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Hot to the end

- September 28th, 2020

Smoke and ash doesn’t deter WCRHA reiners in finale

RANCHO MURIETA — A blood orange sun and smokey, ash flurries from nearby wildfires welcomed exhibitors driving in to the Murieta Equestrian Center show grounds Aug. 20. Little did they know that such would be the norm for all four days of the West Coast Reining Horse Association Year End show.

As the NRHA Show Rep Kain Emmons stated, pulling up his face mask, “We don’t know if people are wearing masks due to COVID-19 restrictions or because of the smoky air!” Either way, exhibitors, trainers, and other folk adhered to current California state restrictions by wearing masks, social distancing, and having their temperatures taken daily at the entrance gate.

A full slate of ancillary classes as well as Futurity and Derby classes, judged by Nick Baar and Reid Fady, gave everyone ample opportunities to show off their talented horses. Gorgeous, Vaquero buckles are presented to class champions, and beautiful, silver pocket knives went to the reserve champions.

There were also special awards given at this show. The NRHA Rookie Professional class was recently renamed the NRHA Becky Hanson Rookie Professional class in honor of Becky Hanson, a beloved member of WCRHA and NRHA who passed away May 25 at age 48.

Becky, the winner of the NAAC Rookie Professional class at the NRHA Futurity in 2006, coached and trained many reining competitors over the years from Rookies through Non Pros. Her heart, however, was for the Rookie riders. Dave Bunfill of Plymouth won the class on his Custom Whizett. “Biscuit,” as she is affectionately called, is a 5-year old mare sired by Conquistador Whiz and out of Custom Crome mare.

Dave Bunfill earned the NRHA Becky Hanson Rookie Professional Award on his Custom Whizett. (John O’Hara photo)

Dave, who just started showing reining about a year ago along with his wife, specifically entered the class because of Becky. Although he never met her, he knows a lot about her story.

“It meant a lot to me to win this class — it is a real honor,” said Bunfill, who received championship class buckle as well as a specially designed Becky Hanson buckle.

In addition, in remembrance of Becky, the winner of the Prime Time Rookie class was presented with a beautiful, hand-tooled Becky Hanson memorial leather photo album made and sponsored by the Ricotti Saddle Company of nearby Clements. Jennifer Fisher riding Midnight Whizkey Run was the happy recipient. Becky was well-known for her beautiful photography, and many WCRHA members have more than one of her metal prints in their homes.

Another special award was the Gary Van Hoosen Perpetual Memorial Green Reiner trophy presented to Cindy Laver, winner of the WCRHA Green class. Cindy rode Revolutionic to the win. Revolutionic is one of those reining “war horses” that has carried his various riders to many wins over the years. Gary Van Hoosen was a long-time member, trainer and competitor at WCRHA shows. He was a strong supporter of the emerging reiner, and could always be counted on for an encouraging word and smile.

Cassandra Kindle was thrilled to receive The Topsail Cody Memorial Perpetual Trophy. This large trophy is presented each year to the champion of the Limited Non Pro class. Cassandra’s name plaque will be added to all the other winners since 2002. Cassandra’s ride for this class was Ill Be Smokinum.

On Thursday, five hours of open competition began at 7 a.m.. With scores of 73.5, David Hanson and Mike Boyle laid down what were to be the highest scores of the show. They each shared championship honors in the Open Maturity and David rode Lisa Dentoni’s Smart Little Dunnit, and Mike showed Betty McHugh’s pretty Palomino, Chics Dream.

In the Intermediate Open and Limited Open classes, Gabe Davide showed Mister Smartypants to championships of both classes with a 72 score. “Smarty” is owned by Gordon and Eileen Maxinoski. Liz Rammerstorfer was close behind Gabe in both classes with a 71.5, riding Like Madd, owned by Kelly Staley. Mike Boyle was also the Champion in the Prime Time Open class on Chics Dream as well as the Reserve Champion on Pale Of Gold, owned by Laetitia Loubser, scoring a 70.

