News & Features
February 2018 - The Gallop: Temecula Valley National Horse Show
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:58
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Veteran show jumpers realize their wish list in launch of new hunter/jumper series at Galway Downs this April.

by Kim F. Miller

International show jumper Ali Nilforushan is a go big or go home kind of guy. The 2000 Olympian and 2006 World Cup Finalist has long wanted to elevate the caliber of West Coast competition and he and his wife and fellow pro rider Francie are putting their ideas to action with the inaugural Temecula Valley National Horse Show. The three-week, top USEF rated hunter/jumper series debuts April 17-22, then resumes with back-to-back weeks May 22-June 3, all at Galway Downs in Temecula.

February 2018 - Peter Grant Clinic
Written by by Ginger Freeman
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:46
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Understanding course design is key to horse and rider progression.

by Ginger Freeman

Along with several other riders from Shady Lane Farm, I took a day off from riding to learn from Canadian FEI course designer, Peter Grant, in early December.

Understanding the dynamic and technical aspects of course design is essential to achieve effortless beauty on course. Peter’s in-depth description and hands-on activities about course design gave me a different perspective on show jumping and some helpful hints of what to focus on while practicing at home to achieve success on course.


February 2018 - Les Talents Hermès
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:40
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New equitation class with Paris perk for high scorer and their trainer.

Sonoma Horse Park introduces Les Talents Hermès, a unique equitation competition offering three separate sections: 3’3”, 3’ and Pony. Les Talents Hermès will take place on September 22- 23 at SHP Season Finale. Each section features one round on Saturday and one round and a work-off on Sunday. A welcome dinner and draw for order of go will be hosted in the VIP on Friday, September 21.


January 2018 - The Gallop: Fires Everywhere
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:38
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Fires, heroic efforts and boundless generosity spread with equal speed.

by Kim F. Miller

The scope of December’s fires has been matched by the scope of generosity toward its victims. “We are so inundated with people who are looking to donate,” says Stacy Kendall, founder of the nearly 12,000-member Facebook group, Southern California Equine Emergency Evacuation. “In eight years of doing this group and for the 30 years being a member of this community, I have never experienced anything like it.”


January 2018 - A Horseman at the Helm
Written by by Kim F. Miller • photos by Philip D. Klipa Photography • produced by Alicia Anthony & Julie Conner-Daniels
Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:30
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New year brings a new owner and approach to the newly christened Hansen Dam Horse Park.

by Kim F. Miller • photos by Philip D. Klipa Photography • produced by Alicia Anthony & Julie Conner-Daniels

Hansen Dam Horse Park has many obvious attributes. Thirty-eight acres, ample stabling and arenas and access to the sprawling Hansen Dam Recreation Area are a few of those. Between thriving training businesses, an active Riding School and a full calendar of equestrian competition and special events, there’s always something going on yet it never feels busy or crowded. A sense of peace and space distinguishes the San Fernando Valley facility that is bordered by the San Gabriel and Verdugo mountains.


January 2018 - Horse People: Alex Henry
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 29 December 2017 21:47
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Lost lower leg is a surmountable obstacle for inspiring young rider.

by Kim F. Miller

Warming up for a recent clinic, 15 year old Alex Henry impressed her coach by systematically testing her horse’s responses to her aids. At one point, the coach encouraged more left leg. She applied more pressure with her left thigh and gave extra taps of the whip on that side, where her lower leg would fall if she still had it. Alex lost that to bone cancer two years ago, but she never lost her desire and drive as an equestrian.


January 2018 - USHJA Meeting Rule Change Recap
Written by CRM
Thursday, 28 December 2017 05:52
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United States Hunter Jumper Association concludes by parsing many rule change proposals.

On Dec. 14, the United States Hunter Jumper Association concluded its 2017 Annual Meeting, presented by World Equestrian Center and held Dec. 10-14 in San Antonio, TX, with the final session of the USHJA Board of Directors meeting. The Board of Directors voted on recommendations for 79 rule change proposals, and their recommendations will be considered by the US Equestrian Board of Directors for a final vote during their Annual Meeting in January.


