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Whats Happening!! Sep 14, 2010 - Founded in the 1980's, by long-term San Francisco residents Hugh and Melba Meakin, Horses in California, Inc, is a non-profit organization ...

Sep 14, 2010 - Founded in the 1980's, by long-term San Francisco residents Hugh andMelba Meakin, Horses in California, Inc, is a non-profit organization ...
UAE Wins Endurance Team Gold; Only One US Rider Completes Race

September 27, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Sidelines doesn’t normally cover endurance, but anyone who completes -or even attempts to complete- a 100 mile ride in just 8 hours deserves our attention! The press release and photos below are courtesy of USEF and the FEI. A special congratulations to Deborah Reich, the only US rider who completed the race, proving once again that endurance racing is HARD!

Deborah Reich and DJB Juniper. Photo by Shannon Brinkman for USEF.
by Erica Larson for USEF
Lexington, KY – The endurance race at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games kicked off at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday as 108 horse-and-rider combinations headed out on the six-loop track, all hoping to be the first to finish at the end of the day.  The day started out cool and breezy but ended up being perfect weather for an endurance competition.
Five U.S. endurance combinations started the race. However, two of them – Lindsay Graham’s horse, Monk (an eight-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Chris Martin), and Dr. Margaret Sleeper’s horse, Syrocco Harmony (an eight-year-old Arabian gelding), were eliminated for metabolic reasons.  Janice Worthington’s Golden Lightning (a 10-year-old Arabian gelding) was eliminated due to lameness.

The sole finisher for the U.S. was Deborah Reich and her mare eight-year-old Arabian mare, DJB Juniper.  Originally the team alternate, the pair finished the race in 8 hours, 42 minutes and 55 seconds, finishing in 18th place.
“We were in the front groups for about the first half,” Reich said. “She got a little tired on the fifth loop.  But then she was crewed so well that I think she got a second wind and finished the race really strong.”
After being named to the team, Reich trained in Kentucky for a month before the Games. This was Reich’s first World Equestrian Games.
“It was really special to be able to ride here in Kentucky, and I really got to appreciate the beauty of it.  It’s been great to work as a team,” she said. “I am honored to have been picked.  I really believed that I had a horse that could help our team.”
Heather Reynolds and Ssamiam crossed the finish line in fourth place, but were spun after “Sam” did not pass the final examination.
“If this were a horse I expected to come here and do great things with, I would probably be crying right now,” Reynolds said after her ride. “But this is a young horse.  I’m so proud of him right now, and I think he’s an exciting horse for the future.”
Monday morning, after the test of the endurance race, all of the horses were examined and all of the U.S. horses were found to be in good shape. The riders are looking forward to their next race.

Spanish rider Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton won her second consecutive WEG gold medal riding Nobby. Photo by Kit Houghton/FEI
Taking home the Individual Gold medal wasMaria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton of Spain and her long time partner, Nobby.  The pair led through much of the day and crossed the finish line with a total ride time of 7 hours, 35 minutes and 44 seconds.  This is the second consecutive WEG Gold Medal for the pair.
For me, he is the best horse,” she said after her ride.  “He has a great heart and recovery time, but what won the race today was his mind.  He has a great mind.”
Finishing just behind them in the Silver-medal position was HH Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum and his flashy chestnut, Ciel Oriental of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The pair finished the course with a total ride time of 7 hours, 36 minutes and 39 seconds.
“I had a great ride,” the Sheik said. “I just took care of my horse and he finished the race strong.”
Finally, in the Individual Bronze-medal position was HE Sheik Hamdan Mohammad al Maktoum and SAS Alexis (UAE).  The pair hustled at the end to complete the course in 7 hours, 36 minutes and 56 seconds.
In the Team competition, the riders from the UAE had the fastest total time and took home the Team Gold medal.  The total ride time was 23 hours, 53 minutes and 36 seconds for the team members were HE Sheik Hamdan Mohammad al Maktoum aboard SAS Alexis, HE Sheik Majid Mohammad al Maktoum aboard Kangoo D’Aurabelle and Sheik Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum aboard Rukban Dikruhu Mmn.
The Team Silver medal was awarded to France with a total time of 24 hours, 49 minutes and 46 seconds.  The team was made up of Sarah Chakil aboard Sakalia, Virginie Atger aboard Azim du Florival and Cecile Miletto Mosti aboard Easy Fortnoire.
Team Germany rallied near the end to take home the Bronze medal.  With a total ride time of 25 hours, 34 minutes and 16 seconds, the team was comprised of Gabriela Forster aboard Priceless Gold, Sabrina Arnold aboard Beau Ox and Belinda Hitzler aboard Shagar.
Only five horses were presented at the judging for the coveted title of Best Conditioned Horse this morning.  After inspecting the competitors, the judges decided that Hanaba du Bois, ridden by Jean-Philippe Frances from France, would be awarded the title.

