California’s ranking equine vet has a passion for horses — and also their well-being. This winter’s containment of an EHV-1 outbreak in Los Angeles County put Dr. Flynn and her California Division of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) colleagues on the frontlines — and the importance of public awareness in the headlines.
Horses surround your work. How have they surrounded your life?
Horses are my passion. I grew up on a family Standardbred racehorse farm in South Grafton, Mass. I learned to drive “Terry Anns Choice” at a young age and foaled out one of her colts on my own when I was 16. While growing up, I traveled with my dad to paddock horses at harness racing tracks across New England and New York.
My first horse appeared on my back doorstep as a gift one Christmas morning, “Strawberry Sundae,” a strawberry roan mare. We became a team and participated in 4-H and local fair horse shows. We also used to wrangle up the occasional Hereford beef cow that got loose on the family farm.
I am busy now with my career in regulatory medicine in California, but I look forward to my visits back east when I can jog a family racehorse. I hope to one day own a few Standardbred racehorses to carry on the family tradition.
NRCHA Hall of Famer and Snaffle Bit Champion leaves an influential legacy in the horse world
MERCED — California horseman and 20-Year breeder Benny Guitron of Merced died Dec. 18 following complications with cancer.
Born February 12, 1948, in Glendale, Benny was raised on his family’s farm in Indio. His father was a farmer and enjoyed attending horse shows. He took Benny with him every chance he had, and Benny grew to love the reined cow horse sport. Reared around famous horsemen such as Jimmy Williams, Harold Farren, Red Neal, Don Dodge and Tony Amaral, Benny’s appreciation and love for the old traditions took hold of him at a young age. Fascinated by the vaquero customs since childhood, Guitron painstakingly learned the process of working and training horses.
It was during the 1970s that Benny Guitron truly stepped into his own in regard to the life that he would lead as a horseman. When his father passed away, he truly felt the need to pursue horses, reined cow horses to be exact. Contacting his “hero,” Tony Amaral, Benny went to work for him and later worked with Bobby Ingersoll before purchasing his own facility in Merced.
Through the years, Benny became known as a historian who has worked to preserve the history of the people and horses who make up the reined cow horse. He was dedicated to the heritage of the event, lifestyle and continuation of the National Reined Cow Horse Association, which makes it no wonder why he was inducted into the NRCHA Hall of Fame in 2015.
From rodeo arena to political arena, Sunland trainer Dale Gibson pursues councilman seat in L.A.’s District 7
LOS ANGELES — Dale Gibson has thrown his cowboy hat into the arena as a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council, District 7 — a horse-laden area that covers the northeast section of the San Fernando Valley.
It also sits on the map of a high-speed rail proposal that, if enacted, threatens to disrupt horse ownership along the route.
Gibson, who started Gibson Ranch in Sunland along with his wife, Heather, in 1998, has a portfolio of equestrian advocacy that includes serving as current President of the Los Angeles Equine Advisory Committee. Trails, zoning and preservaton of open space have been common concerns presented by the EAC to the L.A. City Council since its inception in 2009, and Gibson says the urgency in his district for equestrian participation is stronger than ever.
“It is very clear to me that the residents of Council District 7 are ready for their voices to be heard,” said Gibson. “Ours is a diverse area, and while I was out personally collecting the signatures to qualify for the ballot, I heard firsthand the concerns.”
With the increased moisture of the season, many areas of the country see an increase in certain problems. The No. 1 problem I encounter that increases with rainy season is hoof abscesses. A hoof abscess is an area of infection that can be found most anywhere in the hoof. They can be closer to the sole or they may try to erupt in the coronary band. In these cases, they are often times called a gravel. For these abscesses, you need three things: 1. bacteria, 2. a medium for them to grow, and 3. the body’s response (pus) to the infection.
