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Rocky Mountain Horse Expo March 10-12, 2017

It is that time of year again for the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo to take over the National Western Complex in Denver.  This is the time for all those from Montana to Texas, who want to live and breathe all things horse to come together.  Several of our local mountain area horse trainers and business people will be putting on clinics, participating in challenges and hanging out at their booths to chat with passersby.

What better time of year for those of us horse folks who are just catching the hints of spring all around in melting snow, mud and shedding horses.  Our plans for our Colorado summers are filling our heads with activities like horse shows, trail riding, horse trips with friends, sorting, roping, rodeos, endurance rides, clinics and more.  We are setting goals for number of rides, rodeos, shows or clinics.  Maybe to try a new discipline out like Working Equitation, Western Dressage/Cowboy Dressage or Ranch Sorting; experience some of our amazing local parks; or just improve our riding and communication with our equine partners.  Maybe none of that sparks your interest, but most (if not all) of you just like to be around anything horse related and window shop.

With just the price of admission, you have free rein to walk around the Hall of Education, Stadium Arena and Events Center Arena, Barn and Paddock.  You will find vendors, competitions, and clinics going on simultaneously for you do drop in on.  The list of clinicians and speakers includes:  Russell Beatty, Mike Brashear, Sharon Bringleson, Dawn Brunetti, Francis Carbonnel, Nicole Collins, Dan Craig, Justin Dunn, Kris Garrett, Dr. Regan Golob, Julie Goodnight, Cody Harrison, Dennis Kuehl, Mike Kurtz, Cindy Loader, Cal Middleton, Ashara Morris, Jason Patrick, Melisa Pierce, Steuart Pittman, Jo Rench, Lyn Ringrose, Richard Shrake, Travis Smith, Cliff Swanson, Benjiumen Denney, Anna Twinney, Terry Wagner, Carol Walker, Tarrin Warren, Brent Winston and the Side Saddle Sisters of Oklahoma.   If you can’t wait until Thursday, Pre-Clinics start on Wednesday and Thursday.

The 20,000+ people that attend every year will find 250-300 Tradeshow Exhibitors and events like The Comeback Challenge and A Home for Every Horse Auction, Colorado’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred by Retired Racehorse Project, Mounted Shooting, Select Horse Sale, Ride with the Experts, Agri-Business Fair, Stick Horse Arena, Mini Horse Fair, Craft Fair, Horseman’s College, Mustang Days – Extreme Race, Equine Experience, Colt Starting Challenge coltstartingchallengeusa.com, Working Equitation Show, Cowboy Dressage Show, Miss Rodeo Colorado Horsemanship Clinic and Art in the Park Show and Sale.

There are ticketed events like The Mane Event on Friday and Saturday night, showcasing all shapes and sizes of horses doing their thing from Dressage, Team Penning, Driving, Reining, to Vaulting and more.  A great event to bring your non-horse friends and family to.

Looking for a horse to be your new best friend?  The Select Horse Sale is put on by Harley D. Troyer Auctions and is full of riding horses of all sizes.  There is a preview Friday night from 5-7pm and the sale is Saturday For the full catalog go to www.TroyerAuctions.com.

Ride with the Experts is in its 8th year and is an inexpensive way to ride with some of the best clinicians available.  Go to http://www.coloradohorsecouncil.com/rmhe and fill out the participant contract along with your top three clinician preferences by March 6th.

The Scouting and Youth Program is offering the ability for kids and Scouts to earn their “Crazy ‘Bout Horses Patch” or their Horseback Riding Badge.  This is offered on Friday 1-4pm, Saturday 9am-3:30pm and Sunday from 9-11:30am.  For $40 the program covers horse safety, behavior, tack & equipment, veterinary care, horse breeds, grooming and riding

Admission Costs – available for purchase online:

3-Day Grounds badge – $25 (5 and under are free)
Adult 1-Day Grounds pass – $10 (5 and under are free)
Student/Senior 1-Day Grounds pass – $8 (5 and under are free)
Children age 5 and under – FREE
Family Pack of 1-Day Grounds passes – $40 – includes 5 tickets, one person must be an adult (5 and under are free)

Special Youth Coupon – $2 off   FFA, 4H Clubs, Little Britches, High School Rodeo, etc. (redeemable at National Western Ticket Office ONLY) 

Mane Event Passes (for Fri. or Sat. at 7:00 PM)
Admission – $10 - all ages
Family Pack of Mane Event Admissions – $40 (Includes 5 tickets for all ages, one person must be an adult. All 5 tickets must be used on the same night.)