Start of the endurance with the eventual winner Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton and Nobby in blue at the front. Photo by Kit Houghton/FEI

USA Team Wins Third Consecutive Gold Medal at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™

September 27, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Shawn Flarida (USA) captured the individual first place ranking on RC Fancy Step at the Reining World Championships presented by John Deere at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The USA team captured its third straight gold medal Sunday, this time on home turf.  The Reining World Championships were presented by John Deere in the Alltech Arena as part of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
The Belgium team medaled in reining for the first time and took silver.
Italy, on the medal stand for the third time in World Equestrian Games’ history, secured third place.
Final Results- Reining
Individual – 1, RC Fancy Step (Shawn Flarida) USA 227.0; 2, Yellow Jersey (Stefano Massignan) ITA; Gunners Special Nite (Tom McCutcheon) USA, 224.0; 4, Mister Montana Nic (Craig Schmersal) USA; BA Reckless Chick (Bernard Fonck) BEL 223.5.
Teams – 1, USA  674.5; 2, Belgium 659.0; 3, Italy 655.5; 4, Austria 635.5; 5, Canada 652.5.

Mary Lou Harrington Ross

September 14, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Mary Lou, 56, passed from this life on Sunday, September 5 at home in Dallas after a long struggle with COPD. She leaves behind her husband, Gregory Ross, of Santa Fe, New Mexico; niece, Emily Eikenburg and partner April Miller of Dallas; sister Constance Harrington Coolik of Plano and aunt Mary Alice Phillips of Dallas. She was preceded in death by her mother, Kitty Mattison Harrington, father Conner Harrington, mayor of Plano at his death in 1970; and, cousin Laurel Sage Harrington Morris.  She was the grand daughter of the late Gladys Bishop Haggard Harrington of Plano.
She also leaves first cousins Cynthia Harrington (Dan) and Laurel Hunter Harrington Morris of Blue Ridge, Fred Joseph Harrington of Plano, Dr. Jim Blalock (Debbie) of Oklahoma City, Dr. Bob Blalock (Claudia) of Dallas, and a host of dear and lifelong friends.
Mary Lou was a sixth generation resident of Plano, Texas and was witness to and a significant part of its history.  She was an active in government and civic affairs, having been on the board of directors of the Crisis Center of Collin County, Live From Plano, Plano Junior League and various other groups and organizations. She was a member of the Ladies Polo Auxiliary of Texas.
Mary Lou was instrumental in recruiting J.C. Penney’s to move its headquarters from New York City to Plano.  “Ya’ll come, and bring your momma and papa and cousins too” was the cry. Penney’s move was much talked about in the New York press and Mary Lou and a group of Plano supporters descended upon the city, making public appearances and sparring with radio disc jockeys, selling New Yorkers on Plano Texas.
That Boz Scaggs, of Plano, babysat her portended the rock and roll life that Mary Lou would have.  She was married to Steve Miller’s personal assistant, traveled with the Steve Miller Band for years and personally knew many musicians of the 70’s and 80’s. Steve McCarty, who co-wrote Fly Like an Eagle and Wild Mountain Honey will perform at her Santa Fe Celebration of Life.
Mary Lou retired from real estate development to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she and her attorney husband Gregory were active in the artistic, equestrian and legal communities.  She was equally at ease in the boardroom and the kitchen.  She was renowned for her hospitality and was every inch the consummate Texas lady – strong yet graceful, loving and welcoming.  Her annual Governor’s Cup polo party
and New Years Day black eyed pea brunches were not to be missed.  She would prepare for weeks for hunt breakfasts in the field for the Juan Tomas Hounds.  Mary Lou exuded love, caring and kindness.
A celebration of her life will be held in Santa Fe on September 19.  A memorial will be held at the First Christian Church of Plano on October 2, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.  Her ashes will be interred in Plano Mutual Cemetery.


