Monthly Editorials
December 2019 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 10:05

editors

Thanks to DG Bar Ranch for sponsoring this issue’s cover and sharing the news of their two young stallions, Koning DG and L Primo DG. These young sires are set to keep the Dutch Warmblood breeding endeavor thriving for another 35 years. In a world of seemingly never-ending “new,” there’s something deeply reassuring in the ongoing success of this family business run with heart, horsemanship and a mix of tradition and forward-thinking ideas.

 


With Christmas coming, my editorial wish list leans toward stories that inspire and this issue has three that especially stand out. First, there’s the tale of the five years it took Central California horsewoman and corrections officer, Heidi Richards, to see through her vision for a horse handling educational program at the Pleasant Valley State Prison. Next it’s Dr. Suzi Lanini’s first person account of her reasons for riding in this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade. She’s well known as an accomplished amateur dressage rider, but the small animal veterinarian – and her star Arabian Justin Kayce – regularly make contributions that extend well beyond the arena.

 

Opal Hagerty revisiting her life long passion for horses. Photos: Judy Lucous

Last but not least, loved seeing a big story in the Nov. 19 Los Angeles Times about a 95-year-old San Diegan having her wish for “one last ride” granted by the Temecula Carriage Company. When they learned of the request through the Court Retirement Center in Escondido, Mark and Marika Matson invited Opal Hagerty to come out and meet one of their Draft horses, Blossom, then take a lovely carriage ride through nearby vineyards. Happy holidays, indeed!

A gift we can all give ourselves is learning to land safely from a fall, or at least greatly reduce the risk of serious injury. I’m excited that Landsafe Equestrian has four clinics in California this month and I hope many of our readers – from every discipline – will find a way to participate or audit. Landsafe principal Danny Warrington is a long-time eventer whose first wife, Amanda Warrington, died of her injuries after a fall in 1998. Danny emerged as a passionate proponent for riders taking responsibility for our own safety, rather than waiting for rules and regulations to make the sport safer. The latter are great, of course, but all good change starts with taking individual responsibility.

Now to work on our January issue. We’ll be featuring breeders and our annual spotlight on recipients of the California Professional Horsemen’s Association special awards. It’s an honor we look forward to every year.
Thanks to all our advertisers, our readers and those who’ve submitted articles and story ideas. Please keep them coming in the new year. Warmest wishes for a happy, safe holiday with family members—humans and horses.

Sincerely,

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

Adopt Me! Snow White is a 15 year old paint mare up for adoption as a companion horse only with no riding from FalconRidge Equine Rescue in Valley Center, CA.

She has an old pelvic injury and is unsound for riding. This nice mare spent the last few years as a nonriding therapeutic horse. Gentle and sweet, this girl is darling and would make a great pasture puff family member for life!

Adoption fee $400.
See Snow White on our adoption page at www.falconridgerescue.org

 
December 2019 - What's Happening
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 07:49

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. Please submit your events by December 1st for the January issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!


No Shows
Dec. 1 & Jan. 4 in Orange County’s San Juan Capistrano

These are popular opportunities to get show experience at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park venue without the related show fees. Instead, at $30 per round, riders and horses gain experience over “A” show caliber jumps and courses, including an option with the open water jump. Set in two rings, courses range in fence height from .70M to 1.4M, and rounds are unlimited. Show stalls are available to rent for the Saturday night before each show.

Clients of Apollo Equine Transport and Horseflight participate in the No Show for no cost.

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

Ladies Night at Big Horse Feed
Dec. 3 in Riverside County’s Temecula

It’s Ladies Only after-hours shopping at Big Horse Feed and Mercantile in Temecula on Tuesday, Dec. 2. From 6-8 p.m. this Southern California one-stop shop for all things equestrian welcomes women to enjoy store-wide discounts on everything from horse care supplies and equipment to jewelry and apparel, for riding, everyday wear or a night on the town. It’s also a perfect time to identify wish-list items for Big Horse’s popular gift registry.

For more information, visit www.bighorsefeed.com.

Straightening the Crooked Horse
Dec. 5-9 in Los Angeles County’s Agoura Hills

Renowned author and trainer Klaus Schoneich and Gabrielle Rachen-Schoneich have taught their holistic training system at their Center for Anatomically Correct Horsemanship in Germany for over 30 years. They’ve trained top FEI Grand Prix dressage horses and Olympic FEI dressage riders and rehabilitated thousands of incorrectly moving horses.

The Schoneichs’ method teaches the horse to carry itself freely with a swinging back, resolving 90-95% of motion-related problems. Their system is described as the “missing link” when preparing horses for performance, whether they are Olympic hopefuls, “problem” steeds or everyday riding partners.

