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Former Californian Schmersal rides Boom Shernic to big win

From Horsetrader staff reports - May 6th, 2010

KATY, Texas – In the four years he’s been training Boom Shernic, Craig Schmersal has always known what’s under him. It was no surprise, then, that the 6-year old stallion (Boomernic x She And Chic Dunit) captured the Open Final of the richest National Reining Breeders Classic yet, held April 14-20 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

“I’ve been knocking on the door for several years with him,” said Schmersal, who moved his operation to Overbrook, Okla., from Menifee in 2005. “That’s the thing about that horse. He’s been a hard-knocker. Every time you show somewhere, he has a chance to win.”

The duo’s 228 bested 30 other riders in a tough finals that required a 221 to enter. Reserve was split between Jordan Larson on Stop Like A Dream, owned by Gilbertgo Leal, and Shawn Flarida on Wimpys Little Chic, owned by Arcese Quarter Horses — both with 227.5.

The NBRC event has evolved into one of – if not the – favorite stops on reiners’ calendars. The large, well-footed arena combined with the aged horses make an event that truly allows the showing of a reiner. The fact that this event is well-run by its management team helps, too, as its steady growth indicates. This year’s total payout of $1,405,903 was the most ever, and entries for the show and the Classic totaled about 1,900 – an increase of five percent.

‘It’s like going home’

Champions crowned at 65th Del Mar National Western Week

From Horsetrader staff reports - May 6th, 2010
Ryan Norberg of Chino Hills and Huntin Oreos were Western Pleasure stars at the 65th ANnual Del Mar National Horse Show.

Rick Osteen photo

Ryan Norberg of Chino Hills and Huntin Oreos were Western Pleasure stars at the 65th ANnual Del Mar National Horse Show.

DEL MAR — John Varble has been bringing horses that he has trained himself to the Del Mar National Horse Show for more than 40 years.

“It’s like going home again,” he says. “There’s two shows that are musts for me — Santa Barbara and Del Mar.”

Varble, 82, who manages the American Jewish University (formerly the James Arness Ranch) in Simi Valley, racked up four NRHA championships at Del Mar this year on his bay mare, Peaches Dillon.

While Varble took home the hardware — trophies, plaques, blankets and blue ribbons — Glen Miller of Gold Creek Equine in Perris shadowed him. Miller and Topgun Won It, or “Derby”, as he’s called, finished reserve to Varble in all four classes — Open, Non Pro, Limited Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro.

Popular vet Dr. Van Snow dies in plane crash

From the Newstrader - May 6th, 2010
Dr. Van Snow

Dr. Van Snow

SANTA YNEZ — More than 2,000 friends and family descended on the Santa Lucia Farm Sunday, April 18, to pay respects and honor Dr. Van Snow, a veterinarian and pilot who died in a plane crash near Borrego Springs 10 days earlier.

Dr. Snow, 58, was a prominent equine veterinarian and an early pioneer in shock-wave therapy to treat soft-tissue injuries and stress fractures in horses. He was an expert on lameness and was known for his work with stem cells and other groundbreaking therapies.

Dr. Snow was reportedly planning to compete in an air show and was practicing in his experimental Harmon Rocket when it crashed just short of the runway at Borrego Valley Airport in north east San Diego County.

Robert Chown gets media award at NRBC

From the Newstrader - May 6th, 2010

KATY, Texas — Sandwiched between Friday night competitions at the National Reining Breeders Classic April 12-18 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center, Robert Chown was acknowledged as the NRBC’s latest media award winner. The Bonsall, Calif., native waved and returned to work as host of the No. 1-rated show on RFD-TV, the Wide World Of Horses.

The budding star of equestrian broadcasting, who is also a 19-time World Champion in stock horse and reining arenas, got his on-camera break not because of his talent, first-hand knowledge and work ethic, but because of timing.

Memories with Mom

What is YOUR favorite horse story shared with your mom?

