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COLORADO WEST PAINT HORSE CLUB RIDES AGAIN

By Bob Silbernagel

This is from the "Horseplay" section of today's edition of The Daily Sentinel.

Although the weather can be treacherous, March is typically the month in the Grand Valley when horse people get out their curry combs and begin grooming their horses in earnest for the show season that is reborn for another year. However, when the Colorado West Paint Horse Club hosts two shows this month, it will mark a rebirth of another sort.
The Colorado West Paint Horse Club was once the largest horse organization in this region, among the largest in the state. But over the past decade, and especially after the recent economic downturn, the club began to fade.
“It just kind of lost momentum,” said Kimmer Jepson, a member of the club for 15 years, beginning in the late 1980s.“We used to be huge. We probably had 150 members. We had three American Paint Horse Association sanctioned shows each year. We had an annual stallion service auction that was held at the Doubletree Hotel. We brought the stallions right into the hotel. One year we did over $100,000 in breeding sales.”
But as membership declined and the economy worsened, those activities fell by the way side. However, in meetings last year and early this year, former members like Jepson, Ray Campbell and Lenny Walterscheid, along with more recent paint-horse enthusiasts, decided to work on reviving the club and, in the process they hope to help grow the horse industry in this region, Jepson said.
The initial efforts to accomplish that will be held this month.
First, on March 17, is a fun show at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse arena at 25 and F 1/2 Road in Grand Junction. “It is a St. Paddy’s Fun Day sponsored by the Paint Horse Club for riders and the horseless people,” wrote Renee Cowan, in an email. Cowan is one of the organizers of the show. “It is open to all breeds.” It will feature events such as the Four Leaf Clover barrel race and Over The Rainbow Trail competition. There are classes for children and adults. Call 970-858-9010 for more information.
A week later, the Paint group is hosting a much larger event.
“Colorado West Paint Horse Club is going to be having a huge horse expo on March 24th and 25th,” explained Katie Turcotte, also in an email. Turcotte is a newer member of the club who is helping to get word out about the event.
The expo, to be held at the Mesa County Faigrounds, will include presentations from area veterinarians, feed and nutrition experts and farriers.
There will be a 4-H tack swap, as well as commercial vendors offering their horse-related wares. Stallion Alley will present a number of stallions available for breeding.
A variety of trainers will also present clinics aimed a helping horse owners to prepare their animals for shows. They include categories from Western pleasure and trail courses to English equitation and jumping.
The clinics are $50 per day for young riders, age 18 and under, and $100 per day for adults. Auditing the clinics is free.
Contact Katie at 970-640-4442 for more info. Find downloadable forms at www.westslopehorse.com.
These events are expected to attract horse people from around the valley and the immediate vicinity. But it will be several years before the Colorado West Paint Horse Club can again sponsor American Paint Horse Association shows, as it once did. At their peak, those shows attracted horses and riders from all over Colorado and many neighboring states, Jepson said.
Additionally, the club then had members from Montrose, Delta, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, even Craig and Telluride. And horses raised or trained here routinely went to some of the biggest paint horse shows in the country, including the APHA World Championships.
“Between our club and the paint horse club in Denver, we had some of the biggest events in the region,” she said.
Those days may have faded, but in 2012, the Colorado West Paint Horse Club is being revived. And the revival begins with two events in Mesa County this month.

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