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    Coming together

    Newest NRHA affiliate hosts show Sept. 22 in Escondido

    From Horsetrader staff reports - September 5th, 2013 - Show & Event News

    Both the renovated Hunter Equestrian Center in Escondido and the Sept. 22 show it will host for the new Southern California Reining Horse Association are outfalls of revised San Diego County Equine Zoning Ordinance expected for enactment Sept. 11.

    Both the renovated Hunter Equestrian Center in Escondido and the Sept. 22 show it will host for the new Southern California Reining Horse Association are outfalls of revised San Diego County Equine Zoning Ordinance expected for enactment Sept. 11.

    ESCONDIDO — When the fledgling Southern California Reining Horse Association brings Hunter Equestrian Center to life Sept. 22 with its one-day reining show, it will be the culmination of many volunteer efforts.

    That’s not unlike many horse shows, except the volunteer efforts this time extended beyond the show pen into the County Of San Diego offices and meeting rooms where officials and volunteers worked since 2009 to forge a new equestrian zoning ordinance. Supervisors are expected to approve the ordinance at their Sept. 11 meeting.

    A horsewoman who championed the county’s first zoning ordinance changes in 30 years, Michell Kimball, also spearheaded the effort to create a new NRHA affiliate in San Diego County, and she says one led to the other.

    “Because the County was willing to revise the zoning ordinance and improve the conditions for equestrians, there was room to create more opportunities for people to host horse shows in order for the affiliate to form,” said Kimball, who created the San Diego County Equestrian Foundation to work with county staff to update onerous zoning rules that she says had pushed trainers from the region. “The facility was able to come together because of the efforts of SDCEF. All these parts are tied together.”

    The National Reining Horse Association regards San Diego County as fertile ground to grow its sport.

    “We’re excited to see a new affiliate come into that area of Southern California,” said Christa Morris, Director of Marketing and Development. “We do have other affiliates in California, but not one with such a close distances of so many people who are interested in that region.”

    Although the NRHA welcomes new affiliates, its oversight of them includes requiring a 50-mile distance from an established affiliate, and it must have at least 25 members in good standing.

    Kimball says the first-year SCRHA has more than 100 members, a speedy registration rate that Kimball says is partly because of attractive $5 membership fees through this year.

    “Our goal is to grow our affiliate and bring reining trainers back to Southern California and to San Diego County, specifically,” said Kimball.

    Four years ago, she became involved in the process of updating antiquated County horse zoning regulations when she learned that 69 ranches had closed in 18 months.

    “We needed to address the outdated ordinance, we needed to have a moratorium on code enforcement to stop the ranch closures, and we needed to create a new ordinance,” said Kimball, who estimates she sat in on 40-50 meetings during the process with both staff and equestrians throughout the county. “I have to thank the county staff for their work with us, especially Carl Stiehl. On Sept. 11, we want as many horse people at the meeting as possible. The more people in the attendance, the better, to thank the supervisors and staff for their hard work.”

    She added that the significance of the new rules for the region’s equestrian future cannot be overstated.

    “Now everyone will have the chance to legalize and permit their uses, and it gives the county the chance to ensure that they are properly managed,” Kimball said. “The whole point of a new ordinance is that everyone knows what their rights and responsibilities are — the County, as well.”

    The Sept. 22 show will include SCRHA and NRHA classes at renovated facilities, as well as a live band (“Crosswinds”), food, and a celebration of the Board of Supervisors.

    MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/309A_SCRHA

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