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Growing tradition

- July 1st, 2019

Top West Coast juniors and amateurs compete in equitation challenge

Special to the Horsetrader

The top six riders listening to instruction for work-off at The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—Junior and Amateur riders from across the West Coast made up a field of over 90 competitors looking to gain solid miles and rise to the occasion in The American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge, presented by Whitethorne.

At the conclusion of three phases and a work-off by the top six, 16-year-old Payton Potter earned the 2019 championship honors with a final point score of 269.5. Second to Potter was Julia Stone, who finished with 257.25 points. These two young riders each claimed another challenging 3’3” victory in the last two years, as the 2017 and 2018 champions of the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals.

Close encounters

- June 4th, 2019

San Diego Trail Alliance clinic brings horses and bikes together

From Horsetrader staff reports

Trail riders and bicyclists took to the River Valley Equestrian Center arena May 25 during the “Learning to share the trail” one-day clinic put on by the San Diego Trail Alliance. (Horsetrader photo)

LAKESIDE—What could possibly be more desensitizing for a group 14 trail horses than to line them up, facing across the arena from a similar amount of spooky mountain bikers?

How about sending everyone—riders and bikers—circling the arena at once? At different speeds!

Cow… abunga!

- June 4th, 2019

From Horsetrader staff reports

For a heartfelt cause, cow horse clinicians (from left) Jake Gorrell, Corey Cushing and Russell Dilday bravely mix their sport with surfing each summer. (Courtesy photo)

Now in its 11th year, good vibrations are still going strong for the Surf N Turf Cow Horse clinic—for everyone. The fund-raiser for Surfers Healing, a non-profit foundation for autism, was the brainchild of Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz. Izzy, a former world champion surfer, and Danielle, a talented non-pro cowhorse competitor, founded Surfers Healing in 1996 after Izzy one day discovered the rejuvenative power surfing had on their autistic son, Isaiah.

Bridle showdown

- June 4th, 2019

Jason Grimshaw, Sippin Boons Farm win Open Bridle at Jimmy Flores, Sr. Memorial

From Horsetrader staff reports

Jason Grimshaw took Heather Vatcher’s Sippin Boons Farm to the Open Bridle Spectacular at the Jimmy Flores, Sr. Memorial event May 17-19 in Temecula. (Danger Dingo photo)

TEMECULA—The old song, “It Never Rains in California,” was out of tune in May, but raindrops didn’t dampen spirits of the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association at its Jimmy Flores, Sr. Memorial.

The event, held May 17-19 at Green Acres Ranch, drew top competition from the region.

A cut above

- June 4th, 2019

Top competition, great environment reveal why El Rancho Spring Classic is a West Coast gem

Special to the Horsetrader

Erin Sullivan captured both the 15K Ltd. Amateur and 2K Ltd. Rider championships aboard Carol Ward’s Spooked By A Cat at the El Rancho Spring Classic April 25-28 at the Murieta Equestrian Center. (John O’Hara photo)

RANCHO MURIETA—The El Rancho Spring Classic presented by Carol Ward, owner of Carol Ward Cutting Horses and the host Murieta Equestrian Center, took place April 25-28.

The El Rancho Cutting Horse Association, an NCHA Affiliate, prides themselves on promoting one of the last outdoor cuttings on the West Coast. Competitors come from all over the Western United States to compete at one of the premier cutting facilities.

Special to the Horsetrader

Shawn Flarida instructs open reiners May 11 at his two-day clinic at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. (Lucky Dog photo)

LAKE VIEW TERRACE—Shawn Flarida, the winningest reiner of all time, came to Hansen Dam Horse Park May 11-12 for a two-day clinic presented by LEGISequine.com, Langer Equestrian Group, Ariat, and Foran Performance Horses.

Flarida, the first and only reiner to ever slide into six million dollars of winnings, shared his wealth of knowledge with riders and auditors alike. He is a six-time NRHA Open Futurity Champion, six-time NRHA Open Derby champion and four-time NRBC Champion. The 2011 NRHA Hall of Fame inductee also was the inaugural WEG Reining Individual Gold Medalist. “Shawn was very generous with his knowledge,” said Tom Foran of Foran Performance Horses. “With Shawn there are no secrets. He’s patient with everyone. He’s as good of a teacher as he is a showman and horse trainer.”

By Lorraine Smith | for the Horsetrader

WCRHA members are set for the hat competition the 10th Annual Rein For The Roses, held May 2-5 at Brookside Equestrian Park. (John O’Hara photo)

ELK GROVE—This year, the Rein for the Roses May 2-5 was extra special, as show exhibitors and attendees celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Derby on the Derby, held at the beautiful facilities of the Brookside Equestrian Center. The Derby on the Derby went back to the basics by holding one special event on Saturday, which proved to be a very well-attended and entertaining event. Brookside welcomed back judges Kristen Lilley and Dave Belson to judge the show, which was the second NRHA affiliate show of the season for the West Coast Reining Horse Association.

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.