Latest News
Nayel Nassar and Lordan Do It Again!
Written by CRM
Sunday, 11 November 2018 17:51

The scene was set for the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Qualifier in the Grand Prix Stadium at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park. A field of 38, stacked with some of the most elite riders in equestrian sport challenged the first round course, designed by Marina Azevedo of Brazil. “I always keep in mind the class that I am building for, especially as a qualifier for the World Cup,” Azevedo explained. “Even if it is a big ring, I try to put some fences close to the corners and the turns a little bit short to help them prepare for the indoor rings.”

Just five would return for the jump-off, all in the chase for the winner's purse and valuable World Cup qualifying points.

Hansen Dam Horse Park Happenings
Written by CRM
Thursday, 08 November 2018 17:53

A year of upgrades and program expansion transform once-forgotten facility into a thriving hub of Southern California equestrian activity.

September 15, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of Langer Equestrian Group’s purchase of controlling interest in Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, LLC. Under the reins of veteran horseman and equestrian entrepreneur Larry Langer, the newly-branded Hansen Dam Horse Park has quietly undergone improvements that have already transformed it into a new hub of Southern California equestrian activity.

South Point Arena and Equestrian Center Welcomes the 12th Annual Las Vegas National Horse Show
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 22:10

The Inaugural AON/USHJA National Championships and the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Las Vegas Return to South Point Arena and Equestrian Center

Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 18

LAS VEGAS – The 12th annual Las Vegas National Horse Show returns to the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center, Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 18 offering Olympic-level jumpers and the nation’s top hunters the opportunity to compete for highest honors. As one of 14 qualifying events in North America, The Las Vegas National Horse Show is a part of the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League. The Las Vegas National Horse Show’s feature event, the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas, presented by Walter Oil & Gas, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Riders will not only seek to gain the glory of a win, but to accrue valuable points towards earning an invitation to the prestigious Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden in April 2019.

RTF Files Suit to Stop Unrestricted Sale of Devils Garden Wild Horses
Written by CRM
Saturday, 27 October 2018 17:34

102718 rtf1

Return to Freedom on Thursday joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit to halt the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to sell hundreds of California wild horses without restriction, placing them in jeopardy of being sent to slaughter.

Making Hay(gain) in the West
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Tuesday, 16 October 2018 19:58

Haygain USA adds California sales consultant.

Oct. 16, 2018: Kaitlyn Zaleski joins the Haygain USA sales team to cover all of California. One-on-one consultations, group, club and barn demos and free two-week trials of the Haygain Hay Steamer are among her priorities in the new position. Comfortstall® therapeutic sealed orthopedic flooring and the Forager Slow Feeder are among the company’s horse health products.

Bugatti and Wilhelm Genn Emerge Victorious in $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Sacramento Presented by Lasher's Elk Grove Dodge Ram
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 10 October 2018 19:07

Congratulations to Top Three Finishers Wilhelm Genn, Karrie Rufer, and Karl Cook

The highlight event of Sacramento International World Cup™ Week took place Saturday night amidst a completely sold out house at the indoor arena of Murieta Equestrian Center. The $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento presented by Lasher's Elk Grove Dodge Ram had 29 entries with 10 nations represented: United States, Canada, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, and France.  

The start of the first round saw solid efforts from many of the world's greatest horses and riders, but no entry was able to clear the Olaf Petersen Jr designed 1.60m course until 14th in the order. Kenneth Vinther of Denmark and Colicchio cleared the 16 jumping efforts including one double and one triple combination, but had 1 time fault.

A few rounds later, Jamie Barge and Luebbo completed the first fault-free round and the arena erupted in applause. In quick succession, eight more pairs completed clear rounds, guaranteeing a competitive jump off. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the class," said course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. "I was very happy for the first clear round."

101018bugattiBugatti and Wilhelm Genn, Winners of the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Sacramento. Photo: Amy McCool. 

The exciting jump off had much of the crowd on their feet, as each horse and rider raced the clock around the short course. In the end, six riders turned in clear jump off rounds, the fastest of which was Wilhelm Genn of Germany aboard Bugatti, a 12-year-old chestnut KWPN gelding owned by Eduardo Leon.

"I was hoping I got a chance to run for it today and it worked out," said Genn. "[Bugatti] loves the crowd and he gets excited, which makes him better because he's a very lazy horse and so it all kind of played in my favor."

Genn has had Bugatti since he was five years old and has taken his time to develop the gelding. "Between last year and this year he really turned professional," said Genn of Bugatti. "Last year we could not have done what we did tonight. So it just shows how important it is to let these horses grow up, especially if they are careful and sensitive. He's just a fantastic horse."

Coming in half a second behind Genn was hometown hero Karrie Rufer aboard her 12-year-old bay Belgian warmblood gelding Georgie d'Auvray EC. [Georgie is] so game, and he loves the crowd, that's what was fantastic about tonight," said Rufer. "You could hear the last line of the jump off  people getting excited for the last jump, and that's really a beautiful thing because you don't experience it very often." This result was particularly meaningful to Rufer as her family and close friends were able to attend.