The clinic will take place at Lion Heart Ranch. For more information, visit www.lionheartranch.com.

Holiday Fun Schooling Show
Dec. 7-8 in Alameda County’s Pleasanton

Alameda County Equestrian hosts this day of dressage practice, with the added attraction of a holiday boutique and crafts. Divisions include dressage, hunters, equitation and jumpers in front of dressage judge, USDF L official Ivette Harte, and Jay Arend, a USEF R judge for the hunter/jumper classes.

The venue is the Pleasanton Equestrian Center, located at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. This series of fun, community focused competitions continues in the new year with January, February, March and May dates. Team competitions, barn challenges and fun and functional prizes are more highlights.

For more information, contact organizers Greg and Dawn Benson of Alameda County Equestrian at www.alamedacountyequestrian.com.

Landsafe Equestrian Clinics
Various dates, starting Dec. 8, & locations throughout California

Physical training on gymnastic mats and a mechanical horse teaches techniques for minimizing injuries in falls. Excellent for riders in all disciplines. See story, this issue.

Anne Kursinski Clinic
Dec. 13-15 in Burbank

Anne Kursinski is a five-time Olympic show jumper with two team silver medals. Her teaching resume is approaching similarly high status with many years giving clinics throughout the country. She is a tough taskmaster with clear explanations of the reasons behind her instructions and insights from her many years of success.

The clinic will be held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. For riding and auditing information, call organizers Stacie Ryan and Karen Perlow at 818-309-5001.

Indoor Eventing
Dec. 14-15 in San Juan Capistrano

The Pacific Indoor Eventing Series began in 2014 as a “way to rally excitement for eventing, bring new riders into the sport and allow current event riders to school cross-country questions in a contained environment,” says its website. “Inspired by similar shows in Canada, the PIE shows are heavy on fun and have plenty of classes for all abilities of riders.”

Divisions range from Walk/Trot to Preliminary with 3’6” fence heights, plus special classes including a Training Level Gambler’s Choice and a Pony Club Challenge for U.S. Pony Club Members. Each regular division has two rounds, one over a course of show jumping style fences, and another over cross-country style jumps, both in the covered arena at Sycamore Trails Stables. The Pony Club Challenge has a third phase: a written horsemanship test administered in the office.

For more information or to sign up, visit www.pacificindooreventing.com.

EquestFest presented by Wells Fargo
Dec. 29 in Burbank

Get up close and personal with the 2020 Rose Parade equestrian units at EquestFest presented by Wells Fargo. Watch beautiful horses and talented riders perform drills and dances and demonstrate trick riding and roping.

Attendees can also stroll through the stables, talk to riders and learn about the various tack and the many different breeds while enjoying the vendor court, displays, great music, food, and drinks.

Staged at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, this is a great reminder of the many ways in which horses are enjoyed and the role they’ve played in much of our country’s past and present. Excellent event for experienced horse people and those new to the equestrian world.

Doors open at 10 a.m., the show begins at noon and the vendor court and activities continue until 3 pm.

Advance tickets are available through www.sharpseating.com and day-of tickets are available on a first come, first served basis.

 

 
November 2019 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 22:48

fc

Carol Dean-Porter

Much admired hunter/jumper trainer, Grand Prix rider and industry advocate Carol Dean-Porter passed away at her home on Oct. 21. She was surrounded by her husband Dan and family members. Throughout her illness, an outpouring of affection from the equestrian community reflected the many lives – humans and horses – that she touched.

 


Two of the many deeply influenced by Carol, Denise Finch and Mandy Porter, started a www.gofundme.com page during Carol’s illness. It remains active with the request that friends of Carol consider a donation in her honor, to help Dan with considerable expenses that remain. The page is entitled “Support Carol Dean & Dan Porter.”

 

We hope to publish a nice tribute for Carol in our December issue. (If you have a story you’d like to share about Carol, send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .) Meantime, here is Carol’s bio explaining some of her equestrian accomplishments:

For more than 40 years, Carol Dean-Porter has been a professional rider and trainer of hunter-jumper horses at her Carol Dean-Porter Stables in Los Angeles, California.

As a rider, Carol successfully rode several talented show jumpers to wins at the international Grand Prix level. During her career, she became the two-time Champion and four-time Reserve Champion of the GTE High Jump at the GTE Summer Horse Show in Huntington Beach, CA, winner of the Gran Premio de Mexico, and winner of the All Seasons Summer Classic Grand Prix, just to name a few. In recognition of her numerous wins, Carol was named the Leading Jumper Rider at the California National Horse Show at The Forum in Inglewood, CA.

