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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.

Get on Board!

- April 1st, 2019

A look at some of the region’s best boarding facilities

Anaheim Equestrian Center & Rancho Del Rio Stable
1370 S. Sanderson Ave. • Anaheim, CA 92806
(714) 535-3510 • RanchoDelRioStable.com

These stables are committed to their mission to offer support and training to every person interested in learning more about the magnificent horse. They strive for a partnership between people, horses, community and environment and to provide a safe, fun place for horses and people of all ages where they can learn the skill and art of horsemanship. This is a learning center, similar to a school, with the privilege of being in a park-like setting that has access to many miles of riding trails along the Santa Ana riverbed. The center has a 64-stall barn, 12’ x 12’ box stalls, and 12’ x 24’ full covered stalls for over 140 stalls from which to choose. An on-site tack and feed store, which provides free delivery to your stall, is open to the public. Be sure to check out the list of many trainers of all disciplines. See ad on page 18

Horse Vacations

- March 1st, 2019

Here are some destinations when you want to escape from everything except horses

Coffee Creek Ranch
Trinity Center, Calif.
(800) 624-4480

This 367-acre guest ranch is nestled in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area of Northern California.  Coffee Creek, an excellent fly-fishing stream, runs wild year-round for a half-mile through the ranch where you can pan for gold, tube and fish.

Hearty breakfasts are served in the ranch house or out on the trail, as well as poolside lunches and western barbecues under the stars!  Coffee Creek’s professional chefs prepare all your meals from garden-to-table.

Specially-designed Summer Youth Programs are offered from June 9 to Aug. 24, with great savings at the beginning and end of summer. Programs include Bronc Busters teens 13-17; Junior Wranglers 6-12; Cowboys & Cowgirls 3-5 have special pony rides, and a Kiddie Korral for those under 3 is FREE. Wilderness pack trips are also offered. See ad on page 24

Ventura Sun photo

On one of my annual horse camping get-a-ways, I had the ride of a lifetime going down to Jordan Ranch from Black Rock Ranger Station outside the town of Kennedy Meadows on the Pacific Crest Trail.

It was summer of 2017. After a particularly wet season, the trail was alive in technicolor. Wildflowers of every color were in abundance.

What lies beneath your horse’s hooves makes a difference. These products, services and tools will get down in the dirt—and enhance performance, safety and good horse health.

Easy Rider Arenas
(858) 663-5385

Specializing in arena construction and footing, Easy Rider Arenas has finished more than 2,500 arenas since 1985. Their reputation for delivering top tier work to satisfied customers from northern Los Angeles County to the southern border is unparalleled. Easy Rider Arenas developed the industry engineering standards for arena construction and footings that are used throughout the country. From backyard operations to Olympic-caliber farms, the company has a long list of prominent customers. They also exhibit their expertise in related specialized services including barn pad and road grading, fencing, arena refurbishing as well as weekly and monthly maintenance. See ad on page 30

Eco GreenGrid
(503) 975-0141

Eco GreenGrid logo

Eco GreenGrid is a “green” asphalt (and concrete) alternative known “permeable pavement.” It is the eco-friendly answer to paving and allows the flow of water through to the soil below, preventing numerous issues associated with water runoff and erosion. Eco GreenGrid is economical, environmentally sustainable and strong. It can be used for pedestrian, livestock and vehicular traffic and is strong enough on which to drive large tractors and trucks. Installing Eco GreenGrid in and around stalls, paddocks and barns allows for horse’s hooves to remain dry and healthy in any climate. It can also be used on trails, driveways, parking areas and landscape pathways to create a permanent mud free solution. It has been engineered and designed to give the strongest, most durable product per square foot and to last a lifetime. The design is based on the snowshoe principle, which allows for more weight to be evenly distributed throughout its surface area so that it will not sink down. Pieces can be easily taken apart, put together and cut to create any shaper desired. See installation videos on EcoGreenGrid.com, Facebook and YouTube. Call for prices and shipping quotes to your area. Multi-pallet discounts offered. See ad on page 27

Your ranch Equipment Matters

Horse people rely on their ranch equipment, from tractors and drags, to irrigation and hotwalkers. Here are top dealers and products to get it done... right.

