Show Reports
November 2020 - It’s How You Finish That Counts!
Written by by Raizy Goffman • photos: Kristin Lee Photography
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:14
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Camelot Events ends the show season on a strong and successful note.

by Raizy Goffman • photos: Kristin Lee Photography

Despite having to cancel most of its show year due to Covid-19 shutdowns, Camelot Events is ending the year with a bang!

The Camelot Classic found its way back to its old home base of Earl Warren Showgrounds. The showgrounds is in the process of an entire facelift, and the results so far have been amazing. (See full report, page 32). All the many exhibitors at this San Fernando Hunter Jumper Association’s Championship Show were delighted with all the new improvements. We had the largest attendance in over a decade with exhibitors that were more than ready to show.

The newly renovated Dome Arena became center stage for the 23 mighty 2’3” finalists. Earning the Championship ribbon and trophy was Ripley Erlich trained by Kathy Megla.  Reserve Champion was awarded to Lucia Koyama trained by Karen Perlow.

Judges, Ellen Gates and Chuck Majer credited the riders with point tallied from a jumping phase, with a built in trot jump test and a work off.

Caden Jacobs trained by McKenna Skelton took home the trophy as this year’s Medal Final Champion.  Marley Leonard, trained by Kim Baxter was Reserve Champion.

The Camelot Hunter Challenge Finals became two split Derbies this year. One Derby for Open Riders sponsored by Stephanie Haney of Open Arms Farm, and one for Junior/Amateur Riders sponsored by Nancy Frost of Sapphire Ridge. The winners bested the field by taking their own course and incorporating jumps and trail obstacles. David Josiah showed how it was done on Sofia Ellis’ Newton’s Law, while the large Jr/Am Derby was won by Jordyn Chafee on Surprise Party trained by Jeni Brown. The $5,000 Jumper Classic was won by Danah Zaman, who also won the Ride and Drive. Lots of ringside excitement was happening when Danah drove off in her very own Golf Cart while her trainer settled for second place and won the trail blazer bicycle!

Camelot Events is now looking forward to our last show of the year, the Camelot Autumn Jubilee, which falls this year on the week before Thanksgiving. On November 19-22 we will once again descend upon the Earl Warren Showgrounds for a happy, friendly, exciting show. This show is hosting the California Professional Horseman’s Association Child/Adult Medal Finals at 3’ and the Horsemanship Medal Finals at 2’6”. Due to Covid-19, CPHA is changing their point protocol for the 2020 medal season. For all CPHA and CPHA Foundation classes if you “participate” in one class you will be eligible to compete in the corresponding medal class. That means you need zero points to qualify. There will be a “last chance to qualify class” at the Autumn Jubilee the day before the Finals. This show is also hosting the USHJA Zone 10 Horse Of The Year Championships in Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation. Be sure to join in the fun at the final show of 2020!

JrAm Cam Hunter Challenge - Surprise Party & Jordyn Chafee, trained by Jeni Brown.

Camelot Hunter Challenge Derby Open - David Josiah & Newton’s Law, owned by Sopia Ellis.

Danah Zaman on Billie Velocity, trained by Laura Kotimaki Hurd.

Danah Zaman, winner of the golf cart. Second place winner of the bike was her trainer Laura Hurd!

SFHJA 12 & Under Finals - Georgia Bass, trained by Karen Perlow, assisted by Stacia Ryan.

SFHJA 13 & Over - Billie Guerin on Bragging Rights, trained by Chad Mahaffey.

SFHJA 17 & Under - Caden Jacobs on Quality Silva, trained by McKenna Skelton.

SFHJA 18 & Over - Noelle Childers on Super Girl, trained by Joe Thorpe.

SFHJA Futures Finals - Ripley Erlich on Catch A Kiss, trained by Kathy Megla.

November 2020 - Way To Go!!
Written by CRM
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:10
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Zone 10 brings team bronze and individual gold home from the Prix des States back East.

With wide eyed thirst for a chance at a win, the four riders from USHJA Zone 10 traveled all the way across the United States to compete, leaving from California and arriving in North Carolina. The goal, to ride well and leave the jumps up for a chance at a Team or Individual Medal standing when all is said and done.

The team, Delaney Batter/Evolinus, Trent McGee/Boucheron, Elisa Broz/Volstrups Cody and Violet Lindemann Barnett/Picobello Choppin PC headed east to a competition none of the riders had been to before.


The Neue Schule/USEF Junior Jumper National Championships and Prix des States provides an opportunity for United States Junior riders to compete against their peers over multiple days of competition each fall.  The coveted Championship features both the Prix des States Team Competition, with Teams fielded by Zone, and an Individual Competition.  Fence heights are a maximum of 1.45m.

The 2020 Championships were held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, North Carolina, Oct. 8 - 10, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Riders 17 years of age and under went head to head over three days as the competition narrowed each class leading to the Team and Individual winners. The coveted results of Prix de States Team and the Individual competition were on the line. Zone 10 ended up in the Medals for both!! Zone 10 Team was bronze and Zone 10 Individual was gold!

Team is Full & Fierce

For the second time in many years, Zone 10 fielded a full team for the Championships and that pressure certainly played a part as the days went by. The team riders were all inexperienced at this level and this was their first shot at this level of medal competition.

The best part, according to Cassie Belmont, the Zone 10 trainer for Elisa Broz, “We loved getting to work as part of a team and having an opportunity to understand how important each team member is. Being there and watching other Junior riders from across the country was eye opening and helped our rider to step up their game. It was an incredible experience, and we are so grateful to Zone 10.”

Cassio Rivetti handled the trainer role for the other three riders, two of his own students and one for trainer Archie Cox who was in California showing with his other riders. “These riders were well prepared to get here and ride ready to win,” said Cassio. “It is always a pleasure to work with juniors who know their horses and go in to do their best.”

Michael Endicott was the Zone 10 Chef de Equipe and worked tirelessly with the riders and the team. His main job, which always carries a bit of pressure to make the right call, was strategy in selecting which Zone 10 rider for the jump-off when it came down to two teams being tied for Bronze. “Trent’s horse, Boucheron, is a scrappy little chestnut mare, and when I watched her in the last of the team rounds she still had plenty of ‘go’ about her so I threw the task to Trent. The horse is careful and can be fast and turn quick, that is what we needed at that point. I just told Trent to ‘go get it’ and he did. Never stepped off the pedal, made incredible turns and was careful to the last jump to have the quickest jump-off time and a clear ride…we were bronze!”

Michael continues regarding the Individual Medal competition, “As we came into the Individual day, Violet was sitting second so the Gold was truly within her reach. She had an immense determination but a calmness about her for the final round. The horse, ‘Chop’ as he is known, is smart and quick and I knew they would give the rider coming back in first place a challenge. She needed to be clear, and she was.”

“For Zone 10 to field a complete team for the first time in years is pretty exciting, and they were all incredibly focused all week,” said Michael. “We are building a fantastic group of riders in this Zone, our Juniors and Young Riders can hold their own pretty much anywhere. I am excited to be the Zone Chef de Equipe and have a ground floor perspective as we look ahead.”

Cassio Rivetti, the consummate professional, actually got a bit excited as the days came to an end. “Was a good pleasure to help the California team and be a part of the improvement of the kids. I’m very happy with my two students, Delaney and Violet, for the Bronze Team win and Violet for the Individual Gold. Also, I really enjoyed assisting Trent to be the determining ride in the jump-off for the Team.  It was a fantastic week that we will never forget!”  

Zone Co-Chairs Kathy Hobstetter and Ned Glynn make time to meet with riders, trainers and the parents all year as the qualifying points begin to accumulate. Fresh off the Tryon win, Kathy Hobstetter explained a bit of the process. “Always being aware of how the Zone Juniors are doing throughout the year is part of what we on the Committee do. I watch the standings and watch the riders as the year goes on, want to be sure to get to actually see them compete and in the ring. I meet with them whenever they request time and want to ask questions. Meeting with Cassie Belmont and the Broz family this year at Sacramento was a delight. They are committed to the sport and interested in supporting Elisa in her quest for the top. Sending a note of appreciation for the Zone was well appreciated. ‘Thank you for preparing us for this incredible experience and advising us of options. We are inspired and grateful, what a great opportunity for Zone young riders.’”

“The Zone recognizes the importance of supporting the riders and these amazing programs throughout the year.” Kathy continued, “This year was extremely difficult for everyone, but it is important to sustain these programs to our best ability in the sport. We were honored to send these riders off on a quest for Medals, and it worked.”

