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Follow our Back Country riders as they trek from Norco to Bishop

After months of planning—and training—Mike Williams and Rebekah Wan are on a 300-mile trek from Norco to Bishop. A foursome of Mike, Rebekah, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left SoCal Equine Hospital on Sixth Street at 8:02 a.m., Friday, May 3.


Day 14: Day of rest

Thursday, May 16

Last night was a cold windy night. Rain in the forecast and 50 mph gusts. Mike and Rebekah have decided not to trail blaze today and use the DWP access road to take them into Lone Pine.    


Day 13: Steak & Eggs

Wednesday, May 15
21.4 miles / 6 hours, 22 minutes / 801 ft. / 3.4 mph

Riding to Olancha tonight. Breakfast this morning consisted of steak and eggs. Only the best for our loved ones. Mike, Rebekah and the horses had to go through a boulder field and had to rock hop for several miles. Horses were quite tired after their day. They rode a little over 21 miles.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190515-Day13


Day 12: Sharing the trail with sheep

Tuesday, May 14
17.4 miles / 5 hours, 13 minutes / 1762 ft. / 3.3 mph

Riding toward Lonepine today. Staying in Coso Junction tonight. Shorter day than normal—only 17 miles. Mike, Rebekah and their horses Cowboy, Razor, Jack and Fancy had to ride among the sheep that were on the DWP trail.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day12


Day 11: Today was a HOT one!

Monday, May 13
16.8 miles / 4 hours, 52 minutes / 384 ft. / 3.5 mph

Extremely hot day riding through the desert. Over 90°. Had to stop several times to allow the horses to rest. Water was limited. Staged at 9-mile. Heavy wind. Dale Crawford joined the team today to provide ground support for the next several days.
Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190513-Day11


Day 10: Time to rest… and add horses

Sunday, May 12

Day off for the horses in Inyokern, to re-up on supplies and do laundry. Sigrid arrived with a second horse for Mike. Both Mike and Rebekah are ponying a second horse so they can switch off every few days. All four horses are now on the journey.


Day 9: Happy Birthday, Mike!

Saturday, May 11
24.7 miles / 6 hours, 55 minutes / 922 ft. / 3.6 mph

Long day in the saddle but it was beautiful. That evening Misha surprised Mike with a homemade birthday cake. 58 candles, no fire permit needed. Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190511-Day9


Day 8: Rest day following a night of heavy rain

Friday, May 10

Rained like crazy last night. Everything got wet. The group decided to take today off and ride tomorrow instead. Misha, Rebekah’s daughter came out to help this morning with the trailer and moved horses to Ridgecrest for the day and overnight so they would be under cover instead of in the open desert. Today was the last day that Carol and Linda are riding with Mike and Rebekah. Tomorrow it becomes a two-person ride unless others decide to join. Pete also leaves as ground crew support and Misha and Nolan begin the chore of keeping everything in order.

Just 158 miles to Bishop!

Day 7: Halfway to Bishop! Trek continues…

Thursday, May 9
25.3 miles / 6 hours, 37 minutes / 1,270 ft. / 3.8 mph

After a week’s worth of riding, the halfway point has been reached! Relive the day here: http://bit.ly/190509-Day7


Day 6: Making progress along Highway 395

Wednesday, May 8
23.8 miles / 6 hours, 20 minutes / 692 ft. / 3.8 mph

Today, the group traveled about 300 yards off of west side of Highway 395, finishing two miles north of Kramer Junction. According to Mike, the day was uneventful. The day got warm, but they had two water stops. They crossed the 58 behind the truck stop which turned out to be pretty easy. Everything worked in their favor! Relive their day with this link: http://bit.ly/190508-Day6


Day 5: After a windy, damp start…sunshine

Tuesday, May 7
24.8 miles / 6 hours, 31 minutes / 220 ft. / 3.8 mph

Horses and riders took a one-day break on a Day 4 layover in Phelan, and it also marked the first day of cold wind and rain. Day 5 started with Mike and the group in thick fog—everything was damp. They rode through heavy wind which made for a long ride, but eventually it warmed up. They stayed on trail until they got north of Adelanto and then cut across the desert to their overnight destination. Relive their day on the link!: http://bit.ly/190507-Day5


Sunday, May 5

Day 3: Through the Cajon Pass

Sunday, May 5
21.8 miles / 6 hrs, 11 mins / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph

