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Favorite Memories

From Horsetrader staff reports - July 18th, 2013 - Feature Article

One of the nation’s top horse organizations, Equestrian Trails, Inc., has its annual Championship Show and Convention in Los Angeles on July 26-28. The fun lasts all year long, though, with memories made on the trail and the arena.

July Mary Timmer, Corral 22
Is my most memorable ride stark, silent, expanse of Anza Borrego or the cool, fog-shrouded, thunderous ocean of Morro Bay? I have been delighted by magic carpets of tiny golden flowers at Pioneertown and the sheer joy of riding the surf at Morro Bay, the cool waves breaking over my saddle, galloping parallel to the shore. I remember waking midnight in a quiet camp to see silver moonlight painting the tops of endless pine ridges. It is difficult to choose one ride.

Yet, I think I am able to pick a favorite. This ride is long gone on a trail now grown over narrow without the tread of horse’s hooves. The legendary Messenger Flats Ride.

It was a lovely, local ride where you didn’t have to haul your horse 100 miles to be transported to another world. It had all the elements of a perfect ride. A trail with just enough of a challenge to provide great stories for the campfire and a delightful, welcoming camp at trail’s end.

Beginning at the open mouth of Big Tujunga Canyon, where the creek runs slow and wide, the track winds up Trail Canyon skirting that hair-raising granite corner, an inch from just air. It switches up to the safety of Indian Ben Saddle where we were met by a welcome water truck and perhaps some beverages. Here, the trail forked and the adventurous could enjoy the shaded, fern shrouded ledges of Deer Canyon or take the easier trail up to camp. In camp you were met by corrals for your horses, your camping gear, a lovely cooked meal and best of all, a live country band! The night was filled with music and dancers shuffling the two step, raising granite dust.
Riding home the next day, it didn’t matter, the scary granite ledge or the long trail home. My head would still be full of music, moonlight on piney ridges and dancing under the stars.

Kimberly DwightKimberly Dwight, Corral 138
I’d waited a LONG time to get a horse. I whined, wished and waited 25 years after I first fell in love with horses. One of my favorite ETI memories was my first Trail Trial with my chestnut Quarter Horse, Chip A Tailwind. It was with Corral 12 in Sylmar. I earned fourth-place and was hooked on Trail Trials. Driving home I embarrassed my seven year old daughter, Courtney, by flaunting my ribbon out the window and yelling “I HAVE A HORSE!” 23 years later I’m still obsessed. I’ve added four black geldings to the herd over the years and lots of first places from Trail Trials with each of them. In October 2011, our ETI Corral 138 ride was my 33 wedding anniversary ride and vow renewal at Vasquez rocks. I wore my original wedding dress.

Pat Demers, Lancaster
My favorite memories are the camaraderie of all the volunteer staff who make the convention show happen year after year! I’ve volunteered to be chairman, course designer/builder, and general go-fer’ thru the years. We’ve had as few as five entries to 20, and everyone has a great time, and I’m proud to be a part of ETI!

Megan KitckoMegan Kitcko, Corral 86
My favorite ETI memory is when my horse and I went swimming with all the Junior Ambassadors. We get to do some pretty fun things — this time we went camping in Rancho Oso. That weekend I was able to go for a couple of rides. This one ended up at the swim hole and we all took our horses in the water. Bob Foster, who is now the president of ETI, took us on a night ride where I could hardly see my hand in front of my face. It was such a great weekend. I love all of my friends I have made in ETI and love our corral 86.

Stephen Citron
I remember the rides to the poppy reserve best along with my wife Linda and our Arab horses, Lancer and Siseley. We rode in gorgeous colors of poppies, goldfields, and owls clover, with spots of lupine, and blue dicks all around.

Marcy WattonMarcy Watton, Corral 138
ETI member since 1994

Over the years I have belonged Corrals 10, 19 (now defunct), 20, and 22, and now 138. Through ETI, I have met and made friends with the most wonderful and knowledgeable equestrians. Terry, Janie, Patty, Jeanne, Roberta, Kimberly, Joe and Antoinette, Teresa, and many more, each one a treasure, but my most cherished moments were riding with Bert Bonnett and Darrell Readmond. Bert never spoke an unkind word about anyone and had a soft spot in his heart for every child and animal. With his patience and sweet nature, he was an amazing horse trainer. Every day I rode with Bert was the best day of my life. Darrell was my friend and mentor, helping me navigate my way through the sometimes nefarious world of trail advocacy. I miss being able to call him up for advice, and now when I have a question I find myself thinking, “What would Darrell do?” I am very lucky to have been able to raise my horse-crazy daughter, Georgia, with the support and love of my ETI friends. We have enjoyed many ETI trail rides, trail trials and camp outs with our friends over the years…making for many fond memories. Thank you to all my friends in ETI for sharing your lives with my daughter and me.

Kelly O’Connell, Pasadena
I remember winning the ETI Convention Volunteer’s Class at its annual convention. If you are a volunteer — which is how all of ETI’s three-day fundraising show is run — you are can ride in this class. I was the Office Chairperson and had been working 14-hour days to prep and run this show. A competitor, Stacie Wight, came into the office and dragged me out, pinned a number on my back and gave me a leg up onto her lovely western pleasure horse. I had never ridden a “spur trained” horse, and Jill was very patient with me and my tennis shoes!

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