As a trainer, she has coached many national, Pacific Coast, and USEF Zone champions in Hunter, Equitation, Jumper, and Hunter Breeding divisions. Several of Carol’s students have gone on to become international level riders and trainers themselves. Today, Carol crosses the US to teach clinics to all levels of riders, from beginners to national champions. Her instruction spans several topics, from the hunter-jumper disciplines to preparing young sport horses to show in hand.

In addition to her experience as a rider and trainer, Carol holds her USEF “R” license for judging hunters, jumpers, equitation, and hunter breeding, and is a member of the USEF Licensed Officials Committee. She is also licensed with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and is a Sport Horse judge with the Arabian Horse Association (AHA). Throughout the year, Carol travels across the US and Canada judging horse shows of all levels, including National Championships, Regional Finals, Medal Finals, and Zone Championships. (She was also a judge on JudgeMyRide online critique site.)

Over the years, Carol has been the author of numerous print and online articles for publications such as Horse and Sport Magazine, BigEq.com, Catchride.com, and EquestriansUnlimited.org, and provided ringside live coverage of the Las Vegas World Cup Show Jumping Finals for AOL and other news sources.

Carol’s involvement in the equine industry extends well beyond the show ring. In 2002, she founded “Horses For Parks,” a donation program which has raised funds in excess of $750,000 for the National Parks Trust.

We hope to publish a nice tribute for Carol in our December issue. If you have a story you’d like to share about Carol, send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, job changes, new hires, marriages, new management and barn moves. Send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!

 
November 2019 - What’s Happening...
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 21:54

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. Please submit your events by December 1st for the January issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!


Horse Expo Pomona
Nov. 8-9 in Pomona

One of the best horse expositions in the United States, the Western States Horse Expo is a must-attend event for any horse owner. Catch up on the latest training and education, shop the nation’s premier equine vendors and connect with horse friends. Attending the expo is a low-cost, high quality way to stay engaged in the horse industry, making sure you have the tools, knowledge and products to help make the most of your investment in the horse owning lifestyle year-round.

Given the timing, it’s a Holiday Edition, with free stockings to the first 800 through the gates at Pomona Fairplex, plus free gift wrap, hot cocoa and evening entertainment.

The line-up of riding, training and horsemanship experts is the usual awesome agenda Horse Expo is long known for. Dressage multi-Olympian Steffen Peters, Chemaine Hurtado of Symphony Dressage Stables and Cavaletti Clinic’s Erika Jansson are a few of the familiar faces who will be presenting.

Dr. David Ramey, DVM; Dr. Deb Bennett, and Star Milling’s Dr. Bray are among the featured presenters in Horse Expo’s University series.

For tickets and more info, visit www.horseexpo.com.

 

Land Safe Clinics
Various December dates & locations

 

Equestrian sports attract an estimated 7 million people annually in the United States. Rider safety continues to be a serious concern. A common challenge that all riders face is the risk of injuries resulting from falls. Every ride can result in a fall, but certain scenarios introduce more risk than others.

FEI research shows that the risk of fall with injury ranges from 1 in every 250 starters for low impact falls to 1 in every 520 starters for serious injuries. The type of fall also correlates to the risk of injury or death. The risk of having a serious injury is once every 55 falls.  A rotational fall, however, increases the risk to once every 5 falls.

The Landsafe program has three main goals: to save lives, reduce injuries and increase safety education of parents and riders. Landsafe addresses these goals with training using a riding simulator and fall techniques involving tumbling and gymnastic exercises. Body awareness and self-preservation skills are the objectives taught by Land Safe principals Danny and Keli Warrington of Maryland.

The clinic is coming to California on these dates and locations.

  • Dec. 7-8 in at Kingsview Equestrian Center in Woodland
  • Dec. 15-16 at Red Fox Farm in Gilroy
  • Dec. 22-23 at Shea Therapeutic in San Juan Capistrano
  • Dec. 28-29 at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles (with Buck Davidson clinic)

Visit www.landsafeequestrian.com for more information.

 

Day Of the Horse Festivities
Dec. 14 in Huntington Beach

Games, contests, crafts, riding demos, shopping and pony rides are all part of the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center’s Day of the Horse festivities. A Christmas and holiday boutique will feature gifts for immediate enjoyment and to put under the tree for others – horses included.

For more information, visit www.hcpec.com.

 

Hawley Bennett Clinic
Dec. 14-15 in Sonoma County’s Petaluma

 

Southern California-based Canadian eventer Hawley Bennett comes to the beautiful Hawkwood Hill Farm for a weekend that will focus Saturday on show jumping skills and Sunday on cross-country. Hawley is a lifelong equestrian who carries the USEA’s Level IV Instructor Certification. She believes that any goal or dream is possible with hard work. She is known for equal dedication to riders and horses of all experience levels.