Rounding out the podium in third place was another California native, Karl Cook aboard Caillou, an 11-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding owned by Signe Ostby. "It was my horse's first World Cup™ qualifier class and I couldn't be prouder of how he did," said Cook of Caillou. "I was happy with how I executed the plan that we walked and how it all came together."

The $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento presented by Lasher's Elk Grove Dodge Ram was the highlight event of two weeks of great competition at the Sacramento International Horse Show.

"The show went really well," said Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events. "This class was amazing, and we were excited to have such great riders here, and a great course designer, and amazing results. To have a sold-out class with beyond full stands and to have to turn people away is a nice problem to have."


Thank you to Calipaso, the Official Winery of Sacramento International, for keeping the wine glasses full at the VIP tables during the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento. The incredible wines Calipaso provided made a spectacular evening even more delicious!

Press release provided by West Palms Event Management.

Huge Turnout Expected for This Week’s Great American/USDF Region 7 & California Dressage Society Championship Show
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 20:16
By Yellow Horse Marketing for the California Dressage Society

For hundreds of riders and horses, this week will be filled with anticipation and excitement as a year’s worth of work is about to be put to the test at theGreat American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 and California Dressage Society (CDS) Championship Show, being held September 27-30. Once again this annual event will welcome a huge turnout of 330 exhibitors gathering on the grounds of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank for four thrilling days of dressage competition across five arenas, all combined with a festive atmosphere, complimentary hospitality, shopping, activities, entertainment and a camaraderie that can only be found at these championships.

092618 usdf1Adult amateur Jackie Weisbein will be one of 330 entries riding into the Los Angeles Equestrian Center this week for the Great American/USDF Region 7 & CDS Championship Show in Burbank, Cal. Photo: Kelly Kenneally Photography

“Of course last year’s show was particularly special because it was our CDS 50thanniversary celebration, so that can be a bit of a hard act to follow and you never know exactly how much of that enthusiasm will carry over,” said Glenda McElroy, who has managed the CDS Championship Show for more than 25 years. “But I’ve said before that this Championship Show has truly become a destination event here on the West Coast, and to have such an incredible turnout of competitors like this, year after year, proves my point. Every year our team of officials, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make this the best event it can possibly be, because we realize how special this experience is for CDS members. We continue to make adjustments and improvements and are very proud of how it all comes together every year, and now we’re ready! We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to Burbank for another amazing show.”

Among its many competitive and educational programs for members, the California Dressage Society offers one of the largest and most lucrative annual championship events in the nation. A multitude of CDS Horse of the Year championship titles and cherished perpetual trophies will once again be presented at the show at all levels from Training to Grand Prix and for open, adult amateur, and juniors/young riders, as well as thousands of dollars in prize money and awards.

092618 usdf2RAAC competitor Marcella Levatino of Laguna Hills will compete this week in her very first Great American/USDF Region 7 & CDS Championship Show in Burbank, Cal. Photo courtesy of M. Levatino

Even more opportunities await as a full roster of championship honors will also be awarded for Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 7 Championship divisions. In addition, declared horses and riders participating in the Region 7 Championship classes can earn an invitation to the U.S. Dressage Finals in Lexington, Ky. in November, a nationwide showcase for open and adult amateur riders across all levels of competition. Since the event’s inception in 2013, dedicated West Coast riders have made the long journey to the Kentucky Horse Park where they have been rewarded with national titles at a variety of levels. To date, nearly a hundred Region 7 horse/rider combinations have declared for this year’s Finals and will seek their chance to be written into the history books as well.

Qualifying for the CDS Championship Show is an achievement in itself, as competitors spent a full year earning required scores through an expansive network of local CDS and licensed USEF/USDF shows up and down the West Coast, as well as through the CDS Junior/Young Rider Championship shows, like Sophia Kohlmann of Walnut Creek, who punched her ticket at the Northern Region Junior/Young Rider Championship Show earlier this summer and will now travel to Burbank with her horse Florian to compete in the Second Level JR/YR championship divisions.

The wildly-popular Equine Insurance/CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) program also provided a pathway to Burbank for riders like Marcella Levatino of Laguna Hills, Cal., who says she “can’t wait!” to compete at the CDS Championship Show for the very first time with her Holsteiner gelding Ciminiti in both the USDF and CDS Training Level championship classes. Joining her will be fellow adult amateur Jackie Weisbein of Napa, Cal. who found success at the Northern Region RAAC and is now looking forward to making the long drive to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center where she will compete two horses, Zev and Rosenstolz, at Second Level. “I really thought this year was just going to be a rebuilding year for me,” said Weisbein. “But after gaining a lot of confidence at the RAAC show, I am so excited to show them both, see my friends from all over California, and enjoy the magic of the Championship Show!”

