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Susie and Woody soaring high and fast.

Susie and Woody soaring high and fast.

Photo courtesy Susie Hutchison

SAN DIEGO — Twelve years to the day after his passing, Samsung Woodstock, the chestnut gelding who won scores of show jumping honors and the hearts of fans worldwide, received the California Professional Horseman’s Association Equine Lifetime Achievement Award.

The presentation, made to his career-long partner, Susie Hutchison, was a highlight of the Jan. 5 Awards Banquet held this year at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on San Diego Bay.

“There was never a course I walked that looked too high or too wide — that I didn’t know we could do it,” said Hutchison, who is competing at the HITS Coachella circuit.

Her first win on the 16-1-hand “Woody,” in the 1987 Derby in Pebble Beach, came just days after the German-bred Westphalian had arrived from Europe. Their final victory at the 1997 Los Angeles National Grand Prix capped a career that featured 20 grand prix wins, plus qualifications for the World Equestrian Games and three World Cup Finals, the 1990 PCHA Horse of the Year Award, and the 1992 AGA Rider of the Year honor. In 1997, Breyer Animal Creations issued the Samsung Woodstock model horse.

Five days, home

As the fallout from recent tragic wildfires continues to be assessed, writer Elizabeth Kaye McCall shares the evacuation of her beloved stallion, RajaliKa, from the Lilac Fire

By ELIZABETH KAYE McCALL - January 1st, 2018
At the Del Mar Fairgrounds duruing evacuations, trainer Manny Calvario with RajaliKa

At the Del Mar Fairgrounds duruing evacuations, trainer Manny Calvario with RajaliKa

Elizabeth Kaye McCall photo

There’s an advertisement in horse magazines that always gets my attention. It says something like, “your horse has never colicked until he does.” Something like that. It came to mind as I thought about the Lilac Fire in northern San Diego County that erupted with the same “until it does” urgency on Dec. 7, a day already infamous as Pearl Harbor Day. On a more personal level, also my late father’s birthday.

I was rushing to leave for an appointment at the Apple Store in Temecula, late as usual, when a friend from the barn called to tell me about a fire a couple miles from where I live in Fallbrook. The Santa Anas had depleted the air of any humidity a day earlier. I’d noticed my horse’s tail electric when I’d brushed it the night before. But fire? I turned on the TV as the friend suggested. It was close, but with little sign beyond the TV news coverage of getting urgent. I was packing a suitcase, already had my laptop out, and got dog and cat food ready as well as the carriers. I wasn’t really thinking about the barn at that point –only that I’d get a few things together in case. Two hours later, when a mandatory evacuation alert reached my street, I set off with a crying cat and worried dog, in the car, thinking I’d gotten things handled pretty easily on short notice.

Gibson Ranch to reopen on Jan. 15

- January 1st, 2018
A wreath brightens the bleakness of a gutted stall.

A wreath brightens the bleakness of a gutted stall.

Sarah Williams photo

SUNLAND — For decades, Dale Gibson has been among the first to hitch his trailer and evacuate horses threatened by wildfires in the Los Angeles area. In fact, he would safely stage the animals at his Gibson Ranch until the smoke would clear — which is exactly what he was doing the morning of Dec. 6 when the Creek Fire ignited. When fierce winds shifted flames rapidly toward his facility, his crew and volunteers raced to remove 130 horses — 45 evacuees and 85 of his own — before the fire eventually consumed it. All animals made it out, including cattle used in his popular team sortings.

Gibson announced recently that he will rebuild “on the shoulders of awesome people”, including friends,volunteers, and vendors like Castlebrook Barns, with a proposed reopening Jan. 15.

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/801-gibson

Few situations are more terrifying than an oncoming wildfire seemingly intent on consuming all in its path. October’s headlines spoke of the loss from California wildfires that leveled towns and took lives of both people and animals. This year’s fires were the worst in state history. Insurance data reports that from Oct. 6 to Oct. 25, eight counties in Northern California were hit by a devastating outbreak of wildfires which led to at least 23 fatalities, burned 245,000 acres and destroyed over 8,700 structures. The California Department of Insurance said that as of Oct. 26, losses reported from 15 major insurers totaled $3.3 billion.

