California Riding Magazine • May, 2008

The Gallop
Miramar Stables boarders fight closure:
West Coast riders head to World Cup Finals.

Boarders at San Diego’s Miramar Stables got notice in early April that the 52-year-old equestrian facility would be closing its doors in July. Located on the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, the stable serves current and former military personnel. It is home to 96 horses, according to a report in Lessons are offered at Miramar and shows are held occasionally. It is situated on 44 acres and is connected to 2,200 acres of trails.

Stephanie Brown, a member of the Flying Hooves Riding Club based at Miramar, described the news as a shock, but it was not the first time the stable has come under threat of closure. Six years ago, it was faced with the same fate. A compromise that hinged on the stable turning a profit was reached then, but today fewer boarders and high maintenance costs have led to monetary losses estimated to have totaled $160,000 over the last five years. At $190, monthly board is considerably below market rates. Several of Miramar’s horses are owned by military personnel stationed or ready to be deployed in Iraq.

A group called Save Our Stables hopes that its efforts can be as effective as the negotiations six years ago. The Marine Corps Community Services, which manages the property, cites a study in which roughly $1 million in repairs are recommended. Some boarders believe that estimate is very high and contend that much of the work could be done with volunteer labor.

At presstime, Save Our Stables was urging supporters to contact base officials and local government representatives. The organization is asking for more time to create and negotiate a plan that would make the stable financially self-sufficient. “We need your help to keep this historic facility open,” urges the organization’s Stephanie Brown. “The only way to take us from a business losing money to a profitable one is to become a self-sustaining facility or a non-profit co-operative just as MCB Quantico, VA and MCB Camp Lejeune, NC have done. Either of these options would work and would take us out from under the Marine Corps MCCS (which has mismanaged the facility and would rather see an RV parking lot in its place!).To learn more and to lobby on behalf of this effort, visit

Keri Potter, winner of the
$50,000 Orange County Register World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix.
Photo: Captured Moment Photography

World Cup Jumping

Rich Fellers, Mandy Porter and Richard Spooner were set to represent the West Coast at the World Cup Show Jumping Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden April 24-27. With her win of the last league qualifier, March 29 in San Juan Capistrano, Keri Potter nailed down a second place league finish, but opted not to go to the Finals, thus opening up a spot for Richard Spooner. Although Keri led the league for much of the season, she was unsure from the get-go whether she would go. Motherhood and the coaching of her main charge, Junior Jumper rider Paige Dotson, won out over the World Cup.

Richard Spooner is a many-time World Cup Finals rider and he and Cristallo will face familiar foes in Europe after doing extremely well against the world’s best there on the Super League tour last summer. Oregon-based Rich Fellers returns to the Final for the third time, this time with the relatively green, yet remarkable Flexible, with whom he won four qualifiers. And Mandy Porter and Summer held their own at last year’s Final and seem on track to improve their finish this year.
Our local heroes will join seven contenders from the East Coast league at the Finals. They are Kent Farrington, McLain Ward, Margie Engle, Lauren Hough, Brianne Goutal, Danielle Torano and Todd Minikus.

New West Coast World Cup?

West Coast World Cup contenders were thrilled to learn that Sacramento horseman Rudy Leone’s efforts to stage a big money World Cup qualifier and competition were back on the drawing board. That was the response to Rudy’s run-down, during a riders and organizers meeting in late March, of his stymied plans to organize the tournament in time for the 2007/2008 season. USEF’s director of high performance show jumping, Sally Ike, promised to contact the International Equestrian Federation to see if there was time to apply for qualifier status for the 2008-2009 season. If that effort proves successful, Rudy said he had a sponsor ready to post $300,000 in prize money and to stage a competition in first-class European style. The venue would be the Rancho Murrieta Equine Complex and the date would be sometime in the fall, based on what fits into the competition calendar and taking riders’ preferences into account.

Rudy’s detailing of his first attempt to attain the necessary USEF and FEI approvals for the show illustrated the many complexities involved in trying to take the sport to new levels of sponsorship, spectatorship and prize money. It’s an easy thing to talk about, but a hard thing to pull off! More on Rudy’s plans as they develop.