092618 usdf3Junior/young rider Sophia Kohlmann will look to earn even more Second Level championship titles at this week’s Great American/USDF Region 7 & CDS Championship Show in Burbank, Cal. Photo via Facebook

Another perennial highlight of the championship weekend will be the popular CDS Young Horse Futurity and the unique Cal-Bred Futurity, which this year boasts 60 entries across four, five, and six-year-old divisions, has more than $12,300 in prize money, and offers special awards for adult amateur competitors. As the largest regional young horse program in the country, the CDS Young Horse Futurity has proven itself to be a successful launching pad for top dressage horses across the country. Adult amateurs as well as juniors and young riders can also prove they have the best seats in the house and demonstrate their riding skills in Friday afternoon’s CDS Dressage Seat Equitation Challenge classes, as well as the USDF Adult Amateur Equitation Regional Final class and the USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Finals (for riders ages 14-18 and 13 & under) on Saturday.

Be a part of the excitement – for complete information about the California Dressage Society Championship Show, including news, schedules, ride times, and results, visit the CDS website and follow along with behind-the-scenes updates and photos on the CDS Facebook page
Will Simpson and Chacco P Top the Field in the $30,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix, presented by ACE Equestrian
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 25 September 2018 19:03

September 23, 2018 - San Juan Capistrano, CA - Of the 25 horse and rider combinations that competed on the grass field in the $30,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix, presented by ACE Equestrian, ten completed the course without a fault to return for the jump-off. Will Simpson and his teammate Chacco P made their mark by stopping the clock in a blazing 43.129 seconds to take the win.

Will Simpson and Chacco P. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Of the ten riders to return, five finished double clear. Fifteen-year-old Austin Krawitt and Catch Me 4 were the first pair to provide a double-clean performance in a time of 49.842 seconds. The next rider to attempt the jump-off track, however, was Simpson, who put the pedal to the metal to cross the finish line six seconds faster.
Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, designed the track, which included two combinations, a liverpool, and several related lines.

"Anthony always does a great job with the courses. It was enough to make you ride, and it was perfect for today's setting," Simpson noted.
Simpson credited his horse's speed, strength, and carefulness. "Chacco P has a very fast foot speed, so if I can do the counts and make tight turns, I know that his foot speed is incredible. I always have a nice surprise when I finish my round and look up at the clock."

Simpson is looking forward to the rest of this season's competition with Chacco P. "I'll be competing with him in the World Cup Qualifiers for the rest of this season and will hopefully qualify for the World Cup Finals."

To wrap-up the day, and the final Markel Insurance 1.45 Grand Prix of the Blenheim EquiSports outdoor season, Lane Clarke received the Romfh Leading Open Jumper Rider Award, earning a total of 26 points over the Blenheim Fall Series. His third-place finish in this class guaranteed him the award.

Sunday at the International Jumping Festival culminates with the final rounds of the Young Jumper Championships Western League Finals & Futurity, presented by Electronic Vet, for the five-, six- and seven-year-olds.  

The top group of riders, up to 25, will meet in Las Vegas to compete in the Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix Series Final at The Las Vegas National on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018.

Will Simpson and Chacco P with Jeff & Shannon Cotton of ACE Equestrian, Melissa Brandes, Dr. Will Simpson and Brandon Seger of Markel Insurance. Photo: Captured Moment Photography


$30,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix, presented by ACE Equestrian

Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 841 - Chacco P - Will Simpson - Will Simpson - 0/0/43.129
2. 245 - Interactive Mortgage 07 - Shawn Casady - Evette & Gregg DeLong - 0/0/43.283
3. 786 - McLord's T.K.O. - Lane Clarke - Mickey Hayden - 0/0/43.953
4. 158 - Valiant - Olivia Brown - Harley Brown Equestrian, Inc. - 0/0/45.324
5. 592 - Choose Me 4 - Austin Krawitt - A.E.S. Equestrian, Inc. - 0/0/49.842
6. 601 - Duc de Rhoan - Michelle Kerivan - Michelle Kerivan - 0/4/7.310
7. 249 - Dakar VDL - Shawn Casady - HKC Collection, LLC - 0/4/47.841
8. 120 - Quitana 11 - Savannah Jenkins - Georgy Maskrey-Segesman - 0/8/43.637
9. 364 - Sea Coast Ferly - Mary Frances Looke - Mary Frances Looke - 0/8/46.595
10. 259 - Doraindo - Shawn Casady - Highpoint Farm, LLC - 0/8/47.091
11. 626 - NKH Quanto - John Bragg - Caruso & Bragg - 1/85.233
12. 194 - Ideal de la Hasse - Mitchell Endicott - Alex Trubey - 4/77.840

Press release provided by Blenheim Equisports.

Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair: September 21 – 23, 2018
Written by CRM
Monday, 17 September 2018 22:01

The 32nd Annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair is happening this week, September 21 – 23, at the tree-covered Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

Watch as beautiful draft horses pull meticulously restored freight wagons, loyally work farm equipment, skillfully complete intricate maneuvers, and compete with elegance and determination. With more than 175 horses stabled on the grounds, the Classic also offers a unique change to meet and see the draft horses up close.


