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From GOOD to ‘GREAT’

- May 1st, 2024
GETTING ‘ER DONE: Nicole Donahoo and Very Smart Pearl (aka “Captain Jack”) won the 2024 NRCHA World’s Greatest Youth Horseman title in February. (Primo Morales photo)

Nicole Donahoo brings home 2024 NRCHA World’s Greatest Youth Horseman title

By Horsetrader staff

The packed Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas, was a loud pressure-cooker when Nicole Donahoo and Very Smart Pearl stepped into the arena for her final go in the NRCHA World’s Greatest Youth Horseman finals in February.

Then, she nailed it.

Her championship crowned a 10-year youth show path from junior rodeo to cow horse, along the way putting tools into her toolbox that she continues to build as a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Which tool did she rely on as she entered the final? Start with her mindset.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Young equestrians joined the April 25 demonstration at Costa Mesa City Hall against proposed boarding fee hikes at the Orange County Fairgrounds Equestrian Center. (Courtesy photo)

Boarding rent hike stirs equestrian center protests at OC Fairgrounds

From staff reports

COSTA MESA — Equestrians of all ages, sizes and disciplines — many with their horses in-hand — gathered outside Costa Mesa City Hall April 25 in protest of stabling rent increases at the Orange County Fairgrounds Equestrian Center. It was the most recent of multiple demonstrations over the past 18 months by local equestrians who are concerned that the big rent increases would impact and eventually lead to the closing of the facility altogether.

The effort came during a scheduled meeting of the Orange County Fair & Event Center’s Board of Directors.

Identifying your horse

- May 1st, 2024
Each breed registry has its own method for identifying the animal for which they produce papers for. (Courtesy photo)

From ‘hot branding’ to DNA analysis, various forms of ID have come a long way

By Daniel H. Grove / Horsetrader columnist

We all love our horses. We invest time and money into their care and upkeep. I think it is natural for us to want to protect the emotional and financial investment we have in our horses. This month I am going to discuss the various forms of identifying our horses.

Registration Paperwork — Each breed registry has its own method for identifying the animal for which they produce papers for. Pictures, written descriptions, and drawings are found on these different documents. They usually also include the parentage of the registered horse.

Green Acres Ranch in Temecula will host the region’s premier cow horse event of 2024, the Jimmy Flores, Sr. Memorial Show May 9-12. (Danger Dingo photo)

Jimmy Flores, Sr. Memorial cow horse competition highlights a line-up of big late-spring events

From Horsetrader sales staff

One of the highlights of the year is the annual Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association tribute to Jimmy Flores, Sr., who passed away in 2015 after a life dedicated to horses in general and the reined cow horse sport in particular. Springtime in Southern California wine country is hard to beat for a horse show venue, and Green Acres Ranch will host a winner in this four-day event that includes three full slates of NRCHA classes plus Spectacular divisions in Open Bridle, Limited Open Bridle, Open Hackamore, Limited Open Hackamore, Non Pro Bridle, Non Pro Hackamore and Non Pro Boxing. For information, see the ad, or visit the association’s website at www.scrcha.com

The March 27 dedication of the new KenTina Trail in Valle de los Caballos in Temecula attracted local supporters from all ages and disciplines. (Photo courtesy TVRL).

Newest leg of Wine Country Trails gets well-attended ribbon-cutting

Special to the Horsetrader

TEMECULA — Temecula Valley Rural Lifestyles, Inc., a non-profit organization committed to preserving and enhancing equestrian lifestyle in their special Riverside County region, hosted a dedication ceremony March 27 for the newest segment of the Wine Country Trails Network, the KenTina Trail.

Family, friends and equestrians on horseback gathered along Los Caballos Road to commemorate the naming of the trail for Galway Downs owners Ken and Tina Smith, two leading equestrian supporters. The Smiths, who acquired Galway Downs in 2010, earned naming rights to the trail by virtue of the winning bid in last year’s TVRL Fundraiser Gala auction.

‘I can still do it!’

- April 3rd, 2024
After 10 years, Didi Engler returned to competition at the 2024 Cactus Classic with her mare, Lil’ Buckskin Baby, and earned a Top 5 in Legends Non Pro. (Waltenberry photo)

At 86 years young, Didi Engler reenters
reining arena, shines at Cactus Classic

By Horsetrader staff

CHINO HILLS — When Didi Engler learned of a new National Reining Horse Association Legends Non Pro Division, it was the start of something new.