December 2017 - The Gallop: Showtime Basketball Influences Show Jumping
Written by by Alicia Jessop
Friday, 01 December 2017 01:52
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Show Jumping chef d’equipe Robert Ridland gets an assist from Lakers’ prime era.

by Alicia Jessop

Children growing up in Los Angeles in the late 1960s through 1980s had no shortage of sports stars to admire, with Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Magic Johnson suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

What may surprise some, though, is these superstars’ impact on the leadership development of those outside of basketball.

December 2017 - Parade of Champions
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 December 2017 01:12
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Every year we ask questions of a cross-section of stars from various show circuits throughout the year. From the 24 year old winner of the NorCal Senior Medal Finals, Kaitlin Perry, to the 12 year old Greater San Diego Hunter/Jumper Association year-end champ in two divisions, Noah Nelson, these young equestrians reflect a hard work ethic and love of the horse that bodes well for the future.

We asked:
1.    The 3 2017 competitive finishes of which you are most proud.
2.     Top horsemanship lessons and/or progress you’ve made this year.
3.     The most enjoyable non-competitive moment with your horse.
4.     Does your horse have any funny quirks? If so, what are they?
5.     What rider to you most admire and why?
6.     Do you have a favorite horsemanship or horse-related book, movie, video, YouTube channel, website, etc.? If so, what?
7.     What is your biggest riding goal for 2018?
8.     Are there any major changes you would like to see in our sport?

Kaitlin Perry

This 24 year old amateur trains with Kelly Van Vleck in the Sacramento area’s Rancho Murieta. Her horse is the 7 year old Figaro, aka “Figg.”

1. Winning the NorCal Senior Medal Finals; Second place in the first round of the CPHA Foundation 22/over finals; High point rider in the 22/over age group for the CPHA Foundation Equitation Class in the qualifying year.
2. Almost too many to count! Figg and I had many ups and downs this year, but I truly believe he has started coming into his own this past year. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him figure it all out – from learning what work-offs are, how much he loves his turnouts and his obsession with dogs, it has been a blast. I have never worked with a young horse in this capacity, so I feel the biggest horsemanship lesson I’ve learned this year has been how to help him learn without getting in the way. All of our progress is a direct result of the patience, work and time Kelly, Chelsea and the entire Van Vleck team have put into us.
3. Every moment I get to spend with him! He has a huge personality and knows how special he is, so he definitely plays it up. Specifically, he loves to pose for photos – I really think he missed his calling as a model!
4. He’s super smart and will do anything for attention. The main thing he does – and has done since he was imported – is play with his tongue a lot (photo attached for reference!) He does it in the cross ties, his stall, grazing, etc. He also plays it up when he thinks people are watching. He’s a huge ham.
5. Mandy Porter. She grew up competing in Northern California, is an insanely talented rider, is kind and knowledgeable and is a phenomenal horseman. I’m also still obsessed with her retired mare, Summer.
6. Tonya Johnston’s book, Inside Your Ride: Mental Skills for Being Happy and Successful with Your Horse. I really struggled with nerves throughout my junior career and into college when I rode on Texas Christian University’s NCEA equestrian team. I started working with Tonya my freshman year, and she completely transformed my mindset when on a horse. I still struggle with nerves, but with Tonya’s help, I’ve learned to use that energy in a better way by focusing on my horse and how much I want him to do well and enjoy the moment.
7. Since aging out of the junior division, I haven’t really set competitive goals for myself. I go into every class, show and lesson with the same mindset: improve my riding to help Figg be the best possible version of himself. However, taking into account the way he’s been going and how much he has matured this year, I’d love to prepare him for next year’s WCE finals.
8. To continue the emphasis on the hardest working riders in our sport. We’ve seen it recently with blog posts calling for the return of the barn rat or articles highlighting the juniors that worked their way to Maclay finals. I’d love to continue seeing stories of the juniors, amateurs and professionals that focus on their horses, live in the moment and work harder than anyone to accomplish their goals.

