News & Features
February 2020 - Editor's Notes
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 01 February 2020 22:45
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What a treat to have a stellar sire, Olympic Imothep, on our cover and ridden by California girl Nicki Shahanian-Simpson. It’s awesome to have an American breeding program bring such wonderful European bloodlines to the States. Imothep is the foundation sire for Hyperion Stud, LLC. Hope you enjoy the feature article on this great breeding program, along with several articles on everything from specific stallions to an overview of modern breeding practices.


This month’s extra dive into the hunter/jumper world is highlighted by a preview of the FEI World Cup™ Finals for jumping and dressage, coming to Las Vegas before we know it this April. Thanks to Darby Furth Bonomi for a terrific glimpse of how tapping into the joy of our sport is the best route to success, and to Whitethorne Ranch’s Georgy Maskrey-Segesman for sharing horse shopping tips. We have the scoop on Ashlee and Steve Bond’s clinic at Hansen Dam Horse Park and the well-earned honors junior rider Julia Stone and professional Nick Haness received during the USEF Annual Meeting’s Pegasus Awards dinner.


photo courtesy of Tamie Smith

Our team managed to cover a lot of ground in January. You’ll find an extensive report on the California Dressage Society’s annual meeting from Nan Meek; plus photo highlights from the CPHA Awards Banquet, EquestFest and the Galway Downs Fundraising Clinic. Phew…

Now to work on our March issue, which has a special focus on horse health and eventing. Speaking of the latter, fun to see California-based stars Tamie Smith and Frankie Thieriot-Stutes representing their sport to new audiences as guests at Land Rover’s new 4xFar Festival in Coachella. As Sally Spickard reported for Eventing Nation, Tamie and Frankie – with Chatwin and Mai Stein – represented US Equestrian, making new fans for the sport riding around the grounds at the Empire Grand Oasis and greeting fans who visited in the FEI-Stabling set-up there.

Happy riding and happy reading!

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She loves to be groomed and has a sweet personality. Gorgeous girl for the right person. Adoption fee is $500.

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January 2020 - The Gallop: SafeSport
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:55
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Presentation at USHJA Annual Meeting addresses questions about a process widely supported in theory but hotly debated in its execution.

by Kim F. Miller

A standing-room-only presentation on SafeSport during the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s annual meeting has returned the subject to top talking point in many circles. The presentation was given by the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Michael Henry, chief officer for response and resolution.

USHJA president Mary Babick set the stage for Henry’s presentation in a letter to members before the meeting: “As an organization, the USHJA is committed to safety and fairness for our members. Our sport produces many positives for our participants. Horses bring horsemanship, sportsmanship, empathy and teamwork into our lives. But let’s face it, whether it is the treatment of horses or people, we also have dark corners of the sport. As a sport and a community, we can and should be better.


“As equestrians it is our duty to work to make our sport strong and healthy. It is time to step up and no longer tolerate inappropriate behavior and to emerge as a safer and altogether more positive environment for our people and our horses. We should have zero tolerance for cruelty and abuse whether of horses or humans. Victim shaming and blaming is never acceptable.


“In the wake of the U.S. Center for SafeSport ban of George Morris, on Monday, November 25 the USHJA Board of Directors voted to re-name the Hunterdon Cup and remove the George H. Morris trophy from the International Hunter Derby. 

“The USHJA supports the mission of SafeSport. Our support does not make us deaf to the questions raised by many members concerning some of the processes utilized by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.”

A Razor-Thin Balance

The two-hour-plus presentation during the Annual Meeting in Denver included detailed explanations of what happens when a claim is filed, how an investigation proceeds, why and when restrictions are placed on “respondents” and background on SafeSport’s formation.

Dispelling the notion that any step in the process involved “willy nilly” decisions was a key message, as was explaining that SafeSport walks a razor’s edge between protecting the rights, reputations and livelihoods of claimants and respondents and mitigating the risk of ongoing harm to others.

The entire presentation can be viewed at This reporter recommends the talk to everyone in our sport. As Henry explained, everyone who “meaningfully participates” in a sport that’s part of the “Olympic movement” is subject to SafeSport regulations, per the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017.

That includes trainers, exhibitors, volunteers, etc. SafeSport’s mission is two-fold: to prevent abuse and misconduct through education and training; and to provide accountability through its investigation and sanctioning process. The Center is an independent non-profit with jurisdiction over all sports within the U.S. Olympic and Para Olympic movement.

The presentation was dense with information that exceeds available space. A few highlights:

Reporting: “We can only investigate when we get a report,” said Henry. “We don’t cull the internet looking for misconduct.” Reports come primarily through website submissions at These range from a stated allegation – sometimes anonymous – to allegations accompanied by uploadable documents that support the claim: emails and audio files, for example. “It’s a way for people to raise an alarm that something needs to be looked at. Many times, these are third party reports.”

Investigations: Initial intake and preliminary inquiry determining the veracity of claim begin the process. SafeSport’s investigative team consists of people with backgrounds in law, law enforcement, social work, child protective services and other relevant fields. With or without the claimant’s input beyond the initial claim,  SafeSport investigators attempt to corroborate their statements in various ways. Claimants often suggest others who can speak on the subject. Nobody is forced to cooperate with the inquiry, including the claimant.

“We don’t take every case and move it through to formal investigation and adjudication,” Henry explained. If there is not sufficient evidence to initiate a formal investigation, the case is filed as “administratively closed.” Occasionally, information received later triggers the re-opening of such cases.

In most cases, the alleged perpetrator is not notified of claims until there is sufficient evidence to initiate a formal investigation. Exceptions do arise if an “articulatable risk” is determined. In such cases, temporary measures can be implemented, but those are rare.

“Most people don’t know what’s going on with the thousands of cases we are working on,” he said. “The process is designed to be confidential. We don’t want the kind of world where, in order to have these circumstances addressed, you have to be suddenly out in the open. That said, we can’t go forward until the people alleged of violations are informed of the investigation and given a chance to respond. You’ll receive notice when we are to a point that you need to know what you’ve been accused of.”

Informing the respondents before this point would jeopardize the credibility of their answers, Henry said. The process prevents their response being influenced “by knowing the narrative in advance.”

Henry stressed that the SafeSport team is acutely aware the impact of allegations on the recipient’s life, family, career, reputations, etc., and that temporary restrictions are only made when it is determined others might be at risk. “That was precisely the issue with Larry Nassar,” Henry said, referring to the former U.S. Gymnastics team doctor who was convicted as a serial child molester. “Are you exposing others to risk by not telling anyone?”

“Most people do not want to come to terms with this stuff happening more often than most people think,” Henry continued. “Every week, we get some allegation of child sexual abuse, sometimes multiple allegations.”

Quantity & Outcome of Cases: SafeSport receives about 230 reports a month. Since its creation in 2017, it has dealt with approximately 4,600 reports that manifested in 4,000 cases. Of those, 2,800 have been investigated and resolved. Eight hundred of those were determined to involve violations of the SafeSport code and led to sanctions. Sanctions ranged from formal warnings to permanent ineligibility to participate in their sport or another sport within the Olympic movement. This latter, most severe category is often defined on the SafeSport website as “sexual conduct with minors.” That indicates, Henry said, egregious forms of abuse that are not detailed in order to protect victims’ privacy. “Respondents” are told the names of their accusers during the formal investigation, but victims’ names are not made public by SafeSport at any time. Claimants sometimes make allegations known to the public of their own accord.

All SafeSport decisions are open to arbitration from an “independent, neutral” arbitrator, and SafeSport can help with costs for those who can’t afford the process. Of the 800 decisions, “less than 1 percent” have been overturned by arbitration, Henry stated. The Center also has an ombudsman available to help all parties understand and navigate the investigation process.

Reports are currently investigated by a fulltime staff of 20, each of whom handles approximately 20 cases. An increase to a 40-person staff is expected by the end of this year.

False Allegations: During a Q&A session, Henry acknowledged widespread fears of false allegations. He confirmed that, if the testimony of a claimant or witness could be proven false,  SafeSport treats those as a sanctionable offense, triggering an independent case.  He acknowledged the reality that any claim that becomes public has the effect of a guilty verdict, even if the respondent is deemed innocent. Henry reiterated that this risk is carefully weighed against the risk of further harm and of not holding the guilty accountable for their actions.

Old Cases: An attendee asked about cases involving older people for abuses that occurred long ago, and those in which there was no evidence of the person being a current risk. Henry acknowledged that those were more difficult cases to investigate. The reality that victims of any time are typically not thinking of how to explain the events as they occur is worse in older cases.

“In allegations from years prior, we look at are there still actual risks, or are there enough mitigating factors?” As for evidence, he noted, “Even with allegations that are decades old, we still often have some physical or documentary evidence.” Microfiche documents showing both parties being in the same place many years ago are one example of possible corroborating evidence.

The bottom line is, “We always hold ourselves to the evidence,” he stated. When cases are mostly based on testimonies, “we have to weigh it very carefully.” That process is made harder when people chose not to participate in the investigation process.

Learn More
U.S. Center for SafeSport:
Athletes for Equity In Sport:
United Athletes Alliance:

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

January 2020 - Happy National Day Of The Horse in Huntington Beach
Written by photos by Kim F. Miller
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:03
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photos by Kim F. Miller

Various programs based at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center welcomed community members to enjoy National Day Of The Horse on Saturday, Dec. 14. Staged at the multi-faceted public boarding and training facility in Huntington Beach, the day included jumping and therapeutic riding demos, vaulting, parades of breeds and opportunities to meet, pose and interact with horses. A concurrent holiday boutique raised funds for the Free Rein Horses Helping Humans program. Its mission is “to heal humans and rescued horses by creating a bond that empowers and nurtures both.” Visit for more information.



Free Rein Foundation’s Justine Makoff, left, and Tracy Burroughs.

Michele & Frisco make friends.

Patient Reindeer.

Making friends.

Marcia Salans & Lance.

Cowboy on the run.

Santa & friend.

Free Rein’s Kissing Booth offered hugs and kisses from favorite program steeds.

Parade of Breeds.

Windsong Farm trainer Tracy Burroughs and Grand Prix rider Michelle Kerivan during their jumping demo.

Therapeutic Riding Center of HB star

January 2020 - Winning Ways
Written by photos: USEA/Leslie Mintz
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 21:49
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West Coasters are stars at USEA Awards Banquet in Boston.

photos: USEA/Leslie Mintz

Every year the eventing community comes together to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of its members at the United States Eventing Association Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The gathering was held in Boston in mid-December.


Led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wofford, the awards ceremony is one of the most anticipated events of the Convention and gives eventers the opportunity to celebrate their successes with their family and friends. The West Coast was well-represented in various awards categories, plus several received generous grants to put toward their competitive goals.

