Sand Fire burns 40,000 acres in Santa Clarita area in L.A. County
SANTA CLARITA — Hundreds of horses were evacuated in a late July wildfire in northern Los Angeles County that scorched more than 40,000 acres in and near the Angeles National Forest.
The fire that began Friday afternoon near Sand Canyon Road took almost three days to fully contain, destroying 18 homes and killing a man during the fierce first 48 hours. More than 20,000 people were evacuated.
The blaze also destroyed Sable Ranch, a longtime Southern California location for film and TV shoots that succumbed on Saturday. The ranch was a popular location for Westerns with its Spanish-style hacienda, stables and various out buildings. Among the numerous shows shot there were television’s Maverick, The A-Team, and 24.
SUNLAND — Dale Gibson had finished his Saturday morning roping July 23 and was trailering back to his ranch through Kagel Canyon when he got a call.
“They asked me if I would come by and get a couple of horses, and I said `yes!’,” said Gibson.
He took them to Gibson Ranch, unloaded, and before he could eat lunch, the phone rang again.
“I told my wife I was going back to Kagel Canyon to haul some more horses,” he says. “After that point, the next time I walked into my house was 11 o’clock that night.”
BURBANK — At the halfway point in the California Reining Horse Association’s 2016 season, Southern California’s best reiners appeared to be hitting their summer strides at the Reiner Shine show held June 10-12 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
The full slate of National Reining Horse Association Affiliate Shows 3 and 4 classes, as well as classes offering PCHA, AQHA and APHA points, assured a good turnout. Plus, there was more than $11,500 in added money and some great awards. Circuit Champions received beautiful custom wood stirrups, and CRHA Reserve Circuit Champions went home with custom leather halters.
Non Pro rider Robyn Schiller won Circuit titles on different horses, claiming the Novice Horse Non Pro crown, the Intermediate Non Pro and the Non Pro all on CD Star Commander, while taking the Novice Horse Reserve Championship on Plenty Of Guns.
Another winner of multiple Circuit titles in the Non Pro division was Martha Goss and Faceofaconquistador in the Limited Non Pro and Non Pro Prime Time.
In the Open, Tom Foran captured both the Championship and Reserve, riding Sleipner LLC’s Blue Collar Tag to first and Heather Smith Porter’s Lil Joe Tag to second.
In the Limited Open, Daphne Thompson shined by winning the Championship on Robert Hutcherson’s Custom Crown, and finishing in second, too, on Sleipner LLC’s Dun It Chexinic.
Youth stars included Kristi Wiggins and Red Hot Tinseltown, who topped reserve champ Taylor Stephens and Custom Big Chex in the Youth 14-18, and Peyton
McGowan and GS Red Corvette, winners over Reserve Champion Gavin Berg and Going Down In Style in the Youth 13-under.
Next up on the CRHA season will be the Summertime Slide Aug. 5-7 at Galway Downs Equestrian Center in Temecula.
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A life-threatening disease has only made Ryan Melendez take the reins of his life even more firmly in hand
“I am sure my dad had me on horses as soon as I could sit up by myself,” Ryan, who’ll turn 18 in July, says of Bill Melendez. “I remember riding like six or seven horses a day, and it was a lot of fun.
“He didn’t always put me on the best of the best horses,” he adds. “I felt like he put me on horses that were going to teach me how to learn to ride — that’s probably the best thing that he could have done because to be a really good rider, I wasn’t going to get there by riding just the easy horses.”
His main ride, a mare named AM Liberty Parade, tried to buck off the 7-year-old Ryan in their very first horsemanship class, a 10-under test at the Scottsdale Arabian Show. They stayed together and years later, in 2014, they won an Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals Championship in Horsemanship.
“That’s my most memorable, best championship,” Ryan says. “Years and years of hard work. In the beginning, she definitely was not happy with being out there. One year at Youth Nationals, she actually flipped over on me, and then we went in the class and got Top 10. I like challenges — what’s the point, if you are not going to work hard for it?”
Friends and family make for a success story at Region 1
DEL MAR — Sisters share a special bond, and when you add a horse — well, good things happen.
That’s the case with Ashley and Samantha Price and Dress Blues, a trio whose history together goes back several years and whose immediate past is terrific: a fresh pair of championships and a reserve at the 2016 Arabian Horse Association Championship Show, held May 18-22 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The gelding was foaled on Memorial Day in the backyard of Molly Jenks, a family friend of the Price sisters and their trainer mom, Debbie Price of Priceless Arabians in ALta Loma. When Molly brought Dress Blues, named in part for her husband, a former U.S. Marine, to Priceless Arabians to present to potential buyers, Ashley was anything but in the market, as she has just lost her own horse after 13 years of riding together. However, “Trooper,” as he would soon be called, turned the ehads of a couple others — namely Debbie and Samantha.
Newest Show Jumping Hall of Famer sees bright futures in West Coast
Susie Hutchison was recently elected to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. The official induction ceremony will take place on the East Coast during the Devon Horse Show in June, but Blenheim EquiSports will honor her on the West Coast before the home crowd on June 12, at the end of the Blenheim June Series Week I Grand Prix.
The Show Jumping Hall of Fame was established in 1987 to promote the sport of show jumping and to memorialize the legends of the men, women and horses who have made great contributions to the sport.
Already in the Hunter Hall of Fame in 2015, alongside her longtime mentor and partner Jimmy Williams, and her famous hunter mount Best Bet, Hutchison is one of the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ that all rode with Williams. Names such as Hap Hansen, Robert Ridland, Mason Phelps, Rob Gage, Mary Chapot and Hutchison lessoned with Williams at the Flintridge Riding Club in the 1960s.
Top facilities are ready to take care of you and your horse. Here’s what they have to offer.
Anaheim Equestrian Center
Rancho Del Rio Stable
Anaheim Equestrian Center/Rancho Del Rio Stable continues to operate under the ownership of Jayne and Bob Jones. Bob Jones announced his retirement last year and Jayne will continue to operate the business that has been at this Anaheim location for more than 45 years. The centrally located boarding facility sits on just under seven acres and offers an on-site tack and feed store.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Anticipation was high as a crowd gathered for the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle at California Dreaming Productions Festival of the Horse CDI 3*/Y/J/U-25, held March 31-April 2.
All eyes were on U.S. Team veteran Steffen Peters and fan-favorite Rosamunde (Rheinlander mare Rock Forever x First Lady by Fidermark, owned by Four Winds Farm) as they unveiled a new freestyle, and the pair did not disappoint judges or spectators for a winning score of 76.243%. Finishing in second was Kathleen Raine and Breanna (Hanoverian mare Brentano II x World Queen by Weltmeyer, owned by Raine, David Wightman and Jennifer Mason) who earned 72.575% for their popular Michael Jackson-themed performance.
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.
Golden State Arabs, exhibitors shine brightly in Scottsdale '16
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The world’s finest Arabian and Half-Arabian horses and trainers come to Westworld here each year to, among other things, test the waters for the new season. And while their miles traveled may be less than their colleagues from other parts of the continent, the prospects of California competitors proved great again this year.
The 61st annual version of the show ran Feb. 11-21 and drew more than 2,400 horses in a myriad of disciplines and events. Among the thousands of entries were the likes of venerable show barns like Stachowski Farms, established in both Ohio and San Marcos, Calif., as well as individuals and smaller operations.
California champions hailed from all types of barns — big, small and in-between, and clearly the Golden State continues to be an influential force in the breed.