PASO ROBLES — It had been five years since the last go of the National Stock Horse Association’s Classic in 2011, a popular aged event that returned April 22-24 to rave reviews at the Mid-State Fairgrounds.
Longtime NSHA supporters Mark and Shari Luis spearheaded the resurrection of the three-day show that was headlined by a pair of aged events — a Derby sponsored by Cactus Saddlery and a Bridle Challenge sponsored by DT Horses and Hickory Holly Time. Many other sponsors came on board to make the show’s comeback a big success.
“The response was tremendous,” said Shari, who along with Mark joined the NSHA Board this year with founding partners Russell and Tanna Dilday and Jake Gorrell. “What made this show a success, in addition to the team that does such a good job making the NSHA run, were the sponsorships. The sponsors were amazing and overwhelmed us with their generosity.”
California jumpers shine as San Juan Capo spring wraps up
The 2016 Blenheim EquiSports show season has departed Orange County for the Del Mar Horse Park, host of this month’s Ranch & Coast Classic and the $60,000 Grand Prix of California. Four veteran riders from the region — Michelle Parker, Susie Hutchison, Karl Cook and Lane Clarke — will hope to continue their winning ways established the last two months in Orange County.
Hutchison, named to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in late March (California Horsetrader April 7 issue, “Show Jumping Hall adds Susie Hutchison”), has impressed all spring long on Ziedento, owned by St. Bride’s Farm, Brisbane, owned by Barbara Phillips, and SIG Firecracker. Her win on Ziedento in the Blenheim $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix against 37 other entries was a highlight.
BURBANK — With a name like the “Bunny Slide”, there’s a tendency to take this springtime reining event as something cute and cuddly. But any reiner who has competed in this growing California Reining Horse Association event knows it’s no Easter egg hunt.
The four-day CRHA Bunny Slide, held April 1-3 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, this year featured more than 500 go’s, as competitors filled two areas all day Saturday and Sunday. Show officials reported more than $24,000 in pay-outs.
“Since the conception of the Bunny Slide in 2013, the show has far exceeded the expectations and goals set by the CRHA Board of Directors,” said CRHA Secretary Marilyn Scheffers. “I think the success of the CRHA shows has come from many things — quality judges that know reining, consistent footing and grooming of the arenas, organized show management, and most importantly, the loyalty of the members, volunteers and sponsors who support and attend CRHA events.”
Varian’s impact on the world of Arabian breeding in the U.S. is diﬃ cult to exaggerate—70 percent of show horses winning today carry Varian blood, according to her ranch website, and according to Arabian Horse World magazine’s statistics, Varian Arabians is the alltime leading breeder of English horses as well as the alltime leading breeder of Western horses. Nine generations of Arabians have been bred by Varian Ranch since it imported *Bachantka from Poland in 1961.
Raised on the Central Coast with a strong horse interest, she was introduced early on to the vaquero, or “Californio”, tradition of western riding. A major inﬂ uence was Sid (Mary) Spencer, owner of a ranch in Lopez Canyon where Sheila, in her teens, learned from Sid about training hackamore horses and spade bit horses and how to work cattle in the mountains.
With the assistance of her parents in 1954, she started her horse ranch. By 1963, she was raising and training horses full-time, drawn to use the vaquero-inﬂ uenced methods of training on Arabians, a breed she thought required a smart yet gentle approach.
Looking to escape from everything BUT horses? Here's a guide of prospects for you
Dude Ranchers Association
Western * Adventure * Vacation
Whether you are looking to get your family to unplug and reconnect or to challenge and revive your body, spirit and mind in breathtaking off-the-beaten path locales, an all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect vacation destination – paired with thrilling adventures, opportunities to recharge and a chance to explore the “Wild West.” Think horses, hats, hospitality, heritage, honesty and heart. And that’s just the beginning.
