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January 2020 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 01:01
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News of West Coast equestrians receiving impressive honors rolled in throughout our December issue deadline. We have full reports on many of them in this issue, but a few that came too late are:

US Equestrian named 17-year-old Elvenstar rider Julia Stone as Junior Equestrian of the Year. Big kudos to Julia, who is now a freshman at the University of Georgia.

Sarah Lockman’s team silver and individual gold Pan Am Games partner, First Apple, is up for International Horse of Honor. The Dutch Warmblood stallion was purchased for Sarah by Summit Farms, whose owner Jerry Ibanez sadly passed away recently, a great loss to our sport. Temecula-based Nick Haness is a nominee for National Equestrian Of Honor. Super recognition for this young professional, who also received the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Special Achievement award. Along with countless competitive successes, he is known for giving a leg up to talented young riders who may not have the money means to fulfill their ambitions.

The USEF award voting is open until January 2, at 9 p.m. our time, and the winners’ names will be revealed during the USEF Annual Meeting Jan. 10-11 in Florida. Vote at

We hope you enjoy the tributes to recipients of all the CPHA’s Special Awards. Six years ago, we launched the tradition of asking those close to the winners to write about what makes the honorees special and it has become one of our most celebrated features. We hope to share it with many of you at the CPHA Awards Banquet Jan. 3 in San Diego, during the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association’s annual meeting and awards celebration.

Another piece of late news was sad: the passing of Joan Irvine Smith on Dec. 19. “She had a bigger impact on horses and showing horses than she ever knew,” wrote her friend Kathy Hobstetter in sharing the news.

Big thanks to Edgar Schutte’s Eurequine for sponsoring this month’s cover. It’s great to have these fantastic stallions and breeding services serving the country from California.

I really enjoyed attending Day Of The Horse festivities at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center. Happily, there were several of these events going on throughout our readership area. They are so important.

Even though the big public boarding, training and show facility is visible from a main street in Huntington Beach, trainer Tracy Burroughs told me that she often encounters neighbors who have no idea there are opportunities to ride and interact with horses close by. The event drew a good crowd who had the chance to learn about show jumping, therapeutic riding, vaulting and the Free Rein Foundation that pairs rescued horses with people in need of healing.

Wishing everyone a very happy New Year.

Happy reading and riding,

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Otis is a five year old quarterhorse gelding up for adoption at FalconRidge Equine Rescue in Valley Center, California.

He stands 15.2 hands high and has a very sweet and loving personality. He has lameness on his right hind and therefore is mostly a companion horse. He has been in rehab and not ridden since he arrived, had chiropractic sessions with no improvements. Kids could walk him, or a lightweight adult only. Puppy dog personality.

Adoption fee $500.

See Otis on our adoption page at

January 2020 - Eurequine
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:47
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Going the extra stride for sport horse breeding excellence.

With a roster of 10 world class Warmblood stallions, Edgar Schutte’s Eurequine is the go-to for those looking to produce top quality Warmbloods in North America. With their many stallions, Eurequine offers choices to suit a wide range of breeding goals: from those looking to produce an amateur-suitable dressage horse to an Olympic jumper or eventer.

Edgar’s name and impressive track record spans three decades in the North American breeding world. He was raised in Holland and, before moving to the U.S., he raised, trained and competed horses successfully from a young age. His presidency of the American Hanoverian Society is one of many examples of how Edgar is regarded in the breeding world. All those breeding with Eurequine Stallions gain access to Edgar’s considerable expertise and experience.

Fresh Semen For Success

Eurequine’s large selection of quality stallions available for breeding with fresh semen is hard to find elsewhere in North America. All Eurequine fresh semen breeding contracts come with the guarantee of a healthy foal. “This means when you purchase a breeding to a stallion you may ship semen for your mare as many times as needed to achieve a foal without paying for additional breeding,” Edgar explains. This guarantee and return privilege doesn’t stop at achieving conception: it lasts through the first 30 days of the foal’s life.  

These are not options with most frozen semen purchases, in which mare owners often  pay the same amount for a single dose of frozen semen without the guarantee of a foal or return privileges. Often, mares do not do well with frozen semen and need to be managed more intensely to be successful.

Eurequine stallion Utopie “Combina” with Kirsten Coe at Global Champions Tour Hamburg. Photo: Sportfot

“Even in normal cases, it ends up costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars more for veterinary expenses on numerous ultrasounds, uterine flushes and medicines,” Edgar says. “Frozen semen is often only good for six hours from thawing once in the mare. With fresh semen, you have a greater window of breeding opportunity.” Fresh semen, he continues, is usually good up to four days in the mare and therefore does not require the intense veterinary guidance or around-the-clock inseminations. “Most importantly, you have an option to order fresh semen again under the same three-year contract if not successful the first time.”

All of Eurequine’s stallions are available by fresh-cooled semen, a detail that sets the program apart. “I believe we may actually offer the only Olympic jumper and Olympic producer in the USA available daily with fresh semen,” Edgar states.

Donarweiss and Genay Vaughn. Photo: Tamara With The Camara

Catering to the Mare Owner

Commitment to serving the mare owner is a defining pillar of Eurequine. “Service is a big part of the business,” Edgar notes of the necessity of being available to collect and ship semen when a client’s mare is ready – regardless the time of day or night. “That seems logical when you know how much time, effort and money is put into getting the mare ready, but a lot of stallion owners don’t seem to understand it.”

During the breeding season, Eurequine ships semen seven days a week. “Mares don’t recognize holidays or weekends, so during the breeding season, neither do we,” the breeder says. “We ship Fedex overnight for most shipments (average shipping cost is $115) or semen can be sent by airline counter-to-counter on weekends or holidays.  We communicate with the mare owners, lining up logistics with vet and client so that when the mare is ready, we are ready. Efficiency is important when it comes to breeding because there are many variables with getting a foal on the ground. When it comes to our part of the process, we want mare owners to know they can count on us.”

Performance mares, Premium mares (recognized by breed registries), and mares in the Hanoverian Jumper breeding program are rewarded with a discount because proven mares are likely to produce higher quality foals. Breeders with multiple mares as well as mares returning to breed from the prior year also receive a discount. Eurequine ships semen from March through September, but deciding early can pay off in the form of an early booking discount.

Eurequine also has a long-standing offer of a 50 percent discount on breedings to any mare sired by Eurequine’s stallions from the past or present. “We’ve noticed that the quality is significantly better for mares that have our stallions in their bloodlines,” Edgar explains of the special rate’s rationale. “Plus, I know their traits so well, it enables me to really help owners make the best match for their mares.”

Escher during the stallion test. Photo: Patty Wilding

Services by Eurequine

Eurequine is based in Yuba City, California where the stallions enjoy top quality care and ample outdoor time.  Eurequine also works from Woodland Stallion Station near Sacramento, where a full range of breeding services is provided.

In addition to managing the Eurequine stallions, Edgar manages and collects stallions of all breeds.  Eurequine offers teaching outside stallions for semen collection, or they can trailer in for collection on short notice as well as stay long term. Collections and cryopreservation for stallions is offered at very reasonable rates.

Mare management is also available. A veterinarian is available daily to ultrasound and perform other services needed. “Keila Golden and Daren Robbins, who manage and own WSS, are super to work with and always have a place ready for a mare or a stallion that needs to be bred,” Edgar explains. Eurequine also organizes Hanoverian, Rhineland and Oldenburg NA studbook inspections and the very popular freejumping clinics several times a year.

All of the above, however, is icing on the cake of Eurequine’s most distinguishing characteristic: the quality of its stallions. These include established names as well as developing stallions. Famous names grace Eurequine’s superstar line-up: Olympic producer Landkonig by Landadel; Rubignon, Swedish Team horse and international Grand Prix producer by Rubenstein I; Wild Dance, by Wolkenstein II; and Olympian Relevantus, aka “Zorro,” by Rabino.

Newcomers include Lord Adonis by Lordanos; Don Roncalli, by Donnerhall; and Dubarry, a tall and very ridable, fancy progenitor from Don Frederico, who, himself, was ranked the #5 producing dressage sire in the world last year. The youngest rising star is Escher DFEN, by the famous late stallion Escudo II. He joined Eurequine a year ago, as did Donarweiss, another proven Grand Prix producer by De Niro.   

The most recent addition, International Grand Prix jumper and proven producer Utopie, aka “Combina,” joined the line-up for 2020.

Utopie. Photo: Sportfot

Utopie, aka “Combina”

“We are excited to announce that our newest stallion, Utopie, has also been awarded a lifetime breeding license and full approval by the AHS for Hanoverian and Rhineland breeding in the U.S. and abroad, and has been accepted into the AHS jumper breeding program,” Edgar shares of the KWPN jumping sire star. “It is remarkable when a stallion receives scores of 8s for front and hind legs even after an extensive Grand Prix career. Utopie was also awarded a conformation score of 8 and even higher for some of his movement and overall impression as he is a lighter type with a fantastic canter.”

Utopie has jumping talent on both sides of his family. Sire Jacomar celebrated great success with Mac Houtzager and is one of the top earning Dutch stallions in sport. His dam, Pherna, scored 9 and 8.5 for her jumping on her IBOP and has made her international debut. This line has produced many Z-jumpers, including grandmother Cerna, who had five brothers and sisters jumping at the same level. Utopie has produced multiple Ster, Keur, Elite and 2nd and 3rd round stallion testing offspring.

Utopie’s approval with multiple Warmblood registries allows mare owners more options when choosing foal registration. “With his performance record and current approvals, he can have foals registered with just about all major Warmblood breed societies,” Edgar reports.  “His type and rich performance pedigree will now be available to even more mares to produce typey top performance horses as he has already proven to do. Currently 27.9% of his offspring are being shown at 1.3M and above with several placing in the biggest 1.6M Grand Prix in the U.S. and Europe. This earned him sixth place in the world for KWPN last year based on number of offspring and their performance.”

Escher: Emerging Young Stallion

On Eurequine’s roster for a year now, Escher is another new sire Edgar is especially excited about. Escher has successfully completed year-one of the Stallion Sport Test and will return next year for his final test and lifetime breeding license.

Passing this first test is another successful step in earning his lifetime license and caps what Edgar describes as a “great busy breeding year, especially for a new stallion.”

The 16.2hh Hanoverian stallion epitomizes the modern type of sport horse. “He is a smooth, correct and very balanced young horse,” Edgar explains. “He is a source of Thoroughbred blood for breeders looking to add that increasingly important element to their breeding programs.”

In 2018, Escher was the only 3-year-old North American stallion licensed by the American Hanoverian Society. He is licensed to produce registered Hanoverian and Rhineland foals and was presented to several other registries at his 2019 North American Stallion Sporthorse Test this past fall at Pollyrich Farm in the Santa Ynez Valley.


It’s a continuation of an auspicious start of terrific scores during his licensing, starting with a 9 for “type and masculinity.” He also scored a 9 for neck and 8s for saddle position, frame, foreleg, conformation and, importantly, canter, jumping ability and overall impression. One Hanoverian judge commented that Escher was a stallion he would use in his own program, Edgar relays. Escher is a natural choice for the jumper mare, especially for those who would like to continue a desirable type. Both of Escher’s parents are in the American Hanoverian Breeding Society’s Jumper Breeding Program.

He is by the legendary stallion Escudo II, who maintained the highest riding type of Hanoverians worldwide for eight consecutive years. Escher’s genetics combine the multi talent, strong top line and beauty of Escudo II with similar traits in addition to lightness and legginess from the dam side. Escher’s dam is the outstanding Thoroughbred mare Apt to Please, by Pleasant Tap. She was a winner of her AHS Inspection, and completed her Mare Performance Test, easily earning entry into the Jumper Breeding Program.

Donarweiss: Grand Prix Dressage Star Available for Breeding Again

Although a very familiar name, Donarweiss is another relatively new star in the Eurequine line-up. In his first year back in the breeding shed, after an illustrious Grand Prix career, Donarweiss resumes a breeding career launched with impressive results and confirmed with excellent performance.

He was champion of his 30-Day Test with an overall score of 8.33. His versatility was showcased with individual scores of 9 for rideability and jumping technique. In his first season of FEI, Donarweiss was ranked first for the AHS/USDF Hanoverian All-Breeds Awards. In 2009, Donarweiss won the USDF Region 8 Prix St. Georges Championships. The following season he finished second in the AHS/USDF Hanoverian All-Breeds Awards and 11th in the nation for Intermediaire II with scores as high as 72%.

Purchased by Starr Vaughn Equestrian in late 2011, Donarweiss and Genay Vaughn qualified just a few months later for the U.S. National Championships, where they finished third. Later that season they won the Team Silver Medal at the NAYRC. In 2013, the pair qualified for the Brentina Cup National Championships and won the Region 7 USDF Championships for Intermediaire II Jr/Yr.

Donarweiss’s sire, De Niro, was Reserve Champion of his performance test with a score of 141.93. De Niro had a wonderful sport career with over 24 wins at S-Level and has sired 108 States Premium mares, 25 approved sons, and numerous FEI level competitors earning him the top spot on the 2012 WBFSH Dressage Sire Ranking List.