Auditors are welcome at $20 per day.

For more information, contact clinic organizer Alice Chan at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text97137 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
October 2019 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 02:46

dressage news

Volunteer Road Trip: 16,000 steps, worn-out socks, and even more fun than expected at California Dressage Society Championships.

by Nan Meek

“Let’s volunteer at Championships!” said the text message from my friend. Why not, I thought. We weren’t showing this year, so we wouldn’t be competing. And we both know how much volunteers are needed, difficult to get, and even more difficult for a show to run without – especially a championship show.

The Great American/United States Dressage Federation Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championship Show (aka “Championships”) was held this year on Sept. 19-22 at the Murieta Equestrian Center near Sacramento, a two and a quarter hour drive away.

 
September 2019 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Saturday, 31 August 2019 22:00

editors

August is vacation month for much of the world, but not for many West Coast-based equestrians. Through late July and August, our region’s riders contributed to great results at the Pan American Games and the North American Youth Championships. You’ll find reports on all those competitions in this issue, along with coverage of the many and diverse shows and events in California – from the Hansen Dam Summer Junction’s chance to dabble in different disciplines to Dancing King Farm’s celebration of the P.R.E. horse. Enjoy!

 
August 2019 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Friday, 02 August 2019 02:40

editors

This month I am particularly struck by and grateful for the work of our California Riding Magazine contributors, “old-timers” and newbies alike. Our longtime Dressage News & Views columnist Nan Meek not only wrote about the Herculean logistics involved in staging a dressage show, she helped to actually stage a CDS show during this issue’s deadline and wrote the “heroic” cover story about the WHOA! Woodside Day Of the Horse in such a way that I am already making plans to experience the October event myself. Who could resist such horsing around?

 
August 2019 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 22:11

fc

Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, job changes, new hires, marriages, new management and barn moves. Send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!

 
August 2019 - A Damn Fine Hand
Written by by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 22:03

adamn

Installment #14, Metta.

by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018

Mary and Colette had three things in common. They were 14 years old, they were crazy about horses and both had attempted suicide in the last year.

The girls came together at the ranch. Mary was the tiny, quiet one with a calm exterior and an artist’s temperament. She had Mediterranean skin and short, thick course black curls. She was what the adults called “an old soul.” The kids called her “helpful” “sweet” or “too quiet, maybe she’s kinda stuck up.”

 
July 2019 - Thoroughbred Makeover: Hitting The Trails
Written by by Kaitlyn Zaleski
Monday, 01 July 2019 03:06

tbmakeover

Building mental fitness by heading out of the arena.

by Kaitlyn Zaleski

The Thoroughbred Makeover is less than four months away, and soon we will be faced with the decision of which disciplines we will compete in. Each competitor or team is required to compete in one discipline, but may compete in two.

 
July 2019 - A Damn Fine Hand
Written by by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018
Monday, 01 July 2019 02:50

adamn

Installment #13, The Ranch.

by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018

The Ranch.

She wasn’t sure that she wanted to be there. And yet it was as close to home as she could imagine.

Kids everywhere. She never did like kids. But she had to admit, these kids were pretty cool. They all worked hard for the privilege of riding at the Ranch. Dee made sure of that. If you didn’t work hard, you didn’t last at the Ranch. Kids who wanted to go to fancy shows moved on, kids who didn’t want to get dirty left. What remained was a group of kids, age eight to 19 that weren’t afraid to dig in and do what needed to get done. Yeah, she had to admit, these kids were okay. Dogs, barn cats and those damn goats. Dee called it “Ann’s junkyard” because so many of the lifelong residents of the Ranch had come from her barn at the track.

 
June 2019 - Editor's Notes
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 02:49

editors

This past month was an especially fun 30 days to be the editor of a multi-discipline equestrian magazine in California. That’s true year-round actually, but seemed especially so this past month, starting with my first experience volunteering as a dressage scribe.

 

 
June 2019 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 02:44

dressage news

The Perfect Horse.

by Nan Meek

You know that fizz of delight you get when something comes full circle? That’s the fizz I got when I saw the May 6 & 13 dressage issue of the respected sport horse magazine, The Chronicle of the Horse.

 
June 2019 - What's Happening
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 02:08

whats happening

California Riding Magazine Event Calendar

Copper Meadows Fundraiser Clinic
June 1-2 in Ramona

Copper Meadows offers a great chance to advance all three phases of eventing skills while supporting the good cause of helping the Ramona venue maintain and upgrade to the highest standard. The fundraiser will work similarly to Copper Meadows’ Sun Series one-day show format with dressage tests, show jumping rounds, and cross-country rounds available all day Saturday and Sunday.

