October 2021 - IEHJA Meets the Challenge
Written by by Patti Schooley
Tuesday, 28 September 2021 02:51
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Nominates Seven to Compete at the USHJA National Championships in Las Vegas

by Patti Schooley

USHJA has upped the challenge to its affiliate organizations by adding both Under Saddle and Jumper sections to its National Championship Show’s class offerings. This is in addition to the 2’0 and 2’6” hunter section previously offered. By expanding affiliate sections USHJA is “offering more accessibility to a broader set of members than any other national final or championship.”


The “challenge” for the nine affiliate members in Zone 10 (California and Nevada) has been creating a criterion to select nominees. Each affiliate organization was charged with creating its own selection  process with the first nominee in each section guaranteed a slot. The second and third section nominees compete against all regions for their spot. The IEHJA Board of Directors took the nomination process seriously by developing a fair and unbiased evaluation criterion. Members were solicited to submit applications on a form created by the board of directors and accompany it with a letter of recommendation from their trainer. A formal review process of all eleven submittals resulted in nine selected for referral to USHJA. The latter is responsible for the final selection of competitors for each affiliate section.

IEHJA is proud to recognize its nominated competitors:

Khloe Valderas, 2’.0 hunters and 14 & under equitation
Khloe and her horse June ride at Joy Farms in Norco CA. with trainer Nicole Lear-Helms. Khloe started out riding “naughty” ponies that taught her the basics of equitation and jumping and gave her the skills to move up to June. Khloe describes June as the best horse ever and provides her the opportunity to compete at the 2’.0 level. In addition to her amazing riding skills Khloe always has a smile on her face, is the first to offer help and cares for all her barn mates and their horses. Khloe has a large support team in her family. Her 2021 riding goals include “keep pushing forward, move up in the divisions, ride more and worry less.” A great philosophy for a 14 and under rider who, according to her trainer works hard and is determined to advance.

Carly Hareld, 2’6” Jumpers
Carly and her horse Spyder ride with Buffy Lake at Creek Hallow Ranch in Ramon CA. Carly has ridden with Buffy Lake for the last four years as a working student. According to her trainer, Carly is willing to ride any horse and is an attentive student. She reads articles and outside sources for better understanding what she is taught and is willing to ask questions about a specific skill or caring for a horse. When her horse came down with a virus Carly learned how to care for it, taking his temperature, counting his respiration and heart rate, checking for inflammation in his legs, and giving the right medication dosage. When Spyder lost weight due to his illness she researched various feeds and supplements that were natural and not a “bunch of chemicals going into his body.” Due to her horses’ illness and long period of recovery Carly worked hard on bringing him back on the muscle and her technical riding. This experience taught Carly you can always chase points, but nothing is more important than your horse’s health. She also feels that there is no better feeling than succeeding at something difficult. Two great life skills to guide this young equestrian.

Harlow Horstman, 2’.0 hunters and 14 & under equitation
Harlow and her Grey’s Anatomy ride in Norco with Nicole Lear-Helms. She purchased Grey, an off the track Thoroughbred, in September 2020 after her previous horse became unfit to compete. Grey raced until he was eight and came to Harlow with many quirks and challenges. According to her trainer Harlow and Grey connected right away and through hard work have resolved many of the challenges. One of Harlow’s many strengths is she never gives up and does the work to improve her riding skills. She has great sportsmanship skills and is always there to help around the barn. Harlow works at the summer camps held at Joy Farms and helps the “little” kids with basic horsemanship. It reminds her of where she started and how much love she has for this sport. Judging by the time she spends at the barn riding and helping others, smiling, and joking through the trials and tribulations of horse ownership you know that she has found her love. Harlow has said it best, “understanding my horse and his needs has made us a great team.” All riders should take that to heart.

Jocelyne Reiche, 15-17 equitation and 2’6” hunters
Jocelyne and her mount Crystal Image ride at Showcase Training Stables under the guidance of trainer Gretchen Clark and assistant trainer Jessica Abbott Clark. Jocelyne has ridden at Showcase for many years and worked hard to improve her equestrian skills. She competes regularly at IEHJA sanctioned shows and enjoys competing with her barn friends. Her 2021 show goals include becoming a stronger leader, advancing her skills, compete in an upward trajectory and hopefully win division championship at the IEHJA yearend horse show. Perseverance is her is her mantra when faced with challenges.  Jocelyne believes in excellence in all aspects of her life. She is a straight A student and is on her high school honor role. For Jocelyne perseverance, hard work and excellence are her guiding principles.

Audrey De Tavis, 2’.0 hunters and 14 & under equitation
Audrey and her medium pony Shooting Star are another rider from Joy Farms and Trainer Nicole Lear-Helms. Audrey and Star became partners in 2020 and had to work through those “pony moments” to become a great team. Audrey’s trainer calls her the toughest little cowgirl she knows, which is especially notable since she comes from a non-equestrian family. However, she does have four brothers and that probably accounts for her toughness. Her mom calls her focused and determined and wants to “go all the way” in the horse show world. She competed at the Desert Horse Park International Show in March 2021 to see what the A circuit was like!  Watch out Las Vegas, a whirlwind in flying pigtails astride a white pony is headed your way.

Masha Tafoya, .80 jumpers and .90 jumpers
Masha and her horse Strawberry Wine have become great partners under the tutelage of trainer Gretchen Clark and assistant trainer Jessica Abbott Clark of Showcase Training Stables. It’s been a three-year journey of learning “how to work with my horse instead of against her.” Strawberry Wine responds best to guidance as opposed to demand and now trusts Masha to guide her through the jump course. Masha has worked hard on “getting out of her head” while riding and not micromanaging her horses every move. Like most riders Masha wants to flow with the horse and trust the ride she is having. Masha’s enthusiasm for jumping is well known to her barn mates and other IEHJA competitors. One of Masha’s personal goals is to expand the number of jumper riders competing in IEHJA sanctioned shows. Strawberry Wine is not a Warmblood or Thoroughbred but a red roan mustang that has lots of heart and is ready to move up to the 1.0 meters. Strawberry Wine proves the point that any breed or size of horse can become a successful jumper given its inborn talent, proper training, and the rider’s desire to put in the time and work necessary! Las Vegas get ready for this small  but mighty combo!

Chloe Welker, .70 Jumpers
Chloe and her horse Dibriooka  ride with trainer Hope Davis at Camino Real Farms in Temecula. Chloe has been riding with Hope for five years and is recognized as a valuable member of her barn. Other adjectives associated with Chloe include punctual, dedicated and team player.  Chloe has a willingness to learn and work hard. One of her focuses in 2021 has been on groundwork which has helped to build her confidence and form a closer bond with her horse. This has transitioned to her performance in the show ring as both horse and rider are better attuned. Chloe’s 2021 competitive goals include riding in more medal and equitation classes and moving up to the .90s jumping division. Competing at the USHJA Championship Show would be a great experience and a forum to use all the skills acquired this year.

IEHJA wishes all our nominees’ good luck and hope that all are selected to participate at Las Vegas. For information on final selections please contact the USHJA website.