowd on June 12, at the end of the Blenheim June Series Week I Grand Prix.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame was established in 1987 to promote the sport of show jumping and to memorialize the legends of the men, women and horses who have made great contributions to the sport.
Already in the Hunter Hall of Fame in 2015, alongside her longtime mentor and partner Jimmy Williams, and her famous hunter mount Best Bet, Hutchison is one of the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ that all rode with Williams. Names such as Hap Hansen, Robert Ridland, Mason Phelps, Rob Gage, Mary Chapot and Hutchison lessoned with Williams at the Flintridge Riding Club in the 1960s.
TEMECULA — Springtime in Southern California wine country is hard to beat for a horse show venue, and the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association struck up a winner the weekend of May 19-22 when it hosted the inaugural Jimmy Flores, Sr. Derby at Casner’s Ranch.
The four-day event included the club’s popular Non Pro Triple Crown and a full slate of NRCHA and AQHA classes on Sunday, making for a big draw and a huge success. Numbers pleased SCRCHA President Christy McSweeny, especially in the Derby Open (21 entries), the Triple Crown (37) and the final day’s horse show (110).
“We had a really good show,” said McSweeny, who found the open slot in the show schedule when the Arizona Reined Cow Horse Association moved its Sherri Gilkerson Memorial event to Arizona. “Everybody was happy. The schedule was really good because the open riders got to be done with their horses and their event before the non pro riders went, so everybody was able to have their trainers there to help them. There were no conflicts.”