 

 
May 2019 - Dressage News & Views - Dressage Technology
Written by by Nan Meek
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 01:01

dressage news

Distance learning has a valuable place in our sport.

by Nan Meek

Dressage principles stretch back in time to Xenophon, the Greek general and student of Socrates who wrote the first surviving manual of horsemanship, The Art of Horsemanship. With the assistance of technology, the study of dressage can now stretch across space and time … or at least, across geography and time zones.

 
December 2019 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:31

dressage news

California dressage riders shine at the US Dressage Finals.

by Nan Meek

California is recognized around the country for the quality of its dressage, but our location “out West” is regarded by our sport’s “back East” governing bodies as too far for eastern-based riders and officials to travel for national competitions. Such is the case with the US Dressage Finals, held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park, which admittedly is a fantastic location for many reasons, but a heck of a trek for West coast competitors.
Despite the distance and the cost in travel time and expense, 10 California riders and a dozen horses made the journey to Kentucky for the US Dressage Finals, this November 7-10.

 


What they brought home, in addition to three championships, two reserve championships, and numerous top 10 awards, was a wealth of experience, camaraderie, and dreams for even more dressage competition.

Ruth Shirkey & Wyleigh Princess. Photo: Susan J. Stickle

Ruth Shirkey & Wyleigh Princess

With her 9-year-old Hanoverian mare Wyleigh Princess (Weltmeyer x Heiress B by His Highness), Ruth Shirkey brought home the Intermediate I Freestyle Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 73.900%, as well as the Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur Reserve Championship title on 70.843% and third in the Intermediate I Adult Amateur Championship on 70.294%.

“This was my first time going to Kentucky, and I thought I would be happy with a top five, so these championships were a little surreal, quite frankly,” Ruth commented. “It all seems like a fairy tale!”

Ruth and Wyleigh were part of the KEFA Performance Horses contingent headed up by Kevin and Ericka Reinig. “It’s great to have all the mutual support and camaraderie, knowing they’re there for you. They know us so well, from the in-hand training Kevin gave Wyleigh as a youngster to Ericka, Lindsay and Chelsea helping start her under saddle back in the day.”

Ruth and her husband Eric Drew did their own hauling, with EMT and medical transport professional Eric behind the wheel while tax accountant Ruth worked on phone and laptop. Their seamless teamwork and comprehensive preparation paid off, with a trouble-free trip and safe arrival at the Kentucky Horse Park, a round trip of 5,600 miles there and back to Wyleigh’s home base at Carolyn and Patrick Adams’ Yarra Yarra Ranch in Pleasanton.

These days, Ruth works with Wyleigh on her own and in clinics with US Equestrian Dressage Young Horse Coach Christine Traurig, who is helping them continue advancing up the levels.

Reflecting on her fairy tale experience, Ruth remarked, “The best part of it all was the opportunity to compete against the top riders from other regions. We have a wonderful pool of talent in California, and we have the opportunity to show against each other at our own Annual Show. Then the US Dressage Finals are yet another level. With the top riders from other regions, it’s a broader pool of competition. We’re tested and compared directly against our peers. While we can read the USDF listings each year, they don’t tell the whole story – those scores are from different judges, different show conditions, etc. At the Finals, we were all riding in the same conditions, for the same judges, and it was clear who was the best on the day.”

As a rider who likes to get the most education out of every experience, Ruth said she appreciated the chance to see others riding. “You can see what the judges see, and all the rides are videoed so you can see the marks score by score. It was interesting that the nicest moving horses didn’t always score dramatically better – it was more about riding the movements properly and building the flow of the test so it was fluid and presented a harmonious overall picture.”

Looking ahead, Ruth remarked, “This experience reoriented me. Next year I’d like to get into the CDI arena and qualify for Lamplight.” That’s the USEF Dressage National Championships held at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, next August, where national championships are contested at Grand Prix and Intermediaire I, among other national titles. Here’s betting that’s the next cross-country trek for Ruth Shirkey, Eric Drew, and Wyleigh Princess.

Brian Hafner & Enjoy Point J

“She went into the arena like she owned the place,” Brian Hafner said proudly of Enjoy Point J, his 10-year-old KWPN mare (Westpoint x Invisible by Wagenaar). They clinched the Fourth Level Open Reserve Championship on 69.074% and added a seventh place finish in the Prix St. Georges Open Championship on 69.314%.

Brian describes his mare’s strengths as being very consistent and brave, adding that she’s quite a personality with a little sensitive side, as well. Their outstanding performance meant even more after being unable to ride for a few days before the long haul to Kentucky, due to the wildfires affecting air quality at their Santa Rosa home base.

