On the International Trail

Quarter Horses and Horsemanship in Costa Rica

The 2016 Verdugo International Horsemanship Camp series gets under way, starting in Costa Rica.

Day 1

The Texas A&M Equine Initiative team landed in San Jose, Costa Rica last night and made their way through the winding mountain roads to the Rancho Ecuestre Hermanos Lopez, site of the 2016 Costa Rica seminar. Supported by the AQHA William R. Verdugo grant, the Texas A&M Equine Initiative team will be conducting Verdugo International Horsemanship Camps in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Paraguay this summer. For the Costa Rican camp, the team comprises Drs. Jim Heird and Anna Morrison of Texas A&M University, and Terry and Saralyn Riddle of the Four Sixes Ranch

After enjoying a typical Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto, the team began the seminar with a colt-starting demonstration by Terry Riddle. Next, Dr. Anna Morrison talked about the reining scoring system and making smart choices as an amateur exhibitor.

After a lunch featuring the typical Costa Rican dish casado, Riddle went back to work with a reining demonstration. After a brief storm where the rainforest lived up to its name, Riddle finished the day working with two additional young horses. 

The team behind the Verdugo International Horsemanship Camps is proud to be in Costa Rica representing the American Quarter Horse Association in Costa Rica, and is looking forward to the next two days of the seminar!

Day 2

The second day of the seminar in Costa Rica started with the second work on each of the three young horses Terry Riddle started working the day before. The seminar attendees were able to see a lot of changes and improvements in all three horses, and Riddle emphasized the importance of ending each training session on a positive note in order to avoid having to regress and fix problems in the next session. 

Next, Dr. Jim Heird spoke to the group about the working cow horse class. He helped to explain the rules and what judges are looking for in order to help the seminar attendees be better prepared for success in the show pen. 

After lunch, members of the Costa Rican AQHA affiliate presented Drs. Jim Heird and Anna Morrison with a plaque honoring the memory of Dr. Josie Coverdale. Coverdale, who was killed in a car accident in February, was an instrumental part of all of the seminars the Equine Initiative conducted in South and Central America, including the seminar held in Costa Rica last year.

The second day continued with a working cow horse demonstration by Terry Riddle on a horse trained by fellow New Mexican, Bozo Rogers. Dr. Heird finished the day with presentations on genetics and cutting.

Only one day of the seminar remains, and the team behind the Verdugo International Horsemanship Camps will be sorry to leave Costa Rica on Sunday. The team is truly enjoying the great people, horses and hospitality that Costa Rica has to offer!

Day 3

On the final day of the seminar, Terry Riddle started the day by working with two of the young horses. On the first mare's second ride, Riddle rode out of the round pen and around the arena. 

Following the young horse sessions, Dr. Jim Heird gave a presentation on conformation. He explained the relationship of form to function, as well as the importance of conformation in preserving the American Quarter Horse breed and it's ideal characteristics

After a ceremony where all attendees were presented with certificates, the entire group retired to the facility's restaurant to prepare to watch the European Champions League soccer match, which featured a goalie from Costa Rica. 

The Texas A&M Equine Initiative is proud to have represented the American Quarter Horse Association and Texas A&M University via the Verdugo International Horsemanship Camp in Costa Rica, and is grateful that the Four Sixes Ranch lent us the expertise of Terry and Saralyn Riddle. Look for updates from our second Verdugo International Horsemanship Camp to be held in Uruguay in early July!