Combination Passes
1-Day Grounds pass and 1-Mane Event pass- $15 - all ages
Family Pack of 1-Day Grounds passes and 1-Mane Event passes – $65 (Includes 5 grounds tickets and 5 Mane Event tickets for all ages. All 5 tickets must be used on same day/night.)

For the full schedule, go to:  http://www.coloradohorsecouncil.com/rmhe.  We hope to see you at the 2017 Rock Mountain Horse Expo!  Heather McWilliams © 2017.

Summer Horse Calendar 2016!

Listed by Entity – Get out there with your horse!

Centaur Rising Horse Camps, Clinics & Shows

Anchorage Farm, 12889 S. Parker Ave. Pine, CO.  www.CentaurRising.org. [email protected] 303-838-5086.

July 10 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show I

August 2-4 – Dressage Camp

August 14 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show II

See website for remaining spots for:

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp

Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp/Advanced Horse Camp

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp

 

Colorado Horsecare Foodbank FUNdraisers!

See website for more info and to sign up online. www.horsefoodbank.org.  303-670-1470.

July 16 – Black Tie – Silver Shoes.  Enjoy an evening with horses at the Queen City Horse Show at the National Western Events Center in Denver.  Fine dining ringside, cocktail attire.

August 26-28 – Ranch Ride Weekend is a fundraiser with long-time CHF friends and supporters: Tom and Darcy Carr, owners of the beautiful Colorado Cattle Company – an authentic working cattle ranch in Northeastern Colorado. This year, Colorado Horsecare Foodbank and the Colorado Cattle Company are offering a late summer Ranch Ride weekend.  The Ranch Ride Weekend includes trail riding on the ranch’s 10,000 acres, learning to team pen cattle, delicious hearty meals, storytelling around a campfire, and charming accommodations where you can sit on the porch of your cabin and watch the horses & cattle peacefully grazing. The cost is $575 for the weekend – Registration is open.

October 14 – Hay Bales & Horse Tails – Amazing evening of food, fun and shopping for horse stuff!  At the Hudson Gardens cabin on Santa Fe Blvd in Littleton.  Sign up now, last year sold out!

 

Evergreen Ranch Sorters Association

Reffel’s Arena, Wandcrest Drive, Pine Junction.  Alternating Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-2pm.  For more information, go to:  the Facebook page at “Evergreen Ranch Sorting Association”.

Try as a guest for up to 3 times for a fee.  Come see why ranch sorting is the fastest growing equine sport in the country and fun for riders of all ages!

 

Evergreen Rodeo Association

RODEO WEEKEND!  EvergreenRodeo.com for full schedule. Volunteers still needed!  Don your cowboy boots and hat and enjoy the festivities while you help support this amazing local historic tradition!  Contact Marty Unger – [email protected]

June 17 Friday – Friday Family Fun Night Benefit for Tri-County Little Britches. 3:00pm and 10:00pm.  Great family event including Muttin Bustin’, stick horse races, barrel racing plus many more activities. Music by Arena Rock All Stars.

June 18 Saturday – Rodeo Parade, 10:00 in downtown Evergreen

June 18 Saturday – Rodeo Performance at El Pinal Rodeo Grounds 2:00 pm, Mutton Bustin’ and Pre-Show starting at 1230pm.

June 19 Sunday – Rodeo Performance at El Pinal Rodeo Grounds 2:00 pm, Mutton Bustin’ and Pre-Show starting at 1230pm.

 

Intermountain Horse Association

intermountainhorse.org or Facebook page “Intermountain Horse”

September 10 – Poker Ride at Alderfer Three Sisters Park.

Monthly meetings 3rd Tuesdays September – May at Beau Jos in Evergreen.  Various horse related topics.

