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A Year Remembered

Some memorable news from a year in - and out - of the arena

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 20th, 2012 - Show & Event News

Nancy Nathanson received the USEF Medal of Honor on Jan. 14.

JANUARY: Nancy Nathanson of Santa Ynez received the coveted USEF Medal of Honor for her outstanding service to horses and equestrian sports on Jan. 14. For more than a quarter-century, Nancy has been a trainer and breeder of Andalusians and Lusitanos, and she has served as a highly respected multibreed show secretary at driving competitions, as well as Paso Fino, Andalusian, and Friesian shows.

Another remarkable California horsewoman went to the podium at the USEF banquet in Cincinnati. Xena Vimercati of Murrieta accepted the USEF Horse of the Year Award for her 7-year-old Friesian stallion, Sjoerd, who was named a co-winner of the prestigious award along with Neville Bardos.

There was good news in January in San Juan Capistrano when, just seven months after a regional outbreak of EHV-1 in spring of 2011, a new reporting of the virus at a large horse facility was contained.

Later that month, the Extreme Mustang Makeover kicked off 2012 competition with the Mustang Magic in Fort Worth Texas, and Joe Misner of Twentynine Palms led a trio of California competitors, finishing eighth on Desert Damsel.

The mare, who was gathered at Warm Springs Canyon, Nev., was adopted for $4,400 by Aaron Smith-Tayson of Twentynine Palms. Last year’s winner at Norco, Don Douglas of Paicines, took 13th at the Mustang Magic aboard Abilene, who was adopted for $2,850 by 20 for the third EMM event in Norco.

Obbie Schlom burst into the equine scene when she finished with the champion and reserve champion Mustangs at the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Norco this year.

FEBRUARY: Jonathan Ramsay, who trains and manages at Stachowski West, a San Marcos-based extension of the venerable Stachowski Farm in Ohio, shined at the 57th Annual Scottsdale Arabian Show, winning the Half-Arabian English Pleasure Championship with Lady Ava Isabela, owned by Helen Lacey Reed of Rancho Santa Fe. It was one the biggest classes in a show of big classes.

Other highlights for Ramsay and Stakowski West came with RA Alliza unanimously winning the Half-Arabian Country English Pleasure class for owner Marleen Liechtfuss, and rider Hannah Bell of Encinitas riding her family’s Hot Wheelz GM to the Half-Arabian English Show Hack 17-under

MARCH: Although far removed from the devastating tornadoes that hammered the southeastern U.S. on March 2, West Coast benefactors pitched in with helping hands and fund-raising efforts during the recovery. The National Weather Service said 42 tornadoes tore through Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio with winds as high as 180 mph, knocking out utilities and flattening homes and barns. All told, 39 people died. Kentucky was among the hardest hit by the twisters. Farm operators William and Rhonda McCardle lost 15 of the Quarter Horses residing in a barn on their Crittendon, Ky., property when the tornado struck, demolishing the structure.

Elaine Olsen won the 2012 AMHA Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship with Stonecroft Notorious.

MAY: Congress passed the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Backcountry Access Act, introduced by Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA). The bill directed the National Park Service (NPS) to issue permits to commercial horse and mule packers to operate in the
wilderness areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Due to a lawsuit the NPS had not yet issued permits for the 2012 season.

An annual, four-day San Juan Capistrano-to-Norco trail ride in its 18th year turned tragic May 4 when a horse died after a 300-foot fall down a steep, remote hillside near Trabuco Canyon. Clay Southerland of Orange Park Acres and his 4-year-old, Cash, were among 45 horse-and-rider teams taking part in the 62-mile trek by the Norco Outriders. The Norco Animal Rescue Team responded to the emergency. Riders and their horses were later airlifted by a OCFA helicopter. Forty of the initial 45 riders finished the trail ride.