110118 drafthorseThe winner of the Draft Horse Classic’s Ultimate Hitch Award – Rees Family Belgians, based out of Elk, WA – performs in the arena at the 2018 Draft Horse Classic. The 2018 Draft Horse Classic results are now posted at

The Draft Horse Classic is the premier draft horse show on the west coast and offers six different performances featuring draft horses and exhibitors from across the United States and Canada. It showcases a variety of horses, exhibitors and hitches, and features everything from farm wagons and carriages to driving competitions and log skidding. Between competition classes, guests will enjoy performances by expert horseman and trick rope artist Tomas Garcilazo, Bobby Kerr Mustang Act, CHP Mounted Patrol Unit, the California Cowgirls Drill Team and more.

Taking place on the grounds during the Classic is the Harvest Fair, featuring musical entertainment, community exhibits, vendors selling a variety of goods, a horseshoeing demonstration, delicious food, and Art at the Classic. Plus, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the barns and meet the draft horses. Although there is a charge for the draft horse performances in the arena, admission to the Harvest Fair is free.


This year’s musical entertainment at the Harvest Fair begins at noon on Saturday and Sunday and at 11 am on Sunday. The lineup includes Strung Nugget Gang, Dust in my Coffee, Danny Morris and The California Stars, and Sourdough Slim. This year’s headliners are James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash on Friday from 4:30 – 6, and award-winning cowboy music singer and songwriter Brenn Hill on Saturday from 4:30 – 6 pm. Musical entertainment is free, so stop by the Fairgrounds, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the music at the Pine Tree Stage.  You can even catch a draft horse performance after each concert.

Tickets to the Draft Horse performances are on sale now. Choose from six different performances or purchase a season ticket for all six. Performances are Friday, September 21 at 10 am and 6:30 pm; Saturday, September 22 at 10 am and 6:30 pm; and Sunday, September 23 at 10 am and 4 pm. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling (530) 273-6217, or by visiting the Fairgrounds Office on McCourtney Road. All tickets purchased after 5 pm on September 20, are an additional $4 per ticket. This year’s Draft Horse Classic is September 21 – 23 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Visit for more information.

Press release provided by Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Try to Catch this Team: Richard Fellers and Steelbi Chase the Blue
Written by CRM
Saturday, 10 November 2018 00:00

The FEI CSI3*-W week at National Sunshine II kicked off Thursday with the $35,000 Desert Welcome Stake, in the Grand Prix Stadium, for the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Qualifier. Surrounded by mountainous views, top riders from across the country and around the world challenged the first-round course, designed by Marina Azevedo.

Amongst the field of 77 entries in the hunt for the lion’s share of prize money were Richard Spooner, Charlie Jayne, and Jamie Barge, along with last week’s FEI class winners Nayel Nasser and Ashlee Bond.

Boys Will Be Equestrians
Written by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 19:53

Canadian Sam Walker just became the fourth boy to win the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals since 1991. The 175-contender class was held at the National Horse Show in Kentucky this past weekend.

Earlier this season, Maclay reserve champ Brian Moggre won the USEF Hunt Seat Medal Finals.

Back in the Game!
Written by CRM
Monday, 05 November 2018 17:22

Ashlee Bond and CHELA LS take home the Blue Ribbon in the $100,000 Coachella Grand Prix FEI CSI3*!

The final class of the FEI CSI3* Division at National Sunshine I took place Sunday afternoon. The sky was beautifully painted shades of pink and blue as the sun set over the AON HITS Desert Horse Park, and Ashlee Bond won her second featured class of the week.

A field of 35 high performance riders took to the course in the $100,000 Coachella Grand Prix FEI CSI3*, with seven returning for the shortened course.

California Girls Rock The 2018 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International
Written by CRM
Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:25

It was a West Coast invasion Friday at the 2018 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International with Californians sweeping International and young horse divisions. Frankie Thieriot Stutes leads The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Championship, and Heather Morris took over The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship.

Del Mar International Welcome Week Ends with a Bang
Written by CRM
Monday, 15 October 2018 17:44

The first week of Del Mar International has come to an end after five days of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes. See some of Sunday's classic winners below. Congratulations to all riders, owners, and trainers!

101518 delmar1Contefina and Ashlee Bond, Winners of the 6 Year Old Classic. All Photos by McCool Photography.
101518 delmar2Gee Whiz and Trudi Fletcher, Winners of the 7 Year Old Classic
101518 delmar3Merida 8 and Viggo Bjorklund, Winners of the $5,000 iJump Sports High Jr/AO Classic
101518 delmar4Fleury and Savanah Stuart, Winners of the GGT Footing Low Jr/AO Classic
101518 delmar5Zaira LS and Tanna Seltzer, Winners of the CWD Modified Jr/Am Classic
101518 delmar6Uno Mas and Parris Mozart-Collins, Winners of the Junior / Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic
101518 delmar7South Beach GES and Lauren Wilson, Winners of the Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic Presented by Premier Equine Center
101518 delmar8Quite Bellami Z and Caroline Jacobs, Winners of the Pre Child/Adult Jumper Classic and the Hygain Modified Child/Adult Jumper Classic
101518 delmar9Amy Brubaker, Amateur Style of Riding Award Winner.
101518 delmar10Rachel Freer, Junior Style of Riding Award Winners. All photos by McCool Photography.


