December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas From Riding!

All of us at Riding wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Just a note that our office will be closed Dec. 24 & 25. We'll be back at it next week, mailing out the January issue and getting ready for the new year. Here's hoping 2010 will bring better times for all of us!

Ravel Named Adequan/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year

The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) would like to congratulate the eleven-year-old, 16.3 hand, Dutch Warmblood gelding, Ravel, owned by Akiko Yamazaki of Woodside, California, and ridden by Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, for being named 2009 Adequan/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Ravel’s median score of 75.574 percent made him the top horse in the United States competing at this level and the recipient of USDF’s highest honor.

Ravel was recognized at the 2009 Adequan/USDF Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet with a certificate, a commemorative personalized plaque, an embroidered cooler and $400 gift certificate provided by Dressage Extensions, and a gift certificate for Adequan joint therapy. Also, Ravel is the recipient of the Colonel Thackeray Award and will have his name engraved on a silver trophy to be on permanent display in the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame housed at the USDF National Education Center, located at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize this extraordinary horse for his many accomplishments this competition season, and look forward to his future successes,” stated USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch.

For more information about the Adequan/USDF Horse of the Year awards or to access a list of past and current recipients, visit the USDF Web site at, or contact the USDF office at

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit, e-mail, or call (859) 971-2277.

Nancy Koch Wins the 2009 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award

by Melissa Davis

The United States Equestrian Federation and The EQUUS Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award. Nancy Koch, Executive Director of CANTER National, was chosen from a number of qualified nominees to receive this distinctive honor. The award will be presented January 16, 2010, at the USEF Pegasus Awards Dinner during the Federation’s Annual Meeting.

Nancy Koch has successfully improved the health and welfare of young Thoroughbred racehorses who are injured or non-competitive and made life after racing a reality. CANTER stands for The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses, and it was started as a solution to help racehorses find new careers by connecting buyers and sellers through posting racehorses for sale on the Internet. The program quickly became a national web-based phenomenon. Koch has developed all-volunteer CANTER affiliates across the country where racehorses are transitioned to be equine pets.

Koch is having a tremendous effect on horses, the racing industry and college veterinary equine students who assist in surgery on injured horses that come in to the CANTER program. The injured horses receive CANTER paid surgeries, rehabilitation and retraining. She has influenced the public’s appreciation of horses and educated the public about the ability to retrain Thoroughbreds into dressage, jumping, trail riding and many other equine careers. She has assisted in finding new jobs for horses such as law enforcement mounted divisions and helped mentally and physically challenged children through therapeutic riding.

Koch has made a dramatic impact on the lives of horses, people, equine veterinary students and veterinary colleges, all the while solving the problem of what to do with injured, non-competitive and unwanted racehorses. She has devoted considerable personal time and energy to make the lives and quality of life of our equine companions better in every respect.

The EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award (presented by the United States Equestrian Federation) is a celebration of the humanitarian achievements made by a member of the equestrian world. Specifically, the goal of this humanitarian honor is to spotlight and exalt the selfless dedication one individual or a group of individuals has made, whether on a regional or national scale. From improving the health and welfare of the horse to promoting and expanding the general public’s appreciation and respect of the diverse role of horses, the recipient of this award will be someone who has devoted considerable personal time to make the lives and quality of life of our equine partners paramount.

The EQUUS Foundation was established as an IRS tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity to raise public awareness of the value of horses in society through education and the award of grants to charities that use the horse to benefit the public, promote horse welfare and elevate the equestrian sport. The EQUUS Foundation has awarded over $1.3 million in grants since its first awards in 2003.

For more information, contact Melissa Davis at

Calling All Equine Artists!

The HITS Desert Circuit will return to Thermal this winter, bringing thousands of horsemen to the HITS Desert Horse Park and Coachella Valley throughout the winter months.

This year, HITS will repeat its successful series of Equine Art Receptions on the four Saturday evenings when the World Cup of Show Jumping Qualifying Events are hosted in the beautiful Indoor Arena. For 2010, these qualifiers will be held Feb. 6, 13, 27 and March 6. The Saturday evening receptions will be open to both general spectators and VIP patrons and held in conjunction with a VIP dinner just before the evening’s FEI World Cup Qualifying Class. Saturday’s reception will include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a selection of complimentary wines. During Week III (Feb. 10-14) HITS is also hosting an important Dressage CDI show (Dressage Getaway) and may expand the art show to include Friday – Sunday.

HITS invites you to participate in one or more of these events, which will be centered on showcasing fine equine art in this exciting show-jumping venue. Each participating artist will be able to display up to two original pieces of art during both receptions. Participating artists will be limited by space available and will be chosen by the HITS Graphics Department. Each artist space will be approximately 9’ x 9’ and include room for a small table and chair where the artist may display promotional and sales materials.