Zorro at the Olympics – Mexican team, with rider Federico Fernandez. Photo: ©Bob Langrish 2008

Donarweiss’s damsire, Hohenstein, was Reserve Champion of his Stallion Performance Test. Further back in Donarweiss’s pedigree is Archipel, a son of the 1994 Hanoverian Stallion of the Year Argentan, which brings additional scope and jumping ability. With the quality and depth of his pedigree and great character and rideability, it is no surprise that multiple Donarweiss offspring are going up the levels with amateurs and professionals and several are already showing at Grand Prix.

Adding these new stallions to what is already a remarkable roster of ability, talent and temperament reflects Eurequine’s commitment to offering clients the best of everything, from valuable advice on their stallion choice to at-the-ready follow through on every step that follows. Altogether, that makes the program poised to continue as a go-to for breeders with high quality breeding interests, services and activities far into the future.

For early booking discounts, stallion or breeding services feel free to call or e-mail Edgar Schutte at 916-203-2247 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information, visit

January 2020 - Sick or Sleeping?
Written by by Madison Seamans, DVM, MS
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:42
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Knowing the signs of neonatal distress are critical to lifesaving treatment.

by Madison Seamans, DVM, MS

Few things in nature are more inspiring than new foals frolicking around their mothers on a crisp spring morning. The fact that a foal can be up and running within short hours after birth is but one in a long series of miracles.

Conception is miraculous in itself. Development in utero, in the womb, begins with the formation of all of the organ systems and is followed by the maturation of them. During the entire process, the foal is completely dependent on the mother’s blood supply for eating, breathing and eliminating metabolic waste products. Many of the organ systems function differently in utero than they do after birth. Parturition, or birthing, initiates changes in the heart, lungs, liver and urinary bladder which must occur almost instantly. These changes are essential for adaptation to life on the outside.

Fortunately, things proceed normally almost all of the time. Foals have survived the cold, cruel world much longer than there have been foal-watch teams to worry about them. However, how do we know when things are not right? What are the signs? What can and should be done?

In order to understand how things can go wrong, it is important to review the normal physiological processes taking place around the time of birth.
Prenatal To Neonatal

When we watch horses, young or old, running free on a glorious day, we seldom think of all the processes that must take place for oxygen and energy to fuel one of God’s most amazing athletes. It may not seem obvious, but when the foal is still in utero he does not breathe or eat.

The blood supply flowing to the mother’s uterus, or womb, is very close to that of the foal. Oxygen and nutrients are transferred directly into the blood supply of the developing fetus through an elaborate system of membranes called the placenta. This is attached to the foal through his belly button, the umbilicus. In addition, there are shunts, little detours which direct blood away from the lungs and liver, since these organs are not needed until the beginning of life on the outside. Immediately after birth, these shunts must change to allow normal function of all body systems. Cardiovascular (heart, lung and blood vessels) changes occur first and the blood is instantly directed to flow through the lungs so they can inflate, absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.

Other changes involving the liver, urinary bladder, intestinal lining and immune system occur in the hours after birth and are critical to survival. The channel between the bladder and umbilicus, the urachus, is normally closed at birth so urine starts flowing through the appropriate pathway. The intestinal lining, or epithelium, remains very porous during the first six to eight hours of life. This allows absorption of some very large molecules called antibodies ingested in the first milk, or colostrum. This provides immunity from bacteria, viruses and other potentially life-threatening infectious diseases.

The “passive immunity” is essential for the life of the foal until his immune system matures and he is capable of making his own antibodies through “active immunity” at about six months of life. For this reason, foals are not routinely vaccinated for most diseases before about six months, as they may not be capable of producing an immune response to “shots.” If the mare is vaccinated about 30 days prior to her “due date,” she will pass the immunity on to her foal when he nurses the colostrum during the first day of life.    

Appreciation of the transition between prenatal life in utero to neonatal life on the outside helps us understand processes present when things go wrong. When a foal becomes ill, many of his body systems want to revert back to the warm, safe confines he had in the “mom.” However, the prenatal function of most organ systems is not compatible with life on the outside. When the normal physiological role is absent, the invasion of bacteria, viruses and fungi can cause illness in foals. The term “neonatal septicemia” describes foals with a serious infection in the blood stream.

Neonatal Septicemia

In sick foals, the metabolic retreat to prenatal life can occur rapidly, within just a few hours. The passage that allows blood to flow through the lungs begins to close so respiratory symptoms are common in “at risk” foals. Among the first symptoms noticed are cough, runny nose, high fever and lethargy. The urachus opens again, urine dribbles from the umbilicus and “my colt is peeing out his belly button” is an alarming report.

Gastric ulcers are also seen in these patients, and may cause rolling, teeth grinding and increased salivation. Some foals with gastric ulceration may roll up next to a fence or wall so they are lying directly on their back with their feet in the air. In addition, the shunt at the liver is closed again, and metabolic waste products that are normally cleared from circulation by this vital organ begin to increase in the blood. This build-up soon becomes toxic, the life-sustaining mechanisms cease functioning and other potentially fatal events arise.

There are several things that suggest the foal is at risk for developing neonatal septicemia. Some of these can be quite subtle, so a “well baby exam” during the first day of life by a veterinarian is strongly advised even if everything looks OK. Foals that fail to stand and nurse within two hours, or have urine dribbling or swelling at the umbilicus are suspect. In addition, joint swelling, extreme lethargy, sometimes indicated by general weakness or “floppy” ears are also cause for concern. (It is interesting to note that before the foal can stand for the first time, he must have good control of his ears.)

Diarrhea, cough, nasal discharge and fever (a temperature over 101.5) suggest the presence of serious problems. Lethargy can be difficult to assess, as a normal foal will exhibit a cycle of nursing, playing and “power napping” throughout the day. However, a foal that is not easily aroused by human or maternal stimulus or has any of the other symptoms mentioned here, should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.  
Nursing or Not?

Normal nursing behavior is the most important indicator of good health. Failure to stand and nurse normally within two hours after birth, or wandering around the stall “nursing” foreign objects, are clear indicators that the foal is in trouble. As the typical mare produces about four gallons of milk per day, a foal needs to nurse frequently to ingest this volume.

The new foal should be observed closely to be certain that he actually has the teat in his mouth. Even though the foal’s head may be seen under the mare’s flank and sucking noises heard, sometimes he still has not “latched on.” The presence of milk on the newborn’s face is an indication that he may be getting close, but not actually nursing. This should be cause for concern. If the mare’s udder is being nursed regularly, the teats will look clean and be pointing downward or directed north and south. If the foal has not nursed, the teats may have crusty debris still present on the surface and they may point southeast and southwest, an indicator of a full udder.

Normal nursing is repeated in episodes lasting 15 to 30 seconds or longer. Nursing activity for three or four seconds is not adequate, and assistance is warranted.

If the foal has not latched on, directing him towards the teat and squirting milk on his nose can help him locate his breakfast. In some cases, however, a stomach tube must be passed by a veterinarian and the first colostrum delivered in this manner. This will ensure the presence of essential antibodies in his system, and provide the immediate nutrition needed until normal nursing patterns can be established. The importance for normal nursing cannot be overemphasized as it may be the most critical aspect of survival.

As the gut remains porous for the first 12 to 24 hours to absorb antibodies from colostrum, these holes can also allow the passage of bacteria. This is probably the beginning of sepsis, or infection in the blood rather than the old wives’ tale of it coming from the umbilicus, traditionally called “navel ill.” The presence of milk in the intestine triggers the mechanism which closes the large pores in the lining and allows normal absorption of water and other nutrients. The closure of intestinal pores will guard against the introduction of bacteria into the blood stream, and the antibodies present afford protection against those that may have tried to sneak in uninvited.

Premature births are relatively uncommon in horses, but as is the case in humans, present severe challenges to survival. Although the normal gestation, the length of pregnancy in a mare is 345 days (the average is 333 to 357 days), some foals prefer their own calendar. Regardless of the duration of pregnancy, foals with a short, velvety hair coat, little body fat or severe weakness are by definition dysmature, and at risk for septicemia. This is more common if the gestation is “too long,” than if it is “too short.”

Although we may be tempted to induce labor in pregnancies exceeding four hundred days, this is very seldom advisable, as these foals aren’t “done” yet.  Forcing their delivery will commonly result in a dysmature foal. Time sufficient for the maturation of all body systems is imperative for neonatal survival.

Surfactant Is Critical

The production of surfactant, a substance that allows the lung to inflate properly, is among the last components to mature in the prenatal horse. This miraculous compound reduces surface tension in the alveoli, the microscopic spaces in the lung that are the location for exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases. When you blow up a toy balloon, you will notice that it is fairly difficult in the beginning. However, at some critical point, it gets easy. This is what surfactant does in the lungs; makes it easy to inflate the alveoli. Once the lungs are properly inflated, the foal is absorbing oxygen and life without the placenta is possible. Dysmature foals often lack adequate surfactant, and severe respiratory problems with septicemia are common.

The amazing phenomenon of new life usually proceeds without difficulty. However, if a foal presents with any of the symptoms discussed here, veterinary attention is advised. Most of these cases should be treated as an emergency, so waiting for normal office hours is seldom an option. Many at risk foals can be saved with some simple mare-side techniques that can avoid major problems later. Above all, when in doubt, call your veterinarian.

Article reprinted courtesy of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. For more information, visit

January 2020 - CPHA Year In Review
Written by by Jeni Brown, CPHA President
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:25
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cpha spotlight

Well-attended special classes, education and top benefits highlight a strong year for horsemen’s organization.

by Jeni Brown, CPHA President

The California Professional Horsemen’s Association and the CPHA Foundation had a great year in 2019. We are so grateful for all our supporters and sponsors. Without their active participation and generous donations, the CPHA would not be able to do any of our projects, which benefit all our equine professionals.


Our scholarship program is going strong, and we were able to help many professionals this year in their time of financial need. Remember to do your CPHA Professional memberships to be eligible for the many programs we offer, including the $5,000 supplemental accident insurance policy. This is a great benefit for all equine professionals including trainers, grooms, farriers, vets, horse show staff, etc.


Our CPHA Medal Finals were very well attended and beautifully produced by show managers all over California. We had northern and southern regional finals for the CPHA Ch/Ad, Horsemanship and Style of Riding. We also had our CPHA Jr and Amateur Finals, the CPHA Foundation Championships, and the CPHA Foundation WCE Medal Finals.

Over all the classes, we had almost 350 riders and their trainers participating. We had educational forums at some of our events which were well attended and offered lots of helpful information.

Our hunter riders benefited from the CPHA Green Incentive Program with nice stake classes all year and a $30,000 Championship in September at the Blenheim Fall Tournament. In 2020 we are hoping to expand this program to include the 3’6” and 3’9” Green Hunters as well.

We are excited about our annual banquet Jan 3 and are looking forward to recognizing the accomplishments, many of which are lifelong, of the impressive professional horsemen, outstanding juniors and amateurs as well as incredible horses who have all been a part of CPHA and our history.

We are grateful to be a part of a wonderful community who supports, encourages and fosters the growth and enjoyment of our tremendous sport, for so many years in the past and hopefully for many, many more the future!!

To join or get more information on the California Professional Horsemen’s Association, visit

January 2020 - Know Before You Show
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:14
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USEF 2020 rule changes relate to a range of topics ranging from horse welfare to show coat color.

The New Year brings changes to the United States Equestrian Federation rule book that governs all sanctioned equestrian competition. Affiliate, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, has created a simple guide of rule changes taking effect for the new competition year.

The following are important rule changes affecting hunter/jumper competition, aligned with their discipline and rule number for easier location in the rule book. These went into effect Dec. 1, 2019, for the 2020 competition year. The entire rule book can be found on

Tack and Appointments:
This rule change clarifies the proper use of a curb chain to protect horses from equipment that could inflict pain or discomfort. Curbs must be constructed of loose links, joints, and/or lie smooth against the jaw of the horse and be free of sharp or inhumane objects.

Hunter Attire and Coat Color:
This new rule specifies that conventional attire following the tradition of fox hunting is encouraged and preferred and that judges shall not eliminate a rider for inappropriate attire except for safety.

Hunter and Pony Hunter Breeding:
This rule change clarifies that horses and ponies in Hunter Breeding classes should be judged on the ability to become or produce hunters and adds the term “athleticism” to the traits by which horses and ponies are judged.

Definition of a Complete Hunter Round:
This rule change defines what qualifies as a completed Hunter round. This rule rewrite aims to eliminate the practice of attempting to force a class to split by having a horse-and-rider combination enter the ring but not complete a course. It also defines completion of an under saddle class.

Use of Electronic Devices:
This rule states that the unsafe use of electronic devices, as determined by the competition steward in their sole discretion, including the use of cell phones with or without earphones/buds while mounted is prohibited in all areas designated for schooling and exercise and while longeing horses on competition grounds.