Remarkably, the US Dressage Final was only her fourth show at Prix St. Georges, and as Brian remarked, “She gets better scores at Prix St. Georges than she does at Fourth Level.” Brian bought her two years ago as a sale horse, and noted that an option to selling her would be an in-barn lease.

Brian also showed Wendy Roberts’ Dreamcatcher to fifth place in the Intermediate II Open Championship with a score of 65.539%.

Jocelyn Towne and her trainer Kristina Harrison after the rainy day warm up ride in Kentucky.

Jocelyn Towne & Bandini

Jocelyn Towne returned to riding four years ago after a 20-year hiatus, and with her 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding Bandini (Bon Fatious x Shakira by Sandro Hit) she’s already won the US Dressage Finals Fourth Level Adult Amateur Championship with a score of 70.833%.

“When I won the USDF Regionals, I didn’t know if I should go,” Jocelyn recalled, “and I’m glad I listened to friends who told me I wouldn’t regret it if I went!” Her concerns included not only the trip itself, but apprehension about the combination of nerves with the kind of cold weather to which California girls just aren’t accustomed.

“There were a lot of firsts for us on this trip,” she explained. First trip to the Finals, first hack for this city-based horse and rider across the rolling green Kentucky hills, the expansiveness of the Kentucky Horse Park, and the long walk to the Alltech Arena on the “green carpet” that made them feel like stars.

“A lot of things came together for us at this show,” Jocelyn said. In addition to her regular lessons with trainer Kristina Harrison, Jocelyn has just ridden in a clinic with US Dressage Technical Advisor Debbie McDonald a week before Kentucky. “She just used some different language about using half halts and the short side and the corners to balance and set up for the movements. It’s nothing that I hadn’t heard before from Krisi and in clinics with Button Baker, but for some reason it all came together, and we had the best ride ever. After the class, I didn’t know if we’d won, but I knew it was the best we could do.”

Kimberly Frederick & Fantastica CS. Photo: Susan J. Stickle

Kimberly Frederick & Fantastica CS

“I couldn’t have asked for more,” Kimberly Frederick said of her 5-year-old Hanoverian “red-headed mare” Fantastica CS (Furst Romancier x Lady Liselo by Londonderry). Not only did they win the Training Level Adult Amateur Championship with a 70.172% score, they also placed fourth in the First Level Adult Amateur Championship on 73.565%, all in their first main competition year together.

Kevin and Ericka Reinig helped her find Fantastica, who was imported from Germany about a year ago, as a 3-year-old just turning 4. “It takes a village to get a horse down centerline,” Kim said of the group of family, friends, and supporters who pitched in for all of the KEFA competitors.

“I’m just getting the connection with my mare, and having her trust me,” Kim explained of their first year together, in which they’ve been working on rideability to bring out the beauty and harmony. “Of course, you have to have the basics, and we’re just starting.”

Not a bad way to start, with a US Dressage Finals championship. “I was almost in tears of joy during the victory lap in the Alltech Arena,” Kim recalled. “It was so much fun, and I hope to attend the Finals again.”

But Wait, There’s More

There are more California riders who brought home a rainbow of ribbons and a priceless array of unforgettable experiences from the US Dressage Finals.

At first level, Kristina Harrison and Emily Murray’s Juilliard DG placed third in the First Level Freestyle Open Championship with 77.122%, and fourth in the First Level Open Championship on 72.546%.

At second level, Rebecca Clare Evans and Donna Stutzman’s Tom Collins stood ninth in the Second Level Open Championship with 66.032%.

Third level saw Elena Flaharty and her own Royal Chrome take third in the Third Level Freestyle Open Championship with a score of 72.756%, while Ericka Reinig and Alanna Sellers’ Bellisambrosso RTH stood eighth in the Third Level Freestyle Open Championship with a 71.856%. In the Adult Amateur Third Level Championship, Elaine Lamotta and Caribbean Veluv scored a 59.792%.

FEI level competitors included Ericka Reinig and Elaine Lamotta’s Stanford LR with a 66.235% in the Prix St. Georges Open Championship and a 64.510% in the Intermediate I Open Championship, while Jaclyn Pepper and Cooper scored at 64.853% in the Intermediate I Open Championship.

If I’ve left anyone out of this impressive compendium of riders who deserve nothing but massive congratulations, my apologies – especially since even someone like me who didn’t qualify for the Finals knows that hard work, dedication, perseverance, and talent (plus a little bit of good luck) are traits shared by all these riders.

Congratulations!

A lifelong horse owner, author 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.

 
November 2019 - Editor's Notes
Written by CRM
Thursday, 31 October 2019 00:31

editorsnotes

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many aspects of the competitive equestrian scene. It was great to see them starting young at the Woodside International Horse Trials in early October.