Emma Crosbie

This 18 year old hunter/jumper rider trains with Emily Esau’s EE Stables in Rancho Santa Fe. She rides Quadro d’Ag, aka “Douggie/Douglas/Doug,” owned by Theresa Boucher.

1. Sixth in the Hunterdon Cup, 1st ASPCA Maclay Regionals, 9th ASPCA Maclay National Finals.
2. I’ve definitely gotten a lot more confident in trusting my instincts as the year went on.
3. There are so many that it is hard to pick just one. Walking around the Kentucky Horsepark (where the Maclay Finals were held in early November) with Douggie was probably one of the most memorable moments. The scenery was gorgeous and it was so nice to have a quiet moment during a high-pressure situation.
4. It’s funny because Doug doesn’t really care about anything when we are actually performing in the ring. It’s after we’re finished that he sometimes gets a little wild, especially when people clap. He knows that he’s amazing.
5. Mclain Ward and Michael Jung are two of my favorite riders to watch. Mclain is a stylist and he has a great feel. Even though I don’t event, I admire Michael Jung’s style because he has great instincts and he is an expert in multiple disciplines.
6. I absolutely love Practical Horseman Magazine because they include valuable information that I can apply working with horses on a daily basis.
7. I will be on Auburn University’s NCEA Equestrian team, so I will be kept pretty busy with that. When I have the opportunity to show, I would really like to start going into the jumpers.
8. I think that most people’s hearts are in the right place, but I think that more effort should be taken to emphasize the welfare of the horse. I feel that a lot of horses don’t get enough opportunity to just be horses because they are showing every weekend.


Noah Kai Nelson

Noah, a 12 year old hunter/jumper rider trains with his mother, Leslie Pinkerton Nelson, at her Sterling Silver Stables in Santa Ynez. His horses are Rodin, aka “Roy Da Boy;” Louie Louie, aka “Da Louis;” and All About Me, aka “Ri Da Guy” or “Razzles.”

1. One of my top three experiences I am most proud of this year happened at Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association Finals. I was tied for year-end champion in two of my divisions (11 & under Equitation & 12 & under Low Childrens Hunters) going into the finals. During finals, I ended up Champion & Reserve Champion on both of my horses, Rodin and Louie Louie, securing me the Year End Championship Low Childrens Hunter, 11 & under Equitation as well as the Green Rider 12 & under. It felt like a dream.
Another favorite experience was at the Del Mar Horsepark when I rode All About Me in the Open Hunter Derby and placed fourth. That was my highest placing finish in a derby and it was so exciting!
My third proud moment would have to be during the Orange County Horse Show Association Finals at the end of October. I was Champion on Rodin for the Childrens Hunters 13 & under and it was only the second time I had ever shown at 2’9”. I qualified the week before. I also was Champion on Rodin in the Low Childrens Hunters and the 11 & under Open Equitation. We decided to go at the last minute and I’m so happy we did! My proudest moment was Reserve Champion in the Hunter Classic. I was sitting first and second going back for the second round, however made a huge mistake on Louie and a bit of a mistake on Roy and was so happy and proud to win Reserve Champion! My horses were fantastic! I was very happy for the girl who won. She had two very nice rounds. The victory gallop was the best part.
2. I have learned over the year how important it is to spend as much time with my horses as possible. To earn thier trust and respect in order to become the very best partnership possible. It is never just about me, we are working together as a team! At the beginning of the season I moved up to the 2’6” division and it was a little frightening. At my last competition of the year, the OCHSA Finals, I competed in the 2’9” Childrens Hunters. It was such a thrill! I scored an 86 and an 85 to win the class.
3. My most enjoyable non-showing moment happened at home on All About Me. During my lesson my Mom and trainer asked me if I wanted to jump a very large roll top with a flower box on top of it. At first I said “heck no!” then I decided why not? I challenged myself and we sailed over it with ease! The jump itself was 4” and my horse over-jumped it by a good three inches.
4. Ohhh Yes! My horse Rodin has to let out a big whinny either in the beginning of my round or at the end! Past owners and riders have told me he’s always done it. It always makes me smile! I tell him he’s brave and not to worry.
5. This is easy: I have two. My mom, because she is an amazing rider and has taught me most of what I know. Also Sean Leckie, who has recently started schooling me at horse shows. He has helped me better my equitation and my all-around horsemanship. Every time I watch Sean ride I want to be more like him. He is my role model. He is a gifted rider and teacher. He is also very funny!
6.Harry & Snowman: I read the book before I saw the movie and even did my book report for school on it.
7. To win a hunter derby and to qualify for Onondarka Finals.
8. I would love to see Hunters as an Olympic sport.