September 02, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Festival ramps up for its opening day September 25, 2010
Lexington, KY (August 30, 2010) – In the spirit of the proud tradition established by previous host cities, the International Equestrian Festival welcomes visitors to downtown Lexington for a celebration worthy of the “Horse Capital of the World.” The Festival, which takes place at the Lexington Convention Center September 25 – October 10, offers something for everyone – from the experienced equestrian to the casual observer.   Tickets are available at the door – $5 for a one-day pass, or $8 for multi-day pass.
The International Equestrian Festival, presented by HRTV, will be bustling with activity from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. daily.                 .
  • International Shopping Expo of more than 200 exhibitors
  • Hollywood Casino Hospitality Atrium
  • Ecotrack Park horse demonstrations
  • Educational seminars
  • Horse breed and association appreciation days and demonstrations
  • Equestrian celebrities including Clinician Julie Goodnight, Monty Roberts,
Mark Peterson & Dusty, Biomechanics Expert Colleen Kelly, Trainer Rex
Peterson, Singer & Songwriter Templeton Thompson.
Please visit for a complete schedule of events.

Jay Matter

August 27, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Horse people, it’s time to rally ’round a member of our herd. As many of you know, Jay Matter passed away last week, shortly after being diagnosed with liver cancer. No services are being held for Jay at this time. Rather, Dee would like to invite all of Jay’s many friends to a celebration of his life, which will be held in Wellington in early to mid-December. Entertainment, food and beverages have already been donated, just bring yourselves and your best Jay stories.
Many of you have asked what you can do for Dee right now. An account has been established to provide Dee financial stability during this transitional period. Any amount you would like to contribute would be greatly appreciated. On Dee’s behalf, I’d like to thank you for your kindness & support!
Checks can be made out to “Jocelyn Dee Thomas”, with
Account # 1010297597713 in the memo line, and mailed to:
Wachovia Bank at Wellington East Store
11900 Forest Hill Blvd.
Wellington, FL 33414
If you have any questions about the account, please contact:
Janine Lyons from Wachovia Bank @ 561.838.5361 or
Mary Moricoli @ 561.676.6719 or
Anne Madej @ 847.612.8363
-Kim Tudor


August 27, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Proceeds Benefit James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program For Children with Special Needs
San Francisco, Calif. — September 1, 2010 — Horses in California, Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting San Francisco through horses and horse-related events is proud to announce their annual Polo in the Park, the Bay Area’s premier charity polo event benefiting the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program (JBTRP). This year’s event will take place Sunday, September 26th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Bercut Equitation Field in Golden Gate Park.
“The James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program has brought over 400 mentally or physically challenged children the opportunity to gain a love and respect for animals, better self-confidence, improved social skills, increased joint mobility and enhanced neural development,” said Melba Meakin, Founder of Horses in California, Inc. “San Francisco has a long and prestigious equestrian history that has become critically endangered of disappearing over the past ten years. Horses in California is dedicated to keeping this tradition alive with our annual Polo in the Park event benefiting the JBTRP.”
Now in its 26th year, Polo in the Park brings together local polo players to vie for the Eric Pedley Perpetual Trophy. Polo in the Park will feature an arena polo tournament. Arena polo is similar to field polo but played in an enclosed field with a softer ball and allows spectators to get even closer to all the action.
In addition to polo, many activities will take place throughout the day for the whole family to enjoy. These events will include:
  • English High-Tea Service: Enjoy scrumptious tea sandwiches, scones, sweet treats and English teas sponsored by Tal-y-Tara Tea and Polo Shoppe.
  • Raffle Drawings
  • Fashion Show By Wee Scotty: Featuring fashions for the holidays for girls ages 2 to 16, including prom wear.
  • Live Musical Performances
  • Wine Tasting: Exquisite wines from California are available for tasting.
  • Horse Shows and Exhibition Show Jumping
“The emotional and spiritual benefits of horseback riding are profound and become self-evident when you witness a child experiencing the joy of horses for the very first time,” said Sarah Meakin, Executive Director of the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program.
Tickets for Polo in the Park are $100 per person or $700 for a table of eight. Children ages 12 and under free. All proceeds benefit the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program. For more information and to purchase tickets visit
About Horses in California, Inc.
Founded in the 1980’s, by long-term San Francisco residents Hugh and Melba Meakin, Horses in California, Inc, is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing equestrian-related arts, events, and physical wellness to disadvantaged and special needs children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. It operates the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program and hosts the annual Polo in the Park charity event.
About the James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program
The James S. Brady Therapeutic Riding Program for children with autism and other special needs is the main beneficiary of Polo in the Park, and provides children in the San Francisco Bay Area with horsemanship and horseback riding lessons as a physical or social therapy alternative. The “Brady Program” has helped over 400 mentally or physically challenged children under the direction of personnel who have been certified and insured by the Equine Associated Growth and Learning Association. The organization uses specially trained Norwegian Fiord therapy horses at weekly lessons in Bercut Equitation Field, Golden Gate Park San Francisco.
The “Brady Program” has received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly and Award of Honor from the City and County of San Francisco.
For More Information Contact:
Michelle Reingold
Cell: (650) 281-5866

New book out soon about legendary show jumper Snowman!