We are looking forward to this coming week, Del Mar International World Cup Week! It is an action-packed week, featuring the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Del Mar Presented by EQ International Real Estate. But there's more to see including the $25,000 PCHA Child/Adult Jumper Championship, the $25,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix Series Finale, the Onondarka Medal Finals, a USHJA National Hunter Derby, and much, much more.

Press release provided by West Palms Events.

Congress Extends ELD exemption through Dec. 7th
Written by Administrator
Saturday, 29 September 2018 14:34
Congress has sent a spending bill to the White House in an effort to avert an Oct. 1 government shutdown and push the discussion regarding final appropriations until after the November elections. H.R. 6157 includes a continuing resolution that would extend funding for those agencies not covered by completed appropriations bills, including agriculture and transportation. This will extend the ELD protections the horse industry has enjoyed through December 7, 2018.  The President has said he will sign this bill package to avert a shutdown.


By December 7th Congress will either do another extension or pass the 2019 spending package, which includes the ELD delay for livestock haulers, leaving these haulers exempt from ELD use until September 30, 2019.

The AHC is continuing to work with both the FMCSA and Congress to identify a permanent solution to the unintended consequences to new and existing CDL and ELD regulations that have proven to be problematic.

For more information please contact Cliff Williamson at the American Horse Council,

Press release provided by American Horse Council.

North American League West Coast Finals Inspired Intense Competition
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:55

Just after the U.S. show jumping team earned gold at the World Equestrian Games, juniors and amateur riders engaged in their own heated competition at the 2018 North American League (NAL) West Coast Finals. The two days of hunter and jumper competition comprise one of the two Finals that culminate the NAL's year-long Series that includes classes at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. This year's NAL West Coast Finals were held in beautiful Southern California weather during the Blenheim EquiSports International Jumping Festival, September 22-23 in San Juan Capistrano.

The NAL West Coat Finals featured five divisions, the $5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Presented by SmartPak, $5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Presented by EquiFit, $5,000 NAL 1.35M Junior/Amateur Jumper Presented by HorseFlight, and $5,000 NAL Adult Hunter and $5,000 NAL Children's Hunter. The winners of each Final were presented with fantastic awards including gift certificates generously donated by EquiFit, SmartPak, and The Clothes Horse, an NAL coolerette, and a trophy from the International Jumping Festival. Popular NAL gift bags given to every Finals participant were filled with an assortment of goodies including a commemorative NAL Finals stall plaque and photo box.

In addition to the West Coast Finals, the NAL also hosts National Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, October 11-20.

Fifteen-year-old Erin Nichols, of Yorba Linda, CA., and Hindee's 29.697-second time was unbeatable among the 12 pairs who advanced to the jump-off in the $5,000 NAL Childrens Jumper Final Presented by EquiFit. "Forward and smooth equals fast" trainer Edgar Pagan told Nichols before she entered the jump-off, and she and her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood were all three. Nichols splits her time between jumpers and dressage, in which she competes with equal success at Second Level. She's found dressage to be a big help in developing the keen feel needed for pinpoint control on a jumper course and she used that effectively in the win. Nichols aspires to represent the States internationally in either discipline. Having targeted the Finals all season, the victory was a big milestone. "Doing as well as I did, I'm very proud of myself and my horse," she said.

Jake Cheikha, of Trabuco Canyon, CA., and Noteworthy Horses' Cagoldas were less than a half-second behind Nichols with their clean jump-off for the red rosette. The pair trains with David Bustillos. Lola Stern and Woodgrove Farm's Arco Z's 30.61-second jump-off placed the Katie Gardner-coached pair in third.


Evette Delong and Blue Calvados. Photo: (c)

Riding the same Scott Starnes-designed course on the grass Derby Field as the Childrens Final contenders did, Evette Delong and Blue Calvados were the unbeatable pair in the NAL $5,000 Adult Amateur Jumper Finals Presented by SmartPak. "Everything aligned today," said Delong, who lives near the venue in San Juan Capistrano, CA. "Between my trainer Hillary Ridland and my horse, I'm feeling blessed." Delong has ridden much of her life, but took a break during cancer treatments. Blue Calvados was purchased about 18 months ago to help her get back into the game, which they've done with gusto, earning numerous circuit championships along with the NAL title.

"Hillary and I walked a great track and I was able to stick to my plan," Delong explained of the jump-off strategy to best the four contenders who also had clear first-round efforts. "Mentally, Hillary really pre-set me up with where I could cut corners or step on the gas, while keeping my horse balanced and it worked!"

Whitney Coleman and Sarah Sharou's Cavalino 30 finished second with two clear rounds and a 32.145 jump-off time. Coleman lives in Woodland Hills, CA, and is coached by Susan Artes. They were followed by Lauren Wilson of Long Beach, CA, and Constance Farmer's Kessel Run. Trained by Hayden Clarke Show Jumping, this duo was double clear with a 32.860 jump-off time.