Katherine “Kate” Mathews

This 14 year old dressage rider trains with Marie Medosi in Rancho Santa Fe. Her horse is Roosevelt, aka “Teddy.”

1. The first of my most treasured 2017 finishes was at The Dressage Affaire at San Juan Capistrano, the fourth time I’d ever shown on Teddy. We’d only gotten Teddy in a lease at the end of 2016, and bought him in February of 2017. That was the show where I got my first 70%! The all-around score was a 68.325%, and the class was a freestyle, but two judges gave me scores in the low 70s, and I was thrilled! Getting your first 70 is really something to remember. I recall crying with joy, too!
Although I am proud of many classes I competed in this year, the second of my favorite finishes was when I got a 77.5% in my freestyle class at the CDS San Diego Chapter Summer Show at Del Mar. I’ve never received a score higher than that one (yet!), and I am extremely proud of how we placed!
My final favorite is being placed as fifth in the nation in the FEI rankings for a while, and ending up as sixth in the nation as of early November! I’ve only been doing Junior Level for a year now, and I jumped up from First level to Third level within that time! To have made so much progress with my team in the time we’ve spent together is amazing. I am so excited for what will come in our next year together!
A bonus favorite is riding in a costume freestyle at the Spooktacular show, where we won first in a class of six with a 72.3%! I rode in a dress as Belle, and Teddy wore a “beast Sleazy” as… well, as the Beast!
2. A big lesson I’ve learned in the past year is gaining my confidence in the saddle. Last year, I had a very difficult horse who would spook with no correlation or sign as to why he did it and when. I was constantly tense and nervous in the saddle because of the spooking, and it took me a while to gain confidence in Teddy and my own riding abilities. As a joint issue of nervousness, I would pull up on the reins and avoid going forward (or even at a decent pace, as my trainer would say!), even if I was in control.
Thankfully, I have close to broken both habits and now am more aware of how I use my body and am much more confident going forward. So much so that now, whenever allowed, I gallop Teddy around the big arena after lessons. I can also walk him around on the ground with a completely loose rein without too much worry. Oh, how far we’ve come!
For my journey, I would love to thank my incredible trainer, Marie Medosi, who has spent so many hours training Teddy and I and making our freestyles. There is plenty more to list, but she has not only been an amazing advocate for me, but an amazing friend, and she is like family! I would also like to thank my Mom, who has always supported me and done everything in her power to make my dreams possible. Nothing would have happened thus far had it to been for her! I would also like to thank Christine Traurig, Guenter Seidel, Robert Dover, Charlotte Bredhal, and George Williams for giving me incredible lessons, and Steffen and Shannon Peters for allowing me the amazing opportunity of training out of their facility! The opportunities I have gotten, thanks to all of you, have gotten me as far as I have today. And we’re just getting started!
3. Gah, there are too many. There is never just a single moment! I would often catch Teddy lying down in the stall, and he trusted me enough to sit down next to him and groom him while he was down. As said above, I also love galloping around on him after lessons to loosen him up. I am nicknamed “Jockey Mathews” by my trainer because of it! My final favorite is being able to walk around, without holding my reins, and having Teddy follow me around.
4. Teddy, in the first half of the year we had him, would always lie down at some point in the day, everyday. I was always lucky when I caught him doing it and would join him! He also has a natural disregard for everything around him, as well as a tendency to passionately bob his head, so those two quirks put together was always a disaster waiting to happen. Every one of us has been hit in the face once by his nose, but no noses broken, thankfully! He really has gotten better about awareness, though.
5. There are many riders that I admire, and have been lucky enough to meet a lot of them, but my inspiration is Charlotte Dujardain. That seems like a given, saying that she has gotten the highest dressage scores in history, but her journey and bond with her horse is incredible! Valegro wasn’t always a desirable horse, and she and Carl worked hard to get him where he is today - at the top! Charlotte is now cleaning up on every horse she rides, and is an incredibly beautiful and effective rider herself. Her journey and where she is today is incredibly inspiring and uplifting.
6. I love Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. It’s such a beautiful, moving book that completely sucks me in when I’m reading it. I completed it while reading perpetually for two days, and enjoyed every second. It’s definitely one of my favorite books in general. I also love The Black Stallion, book and movie, even if I haven’t finished the book yet. Two horse-related movies that I love are Secretariat and Seabiscuit, both legendary racehorses whose mark on horse racing will never be forgotten. Both last race scenes give me goosebumps! And no one can forget the childhood favorite: Spirit, Stallion of The Cimarron. I will always love that movie, and I think most people in my generation do too. We’re all children at heart! The Horse Whisperer is also an incredible film. So moving. And finally, Heartland, the TV show, is one of my favorite horse-related entertainment shows. And the show is still running.
7. My biggest riding goal is to make it onto the 2018 NAJYRC Region 7 Junior Team. I was the alternate this past year, and I hope to be one of the main riders next year. Because I’m ambitious, I really hope to win some golds, and will work as hard as I have to in order to reach my goals.
8. I would love to see younger generations (18 and under, like me) join dressage, because the youngest are truly the future of the sport. If we want this sport to survive, we’ll want a lot of younger people to get involved. The more kids we get in the sport, the bigger dressage will grow. I also know that there are many girls and boys my age, younger and older, who truly do love horses, but never have the opportunity or the support to pursue riding. I believe that there should me more opportunities made in order to help this happen, whether it be scholarships, a free lesson, etc. Even a mentoring program, where riders can sign up to be paired with a professional trainer. I know this is also something that should include other disciplines, even if dressage is my main focus. Even a program to help that someone pursue their dreams in riding. I truly do hope that more kids and teens will become inspired by dressage and want to be a part of, because it is truly an amazing sport, and its beauty and difficulty should be shared. There is so much hard work and grace that goes into this sport, and that makes it all the more beautiful.

