Santa Barbara is Ready for the RAAC!

by Lynne Sherman, SBC CDS Communications Chair

Our Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Dressage Society will be hosting the Central Coast Regional Adult Amateur Championships at the iconic Earl Warren Showgrounds August 19th-20th, and we are ready!

Here is a look, “under the hood” at our show venue and the friendly Santa Barbara chapter members and volunteers who make our shows happen.

Mountain View Arena. Photo: Melanie Temmer

The arena footings at the Earl Warren Showgrounds are in great shape. The area equestrian community, led by the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team project director and SBCCDS board member, Karen Christensen, poured one million dollars of improvements into new footings and infrastructure of the five arenas.

Deborah Kagel has loads of smiles.

Here are the comments from the USDF report of Laurie Daniels, Technical Delegate for our May show: “Very well run and organized show. The Santa Barbara CDS Chapter board and member volunteers provided a warm and welcoming environment. Board and show committee members made a point of going around the grounds and stabling areas to great and welcome competitors. A competitor dinner held Saturday evening was well attended. The facility in partnership with the SBC CDS Chapter recently installed all new footing in the arenas. This was noted by competitors as a wonderful improvement. Many comments from competitors on excellent footing.”

Kate Sulzbach, Alexis Weaver and Sara Beth Cutter set up their tack room.

Friday is move-in day. Competitors unload horses and mountains of tack into the 1950’s redwood box stalls with solid Dutch doors which afford the horses a companionable view or can also serve as secure tack rooms.

Professional Braider, Melonie Sommer, applies TLC and expertise preparing clients’ horses for their tests.

Melonie Soammer, Braider

After getting their horses settled in and setting up their tack rooms, why not take a before-the-show spin on those freshly groomed footings? Ava Grace Johnson with her horse, Hojs Danser and her trainer, Dr. Gail Hoff joined many early bird riders enjoying the arenas.

L-R: Colin Whittaker, Mika White, Lorena Whittaker, Bob Grasa, & Merilee Garife

Our show office is the heart of our smooth-running shows. Chapter Treasurer, Karen Christensen, Show Manager Deb Heier, and Chapter Co-Chair Mary Couch have the two-way radios, the competitor Gift Bags and the Day sheets ready to go. Ring the bell and start the clock! It’s show time!

Ava Grace Johnson

Each show needs volunteers carrying out fifty tasks from scribing to food shopping. All the moving parts need volunteers to make them function. Susan Akins directs fellow volunteers to their assignments.

Gail Hoff, Ava Grace Johnson & Danser

The Santa Barbara Chapter holds a sale of donated pre-owned dressage tack and general equestrian supplies.

It’s Show Time! L-R: Karen Christensen, board Treasurer, Deb Heier, show manager, Mary Couch board Co-chair
Susan Akins welcomes fellow volunteers

Please consider donating tack and supplies to our chapter. You receive a charitable donation receipt, you help the environment by recycling, you help our chapter raise needed funds, and you help both the new and experienced riders who take advantage of the bargains. For more information on donating tack, please check out our website

L-R: Alexis Kummer-Klein ring steward confers with Gina von der Burg, show chair. Photo: Melanie Temmer

Everyone visits the Awards Table to pick up their tests, and hopefully collect a ribbon and a prize.

Mary Couch, Chapter Co-chair puts the finishing touches on the awards table.

SBC CDS now has merch! Our sale of chapter logo vests and hats was very successful. To order yours, check out

Chapter logo hats! Order yours via

Santa Barbara has beautiful restaurants but the best seat in town was the SBCCDS barbeque. Officials, competitors and volunteers enjoyed the varied and plentiful offerings. Dessert was a celebration cake honoring Century Ride pair Pamela Pirkle & Pescador ESF.

In The Irons Crew. L-R: Chloe Giannetto, me, Chelsea Rangstikpto, Juliet Bradley, Kate Sulzbach, and Kelly Thoits.
Volunteer, Judith Raimondi welcomes shoppers to the tack sale.

After the last ride the courts are washed, dried, and stowed in our chapter courts trailer which donated by chapter members Susan and Peter Cheney.

We ready to welcome you to enter our August 19-21 show, Summer Dressage in Santa Barbara. Judges will be Jodi Ely and Melissa Creswick. For more information, check our chapter website,

We will feature the RAAC. We will also continue the Central Coast Championship Series with our friends, the San Luis Obispo Chapter of CDS.

Saturday Night BBQ volunteer Eric Couch serving great food.
Pamela Pirkle & Pescador ESF relax before their century ride.