As the original all-inclusive vacation, dude ranches offer value and numerous advantages over other all-inclusive vacation options including no planning once you arrive, flexibility to customize your itinerary, and no additional costs once you arrive to your destination. Guest ranches also offer a wide variety of activities. From horseback riding and hiking, to zip- lining and archery, to swimming and yoga, a dude ranch vacation guarantees a memorable experience and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Dude Ranchers’ Association (DRA) represents a broad spectrum of 100+ guest ranches across the U.S. (two are located in Canada), ranging from rustic, no-frills working ranches to luxury resort-style ranches offering five-star cuisine and spa treatments. Dude ranches are located in some of the most scenic, pristine areas in the country, from valleys complete with untouched Rocky Mountain backdrops to desert sunsets across the Southwest. The DRA takes great pride in the quality and standards it requires its ranches to uphold. Find out more at www.duderanch.org
THERMAL — As the crowd gathered to watch the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Thermal Feb. 13, an impressive line-up of horses and riders from around the globe gathered to jump for the final West Coast qualifying opportunity and a $100,000 prize purse.
Filling the last qualifier on the West Coast, riders were hungry for the opportunity to get on board the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final, scheduled March 23-28 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
German course designer Martin Otto had set a course that created excitement for spectators in the stands and challenged the skill of each horse and riders, which would ultimately separate three riders from the field for the jump-off. Tenth to go was France’s Eric Navet and Catypso, owned by Signe Ostby, testing the course of 16 jumping efforts—Navet and the powerful bay gelding took their time on the course as they navigated the track fence-by-fence in a precise, clear first-round.
Four-day Affiliate 1-2 WCRHA kicks reiner season into gear
RANCHO MURIETA — With warm weather and lots of qualification points at hand, the West Coast Reining Horse Association Affiliate 1 and Affiliare 2 shows on Feb. 4-7 attracted a competitive field to the year’s first big reining.
“The show was very well attended, and you could sense the excitement in the exhibitors,” said Michael Silva, WCRHA President. “For many of us, this was our first opportunity to show our horses since mid-October of last year. And, for many members, this was the first opportunity to perform with a new horse of theirs.”
In the past two years, some WCRHA members gave this first show of the year a the nickname: “Reining in the Rain,” because of weather that hit the event. This year, however, featured cool mornings and abundant sunshine that provided warm days for early February.
“I saw many of our members in short sleeves in the afternoon warmth,” said Silva. “Everyone was enjoying the fantastic weather after a rather rainy January.”
He said he believes the warm weather led to a very relaxed atmosphere for this first show of the year.
Since a formal launch of Western Dressage with the WDAA in 2010, it has flourished
As an Olympic year revs up interest in Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 as a U.S. Gold Medal hope in dressage this summer in Brazil, there is another force revving up in California, too, with a lower profile.
Western trainers have long been using dressage techniques that enhance communication with their horses, but since 2010, the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) has provided a structure and consistency that that has spawned growth. And, since the California Western Dressage Association (CAWDA) started in 2012, interest and participation has grown widely in the Golden State.
SCHAA Show moves to LAEC and new calendar spot
BURBANK — While Southern California weather took a desert-like reprieve from mid-winter storms, the Southern California Half-Arabian Association had its own desert-like rehearsal as its new show slot in late January gave participants a chance to warm-up for February’s Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.
The 2016 SCHAA Arabian and Half-Arabian Horse Show had changes both to its venue and its calendar, moving to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on Jan. 22-24. Previously, the competition was held at Galway Downs in Temecula in May, on the weekend prior to the Region 1 Championship Show in Del Mar.
“When these dates came open for us, we really scrambled quickly and pulled this show together,” said Kay Kelley, who is in her fourth year as Show Manager of this event. “It worked out great for us. It filled a spot for people to get ready for Scottsdale, and to get ready for the show season. It’s a great facility and the people are exceptionally nice to work with.”
Passionate professionals like these are go-to sources for those looking to learn about this popular sport
California Western Dressage Association
Western Dressage discipline is a melding of training methods. Classical Dressage brings the techniques of master European horsemen, techniques that are hundreds of years old and based upon principles which encourage cadence, balance, and carriage. It is technical and it is precise, a rigorous discipline for horse and rider. It is also an art. Western Horsemanship has been practiced on the ranches of the American West since the 1700s and even earlier through the traditions of the Spanish vaqueros. The subsequent advances in Western Horsemanship begun by the Dorrance Brothers and practiced by a new generation of horsemen and women opened the door to the mind of the horse, encouraging patience and understanding. The concept of “lightness” and subtle cues grew from its acceptance. They found that the result was good for both horse and rider.