Jumper Prize Money:
This rule outlines how prize money and entry fees will be determined and distributed if a class is combined due to insufficient entries as outlined in JP 122.1.c.

Jumper Sections/Classes Restricted by Horse Age:
This rule is aimed to help clarify and guide course designers to construct safe and positive courses for the development of young jumpers. The rule includes course guidelines for all ages, 5-year-old Jumpers, 6-year-old Jumpers and 7-year-old Jumpers.

Sections/Classes Restricted to Junior, Amateur/Owner, Amateur Jumpers:
This rule changes the title of classes to High (1.40m or 1.45m), Medium (1.30m or 1.35m) and Low (1.20m or 1.25m), for Amateur Owner Jumpers, Amateur Jumpers, and Junior Jumpers. Prize lists must identify classes as High, Medium or Low according to the definition of the rule. This rule also further clarifies cross-entry restrictions between the lowest height section of Junior, Amateur Owner, amateur Jumpers and CSI3* Grand Prix classes offering $25,000 or more in prize money at the same competition.

National Standard Jumper Classes:
This rule change, under the Jumper rule book subchapter defining levels of difficulty (JP-4), creates a clear progression of fence heights from the American Standard (up to 1.40m) to National Standard (1.45m to 1.50m).

Horse Welfare:
This new rule change in the Equitation chapter aims to provide awareness and focus on the commitment to the protection and welfare of equine athletes competing in Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation sections.

Beyond rule changes, members should be aware that the US Equestrian Board of Directors recently voted to prohibit the use of Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) in horses competing in USEF-licensed competitions effective December 1, 2019.

Additionally, farm and business entity owners should keep in mind that GR202 will now be in effect for the 2020 competition year. This rule amendment, passed by the US Equestrian Board of Directors at the 2017 USEF Annual Meeting, states, “If a horse(s) is owned by a farm or any other entity, at least one of the horse’s owners, either Farm/Business or Individual, must also obtain an exhibitor registration pursuant to GR1106.” The USEF provided members with a two-year transition period for compliance with this rule. If members have any questions regarding this rule and its implementation, they may contact USEF Customer Care by email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or by calling 859-258-2472 during business hours.

Please note this listing is not a comprehensive list of all rule changes effective Dec. 1, 2019. All rule changes can be found on

Article provided by the USHJA. For more information, visit

January 2020 - Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association Awards Banquet
Written by photos: Liz Corkett/Equine Clicks Photography
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 23:29
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photos: Liz Corkett/Equine Clicks Photography

LAHJA members wrapped up the season with their annual awards banquet at the Pickwick Gardens on Sunday, December 15. Congratulations to everyone! Here are a few photo highlights from the banquet. Visit for complete year-end standings and to learn more about LAHJA.




Toni Anderson – Overall Winner, 2019 LAHJA Horsemastership Scholarship

Cordelia Edwards – 2019 Dorothy Groth Sportsmanship  Award

Georgia Rose Bass – Overall Champion, Pony Rider, Champion, Small & Medium Pony Hunters, Champion, Children’s Pony Hunters, Champion, Pony Equitation sponsored by Foxfield and Pony Medal Class High Score Award

Lisa Winn –2019 President’s Award

Victoria Simonds–Overall Champion, A 17 and Under, Champion, A Equitation, 14 and Under – Sponsored by Shadowbrook Stables, Champion, A Junior Hunters-3 foot 3 inches

Claire Sears –  Overall Champion, A 18 and Over, Champion, A Adult Amateur Hunters, 18 and Over

Rosemary Bilson–Overall Champion, B 11 and Under, Champion Mary Jane Watson Medal Final, Champion B Equitation, 11 & Under, Champion B Children’s Hunters, 11 & Under

January 2020 - Winning Ways
Written by photos: USEA/Leslie Mintz
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 21:49
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West Coasters are stars at USEA Awards Banquet in Boston.

photos: USEA/Leslie Mintz

Every year the eventing community comes together to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of its members at the United States Eventing Association Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The gathering was held in Boston in mid-December.


Led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wofford, the awards ceremony is one of the most anticipated events of the Convention and gives eventers the opportunity to celebrate their successes with their family and friends. The West Coast was well-represented in various awards categories, plus several received generous grants to put toward their competitive goals.

Dr. Jennifer Miller

Whitney Tucker-Billeter, right.

The evening’s presentation began with the USEA Classic Series drawing sponsored by DG Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles. USEA President Max Corcoran and Lesley Ellis presented the prize to the winner of the drawing, Dr. Jennifer Miller (Cave Creek, Arizona). Miller was awarded a custom fitted Stackhouse and Ellis saddle.

As the title sponsor of the USEA Classic Series, Hylofit generously provided Hylofit heart rate monitor systems to the lowest-scoring winners from each of the USEA Classic Series events. Whitney Tucker-Billeter of Temecula and Anna Hallberg of San Diego and Eileen Morgenthaler of Portola Valley were West Coast recipients.


Tamie Smith & Mia Farley

Meg Pellegrini

Tamra Smith, a RevitaVet sponsored rider, presented the Linda Moore Trophy to the 2019 RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year Mia Farley (San Juan Capistrano). Farley received a check for $1,000 and a RevitaVet system.

The 2019 SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year, presented with The Windfall Trophy, $1,000, and an embroidered show cooler provided by SmartPak, was Cassio’s Picasso (E.H. Hirtentanz x Cassio Pia), a 7-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by The Picasso Syndicate and ridden by James Alliston.

Broussard family

The Theodore O’Connor Trophy, $1,000, and an embroidered show cooler was awarded to the 2019 SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year, Ganymede (Ballywhim An Luan x Court Hawk), a 16-year-old Connemara mare owned and ridden by Meg Pellegrini.

Carol Kozlowski presented the USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to The Broussard Family (Kalispell, Montana).

Former USEA President Diane Pitts presented the USEA Foundation Grants. The $10,000 Essex Grant was awarded to Mia Farley.

Sara Mittleider

The Wilton Fair Grant is donated by David and Cheryl Lenaburg with the goal of supporting U.S. developing riders. The Fund allows up to $100,000 in grants to be given each year for a variety of educational opportunities for riders 29 and under who have not yet ridden for a senior team. Two Wilton Fair Grants were presented this year. Two grants were presented and Californian Charlotte Babbitt of South Lake Tahoe was one of the recipients.

The Mike Huber Award was presented by Diane Pitts to Derek and Bea di Grazia.

Andrea Baxter

Sarah and Rebecca Broussard and Lou Leslie presented Sara Mittleider (Kuna, Idaho) with the $10,000 Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant and Andrea Baxter (Paso Robles, California) with the $50,000 Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant.

Article excerpted from USEA press release.

January 2020 - Earl Warren Showgrounds
Written by by Joshua Molina - reprinted compliments of
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:12
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Renovations ahead for vintage Santa Barbara venue.

by Joshua Molina - reprinted compliments of

The Earl Warren Showgrounds board of directors on Thursday, Dec. 12, voted 8-0 to approve an equestrian facilities renovation plan that could bring world-class shows, competitions and events to Santa Barbara.

“It will not only improve the equestrian facilities, but it is going to improve the showgrounds as a whole,” said Ben Sprague, CEO of the Earl Warren Showgrounds.


Geophysicist and horse rider Karen Christensen led a group representing several hundred community members interested in bringing the equestrian facilities into the modern era. Christensen is also working with the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance & Evac Team, a nonprofit organization that assists with large animal rescues during emergencies and disasters. 


The group plans to raise between $600,000 and $750,000 to fund a variety of changes for the first phase. Sprague said the showgrounds has four arenas, but they are in a state of disrepair. The plan, he said, is to combine two arenas into a larger facility, improving the footings, repair three of the horse barns, remove three other barns and create a lunging area for events. A new sound system also would be installed.

“It would begin the process of replacing the facility,” said Mike Medel, board president for the showgrounds. “It’s fixing up the basics so we can draw more of the horse shows. It also doesn’t jeopardize our vision of being a multiuse center.”

The showgrounds have been struggling financially for several years, but the facility has been turning around financially since the hiring of Sprague, who took over early last year. Sprague told Noozhawk that the projected end-of-year budget is stronger than initially anticipated by 10 percent. Sprague recently secured $300,000 from the state of California in debt relief. In April, the facility had to take out a line of credit to cover payroll and operating costs.

He said there’s been a “false narrative” in the community about the showgrounds.

“We have made a lot of progress in a year,” Sprague said. “A lot of positive stuff has happened this year.”

Sprague said the facility might still need to take out a loan in the new year.

“We are not out of the woods, but we made a lot of progress in the last year,” Sprague said.

Christensen said she is thrilled with what lies ahead. Madison Square Garden in New York; Devon, PA, and the Earl Warren Showgrounds used to be the nation’s top three horse facility destinations. She said she is optimistic that those days will return, adding that everybody from various horse disciplines, such as english, rodeo, western and driving, are part of this “collaborative effort.”

“This is a fantastic turning point,” Christensen told Noozhawk. “Earl Warren has lost its glamour, but we think we will have a horse show circuit and it will bring a lot of income to Santa Barbara. We are trying to rebuild it so that it is more multi-use, so the arenas that we are building can be used for movie nights, car shows, 4-H and car shows.”

The work is expected to be completed by April 15, Christensen said.

“Earl Warren is run by a group of volunteers,” she said. “It is owned by the state, and it has no money. Asking them to go fix it was never going to be the answer. The real idea was, as a horse community, understand what their needs are, how to work with them and develop the funding they needed.”

January 2020 - IEHJA Update
Written by by Patti Schooley
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:00
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association news

Championship year-end show is enjoyed by all.

Galway Downs hosted The Inland Empire Hunter Jumper Association’s Championship Year End Horse Show November 7th-10th.  Eighty-three horses and their riders engaged in fierce competition to win a blue, red, yellow or any color ribbon with the goal to accumulate enough points to win a division championship. Twenty-six championships were at stake in the Jumper, Hunter and Equitation Divisions.


Rose Carver, riding three different horses, won a division champion on each. Emma Bryson, riding her own horse Chicago, was also a multiple winner. Landing in other champion or reserve positions were Makenna Hall, Mikayla Tidball, Jasmine Wheatley, Noelle Roberts, Joyce Noelle, Niki Zarcades, Jhonique Baez, Mary Slouka, Christina Brady, Kristie Kurtze, Jessica Abbott, Briannah Mcgee, Lynn Lacaze, Christina Columbe, Chanel Rhodes, Lori Marquardt, Makenna Hamner, Miranda Castorena, Gabby Franklin, Sam Tate and Briniry Werhli. Special recognition goes to Amanda Sorling and Eden Choi both beginning riders winning reserve champions and competing in their first Championship show.


Grand Prize award of a Paradise Electric Scooter presented by Sue Gysin to the winning Willowbrok team. Photo: Tina Fitch Photography

Emma Bryson rocked the equitation ring winning two division champions with Hunter Franklin and Jennifer Hallett in reserve positions. Jhonique Baez riding Zymon and Olivia Lee on Sydney round out the equitation winners.

Brianna Mcgee and Masha Tafoya were multiple winners with Brianna taking division champion in the Low Children’s/Adult Amateur and Schooling Jumpers with Masha taking the reserve. Masha, riding her horse Strawberry Wine, also took reserve in Pre -Training Jumpers while Jessica Abbott aboard her own Dream Catcher took champion. Stepping up her game, Masha took the champion ribbon in the Children’s/Adult Amateur with Carolyn Wickstrand on Solstice in reserve. Athina Zarcades won a three-peat on her horse Come Cie in the Modified Jumpers with Jasmine Wheatley on Gentleman’s Agreement twice in reserve and tied for a third reserve placing with Jessica Abbott. Also taking home the distinctive champion and reserve ribbons were Kayla De St Jean  on Kortesyde and Safa Elzein on Lady in Lace in the .90m Jr/Am Jumpers. Rounding out the Jumper champions was Skylar Hayford and Sam Tate, champion and reserve respectively in the Low Schooling Jumpers. A 1.0m $500 Mini Prix class challenged the competitors with Jessica Abbott, Safa Eizein and Campbell Lear placing first through third respectively.

IEHJA Board members Gretchen Clark and Susan Smithe awarding the Something So Right trophy to Lindsay Snyder. Photo: Tina Fitch Photography

In addition to the Mini Prix, IEHJA held a $500 Fall Festival Hunter Derby that fielded the largest number of competitors. Twenty-four riders coveted the Derby win with Kristie Kurtse, riding Miranda Castorena’s Cromatic, topping the field. The Derby course offered riders a choice of jumping heights from 2’6”, 2’9” and 3’.0” and a two-round format.