Dr. Jennifer Miller

Whitney Tucker-Billeter, right.

The evening’s presentation began with the USEA Classic Series drawing sponsored by DG Stackhouse and Ellis Saddles. USEA President Max Corcoran and Lesley Ellis presented the prize to the winner of the drawing, Dr. Jennifer Miller (Cave Creek, Arizona). Miller was awarded a custom fitted Stackhouse and Ellis saddle.

As the title sponsor of the USEA Classic Series, Hylofit generously provided Hylofit heart rate monitor systems to the lowest-scoring winners from each of the USEA Classic Series events. Whitney Tucker-Billeter of Temecula and Anna Hallberg of San Diego and Eileen Morgenthaler of Portola Valley were West Coast recipients.


Tamie Smith & Mia Farley

Meg Pellegrini

Tamra Smith, a RevitaVet sponsored rider, presented the Linda Moore Trophy to the 2019 RevitaVet USEA Young Rider of the Year Mia Farley (San Juan Capistrano). Farley received a check for $1,000 and a RevitaVet system.

The 2019 SmartPak USEA Stallion of the Year, presented with The Windfall Trophy, $1,000, and an embroidered show cooler provided by SmartPak, was Cassio’s Picasso (E.H. Hirtentanz x Cassio Pia), a 7-year-old Trakehner stallion owned by The Picasso Syndicate and ridden by James Alliston.

Broussard family

The Theodore O’Connor Trophy, $1,000, and an embroidered show cooler was awarded to the 2019 SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year, Ganymede (Ballywhim An Luan x Court Hawk), a 16-year-old Connemara mare owned and ridden by Meg Pellegrini.

Carol Kozlowski presented the USEA President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to The Broussard Family (Kalispell, Montana).

Former USEA President Diane Pitts presented the USEA Foundation Grants. The $10,000 Essex Grant was awarded to Mia Farley.

Sara Mittleider

The Wilton Fair Grant is donated by David and Cheryl Lenaburg with the goal of supporting U.S. developing riders. The Fund allows up to $100,000 in grants to be given each year for a variety of educational opportunities for riders 29 and under who have not yet ridden for a senior team. Two Wilton Fair Grants were presented this year. Two grants were presented and Californian Charlotte Babbitt of South Lake Tahoe was one of the recipients.

The Mike Huber Award was presented by Diane Pitts to Derek and Bea di Grazia.

Andrea Baxter

Sarah and Rebecca Broussard and Lou Leslie presented Sara Mittleider (Kuna, Idaho) with the $10,000 Rebecca Broussard National Developing Rider Grant and Andrea Baxter (Paso Robles, California) with the $50,000 Rebecca Broussard International Developing Rider Grant.

Article excerpted from USEA press release.

January 2020 - Earl Warren Showgrounds
Written by by Joshua Molina - reprinted compliments of
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:12
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Renovations ahead for vintage Santa Barbara venue.

by Joshua Molina - reprinted compliments of

The Earl Warren Showgrounds board of directors on Thursday, Dec. 12, voted 8-0 to approve an equestrian facilities renovation plan that could bring world-class shows, competitions and events to Santa Barbara.

“It will not only improve the equestrian facilities, but it is going to improve the showgrounds as a whole,” said Ben Sprague, CEO of the Earl Warren Showgrounds.


Geophysicist and horse rider Karen Christensen led a group representing several hundred community members interested in bringing the equestrian facilities into the modern era. Christensen is also working with the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance & Evac Team, a nonprofit organization that assists with large animal rescues during emergencies and disasters. 


The group plans to raise between $600,000 and $750,000 to fund a variety of changes for the first phase. Sprague said the showgrounds has four arenas, but they are in a state of disrepair. The plan, he said, is to combine two arenas into a larger facility, improving the footings, repair three of the horse barns, remove three other barns and create a lunging area for events. A new sound system also would be installed.

“It would begin the process of replacing the facility,” said Mike Medel, board president for the showgrounds. “It’s fixing up the basics so we can draw more of the horse shows. It also doesn’t jeopardize our vision of being a multiuse center.”

The showgrounds have been struggling financially for several years, but the facility has been turning around financially since the hiring of Sprague, who took over early last year. Sprague told Noozhawk that the projected end-of-year budget is stronger than initially anticipated by 10 percent. Sprague recently secured $300,000 from the state of California in debt relief. In April, the facility had to take out a line of credit to cover payroll and operating costs.

He said there’s been a “false narrative” in the community about the showgrounds.

“We have made a lot of progress in a year,” Sprague said. “A lot of positive stuff has happened this year.”

Sprague said the facility might still need to take out a loan in the new year.

“We are not out of the woods, but we made a lot of progress in the last year,” Sprague said.

Christensen said she is thrilled with what lies ahead. Madison Square Garden in New York; Devon, PA, and the Earl Warren Showgrounds used to be the nation’s top three horse facility destinations. She said she is optimistic that those days will return, adding that everybody from various horse disciplines, such as english, rodeo, western and driving, are part of this “collaborative effort.”

“This is a fantastic turning point,” Christensen told Noozhawk. “Earl Warren has lost its glamour, but we think we will have a horse show circuit and it will bring a lot of income to Santa Barbara. We are trying to rebuild it so that it is more multi-use, so the arenas that we are building can be used for movie nights, car shows, 4-H and car shows.”

The work is expected to be completed by April 15, Christensen said.

“Earl Warren is run by a group of volunteers,” she said. “It is owned by the state, and it has no money. Asking them to go fix it was never going to be the answer. The real idea was, as a horse community, understand what their needs are, how to work with them and develop the funding they needed.”

December 2019 - The Gallop: Prison Program Prepares Grooms
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Sunday, 01 December 2019 10:01
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Determined horsewoman fulfills dream to have horses help people in yet another way.

by Kim F. Miller

Transcendent moments grace Heidi Richards’ life with horses, but none quite compare to the sight of Pleasant Valley State Prison inmates interacting with horses as her students in a new program that prepares them for careers caring for horses after their release. A version of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Vocational Training Program, the Pleasant Valley endeavor had its grand opening in the San Joaquin Valley’s Coalinga in October.  It’s a joint venture between TRF, West Hills College, Harris Ranch and the prison, but it’s Heidi who had the vision and saw it through five years to fruition.


“There are days when I drive to work and I can’t believe it actually happened,” she acknowledges.

The Pleasant Valley Equine Rehab Program is the first California manifestation of TRF’s Second Chances program. It provides vocational training for incarcerated men. During a rigorous 18-week training program, inmates learn anatomy, injury treatment, nutrition and other aspects of care. After their release from prison, graduates of the TRF Second Chances Program in other states have gone on to careers as farriers, veterinary assistants and caretakers.

In Coalinga, the curriculum is sanctioned by West Hill College, which offers Equine Science classes and degrees. It includes natural horsemanship-based desensitization methods, learning to tack up a horse for various disciplines and basic farrier work to safely trim a hoof after a lost shoe or other minor incident.     

In keeping with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s mission, the program also helps horses. At Pleasant Valley, two 12-year-old horses now have careers as “instructors” helping the inmates learn to care for them. Two young horses belong to Harris Ranch and will rehabilitate from injuries with the students’ help, then go on to other careers. A third young horse will join the program soon, meeting the total of five horses for which the program is designed and funded by a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Innovative Programming Grant. A hoped-for later phase is hiring a trainer to take the young horses after they’re rehabbed to provide the training foundation needed to increase their second-career options.

The courses occur in the fall and spring semesters, with 15 students each for a total of 30 expected to be certified each academic year. Candidates must apply and are carefully screened. They all reside in the prison’s Level 1 minimum security facility and are interviewed by Heidi, the West Hills College Farm director and a psychologist. “We are very careful to pick people who have the kind of personality needed to work with horses,” Heidi explains. In its inaugural run, 67 people applied for the 15 available spots. Most are very close to earning parole. The few with more time to serve will continue working with the horses as assistant instructors.
“Wow!” Moments

Midway through its first semester, the equestrian program has already created many “Wow!” moments, Heidi says. While working with a horse in the facility’s round pen, one student had a moment of true connection with the horse, including the horse starting to follow him around the pen. “He told me it was the best feeling he’d had in eight years,” Heidi relays. Another had already lined up a stable job, with help from his wife. After the Oct. 16 ceremony christening the program, several participants expressed deep appreciation.

It’s already obvious to Heidi that horses positively affect people inside the prison’s walls as much as they do the people outside them. “The TRF Second Chances began as a vocational program,” corroborates Second Chance’s website. “It wasn’t long before other benefits of the program were realized; inmates not only learned a viable skill but also gained confidence and a sense of empathy. Studies have shown a reduction in recidivism rates at facilities that host the program.”

Participants’ enthusiasm is conveyed in daily actions, starting well before there were any horses on the property. The horses live in 24’ by 24’ stalls, with 6’ high walls and shade covers. Along with the round pen, there are wash racks and an arena, all built by the inmates in the program.

A Horse Helper

Supporters include Harris Farms’ John Harris, right

Heidi with future horse care professionals.

Heidi Richards

Despite Heidi’s occasional disbelief that the multi-faceted project came together, the accomplishment is the latest – and biggest – in a life dedicated to helping horses. “I’ve been rescuing horses since – oh gosh – since I can remember,” Heidi laughs. “I started rescuing them from auctions and from people who weren’t able to take care of them. I made sure they had good homes and I always tried to find people, like 4-H or Future Farmers of America, who maybe couldn’t purchase a horse but could take care of one.” Some of these included wild Mustangs she started while in high school.

After earning an Associate’s degree in Equine Science from West Hills College, Heidi went to work for Harris Ranch. The renowned racehorse, breeding and training facility has long advocated for post-racing careers. She worked there for 10 years, primarily on foal watch and delivering babies.

Heidi joined the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 15 years ag, while continuing to work with and enjoy horses in her off-time.

About 10 years ago, she began thinking about merging horses and prisoners. Her own experience working with BLM Mustangs inspired her to investigate the Wild Horse Inmate Program, in which inmates gentle and start wild horses. “I hit a roadblock with that because of the requirement for permanent fencing,” she says of a program introduced to much of the public via this year’s movie, The Mustang.

Five years ago this month, Heidi reconnected with former Harris Farms manager Dave McLaughlin. She also found the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which agreed to back Heidi’s idea. The next milestone was discovering the CDCR Innovative Programming Grant. She turned to West Hills College for help with the application, a process that entailed, among many steps, documenting the success of a similar program elsewhere and demonstrating that it did not yet exist in the intended location.

