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    The lion in Winters

    Clinician and teacher Richard Winters puts on a winning Derby demonstration

    Horsetrader Staff Reports - July 2nd, 2015 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

    1507A Cover-WPPASO ROBLES — While open competitors tuned their show horses in the two weeks before the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby, Richard Winters was working in Parkfield.

    Without pause, there was the all-women’s horsemanship retreat he and wife Cheryl conduct each year at the V-6 Ranch, followed by a pair of “ultimate horse” clinics — back-to-back-to-back — and then a haul straight to the Mid State Fairgrounds where he “got into horse show mode.”

    “That’s the tough deal for me, knowing that I’ve got to compete against guys who have not been sitting out here talking to the average clinic participant about their horses,” said Richards, who loves his 25-year work as a popular clinician and teacher and who also has had a lifelong passion for reined cow horses. “They’ve been schooling their cow horses. They are getting ready to compete, and here I am out here. You just do what you can do.”

    As it turned out, Winters could do more than any other limited open rider at the pressure-packed NRCHA Derby, held June 15-20 with a total purse of more than $180,000. On his Bugs Boony (Peptoboonsmal x Shiney Tari), Winters outdueled Darrell Norcutt on Joyce Diegel’s Over A Barrell (Nic It In The Bud x Katie Gun) for the Limited Open Championship.

    Richard Winters won the Limited Open title at the 2015 NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles on Bugs Boony, a gelding he acquired last year from son-in-law Chris Dawson, the Open Derby winner.

    Richard Winters won the Limited Open title at the 2015 NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles on Bugs Boony, a gelding he acquired last year from son-in-law Chris Dawson, the Open Derby winner.

    Primo Morales photo

    The win earned $5,510 and fed the family’s euphoria on a finals weekend that included the Derby Open Championship by son-in-law Chris Dawson. The 33-year-old Oklahoma-based trainer, who married Sarah Winters last Nov. 4, took Carol Rose’s Reys A Shine (Dual Rey x Lil Miss Shiney Chex) to the Derby Open title worth $31,408.

    “It was so fun to sit there and watch all of them,” said Cheryl. “We are so proud of Chris and Sarah — and of Richard. With this being his hobby, he goes out there and gets something done while he works full-time teaching horsemanship clinics. That’s pretty cool!”

    Richard says Dawson’s big win made him happier than his own title, in which Dawson played a role, too. Early in 2014, Winters had acquired “Bugs” from Dawson, who had started and trained the gelding through his futurity season that included a trip to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Open Finals.

    “We could see the horse had some potential, but Chris felt like the horse still needed some work,” said Winters, who enjoys working and showing the hackamore horses. “It’s taken me over a year to kind of figure him out and get together with him. Chris and Sarah have both been a help to me in regard to that — sometimes long distance help.”

    This year’s Derby performance was Bugs Boony’s best yet, Winters added.

    “All he needs is a good pilot. This time, I was able to get it piloted, so I was pretty happy about that,” he said. “I’m a clinician, and I help people with horses — that’s my bread and butter. These cow horse shows, you know, they are my big reality check, my professional development, my continuing education, so to go and show with these guys that I have so much respect for is pretty cool.”

    14-18 youth rider Taylor Stephens rides her Custom Big Chex to the Novice Horse Non Pro Reserve title behind Elaine Davis and Custom Made Nic.

    14-18 youth rider Taylor Stephens rides her Custom Big Chex to the Novice Horse Non Pro Reserve title behind Elaine Davis and Custom Made Nic.

    Primo Morales photo

    Sarah, who for years worked full-time under her father, now focuses her talent on assisting her husband, one of the sport’s rising stars.

    “There’s a lot of pressure on those kids at the top to deliver the goods for their clients,” said Winters. “They haul all over the country showing horses, and for Chris to show up and make that happen … we were just so happy for them.”

    The feelings are mutual from Sarah, whose pride for her dad runs deep.

    “I think it’s awesome that he puts himself out there like that,” said Sarah. “He’s coming in from the clinic world where he’s a hero everytime he goes out there. In the horse show world where he doesn’t have as much experence as a lot of these guys, he puts himself in what could be a very humbling situation. Not very many of the guys who do these clinics are willing to do that. They may try to compete for a year, maybe two, and then they realize that it’s a lot more difficult than it looks. You can go from hero to zero.”

    Winters never flinches because of his unwavering faith. His principles of natural horsemanship extend into the performance arena, and he’s determined to bridge the two.

    “I always try to be a big advocate for the horse,” he said. “Even though I want to play in this major league deal, I don’t want to compromise my principles to do it. It’s a challenge to reach for those goals and adhere to your principles at the same time. But I think it can be done.

    “There’s an imaginary line out there for me,” he adds. “I’d like to win like everybody else, but there’s only so far that I’m going to go. I don’t want to win today and not have a horse tomorrow. These horses have got to last me. I don’t run a full-time training business because of the traveling and clinics that we do, and right now I have three show horses. I’m just trying to help each one of them be the best they can possibly be.”

    Rae Stambuk rides her Smuggling Diamonds to the Prime Time Rookie Championship at the CRHA Reiner Shine Show.

    Rae Stambuk rides her Smuggling Diamonds to the Prime Time Rookie Championship at the CRHA Reiner Shine Show.

    Primo Morales photo

    Winters says there is no cooler horse in the world than a reined cow horse, and the seed to that passion came as a boy when he worked for a cow horse trainer.

