Open Horse Show popular at Yucaipa Equestrian Center

Written by Bob on November 15th, 2009

Photos and Story BY BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, CA – Twenty long years had passed since Tracy Beck had seriously ridden and competed in horse shows. But she showed no rust from her time away from the show arena, as she and her partner, Stormy, claimed back-to-back blue ribbons Saturday at the Yucaipa Equestrian Center.

The Morgan Horse Show Club of Southern California hosted an Open Horse Show at the popular equestrian center, which drew competitors from throughout southern California.

And Tracy and her 11-year-old daughter, Madison, were two of the riders who performed well in the event. And mom and daughter shared Stormy, whose birth name is, “JJ SK’s Spring Storm” in several of the 42 events.

Tracy and Madison’s delighted smiles and the strokes and hugs they lovingly bestowed on Stormy – owned by James and Sandra Flanagan of Shamrock Morgan’s in Ramona – showed their pride in the 10-year-old beautifully mannered Morgan.

“His canter was perfect, he was gorgeous,” Tracy said after winning blue ribbons in the English Pleasure age 16/Over, and English Country Pleasure events. “He was consistent and steady, and he walked well.”

“He is so much fun,” said Madison. “I’m happy to ride him and share him with mom.”

The Yucaipa Equestrian Center’s main arena was busy from morning to late afternoon with riders and horses of all breeds competing in 42 different events. The equestrian center has become one of southern California’s and the Inland Empire’s most popular venues for horse events of all kinds.

“We have team penning and sorting, gymkhana, and the (local) 4-H club is at the arena on Thursday’s,” said Debbie Harber, who manages the equestrian center and is on the Yucaipa Equestrian Arena Committee.

Harber said Saturday’s Open Horse Show was well received by riders of all ages with varying levels of riding and competing skills.

“We have everything from the very first timers, which is really exciting, to some who compete at the Paint (horse) world level,” Harber said.

“We have Morgan’s, quarter horses, One Blood’s, a Clydesdale, Paints and Standard Breeds here. Some (competitors) travel as far as Texas and go to many, many horse shows throughout the year to compete to qualify to go to a world show.”

Marilyn Gilbert woke early to load “Mr. Cool” her 14-year-old quarter horse for the long ride from her Thermal ranch to Yucaipa. Gilbert said the arena and the event were the culmination of a great day for her and Mr. Cool, who has won several top events in his long, prestigious career.

“I like that the price was only five dollars (for each event),” Gilbert said, adding that at some horse shows, individual events can reach as high as $50. “It doesn’t cost much and it’s perfect here today.”

Riders and horses came from such equine popular cities such as Norco and Mira Loma, Temecula, Ramona – and locally as well.

Vince Willingham of Yucaipa videotaped his wife, Carolyn, as she and her Paint, “Buddy Roscoe,” competed in the Jack Benny age 29 Over event. When Carolyn and Buddy Roscoe earned a ribbon, he cheered and thrust his arm in the air, thumbs up.

“They did really well and I liked their smoothness,” said Vince. “I give them a thumbs up.”

Another excited and somewhat nervous fan was Gordon Lay of Yucaipa. As he sat in his lawn chair at the east end of the arena, his eyes followed his daughter, Alona, and her quarter horse, Splash of Nova, as they competed in several events.

“This is overwhelming and I’m excited for her,” Gordon said. “She puts in a lot of time and work with her horse.”

How well did the 17-year-old Alona perform? Well, lets just say that when the pupil beats her master, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Alona competed with her trainer, Laura Thornton of Yucaipa, and in one of the events, Alona took the blue.

“You know the trainer has done a good job when the student she has taught beats her,” said Gordon with a smile lighting up his face. “Laura has taught her well.”

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