California Riding Magazine • July, 2008

Horse People: Cindy Fender
San Diegan is very happy with her Appy.

Cindy Fender’s purchase of Flashy Texan was a totally emotional buy. The resident of San Diego County’s Lakeside had not planned to hop a plane to Arizona back in February of 2003 until a handsome 2-year-old jumped off the pages of a classified ad. His buckskin color caught Cindy’s eye and his breeding, Zippin Bonanza Flash out of Tex Ann Wrangler, told her there was a good chance he’d become a great riding horse.

Cindy grew up riding any horse she could race around a barrel and embraced her husband Doug’s devotion to Appaloosas when they married in 1985. She’d always harbored a passion for buckskins, but the two were a hard match to find until that fateful advertisement five years ago. Flashy Texan, known around the barn as “Guinness,” was a sweetheart from the get-go and Cindy bought him shortly after meeting him in Arizona.

Even with those good initial feelings, though, she had no idea how far they’d go together. Cindy and Flashy Texan dominated the 2007 year-end standings on the Cal-Western Appaloosa Horse Show Assn. circuit. Their honors included High Point Masters, High Point Performance Horse, Doris Sundin/Bright Chip Memorial Pleasure Horse Award, Phil Wright Memorial Reining Horse Award and the Golden Knife Award for High Point Gelding. Cindy’s main goal was winning the top Masters division award and she did so by claiming high point titles in Western Showmanship, Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation, Western Pleasure, Western Equitation and Trail.

Guinness arrived at Vicki and Jeff Halsey’s Lakeside training business looking and acting like the sweetest little thing. “The first time Jeff got on him, Guinness looked so relaxed at first and we all thought everything would go very smoothly.” That was until the youngster let loose a bucking streak that unsaddled the veteran colt starter. “Then I thought, ‘Oh, no, what have I done…’,” Cindy relays.

With a little troubleshooting, Vicki, Jeff and Cindy determined that Guinness was in physical discomfort from too much lunging before he came to San Diego. Three or four sessions of chiropractic work with Kim Sergent, DVM, did the trick. Cindy reports happily that Guinness hasn’t bucked since. Regular chiropractic work from Dr. Sergent remains part of the superstar’s maintenance routine, as do massage and stretching exercises recommended by the veterinarian. Cindy uses a massager on Guinness’ hindquarters and stretches his legs forward and back before each ride. She describes both as common sense techniques and is grateful to Sergent, along with farrier Tim Garland, for their help in keeping her horse so fit and healthy.

The Halseys deserve a lot of credit for Guinness’s amazing success, Cindy says. “They are very gentle and bring the horses along slowly so they don’t get afraid. The horses never get tired of their work because Vicki and Jeff make it pleasurable for them.”

Guinness is very happy wearing the variety of hats required to succeed in Cal-Western’s many competitive categories. “We just did Western Pleasure when we first started, then we added in english,” Cindy explains. “When we started going for the High Point overall last year, we did it all. He’ll try anything. He doesn’t get upset and there doesn’t seem to be any riding style that he doesn’t like.”

This year Cindy has scaled back her competition schedule. She and her husband had bought a ranch in Northern California and were planning to build up an Appaloosa breeding business, but a health set-back for Doug required a change of course and a return to San Diego. She is enjoying the local show circuit and hopes to help the Tumbleweed Club get back on its feet with its own show.

Whether winning all the big awards or riding around their neighborhood, Cindy is very happy with her Appy!