Actually, it was a restart of something quite familiar — and important — to her. It had been 10 years since she had competed in a reining arena, and new rules allowing competitors aged 70 and over to place their hand on the pommel horn was a difference-maker for her confidence.

“That opened up a whole new world,” she says from the breezeway at King Performance Horses, the barn she has been with since 1986. “If I could hold on to a pommel horn, I’d feel safe.”

The April ‘In Gate’

- April 1st, 2024
Brannaman L.A. clinic is April 26-28 in Agua Dulce.

Spectators are welcome to Brannaman L.A. clinic April 26-28

From the Horsetrader sales staff

If you are a student of horsemanship, you are familiar with Buck Brannaman, who will be conducting a three-day clinic in Los Angeles April 26-28. Bring your chair (but, please, not your dog) for the event, which will take place at the JPK Ranch in Agua Dulce. No reservations are needed to be a spectator, who can enjoy the educational environment for $30 per day. Each day will feature Foundational Horsemanship from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a lunch break from noon to 1:30. Concluding the afternoon will be Horsemanship 1 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Food will be available on site, and for additional information, contact Sandy at (626) 524-3166, or by checking out the website at www.brannaman.com. Please see the ad on page 15.

The Mules’ Day

- March 26th, 2024
Started by the packers 54 years ago, Bishop Mule Days has grown into an international showcase. (Bishop Mule Days photo)

More than a show, Bishop Mule Days shares heritage

From Staff reports

BISHOP — For five days, every Memorial Day weekend, more than 25,000 fans from around the U.S. and the world converge on Bishop for this colorful and fun festival. It is a tradition that began in 1969 as a send-off event for local packers and outfitters to get the summer season going.

Today, more than 700 mules with their trainers, riders and packers attend 14 mule shows that include equestrian disciplines such as Western, English, youth, barrel racing, gymkhana, packing, shoeing, chariot racing, team roping and driving. The result is a tremendous display of human and animal skills.

Happy Trail!

- March 7th, 2024
Legendary horsewoman Pat Ommert of Temecula cuts the ceremonial ribbon to open the Pat Ommert Trail, flanked by (from left) Riverside County COO Juan Perez, County Supervisor Chuck Washington, County staff member Phayvanh Nanthavongdouangsy, and emcee Mark Madsen. (Photo courtesy Supervisor Chuck Washington)

After a long ride to completion, Temecula trail advocates celebrate

From Horsetrader staff reports

TEMECULA — Travelers along DePortola Road aren’t accustomed to big commotions on a Thursday morning, but there it was on Feb. 22: dozens of observers, several dignitaries, a mounted posse, even media.

It was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Pat Ommert Trail. After 15 years of dedicated work, the stars had finally aligned and the 2.3-mile trail through Valle de los Caballos, linking Anza Road to the vineyards, would officially open.

The brightest star, legendary horsewoman and lifelong horse advocate Pat Ommert, arrived promptly at 11 a.m. — pulled at age 94 by a team of draft horses instead of Roman Riding them as she gracefully did for decades. When she cut the ribbon, flanked by Riverside County officials including Supervisor Chuck Washington, about five dozen supporters, sponsors and trail users cheered.


Cow horse Kick Off

- February 1st, 2024

New year, same excitement in SCRCHA opener


Chris Delmer and Kiana Cat kicked off their 2024 SCRCHA season with a herd work title at the Cow Horse Kick Off Jan. 5-7 at Tucalota Creek Ranch in Temecula. (Danger Dingo photo)


By SUE CARTER / for the Horsetrader

TEMECULA — Southern California s cow horse community came together Jan. 5-7 to salute its 2023 champions and also launch the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association’s 2024 campaign.

SCRCHA members were glad to be back on their horses after the bustle of the holidays, and the Kick Off Show sponsored by Dr. Doug Lawrence and Dr. Wayne McNeel of Equine Health Management was a great start to the new campaign.

Tucalota Creek Ranch hosted the show, including a fun pizza party with wine tasting that took place while SCRCHA 2023 Year End Champions received their buckles and awards.