Working with two state entities, the Prison and the College, was a new challenge, she notes, as were the safety issues of pairing horses with people not accustomed to working with them.

Harris Farms’ support was relatively easy to secure, given the family-owned company’s commitment to doing good while doing well in the horse world and beyond. It was the same with the like-minded Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

The CDCR grant funds the program for three years. After that, Heidi is optimistic that that West Hills College, Harris Ranch and the TRF will continue their various forms of support and that the program’s success will assure its continuance at the prison. Occasional fundraisers will help with needed equipment additions and there are plans to attain long term self-sustainability.

“Sometimes it feels like a big dream because I wanted it for so long,” Heidi concludes. “It’s the best feeling ever when I walk out there and see how the inmates are responding to the horses.”

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

December 2019 - Carol Dean Porter Tributes
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:36
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Late horsewoman’s legacy lives on through friends.

As Carol Dean Porter’s many friends prepare to celebrate her life on Saturday, Dec 7 at the Hansen Dam Horse Park, we asked some to share stories of how she touched them as a person and a horsewoman. Carol passed away on Oct. 21 and is missed by many throughout the equestrian world but her legacy will clearly live on through the many she influenced.

Celebration of Carol’s Life: Saturday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. at the Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lakeview Terrace. Friends of Carol’s are invited to celebrate her remarkable life and contributions to the sport. Please RSVP to Marnye Langer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Marnye Langer

I loved to share my horse and riding related ideas and questions with Carol. I would explain what I was thinking or feeling, Carol would listen thoughtfully, and then she would share some observation or insight that made the lightbulb go off in my head. When I implemented her suggestion, inevitably I got improvement. She was an astute, empathetic observer of the horse and always wanted to see horses happy and successful in their jobs.

When I was frustrated, she would give me perspective. When I was lacking confidence, she would give me courage. When I was delighted in an accomplishment, she would cheer and reinforce the things that led to the success. I could count on Carol being honest and always in a constructive manner. I knew Carol always put the horse first and so I listened carefully when she gave advice.

Carol was also a fan of horsemanship and helping people maximize their enjoyment with horses. When I needed help with the Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association Horsemastership Scholarship, a three-phase program that emphasizes horsemanship, Carol was one of the first to raise her hand to help. She contributed to judging the Riding Phase, and she also actively helped with the Hands-on Phase. She loved talking to the participants and coaching them through tasks they were unsure of. She made sure they finished the Hands-on Phase with more knowledge and confidence to encourage them to maintain a life-long love and respect for the horse.

I miss my friend, but I know her spirit is carried forward by many of us. When I work through something with one of my horses or have a particularly good jumping round, instead of texting Carol I send a little thought out to the universe. Wherever or however she is, I am sure she appreciates my intent and appreciation.

And I am honored that the entire LAHJA Board of Directors renamed our scholarship program to: The Carol Dean Porter LAHJA Horsemastership Scholarship

Diane Grod

I could never adequately describe the emotional toll the loss of Carol Porter has had on me. She was a friend, fellow competitor and judge. Carol was more like a sister to me and she was the largest contributor to me in my appraisal business. So, I guess you could call her a partner as well.

Not long after I became a Certified Equine Appraiser in 1997, Carol insisted that everyone thinking of donating a horse to National Park Trust hire me before she would take them for her charity. I literally appraised over 300 horses for her through the years. We collaborated together on a weekly basis and sometimes just talked about “stuff.” I had the misfortune of breaking the news of Rob Gage’s death to her. I will never forget that moment in time.

Carol passed the torch, so to speak, to Jonelle Ramsay of Ramsay Equine Select to keep donations going to the charity she loved so much, National Park Trust, and Jonelle will continue to do that in Carol’s memory and as a legacy to her past support.

I think about her every day as she was truly one of the greatest people I know. I am sure she is looking over (her husband) Dan’s shoulder constantly. She passed away on their 30th anniversary.

Rest in peace, dear friend. I wish we could have talked more when I went to see her in the hospital. She was in so much pain but now she is finally pain free and with God.

Denise Finch

How do you put into 400 words or less what your hero meant to you? It’s also hard to find any words at all when your heart is still so sad. The lessons I learned from my years with Carol as my mentor go far beyond horses. Yes, I learned a lot about horses from her, an immeasurable amount, in fact. But as I find myself missing her every day since her passing, it is her advice and voice of reason I miss the most. Sometimes this was telling me it will all be OK and sometimes it was putting her boot up my butt with a necessary reality check. Because of her guidance and positive influence, I am a better person, wife, mother and, of course, trainer.

Carol was someone I could always count on in life, which is something I find rare these days. If I had questions, she always answered regardless of where she was, what she was doing or how she felt. I will probably miss that most of all and I’m thankful she’ll always be a voice in my head.

Carol was a true horseman, which besides honesty and accountability, is also becoming increasingly rare these days. She believed that kids should be taught all aspects of our sport and the horse, not just how to find the distance to 10 jumps accurately. She encouraged everyone to continue teaching the next generation what it means to be a horseman, not just a rider. I am thankful that she instilled these values in me and, in turn, I will pass them along to everyone I have the honor of teaching.

She also gave back to the masses with Judge My Ride, where she shared her tips, knowledge and guidance with those that couldn’t have access to her on an everyday basis. It is hard to know how many people and horses she touched and helped with Judge My Ride alone: it has to be countless.

Carol was one of the greatest horsemen and people you could ever hope to know. Her legacy will carry on in her many students and people that loved her. Even though she’s gone, she’ll always be right here.

December 2019 - First Person From China
Written by by Rachel Long
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:20
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West Coast star enjoys a Far East adventure in the FEI Jumping Junior Nations Cup™ Tianjin CSIOJ.

by Rachel Long

China was a place that I had always wanted to visit someday. Little did I know that “someday” would be coming sooner than later. The US Equestrian Jumping email update arrived in my inbox: “Applications to FEI Jumping Junior Nations Cup™ Tianjin CSIOJ, China open soon.” The competition would be held at a polo club outside of Beijing on Oct. 31-Nov. 3, on borrowed horses. The U.S. was planning to send a team of three junior riders, but the application didn’t open for another week. Excitement and impatience kept interrupting my packing and organization for our upcoming show.


Jumping in the Junior Grand Prix (Friday).

After one long week my application was in the hands of the selection committee and I was focusing on the show. The phone call went to my grandmother and trainer, Debbi Long. Her expression gave nothing away, but once she signed off, she sang, “Guess where weeeeee’re going?” My confusion must have been evident: “China!” She exclaimed. The decision was in. I had been chosen to represent the U.S. alongside Madison Rauschenbach and Kyle Perkovich. DiAnn Langer was to be the Chef d’Equipe. At the moment I had no idea of the long, incredible, fun road we were starting on.


Opening ceremony with (from left) Rachel, DiAnn, Maddie, and Kyle.

We had a whirlwind week—plane tickets, visas, team uniforms, saddle pads and jackets. We organized the logistics and coordinated with the rest of the team. The day before we left, I rode almost every horse in the barn to refresh my borrowed-horse skills.

On Monday morning, my grandmother and I were off to China! The flights and navigating the airports were simple and we arrived in Beijing on Tuesday evening for a good night’s sleep. Once we were recharged, we met the rest of the team for breakfast. The three of us knew of one another, but we had not officially met before.

Jumping in the Junior Grand Prix (Friday).

After breakfast we joined the Jamaican team for a tour to the Great Wall. After some photos we eagerly went to climb the stairs up the wall. The area was very mountainous, and most of the sections of the stairway were quite steep. From the table in the coffee shop, DiAnn fixed us each with a stern expression, “If any of you have sore legs tomorrow when we have to ride I will not be happy.” With a grin, we nodded obediently and eagerly scampered up the wall… for about five sets of stairs. We made about a third of the way before we began eyeing the remaining distance and glancing at each other. Of course, we didn’t turn back, but the pace was definitely not as brisk as when we started. Photo op from the Wall complete, we made our way to the base for the return to Beijing and transfer to the Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club later in the evening.

Meeting the young riders in the square at the market.

Wednesday morning we were able to get an idea of how spectacular everything was. The hotel was incredible with everything from automated curtains to self-flushing toilets in the rooms. For all the grandeur, however, there were very few people around the hotel, polo club or on the streets. The part of Tianjin where the polo club is located is a relatively new part of town and although there are numerous buildings, most are still under stages of construction. After a nice breakfast, we headed across the street to check out the barn.

A barn is somewhere all horse people understand, no matter where in the world it is. All of the horses looked happy in their stalls bedded with rice hulls rather then shavings. After cruising around the show grounds for the morning, we had the horse draw and riders meeting in the afternoon.

Tasting a rice-based dessert with DiAnn in the square at the market.

The Draw

The format for the draw was very interesting. Each country would draw a group of three horses and were free to distribute the horses as they wished to the athletes. On schooling day, we were allowed to switch horses if need be. In each group there was one horse from each of three levels, they had show records of jumping courses 1.10M, 1.15M or 1.20M in height. After the official draw, each country was given one hour in the ring with the horses. Our three horses had very similar characteristics and records so we each drew out of the hat.

I pulled a gelding named Quintino, Maddie pulled the stallion called Lord M and Kyle had the mare, Chiquirina. We were able to take all the horses out for a ride to get to know them and hop over a few fences. Quintino went off to a good start. He seemed very simple on the flat but got a little stronger over fences.

Walking the crowded market streets.

Friday was the first competition that helped us get to know our mounts better. Once in the show ring Quintino perked up quite a bit. He was adjustable and jumped well for most of the course, but in one line he got a little heavy costing us the rail at the vertical. Maddie’s horse also jumped well, having one down and Kyle’s jumped well after a circle at the first jump.  Maddie finished up 4th, Kyle in 10th and I finished up in 6th. In the prize ceremony, Maddie and I were presented with ribbons, flowers and an adorable stuffed horse mascot.

That evening was the Welcome Gala. After dinner the Junior teams were called up to a small stage. Not knowing exactly what was happening, Kyle, Maddie and I glanced nervously at each other. We were given a clip board to play a quiz game. “Oh my gosh, this is not going to end well,” Maddie laughingly said. The first question totally threw us off. “How does China rank in size?” We threw out a wild guess and were completely wrong. To make us feel better none of the four teams got the correct answer, including the Chinese team. After the first question we got in our groove and totally killed it (with the assistance of some excellent sign language from our table) to take the win.