The Norco Colt Starting Challenge is set for Friday, Feb. 24 from 6-9 p.m. and will continue on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6-10 p.m. at Ingalls Park in Norco. Tickets are just $15 to attend the Colt Starting Challenge, which focuses on Natural Horsemanship and utilizes a horse’s natural instincts. The techniques used are a far cry from what was done a generation ago and what many have seen regarding breaking horses on TV and in the movies. The competitions are the brainchild of trainer and horseman Russell Beatty. In the two-day challenges, trainers are matched via random draw to horses that have had limited handling — no saddle nor bridle ever on the animal. To close out the challenge, trainers take their horse through a variety of obstacles in order to show how far their animals have come in a short amount of time. Mark your calendars and enjoy this competition. If you would like to enter a horse or purchase tickets, contact Colt Starting Challenge USA at ColtStartingChallengeUSA.com or call (808) 269-3408.
A certain level of fear is healthy — we call it common sense. Fear compels us to focus, to direct our attention to the present moment while attempting to push our personal limits by bravely testing the water outside our comfort zone. However, too much fear will inhibit you from advancing your ability.
By living within your comfort zone, growth will elude you. There is never an end-destination to becoming a horseman. There will always be another personal best to achieve, another goal to reach, in order to become the rider your horse deserves. It is the ride of your life.
Worries are chronic fears. There’s fear of getting hurt, fear of getting back in the saddle after being injured, and fear of judgement by others. We have to be a watcher of our thoughts — keep your eyes on what you want to accomplish, not on what created your fear.
So how do we start to teach the turnaround? We start by walking in a circle about 10 feet in diameter. You want to use your circle to establish the correct bend, so bring your circle down to where your horse’s spine is bent evenly and you can just see the corner of the horse’s eye.
Now let’s stop here and think about the diﬀerence between this forward circle and the turnaround. In the turnaround, we will want to maintain the same bend and the same cadence (or rhythm), at least at this level. We want the front legs to keep moving, we want the outside back leg to keep moving, but we just want to slow down, or even stop, the forward movement of the inside hind leg.
The hands and contact. As a driver, there is a lot to think about. It’s not just hitching up an equine and going down the road behind the horse, holding the lines. It’s your responsibility to understand if your horse is harnessed and hitched correctly to avoid any mishaps along the way. I HOPE one of the first things you will learn is proper control of your horse through your hands and posture.
All American Horses
All American Horses provides top professonal services inNatural Horsemanship, certified training, consignment horse sales and boarding. Experienced in working with all breeds and disciplines, All American Horses prides itself on its long-lasting client relationships. The saying, “Horses are our life” rings true, as All American Horses holds national and international certifications with more than 20 years of professional experience that make a difference. Your horse will know the difference! All American Horses invites all Expo Pomona attendees to visit its booth to learn of the facility’s popular boarding and training options, as well as of its tried-and-true consignment and training program, where they tune up your horse, market it and get it sold to a good home.
The ‘take home’ for Expo Pomona attendees will be
lessons learned up close from the best clinicians
John and Josh Lyons are among the headliners this year, as Horse Expo Pomona continues to bring top equine experts to its stages and arenas. One ticket price gets you access to unlimited learning, whether you’re a competitor looking for an edge or a recreational rider looking for insight into your human-horse relationship.
One of the most respected trainers around the world, John Lyons is known as “America’s Most Trusted Horseman.” He has earned that title through 30 years of dedication to horses and horse owners. His ideas and concepts in horse training have influenced every level of performance, every style of riding and every breed of horse throughout the world, and it’s safe to say that his ideas and work have changed thousands of lives. John’s sincere regard for people and the horses they love has remained unchanged throughout his career.
John has been honored by many facets of the horse industry, including universities, breed associations, horse clubs, magazines, cities and states for his contributions and dedication to the horse and the industry, and he continues to be one of the most sought-after trainers, speakers, demonstrators and clinicians anywhere. There is hardly an expo in the country or around the world where you will not find John, his children Josh, Brandi, and Michael or one of their certified trainers as a guest clinician. John and his wife Jody live and work in Parachute, Colo., on “Our Dream Ranch.” Their door is always open to everyone and you are invited to stop by anytime.