August 18, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Lecture: “The Eighty Dollar Champion: A Horse, a Man, and the Dream That Inspired a Nation,” Elizabeth Letts and Harry de Leyer, Friday, August 27, 2 p.m., National Sporting Library & Museum, 102 The Plains Rd., Middleburg, Va.  20117,
Free, RSVP to Elizabeth Tobey, 540-687-6542 x 11 or
Author Elizabeth Letts, of Chadds Ford, Pa., and horse rider and trainer Harry de Leyer of Charlottesville, Va., will give an informal roundtable discussion about Snowman, the $80 horse that became a national champion show jumper in the 1950’s. This free program will be held at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Va., on Friday, August 27 at 2 p.m. For more information, visit
The beloved show jumper is now the subject of a full-length book, “The Eighty Dollar Champion,” by Elizabeth Letts, forthcoming from Ballantine Books this summer. The book, based in part, on Letts’ research as a John H. Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library & Museum, is a celebration of Snowman and an exploration of the factors and forces that shaped the sport of show jumping in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, a time that some refer to as The Golden Age of Show Jumping. The Daniels Fellowship sponsors scholars and researchers working on projects related to the Library’s collections on horse and field sports. The lecture is part of the Library’s Fellows’ Roundtable series where Daniels Fellows discuss their research-in-progress.
In February 1956, Harry de Leyer arrived late at the auction in New Holland, Pa.  He had gone there to look for a quiet school horse for his pupils. When he arrived there were only a few stragglers left– horses that had already been loaded onto the truck bound for the slaughterhouse.  Something about one horse caught his eye and he asked the driver to unload that horse so he could take a closer look.  The big gray was dirty, thin, and missing a shoe, but de Leyer paid $80 dollars for him.  Maybe with a bit of luck, the gray would clean up and make a good lesson horse. When he got the horse home, de Leyer discovered that the horse had a gift– he was a natural born jumper.  Eighteen months later, the pair stood under the spotlights at Madison Square Garden: Snowman had captured the National Open Jumper Championship and, along the way, stolen the hearts of people across America.  Now famous, the ex-plowhorse became the subject of two children’s books, appeared on the Johnny Carson show, and toured both Europe and the United States giving exhibitions.

“Let’s Make WEG 2010 Our Aachen”