 

Jefferson County 4-H Open Horse Shows

English, Western, Showmanship and Gymkhana classes.  More information, contact info and show bills at: http://www.extension.colostate.edu/jefferson/4h/4h.shtml

June 28 – Horsefeathers Show – El Pinal Arena (Evergreen) – Outdoor

July 9 & 10 – Pleasant Park Horse Show – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor, 2nd day is the speed events (Adults can ride both days in this event)

July 17 – Golden Spurs – Jeffco Event Center Arena (Fairgrounds) – Indoor

July 24 – Fair Clinic – Table View Arena – Outdoor

August 7 – Pleasant Park Gymkhana – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor

August 11 & 12 – County Fair – Jefferson County Fairgrounds – outdoor, only kids can compete

August 25-28 – State Fair – Pueblo

September 4 – Equine Event – Rodeo Arena, more info to come!

September 25 – 4-H Fun Show/Clinic – Table View Arena

 

Kip Fladland Clinic – All Disciplines Welcome

Kip’s website:  LaRiataRanch.com.  Hosted by Pikes View Ranch, Conifer.  Call Kelly Hendricks for more information 303-918-9570.  An encouraging and thoughtful teacher, Kip was born and raised in Montana. He has spent the last 30 years of his life working with and riding horses. In addition to riding horses for the public, Kip has also spent a considerable amount of time cowboying on several large Montana ranches. Working for these ranches would include starting colts, educating riding horses, and using them to care for and watch over the cow/calf operations. He met Buck Brannaman while cowboying and he spent 5 years with Buck on the road doing clinics.  Kip’s wife Missy is a top Dressage trainer.  Several of our mountain area horse people have had great experiences at clinics out east with Kip and wanted to bring him to Colorado for a chance for locals to participate.  Spaces are filling up, call Kelly today to sign up!

September 23-25

Ground Work Class in morningaddresses doing ground work exercises before riding towards the end of each class.

Horsemanship Class in afternoonsa riding class for all levels and disciplines of horses.

 

Starry Night Ranch – Riding on Faith Youth Camp

Llaves, New Mexico.  jubileehorse.com.  [email protected]  575-638-5661           
July 10 – 16  We are a horse lovers dream vacation, spending all day with our horses.  Youth campers will learn basic care, grooming, ground work and riding skills.  We usually ride twice a day and plenty of time in the saddle.

 

Syzygy Coaching

Evergreen, Colorado.  syzygy-co.com.   [email protected]  303-670-7244.

August 27-28 – Equine Vision Journey to Your Next Chapter – an equine guided personal growth retreat.

September – Extraordinary Women Connect Gala

November 10 -Extraordinary Women Ignite – Golden Hotel, Golden, CO

 

Tucker Black Horsemanship Clinics

Red Hawk Ranch, 12754 US HWY 285, Conifer. Check website for latest information. tuckerblackhorsemanship.com or call Tucker at 303-870-8389.

August 27 – Cow Working Clinic, 10am to 3pm

Most Sundays & some Wednesdays, June – September Cutting/boxing cows.

 

Working Equitation

Join on Facebook at “Foothills CO Working Equitation” or contact for more information Christina Turissini, [email protected]

Second weekend of the month – Lessons and/or clinics with Jennifer Holroyd.

Playdates during the month at various locations.

 

 

Western Dressage Clinic

Frances Carbonnel will present an indoor lecture followed by mounted group and private lessons, This event is sponsored by the Foothills Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Dressage Society and is sanctioned by the Western Dressage Association of Colorado.

Colorado Corral Ranch Race & Western Dressage Weekend!

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Jessica & Courage

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Ride-A-Test

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Western Dressage Clinic with Kelly Hendricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all of the participants and sponsors for the Colorado Corral Ranch Race & Western Dressage Clinics & Competitions!  Unless you have been under a rock, you are well aware that the contagious disease, Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) has put a big damper on equine & bovine activities this year in our region.  Because of the VS, our numbers were down as expected, but it was great to be able to get together in our amazing Colorado weather to enjoy our horses!  With Dr. Baird of Mobile Veterinary Services checking each horse upon arrival, we went vegetarian this year and did not bring any cattle in to further reduce our risk.  Thankfully, we were still able to donate $100 to the Colorado Horsecare Foodbank with our proceeds.

There are slide shows of the Western Dressage & Ranch Race pictures, on the youtube channel – MtnHomes4Horses, under the “Community Horse Events” playlist.  A huge thanks to Kelly Hendricks & Tucker Black for donating their time as clinicians, to Dr. Baird for checking the horses for VS, to Chris Sletten for scribing for our judge Beth Geier, to Canyon Tack & Feed for the great goodie bags and to Big R for more fun stuff!!!