Article provided by Zone 10. For more information, visit If you’d like to get involved with the Zone 10 team, contact Kathy Hobstetter at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

November 2020 - Del Mar International
Written by photos: Julia B Photography
Thursday, 29 October 2020 23:45
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Bond, Nichols and Leckie star in a sizzling season that is far from finished.

photos: Julia B Photography

The Del Mar International came wrapped up two weeks at the lovely Del Mar Horse Park on Sunday, Oct. 19. From prestigious medal finals to hunters on the grass field to incredibly competitive jumper classes, we saw some amazing rounds with horses and riders in top form.

The highlight event was the $50,000 Grand Prix of the Pacific presented by EQ International Real Estate. The competition was fierce with 53 horse and rider combinations taking to the grass field for their shot at a share of the $50,000 purse. Ultimately it was professional rider Ashlee Bond who took the championship aboard Donatello 141, owned by Little Valley Farms. This pair was top of the podium last year at Del Mar International as well!

In second place was Will Simpson riding Chacco P, owned by Will Simpson Stables Inc, and in third was Robert Blanchette aboard Chardonnay owned by RTS LLC.

Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141.

Ashlee Bond had a fantastic week in the office, also winning the $5,00 1.35m, the $5,000 1.45m presented by Jett Martin Equine Spa, and the $5,000 1.35m Speed Derby presented by Prestige Italia.

Sean Leckie and C'est Moi.

PCHA Child/Adult Jumper Championships

West Palms Events was honored to host the $25,000 PCHA Child/Adult Jumper Championships during Del Mar International. Juniors and adult amateurs who show at the 1.10 level were eligible to compete, and the championship event was held over two rounds, Friday and Saturday, with both scores combined to determine overall winners.

Junior Erin Nichols, who also competes Young Rider level dressage, emerged victorious aboard her mare Hindee. In second place was Jennifer Elliott aboard Comtess, and in third was Caroline Bell aboard New Delhi VH Waterschoot Z. Congratulations to all ribbon winners in this great championship.

The $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Fleeceworks was held in the main hunter arena on Friday morning. Taking the win out of 17 entries was Sean Leckie aboard C›est Moi owned by Breanne Karanikolas.

Second place went to Claire Archer riding her own Rimpoche, and third was won by Nina Alario riding Drop the Mic, owned by Sonja Petri.

Erin Nichols and Hindee.

Rider’s Cup

The West Palms Events 2020 season will wrap up with the West Palms Classic November 12 - 15 and the Riders Cup November 19 - 22! Both are at the Del Mar Horse Park. The latter features the $100,000 Grand Prix and it’s the middle of a three-show circuit in which the leading rider from all the shows’ big Grand Prix gets an extra $50,000 bonus. The first in this series is the Desert International Horse Park STX Grand Prix Nov. 7; then the Riders Cup Grand Prix Nov. 22; and back to the DIHP Dec. 13.

October 2020 - Medal Finals Round-Up
Written by CRM
Thursday, 01 October 2020 04:54
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Skylar Wireman dominates the beginning of the hunter/jumper medal season.

Skylar Wireman’s unstoppable streak continued with her win of the USET Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search finals West, held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano from Sept. 18-20. With Mandy Porter and Julie Winkel in the judge’s booth through the event’s flat, gymnastic and show jumping phases, Skylar emerged the champion after the fourth phase in which each of the four finalists rode their own horse, then each other’s, over a shortened 1.15m jumping style course on the venue’s beautiful Grand Prix field.


“For me, it is pretty unreal,” Skylar said of winning the title. “Last year I was fourth, so I made it to the final four, which was really exciting. Then, this year it was kind of surprising that I made it [into the final four] because I started in 18th after the first phase and I moved my way up to third after the gymnastics phase, and then I moved up to second after the jumping phase. It was really unreal for me. It still hasn’t fully set in.”

Skylar Wireman & Hot Pants. Photo: McCool Photography

 Skylar felt comfortable in Phase IV thanks to her past experiences. “I had ridden Parker Cliff’s horse last year in the final four, then I have done so much catch-riding for Nick [Haness] and several other trainers, so I am pretty used to getting on a strange horse and jumping a few jumps and going in. Also, I had watched a lot of those horses go for the past couple weeks, so I was pretty confident going into the final four.”

Skylar rode Hot Pants, owned by Lisa Halterman.

Kaitlyn Lovingfoss finished in reserve aboard James Hagman’s Hearty Hercules; Parker Cliff was third on Fandawest Rebel, owned by trainers Jill and Jan Humphrey; and Amber Ayyad was fourth on Common Sense, owned by Alicia Saxton.

Lanie Walkenbach & Let’s Go. Photo: McCool Photography

A week prior, at the same venue, Skylar topped the field at the NHSAA/ASPCA Maclay Region 8 Championships. Her partner was, again, Hot Pants, who earned the Vigo Best Equitation Horse Award, a perpetual trophy in honor of Robyn and Demi Stiegler’s retired equitation horse. The win positions Skylar to head to Lexington, KY, in November for the national finals. Reserve went to Sydney Young, a student of Jill Humphrey, and Stella Buckingham finished third.

Stella trains at her family’s Q of E Farm in the Los Angeles area.

Before the Regionals got underway at the Blenheim Fall Tournament, Skylar was presented with the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award in recognition of sportsmanship, integrity and passion. These qualities were made clear in an excerpt of Skylar’s application essay: “Work hard, pay it forward, dream big and go for it,” she wrote of her life motto.

Lauren Morlock & Mighty Quen.

Foxfield Medal Finals

The Oaks International Grand Prix Field also hosted the 49th Annual Foxfield Medal Finals on Sept. 13. Lanie Walkenbach finished first among 21 amateur contenders, riding Let’s Go. Emily Williams and Carlo were third, with Haylee Hall and Clearing in third.

Walkenbach, who attends college at Texas Christian University, expressed her excitement at having the opportunity to compete on the grass Grand Prix field. “I am currently on Texas Christian University’s Equestrian team, so I just come to show when I get the opportunity. I am so thankful that I had the chance to compete in such a prestigious final.”

She was also elated to compete in the finals with her teammate, Let›s Go, known as “Pedro” around the barn. “He is one of the smartest and coolest horses I’ve ever been on. I’ve had the opportunity to ride him off and on since January and I share him with my sister Paige.”

Grace Belmont & Quirin, pictured with barn-mates, mother/trainer Cassie Belmont, and assistant trainer Allison Sherred. Photo: GrandPix

Avery Glynn. & Sazerac Photo: GrandPix

Season Finale In Sonoma

In Northern California, the Sonoma Horse Park closed out its summer season with two medal finals and the Les Talents Hermés two-phase equitation classic Sept. 18-20.

Lauren Morlock fulfilled a longtime goal in winning the JRW Medal Finals presented by CWD, formerly called the Hudson & Co Medal. Avery Glenn was reserve champion and Kiera Hennigan was third.

Grace Belmont had her first equitation final win in the Pickwick Medal Finals presented by Equifit. The daughter of trainer Cassie Belmont, Grace rode Quirin to the win. Avery Glynn was reserve in this final, too, followed again by Kiera Hennigan.

Avery finished first in the large field contending the 3’3” Les Talents Hermés, earning herself a second trip to Paris. Bella Primavera finished second and Darby Bonomi, (our performance psychology columnist!) was third.

Kyle Cline & Cazz C. Photo: McCool Photography

USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals West

Over four rounds in two days, Kyle Cline topped the field in the EMO Insurance/USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals West, which concluded on Sept. 22 in San Juan Capistrano. Formatted similarly to the USET Talent Search, the competition is part of the jumper rider development pipeline.

“Over the course of the two days I felt that my rounds stayed fairly consistent with no large gap between the scores,” said Kyle. “I enjoyed competing in the Final since it’s such a competitive and well-organized class. The three phases are definitely one of the best aspects, pushing the riders at the top to stay consistent or giving others who didn’t do as well in one phase the chance to make it up in the next,” said Cline, of Laguna Hills. “Usually I don’t really feel pressure, but going into the final phase, there was definitely some inner tension to have a nice, smooth round.”

“I feel incredibly privileged to have been this year’s winner and am eternally grateful for Cazz C, who always tries his heart out, and the whole team at Bridgeport Farms for their constant hard work to better us,” he continued.

Elvenstar rider Charley Stowell finished second, followed by Quinn Ferreira, a student of Tina Yates.