Winning six Non Pro classes was Cam Essick and her gelding, Loveya. (John O’Hara photo)

Championing six of the Non Pro classes was Cam Essick and her (as Cam says) “plain, bay” gelding Loveya. Leaving their mark in the arena with a 73, Cam emerged victorious in the Non Pro Level 4 and Prime Time Maturity as well as the Non Pro and the Prime Time Non Pro classes. The duo also went on to win the Non Pro and the Prime Time Non Pro Derbies. Loveya is a proven reiner with LTE earnings of over $130,000. Two reiners shared the Reserve Championship honors in the Level 4 Maturity. Cassandra Kindle showed her Ill Be Smokinum and Betty McHugh showed her Chics Dream to scores of 72.

Concluding the second day of showing, the Non Pro Futurity allowed six riders to show off their 3-year olds. Bill Coburn reined his My Skill Your Luck to a score of 137.5 to take away the awards and monies given to the Champion of the Level 4. Caitie Moulding was Champion of the Level 1 Futurity riding her PS Ice Queen with a 138.

Nineteen Non Pros were eager to show their reining horses of ages seven and under in Saturday’s Non Pro Derby. Essick and her Loveya gathered their fifth and sixth Championship buckles of the show by earning a score of 144 in the Level 4 and Prime Time. Level 1 was won with a score of 142.5 by Stacy Hamilton and her Whizzen The Dream.

Five entries in the Open Futurity closed out the third day. PS Ice Queen won her second Futurity championship of the show, first with Non Pro Caitie Moulding on Friday, and secondly, with trainer Jason Richards on Saturday.

The last day of the show dawned early again but still a bit smoky and ashy. That didn’t deter the Open Derby riders, though. Running first in the draw was Eric Laporte on Michell Kimball’s Sugar Baby. Eric showcased his talent by earning a score of 143.5 which proved too tough to beat by the rest of the field. They took home the Championship of both Level 4 and Level 1.

Sugar Baby is by Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Smart Sugar Rose. Eric says of the 4-year old gelding, “He is so laid back and such a dream to show and get ready.”

Sugar Baby now has a new owner, Megan Meyerdick, who looks forward to showing him the Green Reiner classes.

More online: https://bit.ly/010wcrha

NORCO — While high-profile Presidential and California elections capture attention as Nov. 3 approaches, voters in Horsetown USA are facing the selection of three Norco City Council members.

The unique equestrian hamlet of 26,000 has a coveted animal-keeping lifestyle, and the new members taking seats in the current economic and development headwinds are expected to play a role in the next phase of the town’s stewardship.

“In the next 10 years, we are going to see a lot of changes in the Inland Empire, and that includes Norco,” says Sigrid Williams, one of eight Norco City Council candidates. “We need a City Council that’s going to brainstorm and problem solve, collaborate with its residents to keep our rural lifestyle intact.”

Sigrid Williams (Courtesy photo)

Williams, a horsewoman who has lived in Norco almost 12 years, has a professional and educational background well-suited to earn residents’ votes. For over 15 years, she taught college and university courses in Policial Science, Public Administration and Criminal Justice, plus seven years in Public Safety and Forensic Science in technical education. She also worked seven years as a Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and she holds a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership, a Master’s in Public Administration, a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and and Associate Degree in Administration Justice.

Her true reason to run, she says, is simple: “Because I care.”

“Even before I became a resident, I was actively involved in the city, its nonprofits and riding clubs,” says Williams, whose community involvement has spanned both equestrian groups like the Norco Horsemen’s Association and Norco Mounted Posse to non-equestrian ones like Little League and Boy Scouts.

“I believe one of my greatest attributes is the ability to influence through education, educating this town and informing them of what will happen if we continue to be reactive instead of proactive,” she says. “I like to think of it as a chess game — I am not about the move I’m about to make, but I’m thinking about the moves in the future. A chess player will tell you if you are only working the next move, and not thinking five moves ahead, you will lose. I refuse to lose.”

Williams believes she can influence key areas of Norco’s future, including: preservation of the city’s animal-keeping keeping lifestyle; infrastructure improvement, including streets, trails and utilities; stimulation of the local economy; public safety, empowerment of the community’s non-profits; and better civic decisions based on improved information and education. Her detailed thoughts on each of these can be found on the link below.