When the heat is on, volunteers step up, using what resources are available to assist. In the case of Marcy Goodman, the longtime Project Manager for the Western States Horse Expo, that meant using all means possible to reach people who could help as well as those in need.

Even though the major fires were hundreds of miles away, Goodman knew she had to do something — quickly. Miki Nelsen, owner of Western States Horse Expo, gathered staff for ideas and immediately sent an email broachcast to the Horse Expo community, asking for help for the fire victims and their animals.

Mark Matson
Master of Ceremonies
Midwest native Mark Matson became a horse trainer after attending college in Ohio, starting out as a horse trainer’s assistant and eventually working for some of the world’s top trainers. After eight years of assistant trainer experience, Mark went out on his own in 2001, competing in the National Reined Cow Horse Association and Working Cow Horse of the AQHA. He is a founding member of the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association and served as President of the Valley Cow Horse Association for four years. Mark trained multiple National Champions in the NRCHA and was the 2005 NRCHA Open Hackamore World Champion. Today, he owns the Temecula Carriage Company with his lovely wife, Marika, and their 3-year-old daughter, Annabel. They offer horse drawn tours through the Temecula Valley Wine Country and conduct special events throughout Southern California.
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Sister rivalry

Non Pro siblings Ingrid Vangelos and Ruth Noring may finally face off in the SCRCHA Saddle Shoot Out

- October 1st, 2017

TEMECULA – Ingrid Vangelos can remember her childhood days in the Bay Area when she and her sister, Ruth Noring, chased one another around the house with horse whips.

“We fought like cats and dogs,” laughs Ingrid. “But then, from the time we were teen-agers on, we’ve been super close. No one was closer.”

The siblings have a horse-riding history, from their first ponies and hunter-jumper action to a point after college where horses vanished for a while. They’ve come full circle after rekindling their horse lives, and now are both active competitors as members of the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association.

Corey Cushing went 1-2 in the NSHA Open Futurity, winning $25,055 for the title on San Juan Ranch's SJR Smooth Rio (shown here) and another $16,006 for the reserve on Moonstruck Striker, owned by Wendy Dunn.

Corey Cushing went 1-2 in the NSHA Open Futurity, winning $25,055 for the title on San Juan Ranch’s SJR Smooth Rio (shown here) and another $16,006 for the reserve on Moonstruck Striker, owned by Wendy Dunn.

Stacy Judd photo

PASO ROBLES — The National Reined Cow Horse Association moved its World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity to Fort Worth starting this year, but the cradle of reined cow horse still runs strong.

The California-based National Stock Horse Association held its biggest gathering of the year Aug. 22-27 at the Paso Robles Events Center, and the only thing hotter than the heat wave was the competition.

The payouts were downright cool, especially for Corey Cushing, who took first and second in the NSHA Open Futurity on SJR Smooth Rio (Smooth As A Cat X Shiners Diamond Girl), owned by San Juan Ranch, and Moonstruck Striker (Dual Rey x Moonstruck Cat), owned by Eric and Wendy Dunn. The impressive payouts for the Championship ($25,055) and Reserve ($16,006) along with Cushing’s other money-placing — aboard Kevin and Sydney Knight’s Maliblus Most Wanted in a tie for 16th ($1,539) tallied up to a $42,600 take-home in the class.

In the Futurity Intermediate Open, the 2016 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion, Clayton Edsall, rode Bet He Sparks (Bet Hesa Cat x Sparking Train) to the win with a 658.5 composite score. Owner K & L Phillips LLC went home with a check for $8,418, along with an additional $9,234 from their fourth-place finish in the Open.

