California Riding Magazine • October, 2008

Show Time
Great awards are among the highlights at the Willowbrook Equestrian Center’s upcoming series of competitions.

by Kathleen Burke Jensen

Willowbrook Equestrian Center and Riding Club is excited about its 15th Annual Saddle Series Horse Show season. Situated on 40 acres in the Coachella Valley just minutes north of the Interstate 10 freeway in Desert Hot Springs, Willowbrook is a lovely facility that plays host to some of the largest junior/amateur Hunter and Western shows in the South-Central region.

Gabrielle Franklin taking a practice fence on Miss Jazzy at Willowbrook.

Willowbrook’s owners Don and LoriLea Franklin take special pride in their Saddle Series shows, which run from October to February every year. Additionally there are Spring Shows, designed with beginners in mind, that run from March to June each year.

This year the Willowbrook Hunter Shows are once again sanctioned by the Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association (GSDHJA) and the Orange County Horse Show Association (OCHSA). Competitors can accumulate points toward the organizations’ year-end awards and qualify for year-end Championship shows.

Willowbrook events utilize Horse Show Time ( to manage entry information, fees and results, which are available online after each event. This helps competitors keep track of their accumulated points toward the saddles, scooters and other great year-end awards.

“Don Lehman once again designs the trail courses,” says LoriLea. “And, we’re happy to welcome back David Rogers as our wonderful hunter course designer.”

The schedule of the Willowbrook 15th Annual Saddle Series is as follows: Hunter shows take place on Saturdays followed by Western shows on Sundays. These weekend events will be on Oct. 11-12, Nov. 8-9, Jan. 10-11 and Feb. 12-14. The final Hunter and Western shows in February are double-pointed and double-judged, creating the opportunity for participants to show in front of two judges simultaneously. There are two complete sets of great daily class and hi-point awards in the Hunter show (one set for each judge), and two sets of class awards with super combined-score daily high-point awards in the Western-English-Halter show.

Prized Prizes

Willowbrook is known for its quality and creative prizes where competitors get to choose their own item from the prize table. First-place finishers in all Hunter, Western, English and Halter classes may pick prizes ranging from halters, polo wraps, lunge whips and lines, horse health products, saddle blankets, horse treats, fly masks, bell boots and more. Cups are awarded to 1st to 6th place.

Daily Hi-Point prizes include monogrammed items such as bags for arena gear, bridles, boots, show clothes, chaps, grooming equipment and halters, plus jumper pads, saddle and helmet covers, sweatshirts, rucksacks and engraved trophy halters and more.

Maria Barardi riding spotted pony Milestone in a Saddle Series Cross-rail class.

A Regency close-contact english saddle will be awarded at each Western, English, Halter show to the All Around Performance Horse Hi-Point Champion based on the Series All Around Performance Horse qualifying classes. There is an opening show special: At the Oct 12 competition, a western training saddle, with lots of rings, will be awarded to the all-around performance Champion.

The Willowbrook Spring Series Horse Shows begin in March 2009 with a great line-up of classes and prizes - including Cruzin Coolers and Schwinn S750 Electric Scooters for series awards. These shows are the perfect way for beginners to become familiar with showing and are excellent for experienced competitors to develop their skills in front of professional judges. As with the Saddle Series, there is also a Jumper division in this series. These shows are also approved for OCHSA and GSDHJA competition. The 2009 Spring Show schedule is as follows: March 15, April 5, May 3 and June 7.

Saddle Series Hunter Champions 2007-2008 season.

For more information on participating in these exciting events, please contact Don and LoriLea Franklin at 760-329-7676 or visit which lists classes, prizes and down-loadable entry forms.