Other candidates who are running for Norco City Council include Robin Grundmeyer, Ted Hoffman, Patrick Mitchell, Sam Tavallodi, Brent Sakamoto, Susan Olmstead-Bowen, and Katherine Aleman.

More online: https://bit.ly/010norco

Mark Blakely photo

THERMAL — For the first time in recent memory, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center will not host the year-end California Reining Horse Association Challenge show, as health officials still had not lifted constraints on events at LAEC as of press time.

In August, the CRHA moved its Summertime Slide show from Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lake View Terrace to the CRC Ranch in Temecula for the same reason.

The CRHA Challenge will be held Oct. 20-25 at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, a well-known hunter-jumper venue that will be hosting a reining for the first time.

“We really appreciate the generosity of the DIHP opening their doors to us on such short notice, and we look forward to cultivating this relationship for future reining events,” CRHA President Mike Berg said in a press release.

Steve Hankin, President and and CEO of the DIHP, said he hopes to create a new home for regional reining events, adding that three new sand rings will add 250,000 sq. ft. of schooling space to the facility.

Also scheduled the same week at the DIHP on Oct. 23-25 will be the National Sunshine Preview show, the first in a series of shows co-produced by DIHP and LEG Shows & Events that will focus on hunter equitation riders up to 3-ft. and jumpers up to 1.20m.

“These two events bring together two disciplines in a fun, casual weekend. There will be a crossover team event, a dinner social, and more fun activities throughout the weekend,” added Hankin.

“With COVID-19 limiting activities in Los Angeles County, this gives us a great opportunity to move the needle on producing affordable and accessible competitions for the West Coast equestrian community,” said Marnye Langer, Managing Director and CFO of The Langer Group.

Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association (LAHJA) will also be moving its Medal Finals Extravaganza, featuring all seven of its 2020 LAHJA Medal Finals, to the National Sunshine Preview. LAHJA President Kay Altheuser said moving the finals to DIHP “is the best decision for everyone involved.”

“We understand how important the medal finals are to our members, and we want to do everything possible to be able to safely host the finals this year,” Altheuser said.

More online: https://bit.ly/010desert

Sliding through the pandemic

- September 28th, 2020

SCRHA series kicks into gear after COVID lay-off

Kirstin Booth on Babys Got Blue Eyes (Katie Wise photo)

ESCONDIDO — Enthusiastic reining and ranch riding brought the Hunter Equestrian Center to life Aug. 8, as the Southern California Reining Horse Association resumed its 2020 season.

Managed by Track One Events, the show featured NRHA classes and counted toward the popular SCRHA Saddle Series. Another Saddle Series show was happening Sept. 26-27, as this magazine was going to press..

SCRHA President Lori Riis said the uncertainties that have popped up in 2020 has forced members and the club to approach the season one month at a time — evaluate and then adjust.

“Although COVID has definitely created some challenges, our exhibitors have all been very respectful of the social distancing guidelines,” said Riis.”We want to be mindful of the trainers and exhibitors who aren’t able to show yet.”

Even though saddles will be awarded for the Saddle Series this fall, the emphasis lately has been more about returning to the show pen than it has been on year end awards.

“After the shutdown, we wanted to see how many members were comfortable to come out and compete before we scheduled the additional show in October,” said Riis. “They wanted the additonal show, and we will have it the weekend before the (California Reining Horse Association) Challenge.”

One of the canceled shows will take place Oct. 17-18, and it will be the last one in the Saddle Series. Riis and her colleagues have some other innovative ideas that they are chewing on for 2021.

More online: https://bit.ly/010scrha

Foxfield Finals

- September 28th, 2020

Lanie Walkenbach wins 49th edition of venerable medal event

Special to the Horsetrader

Walkenbach and Let’s Go, the 2020 Foxfield Medal Finals Champion. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The grass of The Oaks International Grand Prix Field was the stage Sept. 13 for 21 top amateurs to vie for the Foxfield Medal Final, held for just the second time in 49 years outside the Foxfield Riding School in Westlake Village.

