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NEW BARN AND EXPANDED ARENA GREET FAIRGROUNDS EQUESTRIANS

By Bob Silbernagel
Sunday, April 3, 2011

Below is the lead story I wrote for today's Horseplay section in The Daily Sentinel.

On a blustery weekend in mid-March, the revamped equestrian facilities at the Mesa County Fairground hosted its inaugural event.
The Grand Valley Dressage Society held its spring fun schooling show, with a clinic on Friday and about 90 horse-and-rider combinations in dressage competition Saturday and Sunday.
Things were warmer and less blustery Saturday for the Grand Junction Horse Show Association’s Fuzzy Show, the second major event held at the refurbished fairgrounds.
Grand Valley Dressage Society is a 15-year-old organization and has about 70 members, said Kathy Sassano, who was show secretary for the March 19-20 show. While the bulk of those members and those who attended the spring show are locals, a number of competitors came from far enough distances that they stabled their horses in the brand-new 75-stall barn on the fairgrounds property. The new, tall and airy barn is a big improvement over the six, small steel structures that served as stables before, but were torn down to make room for the new barn and adjacent parking area.
“One of the things that strikes me is how much the barn changes the look of the places,” said Marsha Kosteva, the fairgrounds manager, during a tour of the new facilities last week. “It adds a ‘Wow!’ factor.”
Most of the stalls are larger than those in the old buildings, the lighting and ventilation are far superior and the aisles between the stalls are much wider.
The barn is unquestionably the most visible change at the fairgrounds’ revamped equestrian facilities, but hardly the only one.
The covered arena, where most of the competition takes place, was extended 40 feet, with 25 feet of that adding to the competition area and 15 feet covering the entrance area, judge’s stand and show office.
The additional 25 feet of competition space makes a difference in several different equine venues. For instance, ti’s much easier to fit a full-size dressage court, plus surrounding lanes, in the expanded arena.
Additionally, the footing in the arena was removed down to the roock and replaced wih new footing determined after one county staffer attended an equestrian footing seminar in Texas.
There is a new show office with new heating and cooling facilities. It includes a new public-address system that reaches to the barn and the horse-trailer parking area.
The warm-up arena just outside the covered arena has been reconfigured and has new footing. There is a new arena designed specifically for trail classes. A new round pen is being built.
The improvement to the equine area were completed with a special capital improvements funding package approved byt the Mesa County Commissioners last summer, money that is also being used for road improvements and purchase and remodeling of a building for county administrative purposes.
The improvements to the equine area at the fairgrounds are important because nearly a third of the fairgrounds revenue comes from events at that end of the fairgrounds complex, Kosteva said.
From the beginning of April through October, there are horse events most weekends at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Both the Grand Valley Dressage Society and the Grand Junction Horse Show Association host multiple shows at the fairgrounds each year. At least one horse organization, the Western Slope Reining Horse Association, has booked a new show at the fairgrounds this year, largely because of the renovations, Kosteva said.
 

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PREAKNESS ADVERTISING RAISING A RUCKUS

By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Preakness, the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, almost folded this year because Pimilico Race Track, where it is run, was on shaky financial ground.

But it survived, and now the Preakness promoters are using a new logo to promote the race -- or at least the bachanalia that typically occurs in the infield on race day.

Kegasus, seen here from the Preakness website, has some race folks understandably upset. They think the Preakness should be promoting horse racing, not drinking and partying.

To read a column about this in the Baltimore Sun, click HERE.

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COMPETITIVE TRAIL RIDERS WIN NATIONAL, REGIONAL EVENTS

By Bob Silbernagel
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three riders and horses from Delta County area won national or regional awards through the North American Trail Ride Conference.

Brandy Ferganchik of Eckert, in the first photo, on her Norwegian Fjord horse Fawn Creek Thor, receive the high average horse, Grand Champion award at the group's national convention in Nashville in February.

Judy Mason of Cedaredge, in the second photo, placed in the open lightweight division in the national competition on her Arabian Cedar Mesa Rushai, and won a regional open award as well at the Regional convention in Pueblo earlier this month.

Juleen Feazel of Cedaredge and her horse “Sixes Peppy Lady”, in the third photo won the Novice Lightweight, Regional team award for this region which includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Thanks to Judy Mason for the information and photos


 

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EXTREME MUSTANG MAKEOVER RETURNS TO FORT COLLINS IN JUNE

By Bob Silbernagel
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Several Western Slope horse trainers competed in last year's Extreme Mustang Makeover — in which they train wild horses, then put them up for adoption. The event helps raise awareness of mustangs needing adoption and their ability to perform in virtually any equine discipline there is.

