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Stepping up at Scottsdale

California Arabians shine in thriving desert spectacle

From Horsetrader staff reports - March 15th, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jonathan Ramsay could very well be the youngest ever to experience riding to an Arabian U.S. National Championship, were it not for a technicality — his mother, trainer Cynthia Marlow Ramsay, was six months pregnant with him when she won.

Twenty-eight years later, the Canadian native is making headlines of his own in California, where he is training and managing at Stachowski West, a San Marcos-based extension of the venerable Stachowski Farm in Ohio, headed by Jim and Peter Stachowski. Ramsay, a third-generation Arabian horseman with a sterling resume, opened Stachowski West last May in the facility vacated by reiner Andrea Fappani, now in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mid-winter Dressage unveils new talent

Peters, Legolas turn heads at LAEC Olympic qualifier

Special to the Horsetrader - March 15th, 2012

BURBANK — Riders who dream of a chance to stand on the Olympic medal podium began their quests at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI-W/Y/J at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center Feb. 23-26.

As the first official West Coast qualifying competition for the 2012 Olympic Games Dressage Team Selection Trials, horses and riders vied for valuable qualifying scores in front of FEI judges Linda Zang (5* USA), Jean-Michele Roudier (5* FRA), Cara Whitham (5* CAN), Eddy de Wolff (4* NED), Jayne Ayers (4* USA), and Brenda Minor (4* CAN). In addition, this competition served as an early-season qualifier for the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions (Pony Rider, Junior, Young Rider, Brentina Cup, and Intermediaire I divisions); NAJYRC; Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage Program; and the USEF Developing Horse division (sponsored by Dutta & PSI).

A Classic at Red Bluff

Top talent competes in successful Red Bluff NSHA Classic event

From Horsetrader staff reports - March 15th, 2012

RED BLUFF — The National Stock Horse Association moved its second-largest show to its futurity in August, the NSHA Classic and Bridle Sweepstakes, to Red Bluff this year, and the northern California town teamed up with great competition to pull off a winning event.

Phillip Ralls of Paso Robles was the biggest winner of all, taking the Bridle Sweepstakes on Very Smart Smoke, owned by Billie Jo Baxley, and also the Classic Derby Open on Don Dualuise, owned by Christian Larson.

Josephina nips Hap in his bid for 100

Nor Lantzman and Chello Z top international field to take HITS $30K SmartPak GP

Special to the Horsetrader - March 15th, 2012

THERMAL — Top riders from 10 countries provided an international flair to the $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on March 4, when Brazil’s Marina Azevedo designed a course for 59 starters including Americans and visitors from Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Brazil.

It was also a potentially pivotal moment for one of the Desert Circuit’s most beloved riders, competing on one of the Desert Circuit’s most beloved horses – Hap Hansen aboard Archie Bunker, owned by Linda Smith. Just a couple of weeks ago, Hansen scored his 99th career Grand Prix victory and ever since, everyone that has stepped foot on the show grounds in Thermal is hoping that he’ll pick up his 100th before the circuit comes to an end.

Buck stops at Rose Bowl Riders for four-day clinic

From Horsetrader staff reports - March 15th, 2012

PASADENA — Buck Brannaman conducted a four-day event clinic with the Rose Bowl Riders Feb. 17-20, and more than 500 spectators joined the 50 riders who learned from the man whose reach continues to grow since the 2011 release of the film, “Buck.”

The riders were split into separate classes each day — “Foundational Horsemanship” and “Horsemanship 1,” and the they represented many disciplines and riding levels. Western pleasure, trail rider, hunter jumpers — including Olympian Will Simpson — participated. While some students took lessons with RBR-borrowed lesson horses, other riders trailered in local barns as well as from Orange County and the Inland Empire.

USEF sets up relief for Tornado-ravaged areas

From the Newstrader - March 15th, 2012

The duo of tornadic storms that devastated the southeast U.S. earlier this month left a wake of splintered wood, shattered glass, downed power lines, despair and shock for the residents of towns like West Liberty, Kentucky and Harrisburg, Illinois to clean up and recover from. As if that weren’t enough, one of the region’s heaviest snowfalls of the year then followed and further hindered an already difficult recovery process. For some affected residents, the physical and monetary burdens of recovery are intensified by the need to care for their horse or horses. The United States Equestrian Federation hasd stepped up to assist with the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund.