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Amelia & Bueno

Please tell them thank you for supporting and give them your business!  We look forward to next year and hopefully no VS!

Western Dressage Continued

In November of last year, this column featured a story on the relatively new discipline of Western Dressage.  Two readers wrote in to take a free Western Dressage lesson sponsored by Andrew at MtnHomes4Horses.com with local instructor, Kelly Hendricks.  Last year, Kelly completed the Train The Trainer TM program through the Western Dressage Association of America, giving her the tools to help teach others the foundation behind Western Dressage.

Denise was one of those readers and grew up riding all over the mountains of Conifer with her Grandfather.  At nine, Denise started riding with the Westernaires.  Her parents bought her Grandfathers horse property in Conifer when she was twelve, allowing her to get her first horse Sasha, a yearling Arabian filly.  She became Denise’s 4-H mount and trail horse.  Denise and Sasha formed a lasting bond as they explored the same mountains that her and her grandfather had once ridden together.

As Denise progressed in Westernaires, she continued to ride their string horses, which gave her an opportunity to ride a variety of horses in many ways during those ten years.  For the last five years with Westernaires, she rode in the National Western Stock Show as well as traveling throughout the United States performing.  At several shows, Denise was the featured sidesaddle rider and she also performed with the Varsity drill team.

Denise’s daughter Jaden, now in medical school, started in Westernaires at twelve.  She too rose through the organization to become a Precisionette, elite Varsity rider and performer at the National Western Stock Show.  They found two amazing horses for Jaden to perform on, Slider and Rio.  While Jaden rode, Denise coached all levels of Westernaires from Tenderfoot to Precisionette.  She was thrilled to be connected to horses again after being away from them while she raised her two kids. Westernaires also gave her and Jaden an opportunity to form a tight bond through their mutual love for horses.

Denise’s life then changed drastically when her husband of twenty-five years filed for divorce and moved to California.  As a single mom, with her son at home, she decided to move back to her hometown of Evergreen to rebuild her life.  Determined to keep horses in her life, she was able to hold on to Slider, who was now aging and needed a companion.  That is when she found Drifter, a Hancock-Driftwood bred three-year-old gelding with a calm, laid back personality.

Drifter entered the picture right around the time the Western Dressage article came out in the Colorado Serenity.  After reading the article, Denise went to a Western Dressage demonstration at the National Western Stock Show in January and decided to email about the free lesson.  Western Dressage seemed to be the perfect way to get a young horse like Drifter engaged, using his body correctly and learning what would be expected of him.

Describing their first lesson with Kelly, Denise states, “Kelly was the perfect trainer for me! I had done lots of riding in my life, but never something like this.  She was quite skilled in this area and a very patient and competent instructor.  I had only ridden Drifter a handful of times before going to a lesson with her.  In fact, I had never even loped him at that point.  She encouraged me to lope him at our first lesson and gave me hints about cues and where to turn him and stop him.  He reacted perfectly!  I was hooked on this new training!”

With sporadic riding over the winter, Denise and Drifter took lessons when they could and as the weather warmed up and the days became longer, they had more time to work on their assigned skills.

This past October 5th, Denise and Drifter attended the Colorado Corral Western Dressage clinic at the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds with Kelly.  Here are her thoughts about her experience at the clinic and at the Ride-A-Test the next day:

What I wasn’t prepared for was the transitions and knowing where those were within the dressage arena.  I understood how to do that in a drill team setting – but the dressage arena and markings were a foreign language to me!  I went home from the clinic and re-wrote the dressage test instructions to make sense to me in my drill team thinking brain.  I walked it through in my pasture and felt fairly confident the day of the test that I had it memorized.  But boy was I nervous!  

I had been riding my whole life and had performed in front of huge audiences – this was just one judge.  But I wanted to do well – for myself, for Drifter and for Kelly.  She had told me the day before at the clinic that any score over 60% was something to be proud of.  It didn’t sound all that good to me – but if she said it was good – I believed her! The ground was still so wet from the flooding the week before.  But Drifter handled it all like a pro.  He moved into the transitions when I cued him and stopped when I asked him to.  At the end, the judge came out into the ring to give me some tips.  At that point I told her Drifter was only 4.  She was shocked and surprised at his demeanor and his willingness.  