March 2020 - Gold Star Clinic
Written by photos: Tori Bilas/USHJA
Monday, 02 March 2020 20:14
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Kirstin Coe coaches emerging jumper riders on “building a winning team.”

photos: Tori Bilas/USHJA

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Gold Star Clinics wrapped up after two weeks of bi-coastal educational sessions and mounted instruction with top clinicians, athletes and horsemen. The West Coast Clinic, held January 15-19 at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, was led by Kirsten Coe, while the East Coast Clinic, led by Todd Minikus, was held January 22-26 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. A total of 42 athletes participated in the clinics, learning from the best throughout the four-day clinics that focused on this year’s theme, “Building a Winning Team.”


Leading the mounted instruction on the West Coast, Coe’s approach to the clinic was to provide the participants with knowledge they could take home and use effectively, regardless of the equipment or facilities they have at their disposal. “I think it was very clear, cohesive message from all the clinicians this year, not just myself,” said Coe about the week of educational opportunities. “It was all about discipline, how to correct the horse, the shape of the lines and the track, and ultimately this was one of the best first-round Nations Cups (modified format) we’ve had with the fewest amount of faults. They all applied what they learned all week and they did it really well.”


After three days of mounted instruction, the West Coast and East Coast clinics culminated on day four with teams competing in a Nations Cup-style competition over courses set by FEI Course Designers Michel Vaillancourt and Steve Stephens, respectively. The modified, two-phase format featured the first round as a Table II and the second as a Table II 2.d. On the West Coast, Chef d’Equipe Mandy Porter led the winning team of Leah Lively (1.10m), Alyce Bittar (1.20m) and Courtney Youell (1.30m), named Gone With the Wind, on a total score of 8 faults after the two rounds.

Though they all enjoyed the competition aspect, Lively remarked on how important the team feel throughout the week was: “We had a great team but it wasn’t just this team—I got to work with people that I usually wouldn’t get to meet. Everyone was pitching in to help one another—it didn’t matter if [they were on the same team.]”

Heavy On Horsemanship

Both coasts featured similar schedules, which included additional education from industry experts discussing horse health and nutrition, course building, media training, and different aspects of a competitive jumping team. Colleen Reed, who was the Stable Management clinician for both clinics and oversaw the care for the participants’ horses on-site, led a session that covered how to take your horse’s vitals, proper grooming and jogging for FEI classes.

USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer, USEF High Performance Team Veterinarian Dr. Geoff Vernon and the clinics’ respective lead clinicians discussed what, and who, goes into creating the winning team of a top rider, including veterinarians, grooms, trainers, and other essential personnel. In addition, Dr. Vernon talked about sport horse lameness, demonstrating what a veterinarian looks for during an exam and how to identify a lame horse, and Langer led a conversation about the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, highlighting how a rider can utilize the program to progress in the sport.

Athletes in both clinics received media training from Brenda Mueller, Marketing4Equestrians and Chicago Equestrian Founder and Editor, where they participated in mock interviews, learning how to properly answer questions and how to manage their social media professionally. Platinum Performance hosted an equine nutrition session led by Dr. Darci Agin at West and Dr. Torri Maxwell at East, where both talked about the microbiome, the importance of proper gut health to help a horse perform at its best and how to read a feed tag. A hands-on session with farrier Leah Clarke delivered more knowledge and experience.

Each clinic also included a round table discussion with top competitors, which included answering questions created by clinic participants. On the West Coast, Coe, Dr. Vernon, Clarke, Porter and Rich Fellers led to conversation, while the East Coast featured Minikus, Granato, Margie Engle and Anne Kursinski.

Both clinics are now featured on-demand via Horse & Country TV through livestream provider EQSportsNet. Current subscribers to EQSportsNet can use their same login credentials to receive access through Horse & Country TV. New subscribers can join for just $10 to watch all on-demand coverage from both events.

The Gold Star Clinics are the pinnacle of the USHJA Emerging Jumper Rider Program, which identifies Jumper riders who have the skill and desire to excel in the sport, while educating riders to become well-rounded horsemen on their path to excellence. Individual medalists from the 2019 USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships received the designation of Gold Star Emerging Jumper Riders, regardless of age, and were invited, along with their coaches and parents, to attend one of these clinics. The top two riders from the 2019 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session were also invited to attend the Gold Star Clinic of their choice, as were a select number of Wild Card applicants.

The USHJA extends special thanks to Jenny Booth, The Otis Booth Foundation and the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association for supporting the Emerging Jumper Rider Program, as well as the entire Desert International Horse Park and Jim Brandon Equestrian Center teams for hosting the Gold Star Clinics. The USHJA also extends its gratitude to our official sponsors Charles Owen, CWD, Parlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for making these programs possible.

Team Competition - West

1. Gone With The Wind
• Alyce Bittar, Los Angeles, CA
• Leah Lively, Tualatin, OR
• Courtney Youell, Snohomish, WA
2. The Unicorns
• Riley Heath, Lake Oswego, OR
• Lauren Pleasance, Bend, OR
• Skyler Wireman, Bonsall, CA
3. Grey Gang
• Elisa Broz, Watsonville, CA
• Hannah Cowdrey, Camarillo, CA
• Kiley McCullough, San Tan Valley, AZ
4. Turn-N-Burn
• Betsy Checchia, Tucson, AZ
• Amanda Gomez, Norco, CA
• Alexis Mierzwa, Winchester, VA
5. Pro Stars
• Emmeline Adamick, San Francisco, CA
• Rachel Long, Horseshoe Bend, ID
• Erin Nichols, Yorba Linda, CA
6. Triple Threats
• Hanna Morris, Issaquah, WA
• Sydney Shelby, Santa Cruz, CA
• Carly Sweeney, Scottsdale, AZ
7. Solar Flares
• Grace Gallagher, Scottsdale, AZ
• Kayla Long, Horseshoe Bend, ID
• Lily Hackbarth, Scottsdale, AZ

Press release provided by the USHJA.

March 2020 - Memorable Moments with CDS
Written by photos: Power in Motion Media
Monday, 02 March 2020 18:43
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photos: Power in Motion Media

From Sacramento, the capital city of California, the California Dressage Society Annual Meeting & Symposium brought meetings and music to its members during the weekend of January 10-12. From the executive board meeting and welcome party on Friday; to the annual meeting, freestyle judging program lecture, and gala dinner and awards presentation on Saturday; to the musical freestyle symposium on Sunday, activity was nonstop. These photos capture a few memorable moments.



CDS Director Karen Nocket presented a replica of the $500 award check for the best chapter educational event to Kathy Ramirez of the Sacramento Valley Chapter, whose adult dressage camp was filled with great education, fun, friends, and horses.

Chapter “baskets” are a CDS tradition that has evolved over time from simple baskets filled with items that represented the locations of each chapter into creative collections that tempt the palates, the eyes, and the tack rooms of silent auction bidders. 60% of auction proceeds help fund CDS scholarships.

San Juan Capistrano Chapter 'basket' combined the themes of their local mission, the swallows that return to San Juan Capistrano every year, wine, and art. If you find that hard to swallow, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Posters highlighting CDS programs and donors – here, the Equine Insurance/CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competitions and the generous “Patrons of Dressage” – stood shoulder to shoulder with chapter baskets and silent auction donations from sponsors including Horse and Rider Books.

CDS Foothills Chapter Co-Chair Ana Gilmour and Nicole Wertz’s Grand Prix Friesian/Arabian cross mare Ellexus Knight demonstrated the first steps of starting an upper level freestyle described as ’light and cute with power.’ After their demo, they paused for a moment with CDS Director Michele Ng.

Christian Hartung rode Christiane Noelting’s Oldenburg gelding Desario to demonstrate an Intermediaire 1 Freestyle. FEI 5* and USEF ’S’ Dressage Judge Janet Foy commented ’elastic, powerful, and well ridden’ while freestyle choreographer Terri Ciotti Gallo added ’this is as good as it gets.’ Bravo!

Barbi Breen-Gurley and Vindicator, one of nine horses which Barbi has trained to Grand Prix level, demonstrated the Grand Prix Freestyle for which they were 2019 Reserve Champion for USDF Region 7. They rode to instrumental Michael Jackson music which the crowd clearly enjoyed.

Anne Howard and her late mother Sandy Howard’s Grand Prix horse Rondo rode to the rescue when a Second Level Freestyle demonstration was needed. While Anne knew why they were riding a second level floor plan, what did Rondo think about it? So far, he hasn’t revealed his thoughts.

