Exhibitors Go ‘Back to Basics’ in Rancho Murieta
The West Coast’s first big AQHA circuit of 2017 starts the year off with a bang.
By Shelly Alvord | February 24, 2017
From Total Equine Event Management
As spring comes onto the horizon and brings the changes of the season, so does the Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show. Under new ownership, this show has been growing leaps and bounds for the last several years.
Held February 9-12 at the first-class Murieta Equestrian Center in Rancho Murieta, California, the event drew exhibitors from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and California, as well as Canada. Professionally managed by Total Equine Event Management, the annual event has always experienced large classes, providing the opportunity to score a lot of AQHA world show qualifying points.
“We try to create a schedule that makes time for people to get together, relax and have fun outside of the intense competition of the show,” said Kathy Davis, show secretary. “Each year we have had nice weather and a very large show. This year we had rain the first couple of days and then it finally cleared for the last part of the show. But the facility has two indoor arenas and two covered arenas, so it was not an issue. The challenge each year is taking the long list of AQHA classes and crafting a schedule that does not make the show days too long for exhibitors. But the exhibitors overall seem happy because of all of the points available at such a big show.”
Year after year, this creative group brings new ideas, launches exciting changes and provides a fresh approach to holding a competitive, yet fun, horse show. It has been a long time since a show has continuously drawn such high numbers of entries and spectators on the West Coast. With exhibitors coming from so many different states, and as far as Canada, the good word about this show has certainly spread.
R.L. Davis pointed out, “The Arizona Sun Circuit is one of the biggest shows in the country each year. We’ve always had a buffer for people coming home from that huge circuit before they head to our five-day event. But this year Sun Circuit moved to March and is almost a month later than our circuit, so that gives people a chance to come here first. We believe it was a benefit for the Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show.”
The Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show added National Snaffle Bit Association dual-approved classes, in addition to some adult walk-jog-trot classes and ranch horse conformation, while still bringing back AQHA and all-breed ranch trail. Cherie Vonada designed all of our trail and ranch riding courses this year, and she did an excellent job providing a variety of fun, creative courses. There was constant, positive feedback from exhibitors regarding her course designs.
For those unfamiliar with ranch trail, the event was designed to show a horse’s ability and willingness to perform several tasks that might be asked of him during the course of a normal day’s ranch work.
“Whenever possible we are going to try and use realistic, or natural obstacles – which is something we also do in the ranch riding courses for the Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show – exhibitors seem to enjoy that we are offering something new. And I think trail exhibitors especially have fun showing on Cherie’s courses. One course she designed started in the show arena, and the pattern took them outside for part of the course. Then they rode back into the show arena to finish,” R.L. Davis said.
AQHA ranch trail has three mandatory obstacles: gate, rider dismount and remount, and log drag. After the three mandatory obstacles have been met, there are a variety of optional obstacles that can be included in a course design, such as a slicker, roping a fake steer, and pretty much anything else that could be seen as a normal task for a ranch hand.
The horse industry can always benefit from new ideas and a fresh approach and the fast-growing popularity of this show is proof of that TEEM can produce that type of event.
For exhibitors, as well as their friends and family, the Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show also offered some good ol’ hospitality.
“On Thursday night, we had an exhibitors welcome party, hosted by Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest. Then on Saturday night, we had dog races, which were hilarious to watch, and the dogs had such a great time running and playing in that big indoor arena,” said Kathy Davis.
Recently the horse industry lost a great horseman, Benny Guitron. Benny was an internationally known horseman who bravely fought cancer before succumbing to the disease December 18. At this year’s the Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show, the senior working cow horse circuit champion award was a sculpture dedicated in Benny’s honor. The prestigious award was won by none other than Les Oswald, fellow trainer and Benny’s nephew, which added to the specialness.
The Lucas Oil/Protect the Harvest Dirt and Diamonds National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby portion of the show continues to draw increased attention. Title sponsors Lucas Oil Products Inc. and Protect the Harvest are very supportive of the equine sport industry as a whole. In addition, since its inception, the derby has been supported by Dan Perez and his stallion, Brother Jackson, along with Ken and Ramona Wold’s stallion, Real Smooth Cat. Total payout for the open derby was $9,100, the non-pro payout was $4,250. The new non-pro limited division awarded $740.
Coming out on top of a very tough field of open riders was Casey Branquinho, riding Dressed In Oak for owner Nichole Scott. Casey took home a custom trophy from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil, along with a check for $2,730.
The reserve champion was Peptosboonshakalaca, ridden by Canadian Cayley Wilson for Jenta Madsen; they took home a custom chest from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil, plus a check for $2,275. Third and fourth place went to Les Oswald, showing Lookslikelucktome and Smart Blues, for owners Norene Barclay and Peggy Thompson, receiving checks for $1,820 and $1,365. Casey Branquino also took home a check for fifth place in the amount of $910, riding Master Of The Seas for owner Ruth Jackson.
The non-pro division of the Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest Dirt and Diamonds Derby increases every year, with entries up 14 percent from last year. Many return competitors, in addition to several new exhibitors, were all vying for the $4,250 pot.
It was a close race among the top two who battled it out. Cynthia Bias and horse Truckin On Ice set the mark high on Day 1 with the high herd work score, 143, and ended the three-event derby with a total score of 420.5, claiming the 2017 non-pro championship, a custom crystal trophy from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil, and a check for $1,275.
Glynis Wileman, riding Gina Reylena, ended the show as reserve champion, taking home a custom chest from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil, and a check for $1,062.50. Loretta Showalter received third place, riding Cash For My Oak to a check for $850. Fourth place went to Shannon Haskins, riding Tangy Don Juan to a check for $637.50. Fifth Place and a check for $425 went to John Showalter, riding Yellow Roze Of Texas.
New for 2017 was the addition of a non-pro limited division in the derby.
Glynis Wileman showed her second derby horse, Smart Lil Driver, to become the non-pro limited derby champion and took home a check for $333. Along with the championship title and check, the duo took home a beautiful custom crystal trophy from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil.
Reserve champion honors went to SH Powdercat and Jessica Wright, taking home a custom chest from Protect the Harvest and Lucas Oil and a check for $259. Receiving third place honors and a check for $148 were Amy Wright, riding Cashmere Lights.
The Back to Basics Quarter Horse Show had the support of great sponsors, such as: Lucas Oil, Protect the Harvest, Ron Zanetti of George Petersen Insurance Services, Eric Felt Show Horses, Reynolds Ranch & Farm Supply, Busick Quarter Horses, Markel Insurance, Ulcergard, etc.
There were classes for everyone, at every level of ability and age group, both AQHA and all-breed. From halter to pleasure, cattle classes to trail, ranch riding to hunter under saddle, this show offered it all. The 11-&-under all-breed youth exhibitors competed for a high-point 11-&-under buckle.
“Overall, folks just seemed to be enjoying the show,” said Kathy Davis. “All of our staff work to provide friendly and efficient customer service, and we try to hire great judges that can judge the long list of events we offer. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits all week. Most of the classes were really big so a lot of points were available. TEEM provided positive attitudes both inside the office and out. Happy people are contagious and it spread across the show grounds for the entire week.
“We have some plans we are tossing around for the 2018 event … so stay tuned!”
AQHA, NSBA, NRCHA and the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association are the governing bodies of this competition, and are responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition, ethical treatment of the animals and educating members and the public about the history and traditions of the horse.
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