 


The Glenoaks Stables Pony Club Riding Center was one of several local clubs to lend members to the cause. Here are jump judges Amelia Azzi, 8, (orange hat) and Esmé Garrett, 7, (black hat).

 

May Morita, 10, (purple shirt) and Anna Le Grix, 9 (pink shirt.) Thanks Charlotte Arrouye for the pix.  They are our future stars, whether they become so as riders or supporters of the sport.

It was equally great to see so many current West Coast equestrian stars excelling all over the country and abroad. On the eventing front, Tamie Smith and Mai Baum were the highest placing American pair in the FEI Eventing Nations Cup CCIO4*-L hosted by Military Boekelo in the Netherlands. They were 11th in an intensely competitive field of 97 pairs from all over the world.

On the hunter/jumper front, this issue features the accomplishments of junior jumper star Emma Reichow, who followed her win of the USET Show Jumping Talent Search West by becoming the 2019 Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Champion at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. And the Rising to The Challenge article details the superstars among 74 Californians contesting various divisions at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in the Washington, D.C. area.

That’s in addition to lots of great stuff going on in our wonderful home turf.

Big thanks to Big Horse Feed and Mercantile, our cover sponsor for this issue. It is hands down the best place to find the perfect horse care or equestrian lifestyle gift for anybody on your list. Even better, it’s a year-round source for friendly, knowledgeable service, great products and a very strong commitment to supporting the community.

Much to be thankful for as usual. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Kim F Miller, Editor

ADOPT ME! Snowflake is an approximately 3 yr old appaloosa/quarter pony cross up for adoption at FalconRidge Equine Rescue in Valley Center, CA. She will be small at 12 hands and most likely not grow much bigger. She is halterbroke only and looking for a loving home who will continue her training under saddle in the future. Snowflake is kind and willing, just was not exposed to much of the world. Looking for a loving home to continue her learning. She is bright and curious, not a mean bone in her body. Healthy and sound. Sweet and very pretty girl. Adoption fee is $400. Check Snowflake out on our adoption page on the FalconRidge website at www.falconridgerescue.org and follow the instructions.

 
November 2019 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek • photos: Terri Miller Photography
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 22:27

dressage news

A sparkling, sensational, spicy show for this year’s dressage champions.

 

by Nan Meek • photos: Terri Miller Photography

 

Sparkling smiles and bling on bridles, boots and saddles reflected the effervescent atmosphere at the 52nd California Dressage Society Championship Show and 2019 Great American Insurance Group / USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships at Murieta Equestrian Center on September 19-22, 20219.


It’s a show that is a West Coast institution, this year at its ever-upgrading northern venue, where everyone from first-time qualifiers to long-time show ring stars competed for their goals … and had a brilliant time, as well.

CDS President Ellen Corob commented, “It’s a show people start the season thinking about, whether they aim to qualify for the CDS Championships or the USDF Regional Finals, or both. They have to work hard, hone their skills, and school well to qualify. It can be a big, scary show for new people, and it’s a big deal just to qualify, even if you don’t compete. For those who do compete, it’s a great accomplishment to place, much less win – these are the best horse and rider combinations in California, so even a tenth place means a lot.”

Champions at every level are crowned, from Training through Grand Prix, including Open, Amateur, and Juniors/Young Riders. The future of dressage is on show with young horses in the CDS Futurity and young riders in the Junior/Young Rider and Equitation. The grassroots bedrock of dressage – amateur riders – fill their divisions, own horses competed by professionals in the open divisions, and arguably have the most fun of the show season at the year-end championships.

Hilda Gurney on Iris. Photo: Terri Miller PhotographyLindsey Schultz on Delia 87. Photo: Terri Miller Photographyhttps://www.california-dressage.org/where a scroll down the home page reveals complete results in an easy-access PDF format, along with daily news releases that capture the competition highlights and provide the back stories of some of the winners.

More in-depth info on scoring, who rode which horse, and how individual judges placed each ride at the Championships, can be found on FoxVillage.com by filtering for Results, CA (California), and then scrolling down start dates to 9/19/2019 for the “Great American/USDF Reg 7 & CDS Championships”. To the right of this entry are columns for searching the lists of classes, riders, horses, and scratches. It’s detailed info about show results, without the backstory that the CDS web site provides.

The California Dressage Society Facebook page also provides stories and information, so like their page and follow them for ongoing info about dressage here in California – there’s a lot going on in addition to shows and championships.

Dressage in California is sparkling these days, with something for everyone. From new riders to veteran competitors, amateurs on schoolmasters to pros on young horses, and everyone in between, the 52nd California Dressage Society Championship Show and 2019 Great American Insurance Group / USDF Region 7 Dressage Championships provided a shining showcase at which to celebrate the diversity of dressage.