In a close competition to the end, Lanie Walkenbach, a student at Texas Christian University, edged past Emily Williams and Haylee Hall for the victory. A mere three percentage points had separated the trio at the final compilation of two rounds of riding.

“I am currently on TCU Equestrian team, so I just come to show when I get the opportunity,” said Walkenbach.

Walkenbach and Let’s Go set the pace in Round 1 with a beautiful trip over the 3’3” course, scoring an average of 89.5.

Taking each rider’s overall average after two rounds, Williams, Walkenbach, and Hall were lined up with averages of 89.5, 87.75, and 87, respectively, and were brought back for an additional third round of tests. The work-off included a trot fence, counter canter fence, a walk transition in between a bending line, hand-galloping an oxer, and demonstrating simple changes of lead. Ellis and Wells sat together for this third round, and no scores were announced. A beautiful and accurate effort by Walkenbach rewarded her as this year’s winner.

Walkenbach praised her mount, Let’s Go, known as “Pedro” around the barn, after the win.

More online: https://bit.ly/010fox

Fall horse care

- September 28th, 2020

By Daniel H. Grove, DVM

Fall is upon us, and what a crazy year it has been. Many people were negatively affected by the pandemic.

The horse industry, at least in Southern California seems to be going strong. Due to the natural social distancing practiced while riding horses, many trainers have been busier than usual with lessons due to parents looking for something their children can do. Pre-purchase exams seem to be more numerous than normal. With so many new horse owners, let’s review some of the recommendations for veterinary care for your horses in the fall.

Fall vaccines are very important. It will vary on what your horse needs by geography and recommendations, but most people are getting at least an influenza and rhinopneumonitis booster. The antibodies developed after vaccination for these two diseases wane after seven or so months, so a booster every six months is often times recommended. You will need to discuss your vaccine strategy with your veterinarian to see what is best for your horses.

Fecal testing and deworming is recommended every six months for adult horses. For deworming, either ivermectin or moxidectin are the drugs recommended. The fecal testing with help guide whether or not your horse is doing well with that minimal strategy or if you need to alter it to decrease parasite shedding. Going into winter time, you do not want to be behind on body condition. Let your horse get the most possible out of its feed by decreasing the parasite burden on its system.

Dentistry is another great item to check off your list in the fall. An exam to determine if the teeth need to be addressed should be done. Abnormalities caught early are much more likely to be correctable than things let go. This is no different than dentistry in yourselves. Hay in many areas is expensive and just as with lowering the parasite load, ensuring proper digestion by addressing the teeth is cheap insurance.

Lastly, a general wellness exam. It is a good idea to get your veterinarian eyes, ears, and hands on your horse. This gives us the opportunity to look for small things that may need attention. We may have certain tests we might recommend based on age and what we see to determine the overall health of your horse.

All of these items can easily be done in a single visit by your veterinarian. It really is important to maintain optimum health to keep up on these easy maintenance items. I find owners usually have questions they have been sitting on to ask us when we visit. Get your horse checked out and get your questions answered, and most importantly, stay safe during this pandemic!


From Horsetrader sales staff

Just in time for the gift giving season, Winchester Western Saddlery is a liquidation outpost for a famous-maker hat company out of Texas. Shop online at WinchesterWestern.com for the “Winchester Western Saddlery’s Truckload Hat Liquidation Sale!” The truck has arrived and in the coming weeks, they’ll be rolling out many styles of classic and trending hats in many styles, shapes, and sizes. You could save up to 50 percent on most styles! Prices so good, you can get one for every outfit. For more info, see the ad on page 29, or call (951) 894-2501 with any questions and the friendly staff at Winchester Western will answer them.

Are you looking for a boarding stable within an easy drive that will transport your time with your horses to a relaxing respite from today’s unpredictability? Then come visit Mountain Meadows Stables in Chatsworth. Mountain Meadows Stables is a full-service, quality horse boarding facility on more than 20 acres of landscaped grounds. It is located in the western San Fernando Valley, two miles up a scenic canyon road. You will enjoy a beautiful view overlooking the city below. MMS has been gladly serving the equestrian needs of our neighbors since 1997, and it is proud to say that it provides a comfortable, fun and secure environment for boarders, their guests and, most of all, their horses! Mountain Meadows is a family-oriented facility that strives to make it a place our members look forward to coming to. See ad on page 13.