On Saturday, we had a chance to do some flat work with the horses before a tour of Tianjin. It was not crowded, but there were tons of mopeds and bicycles on the roads. We passed many shops, hotels and housing buildings on the way to the bustling market that was our main stop. The group split up into teams and were given a guide to help navigate the market. We stopped at various galleries of statues, clay sculptures and paintings that were nestled between the small shops. After spending time at each gallery, we gathered in a courtyard where there were groups of children waiting to greet us. They rode at a local riding school and were elated to talk to us. Many had small gifts to offer, pro tips on which vendors had the best snacks, and some even asked for autographs. I was given a bookmark, a paper with calligraphy that a little boy had written, and a hair pin. After attempting to use my hair pin in my ponytail, the little girl’s mother swooped in to show me how it was done. Lots of photos were taken and the kids were able to practice their already-great English.

Entering the ring for the opening ceremony.

Better Than Gold

Sunday was the day that we had really been waiting for. We had a great draw going in to the competition with Team USA going last in the three-team rotation. I would be the first American rider, Kyle would follow and Maddie would finish up. I really wanted to start round 1 off right with a clear score. I was careful throughout the course, remembering Quinitino’s quirks and customs. It paid off and we had the first clear of the class!

Kyle followed close behind me. He rode his hot horse really well and laid down the only other clear of the class so far. Maddie was next in and she finished with a beautiful four-fault round. After round one, we were leading with a score of four, China was in second with 12 and Thailand was in bronze position with 32.

The second round came after a break of only 10 minutes. Going into the second round I wanted to have the same consistent and smart ride. Quintino was a little stronger towards the end of the course in round two but I was still able to hold it all together and keep him clean. DiAnn’s face when I came out of the ring said it best—she was all smiles but had to rush back to the schooling ring to help get Kyle ready. Kyle’s second round was a little less consistent as well, with his horse getting a little bit tired. He kept her going and crossed the timers with a big 0 on the score board. Team USA was still leading with only four penalties.

All the flags lined up in the opening ceremony.

As Maddie started to warm up we all got quiet. Her horse tripped in the schooling ring and walked away very lame. DiAnn quickly found the show manager, vet and the horse’s owner to discuss options. All three concluded that because she started the competition on the horse, there was no option of a substitution and the horse was unable to jump the second round. The Ground Jury decided that we would take the Bronze position as we were unable to complete round two. Although by FEI rules, we should not have been awarded any prizes, the horse show decided to unofficially gift us each flowers, stuffed mascots and a glass trophy.

Although we did not have the ideal ending that we had been dreaming about, the three of us walked away with something much more valuable then any medal: experience. The experience of flying to a country that none of us had been to before, to compete on borrowed horses was invaluable. We formed lifelong friendships and just had a good time. I am incredibly grateful to DiAnn Langer, US Equestrian, and my entire team at home who all helped make this opportunity possible. The CSIOJ in Tianjin is an adventure that will be with me for a lifetime.

November 2019 - The Gallop: Ante Up!
Written by CRM
Thursday, 31 October 2019 00:29
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Split Rock Jumping Tour debuts ground-breaking $1.5 million Grand Prix in Rancho Santa Fe in April 2020.

The Split Rock Jumping Tour will host a new concept in show jumping as part of its 2020 national tour. The $1.5 Million “Ante Up” Grand Prix will debut April 7 at Pomponio Ranch in San Diego County’s Rancho Santa Fe.

“The main purpose of the Ante Up Grand Prix is to introduce a completely new dynamic to show jumping that currently does not exist at the highest level,” said Derek Braun, Founder and CEO of the Split Rock Jumping Tour. “Riders, owners, sponsors, and spectators will each play a valuable part in helping the sport progress to unprecedented heights. The format will allow each participant to be part of a unique, high intensity Grand Prix that is sure to draw attention and raise awareness around the world.

Derek Braun, Grand Prix jumping rider and founder of the Split Rock Jumping Tour.

“In this unique format, riders and owners will have a chance for a pay day unmatched in American show jumping. Qualified riders will have the right to choose whether or not to invest their own money to win 100% of the profits, or choose to have their entry paid for them and compete for 25% of the prize money with the remaining 75% going to whomever invested in them to compete. It will be completely their choice. Having fewer riders competing will give each entry a better chance of winning the highest pay day in show jumping.”

The Grand Prix will be limited to 15 riders only. Invitations will be extended to:
•    Top 5 entered U.S. riders based on the Longines FEI World Ranking list
•    Top 5 entered foreign riders based on the Longines FEI World Ranking list
•    5 Organizing Committee “Wild Cards”
•    2 onsite reserves

The Grand Prix will be run under a “Winning Round” format with the first round run against the clock. The top five riders will return for a second round in reverse order of qualification from round 1 with faults carrying over into the second round. Time in the second round will break all ties. The winner will receive $1 Million with $350,000 going to the second place finisher and $150,000 to third.

“This format lends itself perfectly to a television broadcast,” said Braun. “It will fit nicely into a one-and-a-half hour time slot which will be nationally televised live on April 7. This will build excitement, raise awareness for the sport, and draw a new, expanded viewership base beyond anything we’ve ever had before in American show jumping.”

Karl Cook & Fecybelle on their way to winning early September’s big Grand Prix at the SRJT’s Sonoma stop. Karl’s farm in Rancho Santa Fe, Pomponio Ranch, will host the exciting new event. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Braun concluded by thanking Karl Cook for hosting the event. “Karl has competed at many of our events in the past and he has been a great supporter of our Tour. His farm will be a great location for what we are planning and his letting us host the event there is truly amazing.”

Braun reminded riders that anyone interested in competing in the “Ante Up” Grand Prix should contact him as soon as possible.

Established in 2015, the Split Rock Jumping Tour has been revolutionizing the sport of show jumping in the United States, creating an “unparalleled show jumping experience” for competitors, sponsors and spectators alike. SRJT competitions offer top prize money, extravagant awards, special entry packages, and numerous first-class amenities not typically found at any other horse show. The SRJT presented six FEI shows at five world-class venues in 2019 and its new Fort Worth International CSI4*-W, which will also debut in 2020, was recently selected as one of just eight events in the newly-formatted Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Series’ North American League.

Article provided by Classic Communications. Additional information including schedules, news and ticket information, will be available in the near future at the Split Rock Jumping Tour website at For all sponsorship opportunities please contact Meg Kruger at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

November 2019 - Wish Fulfilled!
Written by photos: courtesy of Lindsey Long, West Palms Event Management
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:35
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Lifelong dream realized thanks to generous Northern California equestrian community.

photos: courtesy of Lindsey Long, West Palms Event Management

The Sacramento International Horse Show and the Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada Chapter of Make-A-Wish® made a young lady’s wish come true during the competition held Oct. 4 at the Murieta Equestrian Center. The Friday before the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento qualifier, Emily was surprised by the California Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team with her very own American Quarter Horse, Maidu.

Emily was born with an incurable heart condition, but that hasn’t stopped her from living life to the fullest. Growing up on her family ranch in Northern California’s Ridgecrest, she was always around horses and wanted one of her own to compete in gymkhana. Yet, when her aunt moved away, their family ranch was without a horse. Now 14, Emily lives with her mom, stepdad and three half-siblings on that same ranch. Ridgecrest is where the massive 6.4, 5.4 and 7.1 earthquakes hit earlier this summer. Like many others in the area, Emily’s home was destroyed.

After finding out about her home and her wish, the Sacramento International Horse Show and Make-A-Wish went to work not only finding her a horse, but also her travel to the Sacramento International Horse Show and everything to go with her new horse.

Dale Harvey, owner of West Palms Event Management and veteran show manager of the Sacramento International Horse Show, helped coordinate the reveal and was there for the surprise: “Partnering with the Make-A-Wish® Foundation to gift Emily with Maidu was an incredible experience,” he said. “Her face lighting up at the sight of him walking into the ring was a highlight of the year for so many involved.”

Emily had no idea that her trip from Ridgecrest would result in her dream becoming a reality, and it could not have come at a better time:”God gave me this heart condition for a reason, I just don’t know why yet,” Emily said, “It’s just the journey I have.”

Several companies and individuals joined with Make A Wish and West Palms Events to make Emily’s wish come true. They include Riding Warehouse, Elk Grove Milling, The Murieta Inn & Spa, Kaley Cuoco and Big Bay City, Murieta Equestrian Center, the West Coast Equine Foundation and Pacific Coast Building Products.

Article provided by West Palms Events. Photos by Lindsey Long.

February 2020 - The Gallop: Horse Shopping 101
Written by by Kim F. Miller
Saturday, 01 February 2020 22:42
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Balance, behavior and no “if-onlys” are among Georgy Maskrey-Segesman’s criteria in sourcing sales and lease prospects for the hunter/jumper market.

by Kim F. Miller

After horse shopping in Europe for 15 years, Georgy Maskrey-Segesman has honed a gift for talent spotting, especially for the equitation and jumper divisions. Based at her family’s Whitethorne Ranch in Ventura County’s Somis, Georgy is known as a top source for lease and sale horses. She enjoyed extra limelight last year as the Whitethorne-sponsored young rider, Emma Pacyna, dominated the equitation division in the West and made her mark nationally on one of those horses, Constantinos.


Germany-based Dutch horseman Tjeert Rijkens is Georgy’s longtime partner. Shopping tours with Tjeert typically include seeing between 10 and 15 horses every day, most of them pre-screened by the Dutchman based on what he likes and what Georgy likes and is looking for on that trip. Sometimes she has a specific rider or division in mind, and often she’s looking for quality prospects with the general U.S. market in mind.


Equitation is Georgy’s specialty and passion, followed by jumpers. If a horse knocks her socks off as a hunter prospect, she’ll consider it, too.

Tjeert is a Holsteiner fan with a deep knowledge of bloodlines. While she appreciates his expertise and absorbs what she can, Georgy is not a bloodline expert in an academic sense. However, unknowingly, she often prefers horses from the same lines: Contender, Landgraf and Caretino.

Tjeert has a network of contacts whose farms they first visit. Georgy and Whitethorne’s rider Savannah Jenkins typically first evaluate the prospects going under saddle with another rider as their host reviews age, experience, breeding, etc. If the horse meets their initial muster, Savannah will ride it there. The next step is the horse coming to Tjeert’s facility to see how it behaves in an unfamiliar setting.

Savannah Jenkins & Quintana 11. Photo: Kim F. Miller

No Second Chances

Initial instincts are influential. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” Georgy notes. Balance is the first thing she looks for. “They either have it or they don’t,” she says of how well “the horse can naturally carry himself. You can’t teach that.” It’s evident at the trot and, at the canter, it’s critical to a good jump and to being able to find the jumps on a nice stride. Conformationally and in their way of going,

“You don’t want them downhill, or excessively uphill either.”

She’s also looking for that “nice look” in the horse’s eye – a soft expression that indicates relaxation and attentiveness to the rider.

