CRHA Challenge and NRHA Affiliate championships draw 300-plus horses
BURBANK — And when it reins, man it pours.
Six Days, 86 classes, fantastic prizes, high-stepping parties, costumes, contests and family fun — there was something for everyone at the 22nd Annual Challenge Horse Show presented by the California Reining Horse Association Oct. 19-25 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
Home to the Southwest Regional National Reining Horse Association Affiliate Finals, the Challenge Show also hosted futurities, derbies, a ” No Wimpy Cowboys” NRHA Non Pro Maturity, the CRHA Reiner of the Year Finals, the Gatolotto Memorial, USA Junior and Young Rider qualifiers, plus a full slate of rookie, green-as-grass and youth classes. The event drew top reiners from California, Arizona and the Southwest, some traveling from as far Illinois and Montana. The Challenge offered a sweep of fantastic prizes including seven trophy saddles, a horse trailer sponsored by All American Trailers, silver buckles to winners and reserve, and a myriad of Bronze Trophies including the John Varble and Top Dun memorial Award, the Rebecca Goss Boo-Yaah, Kaweah Nic and Topsail Cody Memorials. With the level of competition high, and the stakes huge, more than 300 horses competed for payouts of over $90.000.
Temecula's Smith wins CCI1* and 2*; red-hot Dutton, 'Fugitive' take 3*
TEMECULA — Phillip Dutton has been in this position many times—last to go with not a rail in hand. He’d already jumped a clear round on the young Mr. Candyman, who could then finish no lower than fourth in the headline CCI3* division, at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event on Oct. 28-Nov. 1.
After an unanticipated clattering through a warm-up fence, Dutton, of Pennsylvania, set his trademark Secret Service expression and galloped overnight leader Fernhill Fugitive into the arena and around Marc Donovan’s 560-meter track. The 15-obstacle course had just seen Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett take an unlucky rail at the wine bottle vertical before the last triple combination, dropping them one place to third (49.8).
As Fernhill Fugitive cleared the final oxer of the triple combination to finish with 43.4 penalties, the spectators lining the arena erupted in cheers and were treated to a rare display of Dutton emotion as he cracked a huge grin, enthusiastically patted “Jack,” and high-fived with head groom Emma Ford. Afterward, he summed up his thoughts about his Pan Am Games gold-medal partner, who had top-10 finishes at Rolex Kentucky and the Pan Am Games this year. “I couldn’t be any more proud of the horse—he’s just had a great year. Every year he just seems to get better and better. I am so excited for him and for [owners] Annie Jones and Tom Tierney, who have been very patient with him.” He continued, “He’s been a great horse, it’s been an incredible year for him. I wasn’t that confident going in because I don’t usually get too many clear rounds with him, but he did enough today. I’m really proud of him.”
27th in a series
After using pattern exercises the last two issues, Les wraps up his lesson with some key points. Who’s steering anyway? A very simple concept that can be easy to forget is this: If you’re not telling your horse to turn, he should be going straight. Too many riders let the arena fence do their steering for them, and when they come off it they, and the horse, can really get lost. So get off the rail, look up, then pick a point and trot toward it. What happens? Odds are your horse will start drifting toward what interests him, and you get an excellent training opportunity for him and yourself!
“When I try to ride my horse away from the barn, he starts popping up in the front and refuses to go forward. The more I kick, the higher he goes and I no longer feel safe.”
Even though this was the initial concern of my client and, as discussed in Rearing to Go, Part 1 in my column last month, trail is not where we started. We worked on his issues of lack of respect, lack of lateral softness, and a no-go attitude in the first week of training — beginning in the round pen, and then graduating to the arena.
In order to correct the lack of respect safely, I needed lateral softness. I spent the first week just softening his head, neck, shoulders and rib cage by taking the slack out of one rein at a time and adding leg pressure until he softened. I began by taking the slack out slowly because he became easily frustrated and was ready to rear. Also, because of his resistance and lack of softness in his body, if I was too quick with my hands, I ran the risk of him falling over. Maintaining and increasing pressure from both my legs was important for three reasons. First, by keeping forward momentum with the slack out of one rein limited his ability to pop up. Secondly, using my legs loosened up his rib cage and helped soften him laterally. Third, he needs to respect the use of leg pressure.