By Horsetrader readers - May 6th, 2010

Keeping the pony dry…
Venice Liston, Riverside, Ca
I’m the mother — but I thought I’d share our story. I was 29 and my daughter, Elishia, was 7 when we first got into horses – and we got her first pony. He was a Shetland Pinto, about 11.1 hand (good thing my daughter is very small … she’s still 5-feet-4 at age 26 today!) We named him Oreo since he was black and white. We were new to horses, and this was our first small ranch. It was a stormy, rainy night after we had rain all day. We only had partial covers, so Oreo was soaking wet. I felt so badly because my daughter Elishia felt so sad for her pony. So, thinking I was doing a good thing for Oreo and my daughter, I brought Little Oreo into my living-room, in front of the fireplace. My daughter was so excited, she got her blowdryer and we proceeded to blow dry him. Well, we got him all dry and fluffy. He looked happy. Then my husband came into the living room and said, “Well now that you got him all dry, when are you taking him back outside to his stall?” Oh, Oh. We didn’t think that far. We just thought we were doing a good thing for Oreo, and I thought I was doing a good thing for my daughter. But poor Oreo, all nice and warm and dry in our living room, had to go outside back to his stall with the partial cover to get all wet again. I think we made it worse. We will never forget that. Now, after owning horses for about 21 years, we know better. Now I have a 3-acre ranch with about 18 horses — some mine, some boarders — and all have full covers.I have made sure of it. Not a one will get wet in the rain. Ever. In fact, I think the horses I’ve raised are very spoiled and they do not even know what rain is. (Don’t know if this is good or bad.) But at least I know, and my daugher knows, forever on my ranch no horse will stand in the rain again!

Staying Relaxed in the Saddle

By LES VOGT / Horsetrader columnist - May 6th, 2010

When you see an equine athlete performing, you’ll notice that although they exhibit tremendous power, every movement is fluid and relaxed. There is no tension or stiffness anywhere. If this type of performance is your ultimate goal, the first thing you need to check on is your own riding. When you ride are you fluid and relaxed, with no tension or stiffness anywhere? Many novice riders get so focused on a particular movement that they end up carrying a lot of tension in different parts of their body, shoulders in particular. Stiffness in the rider results in movements and cues that are laborious and abrupt instead of smooth and flowing, and this will result in resistance and stiffness in the horse’s movements as well. This is why many of the exercises in this first section are designed to help you develop your feel and learn to stay relaxed in the saddle.

Congratulations are in order for Cindy Mendoza, who is saddling up and competing in reined cow horse events in 2010 after a half-dozen years behind the scenes as a director of the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association –the last three years as club president. She’s making up for lost time! In the Novice Bridle competition at the NRCHA Hackamore Classic in Paso Robles April 23-25, Cindy and CP Remedy (Tangys Classy Peppy X Miss Remedy) were reserve champions. This came two weeks after she won three Novice Bridle classes at one-day NRCHA shows put on by the Arizona Reined Cow Horse Association in Queen Creek.

Third Annual Norco Founder’s Day ride a success!

From norconow.com reports - May 6th, 2010
More than 200 riders pose for the 10th Anniversary of the Pedley Field photo at the Founder’s Day Ride May 1.

Brigitte Jouxtel photo

More than 200 riders pose for the 10th Anniversary of the Pedley Field photo at the Founder’s Day Ride May 1.

NORCO — While numbers were down this year, more than 200 hundred riders made the trek around the magnificent Lake Norconian on May 1 to pose for a 10th Anniversary of the Pedley Field Photograph.

“The ride was made possible because of a wonderful partnership between the Lake Norconian Club Foundation, City of Norco, the Norco College and NWS Seal Beach,” said organizer Kevin Bash.

This years sponsors were Double-D Rentals of Norco, John Tavaglione, the Harry and Hilda Eisen Family Foundation, Western Waste and Hemborg Ford.
Kevin says this is the third year in a row the ride went without a hitch and not a single accident.