An easy lead change is a make-it or break-it matter, especially in a 6 or 7-year-old. The flying change indicates balance and receptivity to training, Georgy explains. “If someone tried to bring the horse along, but it got flustered at the lead change and never quite got it, that’s a bad indicator. Other horses seem to get it the moment they hit the ground.” Favoring the latter is a way of “hedging my bets,” especially for an equitation horse. Jumpers are a different story.  “Touch Of Class cross-fired the entire way around the course,” she notes of the Thoroughbred mare Joe Fargis rode to team and individual jumping gold at the 1984 Olympics.

Spookiness is another deal-breaker. “That makes me crazy. With today’s rules and regulations, nobody wants to be lunging a horse for an hour to have it rideable.” Georgy screens for this trait by placing a jump in an unusual spot in the ring and/or with an unusual element: a cooler over the rail or an unfamiliar box underneath it.

“I don’t mind if they take a peek, but if they are repeatedly scared or skittish, no thank you.” The prospect’s second or third passes are critical. “If they get a little frozen or take a stutter step the first time, but are more bold the second or third time, I’m OK. Of course, my happy place is the horse that canters down brave as a bull and doesn’t care what you put up.”

A “heartless” horse is crossed off the list. “He can’t give up if the distance is a little long.” Good, natural jumping form is critical. “They have to jump well in front: not dangling a leg or dropping a shoulder.”

Stride length needs to be big enough for whatever division Georgy has in mind for the horse, though if that comes with a difficult-to-sit trot, she’ll think twice. Georgy’s expertise is equitation horses and, especially for them, “the sitting trot has to be comfortable.”  If the horse is an “unbelievable mover” she might compromise on that point.

If the horse passes the under-saddle test, Georgy wants to see it being handled in the cross-tie and observe it in the stall for general behavior. “Nobody wants a barracuda,” she says. “Years ago, I got one that was a cribber because I hadn’t paid careful attention to him in the barn.”

Prospects for sale or lease are scrutinized with different criteria, Georgy notes. “It might sound strange, but for me, the lease horse is held to the higher standard because he has the very specific job of teaching a rider and he’s usually going to change programs consistently – usually every year. He has to want to take a rider by the hand and educate them.”

Not all horses are suited for that. She cites Emma Pacyna’s star equitation partner, Constantinos, as an example: “My inclination is that he would get flustered if he was teaching a 3’ kid how to do the Big Eq division. His job is to be an Indoors horse with someone that already rides well.”

Veterinary exam results are evaluated a little differently for lease or sale horses, too. Although it’s rare for any horse to have perfectly clean x-rays, the sale horse needs the best report possible. With a lease prospect, Georgy looks at the x-rays in the context of the horse’s age and how it moves. “If there’s a change on the x-ray, but the horse is 11 and living with it, I’m OK with that. If he’s 5 and his feet are a little upright, but he’s sound and going, I’m OK with that.”

Georgy Maskrey-Segesman with sponsored young rider Emma Pacyna.

No “If Only…”

If these basic criteria aren’t solid, Georgy takes a pass. “Selecting a horse is like dating,” she explains. “If you have to say, ‘If only…’ I think you are probably never going to be able to fix it.”  There are exceptions to every rule, but she says, “It’s better to go with very specific criteria, based on what I can live with, and stick to it.”

Georgy foresees that her long-standing partnership with Tjeert will continue to source the bulk of Whitethorne’s lease and sale prospects, but she’s also interested in buying American-bred horses. She describes three programs, Kimberlee Farms, Three Wishes Farm and Anke Magnussen’s program, as examples of excellent domestic sporthorse producers. The problem is the cost of developing them in the States.

The first obstacle is open land for youngsters to grow up naturally in large pastures. The second is the expense of the early years of show mileage needed to make them ready for buyers who mostly want a horse they can start competing with right away.

Blenheim EquiSports and other show organizers who offer waived or discounted entry and stall fees for young horses are a big help, she emphasizes. Yet the cost of getting a young horse ready for sale is still prohibitively high.

In sponsoring Emma Pacyna and hosting the Whitethorne American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenges, Georgy has put her money where her concerns are in attempting to improve aspects of the hunter/jumper sport. Tackling young horse development costs is on her radar screen in the future.

Staging schooling shows at her facility is a possibility. The key, she states, is developing a way to track results at such unrecognized events, so that breeders have show records to include in the horse’s marketing package. While only in the idea stage now, such an effort would fit with one of Georgy’s priorities. “I feel really strongly that, if we want to participate in the sport, we have to give back to it and do whatever we can to try to keep it going.”
The Gallop welcomes news, tips and photos. Contact Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

January 2020 - Know Before You Show
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 00:14
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USEF 2020 rule changes relate to a range of topics ranging from horse welfare to show coat color.

The New Year brings changes to the United States Equestrian Federation rule book that governs all sanctioned equestrian competition. Affiliate, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, has created a simple guide of rule changes taking effect for the new competition year.

The following are important rule changes affecting hunter/jumper competition, aligned with their discipline and rule number for easier location in the rule book. These went into effect Dec. 1, 2019, for the 2020 competition year. The entire rule book can be found on

Tack and Appointments:
This rule change clarifies the proper use of a curb chain to protect horses from equipment that could inflict pain or discomfort. Curbs must be constructed of loose links, joints, and/or lie smooth against the jaw of the horse and be free of sharp or inhumane objects.

Hunter Attire and Coat Color:
This new rule specifies that conventional attire following the tradition of fox hunting is encouraged and preferred and that judges shall not eliminate a rider for inappropriate attire except for safety.

Hunter and Pony Hunter Breeding:
This rule change clarifies that horses and ponies in Hunter Breeding classes should be judged on the ability to become or produce hunters and adds the term “athleticism” to the traits by which horses and ponies are judged.

Definition of a Complete Hunter Round:
This rule change defines what qualifies as a completed Hunter round. This rule rewrite aims to eliminate the practice of attempting to force a class to split by having a horse-and-rider combination enter the ring but not complete a course. It also defines completion of an under saddle class.

Use of Electronic Devices:
This rule states that the unsafe use of electronic devices, as determined by the competition steward in their sole discretion, including the use of cell phones with or without earphones/buds while mounted is prohibited in all areas designated for schooling and exercise and while longeing horses on competition grounds.

Jumper Prize Money:
This rule outlines how prize money and entry fees will be determined and distributed if a class is combined due to insufficient entries as outlined in JP 122.1.c.

Jumper Sections/Classes Restricted by Horse Age:
This rule is aimed to help clarify and guide course designers to construct safe and positive courses for the development of young jumpers. The rule includes course guidelines for all ages, 5-year-old Jumpers, 6-year-old Jumpers and 7-year-old Jumpers.

Sections/Classes Restricted to Junior, Amateur/Owner, Amateur Jumpers:
This rule changes the title of classes to High (1.40m or 1.45m), Medium (1.30m or 1.35m) and Low (1.20m or 1.25m), for Amateur Owner Jumpers, Amateur Jumpers, and Junior Jumpers. Prize lists must identify classes as High, Medium or Low according to the definition of the rule. This rule also further clarifies cross-entry restrictions between the lowest height section of Junior, Amateur Owner, amateur Jumpers and CSI3* Grand Prix classes offering $25,000 or more in prize money at the same competition.

National Standard Jumper Classes:
This rule change, under the Jumper rule book subchapter defining levels of difficulty (JP-4), creates a clear progression of fence heights from the American Standard (up to 1.40m) to National Standard (1.45m to 1.50m).

Horse Welfare:
This new rule change in the Equitation chapter aims to provide awareness and focus on the commitment to the protection and welfare of equine athletes competing in Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation sections.

Beyond rule changes, members should be aware that the US Equestrian Board of Directors recently voted to prohibit the use of Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) in horses competing in USEF-licensed competitions effective December 1, 2019.


Additionally, farm and business entity owners should keep in mind that GR202 will now be in effect for the 2020 competition year. This rule amendment, passed by the US Equestrian Board of Directors at the 2017 USEF Annual Meeting, states, “If a horse(s) is owned by a farm or any other entity, at least one of the horse’s owners, either Farm/Business or Individual, must also obtain an exhibitor registration pursuant to GR1106.” The USEF provided members with a two-year transition period for compliance with this rule. If members have any questions regarding this rule and its implementation, they may contact USEF Customer Care by email at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or by calling 859-258-2472 during business hours.

Please note this listing is not a comprehensive list of all rule changes effective Dec. 1, 2019. All rule changes can be found on

Article provided by the USHJA. For more information, visit

January 2020 - Industry News Round-Up
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 21:54
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New Dressage CDIs

Pacific Coast CDI announces that it will hold its first CDI*** at El Campeon Farms in Thousand Oaks, California, on March 5-8, and a CDI-W Nov 12-15 of 2020. The new all-volunteer show organizer group, Pacific Coast CDI, is spearheaded by Barbara Biernat with hired show management provided by Centerline Events’ Debra Reinhardt. It will work to create a smaller, financially sustainable CDI offering for the West Coast. “We have been running CDIs since 2002, and are looking forward to bringing our customer friendly style to El Campeon for this revitalization of the West Coast CDIs,” says Reinhardt.


Visit www.centerlineevents.comfor more info.

Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act


On Nov. 25, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 724, into law. The bill, led by U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) passed the House and Senate in recent weeks without dissent. The PACT Act establishes the first federal anti-cruelty law in American history.

Animal Wellness Action’s executive director, Marty Irby attended the signing ceremony in the Oval Office along with U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

“We’re thrilled to see the first anti-cruelty statute in American history signed into law and applaud President Trump and the Congress for providing the voiceless with a level of protection never seen before,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “The PACT Act will allow federal authorities to crack down on the most egregious of animal abusers and help keep American pets safe from harm.”

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability.

For more information, visit
West Palms Events & Langer Equestrian Group Partner in Woodside

Langer Equestrian Group is jumping into 2020 with a management team for its popular Woodside Spring and Summer Series shows at the Horse Park at Woodside. “Dale Harvey and his West Palms management team are going to manage our five-show series,” stated LEG Managing Director Marnye Langer. “I am really excited about the synergies our two management groups can achieve, and I believe the trainers and exhibitors are really going to benefit by this collaboration.”

Langer Equestrian Group has a 20-year history of producing shows at the Horse Park at Woodside and was instrumental in the development of the facility as a top-notch horse show venue in Northern California. West Palms produced its first show at the Horse Park in 2017 and added a second week in 2019.

“The West Palms team is really excited to manage the full series of shows for the 2020 Woodside show schedule. We look forward to working with Langer Group and The Horse Park at Woodside to deliver the best show season yet,” stated Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events.