$20,000 in grants is set for 2012 students

From the Newstrader - March 15th, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. — More than $20,000 in grant money to qualified students and high school equestrian clubs or teams across the nation is available by the United States Equestrian Federation through its High School Equestrian Athlete program.

Undoing snags in our step up in levels

By RAY ARISS - Horsetrader columnist - March 15th, 2012

HEY RAY: I have a half-Arabian, half-Andalusian named Taz. We are moving up in levels and need to change lead every three strides on the diagonal. However, when I ask her to change to the left lead, she tosses her head. She doesn’t do this when I ask for the flying change on a circle – just on the diagonal. And we are in a collected canter. What can I do? Show season is rapidly approaching!

Samantha Jacobs, Norco

HEY SAMANTHA: It’s nice to hear that your mare can do the changes. I’m assuming they are mechanically correct and clean aside from the head toss. On another note, the last thing you want to do is put a time constraint on your training because of the show season. You have worked too long and too hard to get where you are. Unless you get lucky and everything goes your way, you will be setting yourself to fail, especially with flying changes. Consider taking all pressure off you and your horse while you try to figure out where the weak link lies in your changes. A good way to achieve this is to show one whole level below where you train.

Lateral Flexion: Exercise #1

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - March 15th, 2012

Seventeenth in a series
After our closer look at flexion in last issue, Les looks in detail at side-to-side rein pressure.

Even if you have a trained horse that you’ve ridden for years, it’s important that you don’t skip this section. If you’re tempted, ask yourself these questions – 1) when I start to pick up one rein, does my horse start to give his nose BEFORE I’ve taken all the slack out of that rein? And 2) when my horse turns his head in response to rein pressure, does he bend his whole neck and keep his head more or less perpendicular to the ground and level with his withers, or does he twist his neck and just stick his nose toward the direction I’m pulling him?

If he doesn’t respond to your lateral, or side-to-side, rein pressure from a light cue and with proper form, you’ll never get the soft vertical flexion you need for the high-performance events. So stick with us – this “retraining” alone might have a profound effect on your horse’s performance.

The Procedure
Here’s the procedure: As you are walking along in a straight line, pick up one rein and make soft contact with the bit. If your horse doesn’t immediately start to yield, initiate the bend by pressing with your inside leg (the same side as the rein you are picking up) while you softly work the corner of the horse’s mouth by just squeezing your fingers like you would squeeze a sponge.

Release and Reward
At first, you’ll want to release the rein pressure as soon as the horse gives to your hand – so he understands that’s all that you wanted, and that it was really easy. If he starts to give when he feels you pick up the rein, you may even stop and just praise him. As always they will learn the quickest when you are consistent with your cues, and you make it very clear when they’ve done right by releasing the pressure and rewarding their effort.

Twisted Head = Twisted Spine
If your horse responds to your rein pressure by twisting his head rather than bending his neck, you’re going to need to use your indirect rein to keep his nose in and down as he turns. To help you understand the difference, think of it this way: If the form is correct the horse’s ears should stay close to level as he bends his neck around. If he’s twisting his head you will see the outside ear dropping as his head moves sideways. This may seem minor now but this form will become really critical when you start to do turnarounds. If the horse’s neck is twisted it will not only be harder for him to step around the turn with the outside front leg, but it will send his weight to the outside hind leg rather than to the inside pivot foot. So as you can see, achieving the correct form now will pay off in spades as your training progresses.