February 2020 - Galway Downs Fundraising Clinic
Written by CRM
Saturday, 01 February 2020 19:31
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Eventing riders jumped on the chance to ride with Ian Stark and about 20 regional professionals Jan. 18-19 during Galway Downs’ 21st annual fundraising clinic in Temecula. Throughout the weekend, small groups of students and coaches roamed the cross-country track to refine their skills over segments of the track. Private dressage coaching was also available, and plenty of unmounted auditors picked up tips, too.



Junior rider Meg Pellegrini enjoys private dressage work with Ian Stark.

Galway Downs-based professional and popular teacher Nick Cwick.

Arizona-based young rider Jordan Crabo brings a young horse along under the direction of her mom, Barb Crabo.

Boldly going into one of Galway Downs' many interesting jump complexes.

Air to spare over the coffin jump.

Barb Crabo teaches by example with lovely form.

February 2020 - 2nd Annual Benefit Tack Sale for the Lakeside Equestrian Park
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 05:42
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On March 14th Windsor Equestrian Center in Lakeside, CA will host the second annual East County Equestrian Foundation Benefit Sale 8am-2pm. The event last year raised over $3,000 with over 20 vendors in attendance with horse tack and many other treasures for shoppers to buy for bargain prices. Attendees and vendors alike gave the event rave reviews and encouraged ECEF to do another one this year.

This year’s event is bound to sell out of booth space and the board members encourage all to book their spots quickly. Booth space is 10x10 and they are available for a $35 donation to ECEF. Book right away and ECEF will help promote the vendor’s items on their website, FB and Instagram platforms. All vendors must be approved prior to booking space.

On hand to help with the fundraising for the Lakeside Equestrian Park that breaks ground this year, are board member Don Bright and members of the Lakeside Optimist to cook up a fabulous St. Patrick’s Day lunch for a $10 donation.

Great bargains were on hand like this beautiful saddle this lucky shopper scored.

The Lakeside Rodeo Queens were on hand to help out the East County Equestrian Foundation at their 2019 Tack Sale.

ECEF was formed in 2012 and the non-profit organization has been working with the San Diego County Parks to come up with a nicely designed facility to host horse events and more. The covered arena on the 14-acre parcel at Willow and Morena will be the jewel of the park. A large community building will also be a feature that will benefit San Diego’s East County for many types of events.  Not only horse shows, dog shows, farmer’s markets and many other community activities can be held at this new venue that will promote equestrian and agricultural events that represents the rural nature the area is known for.

Windsor Equestrian Center is generously hosting the Mar. 14th Benefit Sale located at Highway 67 and Willow in Lakeside.

Still time to get a brick in the Lakeside Equestrian Park that breaks ground this year and projected to open in 2021.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors funded the $4.5m park and they have approved to have the project sent out for bid.  Ground breaking is planned for 2020 and opening is projected for 2021. The East County Equestrian Foundation 501c3 has been fundraising to raise money and awareness to help promote and operate the park and has so far raised nearly $88,000. They encourage everyone to visit their website to get the details about the Benefit Tack Sale, join the East County Equestrian Foundation for only $10 year, and or learn more about the coming Lakeside Equestrian Park.

ECEF hopes equestrians come out and support our fundraising event. Great bargains, free to attend and a yummy St. Patrick’s Day midday feast for only $10 will make for a fun event for all. or call Cheryl: 858-967-5765.


December 2019 - So You’re A Horse Owner in Fire Country
Written by by Alice Chan
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:16
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If fires are the “new normal,” horse savvy preparation must be part of that new reality.

by Alice Chan

Living in California—especially in the north or south—it’s hard to deny that we have an established pattern of wildfires that make it scary to own a horse in the late Fall. Many of us have now experienced two or three years in a row, faced with the prospect of evacuation, or worse: having to open gates to give your horse the best chance of survival, and run, with fire at your heels.
So, what’s a responsible equestrian to do? How can you best prepare yourself and your horse for this seemingly annual occurrence? Here are a few tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way both from owning horses in fire danger areas, and also from helping to care for evacuated horses at Petaluma and Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in Sonoma County.

1. Have a disaster plan
Does your barn have an evacuation plan? If so, ask for a copy and if not, ask the barn owners to create one and share it widely. Do you have all your horse’s papers in one place, readily on hand? Do you have good, clear photos of your horse and any distinguishing markings? Consider creating a laminated card with your contact information, a photo of your horse and your vet’s phone number, to hang on a stall at an evacuation center.

2. Make sure your horse will load in a trailer easily
Trailer loading is a basic but crucial skill for you and your horse to have. When crunch-time comes, you may not have 30-40 minutes to load a scared horse, so use the rainy season to practice loading until it’s second nature for both of you.

Author Alice Chan at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds in 2017

3. Make sure your horse is microchipped
You’ve no doubt seen harrowing Facebook posts from owners looking for their horses in the aftermath of a fire, or rescuers trying to find owners. Ensuring your horse is microchipped and the registered owner and address on file is up-to-date, will give you some peace of mind and make it easier to reunite you with your horse should the worst case scenario occur.

4. Weave an I.C.E. tag into the mane
As disasters become more prevalent, there are some neat gadgets that have come onto the market to help ensure your horse is readily identifiable In Case of Emergency (ICE). I particularly like the I.C.E. ManeStay Equine Emergency ID tag which can be clipped into a braid in the horse’s mane. I bought mine from For me, this is preferable to leaving on a halter which can easily get caught on something and cause an accident.

Benjamin Heckman volunteering at Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in 2017

5. Keep your vaccinations up-to-date
During my time volunteering at the fairgrounds, I’ve seen a lot of horses that are usually kept at home and don’t go out and about. Keeping up-to-date on vaccinations will protect your horse in the event that it does have to be housed at an evacuation center in close quarters with other equines.

6. In the worst case scenario
If you find yourself in the awful position of not having the time to haul your horse to a safe place, and you can do this without endangering yourself, make sure you open your horse’s stall door or paddock gate to give him or her the best chance of survival. They will, amazingly often, find the one spot the fire doesn’t burn if they are free to run. Never ever padlock the door or gate. There have been tragic outcomes for horses that were locked in their living quarters and no one on site had the key.
We are all fervently hoping these crazy fires are not the new normal, but either way, being prepared for the worst is definitely a good idea.

Author Alice Chan is based in Northern California. When she’s not riding or being a show mom to her son Benjamin, an accomplished young eventer, she continues her work as the founder of the Flock Marketing Collective.


December 2019 - Double Time
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:06
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Back-To-Back World Cup Jumping wins for Adrienne Sternlicht.

Despite recording a World Cup victory just a week prior in Thermal, Adrienne Sternlicht and Bennys Legacy came to Las Vegas’ South Point Arena with some unanswered questions. The duo had never before competed indoors, but the smaller venue proved no problem for them, as they recorded a second straight World Cup™ victory.


They topped the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas via a two-horse jump-off and were the only double-clear performers on the evening, crossing the timers of Leopoldo Palacios’ shortened course in 37.68 seconds. Andrew Ramsay and Stranger were faster, but a rail put them in second; they finished on 4 faults in 35.90 seconds. In a unique result, Sarah Segal and Uma O’Neill finished in adjoint third, as both riders recorded a single time fault in the first round with identical times of 73.39 seconds.

The class took place Nov. 16 as the marquee event of the Las Vegas National Horse Show, organized by Blenheim EquiSports.

“Tonight, I mainly learned that he was super indoors,” Sternlicht said of her still-new mount, having only debuted with the 11-year-old gelding in September. “I really had no idea how he would be! In some ways, I found him easier to ride inside. He’s a horse that goes exactly the way I like to ride: strong and aggressive. I like to help and support the horse, and he leans on me as a rider in that capacity.”

Knowing there were just two clear rounds and having to return first in the jump-off, Sternlicht approached the shortened course with a nothing-to-lose mentality while being wary of the quick challenge that followed her.

“I think Andrew has the fastest horse in the class, probably the fastest horse in FEI this week,” Sternlicht said. “I knew that if I didn’t stick to my plan, it might be costly. I think my jump-off round showed the quality of my horse. I think, personally, there are a few things I want to work on, but I couldn’t be happier with the way he jumped, and I’m happy that I stuck to my plan.”

The win moved Sternlicht into third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League with 46 points. Brian Moggre leads those standings with 56 points, while Beezie Madden is second with 49 points. The top six from these standings at the end of the 2019/2020 season will advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which will also take place in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center in April.