American Horse Council Internships

In 2020, the American Horse Council will again offer internship programs available to both high school and college students. Students are eligible to apply for one internship per year in the AHC Internship Program. Three programs range from one to two weeks, one to two months or full semester internships, with stipends to help defray expenses. Focus areas include policy and legislation, marketing and communications, equine disease communication (with the American Association of Equine Practitioners), equine welfare, and health and regulatory.

For more information, visit

January 2020 - And The Winner Is…
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:17
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Association gatherings see people, horses and programs celebrated for accomplishments and contributions.

Super Year for Suppenkasper

The United States Dressage Federation™ congratulates the 11-year-old 18 hand, Dutch Warmblood gelding, Suppenkasper, owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s Four Winds Farm LLC, and ridden by Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, for being named 2019 Adequan®/USDF Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Suppenkasper›s median score of 75.696 percent made him the top horse in the United States competing at this level and the recipient of USDF’s highest honor.   

Steffen & Suppenkasper. Photo: Kim F. Miller

Suppenkasper was recognized at the 2019 Adequan®/USDF Salute Gala and Annual Awards Banquet with a commemorative personalized plaque, an embroidered cooler, and a gift certificate provided by Dressage Extensions.

Also, Suppenkasper is the recipient of the Colonel Thackeray Award and will have his name engraved on a silver trophy to be on permanent display in the Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame, housed at the USDF National Education Center, located at the Kentucky Horse Park.

“USDF is thrilled to be able to recognize this extraordinary horse for his many accomplishments during the 2019 competition season.  We also congratulate Akiko Yamazaki, Four Winds Farm, Steffen Peters, and the entire Suppenkasper team,” stated USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch.

Charlotte Robson-Skinner, middle. Photo: Tricia Booker / USHJA

USHJA Awards

The United States Hunter Jumper Association held its annual meeting in early December in Denver. Along with educational presentations, committee meetings and rule change proposals and decisions, the gathering included year-end award presentations. Kudos to the many recipients from the West Coast:

The President’s Distinguished Service Award was developed to recognize and honor the dedication and service by members and volunteers to the USHJA and the sport. This year’s recipients of the award include Charlotte Skinner-Robson and Robin Rost Brown, as well as the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Committee. Skinner-Robson works with the Langer Equestrian show management group and has long served on various committees.
Larry Langer and Bob Cacchione, two exceptional innovators in the sport, were awarded the William J. Moroney Visionary Award during the evening. This honor is awarded to an individual or group deemed as inspirational, influential and integral to furthering the Hunter and Jumper disciplines.

Both Langer and Cacchione have impacted the sport putting their dreams and ideas into action. Langer has been committed to creating opportunities for riders to advance in the sport including the development of the Emerging Jumper Rider Program and Show Jumping Athlete Pathway, which he has worked tirelessly to bring to life.

Exceptional horse show staff were recognized for their invaluable role in delivering the very best hunter/jumper competitions. Julie O’Connor, of Riverside County’s Corona was awarded the West Coast Vital Horse Show Staff Award.

Larry Langer with Bill Maroney. Photo: Tricia Booker / USHJA

Wild Turkey Honored

US Equestrian Barbara Ellison and her Wild Turkey Farm sporthorse breeding program in Wilsonville, OR. were announced as the winners of the 2019 US Equestrian Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Cup Award.

The Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Cup Award recognizes an individual and/or breeding enterprise who consistently breeds outstanding performance and show horses. The award honors the role that good breeding plays in the development and improvement of performance and show horses.

“I am speechless and very honored,” Barb said, upon receiving the news. “And honestly this is an award won by a team: my staff at the farm, Mandy Porter, my vets, Ryan Ferris, Columbia Equine, my farrier, Jason Smith, etc. As they say, it takes a village. Thank you!”

For West Coasters honored in US Eventing Association gathering, see story, this issue.

January 2020 - 2020 Sport Focus
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 31 December 2019 20:05
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Building the base and promoting WestCoastBestCoast are priorities in the New Year.

As the new decade begins, we chatted with leaders in the hunter/jumper, eventing and dressage worlds about their biggest concerns for their disciplines. Hunter/jumper advocate Kathy Hobstetter and eventing’s Lisa Sabo weigh in here, while Dressage News & Views columnist Nan Meek and California Dressage Society president Ellen Corob address top concerns (this issue).

Kathy Hobstetter: USHJA Zone 10 co-chair & founder Equestrian Sport Advocates.

1. Building the Base
Our sport on the West Coast can’t be only about the big multi-ring shows. We are losing the base of our sport by being focused on how many rings, how many divisions and how many horses can be fit into one show. In the process, it’s taken away focus on the grass roots – on growing the base of our sport and the beautiful shows where riders can begin their competitive education. Our specialty, unique, marvelous horse shows and managers are dropping by the wayside one by one.
Managers, trainers, owners and exhibitors can take action by deciding on personal priorities. Not everybody has to fit into a premier show barn or show – not everybody can afford that, especially new riders just getting into showing. There’s great personal satisfaction to be had in being the instructor that taught that beginner who just got their first ribbon, or jumped their first jump. Helping build the base and being sure growth starts at the bottom is the heart of competition and the base of any healthy sport. It is important we have a wide group of professionals (instructors) and lesson barns focusing on the ladder with which people ascend our sport.  The ground and education on which that ladder stands is of vital importance to the future.
2. Nurturing Young Professionals
We need to focus on what the next generation of professionals is going to do and on how we can build professionals who are hard core horsemen, not just winners. My fear is the sport is becoming so focused on winning, that we are a little short on creating horsemen and real trainers.
There are some bright spots. USEF Youth Chef d’Equipe DiAnn Langer is developing a rider pipeline, and Julie Winkel’s Horse Industry Training School at Maplewood Farms in Nevada are vital to sport and horseman development. I also like the idea implemented by Chenoa McElvain, and Rancho Corazon in New Mexico, with their summer scholarship opportunity for young riders to learn the ropes through hands-on experience.
Ideas like these need to be expanded and supported and discussed in-depth with experienced professionals giving back to the sport. Established professionals should be open to giving back by either developing a program of their own or being part of an existing one, rather than being critical of them, which is often the case.

3. Mentoring
This point is intertwined with the above point about helping professionals and individuals at all levels of horse sports, but we need to support it across the board: with trainers, show managers, breeders, barn managers and those involved in all aspects of the equestrian business. There should be an intricate, detailed program for mentoring people in a way that tangibly prepares the mentee. Too often, internships and working student positions become free or cheap labor for the mentor’s business, instead of stepping-stones to a viable career in our industry.

4. Customer Service
I personally believe everybody should be a restaurant wait person for two years - to understand the concept that the customer is always right, even when they’re not! Professionals don’t always recognize the right of the customer to ask questions, be interested and ask for education and help. At the same time, the biggest part of customer service is educating our clients, helping them understand: why it’s so expensive, why footing is important, why the programs funded by show fees matter; why preventative veterinary care is critical, etc.

5. Safety
Not enough attention is paid to safety in general, and especially on some show grounds. There’s a lack of attention to the preventative measures to address problem things that can happen. For example, there is typically no protocol for load-in and load-out days at most shows. People drive where they want, park their trailers wherever it’s convenient, with no thought to what or who they’re blocking. Even if there were such protocols, possibly trainers would likely not heed them. That’s not only rude: it’s dangerous.
Dogs are another example. I understand it’s fun to have your pet at the show grounds, but they don’t always belong at the show, especially off the leash. It is only my opinion, but family dogs have no business at shows. And all dogs need to be leashed and attached to their owner.

Lisa Sabo: Area VI Eventing; owner Sabo Eventing & the Newport Mesa Riding School

Embarking on her second year as chair of US Eventing’s Area VI (California & Hawaii), Lisa says the membership’s focus should be on promoting the region by emphasizing why the West Coast is indeed the “Best Coast.”
There is plenty to promote!  

1. The Best Weather
Yes, it gets hot sometimes, but we never have the humidity that other places have. Horses do well in our weather. We should especially be promoting our Spring calendar of events, when the weather is horrible everywhere else and our events are beautiful.

2. Good Competition
We have good competitions at all levels and a virtually year-round schedule. They are great places for professionals to bring their amateur riders, juniors and young horses, along with their top horses. We are light on entries in the top divisions, but even so, the internationally focused riders we do have are increasingly acknowledging that going East is no longer mandatory as a means of preparing for team consideration. USEF eventing chef d’equipe Eric Duvander loves the West Coast and is regularly visiting to coach and evaluate our riders for all levels of the international pipeline.
Look at the recently-released USEF Training Lists: Tamie Smith and Frankie Thieriot Stutes remain on the Pre-Elite List. And the Federation’s 2020 Eventing 25 Program includes Area VI-ers Mia Farley, Mallory Hogan, Sophie Hulme, Kaylawna Smith-Cook and Maddy Temkin. Tamie and Mai Baum did all their Pan American Games team gold medal prep here in Area VI. So did Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 for their great run at Burghley up against the world’s best.

3. Good Footing
Our organizing teams have done a great job improving the footing. The Horse Park at Woodside and Shepard Ranch, for example, have “aggravators” that make the track soft without ripping it up. We are sometimes criticized for not having more grass tracks, which are the norm back East. They look pretty, but that can be a very hard surface. Our organizers and course builders have really worked hard and invested a lot in creating and maintaining good footing. They’ve really become experts at it and we now have some of the best footing in the country.

4. Best Trainers
Area VI has more trainers certified by US Eventing’s Instructor Certification Program than any other area. And it shows. If you watch Preliminary riders at an Area VI event, 90% of them ride super well.
I firmly believe we have the best trainers and training programs anywhere in the country. It’s the result of a rising tide effect that is lifting all boats. For many years, people like my husband Brian Sabo, Yves Sauvignon, Derek and Bea DiGrazia and Dana Lynd-Pugh developed many students who became trainers themselves. Now in some cases, it’s their children.

5. Friendliest Atmosphere
There’s a real team atmosphere out here. The eventing community in general is known for this, but it’s very pronounced in Area VI. We lend a hand whenever a fellow competitor needs it and root each other on in a way that’s unique to our region. While we are a close-knit community, we also welcome those who travel from afar to be part of it and embrace them as our own. Like Galway Downs CCI4*-L winner Sara Mittlieder, who travelled from Idaho this past fall for a big career win that preceded her receipt of a Rebecca Broussard Travel Grant at the recent USEA Awards Banquet. Horses and riders from Arizona and throughout the Northwest are regulars at our competitions and we’d like to spread our reach to the Midwest and the South. Along with advancing our skills and experience out here, we are having a great time!
#WestCoastBestCoast all the way!


