On the Road With Texas A&M in Costa Rica

Dr. Jim Heird, AQHA world champion Chance O'Neal and the rest of the Texas A&M team arrive in Costa Rica for a horsemanship camp.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Day 1 (06/19/15): The team from Texas A&M University arrived at the San Jose airport in Costa Rica last night. After a two-hour drive through the mountains, we arrived at Hotel Tilajari in Muelle de San Carlos. The hotel is frequented as a tourist destination. It is easy to see why it is so popular – the rooms are beautiful, and you can watch the river roll by from your private balcony!

This morning, after a breakfast featuring local fruits such as papaya and pineapple, we traveled 40 minutes to Rancho Ecuestre Hermanos Lopez in a town called Bajo Rodriguez. This facility is perfect for our seminar, with a covered pen with bleachers, as well as an air-conditioned room for presentations. We have more than 50 attendees at this first Verdugo seminar in Costa Rica, and are getting started this morning with a colt starting demonstration by AQHA world champion Chance O'Neal

Day 2 (06/20/15): The second day of our Costa Rican seminar is well underway, and our group of attendees has grown to nearly 60! Yesterday, Chance O'Neal worked with a colt that hadn't had much handling, as well as a young mare that had been a "problem horse." This morning, Chance saddled the colt for the first time, and is preparing to put his second ride on the mare, who is working through her problems quite well! 

Yesterday, Dr. Jim Heird spoke to the group about genetics and selection, which spurred a lot of great questions. Dr. Josie Coverdale gave a demonstration about the importance of body control for reining horses. Today, Dr. Heird will speak about judging reining and working cow horse, and Dr. Coverdale will give another reining demonstration. 

Costa Rica is a remarkably beautiful country, and we have enjoyed great hospitality and great food! After the seminar today, we will experience a Costa Rican barbecue, as well as some salsa dancing!

Day 3 (06/21/15):  The seminar conducted in Costa Rica finished as a great success! Chance O'Neal worked with three young horses, demonstrating methods for first saddling, first rides, and working through problems. Dr. Josie Coverdale demonstrated strategies for keeping reining horses mentally and physically sound. Dr. Jim Heird offered insight into the judging practices for reining, working cow horse and ranch riding.

The Texas A&M Equine Initiative is grateful to the American Quarter Horse Foundation and the William R. Verdugo International Horsemanship Grant for supporting this opportunity, and to our outstanding hosts and horsemen in Costa Rica!

Clinics taught this summer by the Texas A&M Equine Initiative in Costa Rica and Paraguay will focus on genetics, nutrition, judging, training and showing. The clinics are funded by the Verdugo International Horsemanship Grant. Learn more about the Verdugo clinics.