The Showdown Perpetual Medal pitted the seven entries over a 2’6”-2’9” jumper style course. The riders, both junior and adult amateurs allowed, were judged on equitation, guidance and control of their horse. A work off of the top two was required. The Medal is sponsored by Joan and Patrick Romo of Mountain view Farms North and South and Jhonique Baez on Zymon won the showdown. Two $100 Hunter Classics were also hotly contested. The Green Rider 2’3” Hunter Classic drew twelve entries with Lori Marquardt riding her own Gamilla Grey taking top honors. Green rider restrictions applied as riders cannot cross enter in any classes with fences exceeding 2’6”. Open to junior and adult amateurs, riders under the age of forty can only enter if they were in their first two years of showing at the 2’6” height. Riders over forty can only enter if they no longer compete over the 2’6” fence height.

The $100 Stirrup Hunter Classic allowed all Short, Long and Rusty Stirrup riders to compete. Miranda Castorena riding her own Cromatic took the first with Briniry Werhli on Zippy Ziggy second and Lauren Cordova on Beckett third.

Jessica Abbott and Justin Clark in the winners circle.

Jennifer Hallett was this year’s IEHJA Horsemanship Scholarship winner. The $250 award was an essay competition open to all junior and adult amateur IEHJA members. This year’s topic, “What is Your Definition of Horsemanship”, was judged on content, how specifically the essay answered the question, spelling and grammar. Congratulations to Jennifer. Lindsay Snyder was awarded the “Something So Right Trophy”. This competition was open to all horse owners that had persevered through personal or horse related difficulties and never gave up no matter what the odds.

Perhaps the most exciting class of the show was Jump, Scoot and Bounce which was held Saturday evening after the Hunter Derby. This team event has become a hallmark of the  IEHJA Championship Show with teams comprised of competitors, family and friends. Essentially a relay, the first team member rides a designated course. In this instance it was a gallop around the arena with the rider dismounting and tagging the scooter driver. The driver had to complete an obstacle course and was penalized for time faults and knocking tennis balls off course delineators. The third team member, usually the youngest and most supple, then mounted a bouncy ball and made a mad dash to the finish line. If you have never experience riding a bouncy ball let’s just say they’re hard to propel forward and kill your legs. The team from Willowbrook Riding Academy had the fastest time and won the grand prize mobility scooter donated by Paradise Electric Scooters. Sue Hilton Gysin presented the scooter to the Willowbrook team comprised of Gabby Franklin, mom Lorilea and Sam Tate.

Kristie Kurtze jumping Cromatic. Photo: Tina Fitch Photography

IEHJA thanks all its winners and all the competitors that participated in the Year End Championship Horse Show. A big nod of gratitude goes to the trainers and family and friends that support every competitor. This show could not have happened without the support of its sponsors; Paradise Electric Scooters, The Hay Connection, Cavalor, Finish Line, The Sporting Life Magazine and of course Riding Magazine. IEHJA also recognizes the great photography provided by Tina Finch Photography. Follow IEHJA on its website, or on Instagram. View next year’s show calendar and up and coming events such as the Annual Red-Carpet Awards Banquet at Santa Anita Racetrack on February 16, 2020. Hope to see all of you competitors and more and next years Championship Show which will again be held at Galway Downs.

Article provided by Patti Schooley for IEHJA.

January 2020 - The Gallop: SafeSport
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:55
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Presentation at USHJA Annual Meeting addresses questions about a process widely supported in theory but hotly debated in its execution.

by Kim F. Miller

A standing-room-only presentation on SafeSport during the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s annual meeting has returned the subject to top talking point in many circles. The presentation was given by the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Michael Henry, chief officer for response and resolution.

USHJA president Mary Babick set the stage for Henry’s presentation in a letter to members before the meeting: “As an organization, the USHJA is committed to safety and fairness for our members. Our sport produces many positives for our participants. Horses bring horsemanship, sportsmanship, empathy and teamwork into our lives. But let’s face it, whether it is the treatment of horses or people, we also have dark corners of the sport. As a sport and a community, we can and should be better.


“As equestrians it is our duty to work to make our sport strong and healthy. It is time to step up and no longer tolerate inappropriate behavior and to emerge as a safer and altogether more positive environment for our people and our horses. We should have zero tolerance for cruelty and abuse whether of horses or humans. Victim shaming and blaming is never acceptable.


“In the wake of the U.S. Center for SafeSport ban of George Morris, on Monday, November 25 the USHJA Board of Directors voted to re-name the Hunterdon Cup and remove the George H. Morris trophy from the International Hunter Derby. 

“The USHJA supports the mission of SafeSport. Our support does not make us deaf to the questions raised by many members concerning some of the processes utilized by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.”

A Razor-Thin Balance

The two-hour-plus presentation during the Annual Meeting in Denver included detailed explanations of what happens when a claim is filed, how an investigation proceeds, why and when restrictions are placed on “respondents” and background on SafeSport’s formation.

Dispelling the notion that any step in the process involved “willy nilly” decisions was a key message, as was explaining that SafeSport walks a razor’s edge between protecting the rights, reputations and livelihoods of claimants and respondents and mitigating the risk of ongoing harm to others.

The entire presentation can be viewed at This reporter recommends the talk to everyone in our sport. As Henry explained, everyone who “meaningfully participates” in a sport that’s part of the “Olympic movement” is subject to SafeSport regulations, per the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.

That includes trainers, exhibitors, volunteers, etc. SafeSport’s mission is two-fold: to prevent abuse and misconduct through education and training; and to provide accountability through its investigation and sanctioning process. The Center is an independent non-profit with jurisdiction over all sports within the U.S. Olympic and Para Olympic movement.

The presentation was dense with information that exceeds available space. A few highlights:

Reporting: “We can only investigate when we get a report,” said Henry. “We don’t cull the internet looking for misconduct.” Reports come primarily through website submissions at These range from a stated allegation – sometimes anonymous – to allegations accompanied by uploadable documents that support the claim: emails and audio files, for example. “It’s a way for people to raise an alarm that something needs to be looked at. Many times, these are third party reports.”

Investigations: Initial intake and preliminary inquiry determining the veracity of claim begin the process. SafeSport’s investigative team consists of people with backgrounds in law, law enforcement, social work, child protective services and other relevant fields. With or without the claimant’s input beyond the initial claim,  SafeSport investigators attempt to corroborate their statements in various ways. Claimants often suggest others who can speak on the subject. Nobody is forced to cooperate with the inquiry, including the claimant.

“We don’t take every case and move it through to formal investigation and adjudication,” Henry explained. If there is not sufficient evidence to initiate a formal investigation, the case is filed as “administratively closed.” Occasionally, information received later triggers the re-opening of such cases.

In most cases, the alleged perpetrator is not notified of claims until there is sufficient evidence to initiate a formal investigation. Exceptions do arise if an “articulatable risk” is determined. In such cases, temporary measures can be implemented, but those are rare.

“Most people don’t know what’s going on with the thousands of cases we are working on,” he said. “The process is designed to be confidential. We don’t want the kind of world where, in order to have these circumstances addressed, you have to be suddenly out in the open. That said, we can’t go forward until the people alleged of violations are informed of the investigation and given a chance to respond. You’ll receive notice when we are to a point that you need to know what you’ve been accused of.”

Informing the respondents before this point would jeopardize the credibility of their answers, Henry said. The process prevents their response being influenced “by knowing the narrative in advance.”

Henry stressed that the SafeSport team is acutely aware the impact of allegations on the recipient’s life, family, career, reputations, etc., and that temporary restrictions are only made when it is determined others might be at risk. “That was precisely the issue with Larry Nassar,” Henry said, referring to the former U.S. Gymnastics team doctor who was convicted as a serial child molester. “Are you exposing others to risk by not telling anyone?”

“Most people do not want to come to terms with this stuff happening more often than most people think,” Henry continued. “Every week, we get some allegation of child sexual abuse, sometimes multiple allegations.”

Quantity & Outcome of Cases: SafeSport receives about 230 reports a month. Since its creation in 2017, it has dealt with approximately 4,600 reports that manifested in 4,000 cases. Of those, 2,800 have been investigated and resolved. Eight hundred of those were determined to involve violations of the SafeSport code and led to sanctions. Sanctions ranged from formal warnings to permanent ineligibility to participate in their sport or another sport within the Olympic movement. This latter, most severe category is often defined on the SafeSport website as “sexual conduct with minors.” That indicates, Henry said, egregious forms of abuse that are not detailed in order to protect victims’ privacy. “Respondents” are told the names of their accusers during the formal investigation, but victims’ names are not made public by SafeSport at any time. Claimants sometimes make allegations known to the public of their own accord.

All SafeSport decisions are open to arbitration from an “independent, neutral” arbitrator, and SafeSport can help with costs for those who can’t afford the process. Of the 800 decisions, “less than 1 percent” have been overturned by arbitration, Henry stated. The Center also has an ombudsman available to help all parties understand and navigate the investigation process.

Reports are currently investigated by a fulltime staff of 20, each of whom handles approximately 20 cases. An increase to a 40-person staff is expected by the end of this year.

False Allegations: During a Q&A session, Henry acknowledged widespread fears of false allegations. He confirmed that, if the testimony of a claimant or witness could be proven false,  SafeSport treats those as a sanctionable offense, triggering an independent case.  He acknowledged the reality that any claim that becomes public has the effect of a guilty verdict, even if the respondent is deemed innocent. Henry reiterated that this risk is carefully weighed against the risk of further harm and of not holding the guilty accountable for their actions.

Old Cases: An attendee asked about cases involving older people for abuses that occurred long ago, and those in which there was no evidence of the person being a current risk. Henry acknowledged that those were more difficult cases to investigate. The reality that victims of any time are typically not thinking of how to explain the events as they occur is worse in older cases.

“In allegations from years prior, we look at are there still actual risks, or are there enough mitigating factors?” As for evidence, he noted, “Even with allegations that are decades old, we still often have some physical or documentary evidence.” Microfiche documents showing both parties being in the same place many years ago are one example of possible corroborating evidence.

The bottom line is, “We always hold ourselves to the evidence,” he stated. When cases are mostly based on testimonies, “we have to weigh it very carefully.” That process is made harder when people chose not to participate in the investigation process.

Learn More
U.S. Center for SafeSport:
Athletes for Equity In Sport:
United Athletes Alliance:

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

January 2020 - Breeding Season is Near
Written by by Ben Espy, DVM, DACT
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:46
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Winter requires extra light for productive mare cycling.

by Ben Espy, DVM, DACT

As the weather gets colder in the southern part of the United States and in the more northern reaches, mare and stallion owners might be gearing up for the breeding season. To help you make preparations for the upcoming breeding season, we’ll take a look at two populations of mares--those that are currently pregnant and those that are maiden or barren- and we’ll approach a stallion’s needs for breeding season preparation, too.

It is generally accepted that mares need to be exposed to a quiescent or dark period that mimics the short days of winter to be able to subsequently respond to the longer days of spring. Regardless of whether you have a pregnant or nonpregnant mare, increasing lighting starting on Dec. 1 will enhance the return of the mare’s estrous cycle in the spring.

It takes 60 full days of increased light to stimulate a mare to resume cycling. If a pregnant mare foals early in the year and she has not been under increased light in a barn or paddock scenario, she’s likely to foal and stop cycling until the days become longer.

The critical amount of light needed to stimulate them to come into heat early in the spring is 14 to 16 hours per day. Increased light is usually applied at the end of the day, with a timer, to achieve this total. Lights that come on before sunrise are not as effective as those that come on after sunset, even if the total light exceeds 14 to 16 hours.

Mares that are pregnant in the fall need to be vaccinated to prevent infectious abortion causes by equine herpesvirus. This disease is also known as “rhino abortion” or “rhinopneumonitis.” Vaccines labeled for use in pregnant mares should be used since these vaccines protect against the specific abortive herpes strain. The most common protocol is to vaccinate pregnant mares at five, seven, and nine months of gestation.

Four to six weeks before the anticipated foaling date, mares should be vaccinated for all the diseases that your veterinarian feels are endemic for your specific area; this will enrich the mare’s colostrum for the new foal’s arrival.

Mares should also be dewormed with a pyrantel or ivermectin-containing product to kill roundworm (ascarid) larvae that might be transmitted through the udder to the foal. This is also a good time to ensure that mares have an open vulva if they previously had a Caslick’s procedure performed.

As stated above, all mares should be under lights for maximized reproductive function. If early conception is not a concern, or if you live in an area closer to the equator, you might not have to provide supplemental light and you can start examining your mares whenever you want to begin your breeding season.

More Preparations

A basic reproductive soundness exam includes rectal palpation and/or a transrectal ultrasound and a vaginal speculum exam. Veterinarians frequently perform uterine cultures and cytology to verify the absence of endometritis.

Cultures and cytology must be performed when the mare is in estrus (“heat”) and has an open cervix.

Mares should have a BCS (body condition score) of 5/6 out of 10 to be effective reproducing animals. Many studies have been performed that show that pregnant mares only require 1.4 to 1.6 times the calories of non-pregnant mares and only in the last 30 to 60 days of gestation. If mares become obese, foaling difficulties often occur.

The reproductive needs of male horses often are neglected during this time of year. Stallion sperm production is maximized in the spring after they experience a quiescent winter period just like mares. Exposing mares to stallions has not been shown to speed a mare’s return to cyclicity. Verify nutrition, deworming, and vaccination protocols with your veterinarian to ensure your stallions are in prime physical condition for the stressful breeding season that they are asked to endure.    