December 2019 - ASPCA Takes on The Right Horse Initiative
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:39
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Initiative is now an official program of the ASPCA, in an effort to increase equine adoption efforts nationwide.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is expanding its equine welfare efforts by welcoming The Right Horse Initiative as an official program of the organization. As a program of the ASPCA, the Initiative will remain focused on massively increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States and improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition as they move from one home, career, or owner to the next.


Established in 2016, The Right Horse Initiative hosts a collective of industry professionals, equine welfare organizations, and advocates working together to reframe the conversation around equine adoption and improve the lives of horses in transition through a dialogue of kindness and respect. In collaboration with over 60 industry and adoption partners, the Initiative has launched innovative programming focused on shattering the stigma surrounding horses in transition, who frequently end up at risk of inhumane treatment as they move between careers or owners.


“With a shared vision for increasing adoptions and elevating the welfare of all equines, we are thrilled to combine forces with The Right Horse Initiative to help even more horses across the country,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “The Right Horse Initiative has been pivotal in bringing together leading voices from all corners of the equine community -- an approach the ASPCA employs in our own equine welfare work -- and together we will continue to improve the lives of countless horses through innovative adoption programs, training, and increased public awareness.”    

ASPCA research suggests there could be at least 2.3 million adults in the U.S. with the resources and desire to adopt a horse in need. The ASPCA is committed to reaching these potential adopters through The Right Horse Initiative’s online adoption platform, My Right Horse.

The ASPCA is focused on ensuring horses nationwide have good welfare by helping horses find homes, supporting equine safety net programs, combating cruelty and responding to disasters. As part of the ASPCA, The Right Horse Initiative will further develop positive systemic change for at-risk horses by continuing to innovate best practices in adoption, promoting adoption among horse-seekers, and fostering collaboration within the equine industry including adoption agencies, rescues, breed and discipline associations.

Press release provided by the ASPCA. For more information about the ASPCA’s efforts to help horses, visit

December 2019 - The Power Of Hope
Written by by Dr. Suzi Lanini, DVM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:26
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Riding in the Rose Parade represents realized childhood dreams from the back of a remarkable Arabian, Just In Kayce.

by Dr. Suzi Lanini, DVM

Horses have always been my inspiration and my motivation through life. I grew up in a disadvantaged household; we barely had enough money to get by. I dreamed as a child of becoming a veterinarian. I also dreamed of having enough money to own a prize-winning Arabian horse. A dream that was big enough to have a horse that was worthy of being in a magazine. I stayed focused on my dreams even when the dreams seemed too big.


Once I graduated vet school and had the opportunity to ride horses again, I realized there is no better experience than being in the presence of a horse. I purchased Just In Kayce, known as “Justin”, a purebred Arabian gelding in 2008, about a year after finishing veterinary school. I had no idea the impact one single horse could have on my life and others in the community.

Justin has become that show horse that I always dreamed of as a child. He and I have won hundreds of awards over the past 11 years of showing him. He has won 29 Horse of the Year Awards, over 27 Regional Championship Awards, three United States Dressage Federation All Breed Awards, and achieved over 50 rosettes from the California Dressage Society. He has been showcased in multiple publications over the years for his achievements. We have competed at some of the top competitions in the nation. In 2013, Justin was awarded the Arabian Horse Association Ambassador Award. He has touched the hearts of many with his personality and presence in the show ring competing in dressage through the international levels and working with international instructors.  

The Rose Parade: From the Scaffolding to the Saddle

Justin made another childhood dream come true when I participated in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade. My aunt lived on Alta Dena Drive in Alta Dena when I was a child. We would stay at her house overnight and push a scaffolding down the street to the school yard where my uncle used to teach. We would sit on the scaffolding and watch the Rose Parade. I dreamed of one day owning a horse that was good enough to be in the Rose Parade. Well, Justin made that dream come true when we participated with the Costumed Arabians of Region One. It was a dream to ride him down the parade route waving my hand and making eye contact with the spectators. The entire time, I hoped I was giving just one child the ability to dream as I had done as a child.  

Justin and I have volunteered for the San Bernardino Sheriff Department since 2011. We became members of the Equestrian Patrol Unit out of the Rancho Cucamonga Station. We volunteer our time to patrol the trails of the city, participate in community events and attend the Annual Sheriff’s Rodeo in Devore. In 2018 we joined the West Valley Mounted Posse out of the Fontana Station and participate in Search and Rescue efforts for the county as well as participating in community events.

Dr. Suzi Lanini & Justin in the 2013 Rose Parade. In January’s Rose Parade, they’ll ride with the Arabian Horse Association’s unit, helping to represent the breed’s versatility. They’ll be outfitted as the dressage stars they are.

When we are out in the community, it has been truly rewarding because Justin loves to get petted. I try to interact with the public as much as possible and give every child or grown person the opportunity to feel the horse hair between their fingers and the softness of Justin’s nose. For me, the feel of the horse gave me the biggest hope that life would eventually work out. I would love to find out that I kept one child’s dream alive or had an impact on one person’s life with the touch of Justin’s hair or his soft nose. I would love to find out by giving my time to the community that I had given hope to just one person’s life.

Justin has also now become a Warrior Horse, a designation for horses capable of bringing new focus to kids battling cancer. ( Justin is a well decorated horse with all of his winnings and his work in uniform. This, combined with his calm demeanor, makes him the best horse to give hope to someone who may have lost all hope. It is amazing how much a single interaction with a horse can change your outlook on life.

Justin truly represents the theme for this year’s parade “The Power of Hope.”

Author Dr. Suzi Lanini is a small animal veterinarian in San Bernardino County’s Rancho Cucamonga. In addition to her community activities, she is an active dressage competitor. She and Justin ride in the Rose Parade as members of the Arabian Horse Association’s entry.

Meet Justin and “Dr. Suzi” and all the riders and horses in the EquestFest presented by Wells Fargo, Dec. 29 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

December 2019 - A Tale of Two Stables
Written by CRM
Sunday, 01 December 2019 09:00
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Urban horse keeping is a challenging and evolving endeavor.

Horsekeeping in the Los Angeles area has been a challenging proposition for many years now. Horse boarding is typically a break-even proposition to begin with and urban sprawl combined with ever-rising land values make even that a big challenge. The different histories and realities of two stables in the area illustrate the challenges of keeping horses close to those who enjoy them.

Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lake View Terrace

Since buying a majority share of the City Of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation concession to operate the 38-acre equestrian facility in 2017, veteran equestrian businessman Larry Langer has been struck by the range of stories people tell him about the property. “They range from people telling me they’d never heard of the place before to those who remember it before Eddie Milligan bought it, in about 1989, when it was basically a field where you could rent horses.”

Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team Lieutenant Colonel Janet Johnstone is one of those storytellers. She grew up in the area and recalls riding near what is now the Horse Park at a stable called Osborne Stables. “There was an arena, a paddock, and a public rental place. It doesn’t look anything like what it does now!”

During the 1990s, the late Eddie Milligan built the facility into a full-on equestrian center. Before that, Milligan and the late Don Burt had worked out a similar arrangement to build and operate the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. When Milliken sold the Hansen Dam concession to a group led by Sterling Champ in 2008, Milliken went on to build the Huntington Park Equestrian Center, another property on leased public land.

Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

Larry had owned and managed an equestrian facility in the Sacramento area early in his long career in the horse business. That, plus many subsequent years as a horse show organizer and industry leader, gave him reason to consider Hansen Dam a uniquely viable venture in which to invest.  It was also a relative bargain. Instead of having to buy the land, his buy-in cost was the majority ownership of the concession agreement – Sterling Champ retains a minority share of the agreement. Larry adds, “Because I didn’t have to buy the land, I can afford to make improvements.”

And that he has. Significant investments range from the major costs of arena footing and stabling upgrades to less expensive landscaping enhancements. The end result of ongoing improvements is a multi-faceted approach to overall profitability. In addition to boarding, Hansen Dam has a growing Riding School, it hosts a busy schedule of equestrian competitions, Mexican cultural entertainment events in a purpose-built arena and special events from horsemanship clinics to quinceaneras.

“You can’t make any money on board,” he explains. “But if you can break even on board, that allows you to profit from ancillary things.” Along with the concession agreement, rent paid to the City of Los Angeles is another cost of business. But it’s very reasonable compared to rent a boarding facility operator would typically have to pay a landowner, especially in the densely populated area that Lakeview Terrace now is.

“No one is getting rich in the horse business,” acknowledges Larry, who currently does not draw a salary from Hansen Dam Horse Park. “But the unique situation here gave me the incentive to take it over and try to make it profitable. I plan to have it turning a profit by June of 2020.”

In the meantime, the Southern California equestrian community is grateful for Hansen Dam’s existence, especially in its ever-improving state. “The Langers are doing a great job,” says Janet, a longtime area resident. “It’s so important because the horse-owning way of life is dwindling.” She’s grateful to Hansen Dam for welcoming the Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team, which initially practiced at the property when it started in 1957. The non-profit endeavor remains true to its original mission of enabling those who typically can’t afford their own horse to have a regular way of enjoying them. The team practices on horses rented from and delivered by Scott Perez, whose family is intertwined with Los Angeles horsekeeping history through renting horses for trail riding and movie making.

Hansen Dam Horse Park is also highly valued as an evacuation site in emergencies. It has been a designated safe haven for horses in all of the area’s recent fires.

Bella Vista Stables in Sunland/Shadow Hills


The privately-owned boarding facility is of the same vintage as Hansen Dam, but has followed a much different trajectory. Currently the subject of unhelpful rumors swirling about its supposed closure, the 9.7-acre property is for sale, acknowledges Cheryl Winton, who owns it with her stepsister Cathy Pfeifer. It was not dire circumstances that put the property on the market but the more regular life reality that Cheryl and Cathy inherited Bella Vista from their recently deceased stepfather. After his passing, they agreed to sell it.

Since Bella Vista’s for-sale status became known, what had been a head count of 80 to 85 horses became the current 60 fairly fast. “I’m telling everybody the truth, which is that there’s no way to know if it will be sold today or six months from now.”

Cheryl’s mother Evelyn grew up in Chicago and had horses all her life. She first came upon the 9.7-acre Shadow Hills-area property by representing it as a real estate broker. The listing lingered without takers for about a year, Cheryl recalls, so her mother and stepfather Carlo Scialanga decided to buy it. It had a small barn, corrals, an arena and a main house on it. The board was $65 a month, Cheryl recalls.

The property was remodeled extensively and built into a its eventual capacity in keeping with is Conditional Use Permit for 100 horses. Cheryl managed the property for many years and recalls good years, business-wise, as occurring when they had a busy lesson program. California Rangers and other groups constituted a regular and sizeable clientele that enjoyed a string of about 30 lessons horses.