“World Cup Finals are 100 percent on my radar,” Sternlicht said. “I am planning already. [My trainer McLain Ward] is a big planner, and we had a meeting and planned out my schedule for the next five months. I plan on being here and look forward to coming back!”

On the West Coast, Karl Cook maintains his lead in the standings with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond, who represents Israel, with 39 points and Will Simpson with 34 points.

The North American League continues in Guadalajara, Mexico, on January 25 of 2020.

Article provided by Blenheim EquiSports, organizer of the Las Vegas National Horse Show.

December 2019 - Adrienne Sternlicht Tops Thermal World Cup
Written by text and photos by Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 01 December 2019 08:26
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Nice touches from new owners at National Sunshine Series II in the desert.

text and photos by Kim F. Miller

After a two-hour drive out to the Desert International Horse Park, I was greeted with a complimentary water bottle at the spectator in-gate, then by a completely re-done women’s restroom, clean and thoughtful down to a sink-side tray with ponytail elastics and bobby pins.


Although the new Steve Hankin-led ownership and management group had only owned the venue formerly known as HITS Thermal for three months, it was instantly clear they meant business. Throughout my one Saturday, Nov. 9, at the National Sunshine Series II, compliments arose about the all-important footing and other amenities. As a fan and reporter, I was impressed by what is now a venue and series of shows owned and managed by local horse people and exhibitors.


East Coast-based Adrienne Sternlicht and Benny’s Legacy topped the 40-horse field in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ class. A student of McLain Ward’s and a member of the U.S.’ gold-winning World Equestrian Games team in 2018, 26-year-old Adrienne went last in a five-horse jump-off over Alan Wade’s track. Overcoming a case of “four-fault-itis,” she was clean and trusted the horse’s big stride to leave one out in two lines for the fastest time among three who were also clear in that round.

San Diego-based Keri Potter added another impressive finish to Ariell La Sirene’s resume for second. Hailing from Virginia, Adam Prudent and Baloutinue were fault-free, but, riding first in the jump-off, about two seconds slower than the winners for third place.

Longtime California-based favorite Jenni McAllister now lives in Santa Fe. She enjoyed a successful “homecoming” with Escada VS for fourth place. Canada’s Ben Asselin and Veyron were fifth.

With the 2020 World Cup Finals returning to Las Vegas, the quest to qualify is more intense than usual. Adrienne’s finish vaulted her to #3 in the East sub-league, and Keri’s finish put her into the #3 spot in the West.

Many of the Thermal contenders were headed to the following weekend’s Las Vegas National, where the Nov. 16 qualifier would likely mix up those standings.

The schedule was jam-packed with special classes and finals, but I focused on one I hadn’t seen before: the National Collegiate Equestrian Association Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals. After two jumping and one flat round, the field of 28 was whittled to four pairs for a “bracket” style work-off modeled on the collegiate format: #1 and #4 and #2 and #3-ranked riders rode a shortened course on the same unfamiliar horse, then the top two of that round faced off on the same, again unfamiliar, horse.

Elisa Broz topped the standings going into and out of the work-off, followed by Devyn Stringfellow, Hannah Rohrback and Ireland Fravel in this interesting introduction to varsity collegiate competition. It was a super weekend for 16-year-old Elisa: She also won the USHJA’s 1.2-1.25M Junior Jumper Championships, one of several divisions of Zone Jumper Championships held during the Sunshine Series.

For complete results, visit


Winners Adrienne Sternlicht & Benny’s Legacy.

Elisa Broz won the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals.

Devyn Stringfellow was 2nd in the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Finals.

Adam Prudent & Baloutinue were third.

Jenni McAllister & Escada VS were fourth.

Canadians Ben Asselin & Veyron were fifth.

Ashlee Bond & Boheme De Fleyres were 9th, helping Ashlee into the #2 spot in the FEI Longines World Cup West sub-league and following her win in Del Mar in October.

Ringside misters were a nice touch on a 90-degree November day.

Pre-Grand Prix leadline cuteness.

November 2020 - Woodside Day of the Horse, Reinvented
Written by photos: Nan Meek
Friday, 30 October 2020 01:02
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photos: Nan Meek

Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!) volunteers worked for months to create a Day of the Horse weekend like no other for their 16th Annual Day of the Horse events, October 9-11. Woodside Art of the Horse went 100% online, the Progressve Trail Ride made social distancing fun, and the Drive-Through Family Fun Horse Fair delighted carloads of happy families.



WHOA! Co-Chair Fawni Hill on Progressive Trail Ride

Drive-Through Family Fun Horse Fair

Save A Pal Donated Cuddly Ponies for Kids

Petra Simms Sekerkova & Kladruber Serpa

Becky Witter & Quarter Horse 24 Karat Bling

Farrier Steve Wieberg hot shoes Champ

Safe & Delicious Trail Ride Stops

October 2020 - Congratulations to the 2020 LEGIS League Dressage Finalists!
Written by photos: Tamara with the Camera
Thursday, 01 October 2020 05:05
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The Starr Vaughn Summer Dressage Finale, Aug. 21-23, at Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center in Elk Grove, CA, was proud to host the 2020 LEGIS League Dressage Finals. The LEGIS League is a popular awards program sponsored by, Horsemen Insuring Horsemen. Since 2018, LEGIS League Dressage has expanded to include 12 categories – encompassing all levels from Training Level through Prix St. Georges for juniors, amateurs, and professionals. Finalists enjoy special recognition and prizes, including embroidered saddle pads, jackets, and hats.


Mark your calendars for an upcoming opportunity to qualify for the 2021 LEGIS League Finals! You can start earning points at the Starr Vaughn Fall Dressage (Nov. 7-8, 2020). For more information or to join online, visit


Look for additional qualifying shows coming soon as the LEGIS League expands its dressage program. You can join now and start earning points to qualify for the Finals. If you have suggestions for shows that you would like to see LEGIS League classes at, please reach out to our LEGIS League Coordinator, Danielle Skaar, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Julia Mineikis & Fragipani - Champion, Intermediate I & II/Grand Prix FEI Open.

Katrina Ragsdale & Wrigley - Champion, Second/Third Level Junior.

Josh Albrecht & Indea KS - Champion, Training/First Level Junior.

Alexandra Duarte & Q Sieben - Champion, Training/First Level Adult Amateur.

May 2020 - Thieriot Stutes and Billys Top Twin Rivers’ Winter Horse Trials
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 23:58
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Hill, McEvoy and Burnell win Preliminary divisions in Central California.

It was almost 20 years ago that the Baxter family purchased 500 acres in the sleepy Central California Coast town of Paso Robles. Where others saw fallow farmland, they saw the potential for international equestrian competition. And it was international competitors, Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Tamra Smith, who led the Advanced division at the Feb. 28-March 1 Winter Horse Trials, staged by the Baxters and their Twin Rivers Ranch team.


The team has grown and the venue has transformed in those nearly 20 years, but the mission remains the same: providing a West Coast stage for the pursuit of equestrian dreams at all levels -- and doing so with a distinctly California accent of warm, welcome-to-the-family hospitality. When they’re not out doing the myriad tasks that make Twin Rivers a favorite West Coast eventing destination, owners Connie and Jeff Baxter can often be found behind the central gathering spot’s outdoor bar, serving friends new and old with a smile. Their daughter Andrea Baxter contributes in many ways while pursuing her 5* eventing career. At the Winter Horse Trials, she finished fourth on her feisty Thoroughbred mare, Indy 500, in the Advanced division.


Lauren Billys & Castle Larchfield Purdy. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Frankie Thieriot Stutes & Chatwin. Photo: Sherry Stewart

Three hundred-plus pairs, from throughout the region, filled five dressage courts on Friday. Over the weekend, they tackled Hugh Lochore and Marc Grandia’s upper and lower level cross-country courses and the challenging Jose Nava-designed show jumping routes. With show secretary Christina Gray of Gray Area Events at the logistical helm, the schedule ran smoothly and all horses and riders made it back to their barns or beds safely every day.

The overall outcome would have boded well for the Twin Rivers Spring International, which was set for April 10-12 and would have included an inaugural CCI4*-Long division. Unfortunately, that was one of many events to be affected by the coronavirus. At presstime, it was hoped the competition could be held in June.