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.

 
October 2019 - Editor’s Notes
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 04:01

editors

After spending much of August working from a quiet family cabin in Northern Idaho, coming home to the beginning of medal finals season and various league wrap-ups was a bit of a head-spinner.

While going to press for this issue, I jumped back into the whirlwind with a weekend at Blenheim EquiSports’ International Jumping Festival in San Juan Capistrano. It was one-stop shopping for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and the EMO Insurance/USHJA’s 3’3” Jumping Seat Finals Medal Finals, won by Emma Catherine Reichow and Nicole McMillion, respectively. Not to mention the five North American League jumpers and hunter finals for the West Coast and the final round of the Markel Insurance Grand Prix league before the finals at the Las Vegas National next month.

 

 
October 2019 - What's Happening
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 00:48

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!

 
September 2019 - What’s Happening...
Written by CRM
Saturday, 31 August 2019 17:29

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 , or call her at 949-644-2165.

Our deadline is the first of the month for the following month’s issue. Please submit your events by October 1st for the November issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!

 
August 2019 - Dressage News & Views
Written by by Nan Meek
Friday, 02 August 2019 01:43

dressage news

On with the show!

by Nan Meek

There’s a dressage show almost every weekend within reasonable driving distance of the little patch of paradise I call home, most of them organized by either a professional show manager or a commercial equestrian center.

These days, most of those dressage shows are “three-star,” meaning they are recognized by CDS, USDF, and USEF (officially, California Dressage Society, United States Dressage Federation, and United States Equestrian Federation). A few of them are “one-star” shows, recognized only by CDS.

 
August 2019 - Thoroughbred Makeover: California Contenders
Written by by Kaitlyn Zaleski
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 20:41

tbmakeover

Eight California Thoroughbred trainers headed for Kentucky this fall.

by Kaitlyn Zaleski

Hot summer days and a busy schedule while getting ready for my wedding at the end of July led to a quiet month for Hula’s Thoroughbred Makeover training. Considering the very active spring and early summer that we’ve had, I think this has actually been the perfect excuse to give Hula some down time. We did recently take one trip into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada for the day to do some hill work. She has become such a pro at hauling that the trip required zero training moments and was just pure fun! She even expertly navigated three different water crossings, something we’ve struggled with in the past.

 
August 2019 - What’s Happening...
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 17:01

whats happening

California 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. Please submit your events by September 1st for the October issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!

 
July 2019 - Editor's Notes
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Monday, 01 July 2019 02:57

editors

This was a heartbreaking month. On June 23, Don Trotter passed away after a short illness. Partner with his wife Pam in Sunsprite Warmbloods, Don touched many lives on the West Coast eventing scene and well beyond. He was a special advocate of volunteering and led by his own example in many ways, over many years, at many events and on a nationally impactful level. He was kind, wise, joyful, positive and funny. He will be mourned and missed but not forgotten because of the indelible impression he made on many hearts. We re-arranged our lay-out at the last minute to place his farewell on page 47, next to pictures of this year’s Area VI Young Riders heading to Rebecca Farm for the NAYC. You know he will be cheering you – and the rest of us – on in spirit.

 
July 2019 - What’s Happening...
Written by CRM
Saturday, 29 June 2019 04:13

whats happening

California 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. Please submit your events by August 1st for the September issue. It’s the place to be and it’s free!

 
June 2019 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 02:48

fc

Farewell Maggi McHugh

Maggi McHugh passed away in early May after many years in and of service to the California equestrian world.

This obituary was provided by the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association, for whom Maggi was an administrator for 25 years.

 
June 2019 - A Damn Fine Hand
Written by by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 02:40

adamn

Installment #12, Pneumonia.

by Joell Dunlap - all rights reserved by the author 2018

The veterinarian euthanized Pax Kristi by feed time. Her body was taken to the racetrack hospital for a necropsy and the barn was on lock down waiting for the tests to come back. Needless to say, the word was already out, grooms were thinking about looking for other jobs and trainers were lurking around thinking about picking up the barn’s clients as soon as Jude Keenan’s business was officially kaput.

 
May 2019 - Editor's Notes
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 01:05

editors

After a recent work-out, my swim coach validated my enthusiasm for this issue’s annual celebration of riding programs and events that open the horse world to new people. She was fresh from a Saturday afternoon watching Grand Prix jumping at a Blenheim EquiSports show in San Juan Capistrano.  “The jumps were so big,” she said with wide eyes and a big smile. “The horses were so big! And we got to pet about 10 of them!”

 
May 2019 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 00:47

fc

Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, job changes, new hires, marriages, new management and barn moves. Send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!

 

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 11