- August 31st, 2018

Arena Werks by Snodgress Equipment
(800) 644-3724

Snodgress Equipment is a complete provider of Arena Werks™ and Hey Werks™ farm, ranch, and arena equipment. All products meet the highest standards for reliability and durability and are guaranteed to withstand the trials of time and patience. Whether you need an effective method for hauling a single or multiple bales of hay, or you need a solution to treat your arena or a full arena conditioner, Arena Werks™ and Hey Werks™ has your solution. There are many options in arena drag equipment, including arena drags, harrows, rotary harrows, arena groomers, arena rakes, rotary drags and water trailers. Take your time browsing the products and contact Snodgress Equipment’s knowledgeable staff for an equipment quote, or simply send a suggestion and one of the company’s friendly staff will be more than happy to help you! Snodgress Equipment is also a proud partner with the Ranch Sorting National Championships in 2017 and are now the official drag of the RSNC. See ad on page 13.

Horse Camps

- May 1st, 2018

Hidden Creek Ranch
Instructor: Mailei Bennett
(714) 363-1563
Summer 2018 holds exciting activities at Hidden Creek Ranch. With five camps from which to choose, youth of all ages will have the opportunity to attend Horsemanship Boot Camp, English Riding Camp, English Jumping Camp, and Trail Camp. Camp dates are June 25-29, July 9-13, July 16-20, July 30-Aug. 3, and Aug. 6-10. All camps run Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the cost of $350 per week. The Horsemanship Camp (offered two different weeks) provides a good foundation into horses. Campers will be introduced on how to handle, ride and care for the horses. English Riding Camp is an introductory camp to learn diagonals, forward pace and equitation. Open to participants who have at least six months of riding experience and are capable of cantering, our English Jumping Camp focuses on riding a course, understanding strides, and judging requirements. Trail Camp is open to advanced beginners to intermediate riders over the age of 11. Campers will experience trail riding and hiking through the Santiago Oaks and Irvine Regional Park system.

Best in Boarding

Where you stable your horse is key. Here are some of California’s best.

- April 1st, 2018

Anaheim Equestrian Center/
Rancho Del Rio Stables
1370 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim
(714) 535-3510

Anaheim Equestrian Center’s mission is to offer support and training to every person interested in learning more about horses, and its staff strives for a partnership between people, horses, community and environment. It also provides a safe and fun environment for horses and people of all ages, where they can learn the skill and art of horsemanship. The center’s belief that a stable and equestrian center is a vital asset to its city in order to provide a much-needed balance to city life is apparent here. It is a learning center, similar to a school, privileged with a park-like setting with access to many miles of riding trails along the Santa Ana riverbed. The center has a 64 stall barn, 12’ x 12’ box stalls, and 12′ x 24′ full covered stalls for over 140 stalls from which to choose. Boarding includes tack locker, four lighted arenas, hot walker, full-size dressage court, round pen, and wash racks. An on-site tack and feed store provides free delivery to your stall (and is open to the public). The Anaheim Equestrian Center is home to many trainers of all disciplines.

Horse Property Experts

Matching the perfect equestrian real estate with the right owners takes a special breed of realtor. Here are some of the best.

- April 1st, 2018

Jeana Boulos, Associate Broker
Shoemaker Realty
Valley Center
(760) 517-6316
CalBRE #01923953
Jeana Boulos has been involved in the Valley Center Community for over 15 years. As a local, she has seen the community grow and evolve while realizing that it is critical we continue to help shape and guide the community while these changes are taking place. Jeana is a Broker Associate with Shoemaker Realty and enjoys helping new and experienced homeowners navigate the ins-and-outs of a real estate transaction as well as serving as a guide to the development of the community through her role as an elected member of the Valley Center Community Planning Group.