Article reprinted courtesy of the AAEP Forum and its AAEP Media Partner, The Horse.

January 2020 - Celebrating CPHA Special Awards Winners
Written by Produced by Kim F Miller & Alicia Anthony
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:31
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cpha spotlight

Ten Californians honored for their accomplishments and contributions.

Produced by Kim F Miller & Alicia Anthony

For the sixth consecutive year, California Riding Magazine has enjoyed the privilege of producing these tributes to recipients of the California Professional Horsemen’s Associations special awards. Thanks to their family, friends and colleagues for sharing these personal perspectives that give all a window into why they received these honors.

The awards will be presented during the CPHA’s Annual Awards banquet, Friday Jan. 3 in San Diego, during the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association’s annual gathering. For more information, visit For president Jeni Brown’s year-end greeting, this issue.


BEST BET - Equine Lifetime

“You usually don’t put a 10-year-old kid and a 4-year-old horse together,” says Susie Hutchison. “They usually don’t mesh very well!” In the case of the future Grand Prix jumping star and Best Bet, however, “It worked very well.”

The former stock horse came Susie’s way through her trainer Jimmy Williams in 1964, when the 4-year-old was sent to him at Flintridge for training and eventual sale. The black Thoroughbred was started as a stock horse, but Williams saw other abilities and had the sense that Susie’s already emerging talents would make her a good fit.

Originally called Last Bet, his name was changed to Best Bet, or “BB” around the barn. In early 1965, he and Susie, then 11, headed out to the Date Festival show at Indio where they entered the First Year Green division, competing mostly against professionals. She also campaigned him in the Junior Hunter division, and their long string of successes was underway in both divisions.

Throughout 1966, they were a hard-to-beat partnership in the Junior Hunter and Open Working Hunter divisions on the West Coast. They debuted on the East Coast that same year, hitting the Pennsylvania National, the Washington International and the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York, where they were reserve Junior Hunter champs and received a top call back in the First Year Green championships first round—Susie then just 12. She remembers the thrill of being in the line-up with Gene Cunningham and great hunters including Among The Stars and Up In Smoke. It was the first of many memories of competing against professionals, a few of whom tried to no avail to psych Susie out, she recalls. “He and I were just a great pair.”

Their successes continued from there. From 1966 to 1971, Best Bet was the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association’s Champion Working Hunter. He was also an awesome equitation and medal partner. The Barbara Worth, AHSA Far West Medal Final and the CPHA Medal Final were among their big wins in that realm—all by the time Susie was 14.

Best Bet was consistently good, she recalls—even through a phase when she wasn’t. “I had a teenage phase where I wasn’t behaving the best and there was a stretch there where I didn’t feel like I rode him very well. At 13, I didn’t think I could do anything right, so there was a year of me just trying to ride him properly. Once I got my act together, things got much better. It was never him that had the problems!”

While Best Bet had ample pizazz in the show ring, he was not a horse that wanted much attention in the barn. “I rode him around bareback a lot and he was never naughty or anything. I think he just liked to be left alone. He was never that typical kids’ horse that wants you to throw your arms around his neck and give him kisses.”

“I’ve been really lucky to have fabulous horses to ride, but as far as my own personal horse, he was the best I ever owned.”

BEVERLY JOVAIS - Horseman Of The Year
by Jill Hamilton

To know Bev is to love her. Since first moving Chestnut Hill to California from the East Coast nearly two decades ago, Bev has become a great addition to the West Coast horse industry as well as a loyal friend to myself and many others.


Over the 15 years that I’ve known Bev, I have watched her have tremendous success in our industry, guiding many of her students to earn top honors in prestigious classes and year-end championships. In that time, I’ve also seen her act as a mentor for many younger professionals, offering show opportunities and endless help on the ground.

Everyone who knows Bev has been touched by her kindness, generosity and humor. She is always ready to help bring up morale with a bright smile or an encouraging word.

Several years ago, my business partner Nancy and I were helping clients at two different rings when I had to abruptly leave due to a medical emergency with a client. Bev immediately came over to ask not “Do you need help?” but “What do you need me to do?” That’s so representative of the kind of person I know her to be.

Beyond being a wonderful friend, Bev truly is one of the most thorough and disciplined professionals that I have ever had the pleasure to know: she was recently rewarded for her expertise by earning her “R” judging card. This year, she spent many hours preparing for the biggest and most challenging judging job of her life -- the 2019 USEF Pony Finals in Kentucky. I’m often impressed with her commitment to always go above and beyond to cover every detail of her work, whether it’s about judging a prestigious competition, coaching a student, or figuring out the program for one of her newest imports.

In addition to Bev’s professional acumen, she has raised three amazing daughters who I have gotten to know to be kind and generous people. Their character is definitely a testament to Bev’s values and kindness, and I feel very lucky to know both them and their mom.

NICK HANESS - Special Achievement
by Ryan May

It was 2016 at Indoors when I first really started to notice and admire Nick Haness’ talent, accuracy and effectiveness on a horse. It happened while he was showing Technicolor in the First Year Greens. At that moment, I knew he was “one to watch” for sure.


After claiming his championship title at Pennsylvania National Horse Show, he walked up into the stands and sat next to my friends and me. That’s when I realized he was not only spectacular in the tack, he was just as exceptional and fun as a person. From that moment on we became long-distance friends because we lived on opposite coasts.

Fast forward to 2018, while finding each other on the same coast, we felt a spark between us that started the journey to where we are now. That was the moment I really learned how selfless, loving and genuine he is. Nick sees people working hard, who may not have the means, and is passionate about stepping in to help. He is the type of professional who sets the standards high in his riding, morals and personal life and I will always look up to him for that.

Not only does he have a huge heart for others and the horses in this sport, he also has a passion for rescuing animals, such as the alpacas, goats, parrots, pigs, sheep, donkeys, mini horses, cats and the infamous “Hunter” the dog. You will catch him hanging out with them on the farm when he’s not at shows, horse shopping or traveling the world.

A day at home in the barn with Nick can be like a box of Sour Patch Kids candy—which he loves: You never know which flavor you might get! You can get anything from fun lessons, trail rides through the desert, to wineries for lunch and even some last-minute fun adventures to places like amusement parks or the nail salon. These are all some things he loves to do.

Nick is a great role model and is a very valuable and well-rounded person in our sport. One of his niches is finding talented horses all around the globe and matching them with riders looking for their new partner. Some of my favorite memories from this year and accomplishments for Nick are finishing second in the USHJA Derby Championship, Champion in the Stal Hendrix Futurity, the Winters Run Sportsmanship Award, Champion in the Green Hunters 3’3 at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the list goes on.

He is so deserving of this award and I am extremely proud of him and all the great things he has accomplished this year.

AVERY GLYNN - Special Achievement
by Hope Glynn

She has always had a natural feel.  It took no time to understand that the horse gene was in her blood and that she would be a horse-crazy kid. I’m lucky enough to say that I was the parent that got Avery started on a pony right in front of me with a bareback pad on.  


As a small child she craved the excitement of the independence she has on horseback and the thrill of victory. She is a fierce competitor.  It was her first show doing Walk/Trot when she got her first pink ribbon (because in leadline everyone got a blue) and in the following class she got a blue ribbon.  I looked at her and said, “How exciting, honey: you got a blue and a pink ribbon.” As a 5-year-old, she looked up and said, “Why does it feel so much better to get a blue ribbon than a pink one?”  I knew at 5 she would be an incredible competitor.

She has had the help of so many wonderful trainers and owners that have helped her get catch rides and provided coaching opportunities to further her riding in and out of Sonoma Valley Stables in Petaluma. Through these wonderful horses and wonderful coaches and mentors, Avery has won the THIS, Onondarka, PCHA, Horse and Hound, and Norcal Finals while riding as a 12-year-old.  This year she added winning both the CPHA Jr. and CPHA Foundation Finals, Reserve Champion Jr Hunter Finals West as well as a top 10 national finish in the USEF Jr. Finals.  

Avery is an amazing competitor because she really loves the sport and cares so deeply about the horses she gets to ride.  She is a high school freshman and would like to ride for a college team.  She hopes to continue to learn and succeed in the equitation and hunter ring and looks forward to branching into the jumper ring.  

Avery has had both the team at SVS and the great coaches at Elvenstar and James Hagman support her along the way.  She is a pleasure to parent and coach and she is a loving human and good sport.  I am excited for her to be recognized with a Special Achievement Award from CPHA, she is a great example of hard work and horsemanship among the up and coming juniors.

Congratulations Avery. I am so proud of you!

EMMA PACYNA - Junior Horsemanship
by Georgy Maskrey-Segesman

It was the winter of 2018 that Emma came into my life.  I had been looking for a junior to show some equitation horses for me and it was suggested that I speak with Emma and her mother Michelle.  It was at lunch on a Monday afternoon that I would meet a young lady that would be part of an unforgettable journey and one of the greatest privileges of my life thus far.  


At that time I was looking for a very specific person to come into the business as a working student.  I had some very specific goals for myself and my sales business and it had been hard to find the right fit.  I needed someone with a great work ethic, a person who loves the horses, someone with a good feel and that was teachable.  

Most of all I needed someone who was humble and hardworking and not easily discouraged.  I knew that the road ahead was not going to be an easy one to navigate and it was going to take some grit to be successful, both on the part of my team and on this poor unsuspecting junior rider.  As I spoke with Emma and her mother there was a glimmer of hope that this was it: I had found my junior rider.  

I think it was six months before she actually spoke more than a few words at time. However, she tried hard, showed up everyday and did whatever was necessary for the horses and the business.  Emma groomed her own horses both at the farm and at the shows.  She rode multiple horses a day, cleaned tack, bandaged, set courses with us and was always available and never complained even though some of the tasks were tedious and not very glamorous.  

In the beginning of our journey there were moments when we all wondered if things were going to work out.  We had to redirect when things were going wrong and there were many times when we had to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and try again.  Through all this Emma remained steadfast.  

When our first major win happened at the Maclay Regionals, it was not just that win we were celebrating, it was the journey.  Although the journey was not yet completed, we could celebrate the milestone and see a clear path ahead.  With each success Emma grew more confident but never arrogant or entitled.  She worked harder with each success and every failure spurred her on in a most determined manner.

We drove across the country with the horses so many times on this journey to equitation greatness, but amazingly it’s not the scores or the ribbons that I will most remember. It’s being a part of Emma’s life in this small window of time, taking on insurmountable odds, pressing ahead in moments of darkness and despair, all the while loving the horses and the journey.  

ABBY STELLAR - Sportsmanship
by Kay Altheuser

The first time I met Abby (Friedman) Stellar was at the Desert Circuit horse show in Thermal. She had just moved to Elvenstar from Northern California and had several horses there to show. I rode one of hers in a class and I remember just how friendly and excited she was to have me show her horse, although we had just met. She had no idea how I rode but was willing to trust me. She loves to watch her horses go in the ring without feeling the need to always be the rider: she wants to do what is best for each one.


Abby has such a bubbly personality and is so appreciative of anything we do for her and the horses. She is always a joy to see and her personality shines through in any situation. If she asks how you are, she is genuinely waiting for an answer, will listen and always shares a loving and caring attitude towards others. Her personality is infectious and I love being around her. While shopping for horses in Florida one year, we laughed and joked with each other every day. No matter how long the drive was or how tired we were, Abby was always upbeat and cheerful, looking forward to the next stop. Even if the horse wasn’t a suitable choice for her, she always found something nice to say about it.

Abby is one of the most generous people I know, always giving, helping and mentoring the younger up and coming riders. She is the one who will fix hairnets and bows, polish boots, help learn courses, take someone to the ring in the golf cart, and anything else needed.

She has often offered one of her horses at a show if a rider needs a mount. This generosity really showed in 2016 when she graciously offered her horse, Cantuccini, to a fellow barnmate to compete in the ASPCA Maclay National Final in Kentucky.

I have seen her be the first to congratulate a fellow competitor and to cheer others on from ringside and there is always a kind word or encouragement when another rider is having trouble.  She is a very gracious winner and, if not the winner, or when things are not going as planned, she is always thrilled for those who do well.

If one of her horses performs well but doesn’t win, she is always excited and proud of their performance knowing they do the best they can. She sees little improvements in her young horses as a huge success and never drills a horse unnecessarily.  Her compassion for her horse shows in her day-to-day routine and care for them and she loves each one, always putting their needs ahead of her own desires. If it isn’t in the best interest of the horse to show on a particular weekend, she will not go regardless of her own wants.

Abby is a very special and unique person and I am so grateful to know and be friends with her. I cannot think of a better choice for the CPHA Sportsmanship award.

MIKE NIELSEN - Lifetime Achievement
by Tracy Burroughs

Mike has an incredible resume in our sport. We know him as a hunter/jumper trainer, but his background includes extensive work with Arabians, Saddlebreds, western performance and stock horses and even bucking broncos!

