California Riding Magazine • October, 2008

The Gallop
Local heroes brighten the horizon.

by Kim F. Miller

Bad economic news continues to dominate newspaper headlines and related realities continue to hit horses and their owners throughout the state. Barely a day goes by in my office without an inquiry from someone who owns or knows of horses that need more help than they can afford to give. Stories of horses being euthanized because their owners can no longer maintain them are trickling through the equestrian community and many of us are cutting every corner possible to pay hay bills.

It’s easy to feel depressed, but thankfully there are lots of heroic horse people out there to brighten the horizon and inspire us all to do what we can to make a difference.

Signature Farms’ owner Pattie Roberts is one such example. She made a name for herself with her innovative Dudette Ranch concept at her Murrieta boarding facility. There, membership provides access to horses and their many benefits without the monetary leap of ownership.

Pattie hopes her new idea, the 200 Club, will help save horses that she became the default caregiver for earlier this year. 200 Club membership is gained by committing to send $25 a month, for one year, to care for these rescued horses.

“Last summer I agreed to house five starving rescue horses,” Pattie explains. “But 20 horses arrived at the ranch! The horses have all been nursed back to health and are ready to find new homes. However, the lady who rescued them is no longer supplying their feed and I am unable to cover such an additional expense. Although she surrendered them to the State of California, the State does not have an adoption program like it does for dogs and cats and will euthanize them.”

Several of these horses have already been adopted by Pattie’s clients, but “we can only feed so many.” If you would like to donate, adopt or sponsor a horse or two, please contact Pattie at 951-440-3536 or Pattie@DudetteRanch.com.

Donation checks can be made payable to Save the Animals Today and mailed to: PO Box 458, San Jacinto, CA 92581.

Credit cards can be used to pay for feed directly, contact: Keith Archibek, Archibek Feed, 951-679-8995.

San Diego veterinarian Kathleen Earle, DVM, is another of the many good Samaritans we come across. At presstime she was heading to Houston to help care for animals injured and/or lost in Hurricane Ike. Donations jars were out at Emily Esau’s training stable at Seabreeze and the Avocado Animal Hospital in Fallbrook and were welcomed by mail at 3125 Ridge Way, Fallbrook, CA 92028. A trusted friend to the equestrian community, Kathleen promised to deliver every dollar to appropriate organizations once she got to Texas.

Meanwhile, fellow San Diego veterinarian Richard Markell, DVM, was caught in his down-day blue sneakers at the Shea Therapeutic Riding Center’s 30th annual gala in San Juan Capistrano. Apparently, many years worth of weekly visits to care for Shea’s horses wasn’t enough of a contribution. He donated tickets and a behind-the-scenes tour to next spring’s World Cup Finals and another great item that helped take the fundraiser’s total to $300,000.

To inspire bids for the evening’s biggest-ticket item, Shea’s executive director Dana Butler-Moburg crooned for the crowd. The multi-talented lady’s performance drew a huge bid for an in-home dinner prepared by Shea staff and cabaret style entertainment from Dana. It was a fun night and a bright reminder of the great work people and horses are doing every day.

Monterey Hey Day

Whatever you think of our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as horse people, we can applaud him for the recent approval of the transfer of the final 3,400 acres of land from the U.S. Army to the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA). This means the former military base land can now be cleaned up, and that is great and long-awaited news for the Monterey Horse Park project.

The MHP is planned as a multi-discipline equestrian park. It is located on approximately 390 acres of the decommissioned base’s gorgeous land in Monterey County. “The facility is designed to promote the training of amateur equestrians and to host breed shows and competition in all eight FEI disciplines,” says the Park’s vision statement. “The facility will provide California with a major equestrian center which, in time, is expected to attract prestigious international events of the caliber of The Rolex Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park.”

Along with the Governor’s approval, there is more good news in that much of the land already designated for the Horse Park is already cleaned up and awaiting certification from various agencies. “The importance of this opportunity is that MHP will be able to have events, shows and competitions much sooner than expected,” explains MHP’s executive director Anne Cribbs.

The project has been many years in the making and needs a lot of support to keep steaming forward. Toward that end, MHP has created the Founding Friends to unite donors and volunteers. Their next get-together is a site tour Sat. Oct. 25. “Showing as many people as possible the land that MHP will occupy will only help to increase excitement for the Horse Park,” says Anne.

Look for MHP information booths at upcoming Northern California get-togethers including the Woodside Day of the Horse Oct. 11, (www.whoa94062.org).

The Chase Is On

Congratulations to Ali Nilforushan and young Karl Cook for winning one each in the Grand Prix jumping classes at the Del Mar Horsepark and the Oaks that were the first two of 11 West Coast World Cup Finals qualifiers. Karl didn’t designate his winning partner Carlos his World Cup horse, so it is actually Mandy Porter who leads the region’s rankings with the 32 points she and San Diego earned from top placings in both GPs. Ali rides for Iran in international competitions and starts the season very strong with 29 points,
Meanwhile on the World Cup dressage front, Moorpark-based Jan Ebeling is off to a great start with his victory at the New England Fall Dressage Festival. He and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare, Rafalca, won the World Cup qualifier at the Saugerties CDI-W show in upstate New York in mid-September.

The U.S. and Canada get to send two riders, and a wild card, to the World Cup Finals, which will be held again in Las Vegas, and again simultaneously with the jumping Finals, on April 15-19, 2009. Jan was next set to campaign at Dressage at Devon, before returning to the West Coast. He hopes his winter preparation will include a European tour.

Speaking of the World Cup Finals, it is not too early to be looking into tickets. As successful as the jumping and dressage pairing were in 2007, the 2009 Finals are sure to be early sell-outs. Visit www.worldcuplasvegas.com to make sure you are in on the party.
Another big West Coast event already cranking into gear is the HITS Thermal hunter/jumper circuit. The series is now eight weeks of competition, spread over 10 weeks beginning Tues. Jan 20 and ending Sun., March 22. The agenda includes four World Cup qualifiers and about 250 classes every week. Two million in prize money is at stake.

The ongoing work of the Thermal Advisory Committee has resulted in a new entry policy designed to allow exhibitors to evaluate their horses each week and then make their class entries accordingly. Late entry and nomination fees have been eliminated in several divisions. Visit www.hitsshows.com for the full scoop.