California Riding Magazine • August, 2008

Hoof Prints Help Peruvians
San Diego horse show organization adds a benefit class to its good works.

by Ellen Watlington

The East County Horseshow Organization already plays an integral role in the local community, giving young and adult riders alike an enjoyable introduction into the show world. Now with the humanitarian vision of horseshow director Trish Watlington, it is also benefiting charitable organizations and spreading its impact far beyond the kinship of the county’s loyal equine enthusiasts.

Hoof Prints is a pleasure class that takes place at the May and September ECHO shows, where participants must put in a minimum donation to enter. At the conclusion of the day, Trish pulls from ECHO revenue to match the donations. For the 2008 show year, Hoof Prints is sponsoring the Valhalla High School Peace Corp Partnership club that is currently working to raise money for the impoverished school children in Huancahuasi, Peru. The first Hoof Prints class ran at the June 22 show thanks to generous sponsors Foxlair West, trainer Kelly Covey and Riding Designs of Riding Publications. According to the class rules, there are two winners. The first is the winner of the pleasure class as decided by the judge, and the second is the participant who raises the most money for Hoof Prints and the Peace Corp Partnership club.

California Riding Magazine’s assistant editor Rebecca Sparenberg and her palomino mare A Dangerous Affair took home both awards and won an Ariat tote bag filled with gift certificates and grooming supplies in recognition of contributing the most money. The funds gained from donations as well as what ECHO matches will be put toward school supplies and other necessities that the malnourished and underprivileged children of Huancahuasi desperately need. However, next year the sponsorship is open to any philanthropic organization that would like to apply to participate.

Rebecca and A Dangerous Affair with their winnings.
Photo: Erpelding Photography

The power of the riding community to make a positive change is great, yet untapped up until this point. Hoof Prints is constructively shepherding the possibilities in a way that can make a positive difference.

With the fall horseshows approaching, the combination of ECHO’s local and loyal trainers and riders and the altruistic spirit of Hoof Prints should continue to lead an excellent example. If it continues to go well, hopefully, philanthropy will become a trend in the Greater San Diego area and beyond. The next Hoof Prints class will be held at ECHO on Sept. 14 at the Pillsbury Riding Club.

Pledge forms and more information are available on the ECHO website at