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Double Trouble

- May 1st, 2019

Nicole Haunert dominates early Markel series grand prix

Special to the Horsetrader

Rider Nicole Haunert, here on winner Concolue, took first and second at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a beautiful Southern California afternoon, cheering on 19 entries at the April 13 $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix. After five went clear and advanced to the jump-off, Nicole Haunert and Concolue, owned by Cherokee Show Horses Inc., topped the field. Making the day extra special, she also placed second aboard Jamaico Drum van de Breepoel, owned by NJK Show Jumpers.

Q&A: Miki Nelsen

- May 1st, 2019

Western States Horse Expo has been a fixture at Cal Expo for the last 20 years—two decades of bringing the horse industry together for a June weekend of education, entertainment and shopping. This year, the West Coast’s largest equestrian expo will move east about 15 miles to a new home, the beautiful Murieta Equestrian Center, and founder Miki Nelsen has more “newness” in store for 2019.

Miki, you’ve been an innovator since you began the Horse Expo, but this year you’ve really retooled.

I am excited. Very excited, actually. Moving to Rancho Murieta is a big change, but I feel very much at home at the facility. I think everyone will because it’s very horsey. Just the feeling of being around there—it has a festival vibe. It’s outside, beautiful, clean, landscaped with trees. It’s a world class horse facility that is beautifully built and well maintained.

I’m also very excited about Equus Masters—a brand new format.

How is it different?

There are four “Masters”, who will each select and train a halter-broke Mustang. The three judges, Pat Parelli, Chris Cox and Eitan Halachmy, will point out what they are seeing—or not seeing—along the way, in real time.

Another difference is the motivation—it isn’t money! The motivation is doing the right thing on the horse, and also to educate people to do the right thing. We want our audience to get some good education out of this.

The Mustangs are from the R3C Wild Horse Program, and the person who runs the program will also be “miked up” to give history and insight into the horses.

What’s the goal of the training?

That’s just it—there’s no end goal. Each trainer will have to determine what that goal is after they get acquainted with the horse. The prize will be the same for all four trainers—that there is going to be a lot of people watching them and seeing them in action and seeing what their priorities are. These horses are going to dish up challenges—different things and no one knows what they will be, including the trainer. It will be up to the trainer how they handle it. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be real. The judges will be giving their commentary while this is unfolding.

Horse Expo’s new home

- May 1st, 2019

World-class MEC is a perfect Expo fit


RANCHO MURIETA—This will be a year of innovation for the Western States Horse Expo, which has always found thoughtful ways to stimulate its attendees, vendors and clinicians over the past two decades at Cal Expo in Sacramento. There’s the Equus Masters, a format conceived by founder Miki Nelsen along with clinic headliners Pat Parelli and Chris Cox. Among the fresh line-up also will be a new SANA West Rare Breeds Show, an NCDC Combined Driving Event, an NRHA Reining Boot Camp, plus a longer list of vendors—some not seen in years, and there will even be a food truck festival, complete with live music.

West Coast Reiners roll on

- May 1st, 2019

Full classes, international flair start season

Special to the Horsetrader

Tzvika Knaani and Xtra Goodstep tied for wins in the Non Pro and Prime Time Non Pro classes at the WCRHA season-opener. (John O’Hara photo)

CORNING—Weather was the concern heading into the first affiliate show for the West Coast Reining Horse Association held March 1-3. Record amounts of snow over the Sierra Nevada had resulted in road closures, which made it impossible for eastern members from Nevada to attend. However, massive rain and high floods in the northwestern part of the state didn’t impede competitors from coming—it just took them a little longer than usual to make the drive to the show, held for the third year at the Rolling Hills Equestrian Center.

Special to the Horsetrader

Jamie Sailor proved at the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in San Juan Capistrano how imporant it is to not just be hopeful, but to ride Hopeful, a 7-year-old bay owned by Astrid Van Leeuwen. Both horse and rider earned their first derby victories after recording a front-running 370.5 points from judges. (Blenheim EquiSports photo / Alden Corrigan)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—Coming into the handy round in third place, young professional Jamie Sailor moved up to win the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard Hopeful, owned by Astrid Van Leeuwen. Both horse and rider earned their first derby victories. The pair finished with a two-round total of 370.5 points, while Karli Postel rode Get Rowdy, owned by Teton Farms, to a second-place finish with 368 points.

The Ranch Riding rage

- April 1st, 2019

More classes, more riders…more fun!

Cheryl Harmon and her Shootnroosters won the popular Amateur Ranch Riding classes at the Southern California Reined Cow Horse show March 15-18 in Temecula. (Danger Dingo photo)

If a horse show class list has the word “ranch” in it, chances are that it has a growing number of entries.

There are five different ranch riding classes now sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association, and they are frequently among the most popular at Southern California western shows.

The explosion in popularity has multiple causes, not the least of which is that ranch riding rewards a solid, well-broke horse that shows most suitable for getting the job done on a working ranch—a horse that rides and works with purpose.

DEL MAR—The annual Del Mar National Horse Show has a rich history of showcasing some of the most exciting and prestigious world-class equestrian competitions in the western region. The three-week event, now in its 74th year, is a Southern California tradition.

This year, the excitement and pageantry of the event will thrill crowds in the Del Mar Arena at the Del Mar Fairgrounds from April 16-May 5. The show features three separate weeks of equestrian competition. Western Week runs from April 16-20, Dressage Week is April 25-28 and Hunter/Jumper week is April 30-May 5.

Each week of the Del Mar National features a distinct discipline—Western, Dressage and Hunter-jumper—and closes with a special event highlighting that segment on Saturday evenings. “Night of the Horse” presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed on April 20, is the exclamation point of Western Week where you’ll be dazzled with daring feats during a truly unique musical equestrian theatrical performance.

Goin’ for the Gold

- April 1st, 2019

Big names, big numbers vie in SCRCHA Pot o’ Gold Show

From Horsetrader staff reports

Carol Williamson and High Brow Shiner got it done to win crowns in both Non Pro Bridle and Novice Non Pro Bridle classes on Saturday. (Danger Dingo photo)

TEMECULA—The weather finally heated up in March, and the competition did, too, at the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association Pot O Gold Show. There were some big classes and top open riders at the Pot O Gold, held March 15-18 at Casner’s Ranch.

One sweet reining

- March 1st, 2019

CRHA brings L.A. Equestrian Center to life with competitive 2019 opener

From Horsetrader staff reports

Daphne Foran took Bob Hutcherson’s Check Your Gun Lad to the Novice Horse Open Circuit Championship at the CRHA Reining Feb. 1-3. (Mark Blakley photo)

BURBANK—Casey Bibbs was a Non Pro star and Tom Foran claimed the big Open circuit titles as the California Reining Horse Association launched its 2019 season Feb. 1-3 with its Sweetheart Reining at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Gate opens for ’19 SCRCHA season

- February 1st, 2019
Sunni McCormick, here taking Devon Camilleri’s Just Call Me Earl to a Limited Open Hackamore title, shined at the SCRCHA January show. (Danger Dingo photo)

From Horsetrader staff reports

TEMECULA—A new show with a popular new class made for a fresh start of the 2019 season for the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association, as the inaugural Cowhorse Kickoff brought Casner Ranch to life Jan. 11-13.

Despite some wet weather, SCRCHA members eagerly returned to the show pen for a full line-up that included open boxing and popular ranch riding classes.