Competing on the Oaks International Grand Prix field, contenders in the NAL $5,000 1.35m Junior/Amateur Jumper Finals Presented by HorseFlight faced a very stout track designed by Anthony D'Ambrosio. Katie Murray on Calgot Hero and Brooke Morin on Cassito Del Diablo were the only two to navigate clear rounds. Riding second in the jump-off, Murray knew Morin had downed a rail, so going clear was the main objective. But the student of Grand Prix rider Michelle Parker also wanted to gain experience, so she was happy to have pulled off a mid-course inside turn on top of going clear.

Murray, a 21-year-old from Anaheim, CA, appreciated the big confidence boost of excelling in the class. Describing Calgot Hero as her "best friend," she explained that they'd "made a few mistakes" in higher divisions earlier in their roughly one-year partnership and are in rebuilding mode. "He's such an incredible horse and I don't know what I'd do without him."

Hailing from Calabasas, runner-up Morin rides with Lee Flick. Their stable-mate, Kate Abajian and Curtis 57 were right behind them in third, having only incurred a time fault on the first-round track.

Kristyn Hill and Cortez. Photo: (c)

In the Hunter Ring

Mother of two Kristyn Hill, of Dana Point, CA, set her cap for the NAL $5,000 Adult Amateur Hunter League early in the year. So she was thrilled to lay do

wn two beautiful rounds with Cortez in the Saturday afternoon class held in a sand arena over a course designed by Kerry Kocher. Trained by Lee Flick, Hill led both phases of the Final, with an 80 and an 83 respectively, for a 163 total that topped the next-placed pair by a whopping 10 points.

"He's a good, good boy," said Hill of her 11-year-old Holsteiner, Cortez, whose "Prince" nickname suits her partner of two-and-a-half years. "He loves to show and compete. He's really serious and if there's ever a problem, it's my fault. And, usually, when there is a problem, he covers and takes over for me." As was reflected in the scores from judge Scott Williamson, there were no problems for this pair. The NAL Finals were a key target for Hill this year. "At the beginning, we weren't sure how many shows we were going to do, but we got off to a strong start and decided to keep going. Aside from my family, this is my favorite thing to do!"

Harriet Posner and her own Leonetti almost caught Hill's second-round score with an 82 that vaulted them to a 153 total and into second place overall. Based in Beverly Hills, CA, Posner rides with Kate Considine. Another Considine client, Jennifer Rawlings, of Woodland Hills, CA, and Stage Left Farm LLC's First & Goal, ended on a 152 total score for third.

Thirteen-year-old Victoria Simonds, of Beverly Hills, CA, has only been contesting the Childrens Hunter division since June, but she and Valentino wasted no time becoming winners. With scores of 80 and 79, they edged out tough competition for the top spot in the $5,000 NAL Childrens Hunter Finals that completed the NAL West Coast Finals on Sunday afternoon. Riding on the grass Pacific Field under the eye of judge Lynne Forgione, Victoria's round over the Joe Lombardo-designed course reflected what she loves best about Valentino, a 12-year-old Argentinian Warmblood. "He's super fun to ride," enthused the student of Raine Rose. The fun factor carried into their victory gallop, when they snuck in an extra jump. "I've never done that before, but I thought it was fun!" Simonds said.

Just one point behind were Angela Haring, of San Diego, CA, and El Cid. Trained by the legendary Hap Hansen, their stellar second-round score of 84 bumped up a 74 first-round to a 158 total for second place honors. Mika Clear, of Oakland, CA., and Gabriel earned a total 156 score, bringing the pair trained by Traci Brooks into third.

The NAL qualifying season runs from September 1 through August 31. NAL qualifying classes are open to all competitors but only current members are awarded points. By joining the NAL, riders can accumulate the points necessary to make it to the West Coast Finals, or National Finals being held this year at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, October 11-20. Annual memberships are only $40 per rider.

The NAL would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2018 Finals: Blenheim EquiSports, The Clothes Horse, EquiFit, the International Jumping Festival, SmartPak, and HorseFlight.

For more information regarding the North American League series please call (717) 867-5643, email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit Follow us on Facebook at Press release provided by North American League.

2018 Draft Horse Classic results
Written by CRM
Monday, 24 September 2018 00:00

32nd Annual Draft Horse Classic Awards Announced

Awards for the 32nd annual Draft Horse Classic, held September 21 – 23 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, have been announced.  Mark Sparrow of Eldora, Iowa judged the Draft Horse classes, which took place during the six performances over the three day event.  Almost 40 draft horse exhibitors – traveling from California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia – competed at the show for nearly $40,000 in premium awards.

The winner of the Ultimate Hitch Award was Rees Family Belgians of Elk, WA. Crystal Newborn of Top Hand Ranch, Elverta, CA, won the Susan Parnell High Point Award.

The Teamster of the Year Award was presented to Nattie Book of Mudslinger Ranch, Durham, CA. The Top Hand Ranch Teamster Award went to Jeff Shinn of Shinn Ranch Percherons, Livermore, CA; and Jeron Schubert of Rees Family Belgians, Elk, WA, won the Youth of the Show award.

