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Lindsey Spencer is CRHA Reiner of the Year

From Horsetrader staff reports - November 21st, 2013 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

Vol. 35, No. 3 CoverBURBANK — If someone said Lindsey Spencer skated away with the 2013 California Reining Horse Association Reiner of the Year Award, they wouldn’t be far from the truth.

The Riverside area horsewoman may have taken up reining’s circles and patterns just seven years ago, but her youth from age 6 was spent alongside her older sister in competitive ice skating, where they both achieved senior level recognition in national competition. The training, discipline and awareness from that experience may have provided the 36-year-old Spencer a leg up in the show pen.

“When I got into reining, the patterns were similar to old-school skating patterns, and I fell in love with the workmanship and the dedication,” says Spencer, a 36-year-old Limited Non Pro reiner who won the CRHA event that pits qualified riders of all divisions in a handicapped finale at the Challenge. “I am able to visualize a pattern and know where to be. As a figure skater back then, you had to do figures. Knowing circles has helped me because I don’t have to look for the circle, I can kind of feel it.”

Pat Wickenheiser shined in Open Derby events at the CRHA Challenge Oct. 23-27, taking Linda Katz's Lenaliltothewright to Level 1 and 2 reserve titles as well as BH Wimpy to a Level 4 reserve title to go with championships in Levels 1 through 3.

Pat Wickenheiser shined in Open Derby events at the CRHA Challenge Oct. 23-27, taking Linda Katz’s Lenaliltothewright to Level 1 and 2 reserve titles as well as BH Wimpy to a Level 4 reserve title to go with championships in Levels 1 through 3.

John O’Hara photo

Spencer purchased Otoe Chant Pine, aka “Patches,” through Roberta McCarty in late 2006. Except for occasional coaching from Marcy Ver Meer at shows, she trains alone in a regimen from 4 to 5 a.m. that allows for her to get 9 year-old daughter Rhyann to school on time and then report to work at JL Custom Jackets, the business she and her husband, Jeff, run.

Win or lose — and she’s been mostly winning this year — Spencer adores Patches, and she is driven to meet their potential together. Her goal this year was to win the CRHA Reiner of the Year, which became a tougher challenge two weeks before the show when she tore the ACL in her knee playing soccer.

“The first thing I asked my doctor was when could I get back on my horse,” says Spencer, who was never injured in all her years of ice skating. She made some adjustments. She mounted Patches from the opposite side since she could not bend her leg, and she wore a brace. The hardest part?

“Stopping,” she says. “I had to change the way I sit because I had to take pressure off my knee. It was good — I’m learning to sit better. It pushes me that much more behind the horse. I think it’s a good thing.”

She postponed her surgery until December, after which she’ll map out goals for 2014.

“I feel really blessed,” she says. “I am kind of at a disadvantage when it comes to time and money and breed and all of that, but I still love reining. I like the people and the challenge. It’s been a tough year, but a good year. I’m just looking forward to more good, positive things.”

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