Letter from the Editor

Dear Golden State Members and Friends,

Lordy! Is it really August already? Seems like yesterday I was welcoming you to the new show season. Time to start planning for the Western State Championship Shows in October. It’s an experience every versatility competitor should do at least once. If you haven’t before, make this your year. Criteria for saddle awards in this issue. Legendary judge and horseman Bill Enk graces this issue with an article about “Consistency” and how important it is to your runs. August brings the desirable Clifford Horse Training Show, make sure you are entered. Another great Cinch Up Productions Show in July, results in this issue. A great Golden State member and competitor is back in the saddle, details follow. Help the Board make our events even better, watch your email for the Member Needs Survey described in this issue. Our community lost a superstar recently, read on for this editor’s favorite Baxter Black essay, it’s one long “Quote of the Month.”

Before we know it, we’ll be getting out winter blankets. Let’s show hard for the next couple of months and pray for rain this Winter.

Dawn Poston


Send comments, concerns, & ideas to JumperDawn@aol.com

Judge Bill Enk Describes

The Value of Consistency

This article was written for the NRCHA but applies also to versatility.

Judging Reined Cow Horse classes is no easy task. Lots of things can happen in the blink of an eye that have to be addressed fairly and consistently. The up and down runs present the biggest challenge to come up with a score that covers the whole work, the good parts, and the not so good parts. It helps to be familiar with what is truly difficult that is made to look fairly easy. This knowledge helps to separate runs that have some degree of difficulty but are made to either look difficult or fairly easy depending upon if the exhibitor is behind or ahead and in control of the run. This relates more to the herd work and cow work but also in a more subtle way to the reined work.

For judges consistency starts with the basics then builds as the works progress. In the Herd Work it starts with a clean cut, are they even on both sides of the cow, do they quit clean? If these basics are met on each cow the next question should be is their form correct, and finally do they have correctness with speed? It is difficult to meet all the criteria on three cows, if they do that is where consistency comes into play. If the exhibitor can achieve these basics on three animals somewhere near the middle of the pen, (which shows control), he/she has earned credit in the form of a good to really good score. (Editor’s Note-three cows are worked in the NRCHA herd work.)

The reined work basics have to do with location in the arena and all the individual maneuver parts. The center of the arena and the run-down markers are the important locations to be aware of. The closer you are to the center when circling and changing leads, the better chance for credit you have. Hitting the center consistently is a must for credit earning circles and changes, it is basic but hard to achieve. Running past the run-down markers before asking the horse to stop sounds easy but the more seasoned the horse is the more they seem to anticipate the up-coming stop. Credit can be earned by not only stopping correctly but also making a good approach to the stop. Consistently doing all the parts of the maneuvers well can elevate the maneuver scores into the +1 to +1 1/2 range depending upon the degree of difficulty exhibited.

The cow work basics involve how well the cow is set up and controlled from the start of the run until the whistle blows to end the work. The draw is vital for high scoring runs, there must be degree of difficulty. If the exhibitor can stay ahead of the run (reading a cow correctly, not reacting after the fact) on a fast running, difficult animal they have met the criteria for a positive, credit earning score. Even on a slower animal credit can be achieved by consistently being in the proper position to control the cow without overworking it.

The horses that end up at the top of the leaderboard usually have one thing in common: They were not only good, but they were also the most consistently good!!

Until Next Time,

Bill Enk, NRCHA Director of Judges

Right Around the Corner

The Western States Championship Show

Don’t let another year go by without attending the Western State Championship Shows (download flyer here). There’s no “qualifying” required. Each division will be receiving a year end saddle award (criteria follows) and all the awards, for the total of five shows, are nothing short of spectacular. Sometimes the best advertisement are testimonials from our fellow competitors:

“It was thrilling to be a spectator at the Las Vegas show and I left inspired to participate in the fun this year.” Debbie King (Debbie is one of our newest members and she will be at the Finals with her great horse Wilson).

“The Western States Show has been a fun and enjoyable show the last two years that my son and I have attended. Fun activities in the evenings with the freestyle ranch riding and the barrel racing to watch. Weather has been great. The facility is in a quiet part of Vegas with nice big arenas. The stalls are nice and big and the horses can look out. Best of all the prizes are amazing.” Samantha Scanlan

“The WS Show, recently held in eastern Las Vegas, have been my “destination show” for several years. I always meet new people, have lots of time to socialize, and I love competing in 2-3 events each day. The best part? Competing in costume for a fun-filled evening with like-minded, fun-mates.” Jennifer Harden

“Vegas is a fun show. The WSVRHA people really try to make everything happen. I would love to go there again as the stalls are good and there is lots of room to ride.” Debby Sanguinetti

“When we only had 2 shows in the 2020 “COVID” year, I ignored my fears and entered! The distance was a bit daunting initially, so I decided to act on opportunity and a road trip with my buddy Nicole it was! The grounds were quite accommodating, and we had water and electric hookups at a reasonable price. The weather was great except for one evening when a quick moving windstorm blew through. I’ve never been in so much awe of our youth competitors as I was that night as they cowboyed up and ran their ranch reining patterns! Both show’s awards were amazing along with the circuit awards. The camaraderie is the best and dare I say – what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!! It was one of the highlight shows I’ve attended thus far.” Jessamy German

“The Vegas show is one of my favorites!! Good weather, great friendly people, well run, quality venue/cattle/judges, excellent awards. It’s a Home Run of a show! I so well remember driving down to Vegas the first year I showed there. I was full of self-doubt wondering if my horse & I were ready and pulling a trailer through Vegas terrified me. What was I thinking? Finally, I made a mental decision to make more friends when I got there and make it a good experience for my horse. I had a wonderful time and always feel so fortunate & blessed for the opportunity.” Renee Jackson

“I truly enjoyed the freestyle ranch riding and the barrel race. Looking forward to participating again this year.” Kelly Saunders

“I have gone to the WSVRHA finals 4x and the weather is always nice there. Great venue and the footing is wonderful. The show is run smoothly and on they even have a freestyle ranch riding and a barrel race at night. The drive is really easy also. The prizes are great! I definitely recommend going and you are going to have a blast!!” Heather Bryant

Think You Aren’t “Ready” for the Championship Show?

