Some memorable news from a year in - and out of - the arena
JANUARY: Every year kicks off with hope and enthusiasm, and 2014 has been no different. After all, it’s the Chinese “Year of the Horse”, as well as a World Equestrian Games year.
Out of the gate, 2014 featured change, as the Sierra Empire Arabian Horse Association moved the 39th version of its popular January show from the Fairplex in Pomona to a new venue, the expanded George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center in Norco. Happiest of all may have been Gordon and Paula Jahr of Wrightwood, whose 6-year-old Half-Arab gelding, WW Ive Been Spotted, went home with the Supreme Halter Championship.
Halfway across the nation in Oklahoma City, Lakeside horsewoman Elisa Swenson was named the 2014 Miss Rodeo USA at a pressure-filled competition at the International Professional Rodeo Association World Finals. Upon winning, the 25-year-old San Diego County native credited horses and her supportive father, Thomas Swenson, for overcoming some of life’s stumbling blocks.
Sandy Miller's SCRCHA Triple Crown win was a rehab journey with 'Cruz'
TEMECULA – What do you do when your horse sustains bowed tendons on both hind legs, right before your key season-ending competition?
Nothing. Not for a whole year.
That’s the fate that faced Sandy Miller and Dual Ya Luv Me, a promising then-4-year-old on which she was gaining momentum heading into last year’s Southern California Reining Cow Horse Association Saddle Shootout.
“We still aren’t certain how the injury happened,” says Miller, a non pro from Winchester who was floored by her gelding’s October 2013 injury. “When the vet told me it was going to be a whole year, I was stunned.”
CRHA show, Southwest Affiliate finals draw top reiners to LAEC
BURBANK — With the last big derby of the year, a tough pre-futurity and the NRHA Southwest Regional Affiliate Finals, it’s no wonder the Los Angeles Equestrian Center was at near-capacity for the California Challenge, held Oct. 22-26 by the California Reining Horse Association.
Perfect weather and good ground greeted a talented group of competitors from throughout California as well as five other states. CRHA officials said they sold a record number of stalls.
The futurity, always a big draw as NRHA Futurity hopefuls enter the show pen, showcased potential finalists for the Oklahoma City event Nov. 28-Dec. 6. Competing at home, Tom Foran took Gunnin For A Shine to the Open L4 Futurity Championship, topping reserve co-champions Tracer Gilson of Sanger on Gunna Spank You and Randy Paul on Gunnadeous.
Talent and fun fill a growing Del Mar Int'l
DEL MAR — Packed with world class competition, appreciative crowds and the likes of zombies and engaging contests, the Del Mar International each year adds to its late-October “must attend” faithful. This year’s line-up did not disappoint, from Dutch grand prix rider Harrie Smolders and Regina Z outdueling Rich Fellers and Flexible by .04 seconds in Saturday night’s $125,000 Rancho Valencia World Cup Grand Prix of Del Mar, to Hannah Von Heidegger and Geledimar taking the GGT Footing Grand Prix Series Final the next day.
There were many special classes, each with a compelling story, perhaps none more compelling than that of Buddy Brown and Finally Ours in the Grand Prix Hunter Derby Final. Brown’s win on “Joey” – nicknamed for the boy character in the 1960s television series “Fury” that inspired Brown to ride as a kid – capped the duo’s 18-month journey together.
RENO, Nev. — Corey Cushing, a National Reined Cow Horse Association Million Dollar Rider from Scottsdale, Ariz., captured the 2014 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship riding Good Time (One Time Pepto x Dual Nurse x Dual Pep), owned by Lynne Wurzer, Tacoma, Wash. The Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finals were held Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.
Cushing guided the sorrel gelding to a composite 660 score (219 herd/219.5 rein/221.5 cow) to win the $100,000 Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship, the second of his career. Cushing won his first title in 2012 with CD Diamond (CD Olena x Shiners Diamond Girl x ShiningSpark), bred and owned by San Juan Ranch.
It was an emotional win for Cushing, who wiped tears as he rode Good Time into the spotlight at the Reno Livestock Events Center to accept the award.
Twin Rivers Fall Trials kicks off series of big West Coast competitions
PASO ROBLES — West Coast eventers are flexing their muscle and measuring their moxie as 3-day events line the schedule leading up to the Galway Downs International Event at the end of this month.
Phillip Ralls, 'Mitch' look Reno-ready after Futurity win in Paso
PASO ROBLES — From the new to the seasoned, trainer Phillip Ralls proved to be best at the 2014 Protect The Harvest / Lucas Oil Snaffle Bit Futurity and World’s Richest Stock Horse event Aug. 19-24 at the Mid-State Fairgrounds.
Ralls, who won last year’s World’s Richest Stock Horse event on Dom Dualuise, repeated the feat on Christian Larson’s 7-year-old gelding again this year before concluding the week with an Open Futurity championship aboard Call Me Mitch, Estelle Roitblatt’s son of Metallic Cat.
“To come back and win again was even better — the World’s Richest to me was always a big one,” said Ralls, 33, whose father, Ron Ralls, won the first World’s Richest Stock Horse event in 2006 in Fresno. “I was there helping my dad the first year they had it, and he ended up winning it. It was kind of always on my bucket list, to have a horse good enough to someday win.”
Ingalls, Browne and Nagler top CPHA Foundation Finals
DEL MAR — The Showpark Summer Classic hosted the second rounds of the California Professional Horseman’s Association (CPHA) Foundation Finals Aug. 24, wrapping up the three sections of competition. Divided into 22-and-over, 21-under, and 14-under age divisions. Riders of all ages brought their medal finals game, as esteemed judges Robin Fairclough and Scott Williamson scored, tested and ultimately awarded the final placings.
After 19 entries competed in Round 1 of the 22-over, the top prize for the first round went to Stephanie Goodson aboard Poetic, who earned scores of 87 and 85 for a first round average of 86. Second went to Nicole Haseltine and Magic Act, with an average of 84.50, and third to Laura Owens and L Alta Vida for an average of 84. Rounding out the top five were Kim Hall and Jacob, earning fourth with an average of 81.50, and Caroline Ingalls and Y2K, just behind Hall in fifth with an 81.25 first round average.
Familiar faces, new ones, too star at 2014 Reining By The Bay
The 2014 Reining By The Bay once again surpassed expectations, drawing more reiners and spectators than before as the best in the west competed for more than $200,000 in added money and prizes at the Horse Park at Woodside on July 23-27.
Again, there were familiar stars this year — Tish Fappani and her longtime partner Premier Diamond (Like A Diamond x Sexy Chexy Nic) took top honors in the class of 17 exhibitors in the Non Pro Level 4 maturuity, earning $2,307 — and there were some who rose to the head of the class.
Catherine Chamberlain, longtime partner Verdicci are FEI Young Rider superstars
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Catherine Chamberlain found the formula. Dream large, focus small.
The 19-year old dressage competitor, who last fall moved to Murrieta to train with Kathleen Raine and David Wightman, dominated the USDF/Platinum Performance North American Junior & Young Rider Dressage Championships July 15-20. Her three rides at Rolex Stadium were her first beyond 70 percent, and they earned her three gold medals in individual, team and freestyle, respectively.