She gave me some cues on getting him more collected and rounded – things I am still working with him on now.  I went home feeling good that I didn’t make any huge mistakes and pleased with Drifter’s performance, never imagining that I would receive a score of 64% and 3rd place overall! What an accomplishment for someone who had never even heard of Western Dressage until 9 months ago and just started training her young horse.  I was very pleased! 

I will continue to work on Western Dressage with Drifter.  I feel it is such a good foundation for all horses – regardless of the discipline you intend to move them into.  I still plan to move him into reining when he is ready, but continue with his dressage training throughout his lifetime.

Denise and Slider ride with the Evergreen Rodeo Drill Team. Additionally, Denise works as a coach and consultant for other drill teams around Colorado and Wyoming.  Heather McWilliams © 2013.

Colorado Corral Ranch Race & Western Dressage Weekend Results – October 5 & 6th!

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After delaying the original dates because of the flood, the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds took some extra preparation!  In some areas, there were 2-3’ deep trenches dug by run off that became re-routed down the main drive and into the arena.  Starry Night Ranch hired a local Bobcat operator to come move dirt around and fill in the holes.  My sons and I did a lot of circling in the arena with the drag on a couple occasions.  In addition, an officer from the Colorado Division of Wildlife even made time in his busy day to kindly drag away a very old and VERY smelly elk carcass!

With our original two judges and two clinicians, the weekend went on as planned.  On Saturday, Kelly Hendricks, who has been through the Western Dressage Association’s Train The Trainers TM program lead morning and afternoon groups through the paces out on the grass.  During the same times, Tucker Black worked with two different groups in the rodeo arena on the Ranch Race obstacles.

Over the two days, the proceeds from participants totaled $800, with $600 going to the Colorado Horsecare Foodbank and $200 to the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds!   Here are the results:

Western Dressage Ride-A-Test (Beth Geier, USDF Judge – Cassandra Dipentino Instructor):

  1. Jennifer Donnelly & Wyatt 69.58%
  2. Claire Gosnell & Bitta 66.05%
  3. Denise Schupp & Drifter 64.26%
  4. Sierra Stauffer & Beau 62.71%
  5. Cheryl Holmberg & Ebony 62.29%
  6. Linda Baur & Dolly 59.54%

Ranch Race

Youth 12 & Under:  1. Alix Bailey & Lakota  2. Alexis Hall & Lotto.

Youth 13-18:  1. Breanna Elson & Tommy  2. Erin Blair & Oliver 3. Delaney & Quick To Be Wise.

Green as Grass:  1. Jennifer Hancey & Peavy  2.  Claire Gosnell & Bitta  3.  Marti Cooper & O’Lenas Rosa  4.  Jennifer Donnelly & Wyatt.

Young Horse:  1. Denise Schupp & Drifter.

Amateur:  1. Erika Blair & Chocolate Chip  2. Linda Baur & Dolly  3. Erin Blair & Oliver  4. Amber Hall & Grady  5. Sierra Stauffer & Beau.

Open:  1. Tucker Black & Lakota  2. Dan Bechler & Charm 3. Monika Wheeler & Valor  4. Breanna Elson & Tommy.

Jackpot:  1. Tucker Black & Lakota  2. Erica Blair & Chocolate Chip  3. Monica Wheeler & Valor  4. Amber Hall & Grady  5. Alexis Hall & Lotto  6. Delaney Taylor & Quick To Be Wise.

Thank you to our sponsors:  Canyon Tack & Feed, Pine Country Feed, Pikes View Ranch & Kelly Hendricks, Tucker Black Horsemanship, Big R, MtnHomes4Horses.com, Starry Night Ranch and Mobile Veterinary Services!  Please thank them!  Thank you to the Pleasant Park 4-H group for the yummy food and drink on both days and to our volunteers Janice Weldon and Scott & Grace Updegraff!  Go to the MtnHomes4Horses YouTube channel or to the blog at MtnHomes4Horses.com for slide shows from both days.  See you September 2014 for our 5th year! Heather McWilliams © 2013.

 

 

***New Date for Colorado Corral Ranch Race & Western Dressage! October 5 & 6th***

New Date for Ranch Race & Western Dressage!!!  Thank you to our clinicians and judges for their understanding and willingness to reschedule a new date!  Saturday October 5th will be the clinics for the Ranch Race and Western Dressage & the Ranch Race Competition and Western Dressage will run concurrently on Sunday October 6th.   All of the information is updated in the Event section on this website.  See past Ranch Race’s at YouTube channel “MtnHomes4Horses”.