December 2017 - Know Your Rights
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 December 2017 00:53
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Lessons learned in 2007 fires could be relevant for equestrians affected by the Northern California fires.

Since the Northern California fires began on October 8, they have burned over 200,000 acres, destroyed more than 7,900 structures, and severely damaged more than 600 others. (California Riding Magazine, October 2017) Of those affected by these tragic fires, many are members of the California equestrian community including horse owners, trainers and boarders.

February 2018 - Wildflower Farm & Fortuna Del Charro
Written by Photos courtesy of Erin Lane Luth and Erin Perryman Photography
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:48
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Excelling under new ownership, two high-end stables create their own “happy place” for horses and riders.

Photos courtesy of Erin Lane Luth and Erin Perryman Photography

Olympian Guenter Seidel’s relocation to Wildflower Farm in Encinitas is not the only hot development at the first-class training and boarding facility; since purchasing the already beautiful eight-acre property a year ago, Alan Smith has implemented physical upgrades and inspired attitude adjustments that almost seemed too good to be true when he first spoke of them.


February 2018 - Lessons From The Fire
Written by by Susan Friend LeTourneur
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:41
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Veteran trainer shares preparation, evacuation & shelter-in-place strategies.

by Susan Friend LeTourneur

It is inevitable. If you live in the foothills or mountains in Southern California, at one time or another, you will be faced with fire. One can only hope it is not on a windy night and you have plenty of time to implement your evacuation plan. We have a good one (see below for more details).


February 2018 - Share Your Opinion!
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:38
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American Horse Publications launches fourth Equine Industry Survey, sponsored by Zoetis.