Lauren Burnell & Freedom Hill. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Bruce Hill & Bossinova. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Tamra Smith and Ruth Bley’s En Vogue had two rails to maintain their second-place standing in the Advanced Division. Downing one rail and staying in their overnight position were Helen Bouscaren and Ebay. The original field of 13 was led by Smith and Mai Baum, whose 18.4 dressage test would have been tough to surmount. However, they’d withdrawn after dressage by prior plan in preparing for the Land Rover Kentucky, which was later cancelled.

US Equestrian Eventing Performance Director Erik Duvander now spends a quarter of his time on the West Coast, coaching and monitoring team riders and those who may be contenders for it in the future. “It’s good to see how well they came out of last year and they are both stronger,” he said of Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin and Smith and Mai Baum.

Tamie Smith & En Vogue. Photo: Sherry Stewart

India McEvoy & Redbull. Photo: Kim F. Miller

It was an especially encouraging outing for Chatwin. After finishing an impressive fourth at the Luhmühlen 5* in Germany last June, Chatwin was sidelined most of the rest of 2019 with severe health issues stemming from a case of enteritis. For a long stretch, his survival was all the rider and the Chatwin Group cared about. “Just being here is spectacular,” said Thieriot-Stutes and winning is icing on the cake. The pair is on the US Developing Rider Training List.
Duvander also worked with West Coast members of US Equestrian’s Eventing 25 list, for their coach Leslie Law. These include Madison Temkin, Megan Sykes and Kaylawna Smith-Cook, all of whom held their own at Advanced: it was the first completion at the level for Sykes and Smith-Cook.

“It’s not just coaching,” Duvander said of his USET role when discussing the caliber of competition in the West. “Every time I come to Twin Rivers, I’m noticing the amount of work. They are constantly upping the game here.” The USET’s commitment to riders in the West coincides and to some extent has helped prompt coordinated efforts among riders, owners and organizers to raise the bar in all facets of competition. “In the past it was often said that you need to go East to make it, but it’s really important that riders be able to make it out here. Then, they can go back East and win. That should be the mindset.”

Megan Sykes & Classic’s Mojah. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Lauren Billys and her Rio Olympics partner Castle Larchfield Purdy planned to stay in the West in their prep for the 2020 Olympics, which now appear to be postponed until 2021. Phase one of Billys’ plan went perfectly with a wire-to-wire win at Intermediate. Nava’s roll-back and turning show jumping course enabled Billys to stay on plan with prioritizing efficient turns and accurate tracks to stay within the time. On Saturday’s cross-country, by new Twin Rivers upper level designer, Hugh Lochore, the pair picked up only .4 time penalty. They sealed the victory with double clear show jumping to finish on a 28.2.

Derek di Grazia and Ringwood Justice were also double clear with elegantly executed angles throughout the track. They moved up from fourth to second for a 33.5 finish. Eneya Jenkins and Lawtown Boy had two rails, to finish third with a 36.4.

Super hosts, Twin Rivers owners Connie and Jeff Baxter. Photo: Kim F. Miller


Fifteen-year-old Bruce Hill wasn’t pleased with himself, but had nothing but praise for his partner, Bossinova, in maintaining the lead in the Preliminary Jr/YR division with a clean show jumping effort: “He saved my butt!” There was no room for rails or time faults, and the Trinity Eventing student acknowledged he was a little nervous in the warm-up. “But my horse is awesome!” The pair assumed the lead after cross-country and finished on their dressage score of 28.5.
Haley Turner and Shadow Inspector were second on a 29.9 and Kathryn Canario and Kiltubrid Rhapsody finished on their dressage score, 30.9, to maintain third place.

In the Preliminary Rider division, Alliston Eventing student India McEvoy held the one and two spots with E’Zara and Redbull, respectively. The small animal veterinarian was thrilled with both horses’ performance. The 7 -year-old Red Bull had held the lead thanks to his lovely dressage test and 22 score, but show jumping is still a nerve-wracking venue for the Redwine youngster. Two rails Sunday forced him to hand the top spot to his more seasoned stablemate. E’Zara had a tougher time with dressage but was error free jumping, in and out of the ring, to take the win.

Madeleine Moore and Rogadina moved up steadily to finish third on a 41.6.

In the Open Preliminary, Lauren Burnell and Freedom Hill were unbeatable from their Friday 24.1 dressage score on through the weekend. Double-clear showjumping was easy, breezy, beautiful to the point that even their coach, Bec Braitling, couldn’t catch them. Braitling and Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Kirschblute 3, had a tiny time penalty, .4, in show jumping, dropping them to third, while James Alliston and Calaro went clean to finish second on a 26.7.

Volunteer Leslie van der Wal with the sponsor-donated prize pack. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Next Up

Riders weren’t the weekend’s only winners. Among the many volunteers needed to make the competition successful, Leslie van der Wal drew the winning raffle ticket for a generous prize pack donated by Twin Rivers sponsors. The Twin Rivers Ranch season is presented by Professional’s Choice and Auburn Labs. The Riding Warehouse and Best Western PLUS Black Oak are supporting sponsors. The volunteer grand prizes included a bottle of Auburn Labs’ APF, a Professional’s Choice tote bag, and a $50 Riding Warehouse certificate. The prize pack raffle represents phase-one of an incentive program to reward this important role in the sport.
For complete results, the latest schedule and other information visit

March 2020 - Collegiate Competition
Written by photos by Kim F. Miller
Monday, 02 March 2020 19:52
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IHSA competition showcases good horsemanship and good fun.

photos by Kim F. Miller

UC Berkeley’s Cal Equestrian hosted an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competition for Zone 8, Region 1, the weekend of Feb. 1-2 at Iron Horse Equestrian Center in the East Bay Area’s Pleasanton.

The IHSA was formed by Bob Cacchione in 1967 to enable college students to continue or begin an equestrian experience in an affordable manner and to compete on a level playing field with other universities. Team members do not have to own their own horse: instead, participating schools provide the horses. Teams hosting competitions provide horses for all competitors and riders draw names from a hat to determine what horse they will ride.


IHSA now counts 40 regions with eight zones, with 400 member colleges in 45 states and Canada. Its approximately 10,000 members compete in Hunt Seat and Western divisions. The IHSA has more schools and riders on the East Coast where it started, but the West is rising in both regular season participation numbers and in performances by the teams and individuals who qualify for the Nationals in the spring.


In addition to Cal, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, Sonoma State, Santa Clara and Cal Poly fielded teams for the early February weekend. At a Stanford-hosted show the following weekend, Stanford secured its 15th consecutive regional championships and the 100th regular season victory for longtime coach Vanessa Bartsch.

Camaraderie within and between teams was evident when we visited the Cal Berkeley show. Good riding, good horsemanship and good fun were all in abundant evidence.



Friendly competitors.

Isabel DeLano of UC SC

Sonoma State team.

Cal Poly teammates discuss a round.

The Horse Draw.

Stanford Equestrian coach Vanessa Bartsch confers with riders.

Cal Poly Equestrian team.

February 2020 - Bring On The Honors
Written by photos by Mike Keener & Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 01 February 2020 19:41
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California Professional Horsemen’s Association celebrates accomplishments and contributions.

photos by Mike Keener & Kim F. Miller

The California Professional Horsemen’s Association’s annual awards banquet was even more special than usual this year. Held in San Diego on Jan. 3, the evening drew one of the largest attendances in recent memory, thanks in part to 37 friends coming out to honor Mike Nielsen, the night’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Super slide shows, personalized presentations and acceptances speeches that were emotional and entertaining highlighted the evening. CPHA’s beautiful awards and a silent fundraising auction full of unique items and opportunities complimented the festivities.


The CPHA is a non-profit organization comprised of professional horsemen and other individuals who make at least 50 percent of their income from equestrian related activities.  The CPHA is committed to providing educational, developmental and other beneficial programs supporting its professional members. It strives to foster amateur equestrian sports and improve show participation and the show horse’s well-being.


The CPHA Foundation is a benevolent association serving professional horsemen in need. The Foundation also provides scholarships and educational opportunities.

The 2020 awards gathering was held concurrent with the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association’s annual meeting and awards banquet, which took place Saturday, Jan. 4. During his acceptance speech, Mike Nielsen described the CPHA and PCHA as the strongest and most successful regional horsemens’ associations he’s come across in travel throughout the U.S. as a USEF judge and course designer. Similarly, Hall of Fame inductee DiAnn Langer expressed confidence in members’ ability to rise to the many challenges faced by equestrian sport today.


CPHA president Jeni Brown and her husband, Mike Keener, the association’s much-appreciated photographer.

Elvenstar amateur rider Abby Steller receives the Dan Abbey Sportsmanship Award, with her father Tully Friedman and wife Elise by her side.