The competition, which includes stops in several other parts of the country and a championship this fall in Tennessee, returns to Fort Collins June 10-12. To learn more, click HERE.

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NEW WILD HORSE WEB SITE

By Bob Silbernagel
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Front Range horse photographer Carol Walker, who has focused on wild horses the past few years, has launched a new website called Wild Horse Central "providing information and resources to people who want to help our wild horses and who want to find out information about wild horse issues."

You can find the site through Walker's blog, "Wild Hoofbeats," at the link HERE.

Thanks to Barb Young of Montrose for the heads up.

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GRAND MESA BACK COUNTRY HORSEMEN PREPARE TO CELEBRATE 1OTH ANNIVERSARY

By Bob Silbernagel
Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Grand Mesa Back Country Horsemen group will celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring. And it is continuing with its regular rides and meetings. Here's information from President Penny Ackerman in the group's March newsletter.

"Our next ride will be April 9th, at the hunting grounds off of Bean Ranch Road (south of Whitewater). Please remember that we meet at 9:30a.m. and ride out at 10:00a.m. Our next meeting is April 4th at the Mesa Mall Community Room and will begin at 6;30p.m. with a pot luck social hour, followed with an hour meeting, and a short presentation given by Janet Grey on the history of our Back Country Horsemen chapter history. As some of you are aware, May 23rd will be our chapter's tenth anniversary."

Download the entire newsletter by going to WestSlopeHorse.com. Click HERE.

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ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND HORSE RACING

By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor hit the Hollywood bigtime with "National Velvet," a film in which she played a young girl training a horse for Britain's Grand National Steeplechase, disguising herself as a male, and riding the horse to victory. This is a promotional photo from the movie.

But Taylor had affiliations with horse racing that lasted long after her involvement with that early movie. Read more at BloodHors.come by clicking HERE.

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RACEHORSE RESCUE GROUP FACING ITS OWN PROBLEMS

By Bob Silbernagel
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, an organization formed 20 years ago to provide homes for retired racehorses, has its own problems now.

The group fired a veterinarian hired to evaluate the conditions of hundreds of its horses, according to The New York Times, and it now may lose some of its funding from the estate of Paul Mellon, who was a racehorse breeder and owner.

Too many racehorses end their track careers, only to be neglected or slaughtered. Groups like the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation are needed to help them. But if they are also neglecting the horses, they serve little purpose.

To read more from The New York Times, click HERE.

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REVAMPED FAIRGROUNDS HOSTS FIRST EVENT

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, March 21, 2011

The Grand Valley Dressage Society's Winter Fun Show drew several dozen horses and riders this past weekend. It was the first event to be held at Mesa County Fairgrounds revamped equestrian area.

The most noticable feature of the work done over the winter is the large new barn, with stalls on both sides and down the middle. It replaces several of the small, old steel barns that were falling apart.

Also, the covered arena has been extended on the entrance end. The working part of the arena is longer, and the roof also extends over the judge's stand and the show office. Horses waiting to enter the arena have a small area to stand under the cover, near the judges stand.

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BLM SEEKS HELP FOR WILD HORSE SANCTUARIES

By Bob Silbernagel
Friday, March 18, 2011

Last year, the BLM rejected a proposal by Madeline Pickens to create a wild horse sanctuary and take some of the overabundance of wild horses on federal lands to that sanctuary. The agency said the plan wasn't adequate for the number of horses involved.

This week the BLM announced it is seeking proposals from private groups and individuals to create wild horse "ecosanctuaries" on non-BLM land. Read the full press release at the first link below.

If the federal agency seems a bit muddled in how it wants to handle the sanctuaries, that's to be expected. Both the original Wild Horse and Burro Act, and the public's expectation of it in recent years, not to mention Congressional direction, has been sent such mixed messages that no enitity could be completely consistent.

Meanwhile, some folks in Nevada, led by country singer Lacy J. Dalton, are embracing the idea of wild horse sanctuaries as a means of bringing more tourists to the state. Read about that at the second link below.

For BLM press release on "ecosanctuaries" click HERE.

For Reno Gazette Journal story on Lacy J. Dalton benefit, click HERE.

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