February 2015 - Flying Changes
Written by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 02:57

Flying Changes

Maggie Helphrey, daughter Christina and granddaughters Danica and Charlotte.

Margaret “Maggie” Lake, DVM

Long-time horse owner and exhibitor Maggie Lake Helphrey passed away suddenly, in early January, of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 70. A long time Quarter Horse owner, she got into hunters in the late 80s, riding with several trainers in Southern California. Besides running the veterinary practice with her husband Marvin Helphrey, she was an active tennis player as well as an accomplished violinist.

An inquisitive mind made her an excellent vet as she wouldn’t give up on a diagnosis until she had her answer, reports trainer and friend Nancy Reed. Always pleasant and helpful, Maggie will be missed.

She is survived by her husband Marvin, daughter Christina, son David and her two grandchildren as well as the entire staff at Rancho Village Veterinary Hospital, a small animal practice in San Diego County’s La Mesa.


Dorothy Miller

Grand Prix rider and trainer Susan Artes posted this tribute to her first trainer, Dorothy Miller, on Facebook. Dorothy passed away in early December.

“I am extremely saddened to learn of the death of my childhood trainer and mentor. Dorothy and her husband Tom operated the Via Verde Equestrian Center in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.

“To say she was extraordinary would be an understatement. She ran a tight ship, adhering steadfastly to the George Morris’ system. That was during the day. At night she taught bible study. Friday nights were for us kids, and I think she did one morning for adults. She gave me all the basics I needed to become a successful rider, coach and human being.

“I was kind of a lost soul when I was 9, having already lost my father to cancer. I was too shy to speak much. She nurtured me in the oddest of ways: I got kicked out of lessons because I was too shy to answer questions in my lessons! Dorothy was selfless and had no ego, so when I began progressing to the point she thought I needed more than she could give, she pushed me toward success with other trainers.

She always allowed it to be fun...she let us 11-year-olds camp out in the barn some nights, scared to death of the howling coyotes. She pretended not to notice when we hijacked the golf cart and terrorized the property. She let us ride bareback in the rain, all day.

She also took us to retirement homes to sing to the patients there while she played the autoharp. To this day I’ve never seen another one of those things!

I will always be thankful of the time she spent with me, teaching me so much more than horsemanship. What a lucky kid I was!


Paso Robles Gets NorCal Nod

Paso Robles Horse Park competitions will be recognized by NorCal Hunter/Jumper Association in the coming season. The brand new, 67-acre equestrian show place will open at the end of May with the Central California Memorial Day Classic, May 20-24.

“We are very pleased with the decision,” says Dale Harvey of West Palms Events. “This decision will give the NorCal members more opportunities to earn points towards coveted NorCal year-end awards.”

Cindi Perez, President of NorCal Hunter/Jumper Association, adds, “Overwhelmingly, the input we received was in favor of approving the shows. I believe all of us on the NorCal Hunter/Jumper Board want to do what is best for our members.”

The shows will offer a full list of classes from the very beginning short stirrup divisions, on up through Grand Prix. The facility will open with four arenas, including two state-of-the-art grass fields. The setting is nestled among the Central California rolling hills and oak trees.


Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, marriages, new management and barn moves. Please send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!