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Reining in 2010 at CRHA Winter Classic

Exhibitors start the show season at L.A. Equestrian Center

By DANIEL K. LEW / Horsetrader staff - February 4th, 2010 - Show & Event News

LIZ FARQUHAR, CRHA Office Manager

By Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

LIZ FARQUHAR, CRHA Office Manager

BURBANK — Many of California’s reining horses and riders began the new year at California Reining Horse Association’s Winter Madness Reining show, held Jan. 15-17 at Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The show offered exhibitors the chance to school or start showing their horses for the 2010 show season. CRHA also made plans to introduce classes and clinics to encourage new riders to take part in reining.

Good start to the show season
The CRHA Winter Madness show came earlier this year, since it was previously held in February or March. Many exhibitors and show officials said they benefited from the schedule change.

“We moved up this show up because of a conflict with shows at facilities, and it’s also right before Sun Circuit in Arizona,” show manager Larry Gimple of Track One Events said of the Jan. 24-Feb. 1 Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse Show, which is usually popular with Californians. “So, we thought we would give people the opportunity to school at this show with paid schooling inside. People who may not have intended to come here to show are able to school their horses for upcoming events.”

Many riders took advantage of the opportunity–about 250 horses were schooled inside L.A. Equestrian Center’s Equidome in the first two days of the Winter Madness show.

Gimple said the 2010 show season for reining and Quarter Horse shows also looks promising. “The Spring Classic show (held March 25-28 at Del Mar Horsepark) is now going to be two split/combined shows–making it four, judged shows–which is an added show from previous years. We think that will be a big draw,” Gimple said of the show containing classes for the CRHA, American Quarter Horse Association, Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association, and Pacific Coast Horse Show Association.

“Hollywood Charity Horse Show (April 29-May 2 at LAEC) with musical guest Sheryl Crow looks like it will be as big as it’s ever been,” Gimple said. “I think we’re on track and looking for a better year this year–we see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Allen Stecklein, Jr. takes the opportunity to compete and school his horses.

By Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Allen Stecklein, Jr. takes the opportunity to compete and school his horses.

Schooling chances for new horses
“With the recession, our numbers at shows were a little down, like everyone else, but we figure people are going to be more selective and stay closer to their home clubs,” CRHA office manager Liz Farquhar said. “We thought people who will be traveling to the big shows will need a place and want the opportunity to school their horses the week before.”
Among the trainers who appreciated the early CRHA show was Allen Stecklein, Jr. of Lytle Creek, Calif., in San Bernardino County.

“We love it, these early shows are perfect for schooling,” said Stecklein, who moved to California from south-eastern Colorado almost three years ago. “We have a few (NRHA) futurity prospects, so shows like this present excellent schooling opportunities for those types of horses.”

One of Stecklein’s 2010 futurity hopefuls is Einstein’s Image, also known as “Penny.” Traveling to the CRHA Winter Madness show was only Penny’s second time away from home. Stecklein took the opportunity to school her in a large venue (the Equidome) for the first time. “She’ll go through several schooling events and mock show situations, to get her comfortable with her job.’ Stecklein said. “She’s in the middle of her training program right now–had one year of training and she has one year to go.”

With these young horses and futurity prospects, Stecklein and other trainers were not showing horses to their full potential yet. “I walk into the pen and make them think they’re going to show–but the minute they mess up, I can fix them,” Stecklein said. “Once I get all the problems fixed–toward the end of the year when they’re reaching their peak–it will be time to take them to the futurity and show for real.”

Stecklein brought give horses to CRHA Winter Madness, and one of his top horses was Peppys Lilly Shine, owned by Flying B Reiners, who took the reserve in a CRHA Open class.

Larry and Poncie Gimple of Track One Events manage CRHA shows.

By Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Larry and Poncie Gimple of Track One Events manage CRHA shows.

Ride for the Fight against breast cancer
The Winter Madness show was also the kickoff point for a breast-cancer prevention campaign. Southern California reiners Kirsten Booth, Kelsey Nichols and Jessica Tourino have teamed together to start a promotion called Ride for the Fight Cowgirls to support breast cancer awareness and prevention, and also raise funds for the Keep A Breast Foundation.

At the 34 horse shows and events they plan to attend in 2010, they will be promoting their cause, wearing pink and trying to raise funds.

“We’re riding out here all the time, and so much money gets poured into shows,” said Jessica Tourino of Temecula. “It would be great to actually pour that money into something that can give back to people or a cause that fights something faced by people everyday.”
Jessica’s mother, Kim Tourino, will also be selling Angel Eyewear’s “Pink Hope Sunglasses” through their The Dirty Cowgirl clothing boutique, which is a vendor at many Southern California horse shows, especially those at LAEC.

“Proceeds from every pair of those sunglasses sold goes back toward the Keep A Breast Foundation,” Jessica Tourino said. “Because we have a clothing boutique, we figure we can sell those in our store and give the money back to a worthy organization.”

“Everybody on the team has been affected by cancer through their families,” said Kim Tourino, who said all three riders have either lost family members from cancer or have relatives who are fighting it.

Jessica Tourino said it’s wonderful that Track One Events organizes the Classic Championships Horse Show dedicated to cancer awareness each August, but the Ride for the Fight Cowgirls want to promote the cause at every show they attend.

New reiners welcome
In its continuing efforts to attract and support new reiners, CRHA introduced a new NRHA Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup class for its 2010 season at the Winter Madness show.
NRHA has also further broken down both the Rookie-rider classes and Novice horses into Levels 1 and 2 for both divisions.

“It encourages entry-level riders to show because they don’t want to compete against the bigger money earners,” Farquhar said.

CRHA is also planning to further its members’ training through events, such as a reining clinic with Andrea Fappani on March 13, and a Green As Grass clinic in 2010.

“The Green As Grass clinic is entry level for people who want to get into reining, but maybe they’re a little scared to step directly into a class,” Farquhar said. “This gives them a chance to learn more about reining, what they and their horse might be required to do, and we’ll show them the basic skills to do it.”

The previous Green As Grass clinic was very popular and it encouraged CRHA to keep holding them. “We got such a good response–not as much from people already going to shows, but from backyard horsepeople who were interested in reining but weren’t sure before,” Farquhar said. “It gives them skills if they want to go farther, or seek out a trainer to learn more about the discipline of reining.”

Martha Torkington of San Diego used the Winter Madness show to have her trainer Monica Albair start showing Torkington’s West Coast Safari, a 6-year-old Quarter Horse. “In 2010, I am looking forward to having my horse in CRHA and Jack and Linda Baker classes,” Torkington said. “We need to show lots of support to the CRHA for offering a variety of classes, with choices for beginners who can show without pressure.”
Show officials also thanked their sponsors who help keep CRHA shows running. “We really reply on sponsors as a base, so we can put more money and prizes into the shows and do more things,” Farquhar said. “Sponsors don’t just have to donate money–it can be awards, products, facilities, their time, or trainers with judges cards who want to help out.”

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