Nathalie Manning is at home in San Juan with first grand prix win
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Folks have been expecting Nathalie Manning to record her first grand prix victory for some time, perhaps none longer than Nathalie herself.
At age 2 (“before I was walking”, she says), her legendary horseman grandfather, Morton “Cappy” Smith, would lead her around his Middleburg, Va., farm. By age 7, she was riding almost any horse on the property, and as an 8-year-old, she conceived her future barn name: Acorn Farm, “where every little acorn turns into a great oak.”
“My grandfather would put me on just about anything,” she smiles. “He had a lot of sale horses, and I was fearless.”
Clinician and teacher Richard Winters puts on a winning Derby demonstration
PASO 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.”
California's first 2015 Regional Championships reveal Arabian versatility -- and fun
DEL MAR — From reining to park horse, young exhibitors to the not-so-young, the Arabian Horse Association’s Region 1 Championship Show brought the Del Mar Fairgrounds to life May 27-31 in an energetic showcase of versatility.
Entries were up in the regional finals — always a good gauge of the state of the industry — and so were the moods of exhibitors and trainers.
“It was a good show,” Region 1 Director Mary Ann Hughes said of the five-day weekend that featured a “Pre-show” Wednesday and Thursday, followed by the Nationals-qualifying Regional Championships Thursday night through Sunday. “Two things. Regionals are where a lot of them qualify for nationals. “Regionals are where a lot of competitors qualify for Nationals, but there are a lot of people who don’t intend to go to Nationals, and the Regionals is the big show for them for the year.”
Derby Day returns to Elk Grove and region's top reiners do, too
ELK GROVE – The thrill of the Derby and the excitement of the derbies collide this time of year at Brookside Equestrian Park, home of the Rein For The Roses. For five days, included Saturday’s Kentucky Derby interlude that features mint juleps, a hat contest and a pause for all to watch the race, the Rein For The Roses lived up to its formidable reputation.
This year’s fifth edition of the show, held April 29-May 3, marked the 25th anniversary of the venue under owner Bill Madden, and both the weather and attendance could not have been better. Four days of West Coast Reining Horse Association Affiliate ancillary classes were featured, as well as the Derby on the Derby, the Maturity and NRHA Green Reiner classes.
El Rancho Spring Classic cutting brings best to MEC
RANCHO MURIETA – What do you get when you take a premiere facility in a central location, mix in weekend dates that are scheduled just prior to a large regional cutting, and add a fund-raiser for a heart-felt cause?
You get success, something that the El Rancho Spring Classic, presented by Carol Ward, enjoyed in spades during its four-day run April 22-25 at the Murieta Equestrian Center. Ward, owner of Carol Ward Cutting Horses and also of the MEC, went to great lengths along with her crew to provide another fun-filled show that included tough competition, too.
Competitors from throughout the region participated in El Rancho, many of them appreciative of the chance to get some work in before the 6666 Ranch National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships 140 miles away in Reno on April 26-May 5.
CRHA Bunny Slide draws top talent to Burbank
BURBANK — The Bunny Slide, the California Reining Horse Association’s first competition of the year, hopped into the Los Angeles Equestrian Center April 5-7, attracting established regional talent along with some newcomers looking to enjoy the popular sport.
With 175 horses competing for payouts over $12,000, this was no Easter egg hunt, as reiners vied for the payout and a variety of points. Not only were CRHA year-end and Reiner of the Year points at stake, so were points for respective NRHA Affiliate and AQHA qualifications, as well as PCHA points for the popular Jack and Linda Baker Finals event.
“We had a really nice show,” said CRHA Secretary Marilyn Scheffers, whose club will host another NRHA Affiliate-qualifier, the $11,500-added Reiner Shine, June 5-7 at the LAEC. “It was big. We pretty much had every trainer that’s on board, and we’re enjoying looking at bringing in new people now.”
Peters inspires on both Legolas, 'Rosie', as Southern California dressage in bloom
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Southern California sunshine cast dressage in full bloom during March, filling Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park with back-to-back events on successive weekends that proved 2015 will be an exciting year.
With the Pan American Games in Toronto this July and the Olympics a year away, intensity is raised as competitors jostle for attention and qualifications.
Top American rider Steffen Peters cemented his top stature across both weekends. At the California Dreaming Productions’ Capistrano Dressage International CDI-W/Y/J/U-25 on March 19 – 22, Peters successfully punched his ticket to next month’s Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Las Vegas by not only winning the CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle with Legolas 92, but doing so with a new personal-best score of 80.925%. The following weekend, at the California Dreaming Productions’ Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25, Peters took his young star Rosamunde to her first Grand Prix Freestyle performance, and the Rheinlander mare affectionately known as “Rosie” looked like a seasoned veteran, earning a unanimous win under all five FEI judges with an impressive 77.750% final score.
Californians shine at 2015 Scottsdale Arabian Show
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – You expect things to begin heating up in the desert this time of year, but the warming trend at the 2015 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show extended beyond climate. With almost 2,400 horses, the 60th Annual Scottsdale event, put on by the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, was booming — an indicator that both the event and breed are, well, on fire.
And Californians were part of the heat source. Several barns from the Golden State returned with Scottsdale Championships and Top Tens. And, a former California barn that moved to Cave Creek, Ariz., the Burkman Centre, racked up several tri-colors by loyal California exhibitors who continue to ride under Cynthia Burkman.
Looking to escape from everything BUT horses? Here's a guide of top prospects for you
North Fork, Calif.
Set among pine and oak woodland, Backcountry Haven’s authentic log home sleeps up to 12 people, featuring five bedrooms and two baths. It is located near Yosemite National Park, with a barn and covered horse corrals. The full kitchen offers ample countertop space, the large living room has a wood-burning stove, and a covered veranda invites outdoor living. Use the large barbeque to cook up your favorite dishes, then enjoy them at the outdoor tables!
Four bedrooms have a queen bed and one has a king-sized bed. The large bedroom also has a log-framed bunk bed. Two bathrooms and a separate vanity sink area provide plenty of personal space. There is an upstairs reading/game table area. Downstairs, you’ll find a large flat screen and surround sound system with BluRay and Apple TV. There is internet and cell phone coverage.
Since its early days as a Spanish rancho, horses have been part of this North San Diego County town’s fabric. They still are — in exciting new ways.
SAN MARCOS — Times are challenging for horse people in desireable places with natural beauty, accessiblity and a perfect climate. Competition for land and local government attention can be brutal as population increases while available property does not. Some California horsetowns are seeing a reduction in equine activities, and even less people owning horses within the community. But in the San Diego County town of San Marcos, horses still reign supreme.
One reason for San Marcos stability as a horse community is the dedication of horse people within the Twin Oaks Valley, the northernmost section of town. Equestrian properties line the nearly 10-mile long Twin Oaks Valley Road, and are thriving.