The group traveled along Highway 66 through Cajon Pass to Phelan. Water stop for the horses and lunch stop for the riders along the PCT at the 138. 21.8 miles / 6 hours, 11 minutes / 2,789 ft. / 3.5 mph. Follow their Day 3 route with this link!: http://bit.ly/190506-TrailRide


Saturday, May 4

Day 2: Along the Santa Ana River basin

Saturday, May 4
18.8 miles / 5 hrs, 25 mins / 1,325 ft. / 3.5 mph

An uneventful day… after leaving Grand Terrace, they traveled through the Santa Ana River Basin and the city of Colton to reach Saturday’s final destination, Devore. Ride along with the day’s link: http://bit.ly/190504-TrailRide


Friday, May 3

Day 1: Journey begins!

Friday, May 3
19.6 miles / 5 hrs, 18 mins / 909 ft. / 3.7 mph

Mike Williams, Rebecca Wan, Linda Wesch and Carol Kelly left Socal Equine Hospital at 8:02 a.m. on the 320-plus mile ride from Norco to Bishop. First night’s camp: Grand Terrace. Relive the first day: http://bit.ly/190503-TrailRide


Get the story! Here’s background on the riders and the ride…

If you missed the California Horsetrader’s Feb. 1 cover article on the ride, get the story by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1902-TrailRide

Mike Williams, Rebekah Wan and “Cowboy” on Feb. 1 Horsetrader cover

Double Trouble

- May 1st, 2019

Nicole Haunert dominates early Markel series grand prix

Special to the Horsetrader

Rider Nicole Haunert, here on winner Concolue, took first and second at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a beautiful Southern California afternoon, cheering on 19 entries at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. After five went clear and advanced to the jump-off, Nicole Haunert and Concolue, owned by Cherokee Show Horses Inc., topped the field. Making the day extra special, she also placed second aboard Jamaico Drum van de Breepoel, owned by NJK Show Jumpers.

From Horsetrader sales staff

Come ride and learn with “The Six Million Dollar Man,” world-renowned reiner Shawn Flarida, when he comes to Southern California May 11-12 for a two-day clinic at Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lake View Terrace. Flarida is known not only for being the man in the green shirt, but also as the man winning the green: He’s the first to top the $6 million mark in earnings and also is the National Reining Horse Association’s all-time leading money-earner. His accolades include winning the NRHA Open Futurity championship six times and winning the All-American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity 11 times.

This special clinic will be presented by Ariat, LEGISequine.com, Foran Performance Horses, and Langer Equestrian Group. Professionals will ride May 11, with non-pros on the following day. Cost is $450 per day, with auditors welcome for $50 per day or $80 for the weekend. Each rider will receive lunch and two one-day audit passes, and the first fifty auditors will receive gift bags with a $25 online gift certificate to Ariat. Stalls and RV space are available. Contact Marnye@langershows.com for more information, or call (818) 563-3250, ext. 6. See ad on page 21.

Q&A: Miki Nelsen

- May 1st, 2019

Western States Horse Expo has been a fixture at Cal Expo for the last 20 years—two decades of bringing the horse industry together for a June weekend of education, entertainment and shopping. This year, the West Coast’s largest equestrian expo will move east about 15 miles to a new home, the beautiful Murieta Equestrian Center, and founder Miki Nelsen has more “newness” in store for 2019.

Miki, you’ve been an innovator since you began the Horse Expo, but this year you’ve really retooled.

I am excited. Very excited, actually. Moving to Rancho Murieta is a big change, but I feel very much at home at the facility. I think everyone will because it’s very horsey. Just the feeling of being around there—it has a festival vibe. It’s outside, beautiful, clean, landscaped with trees. It’s a world class horse facility that is beautifully built and well maintained.

I’m also very excited about Equus Masters—a brand new format.

How is it different?

There are four “Masters”, who will each select and train a halter-broke Mustang. The three judges, Pat Parelli, Chris Cox and Eitan Halachmy, will point out what they are seeing—or not seeing—along the way, in real time.

Another difference is the motivation—it isn’t money! The motivation is doing the right thing on the horse, and also to educate people to do the right thing. We want our audience to get some good education out of this.

The Mustangs are from the R3C Wild Horse Program, and the person who runs the program will also be “miked up” to give history and insight into the horses.

What’s the goal of the training?