Winter evokes thoughts of those Currier and Ives prints of sleighs, dashing through the snow with jingle bells through cold and snowy days or moonlit nights. Bells on bobtails ring isn’t just a quaint phrase. Bells in driving were historically important. In medieval times small bells were used to scare away the evil spirits from contact with your plow horse, lest he become ill and the family perish because he couldn’t work the fields. Bells come in all tones, shapes and sizes from small and “tinkly”, to medium and throaty, to large, loud and low sounding. The sound of bells, especially the medium-sized ones, travels quite a ways over a snowy field. They let you know that another sleigh or vehicle might be around the blind bend in the road or forest. Bells may be strung on leather straps with just a few bells, or a long strand of numerous bells. They were functional as well as fashionable. Saddle chimes, another type, are on a decorative framework that attaches to the harness saddle. This type of bell was typically used on freighting teams. Bells may also be attached to the shafts of your carriage.
USEF gives Tamra Smith’s super-season another boost, names SoCal eventer to High Performance Training List
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Temecula-based eventer Tamra Smith, who just won a pair of titles at the Galway Downs International (related story, page 32), was named last week by the U.S. Equestrian Federation to its High Performance Winter/Spring Training List for 2016. She will train as a member of the World Class list with U.S. Eventing Team Coach David O’Connor.
The appointment caps a stellar year and remarkable month, during which Smith turned heads nationally with a win at the Fair Hill International CCI3* in Maryland, where she had led start-to-finish on Mai Baum Oct. 15-18. At Galway, she won both the CCI2* and CCI1* events, on Chatwin and Fleeceworks Royal, respectively.
“This year has just been an amazing journey for me, and I want to thank all of the owners of the remarkable horses I have been so blessed to ride,” Smith said after the Galway Downs International.
Big Horse Feed and Mercantile “Gift Registry” is the best way to avoid gift giving disasters this holiday season. The gift registry is the perfect opportunity to graciously tell your loved ones what you’d truly like for Christmas. Both registrants and their loved ones will receive 15% off any purchase of registry items (restrictions apply). That’s Big Horse savings! And ladies, it’s your night…Ladies Night on December 3rd, 6-8 pm! There’ll be food and refreshments as well as 20% savings on your Christmas shopping.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Polo Association, American Warmblood Registry, North American Shortpony Registry, Missouri Quarter Horse Association, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina Horse Councils, Pal-O-Mine Equine Center and the Virginia Horse Center Foundation are the latest organizations to endorse the American Horse Council’s (AHC) Welfare Code of Practice, the AHC announced last month.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — With 39 entries and 11 clean, the final qualifier of the Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix Series kept everyone on the edge of their seats and saddles, as top contenders raced to be the fastest, and, of course, clean. Four riders each had two horses in the jump-off, Brazilian Eduardo Menezes, Australian Lane Clarke, Brazilian Josephina Nor Lantzman and Enrique Gonzalez of Mexico, followed by last week’s winner, American Susan Hutchison aboard Ziedento.
With several speed demons aiming for the top prize, it was Clarke piloting MH Wardance, owned by MH Warbucks, who took the quickest route without a fault. Demonstrating true warrior mentality, “Brave,” as Clarke calls the horse, performed this feat even after pulling a shoe partway through the jump-off round.
Clarke was fully aware that the competition was going to put the pressure on.
“I knew it was going to be really fast from the beginning,” he said. “Eduardo on Carushka was extremely fast, my mare Semira is extremely fast, so I knew I was going to have to go really fast on Brave. I really wanted to win the last Grand Prix [of the season], it’s home and I love it here.”
When Jimmy Flores, Sr., passed away on Sept. 7, the horse world lost a unique friend. Here are some memories of 'Senior' from his fellow cow horse family
JIMMY FLORES, JR.:
He would very much like to be remembered, first, as a good horseman. Yes, he knew equipment and all, but he was a very, very knowledgeable horseman — and that’s what he really strived for. Not just a trainer, but beyond that. We have trainers today, but I’m not sure if we still have many horsemen in the world.
“He was one of the pillars of the community He actually got a lot of cow horse following in Europe because he was one of the first guys to get over there and show off the reined cow horse.
I remember when we started the Southern California club and would have benefit auctions. I was always amazed by his generosity. He’d show up with hackamores and all kinds of great things. What a generous, giving man who was really behind that sport. And I don’t think he ever missed a show, whether it was big or small. I saw him travel all the way to Texas, sleeping in his truck with his trailer full of stuff that he sold. He’d set up his booth, tear it down afterward, then drive all the way home by himself — and that was when he was in his late 70s. It definitely will not be the same without him. He inspired a lot of folks, and he was great to sit down and talk to.