Avery Glynn accepts a Special Achievement Award, presented by her father Ned Glynn of Sonoma Valley Stables in Petaluma.

Beverly Jovais brought her family to celebrate her Horseman of the Year honor. She is head trainer of Chestnut Hill, LLC, in Petaluma.

DiAnn Langer was inducted into the CPHA Hall of Fame. She’s pictured here with presenter, her daughter and international rider Kirstin Coe, and the CPHA’s executive director Ruth Frazier. The nomination criteria states the nominee must be “retired or less active” as a professional. That’s a bit of a stretch for DiAnn, the long-time Californian who is the USEF Youth Chef d’equipe and maintains a horse farm in South Carolina.

Emma Pacyna receives the Junior Horsemanship Award, with her trainer and sponsor Georgy Maskrey-Segesman of Whitethorne Ranch.

Emma Reichow receives the Junior Achievement Award from presenter Kathy Hobstetter. The top young jumper rider trains with Harley and Olivia Brown.

The CPHA Foundation Equitation Hi Point Award Winners: From left, Skylar Wireman and her mom and trainer, Shayne Wireman; Naomi Wegner and her coach Nancy Frost; and Kassy Perry and trainer Kelly Van Vleck.

Kaitlyn Lovingfoss received one of two Junior Achievement Awards. She’s pictured here with her Elvenstar family, from left, Becky Abeita, Jim Hagman, Javi Abad and Kay Altheuser.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Mike Nielsen had trouble fitting all his Windsong Farm friends onto the stage. Along with his wife of 36 years, Sherrie, four tables of students from Tracy Burroughs’ Huntington Beach program came out to celebrate.

Nick Haness accepts a Special Achievement honor, presented by his mom Shawna Dakides.

February 2020 - EquestFest
Written by photos & text by Kim F Miller
Saturday, 01 February 2020 18:48
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Horse power revs up The Power Of Hope theme.

photos & text by Kim F Miller

The 30th Annual EquestFest drew another sold out crowd to see the horses and riders set to ride in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade. Held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and presented by Wells Fargo, EquestFest featured an exhibition of equestrian parade groups, highlighting their backgrounds and missions, plus time to interact with the horses and their people afterwards.

This year’s theme was The Power Of Hope and there was plenty of that on display Sunday, Dec. 29. Horse and human paraders came from near and far to share their stories and celebrate the equestrian lifestyle, many taking several days out of their normal life to be part of EquestFest and the Rose Parade. As always, it was a super fun day that made watching the parade even more fun and interesting for us horse-crazy fans.

The Arabian Horse Association demonstrated the breed’s famous versatility, with horses and riders outfitted for hunt seat, western, costume and mounted patrol work.

The demo also showcased their suitability as 'Warrior Horses,' an organization that uses Arabians to help kids cope with cancer, as it did for its founder Ryan Melendez.(

The Blue Shadows Drill Team wowed the crowd with fast-paced, intricate maneuvers. Based at the Hansen Dam Horse Park, this group emphasizes responsibility and leadership and enables all to be involved with horses because riders don’t need to own their own horse.

The beloved Budweiser Clydesdales from St. Louis demonstrate a docking maneuver.

The Express Clydesdales from Oklahoma

The Los Hermaños Banuelos charro team are long-time Rose Parade participants.

The Mid American Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team traveled from Michigan to perform and parade.

Victoria Nodiff-Netanel’s Mini Therapy Horse program in Calabasas is well-known for bringing The Power Of Hope to those most in need of it.

The Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers hail from Roseville, California.

The Scripps Miramar Ranch Saddlebreds are always a spectacular sight and it was exciting to learn that the Ranch’s guiding light, Michele Macfarlane, is nominated for yet another award: this time the United States Equestrian Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Longtime Saddlebred advocate and TV star Carson Kressley served as a fun special guest throughout the EquestFest exhibition, especially as part of the Scripps Miramar demonstration. He, too, was nominated for a major USEF Award: The Pegasus Medal of Honor.

Spirit of the West Riders demonstrated saber handling, six-gun shooting and other Rough Rider skills.

U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard on Bureau Of Land Management Mustangs opened up the EquestFest exhibition.

US Army 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment.

The Power of Hope was the theme of EquestFest presented by Wells Fargo.



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

December 2019 - Show Report: AON/USHJA National Championships Highlights
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:10
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Augusta Iwasaki, Elise Broz, Skylar Wireman & Ashley Young among many Californians to clean up at Las Vegas National Championships. 

Featuring competition from 14 USHJA Affiliate Organizations across nine different states, the USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’ and 2’6” Championships wrapped up Friday, Nov. 15 at the AON/USHJA National Championships in Las Vegas. The USEF/USHJA National Jumper Championships also concluded with the 1.10m Children’s and Adult Amateur, 1.20m Junior and Amateur, and 1.30m Junior/Amateur Divisions. Juniors and Amateurs capped off an exciting day of competition with the $25,000 Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby.

USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’ Championship
Ashley Young, 15, of Clovis, California, captured the USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’ Championship aboard Racketeer, owned by Katie Flannigan. Young, riding for USHJA Affiliate the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, had top finishes in all four of the Affiliate Hunter 2’ classes including a win over fences. Taking home the Reserve Championship aboard Stanley Cup was Ellen Brown, of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, riding for USHJA Affiliate organization the Oregon Hunter Jumper Association.

USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’6” Championship
Winning three of the four USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’6” classes and the title of Champion was Joann Niffenegger, of Corona, California, representing USHJA Affiliate the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association. Niffenegger, riding her own Notorious, also received the USHJA 2’6” Affiliate Championship Perpetual Trophy, sponsored by the USHJA Executive Director.
After earning Champion in the 2’ division, Flannigan’s Racketeer returned to the 2’6” division with rider Rachel Lancaster, of Reedly, California, to capture the USHJA Affiliate Hunter 2’6” Reserve Championship. Lancaster represents USHJA Affiliate organization the Orange County Hunter Jumper Association.

Capping off a stellar two weeks, Skylar Wireman captured the USEF/USHJA 1.30m Junior/Amateur Jumper National Championship. Photo: Tricia Booker/USHJA

USEF/USHJA 1.10m Children’s Jumper Championship
Portya Muenke, of Boulder, Colorado, and her own Eurohill’s Alcatraz claimed the USEF/USHJA 1.10m Children’s Jumper Championship title, as well as the division’s Leading Owner title and placed first in the $10,000 division Grand Prix. As such, her trainer, Mark Mead, earned the Leading Trainer title. The Reserve Championship went to Annabella Harold, of Mundelein, Illinois, riding her own Upsilos Vida.

USEF/USHJA 1.10m Adult Amateur Jumper Championship
Riding to the top of the 1.10m Adult Amateur Jumper Championship was Catherine Brock, of Innsbrook, Missouri, on her own Bullit. Brock, trained by Kris Cheyne, also took home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Grand Prix and the Leading Owner title, while Cheyne as her trainer earned the Leading Trainer title. Brenna McGovern, of San Luis Obispo, California, claimed the Reserve on her own Grey Goose.

USEF/USHJA 1.20m Junior Jumper Championship
After much success in hunter, jumper and equitation divisions in last year’s inaugural Championship, Elisa Broz, of Freedom, California, returned to Las Vegas and claimed the 1.20m Junior Jumper Championship aboard Constance Broz’s Colorado. Ava K. Myers, of San Antonio, Texas, rode to the Reserve Championship title and the win in the $10,000 Grand Prix.
Constance Broz was awarded the Leading Owner title, as owner of Colorado, and Cassie Belmont earned the Leading Trainer title as Broz’s trainer.

USEF/USHJA 1.20m Amateur Jumper Championship
Traveling from Arlington, Washington, Olivia Hernandez and her own Parees Horsenaes earned top honors in the 1.20m Junior division, earning the division Championship and first place in the $10,000 Grand Prix. She also earned the Leading Owner title and her trainer, Vinton Karrasch, earned the Leading Trainer title. Jayme Omand, of Sacramento, California, rode her own Zador to a Reserve Championship finish.

Augusta Iwasaki & Iwasaki & Reilly’s Illusion. Photo: Tricia Booker/USHJA

USEF/USHJA 1.30m Junior/Amateur Jumper Championship
Fresh off a second-place finish at the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program National Training Session at the University of Findlay (Ohio) last week, Skylar Wireman, of Bonsall, California, continued her success on the West Coast earning the Champion title of the 1.30m Junior/Amateur Jumper division. Her trainer, Lisa Halterman, earned the Leading Trainer title while Shayne Wireman earned the Leading Owner title as owner of Wireman’s mount, Avalon.
After a first-place finish in the $10,000 Grand Prix, Trent McGee, of Granada Hills, California, piloted his own Boucherom to the Reserve Championship title.