Keep Colors True and Leather Soft with Farnam® Leather New® Total Care 2 in 1.

When you want your true colors to shine, look for a cleaner and conditioner that keeps all of your leather soft, supple and looking brand-new. Farnam, your partner in horse care™, is pleased to introduce Leather New® Total Care 2 in 1, a convenient new leather cleaner and conditioner in one. The innovative formula safely cleans and conditions all colors of tack without stripping dye from dark leather or darkening light leathers. With no silicones, waxes or petroleum distillates, the formula even keeps stitching looking new.

Leather New® Total Care, with its avocado oil-based formula, simplifies the leather care routine by cleaning and nourishing in one simple step. The creamy, mess-free texture rubs in easily to clean away dulling dirt and grime and reveal the leather’s natural shine. Conditioners work deeply into the leather to restore moisture and elasticity to older leather and help break-in new tack. The go-anywhere formula comes in a compact bottle that is small enough to put in tack bags for quick and easy touch-ups. Leather New® Total Care is also versatile enough to clean and protect nearly any type or color of leather, from equestrian tack to boots and purses, to furniture and car seats. Like all the nourishing Leather New® leather care products, Total Care 2 in 1 keeps leather looking new and feeling soft for a lifetime. For even deeper cleaning and conditioning, look for our two-step system of Leather New® Easy-Polishing Glycerin Saddle Soap and Leather New® Deep Conditioner & Restorer. For a limited time, horse owners can find $2 off instant savings coupons attached to the product in retail stores, or at www.farnam.com. To learn more about Leather New® Total Care 2-in-1 and the complete line of Farnam® grooming products, visit www.farnam.com. See ad on page 4.

Effective ground work

- September 28th, 2020

By Sheryl Lynde | Horsetrader columnist

The purpose of ground work is to establish yourself as the leader in the relationship between you and your horse. Not all horses are looking for a leader, but all horses instinctively will follow a good one. It’s in their DNA.

There is order in the hierarchy of the herd. If you have studied herd behavior, you may have noticed that the dominant horse moves the horses that are below him in the direction and at the speed he chooses. You won’t see a dominant horse backing up for a horse that is subordinate to him unless he is being challenged for his role as leader of the herd. In this case, the once-dominant horse submits to the challenger, and a new leader emerges. Whoever directs the feet is in a higher position than the one being directed.

I’ve watched as some owners lead their horses. Their horse falls behind them, nudging them forward, occasionally pushing with their nose. The owner may have the lead rope in their hands, but they are being herded. Leadership belongs to their horse. When the owner stops, the horse crowds into their space. Instead of backing the horse out of their space, the owner unconsciously takes a few steps back. Backing the human is further confirmation of the horse’s dominance.

These examples may seem innocuous, but it’s the onset of disrespectful behavior in its infancy. If not corrected, it will increase in severity.

Whenever I have had a “problem” horse come to me for an issue to be resolved — like bucking, rearing or spooking — my first inquiry is about their ground work regimen. Many reply that they are consistent about their groundwork and that all is well on the ground — there is a mutual trust between them. But in the saddle, it falls apart. At this point I am suspect. Respect and trust are not mutually exclusive. Similar to human behavior, you can’t respect someone you don’t trust, and you can’t trust someone you don’t respect.

When I ask the owner to show me their ground work, more times than not the ground work is not effective. The word effective means obtaining a desired result. If the horse is fearful, then your result would be a recognizable change in his level of fear — less reactive and able to make good decisions. If the horse is disrespectful, then with each session you would see a change in his ground manners while being led, as well as an increased willingness to focus his attention on you under saddle. If the ground work is effective, you should always see a noticeable change. Some days it may be one percent, some days 75 percent, but you will always see a change.

In order to be effective, you must understand why you are doing what you are doing. If an owner tells me they do ground work regularly yet their horse lacks manners on the ground or bucks while under saddle, then the ground work has not been effective. The actions of the horse are speak so loudly that I can’t hear a word the owner is saying.