    “I got to feel what those horses could feel like, and it was years before I would be able to duplicate that — but I knew it was out there,” he said. “For years in doing the clinics, the rhetoric that me and everyone else spills out — about horsemanship and feel, timing and balance — are all important things. But I still knew that there were guys out there doing things with horses that I couldn’t do. I’ve gotten to a point in my life that I am not satisfied to just talk about it or make excuses in the clinic pen — I need to be able to go out there and carry the water myself. My horses need to be able to perform.”

    Therein lies the bridge.

    “Some think natural horsemanship and performance horsemanship are mutually exclusive things,” he said. “I want to show them that they can be married together. You’re just taking it to another level. That’s what I am trying to do.

    “A lot of our clinic people are getting along well with their horses,” he added. “They are kind of asking now, ‘well, what’s next?’ With our modest success in the show pen, I can introduce some principles to them and show techniques and say this is how you get there next. It gives me a little street credibilty, I guess.”

    Between Winters’s Limited Open win and Dawson’s Open Championship was the Intermediate Open division, where Ramona-based trainer Nicolas Barthelemy dominated.

    Riding another Dual Rey offspring, Sheri Jamieson’s Sonita Lena Rey (Dual Rey x Sonita Lena Chick x Smart Chic Olena), Barthelemy won the Intermediate Open title and the Open Reserve behind Dawson. The 2011 stallion scored a 644.5 composite, including the high score of the finals herd work, a 223, and the high score of the finals cow work, a 225. His dual paychecks totaled $29,685.

    “My horses were awesome — I had a blast,” said Barthelemy, who also rode another Jamieson-owned entry, All That Boon (Peptoboonsmal x All That N Cat x High Brow Cat), to a top 15 finish in the Derby Open and top 10 in the Intermediate.

    Sonita Lena Rey excels in all phases of NRCHA competition, and particularly shines when a cow is involved, Barthelemy said.

    “He has always been a natural in the herd. He has that look and presence in front of a cow. In the herd, it’s just a matter of getting a good cut and making him look even better. In the reining, I wish I could have shown him better, because I know there is more horse there,” he said. “In the fence work, he got hooked up right away. I was feeling pretty confident we could get something done. It was just a home run. He never let the cow get away from him. I’m really proud of him.”

    Barthelemy became smitten with Sonita Lena Rey at first sight when the stallion was a yearling. He spotted him when he and Jamieson were shopping the Cottonwood Springs Ranch dispersal sale in 2012.

    “I saw him and I went and tapped her on the shoulder and said, “That’s the one. That’s the one we want.’ And we were right. The way he moved, and could stop and get through himself, and with such presence,” Barthelemy said.

    Barthelemy is a native of New Caledonia, a French island territory in the South Pacific, approximately 750 miles from Australia. He came to the U.S. after meeting the late reining horse professional, Yvon Mathieu, at a clinic. Mathieu was training for Jamieson at the time, and became Barthelemy’s mentor. He passed away in 2011, a few months after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. At that time, Jamieson asked Barthelemy to take the helm as her trainer.

    “Sheri is such a wonderful client. She’s been supportive from the time I was just an assistant to Yvon. When Yvon passed away, she could have gone a million directions, but she chose to stick with me. She had my back. Today, I give some of that back. Doing this for her, today, is just a drop in the bucket. She is phenomenal and she deserves so much more,” Barthelemy said.

    MORE ONLINE: http://bit.ly/507A_CRHA

    2015 CRHA REINER SHINE REINING
    June 5-7, 2015 * L.A. Equestrian Center, Burbank, Calif.
    Circuit Series Champions
    Youth 13 & Under
    Place Horse Exhibitor Owner
    1 Great Gullo Pine Kelly Carson same
    2 GS Red Corvette Peyton McGowan same
    Youth 14-18
    1 One Flashy Rooster Tina Christie same
    2 Custom Big Chex Taylor Stephens same
    Ladies
    1 JR Chicadease Jeanne Rosenberg same
    2 Conquistador Maker June Tabor same
    Gents
    1 Colonels Flashy Gun Dallas Wedel Carolyn Shimada
    2 High Sliding Cat Santos Montano Bobby Pope
    Non Pro
    1 Daddy Day Care Dewayne Copus Copus Performance
    2 This Belles Smoking Marilyn schefFers same
    Intermediate Non Pro
    1 West Coast Whizard Janette Raymer same
    2 Easy Otie Buckles Lisa Hernandez Same
    Limited Non Pro
    1 Custom Made Nic Elaine Davis same
    2 San Cielo Rey Rebecca Armour same
    Prime Time Non Pro
    1 Daddy Day Care Dewayne copus Copus Performance
    2 West Coast Whizard Janette Raymer same
    green as grass
    1 Millionchic Hannah Warde same
    2 Pleasin The Chics Pat Kafetzpoulos same
    Rookie L1
    1 Crome Plated Step Taylor Sheridan same
    2 Hickory Holly tag Micki Quinn same
    Rookie L2
    1 Crome Plated Step Taylor Sheridan same
    2 Smokee San Badger Brian Unger same
    Prime time Rookie
    1 Smugglin Diamonds Rae Stambuk same
    2 Whiz It On Sunday Sally Kadison same
    Open
    1 Wimpys whiz steps Tom Foran Gail Hutcherson
    2 Crome Plated Step Tom Foran Taylor Sheridan
    LTD OPen
    1 Whiz it on Sunday Daphne Thompson Sally Kadison
    2 UB Grooving Cheyenne Leon Tanya Jenkins
    Novice Horse Open
    1 Custom Crown Tom Foran Robert Hutcherson
    2 Whimpys Whiz Steps Tom Foran Gail Hutcherson
    Novice Horse
    1 Custom Made Nic Elaine Davis same
    2 Custom Big Chex Taylor Stephens same

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