American Horse Publications (AHP) launched its fourth Equine Industry Survey at Horse owners who live in the United States, are 18 years of age and older, and who currently own or manage at least one horse are invited to complete the survey by April 1, 2018.

January 2018 - Making Miracles
Written by by Brooke Goddard
Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:35
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The equestrian community came together and saved horses during the Creek Fire.

by Brooke Goddard

Gail Thackray was jolted awake by a big flash of light Tuesday, December 5. It was her mother, who lives with her in the Los Angeles area’s Lake View Terrace, calling from her cell phone from the adjacent house. Their ranch was on fire, and they had to quickly decide what to take with them – photos, records or pets.


January 2018 - Horse People: Nick Onoda
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:27
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A classical advocate joins Arroyo Del Mar.

by Kim F. Miller

Nick Onoda is the newest sport scientist to join what has become a dressage laboratory at Steffen and Shannon Peters’ Arroyo Del Mar training facility in Del Mar. Nick brings his emphasis on classical dressage as it applies to training that’s tailored to each horse’s nature and physiology.


January 2018 - Area VI Year End Winners
Written by CRM
Friday, 29 December 2017 21:35
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Local eventers celebrate accomplishments while welcoming fellow riders from across the country.

With Chairman Chris Scarlett at the helm, Area VI did a terrific job welcoming those in town for the US Eventing Association’s annual meeting, Dec. 6-10 in Long Beach. The gathering featured four days of education, sports advocacy and governance sessions relevant to riders, officials and enthusiasts throughout the country. On Friday, Area VI-ers gathered for their annual awards presentation.


January 2018 - Kicking On…
Written by CRM
Thursday, 28 December 2017 05:48
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US Eventing Annual Meeting & Convention a big hit in Long Beach.

Carol Kozlowski called to order the final Board of Governors meeting that concluded the 2017 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention on Sunday morning, Dec. 10, in Long Beach. “[Convention] seems to have evolved into a very positive experience this weekend. To be able to gather and to keep the momentum going forward in a cohesive fashion, we’re lucky have such good people in the places that we have them in this sport, and I appreciate everyone here and what you all do to make decisions [for our sport].”

December 2017 - Wild Horses Tame Hearts
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Friday, 01 December 2017 01:46
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Adopting a living symbol of America’s history enables equestrians to do well while doing good.

by Kim F. Miller

Amy Dumas has drunk the Kool-Aid. Currently the manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro program in California, the lifelong horsewoman first worked with a wild Mustang in 1994. Today, she has four Mustangs and two burros and she wouldn’t trade them for the world. Trained to ride hunter/jumpers, Amy now does just about everything with her Mustangs on her personal time—trail riding, cowboy dressage, cattle work, etc. It’s the perfect background for her professional work promoting the suitability of these horses for almost any purpose.

December 2017 - West Coast Dressage Convention
Written by CRM
Friday, 01 December 2017 01:08
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Edward Gal, left, and Hans Peter Minderhoud.

International stars Edward Gal & Hans Peter Minderhoud headline educational April event, along with Monty Roberts.

West Coast passion for high level dressage and young horse training will find fulfillment next spring when international stars Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud step into the arena at the beautiful El Campeon Farms in the Los Angeles area’s Thousand Oaks on April 21-22, 2018.

December 2017 - Walking & Watching
Written by by Ginger Freeman
Friday, 01 December 2017 00:51
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Riding isn’t the only way to learn how to tackle a Grand Prix track.

by Ginger Freeman

Watching a Grand Prix is always exciting, but understanding how to create a plan for the course is particularly energizing. With a total of 22 entries, the $35,000 CWD Wine Country Grand Prix was a fast-paced spectacle on November 4 at the Paso Robles Horse Park. There was rain off and on all weekend and with rain clouds looming dark in the sky, I walked the course with my two trainers, Matt and Lindsay Archer, who are both veteran Grand Prix riders. My trainer, Lindsay Archer, would be competing on the careful and quick mare, Enita, (owned by Rhys Farms), while Matt would help her with strategy and warming up.

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