That’s just it—there’s no end goal. Each trainer will have to determine what that goal is after they get acquainted with the horse. The prize will be the same for all four trainers—that there is going to be a lot of people watching them and seeing them in action and seeing what their priorities are. These horses are going to dish up challenges—different things and no one knows what they will be, including the trainer. It will be up to the trainer how they handle it. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be real. The judges will be giving their commentary while this is unfolding.

Horse Expo’s new home

- May 1st, 2019

World-class MEC is a perfect Expo fit


RANCHO MURIETA—This will be a year of innovation for the Western States Horse Expo, which has always found thoughtful ways to stimulate its attendees, vendors and clinicians over the past two decades at Cal Expo in Sacramento. There’s the Equus Masters, a format conceived by founder Miki Nelsen along with clinic headliners Pat Parelli and Chris Cox. Among the fresh line-up also will be a new SANA West Rare Breeds Show, an NCDC Combined Driving Event, an NRHA Reining Boot Camp, plus a longer list of vendors—some not seen in years, and there will even be a food truck festival, complete with live music.

West Coast Reiners roll on

- May 1st, 2019

Full classes, international flair start season

Special to the Horsetrader

Tzvika Knaani and Xtra Goodstep tied for wins in the Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro classes at the WCRHA season-opener. (John O’Hara photo)

CORNING—Weather was the concern heading into the first affiliate show for the West Coast Reining Horse Association held March 1-3. Record amounts of snow over the Sierra Nevada had resulted in road closures, which made it impossible for eastern members from Nevada to attend. However, massive rain and high floods in the northwestern part of the state didn’t impede competitors from coming—it just took them a little longer than usual to make the drive to the show, held for the third year at the Rolling Hills Equestrian Center.

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM


This year has been an extra wet one for most of our country. Some of us have needed it badly and others, not so much. This month I think it is prudent that we discuss some conditions that may become more prevalent this year due to the extra moisture in our environments. If we take some extra steps in care and observation, pests can be minimized, diseases can be prevented, and extra veterinary bills can be avoided.

Flies

Flies are a huge nuisance to our livestock. They also can transmit some diseases. With all the added moisture to our environment, we are likely to see an increase in flies. Last year I wrote an article on methods of fly control. I discussed some good control measures including fly sprays, fly bait, feed through fly control and fly predators. If you are not already including these in your husbandry, it may be a good time to evaluate your situation and see if additional measures are warranted. One horse with a bad case of summer sores will definitely make you think twice about neglecting to control flies.

Wrapping up hip control

- May 1st, 2019

This exercise (“Exercise 5”) allows Les to find out if his zones will work together. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t; if they don’t you have to fix it.

Lots of signals in different directions

Aim for no resistance and good energy flow

What else is exercise # 5 good for? Develops muscles, tendons and ligaments for stopping on one side at a time

Making a horse relax

When you have control of all four zones, especially the head and neck, you can use this maneuver to take any tension out of the horse.

How much should you use this? 20–30 times a day is not unreasonable. If you’re getting stuck, identify the problem part and then work on it by itself. Then sneak from that exercise back into #5; the Columbo approach.

Starting a youngster

- May 1st, 2019

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist


Whether starting a youngster or working with a troubled horse, training takes time. The minimum time I will take a 2-year-old for starting under saddle is 90 days. The older the horse, add an additional month to the 90 days for each year older than two.

For instance, a 4-year old would need a minimum of five months. Yes, it is an expense—good trainers aren’t cheap (cheap trainers aren’t good). But your youngster’s foundation is not something to cut corners on. If there is a hole in the training, you may not find it tomorrow, but there will be a day that it will make itself known, and hopefully you will not be caught unaware.

Special to the Horsetrader

Jamie Sailor proved at the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in San Juan Capistrano how imporant it is to not just be hopeful, but to ride Hopeful, a 7-year-old bay owned by Astrid Van Leeuwen. Both horse and rider earned their first derby victories after recording a front-running 370.5 points from judges. (Blenheim EquiSports photo / Alden Corrigan)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—Coming into the handy round in third place, young professional Jamie Sailor moved up to win the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard Hopeful, owned by Astrid Van Leeuwen. Both horse and rider earned their first derby victories. The pair finished with a two-round total of 370.5 points, while Karli Postel rode Get Rowdy, owned by Teton Farms, to a second-place finish with 368 points.