Golden State Versatility Ranch Horse Association

Dear GSVRHA Members,

Show season got off to a great start with the Running T Roundup in Ione. Results and some fun photos are in this issue. We were honored when prestigious ranch horse judge Fielding “Bozo” Rogers was willing to share what he looks for in a ranch horse for this publication. Stay tuned to future issues for more from the illustrious Mr. Rogers. Do you ever wonder how Golden State is financed? Transparency is the name of the game and Treasurer Kelly Saunders provides the data for your perusal. The Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic will be three shows in one-AQHA, Ranching Heritage, AND Western States. Don’t miss it. Check out the calendar of events (it’s going to be a great year), and finally, the Quote of the Month.

Dawn Poston, Editor

First Impressions

What is the Judge Looking For?

Most judges that currently show versatility horses, or have shown them in the past, are looking for that certain horse that they would love to own or show. My first impression is answered by asking the questions “would I take this horse home and enjoy riding him on a big ranch, would this horse take the long hours and work that a ranch horse is required to do?”

In today’s competition the good-looking horse is probably going to get noticed first, however as the old saying goes, “pretty is as pretty does,” still holds true. The versatility horse should give the impression that he is a pleasure to ride and be around. This horse should look natural and happy, showing expression with his ears, the tail not wringing or hanging dead, and the tail should be appropriately trimmed for ranch use; long enough to swat flies but not dragging the ground catching burrs and weeds.

I also notice the equipment that the horse is being shown in. I realize that we are at a horse show and all cowboys clean up and put on their best hat to come to town. So, I appreciate good clean working gear, but excessive silver and fancy gaudy tack that you would not use on a ranch, that you could not load in an open top trailer and haul down a dirt road, or ride through the brush can look out of place in Versatility Ranch Horse classes. I notice equipment that does not go with the event being shown in such as a barrel race saddle in the cow class or a rope tied on backwards or without the proper rope strap, or a hat on backwards or shaped badly. Looking the part is something every rider/horse can benefit from.

If you've shown under Fielding "Bozo" Rogers, you know that he is first, last, and always a proponent of a true ranch horse. We are honored to have him share his thoughts in the Golden State newsletter.

Now that you have made your first impression, the time has come to prove yourself. One of the easiest ways to get on a judge’s good side is to be on time and ready at the gate when your number is called. Make the judge think you have a good one and you are anxious to show what you have. Wins are often a result of smoothness, finesse, and staying out of the penalty box. If you are just beginning to show, or if you know your horse is capable of marking in the 70 range, do not try for a 75. Being correct and on pattern wins a lot. Also, never give up on your run or show a judge you made a mistake by shaking your head, slapping your leg, or cussing. Sometimes a judge can actually miss something! Things happen fast in the show pen and there are some spots a judge can’t see from their seat in the stands. Keep riding and show through it.

– Fielding “Bozo” Rogers

Report from the Treasurer

GSVRHA Finances

Have you ever wondered how Golden State acquires revenue and where it goes? Looking at 2019 numbers, income sources are as follows:

Membership Dues 32%
Fundraising 28%
Show Fees* 25%
Sponsors 15%

*show fees are paid by show managers

We’re a thrifty organization–two thirds of the income returns to the membership in the form of end of year awards and luncheon. The web master is our only paid employee, everyone else is a volunteer. Expenses are as follows:

Awards/Luncheon 66%
Insurance 16%
Business Expenses 10%
Website Expense 8%

Trail & Saddle Club Youth Memberships

The Generosity Continues

At the Youth Schooling Show in March

Thanks to generous sponsors Kim & Peter Smoot, Meghan Carr, Kim Schnittger, & Dawn Poston, the three youth pictured here (plus 3 others) were given Carmel Valley Trail & Saddle Club youth memberships.

Running T Round Up

Ione Show Knocks it Out of the Park

Great weather, great venue, great management, great prizes, and FIFTY-ONE competitors, made the Running T Roundup a huge success. Way to start the 2021 competition year Stephanie and Tim Lewis!