JUNE: Eighteen-year-old Obbie Schlom of Silverado burst onto the equine scene when she finished with the champion and reserve champion Mustangs at the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Norco. Her horsemanship skills and enthusiasm caught the attention of many in the horse world, including Road to the Horse creator, Tootie Bland. After a decade of watching the most talented clinicians and horse trainers compete at Road to the Horse, Bland recognized Schlom’s potential and
gave her the chance to represent Team U.S.A at Road to the Horse next March, teaming up with fellow Californian Sarah Winters.

Don Burt passed away at age 82 on Nov. 24.

JULY: Katherine Rich-Elzig of Green Acres Ranch in Temecula says she had a good show, and she would know a Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals when she sees one — she has made the last 19 of them. The 31-year-old trainer, who won her first AHA Youth National Championship in 1996—aboard Tinka-Exouds Son in Hunt Seat Equitation, watched her pupils like Olivia Welch and Whitney Campbell win National Championships of their own at the show that she says she likes above all others. Rich-Elzig’s pair of students were two of more than 30 California youth who brought home a National Championship to the Golden State.

One memorable performance by a young horsewoman at the AHA Youth Nationals was that turned in by 12-year-old Tabitha Bell, who rode QR Irish Kouream to Top Ten in Hunter Pleasure Junior to Ride this summer. Tabitha had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a disorder of muscle weakness that can make a challenge of routine activities, let alone horseback competition. Jonathan Ramsay, her trainer, finds her inspiring.

“Tabby is the kind of person that has never told me that she can’t do something I have asked of her,” said Ramsey. “She comes to every ride wanting to do more and try new things. Tabby has never let her disabilities get in her way, playing on an equal field with her peers.”

Tabitha is recovering from spinal surgery to remedy painful curvature that can accompany MD. She hopes to sing to sing the National Anthem at next summer’s Youth Nationals.

SEPTEMBER: Maggie Cincatta, 12, returned home from the inaugural American Horsemen’s Challenge Association National Finals with a smile and a national championship. Under trainer Robin Bond, she and Rayo, shined at the AHCA National Finals Sept. 28-30 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, Texas, where she won a saddle, buckle and money as the Wrangler Division (12-under) National Champion as well as another buckle, halter and money as the Reserve Champion of the Youth Division (18-under). Bond, an EXCA headliner in the Pro Division, returned with her own booty, winning the Open Championship and Reserve along with a reserve in the 4-year-old Futurity competition. She trains now at the Deer Springs Equestrian Center in San Marcos.

OCTOBER: At the 40th American Morgan Horse Association World Championship and Grand National Horse Show, Californians rose to the top. Elaine Olsen won the 2012 AMHA Classic Pleasure Driving World Championship with Stonecroft Notorious (Stonecroft Masquerade x JW Belle Aire). A star in-hand at this year’s Grand National was Causing Chaos, a 2-year-old filly owned by Caprice Soltice and Matthew Wilbur that was named AMHA World Grand Champion Mare. The breeder of the filly, Ann Miller of Miller Equestrian at Valle Vista Farm in Escondido, was linked to another AMHA World Champion, 10-year-old Katie Myron of Rancho Santa Fe, who trains with Miller and took the 11-and-under Saddle Seat Classic Equitation aboard Festival Sundance in her first AMHA World Championship Show.

Californians also shined at the International Friesian Show Horse Association World Championships, which returned to Del Mar in 2012. Sjoerd won nine classes and got reserves in 13 others en route to being the overall Reserve High Point Purebred Friesian behind Debie Stuart’s Jilke fan de Koarndyk. Pippa Ariss, competed in 10 classes with two horses and returned home with five World and National CHampionships and five reserves.

NOVEMBER: The equestrian world lost one of its brightest lights with the passing Nov. 24 of Burbank native Don Burt at age 82. For his decades of services to the equestrian industry, Burt was awarded the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and the Jimmy A. Williams Trophy in 2007. He was also added to the Honor Roll of Distinguished Officials in 2011. He also received the Equine Industry Vision Award in 2003, and the National Reining Horse Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

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