Start With the Inside Rein
Another thing you want to be conscious of is that you try to keep your horseÕs head about level with his withers, or even lower, as he turns it from side to side. You don’t want him to lift; you just want him to turn. If he does start to lift or twist his head, try bumping him just enough with the outside rein to get his nose down as he turns. Since our goal is for the horse to initiate the correct form on his own, always start your flexions with just the inside rein, and then add the outside one only if he gets out of form.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More with Les is a regular California Horsetrader column. Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although Les still rides and occasionally shows, his focus is giving clinics around the world and developing products for the performance horseman. To learn more about Les and to see his clinic schedule, visit: www.lesvogt.com

SCQHEA doubles-up points for April Showpark event

From the Horsetrader sales staff - March 15th, 2012

The Southern California Quarter Horse Exhibitor’s Association (SCQHEA) is excited to announce their Double Feature Quarter Horse Circuit will have a new venue and new dates! Held April 4-7 at Showpark in Del Mar, you’ll be able to show to eight judges in four days – all classes are double judged! In honor of celebrating the Easter holiday, the show will start on Wednesday and conclude on Saturday. Now you can double your showing and double your fun – saving both money and time. Contact show secretary Poncie Herrmann-Gimple for more info at (714) 444-2918, or see the ad on page 7!

The University of Southern California Equestrian Team will hold its 6th Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser for the 2012 season on Saturday, March 24. The event will be held at the Paddock Riding Club in Los Feliz, under the stars and surrounded by the horses. The amazing Country Western Band Jimi Nelson and the Drifting Cowboys will get the crowd in the swing of things with a little two-step action and their own brand of horse play! Plus, the 20-member competitive equestrian club team will show off their first-place jumping talents. The money raised will go toward the team’s maintenance and show expenses that include leasing, grooming supplies, tack, veterinary care, coaches, team events and insurance. “These girls take a full course load and must keep up their grade average to stay on the team,” says USC Team Coach Karen Perlow. “After classes they come out to the barn, train, groom the horses and muck the stalls. It takes incredible dedication and very hard work.” For the past five years, the USC Equestrian Team has placed first in the region in top competitions including Zone Championship at Stanford University, University of Oregon and Montana State University. For more info about this event, call Justine Schmidt at (323) 428-3067 and see their ad on page 77. For more info on the program, visit www-scf.usc.edu/~equestrn/

Bring out the champion in your horse! Join Armstrong Feed & Purina for their “Horse Owner’s Workshop” event, on Saturday. March 24, in Valley Center! Enjoy the chance to win prizes and check out vendor booths on site. Gretchen Richards, equine nutritionist, will talk about “How to Feed your Horse for Le$$”, and Dr. Matthews, DVM, will speak on Preventative Health Care. Afterward, you’ll be able to ask questions and get the info you need for better feeding and nutrition. Call Armstrong Feed to RSVP for this fun & educational event, at (760) 749-2223, or email info@armstrongfeed.com. See the ad on page 23!

Horse health problems can be complex and stem from a variety of causes, but SmartPak has made it easy to find a supplement solution that actually works for your horse. Their formulas approach each problem from multiple angles and the results speak for themselves. Over 1,700 customers are so happy with the SmartFlex formulas, they’ve rated them an average 4.7 out of 5 stars. And with seven unique formulas, there’s a SmartFlex for a young futurity contender, a champion reiner, a retired trail horse — and everything in between. Designed to save you money, SmartPak has eliminated the middle man so that you can get the top quality supplements your horse deserves, without paying top dollar. The carefully-targeted formulas ensure that your horse gets everything he needs, but you don’t pay for a bunch of ingredients he doesn’t. Even better, when you order in SmartPaks, you get the best value and the ultimate peace of mind. Find the right fit for your horse by calling (800) 461-8898, or see the ad on page 9.

Kawell Matico 100% Organic Shampoo for horses is made from the Matico plant and is designed to not only care for your horse’s appearance, but also their health. Regular applications help to care for the coat, while also healing minor wounds and scars that come about as a result of injury or strenuous work. Buddleja globosa (Matico, as it is known in South America), also known as the Orange Ball Buddleja, is a species endemic to Chile and Argentina, where it grows in dry and moist forests. Folk medicine prizes Buddleja globosa for its medicinal properties. The infusion of the leaves is used topically for the treatment of external wounds, burns, ringworm, skin allergies and irritations. To learn more, see the ad on page 3, or call (888) 576-5237.

Do you have a silver parade saddle in your tack room, gathering dust or in poor condition? Norm Moldenhauer wants to talk with you! With 45 years in business, Mr. Moldenhauer wants to buy your silver parade saddle – in any condition, even if it’s in need of restoration. Give him a call at (949) 499-1088. See ad on page 63.