I know Mike best as my partner in Windsong Farm for 25 years.  When I decided to step out on my own as a professional, Mike was the reason I came to the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center, where my business is still based. To this day, I still don’t know why he chose to help get me in here, but I’m grateful for that and, more so, for his influence ever since.

When Mike decided he wanted to spend more time on his work as a USEF judge and a course designer, we began working together with him taking over a lot of the teaching. He’s a great coach. He is very patient, he never gets mad, he explains things very well and he can be very funny. He’s a favorite of a lot of our adult amateurs.

His knowledge as a judge and course designer is one of the reasons he’s a great teacher. He can offer that judge’s perspective and break a course down into what questions it’s asking and options for solving them.

Our rings are next to each other, and many days I look over and there’s no riding going on: he and the riders are just talking. He is great about explaining the theory behind riding and training exercises and setting the students up for success in executing them. Not everybody aspires to ride in the Olympics and Mike is great for those who are serious about their horsemanship and learning and also want to enjoy the sport.

Plus, he has some amazing stories! We all miss him when he’s off judging or course designing and we’re happy when he returns.

Mike’s knowledge of horses is awesome. He’s a great on-the-ground guy for me and our riders. The breadth and depth of his experience makes him a source for various training challenges and above all, it enables him to see issues before they cause a problem. He just has a sense for when a horse is going to do something. That’s a big help in keeping horses and riders safe, which is one of his biggest priorities.

As a mentor, Mike has taught me so much about the business. I remember him telling me early on that “you’ll see a lot of money coming in and a lot of money going out.” I thought, “No way, I’m going to make a lot of money.” Which we don’t, of course. Instead it’s all about the love of the horse and Mike exemplifies this. There is nothing that escapes him about the horses.

He’s also a role model in the importance of giving back to the sport. He’s a past president of the PCHA and CPHA, and co-founder of the Orange County Horse Shows Association and has served on many committees over the years.

Along with being a great horseman, Mike is a genuinely nice person. I’ll always be grateful to be one of the many people he’s lent his help and experience to and for our long-standing friendship. He very much deserves this Lifetime Achievement award.


Tenacious. Passionate. Analytic. Powerful words for a powerful woman. Beginning with a love for the horse as a young girl, DiAnn made horses, horse sports, and teaching about all things horse her life’s work.

As a rider she reached the Grand Prix level and represented the U.S. in international competitions. She displayed her grit and tenacity by tackling some of the most challenging competitions on the North American continent, and success followed due to her deliberate, analytic approach to working to understand everything about her sport and the horses she rode. She was carried forward by her unwavering passion and enthusiasm.

As a trainer she had one of the largest show barns in California and guided her riders and their horses to success in the hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions. Langtree riders regularly won at shows, medal finals, and year-end championships. DiAnn encouraged her riders and instilled in them strong horsemanship and riding skills. Many of DiAnn’s students have continued to ride and some followed in her shoes to become top riders and trainers themselves, including her daughter, Kirsten Coe.

Along the way DiAnn became a licensed official, both judging and course designing where she further honed her skills and found new outlets for her passion. She developed a life-long interest in breeding and understanding how bloodlines affect a horse’s likelihood to succeed in the sport. DiAnn understands the value and importance of nature: breeding, and nurture: training and care in a horse’s overall success and well-being.

However, it is her role as the United States Youth Jumping Chef d’Equipe that is the pinnacle of her life with horses and where she is shining the brightest. DiAnn is sharing a lifetime of experience, knowledge, and wisdom with the up-and-coming show jumping riders of our country. Undoubtedly some will don the U.S. Team coat and represent our country in the largest and most important championships our sport has to offer.

I have no doubt that DiAnn’s tenacity instilling teamwork, horsemanship, and personal responsibility in our young riders of today will contribute to their successes in the future. I have no doubt that DiAnn’s insistence that these young riders learn to think, analyze, and learn about all aspects of their sport will make them robust horsemen with many skills to draw from to help them along their own paths. Finally, I know that each and every time she works with her young riders, whether in Nations Cups competitions, USHJA Gold Star Clinics, or interacting with them one-on-one, her passion and dedication shine through and imbues these riders with purpose and desire.

An Indelible DiAnn Inspiration

When I was 7, my mother let me accompany her to the Grand National Horse Show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, then one of the most important and prestigious shows on the West Coast. From the moment we arrived, I was in awe. Everything was so big and grand, especially for a young girl from the mountains.

My mother sent me to watch the Saturday night performance from my seat high in the rafters. The Open Jumpers started the evening, and then my mother was showing in the Working Hunter Stake. I knew I was supposed to cheer for Barbara Worth, the trainer my mother was working for as she competed against the men in the Open Jumper Stake. Then another woman entered the ring. A diminutive woman on a big bay horse. She was tenacious as she tackled the huge course, and she was calculating in how she rode. I was mesmerized. She made the jump off and I was so excited.

Over the shorter course that demanded daring turns and bold gallops, the small woman rider ignited something in me. Everyone went fast, but in the end she went fastest. I cheered as loud as I could from seat high above the arena floor as DiAnn led the victory gallop, sure she could hear my personal support.

That night as my mother put her horse away, I snuck over to where DiAnn’s horse was stabled. I watched her wrapping up her barn chores and tried to drum up the courage to talk to her. She spotted me watching her and she waved at me. I waved back. And then I couldn’t stand it, “You were amazing tonight,” I blurted out. “Thanks,” she said shyly and went back to her chores. I went back to my mother with a new passion burning in me. I wanted to ride like the woman I watched that night.

I never forgot that night, and now I get to call DiAnn “friend.” -by Marnye Langer

KAITLYN LOVINGFOSS - Junior Achievement
by Jim Hagman

When Carolyn Culligan called me in the fall of 2016 saying, “Jim, I have a kid for you…” I knew exactly who she was talking about. I asked her what Kaitlyn’s parents were like. She said they were the nicest people she’d ever met. I’ve known Carolyn for over 30 years and have the highest respect and admiration for her because of her professionalism and the quality of her character. Carolyn is always correct to the horses, gracious and so articulate. I was honored that such an esteemed professional would share a talented young equestrian’s career with me, so I told her that I was pleased to speak to Kaitlyn and her parents.

Kaitlyn’s show ring accomplishments are many and well-known, but they are not her most distinguishing traits. Her spirit of gratitude and generous character are evident and reflected in everything she does both on and off a horse. We have been blessed to experience her joyful consistent nature for the three years that she has been part of the Elvenstar family.

It’s her character that stands out most to me and that I most admire and appreciate about Kaitlyn. At the barn, people don’t talk about what Kaitlyn won, they talk about how she conducts herself. She is bright and has a wonderful feel, and when things don’t go her way, she demonstrates the emotional maturity that will lead to success throughout her life. We all have bad days, but somehow Kaitlyn is never moody.  She always has a cheerful greeting for everybody and is happy to extend her help to others. This sense of community responsibility was evident when she continued to ride and help Carolyn throughout her high school years.

Kaitlyn’s medal finals, equitation and hunter accomplishments speak volumes about her talents. But I think her jumper accomplishments are an even better illustration of her gift. Until two years ago, Kaitlyn had only a little jumper background. She purchased a jumper in Europe to take to Florida. It was a talented horse and she gained valuable experience in Florida, but it clearly didn’t like the footing when we got it back to California. A lot of people would have shown the mare anyway, but Kaitlyn didn’t want to pursue it when the horse was uncomfortable.

After being very impressed with her riding, Irish international Grand Prix rider Darrah Kenny helped arrange the lease of another horse at the end of the Florida circuit in 2019. Kaitlyn brought Deejay back to California. As of this past summer, Kaitlyn started at the Oaks with no money won, then quickly had top finishes in three California Grand Prix events. Suddenly, she was qualified for the Zone 10 team at the Prix de States Championship in Harrisburg last fall.

She went from very little jumper experience to having just one rail in the speed phase and going clean the next three rounds at the national Junior Jumper Championship. There are very few athletes that can maintain their calm in that situation. And the horse jumped out of his skin for Kaitlyn, because he loves her. That’s been true of every horse Kaitlyn sits on - they try their heart out for her because she respects their heart and spirit.

Kaitlyn has been an ideal role model since she first came to Elvenstar. I know she will continue to be that at Texas A&M, where she’s in the midst of her freshman season on the Aggie’s NCEA team. Winning is wonderful, of course, but there is nothing better than being a quality athlete who is also a truly extraordinary person.

I’ll close with a recent anecdote from the Maclay Finals this past fall, Kaitlyn’s last junior medals finals. She had an excellent first round and was called back in the top 25 for the second round. She flatted beautifully and was in a good position to place well. In the final jumping round, there was one bending line where judges seemed to want five strides, and Kaitlyn did a nice six because that’s what made sense in the moment.  When she came out of the ring, I said, “Kaitlyn, that was a lovely round. I’m sorry that line didn’t work out.”

Her response was, “Jim, it’s fine. He (Munich) was amazing. He feels amazing and he’s ready for his next rider.” And, she meant it, even though it was the Maclay Finals and her final junior moment. She has that healthy, mature perspective and that is, after all, what we most want in our students.

I could not be prouder of Kaitlyn or more grateful to her parents for entrusting us with their greatest treasure, and to Carolyn Culligan for bringing her into the California horse world with such a great foundation.

by Olivia Brown

Emma started riding with me when she was 11 and still in elementary school. The person that referred her to me said she was talented and very dedicated and had big goals in the sport. After she fell off our lesson pony three times in the first month, I was left scratching my head. However, over time and with much practice her luck and rate of success has changed.

After her first rocky month on the lesson pony, Emma leased a horse and then bought her first equitation horse soon after. It didn’t take long for Emma to start having success, including winning champion in the Limit Equitation Division at her first “A” show. This led to many more Championships and wins throughout her junior career.

For every success and win in the ring, there have been many failures and I truly believe that how she has handled the tough times has defined her as a rider. Emma is quick to shake off a bad round and is ready to hear criticism and try to do whatever is needed to find a solution to a problem. Emma comes to the barn or show every day with a can-do attitude and I believe this is what has shaped and molded her as the rider and competitor she is today. No matter the result, whether she has won or lost, Emma is always willing to work harder and do whatever it takes to become better.

Emma has a quiet and determined way about her. Judging from her demeanor, you would have trouble determining if she has won or lost. She is incredibly supportive of her barn mates and friends and is always willing to help or give a word of encouragement. To me, this is what shines through more than her achievements.

Honestly, Emma feels like family to me and I am just so proud of her. Not only for her wins and successes and all the ribbons and trophies that come with it, but being selected for this award, as it recognizes all the hard work she has put in to the sport thus far. Emma has committed to ride at Georgia and I know she will be a valuable member of their team while she is in college. As for her future, I am sure I will be working alongside her as a professional, and I look forward to this time!

Congratulations Emma for receiving this award and best of luck in all your future equestrian endeavors.


January 2020 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:21
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dressage news

More juniors & “senior support,” one-star shows, team USA pathways & education are among top focuses for 2020.

by Nan Meek

If 2020 lives up to its name, this should be a great year to see a clear vision of where the dressage world is heading and what’s needed to get there. For a unique perspective, I asked Ellen Corob, President of the California Dressage Society and a longtime dressage trainer and competitor, for her thoughts on the top five issues facing the West Coast dressage community.

Juniors Wanted

“We’re all getting older,” Ellen said with both humor and irony, “and we need to get more kids involved in dressage. We need it for the future of dressage!”

It’s always been a challenge to interest younger riders in dressage. How many pre-teens or teens do you know who like to practice precision, whether that is 20-meter circles or half pirouettes? Ask pony clubbers about their favorite part of riding and approximately 99.9% of the time you’ll hear “jumping” or “galloping cross-country.” Appreciation for an adrenaline rush is almost universal with this age group.

There are exceptions, of course. At a dinner for the riders in a Laura Graves clinic put on in 2017 by the San Francisco Peninsula CDS Chapter, I shared a table with clinic riders and good friends Miki Yang and Lucie Bacon, who were 12 and 13 at the time. They had already been riding for years and their conversation about the ups and downs of clinics, training and competing was virtually identical to similar conversations I’ve had with adult dressage riders. They were dedicated! Two years later, at the 2019 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, Lucie won the USEF Pony Rider Dressage National Championship and Miki took Reserve.

What draws a child to dressage instead of another equestrian discipline? Maybe it’s a good fit between personality and discipline. Maybe it’s the right opportunity, or the right horse, or the right trainer. Maybe it’s having friends who “do dressage.” Maybe it’s making dressage fun and rewarding.

Ellen gave some examples: the junior high score of the day awards at her shows, because who doesn’t like winning? CDS offers Junior/Young Rider Clinics and Junior/Young Rider Championships in both northern and southern locations, as well as Club 100 scholarships to help juniors and young riders afford training and competition.

Any barn, or trainer, or dressage organization – small or large – can offer fun and friendships, opportunities and awards, all of which make dressage more attractive to riders of any age, and especially the younger riders who will be the stars, volunteers, trainers, sponsors, and grassroots of dressage sport in the future.