Cal reiners shine in Reining By the Bay

Special to the Horsetrader - September 1st, 2017
Paige Pastorino and Taylor Made Magnum swept both DRHA Rookie slates and took home her first trophy saddle as DRHA High Point.

Paige Pastorino and Taylor Made Magnum swept both DRHA Rookie slates and took home her first trophy saddle as DRHA High Point.

John O’Hara photo

WOODSIDE — The excitement of Reining by the Bay draws competitors away from scorching temperatures throughout the Country. The San Francisco Peninsula’s coastal fog and ocean breezes are welcomed by all. ‘Uniqueness” is the adjective most used to describe this premier event. The Bay Area’s attractions are incredible. The Horse Park is about 30 minutes south of San Francisco and just 30 minutes to the west is the quaint coast-side town of Half Moon Bay. The Horse Park itself is located next to Stanford University and the Silicon Valley and all of its offerings. With so many fantastic sites close by the Horse Park, many attendees take time to visit San Francisco, view the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy fantastic seafood dishes at renowned restaurants. One trip to Reining by the Bay cannot cover all that the San Francisco Peninsula has to offer. NRHA Professional Martin Meuhlstaetter from Scottsdale, Arizona states “If this was an AQHA show with no money or prizes we would still attend.”

In its 18th year, paid out in excess of $250,000 in cash and prizes, ensuring its place on the Top 10 of the National Reining Horse Association’s event list.

The Lucas Oil Open Derby is one highlight of the event. The Bay Arena is 150’ wide by 300’ long, and the footing is meticulously prepared and groomed to provide the most optimal footing for tough competition.
This year, a new record for the event was achieved when NRHA 4 Million Dollar professional Andrea Fappani took a clean sweep of the Lucas Oil Level 4 Open Derby winning first, second and third on his three mounts. The palomino mare Wimpys Little Tag, Whiz N Tag Chex x Wimpys Little Chic, showed off her exceptional talent those bloodlines gave her by marking a 227.5 for owner Freddie Brasfield from Tennessee and a paycheck of $12,929.

SoCal cow work

SCRCHA brings Casner's Ranch to life with 2017 Jimmy Flores Sr. Derby, Triple Crown

- June 1st, 2017

TEMECULA — With $20,000 in added money and the region’s top competition, the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association put on another marvelous springtime event, the Jimmy Flores, Sr. Derby and Non Pro Triple Crown.

The four-day show May 18-21 included two full slates of horse show classes.

In the Open Derby, Nicolas Barthelemy shined on Manuel Rojo’s WRS Shiney Diamond, outdistancing reserve champions Shadd Parkingson on Hannes Winkler’s Cattin Downtown and Tucker Robinson on San Juan Ranch’s SJR Oaks Natasha. The win paid a winner’s share of $2,560, with the riders in the two-three split taking home $1,792 each.

White-O’Connor and Legolas 92

White-O’Connor and Legolas 92

Terri Miller photo

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Since 2012, Legolas 92 and U.S. Team rider Steffen Peters traveled the world together and have a multitude of titles to their credit, including a Team Bronze Medal from last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

But in January, Four Winds Farm’s Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Fuerstin by Florestan II) entered a whole new chapter in his career as Peters handed over the reins to 27-year-old former working student Dawn White-O’Connor, and the promising pair wasted no time getting top results as they claimed both the CDI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special titles at Cornerstone Event Management’s Dressage Affaire CDI3*/1*/Y/J/U25/AM, held March 24-26

White-O’Connor’s weekend got off on the right foot as she piloted Legolas to a hard-fought win over a field of 12 competitors in Friday’s CDI Grand Prix with 73.780%.

“I think it was the cleanest test with the best feeling I’ve had with him so far,” White-O’Connor said. “There’s always plenty of room for improvement, but I was so happy.”

The pair then returned to the main ring at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park with another solid performance in the Grand Prix Special, topping the leaderboard with 73.706% in their inaugural outing in this notoriously-challenging test.