The purpose of ground work is to establish your role as leader — not aggressively, but firmly. I’m not interested in working the lungs as much as I am focused on working the horse’s mind. I do so by moving the horse’s feet in the direction I have instructed them to go. This means when I send the horse to my right, he needs to go to my right. If he tries to change direction or cut through the middle of the round pen, or turn and face me prior to being asked, I need to correct all of these diversionary tactics and continue to send the horse to my right. My cues need to be very obvious to anyone watching. If I can’t understand what the person is asking, the horse can’t either. I want to have control of all the body parts as well and am able to move them independently. If while turning to the inside he stops at an angle, I want to be able to either move his shoulder or his hip to correct his angle. I rarely allow the horse to complete a circle without asking for a transition, either a change in speed or direction. I want to direct his feet. As long as I am in the round pen or holding onto the lead rope, any bucking, rearing or other unwanted behavior will be corrected immediately.

I am the teacher, and as long as I am in the classroom, training will ensue. This is not recess or turn-out time. Be aware of your cues. Make them clear and black-and-white.

Your horse is a reflection of your instruction. Be the teacher your student needs.


The Skylar’s the limit

- September 28th, 2020

Wireman and Hot Pants win Region 8 NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay title

Special to the Horsetrader

Skylar Wireman and Hot Pants. (Amy McCool photo)

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Thirty-three riders competed on Sunday morning during the final day of the Blenheim Fall Tournament, vying for a prize in the Region 8 section of the 2020 NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay Championships. Skylar Wireman rode Hot Pants, owned by Lisa Halterman, to a solid first round, followed up with a beautiful flat phase, and then a picture perfect work-off to take a well-earned victory.

The ASPCA Regionals held throughout the country have two equally weighted phases, jumping and flat, and both count toward 50 percent of the overall score. For their jumping phase, Region 8 competitors rode a track designed by Kerry Kocher that asked technical questions of the riders over a track of hunter and jumper-style fences.

Training with her mother, Shayne Wireman, and Lisa Halterman, Wireman will be heading to Lexington for the Maclay Finals in early November. The dynamic duo are not newbies to the winner’s circle, having won all of their “Big Eq” classes this week, placing second in the CPHA Foundation 21-under Finals a few weeks ago, and second in the West Coast U.S. Equestrian Talent Search Finals last season.

Going into the work-off, Wireman was sitting in second place. Wireman had a consistent and bold work-off round to move up and take the lead. “Going later in the work-off, I had seen what the other riders chose to do, and I knew that I needed to take risks. My strategy was to make all the inside turns and have a strong hand gallop to the first fence,” Wireman said.

As the winning horse, Hot Pants also earned the Vigo Best Equitation Horse Award. In its fourth year, the perpetual trophy is in memory of Robyn and Demí Stiegler’s amazing equitation mount, who had his retirement on this day three years ago.

Wireman and Hot Pants have been partners for several years. “In his young years, Hot Pants competed in NAYC Finals and jumped some very big tracks,” Wireman said the horse owned by Lisa Halterman. “He loves being able to compete in the equitation now because he can still play in the jumper medals.”

The reserve championship went to Sydnie Young, who trains with Jill Humphrey and rode her own Couer De Lion. Stella Buckingham rounded out the podium with Calvatos Z.

Prior to the start of the competition, the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award was presented to Skylar Wireman. This special annual award is given to a rider who shows sportsmanship, integrity, and passion both in and outside of the show arena. Wireman applied with an essay that highlighted all of these qualities, as well as her life motto of, “Work hard, pay it forward, dream big, and go for it.”

The award, in its fifth year, provides the recipient with the opportunity to travel to the Indoors horse show circuit, with air and ground transportation provided for one horse and equipment. HOT PANTS, at the age of 22, is not able to travel to the east coast by trailer, but now that the Air Horse One is taking him back and forth, Wireman has the opportunity to show her long-time partner in the Finals as opposed to a catch ride. On top of the flight, provided by HE Tex Sutton Equine Air Transportation Company, the Drazan family provides $2,000 toward entry fees for any 3’6” National Medal Final

More online: https://bit.ly/010maclay