As Reno hosts its final NRCHA Snaffle Bit, the Futurity Finals is one for the ages
RENO, Nev. — In its final go at the Reno Livestock Events Center, the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity played out Sept. 19-Oct. 1, and while tradition was on center stage throughout the event, so was its future.
Top riders and horses in all divisions sparked intense competition that made goosebumps and fed anticipation for next year’s Futurity at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I heard from several people, it’s one of the best finals they’ve ever seen,” said NRCHA 2 Million Dollar Rider and Open finalist Todd Bergen of Eagle Point, Ore. “I think that just shows where this sport is going, how good it’s gotten, how good the horses are, how good the trainers are.”
TEMECULA — It seemed routine to Allyson Tapie, who had just completed her reining and boxing runs Sunday at the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association Shootout in the final go of the day. Then, as she and her Little Yellow Vett started their trot out of the arena, the show manager called her to the judges stand for a bit check.
“I was confused because bit checks are not normally done before you leave the arena,” she said. “But it can be called if the judge sees a need to call one.”
California Dressage Society caps banner year with 2016 CDS and Region 7 championships
BURBANK — Among the many smiling faces seen during awards ceremonies for 29 championship divisions on the final day of the 49th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show and Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships held Sept. 29-Oct. 2 was Ruth Shirkey of San Jose.
With her U.S.-bred Hanoverian mare Wyleigh Princess, Shirkey was capping off a tremendous weekend by taking home the Two-Tone Malone Trophy for the $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year in the Second Level Adult Amateur division with an overall score of 68.256%. But the special partnership she now has with her horse almost never happened at all save for one crucial decision.
“My favorite story is that I purchased Wyleigh Princess in utero, and I was really hoping for a black colt,” Shirkey remembered. “When she was born, her breeder called and said, ‘The good news is that the foal is black. The bad news is that it’s a filly.’ She said that if I didn’t want her, to just let them know because they actually really wanted to keep her. So I thought about it for a day and decided I still wanted her, primarily because I really, really wanted a foal by Weltmeyer. So of course in hindsight it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
After years of inspired effort, a Memorial to SSgt. Reckless finds a home at Camp Pendleton.
CAMP PENDLETON — October 26 was a significant date for a big-hearted mare off a racetrack in South Korea. It was on that day in 1952 that Reckless joined the United States Marine Corps. Her eventual battlefield heroics — real, not from Hollywood — would be unforgettable to those who witnessed them.
It’s no coincidence that, after years of inspired effort, a magnificent monument to SSgt Reckless will be dedicated on Oct. 26 this year at Camp Pendleton, the mare’s final resting place.
The hour-long ceremony that will begin at 10 a.m. is open to the public, and speakers will include Brigadier General Kevin Killea, Commanding Officer at Camp Pendleton, monument founder and Best Selling-author Robin Hutton and Jocelyn Russell, the renowned sculptor of the statue. Also present will be about a half-dozen of the men who served with her in Korea and Camp Pendleton, or grew up with her and have memories of Reckless.
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.
MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/607B_crha
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.