CDS president Ellen Corob & newly appointed USDF vice president Kevin Reinig. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Senior Support

No, “senior support” is not a new piece of tack to keep seniors in the saddle – it’s a perspective Ellen described in discussing the need to recognize and support the senior riders: “They are helping to keep the sport going, especially the adult amateurs.”

Add up the value of the horses and equipment they buy, the lessons they take, and the training they pay for, not to mention the shows they support, both financially through entries and sponsorship, and organizationally through volunteerism, and it’s crystal clear that without adult amateurs, the sport would be in danger of collapse.

It’s true that media loves the international stars, both horses and riders, and stories about big name trainers. They are everywhere in the media: print, online, streaming, and even sometimes on television, more often on European TV than in the U.S.  It’s also true that for every Charlotte Dujardin, there are thousands of adult amateurs riding, taking lessons, going to clinics and shows, and never getting their names, much less their photos, in any media other than their own social media. Where, it must be said, they are not a community to be discounted.

One example Ellen gave is what she calls the “Triple O” awards she started giving at her shows. “The ‘Triple O’ stands for Old, Older, and Oldest; ages 50 to 59, 60 to 69, and 70+, respectively,” she explained. “We give a cool rider’s sash for each ‘O’ and the riders love them!”

I can think of a lot of riders in those age categories who would love to win such sashes. It’s not uncommon to see riders in their 50s, 60s, and 70s have as much fun, work as hard, and be as competitive as riders half or one third their age. Personally, I have to say that I enjoy my horses and dressage experiences more with every year that goes by, and I know I’m not alone.

One-Star Shows

“One-star shows are a great place for riders to get their feet wet,” Ellen said about shows which are recognized only by CDS (not by USDF and USEF) and thus are less expensive for show managers, riders, and horse owners. “CDS one-star shows are a little less formal, less intimidating, and less expensive, and they provide a bridge between local schooling shows and the three-star shows that are CDS/USDF/USEF recognized.”

One-star shows were declining in popularity as three-star shows and their extensive awards programs gained ground with dressage riders and trainers. CDS has been changing all that, with numerous new programs that complement longtime CDS award programs. Now, riders can earn awards for themselves and their horses from this truly impressive array of programs offered at CDS one-star shows as well as at the three-stars:

CDS GEM Awards recognize rider accomplishments with award pins that are similar to the USDF rider medals. Riders can earn the Ruby GEM pin for qualifying scores at Training, First, and Second Levels, the Sapphire GEM pin at Third and Fourth Levels, and the Diamond GEM pin at the FEI levels of Prix St Georges, Intermediaire, and Grand Prix.

CDS Horse Performance Awards recognize horse accomplishments through qualifying scores a horse achieves over time. Available at every level from Training through Grand Prix, scores need not be earned in a single year or with a single rider. For example, a horse could earn qualifying scores at one level with one rider and at another level with a different rider, either in one year or over multiple years. Another example: a horse could earn qualifying scores at one level with several riders, over several years. The combinations are endless, but these awards truly recognize the horse’s accomplishments.

CDS Certificates and Plates reward riders for qualifying scores earned in a single show season, and are available at every level from Introductory C Level through Grand Prix.

CDS Pony Award recognizes ponies with a special ribbon for the highest scoring pony at CDS-recognized shows. CDS also offers a year-end award for the overall highest scoring pony at Training Level and above.

CDS Sport Horse Breed Award Program rewards breeders whose horses compete in CDS-recognized sport horse shows, where they earn points and placings at individual shows. CDS year-end Championship and Reserve Champion awards are presented to the top Mare/Filly and Stallion/Gelding.

Riders can qualify at one-star shows for the CDS Championships (which alternate annually between northern and southern locations), the RAAC (Regional Adult Amateur Competition held in northern, southern, and central locations annually), and Junior Championships (held in northern and southern locations annually), just as they can at three-star shows.

Details about these programs, along with other information about shows, clinics, scholarships, and more are available at

CDS GEM award recipients at the Annual Meeting in 2019. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Educational Events

California and the West Coast are the envy of many other regions when it comes to education, from the variety of local trainers in many locations, to the clinics and symposiums which draw participants and auditors from near and far.

“CDS chapters do some pretty good educational events,” Ellen complemented these volunteer-organized productions, “and this year, for example, at the CDS 2020 Annual Meeting, there’s the Freestyle Symposium.”

The CDS Freestyle Symposium (January 12 at Murieta Equestrian Center, Rancho Murieta) combines the expertise of renowned dressage judge Janet Foy and longtime freestyle designer Terri Ciotti Gallo, who will work with freestyle demonstration horses and riders of all levels at the Murieta Equestrian Center. Auditors will learn about what makes a good freestyle, and how to make a good freestyle great, as they observe the demonstration riders working with the experts. More info at

Local CDS chapters are getting on the bandwagon with musical freestyles, as well. The San Francisco Peninsula CDS Chapter is putting on a freestyle clinic (February 22-23 at NCEFT, Woodside) with freestyle designer, FEI trainer, and professional musician Melanie Michalak. Auditors and riders alike will learn how to make their freestyles sing as they discover the difference between riding a test to music and riding a true freestyle. More info at

“Freestyles are a lot of fun,” endorsed Ellen, who has developed a Grand Prix freestyle for her warmblood mare Deynika, who she bred, raised and trained up the levels. The growing number of freestyles appearing at dressage shows are an indication that other riders agree with Ellen.

She also points to the CDS Adult Amateur and Junior/Young Rider Clinics, which bring top-level instructions to riders from local CDS chapters. The 2020 CDS Adult Amateur Clinic is being held at northern, southern, and central locations with California-based international competitor and always in demand instructor Kathleen Raine, while the Junior/Young Rider Clinics will take place in northern and southern venues with accomplished young professional Stephanie Schauer. More info at

Riders and trainers are not the only beneficiaries of educational events, Ellen emphasized. “Some of our chapters have held scribing clinics, which helps educate the volunteers we need to put on shows.” In addition, some chapters have held judge training program sessions, trailer safety clinics, and equine health clinics, among others, which elevate equestrian education overall.

Way Out West

With the national governing bodies – the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) – located in Kentucky, California and the West Coast often seem to take a back seat to the East Coast when it comes to national competition and training.

West Coast competitors have to travel to Chicago, New Jersey, or Kentucky for national finals shows, which makes it financially and logistically difficult for many deserving and highly qualified competitors  to compete at the highest national level.

International (FEI) competitors have to travel to Florida for the really big CDI (Concours Dressage Internationale) competitions, which makes the leap from national level “big tour” competition to the Florida CDIs more like a high jump for California-based dressage riders. For West Coast trainers and riders who want (need) to be in the eye of those who select U.S. teams, who spend the winter at Florida competitions, it means leaving most if not all of their clients behind for one to three months at a time, thereby reducing income while incurring the significant expense of travel and living away from home.

While California has a wealth of long-established dressage tradition, education, and competition, and it does have CDIs in both northern and southern regions, the power of governance, national finals, and team selection are firmly entrenched “back east.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. U.S. team selectors regularly travel west for observation clinics and attendance at a small number of shows. Given the number of talented and (despite the challenges) highly decorated U.S. team members, they would not be wise to ignore the talent pool in California, and they know that. It’s not the same as being under their eyes all the time as during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, but it’s better than it used to be.

California’s representation at USDF just doubled, with the election of former CDS President Kevin Reinig as USDF Vice President, where he joins another former CDS President, Carol Tice, who was reelected as Region 7 Director. Changing one’s oversight from CDS with its local, albeit highly visible and active, focus to USDF with its national and more diverse governance responsibilities is a big step, but experience in California’s dressage world just might be the best preparation.

No stranger to controversy, California has its share of challenges – witness the rocky road some southern California CDIs have traveled. With the failure of several CDIs, in Las Vegas, Del Mar, and Temecula, to maintain momentum under professional management, two CDI dates – March 5-8 and November 12-15 – are now being organized by an all-volunteer group, Pacific Coast CDI, spearheaded by Barbara Biernat and aided by hired show management Debra Reinhardt of Centerline Events. Their goal to revitalize West Coast CDIs with a smaller, financially sustainable CDI offering will be set at the idyllic El Campeon Farms, in Hidden Valley 45 minutes north of Los Angeles.

With the support of the West Coast dressage community, there’s hope that this time, more sustainable CDIs will help the top end of the sport succeed as well as the education and competition efforts of CDS have done for local and national-level competition.

A lifelong horse owner, Nan Meek lives on the scenic San Mateo County coast where dressage courts and riding trails overlook the Pacific Ocean. She competed in dressage to the Prix St. Georges level with her late beloved Lipizzan Andy (Maestoso II Athena II-1), and now practices the discipline of dressage with her handsome Spanish warmblood Helio Jerez 2000 and dotes on the newest family member Mischa (Neapolitano Angelica II-1). Yes, dressage is embedded in her DNA.

January 2020 - Happy National Day Of The Horse in Huntington Beach
Written by photos by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:03
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photos by Kim F. Miller

Various programs based at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center welcomed community members to enjoy National Day Of The Horse on Saturday, Dec. 14. Staged at the multi-faceted public boarding and training facility in Huntington Beach, the day included jumping and therapeutic riding demos, vaulting, parades of breeds and opportunities to meet, pose and interact with horses. A concurrent holiday boutique raised funds for the Free Rein Horses Helping Humans program. Its mission is “to heal humans and rescued horses by creating a bond that empowers and nurtures both.” Visit for more information.


Free Rein Foundation’s Justine Makoff, left, and Tracy Burroughs.

Michele & Frisco make friends.

Patient Reindeer.

Making friends.

Marcia Salans & Lance.

Cowboy on the run.

Santa & friend.

Free Rein’s Kissing Booth offered hugs and kisses from favorite program steeds.

Parade of Breeds.

Windsong Farm trainer Tracy Burroughs and Grand Prix rider Michelle Kerivan during their jumping demo.

Therapeutic Riding Center of HB star

January 2020 - Industry News Round-Up
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 21:54
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New Dressage CDIs

Pacific Coast CDI announces that it will hold its first CDI*** at El Campeon Farms in Thousand Oaks, California, on March 5-8, and a CDI-W Nov 12-15 of 2020. The new all-volunteer show organizer group, Pacific Coast CDI, is spearheaded by Barbara Biernat with hired show management provided by Centerline Events’ Debra Reinhardt. It will work to create a smaller, financially sustainable CDI offering for the West Coast. “We have been running CDIs since 2002, and are looking forward to bringing our customer friendly style to El Campeon for this revitalization of the West Coast CDIs,” says Reinhardt.


Visit www.centerlineevents.comfor more info.

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act


On Nov. 25, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 724, into law. The bill, led by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) passed the House and Senate in recent weeks without dissent. The PACT Act establishes the first federal anti-cruelty law in American history.

Animal Wellness Action’s executive director, Marty Irby attended the signing ceremony in the Oval Office along with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

“We’re thrilled to see the first anti-cruelty statute in American history signed into law and applaud President Trump and the Congress for providing the voiceless with a level of protection never seen before,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “The PACT Act will allow federal authorities to crack down on the most egregious of animal abusers and help keep American pets safe from harm.”

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability.

For more information, visit
West Palms Events & Langer Equestrian Group Partner in Woodside

Langer Equestrian Group is jumping into 2020 with a management team for its popular Woodside Spring and Summer Series shows at the Horse Park at Woodside. “Dale Harvey and his West Palms management team are going to manage our five-show series,” stated LEG Managing Director Marnye Langer. “I am really excited about the synergies our two management groups can achieve, and I believe the trainers and exhibitors are really going to benefit by this collaboration.”

Langer Equestrian Group has a 20-year history of producing shows at the Horse Park at Woodside and was instrumental in the development of the facility as a top-notch horse show venue in Northern California. West Palms produced its first show at the Horse Park in 2017 and added a second week in 2019.

“The West Palms team is really excited to manage the full series of shows for the 2020 Woodside show schedule. We look forward to working with Langer Group and The Horse Park at Woodside to deliver the best show season yet,” stated Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events.

American Horse Council Internships

In 2020, the American Horse Council will again offer internship programs available to both high school and college students. Students are eligible to apply for one internship per year in the AHC Internship Program. Three programs range from one to two weeks, one to two months or full semester internships, with stipends to help defray expenses. Focus areas include policy and legislation, marketing and communications, equine disease communication (with the American Association of Equine Practitioners), equine welfare, and health and regulatory.

For more information, visit

January 2020 - And The Winner Is…
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:17
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Association gatherings see people, horses and programs celebrated for accomplishments and contributions.

Super Year for Suppenkasper

The United States Dressage Federation™ congratulates the 11-year-old 18 hand, Dutch Warmblood gelding, Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm LLC, and ridden by Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, for being named 2019 Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Suppenkasper›s median score of 75.696 percent made him the top horse in the United States competing at this level and the recipient of USDF’s highest honor.   