“Many thanks go to trail bosses Berwin Hanna and Bonnie Slagel, the Norco Horseman’s Association, the Norco Mounted Posse, Norco High School JROTC and Environmental Science Class, the Riverside Key Club, the Norco Kiwanis, Norco Parks and Recreation, the City of Norco, the Norco Citizens Patrol, Beth Groves, Brian Petree and the City of Norco, Dr. Brenda Davis and the new Norco College — and in particular George LeTourneau and Gregg Smith of NWS Seal Beach.

Copies of the 10th anniversary photo may be obtained at brigittejouxtel.smugmug.com.

Spanish ‘half-breeds’ an option when full breeds not a right fit

By RAY ARISS / Horsetrader columnist - May 5th, 2010

HEY RAY!: I’ve always dreamed of owning a Spanish horse — Andalusian or Lusitano — but now they are just out of my reach financially. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on Spanish half-breeds as a “Plan B”?
— Karen Hollis, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

HEY KAREN: I can understand the attraction for those exotic breeds. They truly are beautiful. The nice thing about the Andalusian is that when crossed with other breeds, their traits usually enhance the new foal. The other advantage of a Spanish cross is that it can be registered as a new pure breed, or at least a half-Andalusian horse. Having a venue to compete in helps in the event you want to showcase or promote your horse.

Some of the most popular crosses that are actual breeds include:
IBERIAN WARMBLOOD (Andalusian X Thoroughbred)
AZTECA (Andalusian X Quarter horse)
ARALUSIAN or HISPANO-ARABE (Andalusian X Arabian)
SPANISH NORMAN (Andalusian X Draft)
WARLANDER (Andalusian X Friesian)

As far as cost goes, with the exception of the Warlander, most of these crosses can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a purebred Andalusian. Warlander foals can sometimes cost as much as a pure Andalusian or Friesian foal because the value of each breed is about the same.

Now then, the key in any breeding is to try to combine the right horses in a way that produces an offspring that is better than the two parents. Any breeding should be carefully selected for form to function. I’ve known many people who got into an exotic breed strictly for the beauty and “fantasy” of it all, so please ask yourself the question: “Are you looking for a really pretty horse, or one that can do something?” Since the Spanish horse is a horse that was intended for kings, looks and function were a prerequisite.

The other thing about the Spanish horse is that it has been a foundation for many breeds we know today — one of the reasons why they cross so well. In essence, what you are doing is going back to the beginning. The question, then, is why pick one cross over another?

If you want a big-strided, hot horse with speed like the Thoroughbred but you would prefer something a little more sensible and with a bit more substance for competition, then I think the Iberian Warmblood is your ticket.

On the other hand, if you are more of a western-type rider that likes a Quarter Horse because they are strong, quick at the start, and cowy — but wished you had a bigger foot, denser bone and a little more hair for exhibitions or a parade — then the Azteca might fit the bill.

The Arabian is one of those extremely versatile horses. You’ll see them on the track, in front of a cart, going over jumps, reining and cutting cows — and in every single event in the show arena. But the one thing they do better than any breed is endurance. The Aralusian is a culmination of these things — on “steroids”, figuratively speaking. The body gets bigger, the hair gets longer, the movement gets fancier, the mind gets clearer, and the beauty becomes magnified. If you feel oversized on an Arab but love all of these qualities (and you believe bigger is better and love to go all day long), then look no further.
If you fancy the strong, quiet and subdued qualities of the gentle giants known as Drafts but wished they were slightly more refined and a little lighter on their feet, then the Spanish Norman might be yourknight in shining armor.

When a fantasy horse is what you are looking for, and you can’t make up your mind whether you want the white one or the black one because they are both absolutely perfect, then look at the Warlander. He’ll not only enhance the qualities of each breed and heighten possilities in the show ring, but he will pleasantly surprise you into thinking that price was not a determining factor in owning one.

Karen, I can assure you that whatever choice you make will be the right one. I personally have owned all of the crosses mentioned above at one time or another, and I thoroughly appreciate what each horse had to offer to my life.

