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Reckless gets a spa day

- March 1st, 2021

War hero’s memorial good as new

From Horsetrader staff reports

The crew of Sculpture Services of Colorado — Jo and Davis DeDecker and Mary Casey — visited the Sgt. Reckless monument at Camp Pendleton Jan. 30 to give her a “spa day” and return the Korean War hero to her stunning self after four years of facing the coastal elements.

CAMP PENDLETON – As author Robin Hutton visited the Marine Corps base here last September for the 70th anniversary celebration of the Inchon Landing, she was looking forward to walking past the striking monument of Sgt. Reckless — the fruit of years’ worth of dedication of both her and artist Jocelyn Russell. As she neared the Pacific Views Event Center, disturbance set in.

An ‘Army of One’

- February 1st, 2021

Lynn Brown leaves a legacy of horses in our communities

Special to the Horsetrader

Lynn Brown and her beloved Andalusian, Nova. (Courtesy photo)

LOS ANGELES – Lynn Brown, whose public advocacy for horse interests in Southern California and beyond was unparalleled, died Jan. 1 after a brief illness.

A lifelong rider with a relentless passion to protect equestrian rights, the choice for an equestrian lifestyle, and the right of horseback riders to the peaceful enjoyment of public trails, Lynn passed away at home with her son, Christopher, at her side.

Lynn was the only child of J. Woodson Brown, a Texas businessman and cattle rancher, and Genevieve Brewster, a Southern Belle. She was raised in Southern Colorado on a cattle ranch. From the time she could walk, she rode.

An accomplished horsewoman, Lynn trained and rode several horses over the years throughout Griffith Park. Some of her most memorable were Nikki, her mustang; Cleo, her Tennessee Walker; and Nova, her magnificent Andalusian.

For anyone who knew or worked with Lynn, she was unsurpassed in her advocacy, working tirelessly for 25 years to keep Griffith Park safe for equestrians and hikers, trail runners and birdwatchers.

Lynn Brown (center, in blue) and more than 100 riders from 17 organizations in the City of Los Angeles’s official Day of the Horse ceremony in October 2014 at City Hall. The annual event, sparked by the volunteer L.A. Equine Advisory Committee, reminds civic leaders of the importance of horses in their great city. (Betsy Annas photo)

During a three-year period from 1999 to 2002, Lynn engaged a coalition of community leaders, neighborhood councils, environmental organizations and horseback riders to protect the heritage horse and hiking trails within the Park. In a room of 200 angry and concerned equestrians, she started what would become a citywide effort to maintain L.A. Parks safe for its Western Heritage. In the process she became a true ally to the Sierra Club, Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils surrounding the Park, activists from Committee to Save Elysian Park, riders from the Burbank and Glendale Rancho communities and other local groups and organizations.

When Los Angeles City Planning once again revised its Bicycle Element, Lynn, as Deputy National Trail Coordinator for Equestrian Trails, Inc. (ETI), secured critical amendments to preserve historic dirt trails for safe riding experiences, again working with coalitions from prior battles.

Her success relied on four principles: seeking allies (locally and across California); writing fine advocacy articles and letters (her much beloved “talking points”); listening to others; and acting strategically. She could commandeer an army of advocates. A friend once remarked that she was “an army of one.”

To this day, the peaceful enjoyment of Historic Griffith Park and its Trails are due directly to the diligence and skills of Lynn Brown.

Beginning in 2005, she became a member of the Griffith Park Working Group, which was set up by the L.A. Recreation and Parks Department. Over the next several years came guiding influences, including A Vision for Griffith Park, Urban Wilderness Identity that champions the Park for its bio-diversity, native species, unstructured aesthetic and continued emphasis on the wilderness values as exemplified by equestrian uses in the park. Approximately 2,000 horses board adjacent to the Park, either in backyards or in boarding stables, as well as in horseback rental stables. Vision recognized the significant Park use by either owners or guardians on a daily basis.