More than 800 entries were entered in the Harvest Fair, including wreaths, fresh fruits and vegetables, produce characters, jellies and jams, and baked goods.  In the scarecrow division, the People’s Choice award went to Pamela Roschke.

The Best of Show winner at Art at the Classic, which featured more than 50 artists, was Lynn Maderich for “Early Morning at the Horse Show.” The People’s Choice award went to Shirley Isola for “Winner’s Strut.”

A complete list of 2018 Draft Horse Classic awards, as well as all the Harvest Fair winners, is on the Nevada County Fairgrounds website at

The 2019 Draft Horse Classic is scheduled for September 20 – 22. Tickets will go on sale May 1, 2019.  Visit for more information.

Reader Submission: Darcy Girl
Written by by Jess Rannachan
Monday, 17 September 2018 17:18

by Jess Rannachan

Riding Darcy last week was like giving birth; Agony while it happened, but soon forgotten and ready to have another one.

“Anyone got a safe horse I can ride?” said my ad.  My husband has given up riding, we have sold our horses, but I still had that itch….like clearing your throat, it never completely goes away.  My ad is answered and thus begins my relationship with Darcy Girl, a piebald undiscovered 18 yr old mare. Sherry, Darcy’s owner, a petite old school wild west lady, is an animal lover.  She fosters kittens from the cat protection league, and is carer of two happy, entertained dogs.  Sherry gestures towards the reluctant Darcy, a black and white spotted paint quarter horse.

“Well that’s her…she’s very stubborn”

“Aaah, but what a beauty!”

“I’m sure you have a lot of other responses (to the ad) and completely understand if you’re not interested and want a”

“What’s that?” I point to Darcy. “She looks perfect to me!

Darcy did not seem to want to leave her field, and then, she did not seem to want to walk down the path by the house.

“She just needs LOTS of encouragement!  OK come on DARCY!!  What a CLEVER GIRL!!”  Go Darcy girl!  Wake up Darcy! We are going to start to live!  All this hanging around the field is not life in it’s fullest!

She’s afraid!  She is afraid to go out on her own, she is not used to it after all, horses are herd animals. Next time we ride I sequester my faithful husband to be ‘the friend’.  He knows his role is on foot and also to give treats to the old mare, Kayla, who shares the field.  She is why Darcy is there; as a companion.   Most of the time Sherry comes along too for the first couple of months.  This has an impact on the reluctant Darcy.  She is bolstered.  She sees that predators are not going to attack (mountain lions, pack of coyotes, mystical horse boogie men) with the herd coming along the trail with her.  The herd also sometimes includes Sanji, Sherry’s award winning dog.

Before I mount Darcy I pray.   

“God please to protect my life and give Darcy Shalom, thank you”.   

Finding a new horse, however lovely it all seems, you never know what can be ahead and Sherry had shared that Darcy had been rocking (bucking) coming home with the last trainer.   I am kept safe despite my own mistakes on our rides.   Darcy is really beginning to shine, I see progress and I am in love!  Sherry got her shod.  Did I imagine it but is Darcy walking taller, with some self-esteem?  Sherry says, “Darcy just sat in a field forgotten for the last 18 years.  She was at a breeding facility and didn’t make the grade, so she was ignored…”  I notice Darcy had a slight deforment in her posterior region that I asked Sherry about.  She said Darcy had had a foal but it was a hard labor….my appreciation of this mare that had experienced a hard labor grows.

Darcy has scabs on her hind leg cannon bones and the hair is peeling off.  

“Sherry can I put coconut oil on the scabs, Ian’s horse was cured of something like that under her chin using coconut oil” Next time I visit I bring the coconut oil and scoop a handful up that I rub deep into the scabs and all over the leg bones where the hair is coming off.  There are some lesions also under the saddle that I liberally rub the oil into.

After Darcy gets her shoes we take her further down the path, up the steep bit and across the grassy wooded area.  At first I was leading her and she suddenly had a tantrum, swung round and kicked out her hind leg in a perfect imitation of the Cancan high into the air!  I look at Ian and have misgivings about this Darcy girl…. after all I’m not getting any younger…

Darcy puts down her head and works hard climbing the hill back home.  I am encouraging her by opening the reins as I try and position my body to be lighter on her back.  My heart goes out to her, she is trying so hard.  “Sherry she really is a good horse.  Darcy you are really a GOOD HORSE!!’  She gets lots and lots of pats and gentle scratches on her neck.  She is so relieved to be homeward and could take off, but all the same decides to just be the good girl we told her she was.  This is a lot better than the bucking she did with the last trainer!  The ‘licking and chewing’ she has started to do is very reassuring!!