$25,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby
Juniors and Amateurs took the spotlight Friday evening in the $25,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby in the South Point Arena. Taking home top honors was Augusta Iwasaki, of Calabasas, California, whose consistent scores of 89 in the Classic Hunter round and 89 in the Handy round secured her win aboard Iwasaki & Reilly’s Illusion. Hot on her heels heels was Ariana Marnell, of Las Vegas, Nevada, aboard Marnell Sport Horses’ aptly named Casino Cash. Marnell’s impressive score of 91 in the Classic round shot her to the lead, and she secured her Reserve-place finish with an 83 in the Handy.

Free Educational Opportunities
In addition to competitive opportunities, free educational sessions hosted by the USHJA took place Thursday and Friday, including an interactive and engaging session with renowned sports psychologist Mario Soto, and a course walk of Friday’s $25,000 Junior/Amateur USHJA National Hunter Derby. A Judge with the Judge clinic, led by R Hunter and Equitation Judge Mark Bone, took place during Round 2 of the WCE Finals on Saturday. Competitors who placed in the top three in an AON/USHJA National Championship class were invited to attend a course walk of the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday night.

The USHJA extends special thanks to presenting sponsor AON with Great American Insurance Group; USHJA official sponsors Charles Owen, CWD, Parlanti and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital; award sponsors Essex Classics, FITS, Prize Possessions, Schneider’s, Shapley’s, SmartPak and State Line Tack; Championship competition manager Pat Boyle, and Stephanie Lightner and the entire Las Vegas National and Blenheim EquiSports team.

Report provided by the USHJA.


December 2019 - Show Report: Galway Downs
Written by photos by Sherry Stewart & Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 01 December 2019 08:42
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Mittleider, Smith & Koss top international divisions.

photos by Sherry Stewart & Kim F. Miller

The Galway Downs International wrapped up the West Coast eventing season on a high note, with competition up to the CCI4*-L level. It started on Halloween Thursday, Oct. 31, and ended on time-change Sunday, Nov. 3, with high spirits, high jumping and lots of fun in between at the ever-improving Galway Downs Equestrian Center in Riverside County’s Temecula.


Sara Mittleider and La Paz, of Idaho, logged their first major international win in the CCI4*-L; Temecula-based Tamie Smith’s awesome week of accomplishments was highlighted by a CCI3*-L victory aboard Ruth Bley’s Danito; and David Koss enabled Stunner to live up to his appropriate name with a win in the CCI2*-L. Another local favorite, Whitney Tucker-Billeter had a great show, winning the Hylofit USEA Classic Series Training Three Day with Bill’s Midnight Magic.


Here’s highlights from the weekend and some of its big winners, plus several whose “victories” took the form of great moments with their horses – ribbon or no.  

Kudos to Robert Kellerhouse’s organizing crew and to sponsors Devoucoux, Equine Insurance, CWD and California Horsetrader. Next up at Galway Downs is a One Day event Dec. 8, then the big annual fundraising clinic Jan. 18-19, headlined by Ian Stark.

For more info, visit


Sara Mittleider & La Paz: winners of the CCI4*-L.

Jolie Wentworth & Goodnight, 3rd in Open Intermediate.

Meg Pellegrini & Connemara powerhouse, Ganymede, 3rd in the CCI2*-L.

Britt Sabbah & Rickamore Rafferty, Training Three Day contenders.

David Koss & Stunner: wire-to-wire winners of the 46-horse CCI2*-L division.

Too bad Gina Economou & friends don’t know how to have a good time. Gina and Exclusive finished third in the CCI4*-L. She’s pictured here with, from left, Sara Berry Rajoy & Springvale, Karen Bristing and Moonlites Ranger, and Kristin Terris & Rathcash Olympia, all T3D contenders.

A certain USEA Area VI leader shows off her Horse With No Name costume at the Halloween party. Hint: while she covered up the name on the front of her jacket, the back says Sabo Eventing.

Young professional in ascent mode, Kaylawna Smith, tied with her mom Tamie Smith for the 3rd standing in the CCI3*-L. Tamie and No App For That’s cross-country time was closer to optimum, so they got the yellow rosette, while Kaylawna and Passepartout got fourth.

Organizer Robert Kellerhouse and his wife, professional trainer Erin Kellerhouse, join friends in a Halloween night mariachi band.

Professional Olivia Loiacono-Putrino rode Under The Spotlight to 2nd in the CCI2*-L, but wouldn’t take any credit. That all goes to her student, 16-year-old Lauren Gillis, who produced the mare all the way up to this point.

Whitney Tucker-Billeter & John Herich’s Bill’s Midnight Magic enjoy their T3D victory.

Sophie Click & Quidproquo were 8th in the CCI3*-L. As the highest placed young rider, she received the Mia Ericksson award.

Junior rider Taylor McFall & High Times head home on CCI2*-L cross-country toward an eventual 10th finish in the big division.

November 2019 - LEGIS League Finalists Celebrate
Written by photos: Kristin Lee Photography
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:30
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LEGIS League Hosts its Hunter/Jumper Finals at Hansen Dam Horse Park.

photos: Kristin Lee Photography

LEGIS League members came from all over California to compete at the 2019 LEGIS League Finals at the Verdugo Hills Fall Festival,(Oct. 3-6) hosted at Hansen Dam Horse Park. The LEGIS League, proudly sponsored by, awards ribbons and special prizes to the champion, reserve champion, and top ten riders in each category.

LEGIS League Finals welcomed hunter, jumper, equitation, and medal riders. Medal Final champions earned special winner packages, including vacation getaways, a white-water rafting trip, and a grant to ride in a clinic.

Sarah Schemers and her trainer Colin Daly made the trip down from the Bay Area. Colin, who operates Oasis Farm in Woodside, was pleased with his first experience at Hansen Dam Horse Park. Sarah and her My Cup of Tea topped the LEGIS League Low Child/Adult Equitation Finals.

“It was a great experience,” Colin shared. “The show was well organized, and the footing was fantastic. One of my horses tends to get sore but he stayed sound and even moved up a division because of the great footing. Hansen Dam is beautiful. The layout is convenient with multiple rings and permanent bathrooms. From the top down, it was a pleasant experience and I’m looking forward to coming again.”

Next up for LEGIS League members is the LEGIS League Mousie Williams 2’9’’ Medal Final. The Mousie Williams Medal Final is open to riders 12 & under and will be held at Desert International Horse Park National Sunshine I (Oct. 30- Nov. 1).

LEGIS League wraps up the season with its all-new CWD Equitation Challenge at the Season Finale at Hansen Dam Horse Park (Nov. 15 -17). CWD will be presenting the winner with a $1,000 CWD gift certificate and the trainer of the winning rider will receive a $300 gift certificate. The second place rider will also receive a $350 CWD gift certificate and third place will take a home a $300 gift certificate from CWD.

The LEGIS League is already gearing up for the 2020 LEGIS League Finals. Look for additional qualifying opportunities coming soon. Join online and start earning points to qualify for next year’s finals!

Anne Sherwood (Far West Farms, trainer) and her Cassito, Champion, LEGIS League Children’s/Amateur Medal Final.

Rosemary Bilson (Stephanie Haney, trainer) and Dealmaker (Chelsea Cowell, owner), Champion, LEGIS League Cornerstone Medal Final, Champion, LEGIS League Demi Hunter Finals.

Linda Bloomenthal (Far West Farms, trainer) and her Bailando, Champion, LEGIS League Mini Medal Final.

Megan Cameron (Shauna Pennell, trainer) and her Conriko, Champion, LEGIS League 1.05m Low Child/Adult Jumper Final.” style=

Jameson Roberts (Anjelica Glosup, trainer) and her Rosie, Champion, LEGIS League .80m Child/Adult Jumper Final, Champion, LEGIS League .90m Child/Adult Jumper Final.

Peyton Dopf (Kendra Bridges, trainer) and her Infinity & Beyond, Champion, LEGIS League Children’s Pony Hunter Finals.

Sarah Schemers (Colin Daly, trainer) and her My Cup of Tea, Champion, LEGIS League Low Child/Adult Equitation Finals.

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