In February 2009, Lynn worked with the late Councilman Tom LaBonge to accomplish a milestone in the city of Los Angeles: the official creation by the L.A. City Council of the Los Angeles Equestrian Advisory Committee, a 16-member citizen committee representing equestrians from all Council districts and the Mayor’s Office. Convened and managed by the L.A. Recreation and Parks Department, the LA-EAC soon began serving riders from South L.A., the Valley, the Westside — every Council District, and representing the diverse populations of the city who shared a common love for horseback riding. She helped raise funds for the Compton Junior Posse, now the Compton Cowboys. She arranged a carriage/team for Councilman La Bonge in the Toluca Lake Christmas Parade. She was thrilled to see the growing representation of Black Cowboys in the MLK Parades in 2018 and 2019. She brought back to prominence the recognition of the Day of the Horse at the Los Angeles City Council.

Without her diplomatic and persistent skills, the important representation of the horse community would not exist today.

She assisted the Rancho residents of Glendale and Burbank, and the Atwater community of Los Angeles, as a practiced voice in opposition to bad development and in support of good development. a few weeks before her death Jan. 1, 2021, she was instrumental in educating and securing opposition from local elected Burbank officials over a “proposal” for an aerial tram that would tear out the only public riding arena, Martinez Arena, in Griffith Park.

She was a polished and accomplished writer and frequently contributed articles to Western Horseman and California Horsetrader on a range of issues: Griffith Park, the Ranchos of Burbank and Glendale, how to make friends with a bureaucrat. As a consummate communicator, her candor and advice were sought and effective. She made many friends over the years with General Managers, Superintendents, Park Rangers and the much-beloved maintenance staff. Every year, she provided flowering bulbs, Honeybaked Hams and personal notes and cards to them.

Lynn is survived by her son, Christopher and daughter Feather. And the many friends she made from all walks life who shared her passion and love for the healing power of a horse. A Celebration of Her Life will be announced at a later date.

2020 HORSE HEADLINERS

- November 30th, 2020

A year of ‘whoa!’ and ‘let’s go!’

From Horsetrader staff reports

A funny thing happened when we sat down to put together our annual Horsetrader Year In Review, a traditional December look back at our newsmakers for the year about to end. Actually, it wasn’t funny at all: There weren’t many headlines because of the year’s biggest newsmaker — a pandemic that shriveled shows and activities..

COVID-19 didn’t erase all stories, it just made them harder to find after March. And the ones that surfaced revealed the heart, grit and community of the horse world.

Meet ‘No Quit’ Sparky

- August 2nd, 2020

No obstacle, even a lost eye, could keep a determined trio — horse, trainer and owner — from reaching the 2020 NRHA Derby Open Finals

By Warren Wilson / Horsetrader staff

Trainer Marty Bales and White Tye Affair, aka “Sparky,” owned by Robert Heindl. (Shezashootingstar.com photo)

TEMECULA — Marty Bales saw White Tye Affair’s potential as a National Reining Horse Association Open Finals horse the first time she saw the yearling in a sale video. What she didn’t see—what nobody could have imagined—was the 4-year journey that would get him there, on the floor of the Coliseum in the NRHA Open Derby last June.

After a promising start through his 2-year-old year, White Tye Affair (Smart And Shiney X Cowgirl Affair) hit a series of setbacks that would demoralize most horses, not to mention their trainers and owners.

‘Making lemonade’

- May 5th, 2020

On April 10, sour moments for a mare and foal turned into something sweet

Kiskasen, a Clydesdale colt born April 9, and his adopted Quarter Horse mother, Whiz Ms Dolly, who lost her stillborn filly the same day. (John O’Hara photo)

SANTA ROSA—You’ve heard the saying, “when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.” Well, a pair of misfortunes 130 miles apart in early April led to a refreshing feel-good story about an unlikely match.

It began with the joy of two new foals about to enter the world. One was a long-hoped-for colt out of the 18.1-hand black Clydesdale mare, Nakita, and the other a filly out of a 14.1-hand Quarter Horse reining mare, Whiz Ms Dolly.

Tragedy struck both foalings. Nakita, after delivering a healthy colt, died soon after from complications. Meanwhile, at a ranch in Santa Rosa, Britta Jacobson’s mare, Whiz Ms Dolly, gave birth to a stillborn filly.