On trail ride number 10 my heart swells with happiness in the horse.  Her legs look better, but still not cured.  Now we have bought some ‘Equiderm’ to put on the flaking cannon bone crud…. She is still ‘strong’ wanting to barrel home.  Sherry mentions that her back can cause her not to ride Darcy, she remembers another time that she was thrown off a horse.   It comes to me in a flash; “Sherry, lets put a different bit on her.  She is too strong with this snaffle in her mouth and if she really does decide to take off neither you nor I want to be on the couch for a week recovering from trying to hold her!  A kimberwick bit is found pretty much immediately from Sherry’s copious tack room/kitten playroom/garage.  Sherry’s ex husband had lots of horsey stuff and the bit in my mind, is hanging on a hook ready to appropriate for Darcy.  We slowly introduce it to her and after a while Darcy pretty much has EXCELLENT BRAKES.  We heave a sigh of relief!

Darcy is now going out nicely with very few stops or ‘napping’.  We are aiming for her to think hitting the trail is a pleasure!  It has come to me that taking Darcy out is like coming to take your aged Aunt out for a coffee from her nursing home.  We are hoping she will be looking forward to our walks once the aching from unused muscles disperses, and the bit in her mouth becomes normal and the headpiece and noseband start to mould to Darcy’s cute wide eyed open face, with it’s little wisp of a black forelock.

Sherry is riding her down the path “Actually I did not get Darcy to ride, just as a companion for Kayla” (the 30 yr old Arab in the same pasture).  Darcy reacts to the new path she is on, and her head goes up, her body electric and she has a look like she may bolt.   Sherry turns Darcy in a circle to get her to think of what she is doing with her legs instead…. there is an element of the unknown with Darcy.  Sherry says quietly “Shall I get off”  
“Yes Sherry if you are worried”.  Darcy has settled “I think its ok” she says and rides her valiantly for the first time down the slippery dead golden grass that marks July in California.  Darcy does not like the abundant rodent holes but every time she looks worried we simply halt her until she seems ready to go again.

I say to Sherry the circular route from the house is a mistake. This includes the steep slippery slope of wooded pasture where the wild grass is baked during the summer and has become slippery. Poor Darcy was just trying to keep her balance with her four legs, let alone trying to carry a human on her back.  Also this place has many treacherous holes as the gopher moles had made it their habitat.  You do not know where the next hole is.  We take Darcy this way for a while, but she end up with a swollen back fetlock…perhaps a sprain from the trail we did not notice.  We decide she need not go down this trail again until the terrain improves.

Darcy has a shiny coat and even her ‘top line’ is not as hollow as it once was. My heart continues to go out to this sweet mare.  She stands quietly for you to put on the bridle and puts her head down for you to remove it.  She has never once turned to nip or show any concern when tightening the synch under the saddle.  She wants to please.  It is a joy having the visits to see Darcy!

Darcy crosses another hurdle of not napping and needing to be badgered to lead out of the pasture.  She has started to move out of the field without stopping!  Perhaps because it is the summer and we are bringing her the tall corn plants to feed on as a treat…  We are also careful to share with Kayla, the old mare.  What a joy to see Darcy’s legs better and her ‘top line’ building with every ride.  We still have only walked her as I feel she has so many mental and physical things to surmount before real riding and fitness.  I change her from a Western saddle to an English dressage saddle for my back with no ill effects at all from her and thankfully she is not a spooky horse.

My life with Darcy and Sherry has become the highpoint of my week.  Sherry is pleased to have a rider for her pasture horse, who used to terrorize the old mare in her boredom.  But nothing stays the same in life and one day Kayla, the old mare, passes away.

Darcy is not the same.  She is more sensitized on our rides, whinnying.  She wants a friend and is communicating with any horse that will listen.  We visit a neighbor’s arena, and she is reluctant to leave the neighbors horses when we are homeward bound.  The rides are not so fun; I can see she is suffering.  I take her on a long ride to another arena, she stops repeatedly, we have regressed back to square one so it seems.  Sherry and I need to talk.

So Sherry shares with me that now Kayla has gone, and she has had some bad news regarding her back from the Doctor, she thinks she will sell or give Darcy away.  Sherry and I take pride in Darcy.   We admire her shining coat, sweet mellow character and good manners.  Darcy takes me on a last wonderful ride to the arena far away.  She has adjusted to her loss of the old mare Kayla.  What a blessing!  At the arena she trots willingly around and apart from needing some rests going up the steep hill home has certainly made Sherry and myself proud!  She will be a great horse for a beginner rider.  They will learn together.  Darcy will not run off with the new rider and the new rider will have to learn how to get a horse moving.  The new rider will be Darcy’s next phase in getting fit!

Shortly thereafter a long legged svelte young woman called Heather arrives at Sherry’s barn to look at Darcy.  Her face is soft and sensitive.  I like her already.  She is a beginner rider.  I notice she is a little apprehensive.  She rides Darcy with her friend who comes with.  We are excited to learn after Heather has given Darcy two days serious thought, that she wants to take Darcy!  Sherry generously gives Heather a month’s trial and we are set!  Darcy will go to a barn with lots of horse friends.  I feel in my heart that Darcy will be a credit to Sherry, Ian, Sanji and myself.  I am thrilled to have played a part in the making of the mare!  Thank you Jesus!

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