Artists are responsible for supplying their own tables (no larger than 36”), chair, display easels or pedestals for display of sculpture. Each artist and his or her work will be featured in an event catalogue produced especially for these receptions.

HITS is excited to offer this special opportunity and invites all artists to consider displaying their equine-related artwork. Please do not hesitate to contact the HITS office should you have any further questions.

Artists interested in participating must complete and submit the 2010 Application form with the $50 fee, and supply samples of their work as described in the Submission Requirements no later than Monday, Jan. 4, 2010.

Please follow this link to the HITS Thermal Equine Art Reception to download an application and other important forms and a timeline for your convenience.

Zephyr's Garden Aids Homeless Horses Across the Country

Zephyr’s Garden, a company that produces all natural topical products for horses, spent most of December working to aid horses in need. The month began with the creation of Adoption Packs for rescue groups and culminated with the purchase of #506, a horse in an auction kill pen in New Jersey. How did this all happen? Through Facebook!

“Our Facebook community of horse loving people grows daily and it was natural that our philosophy of horse care, coupled with Zephyr’s Garden all-natural herbal based products, would attract rescue groups and the amazing people that support them,” states owner and founder Georgette Topakas. “We began to support the groups via their fund raisers, but decided to do more this past month. It started with the creation of Adoption Packs that included a sampling of our salves and sprays, and ended this month with the purchase of horse in a kill pen in Cranbury, NJ.” 

In the past month, Zephyr’s Garden has provided Adoption Packs to six horse rescue groups located throughout the country. The packs will aid in easing the transition for the horses and give horse owners natural product tools to care for their new family members. “The company has supported rescue groups and horse charities from the very beginning, but this is the first time we have committed ourselves to an ongoing relationship with the rescue groups. We are honored to be able to support them,” said Topakas.

But Zephyr’s Garden giving did not end with the Adoption Packs, it went to an entirely new level with the purchase of #506, a horse destined for slaughter. “On Thursday I viewed a photo album posted on Facebook by a horse rescue group, and on Friday we purchased a horse from a kill pen at a Cranbury, New Jersey auction,” exclaimed Topakas. “The album showed horses, donkeys, and pony’s in pens, their heads nearly to the floor, looking forlorn and hopeless. The rescue group was desperate to save each and every animal from slaughter. I knew we could not take on another horse, but we could pay for their freedom. Through Facebook messages and an exchange of phone numbers, Zephyr’s Garden purchased a Quarter Horse chestnut mare, the rescue group arranged for transport, and she’ll be in a foster home until a permanent one is found! In addition, my daughter, an avid rider and horse lover, donated $110 of her babysitting money to help with the groups transport and re-homing expenses. We are ending our year on a very high note and I hope we have the success next year to help even more horses’ in need.”

Zephyr’s Garden, based out of Santa Barbara, CA, believes in helping the horse community on multiple levels. They produce all natural topical products that are safe and effective, they give back to the horse community with donations, they support rescue groups, and in 2010 will be donating time to a Santa Barbara based Therapeutic Riding Program. For more information on the company please view our website at or contact Georgette Topakas at 805-448-0390.

Two New Winter Classic "A" Shows at Blenheim Farms

Get a jump on the 2010 show season at Blenheim Farms!

Jan. 8-10 - Blenheim Winter Classic I • Jan. 15-17 - Blenheim Winter Classic II

Rated: USEF Hunter "A"; OCHSA


  • Hunters in the Blenheim Derby Arena & Jumpers in the Blenheim Farms Covered Arena
  • Two Junior-Amateur/Owner Hunter Classics each week
  • Children’s-Adult and Pony Hunter Classics
  • Low Child-Adult Jumper Classics
  • Child-Adult Jumper Classics
  • 1.20M & 1.30M Jumper Classics

For more information contact: 949-443-1841 or click here

Classified / Photo Ads

We're constantly updating our online photo ads & classifieds.

Visit to see more.


Dapple Shade Farm offers for sale a
6 yr old 16h Holsteiner Chestnut Mare by Challenger.
"Cello" has been shown in the 1.00m classes at
The Oaks and Showpark. Excellent jumper prospect.
Brave and scopey. $30k.
Contact Penny Wahler at 831-566-4466

Penny Wahler • 831-566-4466

Wanted: Readers!

We frequently receive review copies of books before they're available to the general public. They range from beautifully illustrated, coffee table caliber books to training how-tos in every imaginable equestrian subject.

You can be one of the first to read these books. All we ask is a short review for our readers. If we OK your review, it will appear online at and possibly in print in California Riding Magazine. Best of all, you keep the book!

Click here for a list of available books. NEW BOOKS ADDED 12/2/09!

There's still time to enter and win Mary's weekly giveaway!

Do you have news for us? E-mail Cheryl:

To stop receiving this newsletter click here