All of the divisions were highly competitive with many of the All Around awards coming down to the Cow Work scores. Congratulations to everyone who competed and the following winners:

Open Division

Champion Sarah Clifford
Reserve Sarah Clifford
3rd Bill Sanguinetti
4th Chris Bugenig

Advanced Amateur Division

Champion Dawn Poston
Reserve Nicole Ditmars
3rd Jennifer Harden
4th Kelly Saunders

Intermediate Division

Champion Renee Jackson
Reserve Kim Donlon

Limited Division

Champion Mary Nelson
Reserve Bev Sparrowk
3rd Jody Smith
4th Ashley Jones

Novice Division

Champion Kim Smoot
Reserve Doug Walsh
3rd Meghan Carr
4th Jessamyn German

Walk/Trot Division

Champion Lynn Tuffli
Reserve Susan Atkinson

Youth Division

Champion Taimane Faiaipa’u
Reserve Kensley Hennessy

Select Rider

Dawn Poston
Reserve Kelly Saunders

Ranching Heritage Horse

Its Remedy Time (Sarah Clifford)
Reserve Outta Tune (Mary Nelson)

Junior Horse

Stylish In My Boots (Heather Bryant)
Reserve WFR Little Boon Doc (Lydia Lawson)

High Scoring Cow Work

Jennifer Harden

Clearly a family event! Tim Lewis (husband of show manager Stephanie Lewis) and sons Jack and James, drug the arena regularly between goes. Made for nice ground and tuckered out the little ones. Dragging an arena is hard work!

The setting for the Running T Roundup venue is simply gorgeous. Here Jessamyn German employs a unique approach for moving stuff from one place to the next.

Lydia Lawson & Boomer, Jody Smith & Zander enjoy the sunshine and beautiful surrounds at the Running T Roundup. All four had a good show.

The Clifford Cowgirls and Cowboys had a great Running T Roundup. Pictured left to right, Christian Scanlan, Bev Sparrowk, Kensley Hennessy, Olivia Bethe, Dawn Poston, Peter Smoot, Kim Smoot, Suzanne Dorrance, Jen Harden, Sarah Clifford. Not pictured Kim Donlon and Kelly Saunders.

The future of horse showing is assured if these youth are any measure. L to R, Taimane Faiaipu’a, Christian Scanlan, Kensley Hennessey, Olivia Bethe

Three in One

Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic

The Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic is primarily an AQHA show, including AQHA Ranching Heritage classes. Generously, show manager Sarah Clifford has made it also a Golden State Show–one more opportunity to get points! Essentially three shows in one is a massive job for everyone–manager, secretary, grounds crew, etc. All the GS divisions will be represented except Walk Trot. The show just doesn’t lend itself to that division. But never fear Walk-Trotters, Sarah’s August show will have the complete slate of GS divisions, including the popular and competitive Walk-Trot.

Enter early for this popular Carmel Valley show. After May 8 a $50 late fee will be assessed.

Go to to enter online.

May 22-23 in Carmel Valley

Quote of the Month

Buster Welch, Legendary Cutter

Buster Welch

“You have to let them think. Quiet down when you work them. It takes a lot of slow hours to train a horse.”

2021 Calendar

Show Dates

For more information, click here to view the complete calendar in a new window

Date Name Location Show Rep
May 21-23 GSVRHA/AQHA: Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic Carmel Valley, CA Kelly Saunders
June 17-20 AQHA: VRH World Show Guthrie, OK n/a
July 9-11 GSVRHA: Golden Hills Farm VRH Show Paso Robles, CA Sarah Clifford
August 13-15 GSVRHA: Carmel Valley GSVRHA Clinic & Show Carmel Valley, CA Meghan Carr
Sept 4-5 GSVRHA: Paso Pastures Playoff Paso Robles, CA Dawn Poston
Oct 1-3 GSVRHA: Central Coast Fall Classic San Luis Obispo, CA Mike Lund
Oct 21-24 WSVRHA Year End Finals Las Vegas, NV Kathy Torres