The schedule will remain mostly the same, although we will likely add another Ranch Race clinic on Saturday to keep the groups at about 8 participants.  If you would be interested in being in a 8-10am Ranch Race Clinic, please let me know if you were already.  The other two for Ranch Race will be at 10am-12pm and 1-3pm.  Western Dressage clinics will be at 10am-12pm and 1-3pm.
On Sunday the Ranch Race will start with the youth divisions at 9am (830am judge walk through) and the Western Dressage Ride-A-Test times will start at 9:30am.  For Western Dressage Rules & Tests, go to:  http://www.westerndressageassociation.org/western-dressage-rules-tests/
Registration form below or email me to receive on to pass along to your friends who were not able to attend the original dates.  The new closing date will be September 30th –

Ranch Race & Western Dressage Registration Form

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Heather McWilliams
303-638-0994

***POSTPONED: RANCH RACE & WESTERN DRESSAGE CLINICS & SHOWS***

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” and “come hell or high water” have taken on new meaning to me!

As you can imagine, I have been heavily deliberating about canceling the clinic/show, which is normally not a good idea for many reasons.
I think we are now past normal and in light of the above sayings, we are in rain fall amounts in record proportions and all of the complications that come with that.  My main concern is for the safety of the people and horses and this is more than just a little rain.  I know some of you cannot even get out of your driveway or may not be able to cross Bear Creek to attend.
I need to reschedule the insurance, both judges, cattle, both clinicians and so on, so I will plan to have a new date set by this coming Wednesday.  I hope you are all safe and somewhat dry!
PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ANYONE WHO YOU MAY HAVE FORWARDED ANY OTHER RANCH RACE/WESTERN DRESSAGE INFO TO SO THAT THEY DON’T SHOW UP!  Please email me to be put on the Ranch Race email list if you are not already.
Heather McWilliams
303-638-0994

Colorado Corral Ranch Race & Western Dressage – Clinic & Competition September 14 & 15 2013

Just two months away is the Colorado Corral Ranch Race at the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds!  Anyone is welcome to participate and/or spectate.  There are divisions for all ages and levels of riders and horses including Lead-line, Youth 8-10, 12-14 and 15-18; Green as Grass, Green Horse, Amateur, Open and a Jackpot.  Email me at [email protected] for a registration form.

What is the Ranch Race you ask?  The Ranch Race is a fun course of 10-15 obstacles, similar to a trail course, but with more of a ranch twist including cattle.  Fun and safety are of the utmost importance.  Time is recorded and used mostly to keep the participants moving, but good horsemanship is rewarded every time.  An experienced, professional judge scores each obstacle to determine the placings in each division.

Running concurrently with the Ranch Race for the first time is a Western Dressage Ride-A-Test schooling show.  Similar to a traditional Dressage Ride-A Test, participants will be assigned a ride time, ride their test, receive the scored test and have 10-15 minutes of ride time with the judge (USDF certified judge).  Essentially a mini-clinic – with ribbons and awards!   Just go to the http://www.westerndressageassociation.org/western-dressage-rules-tests/, look through the tests and decide which one you want to be judged on.

While the Ranch Race and Western Dressage Ride-A-Test take place on Sunday September 15th, there will be a clinic on Saturday the 14th for both events taught by two of our gifted local trainers.

Tucker Black – see www.TuckerBlackHorsemanship.com, will be giving the Ranch Race obstacle clinic.  This is a perfect chance for any riders to learn and get their horses used to the obstacles that will be in the Ranch Race the next day.

Kelly Hendricks- see www.KellysHorsinAround.com, participated in the Train The Trainers ™ put on by the Western Dressage Association to teach riding instructors the essence of Western Dressage and she will be instructing the Western Dressage Clinic on Saturday.

While some riders will choose to participate in all four events (i.e. Ranch Race Clinic and/or show; Western Dressage Clinic and/or Ride-A-Test), anyone is welcome to participate in how ever many of the parts that they wish to.

To see slide shows of past Ranch Race’s, go to the MtnHomes4Horses YouTube channel.  If you are new to Western Dressage, there is also a blog post on the www.MtnHomes4Horses.com website bearing the same name.