August 13, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
by Chris Kappler
Last month I flew to Europe on business. Upon landing, I realized the Grand Prix of Aachen would take place that very day. I happily rescheduled my first appointment so I could see the “Grosse Priz von Aachen”.
I have ridden at Aachen many times, and it is an overwhelming competitive experience. In fact, comparing the thrill of an Olympic gold medal or the Aachen Grand Prix win, most riders would be given pause. What makes Aachen such a unique sporting event?
I jumped into my rental car and arrived early, around 10:30am. Crowds were already making their way into the show. Although I could have gotten rider’s credentials, I decided to experience Aachen as a spectator, not a rider. I went to the ticket counter to buy seats, but of course, the box office was closed since they are always sold out on Grand Prix Sunday. I was lucky to find someone selling a pair of front row seats and gladly paid the scalper’s price!
The first class started at 12:30 with 40 entries in a 1.45 speed competition–   just a teaser for the great class to come. At Aachen, all the riders bring their “A game”, which makes for great watching. Still, I made time to tour the many shops and food stands. By now, it was “standing room only”. I could hardly move about among the nearly 50,000 people. Back in the show ring, the first round ended with 20 clear rounds returning for a jump-off. To the vast crowd’s delight, the dressage and driving champions for the week were brought into the main arena while the jumper course was set and walked. Prizes were awarded with victory parades around the ring. I was astounded by the crowd’s deafening reaction to the presentation!
The course designer, Frank Rothenberger, built a real jumping contest for the second round. This most difficult test produced only 4 additional clear rounds allowing a jump off between four of the fiercest competitors in show jumping. The result? Number one on the world ranking list, Eric Lamaze and his wonderful stallion Hickstead won, and number two in the world, Pius Switzer finished second!! No one needed wonder how they had achieved their world rankings!
At the conclusion of the Grand Prix, no one left the stands. At most events I attend, people scurry away like rats on a sinking ship. At Aachen, the crowd stayed to cheer for the awards ceremony and the parade of teams right to the end. I felt like I was in the middle of a patriotic rally, a send-off of the German teams to the World Equestrian Games with the nation’s great hopes, honor, and pride. All the German Federation was there, including past International champions, to support their riders at this important moment. Anyone would have been proud to be a German equestrian that day!
I can’t think of a show in America that comes close to what Aachen can produce in every way. I don’t want to pick on America, since no country in the world can reproduce the rich history, pride and competitive atmosphere that Aachen does. We can, however, significantly improve our events in America in the many areas I experienced as an Aachen spectator. We can begin with American spectator attendance at WEG this October.
According to the local Lexington newspaper, only 260,000 of the available 600,000 seats at WEG 2010 have been sold. Approximately 100,000 of those seats were actually given away to sponsors and guests of the WEG. How can only 140,000 tickets be sold despite all the years of planning and promoting the WEG? How can an important World Championship be so poorly attended by its host country? The Games cannot have meaning and importance without an enthusiastic audience.
Please come support our American teams! The plans and improvements have been spectacular. What location could be more beautiful than the Blue Grass State in October? Tickets have sounded very exclusive, but in fact they are still available and the price has recently been reduced! Hotels vacancies remain, and with a little searching you can find something not too expensive. I plan to stay near Cincinnati, a mere 60 miles away. The original pain-in-the neck-parking situation has been resolved with convenient on-grounds parking a short walk from the competition areas. Three great reasons to get your plans organized now!
American riders in every discipline need and want your encouragement. That’s why the German people go to Aachen—to cheer on their team against the best competitors in the world. WEG is American horsemen’s chance to take part in a spectacle that brings the best riders in the world together as we cheer our American teams on to great success. Let’s dig in, make every effort possible, and encourage everyone to buy tickets. We Americans can make the Kentucky World Games our Aachen in 2010!
Courtesy of North American Riders Group

Feds round up more than 100 mustangs along CA-NV border

August 12, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
(AP) – 23 hours ago
RENO, Nev. — Federal land managers have captured more than 100 wild horses a day after an appellate court refused to stop the mustang roundup along the California-Nevada border.
The Bureau of Land Management District Manager Nancy Haug says 119 animals gathered Wednesday were reported to be in good health. The roundup of about 2,000 wild horses is expected to last at least a month.
Horse protection advocates had sought an emergency injunction for the roundup. In Defense of Animals argued the horses have more legal right to the public range than the thousands of livestock grazing there.
The BLM says the overpopulated mustang herds about 120 miles north of Reno are damaging public rangeland and threatening their own well being.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the advocates’ request Tuesday night.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Flintfields Horse Park to Host Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 2 Dressage Championships

August 12, 2010 By: Erin Category: What's Happenin'
Written by: Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Client: Horse Sports by the Bay, Inc.
Release Date: 2010-08-10
Traverse City, MI – August 10, 2010 – After hosting four very successful weeks of hunter, jumper and dressage competition in July, Horse Sports by the Bay, Inc. is now preparing for an exciting September show at the beautiful Flintfields Horse Park. The Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 2 Dressage Championships are just five weeks away and counting. The following information will be helpful as the countdown continues to the first horse trotting down center line on September 9.
* This weekend is the last chance to qualify – Please mail entries to Monica Fitzgerald – 7 Aragon Lane – Maggie Valley, NC 28751
* Golf carts are available to rent from Grand Bay Golf Cars at 231-941-7220 or 231-218-2837. Rent in advance to receive a $25 discount. There will be special weekly and daily rental rates on two and four car passenger cars in a limited supply.
* The Dessage4Kids Charity Fundraiser and Exhibitor Party will be held on Saturday, September 11 at 5:00 p.m. in the Grand Prix Arena Pavilion. Tickets are $5 in advance (on entry blank or via email) or $10 at check-in.
Judges include Hilda Gurney, Sandra Hotz, Joan Maccartney, Susan Malone-Casey, Anita Owen, R. Scott Peterson, Debbie Riehl-Rodrigues, and Gary Rockwell. Janine Malone and Susan Moran will be serving as the USEF Technical Delegates.
The Championships will be held in conjunction with the Dressage by the Bay Fall Classic, which offers a full schedule of classes ranging from Training through Grand Prix Level.   Riders winning blue ribbons will receive wonderful first place prizes including gift certificates to a one-year Sidelines Magazine subscription.
Have any questions? Email for more information or