Two things made it more difficult to maintain a profit: kids’ interest in riding seem to go down and the cost of safe, reliable school horses soared, along with the cost of their care and insurance, Cheryl reflects. Somewhere along the line, Bella Vista closed up the riding school portion, letting their school horses enjoy a retired life, and turned to boarding as the only revenue stream.

Cheryl says she’s not in a big hurry to sell the property, and that she’d love to find a buyer committed to continuing with the equestrian operation. A significant board increase and bringing on trainer-based businesses would likely be needed to make that a viable business venture, she acknowledges. Both steps would involve attracting a horse-owning clientele of those willing to spend more on their hobby. “We cater to people who mostly keep and love their horses as their pets,” Cheryl explains.

Despite development, the area surrounding Bella Vista retains much of its horsey heritage. It’s in-between the 210 and 5 freeways and five miles from Hansen Dam Horse Park. Most of the area is still zoned for horse keeping, though many of the residential lots don’t have any. Bella Vista’s Conditional Use Permit is assured into perpetuity, Cheryl adds, a plus for any buyer looking to continue the equestrian operation.

November 2019 - New Breed of Horse Retirement
Written by by Christyn Hendrick
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:45
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Assurance of compassionate, individualized care eases transition to retirement – for the horse and its owner.

by Christyn Hendrick

The time comes in every horse’s life when it’s time to hang up their shoes and enjoy a well-earned retirement.  As owners, it’s our job to do the legwork and research to find the perfect retirement farm that will love and care for our horses in the same way that we do.


A lesson some owners learn the hard way is you don’t know what you don’t know.  No one tells you what questions you should be asking, or what pitfalls to watch out for, and there are a lot of things you assume would be included that are not.  With so many horse retirement websites full of beautiful pictures and similar sounding packages, it’s hard to tell the difference, but there is a horse retirement farm that is different: Trinity Sky Farms.


Located on 90 acres in the beautiful Central Tennessee area of Shelbyville, Trinity Sky Farms is unlike any other retirement farm.  It’s not just the beautiful pastures and custom-built barn that are so impressive. More importantly, it’s the level of care and one-on-one attention your horse gets.  Routine is very important for horses, especially horses transitioning from show life, and being tossed out in a field can be a culture shock for them.

Trinity Sky Farms offers your horse the daily routines they’re accustomed to such as morning/evening feeding of supplements (if needed), being fully groomed every morning before going out for the day and having their hooves picked every night when they come in. Most importantly, it’s the human interaction and affection they receive.  So many farms offer these things “as needed,” which may mean something different to you than it does to them.  When things are not part of a daily routine, they are more likely to be forgotten or overlooked.

As our horses age it is inevitable that they will need more care and daily maintenance.  How, and by whom will my horse’s health be monitored?  Is there a quality hospital nearby?

Are vet costs in the area expensive?  Will I have to pay extra for the farm to perform these treatments?  These are all important things to consider and part of what sets Trinity Sky Farms apart from the rest.  Your horse is physically gone over twice every day and by the same person so any minor change in their demeanor, body, eating and/or drinking habits is noticed right away.

With Tennessee Equine Hospital nearby your horse is guaranteed the top healthcare possible at astonishingly affordable prices in comparison to costs on the West and East costs.  Trinity Sky Farms doesn’t charge for arranging vet visits, holding your horse or performing the vet prescribed treatments.  Additionally, owners always receive copies of any vet bills and/or receipts for owner approved purchases with each month’s bill so there is always complete transparency.

Due to the fact that Trinity Sky Farms is so hands on and caters to each horse’s individual needs on a daily basis, they only offer a limited number of openings; guaranteeing that quality is never sacrificed for quantity.

Article provided by Trinity Sky Farms. For more information, visit

November 2019 - Laminitis: A Year-Round Concern
Written by by Becky James, BSc, MSc
Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:25
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Debilitating lameness affects 1 in 10 horses.

by Becky James, BSc, MSc

Despite a long-standing belief that laminitis is a spring-time disease, a recent study identified that there is no “safe” season: laminitis remains a threat regardless of the time of year. The same study also revealed that 1 in 10 horses/ponies develop laminitis every year.

When to Worry?

As horse owners, we must remain cautious and not reduce preventive measures when the perceived spring “high-risk” period is over. Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of recognizing subtle signs of potentially life-threatening episodes.

This is supported by 2017 study published in the BEVA Equine Veterinary Journal which revealed 45% of owners did not suspect laminitis was the problem prior to veterinary diagnosis, making it critical to recognize the more subtle signs.

In addition, research by Rossdales Veterinary Hospital and the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket warned that commonly cited clinical signs, such as the classic “laminitis stance” and divergent growth rings, were found in less than half of the active laminitis cases in their study.

What To Look For?

Evidence suggests there is a period where laminitis is present and causing changes to the hooves, but lameness is not yet apparent. Picking up these early signs of laminitis before there is any pain associated with the condition would allow horse owners to adjust their management strategies and their veterinarian to treat the underlying disease to help prevent a painful episode of laminitis.

The signs of laminitis can be broadly grouped into two groups: signs associated with hoof changes, and signs associated with hoof pain.

Signs associated with hoof changes:

  • Hoof rings that are wider at the heel than the toe (divergent hoof rings)
  • Cracks in the wall of the hooves
  • Changes in the angle of the hoof walls
  • Increased amount of horn at the toe of the hooves
  • Changes in the angle of the hoof walls
  • Bruising in the wall or the white line
  • Sensitive to pressure on the soles of his feet?

Signs associated with hoof pain:

  • Spending more time lying down than normal
  • Rocked back or rocked forward stance
  • Unwilling to move/ Unable or unwilling to stand
  • Lameness
  • Constantly shift weight from leg to leg
  • Foot-sore after a farrier visit
  • Resistance to you picking up one or more of his/her feet
  • An unusually strong pulse in one or more of his/her digital arteries. (This pulse can be felt if you place your fingers below the back of the horse’s fetlock) Or feet feel hotter than usual

If you suspect laminitis:
•    Call your veterinarian immediately!
•    While you wait for the veterinarian, remove your horse from pasture, provide soft footing for them to stand on and make sure they have water and hay within reach.


Prevention is better than cure…especially when there is no cure!

Feeding remains key to reduce the risk of laminitis. Modern grass varieties are generally productive grasses, too rich for horses, especially those susceptible to laminitis which is closely linked to obesity.

Access to grass should be restricted, but they still need plenty of fiber to avoid other problems such as gastric ulcers and colic. While most cases of laminitis have an underlying hormonal cause, their diet certainly contributes, usually in the form of excess sugar (aka: water soluble carbohydrates (WSC) and starch, the main sources of which are grass and cereals. If too much sugar and starch is consumed at one time, it overloads the small intestine and accumulates in the hind gut instead.

The digestion of the sugar and starch by the hind gut bacteria produces stronger acids than would be produced by fiber digestion (the hind gut’s usual job). This results in acidosis causing bacteria to die and release toxins which can enter the bloodstream via the leaky gut wall caused by the acidity. This is thought to trigger a series of reactions that result in damaging enzymes. These enzymes destroy the bond between the pedal bone and the hoof capsule which ultimately can result in pedal bone rotation and euthanasia is then about the only option.

Alternatives to Grass

Consider supplementing at least part pasture with hay. This can be fed outside on a dirt area so the horse still gets to spend time outside as well as in the stable. The recommended sugar level of hay for those at risk of laminitis is 10% sugar, so it’s best to choose a lower grade hay and get it tested to determine its nutrient content. It’s not always possible to find a suitable hay and you can’t tell just by looking at it, hence the importance of having it tested. Most feed companies offer this service as do independent nutritionists.

Soaking or Steaming?

It’s common practice to soak hay for horses with laminitis. While this is effective for leaching sugars – and most other nutrients – from the hay, it has many drawbacks. Soaking increases the bacterial content, reducing the hygienic quality; it produces an environmental pollutant (the brown yucky water left in the bucket); and results in an unpalatable, soggy hay that can sour in summer temperatures and freeze in the winter. It’s also a huge hassle!

High-temperature hay steaming is also an option. Haygain’s patented method improves the hygienic quality of hay by killing bacteria, mold and fungal spores as well as reducing airborne respirable dust by up to 99%. Another benefit of steaming over soaking is that it retains hay’s nutrients, except for a variable loss in water soluble carbohydrates that are crucial to laminitis prevention. The amount of WSC reduction by steaming varies based on the type of hay, and time and location of harvest.

Once you’ve had your hay tested and you know the starting WSC content, you may find you only need to reduce the sugar (WSC) by a small amount. The recommended overall content is 10% or 100g WSC/kg DM, so a single hay steaming is typically sufficient to reach that level if the original WSC content is only slightly higher. The benefit of this steam-only scenario is maintaining the hay’s nutrients, including protein and minerals, while reducing the WSC to safe levels.

However, if your hay has a high sugar content, then you will need to leach more WSC and it’s best to use a combination of soaking and steaming. This means you will have the benefit of the clean steamed hay but with the nutritional value leached out more by the soaking phase. Research has labelled the gold standard treatment as a 9-hour soak followed by a 50-minute steam cycle. In the study, soaking plus steaming reduced the WSC contents of all hays down to the recommended level of 100g WSC/kg DM (Harris et al., 2017) for fat horses and those pre-disposed to laminitis. The steaming after soaking further reduced the WSC content and killed any bacteria that had multiplied during the soaking process, thus improving the hygienic quality of the hay.

Be aware of the risks of laminitis to horses and ponies at all times, manage their weight and diet with it in mind. Be vigilant of any signs of hoof changes and hoof pain no matter how subtle and seek veterinary advise as soon as you suspect laminitis.

Studies Referenced:
1. “Incidence and clinical signs of owner” reported equine laminitis in a cohort of horses and ponies in Great Britain,” BEVA Equine Veterinary Journal, Dec. 2018
2: “Assessment of horse owners’ ability to recognize equine laminitis: A cross-sectional study of 93 veterinary diagnosed cases in Great Britain,” BEVA Equine Veterinary Journal, May 2017
3. “Decision-tree analysis of clinical data to aid diagnostic reasoning for equine laminitis: a cross-sectional study,” published in BMJ Journals Vet Record, Volume 178, Issue 17.

Article provided by Haygain, the science-based horse health company that manufactures high-temperature Hay Steamers and ComfortStall Orthopedic Sealed Flooring and distributes the Flexineb Portable Equine Nebulizer. Author Becky James, BSc, MSc, was instrumental in developing Haygain’s patented high temperature steaming while studying at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England. She joined Haygain in 2008 and is now the company’s Director, Technical Sales.

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