You Are!

Pictured is an actual score sheet from a past Western States Championship Show. The scores have been darkened to be easier to read. The class and judge have been blocked for anonymity. Scores ranged from the low 60’s to the low 70’s. Except for the name, it’s just another versatility show! You’re ready! Join the fun and enter.

Criteria For Year End Saddle Awards

There’s Still Time!

A horse and Rider combination, with the highest All-Around points in a division, will be awarded a WSVRHA Year End High Point Saddle Certificate when the following occurs:

A horse/rider combination must attend at least five (5) WSVRHA sanctioned shows. The horse/rider combination must enter and compete in the All Around to receive points toward Year End. (The point system is outlined on page 23 of the 2022 WSVRHA Handbook). Four (4) of these shows must be at the affiliate level prior to the finals and one (1) of these shows must be at the WSVRHA Championship Show in Las Vegas. A horse/rider combination may attend more than five (5) shows, points will be calculated from their best five (5) shows.

Cool Carmel Valley Awaits

Clifford Horse Training Show in August

There’s still time to sign up for the clinics and enter the horseshow.

On Friday, August 12 Kathy Torres and Sarah Clifford will instruct in the areas of Rope Handling and Ranch Trail. On Saturday, August 13, 8-12, Ranch Cutting with Jimmy Stickler and Ranch Riding/Reining with Kathy Torres. It will be good to know their thoughts, Jimmy and Kathy are also the judges. Saturday afternoon will be Trail, Sunday will be the rest of the events.

Youth All-Around competitors get a $200 scholarship toward entries! Let the Youth in your circle know about this opportunity.

Beautiful Carmel Valley, with its temperate weather and great restaurants awaits. Be there.

Back in the Saddle

Suzanne Dorrance

After almost a year of serious health issues, we are happy and proud to announce that Suzanne Dorrance is back in the saddle with her beloved Witch Is It Chic (aka Rico). Don’t be surprised to see her in the show pen in the near future.


What You Think Matters

Member Needs Survey

The Golden State Board has put together a member needs survey that asks your opinion about show schedules, prizes, locations, socials, clinics, combination shows, the Western State Championship Shows, etc. Your thoughts are very important to our board. It should be in your email soon. Please fill it out asap and return it. The Board wants your input as it begins planning for next year. Many thanks for your participation.

Baxter Black

“A Horse Matters”

I like living someplace where a horse matters.

There is just some country where horseback is the only way to get the job done. Places where the four-wheeler is a poor second, not to mention a noisy, track-leaving unnatural conveyance. Besides, it’s hard to throw a rope from. Helicopters can spot and scare, if that’s what you need, but it’s helpless when you have to doctor a calf. It is a great feeling to be pushing a cow out of a mesquite thicket, packing a dude down the Grand Canyon or tracking a mountain lion on a high ridge, knowing you’re on the perfect tool for the job. You look at a horse different when he’s on the payroll.

I like being a person to whom a horse matters. It puts me in such good company, Robert E. Lee, Teddy Roosevelt, Rudyard Kipling, Ray Hunt, Queen Elizabeth, Jerry Diaz, Casey Tibbs, cowboys, Mongols, Gauchos, teamsters, Lipazzaners and vaqueros of all kinds. Granted being a horse person doesn’t make me easier to get along with, better at spelling or richer. It simply gives me a direct connection to one of the most ancient, mutually beneficial interspecies relationships on the planet. Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a man.”

I like being there when a horse matters. When you can’t do the job alone; a cow in the bog, a race against time, a boulder to move, a detour to take, a mountain to cross, a crevice to leap, a war to win, a sweetheart to impress, or…when you’ve gone too far to walk back. Shakespeare’s King Richard III said when fate hung in the balance, “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

I’ve also come to believe that you either are a horse person or you aren’t. Many who are, never know it because they never have the chance. It’s a primitive acceptance, often mutual. A lack of fear. You see it in some children when they are first introduced to the horse. It always gives me a sense of wonder to be there and help them make their acquaintance. I believe the horse can sense the child’s innate trust. It is the beginning of a natural bond.

I count myself very lucky that I get to be a part of the wonderful world of horse sweat, soft noses, close calls, and twilight on the trail.

I like living a life where a horse matters.

Baxter Black passed away in June. He will be deeply missed in our community.

2022 Calendar

Show Dates

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

Date Name Location
August 12-14 GSVRHA: Clifford Horse Training Versatility Challenge Carmel Valley, CA
Sept 3-4 GSVRHA: Central Coast Fall Classic Clinic & Show San Luis Obispo, CA
Sept 30 – Oct 2 GSVRHA: Running T Fall Ranch Roundup Clinic & Show Ione, CA
Oct 6-9 QHEAC Wine & Roses (WSVRHA/GSVRHA Sanctioned) Corning, CA
Oct 27-30 WSVRHA: Year End Finals Las Vegas, NV