Steffen & Suppenkasper. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Suppenkasper was recognized at the 2019 Adequan®/USDF Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet with a commemorative personalized plaque, an embroidered cooler, and a gift certificate provided by Dressage Extensions.

Also, Suppenkasper 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.

“USDF is thrilled to be able to recognize this extraordinary horse for his many accomplishments during the 2019 competition season.  We also congratulate Akiko Yamazaki, Four Winds Farm, Steffen Peters, and the entire Suppenkasper team,” stated USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch.

Charlotte Robson-Skinner, middle. Photo: Tricia Booker / USHJA

USHJA Awards

The United States Hunter Jumper Association held its annual meeting in early December in Denver. Along with educational presentations, committee meetings and rule change proposals and decisions, the gathering included year-end award presentations. Kudos to the many recipients from the West Coast:

The President’s Distinguished Service Award was developed to recognize and honor the dedication and service by members and volunteers to the USHJA and the sport. This year’s recipients of the award include Charlotte Skinner-Robson and Robin Rost Brown, as well as the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Committee. Skinner-Robson works with the Langer Equestrian show management group and has long served on various committees.
Larry Langer and Bob Cacchione, two exceptional innovators in the sport, were awarded the William J. Moroney Visionary Award during the evening. This honor is awarded to an individual or group deemed as inspirational, influential and integral to furthering the Hunter and Jumper disciplines.

Both Langer and Cacchione have impacted the sport putting their dreams and ideas into action. Langer has been committed to creating opportunities for riders to advance in the sport including the development of the Emerging Jumper Rider Program and Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, which he has worked tirelessly to bring to life.

Exceptional horse show staff were recognized for their invaluable role in delivering the very best hunter/jumper competitions. Julie O’Connor, of Riverside County’s Corona was awarded the West Coast Vital Horse Show Staff Award.

Larry Langer with Bill Maroney. Photo: Tricia Booker / USHJA

Wild Turkey Honored

US Equestrian Barbara Ellison and her Wild Turkey Farm sporthorse breeding program in Wilsonville, OR. were announced as the winners of the 2019 US Equestrian Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Cup Award.

The Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Cup Award recognizes an individual and/or breeding enterprise who consistently breeds outstanding performance and show horses. The award honors the role that good breeding plays in the development and improvement of performance and show horses.

“I am speechless and very honored,” Barb said, upon receiving the news. “And honestly this is an award won by a team: my staff at the farm, Mandy Porter, my vets, Ryan Ferris, Columbia Equine, my farrier, Jason Smith, etc. As they say, it takes a village. Thank you!”

For West Coasters honored in US Eventing Association gathering, see story, this issue.

January 2020 - 2020 Sport Focus
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:05
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Building the base and promoting WestCoastBestCoast are priorities in the New Year.

As the new decade begins, we chatted with leaders in the hunter/jumper, eventing and dressage worlds about their biggest concerns for their disciplines. Hunter/jumper advocate Kathy Hobstetter and eventing’s Lisa Sabo weigh in here, while Dressage News & Views columnist Nan Meek and California Dressage Society president Ellen Corob address top concerns (this issue).

Kathy Hobstetter: USHJA Zone 10 co-chair & founder Equestrian Sport Advocates.

1. Building the Base
Our sport on the West Coast can’t be only about the big multi-ring shows. We are losing the base of our sport by being focused on how many rings, how many divisions and how many horses can be fit into one show. In the process, it’s taken away focus on the grass roots – on growing the base of our sport and the beautiful shows where riders can begin their competitive education. Our specialty, unique, marvelous horse shows and managers are dropping by the wayside one by one.
Managers, trainers, owners and exhibitors can take action by deciding on personal priorities. Not everybody has to fit into a premier show barn or show – not everybody can afford that, especially new riders just getting into showing. There’s great personal satisfaction to be had in being the instructor that taught that beginner who just got their first ribbon, or jumped their first jump. Helping build the base and being sure growth starts at the bottom is the heart of competition and the base of any healthy sport. It is important we have a wide group of professionals (instructors) and lesson barns focusing on the ladder with which people ascend our sport.  The ground and education on which that ladder stands is of vital importance to the future.
2. Nurturing Young Professionals
We need to focus on what the next generation of professionals is going to do and on how we can build professionals who are hard core horsemen, not just winners. My fear is the sport is becoming so focused on winning, that we are a little short on creating horsemen and real trainers.
There are some bright spots. USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer is developing a rider pipeline, and Julie Winkel’s Horse Industry Training School at Maplewood Farms in Nevada are vital to sport and horseman development. I also like the idea implemented by Chenoa McElvain, and Rancho Corazon in New Mexico, with their summer scholarship opportunity for young riders to learn the ropes through hands-on experience.
Ideas like these need to be expanded and supported and discussed in-depth with experienced professionals giving back to the sport. Established professionals should be open to giving back by either developing a program of their own or being part of an existing one, rather than being critical of them, which is often the case.

3. Mentoring
This point is intertwined with the above point about helping professionals and individuals at all levels of horse sports, but we need to support it across the board: with trainers, show managers, breeders, barn managers and those involved in all aspects of the equestrian business. There should be an intricate, detailed program for mentoring people in a way that tangibly prepares the mentee. Too often, internships and working student positions become free or cheap labor for the mentor’s business, instead of stepping-stones to a viable career in our industry.

4. Customer Service
I personally believe everybody should be a restaurant wait person for two years - to understand the concept that the customer is always right, even when they’re not! Professionals don’t always recognize the right of the customer to ask questions, be interested and ask for education and help. At the same time, the biggest part of customer service is educating our clients, helping them understand: why it’s so expensive, why footing is important, why the programs funded by show fees matter; why preventative veterinary care is critical, etc.

5. Safety
Not enough attention is paid to safety in general, and especially on some show grounds. There’s a lack of attention to the preventative measures to address problem things that can happen. For example, there is typically no protocol for load-in and load-out days at most shows. People drive where they want, park their trailers wherever it’s convenient, with no thought to what or who they’re blocking. Even if there were such protocols, possibly trainers would likely not heed them. That’s not only rude: it’s dangerous.
Dogs are another example. I understand it’s fun to have your pet at the show grounds, but they don’t always belong at the show, especially off the leash. It is only my opinion, but family dogs have no business at shows. And all dogs need to be leashed and attached to their owner.

Lisa Sabo: Area VI Eventing; owner Sabo Eventing & the Newport Mesa Riding School

Embarking on her second year as chair of US Eventing’s Area VI (California & Hawaii), Lisa says the membership’s focus should be on promoting the region by emphasizing why the West Coast is indeed the “Best Coast.”
There is plenty to promote!  

1. The Best Weather
Yes, it gets hot sometimes, but we never have the humidity that other places have. Horses do well in our weather. We should especially be promoting our Spring calendar of events, when the weather is horrible everywhere else and our events are beautiful.

2. Good Competition
We have good competitions at all levels and a virtually year-round schedule. They are great places for professionals to bring their amateur riders, juniors and young horses, along with their top horses. We are light on entries in the top divisions, but even so, the internationally focused riders we do have are increasingly acknowledging that going East is no longer mandatory as a means of preparing for team consideration. USEF eventing chef d’equipe Eric Duvander loves the West Coast and is regularly visiting to coach and evaluate our riders for all levels of the international pipeline.
Look at the recently-released USEF Training Lists: Tamie Smith and Frankie Thieriot Stutes remain on the Pre-Elite List. And the Federation’s 2020 Eventing 25 Program includes Area VI-ers Mia Farley, Mallory Hogan, Sophie Hulme, Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Maddy Temkin. Tamie and Mai Baum did all their Pan American Games team gold medal prep here in Area VI. So did Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 for their great run at Burghley up against the world’s best.

3. Good Footing
Our organizing teams have done a great job improving the footing. The Horse Park at Woodside and Shepard Ranch, for example, have “aggravators” that make the track soft without ripping it up. We are sometimes criticized for not having more grass tracks, which are the norm back East. They look pretty, but that can be a very hard surface. Our organizers and course builders have really worked hard and invested a lot in creating and maintaining good footing. They’ve really become experts at it and we now have some of the best footing in the country.

4. Best Trainers
Area VI has more trainers certified by US Eventing’s Instructor Certification Program than any other area. And it shows. If you watch Preliminary riders at an Area VI event, 90% of them ride super well.
I firmly believe we have the best trainers and training programs anywhere in the country. It’s the result of a rising tide effect that is lifting all boats. For many years, people like my husband Brian Sabo, Yves Sauvignon, Derek and Bea DiGrazia and Dana Lynd-Pugh developed many students who became trainers themselves. Now in some cases, it’s their children.

5. Friendliest Atmosphere
There’s a real team atmosphere out here. The eventing community in general is known for this, but it’s very pronounced in Area VI. We lend a hand whenever a fellow competitor needs it and root each other on in a way that’s unique to our region. While we are a close-knit community, we also welcome those who travel from afar to be part of it and embrace them as our own. Like Galway Downs CCI4*-L winner Sara Mittlieder, who travelled from Idaho this past fall for a big career win that preceded her receipt of a Rebecca Broussard Travel Grant at the recent USEA Awards Banquet. Horses and riders from Arizona and throughout the Northwest are regulars at our competitions and we’d like to spread our reach to the Midwest and the South. Along with advancing our skills and experience out here, we are having a great time!
#WestCoastBestCoast all the way!


January 2020 - What's Happening
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 19:46
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whats happeningCalifornia Riding Magazine Event Calendar

Does your special event deserve special coverage in California Riding Magazine’s What’s Happening Event Calendar? If so, let us know and don’t forget a photo. Send it all to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Our deadline is the first of the month for the following month’s issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!

Ashlee Bond Clinic
Jan. 4-5 in Lake View Terrace

International show jumping rider Ashlee Bond is coming to The Hansen Dam Horse Park for a jumping clinic on January 4-5, 2020. Ashlee brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of show jumping. Most recently, Ashlee helped the Israeli Equestrian Team qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

There will be four groups, ranging in height from .80m to 1.30m.     

The clinic will be held in the Hansen Dam Grand Prix Arena featuring geotextile footing and show quality jumps.  Spur Tech Spurs will be one of our sponsors and each rider will receive a pair of spur straps courtesy of Spur Tech. There will also be professional photography from Kristin Lee Photography.

Auditing is free for spectators – come watch and learn. Lunch will be provided for clinic participants.

Contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for more information.

Fundraising Clinic
Jan. 4-5 in Fresno

The Fresno County Horse Park stages its annual fundraising clinic with Jock Paget as the star attraction and a roster of top regional professionals donating their time to help all get ready for the 2020 season.
Bunnie Sexton, Chris Scarlett, David Adamo, David Koss, Deb Rosen, Kristi Nunnink, Natalie Brady and Wendy Wergeles are among the pros available for lessons.

For more information, visit

CDS Annual Meeting & Symposium
Jan. 11-12 in Sacramento

The California Dressage Society has designated Freestyle as the focus of the educational symposium that is always a big draw for this gathering. This starts Saturday afternoon with a video and talk by designer Terry Gallo and judge Janet Foy. That is followed by a Sunday live demo and discussion of freestyles at the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center.

Friday and Saturday morning activities take place at the convention’s main venue, the Embassy Suites, Sacramento Riverfront. Committee and chapter meetings occupy these time slots, with Saturday night set aside for the annual awards gala. It’s a nice evening of connecting and celebrating with friends and the chapter gift baskets in the silent auction are always fun to peruse and bid on.

For more information, visit

USHJA Gold Star Clinic with Kirsten Coe
Jan. 15-19 in Thermal

Now in its third year, the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s Gold Star Clinics have become widely recognized as a terrific educational opportunity. That’s especially so for the junior and amateurs who earn full participation privileges by qualifying at the Regional Team Jumping Champs or through a wild card bid. And there’s plenty to learn by auditing.

This year’s main clinician is Grand Prix jumping rider Kirstin Coe, also the daughter of USEF Youth chef d’equipe DiAnn Langer. The Gold Star clinic format extends well beyond riding. Unmounted sessions in the past have taken deep dives into breeding and young horse evaluation, building a brand as a rider and, always, numerous aspects of horse care and show preparation.

The clinic overlaps with the first week of the Desert Circuit at the Desert International Horse Park.

For more information, visit

Galway Downs Fundraising Clinic
Jan. 18-19 in Temecula

Ian Stark once again headlines this great start to the 2020 eventing season. Jumping lessons with the British star and a long list of top regional professionals help participants up their game, while entry fees go toward improvements at Galway Downs Equestrian Center, the Southern California eventing hotspot in Temecula.

Alice Sarno, Auburn Excell Brady, Barb Crabo, Emilee Libby, Erin Kellerhouse, Gina Economou, Hawley Bennett-Awad, Jennifer Wooten-Macouzet, Taren Hoffos, Liza Horan and Susan Friend are just a few of the pros donating their time to this cause. Taking lessons as a rider is ideal, but auditing is a wonderful way to learn from all instructors. Auditing is free, with a suggested donation.

For more information, visit