The cost is $50 for the Ranch Race and Clinic, $30 for the Western Dressage Clinic and Ride-A Test.  Entries open August 15th and close September 9th.    Further discounts if you volunteer during the clinic and/or competition.  See the Events calendar on the website for information and email me at [email protected] for a registration form.  Always feel free to call me with any questions! 303-638-0994.  I look forward to seeing you there for this weekend of fun and festivities!  If you are interested in sponsoring awards, cattle, insurance, judging, etc, just let me know!  Mark your calendars for the Intermountain Horse Association Poker Ride September 7th, www.IntermountainHorse.com.  Heather McWilliams © 2013.

 

Western Dressage

Western Dressage

For centuries before most of us were a part of the American west, Europeans had been refining their horse training techniques in Dressage, a French term meaning ‘training’.  The purpose of Dressage (quoted according to the United States Dressage Federation) is to “develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.”

Then as the American west was settled, Western Horsemanship was practiced on the ranches of the American West and earlier still through the Spanish vaqueros.  This better way of training rose to the top and became known to the horse world first through trainers like Tom and Bill Dorrance.  True Western Horsemanship simply put is where people learn to communicate with the horse in their language with patience and understanding creating a willing partner in the horse.

While the methods came from two sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the core values and the value of the horse stood true – inevitably, Dressage and Western Horsemanship, East and West came together to create Western Dressage.

As a result, in 2010 the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) was created. Plus, with many local roots at the national level, the Western Dressage Association of Colorado (WDACO) was the first affiliate to be established.

The mission statement of WDAA says it well:

Our mission is to build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage.

  • We honor the horse.
  • We value the partnership between horse and rider.
  • We celebrate the legacy of the American West.

Western Dressage brings together the skilled horsemanship, history and techniques of the American west with the art, ancient traditions and systematic training of the European institutions of riding.

Why is it the discipline you have been waiting for?  Over the years, it is evident to me that many people feel intimidated by training, skills, showing, and clinics; but most everyone I know would like to be a better rider and partner to their horse.  As a non-profit 501(c)3, volunteer run, educational organization, WDAA’s focus is the horse.  They have created affordable ways for anyone, with any kind of horse, with basic western tack to improve their riding and communication with their horse through affordable clinics, training and even showing opportunities with clear and concise skill sets for any level of rider.

The training world can seem overwhelming at times in any discipline and it can also seem like trainers have all been to some exclusive mysterious school where they hold the secrets hidden and only certain people can know or even understand them.  Western Dressage breaks principles of riding into “skill sets”, giving an organized method of breaking skills down, all while laying the foundation to result in better communication between horse and rider.

There is an entry point for all levels of riders in Western Dressage.  Beginners will find an inviting, non-intimidating environment to learn in, while more advanced riders will find a supportive place to hone their skills.  Skill sets are taught in a sequential manner and build upon one another. As the riders develop their skills, their horses learn to carry themselves in a more balanced, cadenced manner.  Horses develop and are looked at as individuals according to their type.

For the past year, Evergreen resident Chris Sletten has been serving on the board and helping with the foundation of WDACO.  In a recent interview regarding finding Western Dressage to add to her current riding program Chris stated, “ I feel like I have the best of all areas of horsemanship…  And I still get to dress like a cowgirl!!”

Kelly Hendricks of Pikes View Ranch in Conifer is another local that was invited with 30 other riding instructors from across the nation to be a part of the first “Train The Trainers” seminar this past month in order to learn the rules, tests and methods of the WDAA.

With such a strong membership and presence in the organization of WDAA, Colorado will have many opportunities for horse people in our area to participate.  My research for this article convinced me to join and I look forward to my first chance to get involved.  If you have been hesitant to get involved with an organization, training or clinics in the past, I challenge you to give this one a try.  Andrew McWilliams of MtnHomes4Horses.com wants to pay for an introductory lesson to Western Dressage with Kelly Hendricks for two area riders.  Submit a short email about your horse journey to [email protected] to be considered.

Visit WDAA at www.westerndressageassociation.org or the Colorado Affiliate at www.wdaco.org for a full explanation of Western Dressage, listings of upcoming events and demo videos.

Heather McWilliams © 2012 MtnHomes4Horses.com