Remember to always trust your instincts and think safe,


Horsetrader columnist Ray Ariss, husband to Pippa Ariss and father of six, shares his insight into the relationship of horseand human twice each month, in print and on www.horsetrader.com. He lives and trains in “Horsetown USA”, Norco, Calif., at his bustling Starbrite Riding Academy, where he currently has 50 horses in various stages of training, including Andalusians, Friesians, Quarter Horses, Paints, Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Mustangs and more. Ray attributes his training success to the support of his wife and partner, Pippa, and a system he calls S.W.A.P., to which he credits his multiple championships in several disciplines. His passionate understanding of the “human-horse” relationship was evident when he took on the challenge of training a wild Mustang and — in just 100 days — produced the highest-priced adopted Mustang ever — $50,000. Does your “horse-human relationship” leave you with a question for Ray? Click here to submit one!

Dear Dana: What do I do, now that I’ve taken him as far as I can?

By DANA HOKANA / Horsetrader columnist - May 5th, 2010

DEAR DANA: I have a 7-year-old foundation-bred Quarter Horse. When I got him eight months ago, he had never been “broken,” for lack of a better word. He and I have come along greatly, but now he’s at a point where my skills are limited in taking him further. I bought him as a barrel prospect, but he has a serious case of lazy. I cannot afford a trainer now (I am a poor ranch hand!), but would love to move him into something fun –- reining (which is his bloodline) or ranch sorting. He rollbacks, moves off the leg, disengages, trail rides like a fool, but I am afraid he’s getting bored. What would you do in my position?
–Stephanie Moore, Potrero, Calif.

DEAR STEPHANIE: I think it’s awesome how far you have taken an older, “unbroken” horse in such a short time! If you are unable to put your horse with a trainer right now, then your next best choice to give him a “job” would be to refine and improve upon the areas that you have already taught him. You have said that he is lazy, so I am curious if he is slow to respond in any way.

Lazy horses are often dull and slow to respond. You may be able to work on sharpening his responsiveness. One way that I improve my horses’ responsiveness to my cues is to give the cue to my horse, then pay close attention to his response. When you try this exercise, clearly focus. Is he resistant? Does he show you negative body language signs like tail-wringing, ear-pinning, or overreacting? If so, repeat the cue until he feels accepting and responsive. Horses learn by the reward or the release of the cue, so make sure that you give or release when you feel that your horse is trying to give.

For example, if you want to improve your horse’s responsiveness and acceptance to moving over off of your leg cue, you will ask him with your leg to move over while carefully evaluating his response. Is he rushy? Does he show a lack of acceptance by trying to get away quickly from the cue? Is he dull and sticky, showing that he doesn’t take your cue seriously? Or does he pin his ears and use his tail excessively, showing anger, fear, or resistance? His response will tell you a lot about where you are at.

Most likely, he will give you something to work on. What I do is ask again and release when I feel him give. Then ask again and release again. Your timing in your release will determine and define for him when he has completed the maneuver to your satisfaction. Your release shows your satisfaction, so repeat the maneuver until you have his obedience and his willingness.

This will take him to a whole new level. I expect a lot more from my finished horses than I do my green horses. This is one of the ways that I get my horses finished, or broke.

The other suggestion that I have is for you to do a lot of suppling exercises and a lot of bending of the head and neck. Teach your horse to give laterally in his head and neck, and to follow his nose. These skills are important, especially if you want to teach him the barrels. If you want to teach him to be a reiner, then teach him to give in his face and have a headset. Becoming light in the face and being able to set his head when you ask for it will be important if you want him to be a good reiner.

The other tip I can give you is to pay attention to where his body weight is while you are riding him. Correctly balancing his body weight is very important for any event, especially reining. If he feels heavy in your hands or heavy on his front end, he is probably traveling with his weight on his front end. To correct this, do a lot of stop, back and turn on the haunches. Also, remember the principal that when you reward, or give, you are showing that you are satisfied. So ride mindful of his response and strive for excellence. Good luck, Stephanie! I hope that helps.


P.S. – My Headset Series training DVDs would really help you with these maneuvers, as well as the Take Control Series.

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