The Return is… near?

- May 5th, 2020

What will ‘the new normal’ be as we return to our horse routines, post-pandemic?

What will the shows be like? Or, what SHOULD they have in place?

Horses by nature are socially distant. A horse show isn’t much different. Perhaps some changes in spectator seating, and ways in which the concession stands are run. But no reason to reinvent how horse shows take place

Doris Lora, Tehachapi


Adhere to social distance requirements.

Cady Shaw, Fresno


Today, there are no shows/events, and there should not be any events until the Coronavirus is defeated. No matter how long we wait, we will wait healthy and alive. Ride the trail, be safe—and healthy.

John O’Hara, Petaluma

49 years ago, Debra de la Torre’s father launched an aloe industry; now, she enjoys seeing the benefits for beloved horses as head of Pharm-Aloe Equine

HT: Debra, why would I give aloe to my horse?

DEBRA: Well, if you love your horse, you want your horse to be at its very best—and at its healthiest. I got into Pharm-Aloe Equine because my little mare showed up with ulcer symptoms one day. I knew about aloe vera because my dad started the aloe vera business in 1971, so we have had a long history of aloe vera use for our horses and for people.

HT: I can imagine what was talked about at the dinner table all those years.

DEBRA: Many miracle stories, I can tell you that for sure. We have seen a lot of just wonderful effects and results from using aloe.

The Silver Artistry of Jon Peters

- February 5th, 2020

This San Diego surfer has emerged as one of the West’s most creative makers.

By William Reynolds | Reprint from Western Horseman magazine

Photo courtesy Jon Peters

The diversity of creative inspiration in the West is as wide open as its geography. And in today’s world of the cowboy crafts, San Diego silversmith Jon Peters exemplifies this creative openness. From finely engraved cinch rings, bits and spurs to mustache combs, tooled leather and saddle silver, some may call Peters a “problem solver artisan.”

Growing up Southern California’s Orange County, Jon found that school was very trying on him. He hated being “locked up in a room,” as he called it. In high school it was determined he suffered from dyslexia, a learning disorder that made reading difficult for him. Away from school he surfed the many great breaks along the California coast and did part-time work on ranches east of San Diego. He had a grand childhood growing up with a father and grandfather who were both mechanics and helped him learn the ways of tools, tool making and generally how to fix things. He found that if he were shown how to do something, he would catch on quickly and figure the best ways for him to work further.

A lifelong endeavor

- January 3rd, 2020

Excerpts from our Horsetrader Media live interview with Richard Winters

RICHARD: “I’ve had the privilege the last 40-some odd years to make my living in the horse business. I’m just that kid who grew up loving horses. I wanted to be a cowboy or a horseman—if I even knew what that meant. In all reality, if I had some job in town, I would pay to do this on the weekends. I didn’t really want to be an astronaut, or a policeman, or a fireman—I just love horses.

Now I am recognizing that there’s just so much to horsemanship. It’s a lifelong endeavor that you never stop in this thing. I mean, I got more questions about this horsemanship thing now than I’ve ever had in my life. That’s why on the side of our trailer, it says ‘Enjoy the Journey’, because I’ve kind of realized I’m never going to get to the destination. You never really arrive and say ‘OK, I’ve got it all figured out.’

The Reluctant Remedial Shoer

- June 4th, 2019

California farrier Travis Koons finds success relying on a minimalist approach in therapeutic cases


Travis Koons takes a minimalist approach to therapeutic cases, focusing on proper trimming and fit. “It’s not so often the therapeutic device that helps the horse,” he says, “but good, solid horseshoeing helps the horse the most.”

By Jeff Cota, American Farrier Journal

“You don’t want to shoe lames horses, trust me.”

Bob Marshall tried to warn the confident young farrier, but the then 18-year-old Travis Koons had made up his mind. The Hemet, Calif., youngster had printed business cards, announcing that his farrier practice specializes in pathological, remedial and corrective horseshoeing.

“Why would you ever put that on your business card?” the legendary shoer asked him forcefully. “You don’t want to shoe lame horses!”

“Yeah, I do, Bob,” Koons told him. “I can charge more money.”