Category Archives: Western/Reining

Wild Horses Transformed in Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her Mustang partner Freedom (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography) 

Jacksonville, FL (May 13, 2016) – This past weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center was host to genuine American Mustangs and their trainers as they showcased their newfound partnerships to a packed house. The Extreme Mustang Makeover, which is designed to test both human and horse for their ability to learn quickly and make the most out of a small period of time, was presented by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Each participating trainer had just 100 days to transform a wild mustang into a star performer that would impress the judges and the crowd. Spectators then had the opportunity to bid on a piece of America’s equine heritage at the end of the competition.

Youth competitors adopted their Mustang partners before the event, and showed off how far they had come together in 100 days. Adult competitors auctioned off their Mustangs at the end of the Extreme Mustang Makeover weekend. The competition included classes such as Handling and Conditioning, Trail, and Freestyle. Adult competitors all vied to be selected to compete in the Top Ten Freestyle Finals that took place directly before the Mustang auction. A first place prize of $25,000 and a custom-made Gist belt buckle was at stake for the winner. Alongside nine other spectacular performances, Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her Mustang partner Freedom brought the crowd to their feet with a bridleless riding exhibition and other impressive acts. Hartford-Sapp and Freedom were named winner of the Extreme Mustang Makeover.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique event produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization. Kyla Hogan, the director of marketing for the Mustang Heritage Foundation, explained, “The Mustang Heritage Foundation’s mission is, with the help of the Bureau of Land Management, to increase the rate of adoption of excess mustangs that are in holding facilities. We had 24 adults and 16 kids competing at the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Jacksonville.” This means 40 more wild Mustangs were transferred from holding facilities to good homes.

Dan Russell, who was onsite representing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), explained, “The Extreme Mustang Makeover events show people that Mustangs are good horses. Mustangs are the horses that the original cowboys rode in the 1800s. There are roughly 50,000 horses on the range right now and an almost equal amount being cared for in holding facilities. They’re taken off the range into holding facilities for different reasons – forest fires, droughts, over-grazed land – and we’re just looking for somebody to give them good homes.”

Taylor McIntosh and Sonora (Photo courtesy of JRPR)
Taylor McIntosh and Sonora (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Taylor McIntosh, the 2014 Extreme Mustang Makeover champion from just outside of Auburn, Alabama, made it into the Top Ten Freestyle Finals with his assigned Mustang, Sonora, at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s competition. McIntosh shares in the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s admiration of the strength of Mustangs’ spirits. “At first I did this to gain exposure, but now that I’m doing this for my third year I can really say it’s all for the love of the Mustang,” McIntosh shared. “Sonora is a smart horse – and that can be both a good and a bad thing – but she’d tried so hard at everything I asked her to learn. I love that about her.” McIntosh and Sonora’s Freestyle performance included McIntosh standing in the saddle, and Sonora lying down.

The youth trainers at the Extreme Mustang Makeover were as excited about the Mustangs as the adults, and also delivered impressive performances. After Ruthann Strickland competed with her adopted Mustang, two-year-old Battle Beau, she explained, “I did this because I wanted a challenge. I’ve never trained a horse before. I really like him, but he can be a handful! I love his personality. He’s a goof and can be very sassy – we’re working on that,” she laughed.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about the wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Team Roper Wins a New Dodge Truck at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 5, 2016) — For the 11th year, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center proudly hosted the National Team Roping League (NTRL) Truck Roping Competition in Jacksonville, Florida. The fan-favorite event encouraged team ropers from all over the southeastern United States to compete for the chance to win a 2016 Dodge 3500 Dually (four-door edition). The event paid out $150,000 in prizes over the course of three days of competition. In total, five hundred teams entered. Denver Ivester of Clarksville, Georgia with his horse Nova earned the most points and was able to drive the new truck home.

John Johnson, President of JX2 Productions, the company that produces the NTRL Truck Roping competition and multiple other western events, values the centralized location of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “It is a good location to draw the southeast and Sarasota and Miami area. It is a great draw for people on the Atlantic seaboard, and now is a great time of year here because it is not so hot.”

Team roping tests the teamwork of two horse and rider combinations as they work in tandem to lasso a steer. At the NTRL Truck Roping competition, the 55 fastest teams out of 500 entries roped to win the new Dodge truck. The final two teams then returned for a third time for a tie-breaking round. Riders could enter up to 20 times each. “We then go through and take each person and, depending on how many times they rode and where they placed, we total up their points. Then the person with the most points is the one who wins the truck,” explained Johnson.

This year, the winner of the truck was Denver Ivester of Clarksville, Georgia. Ivester, with the help of his new mare Nova, competed twenty times in the competition and accumulated enough points to earn the brand new truck. “I just got Nova about four or five weeks ago,” said Ivester. “I have been roping for twenty years, and she is already the best roping horse that I’ve ever had!”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was happy to congratulate Ivester on his win, and to host all horses and riders throughout the competition. The facility has developed an outstanding reputation for hosting family-friendly and exciting events all year long, which are open to the public. Events range from team roping to dressage to dog agility competitions and more.

The month of May will continue its excitement at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this weekend when the Extreme Mustang Makeover comes to town. The Extreme Mustang Makeover tasked participating riders to transform a wild Mustang into a well-trained horse in just 100 days. The competition is designed to test both human and horse for their ability to learn quickly and make the most out of a small period of time.

The competition will take place on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. The winner of the Extreme Mustang Makeover will win a $25,000 grand prize and a custom made Gist belt buckle, and all Mustangs will be available for adoption after the event.

To see the excitement yourself or to adopt one of the competing Mustangs, head to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this weekend. Preliminary classes (all day Friday and on Saturday until late afternoon) are free to watch. Tickets for the Top 10 Freestyle Event on Saturday evening ($16.50) are available here.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

The PBR Rides into the Florida Horse Park

OCALA, FL – MAY 5th, 2016 – For the first time ever, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Touring Pro Division is coming to Ocala on Friday, May 20th and Saturday May 21st, 2016 at the Florida Horse Park.

Join us for two action packed nights as we watch some of the world’s top bull riders go head-to-head with the best bucking bulls in the business. Witness the thrills and spills as the bull riders try to stick it out for eight seconds to earn valuable points that are needed to qualify for the PBR Built Ford Tough Series.

Be prepared for shock and awe as the bull riders face off against their 2,000 pound opponents Friday and Saturday night. This is the only chance for Floridians to witness the electrifying atmosphere of the PBR. Join us for the After-Party, hosted by Cowboy’s Saloon and Cuvee Wine + Bistro, when the show is over. There will be dancing with live entertainment provided by Luke Kaufman, a Meet + Greet with the bull riders, food, and a cash bar. There is a $10 cover charge, or entry is included in the VIP Package.

The PBR Touring Pro Division will begin at 7:30 pm on Friday, May 20th and Saturday, May 21st. Will Call Tickets can be picked up starting at 6:00 pm. Gates open at 6:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Boot Barn, Russell’s Western Wear, and the Florida Horse Park office for $20. They can be purchased on our website (www.flhorsepark.com) or at the gate for $25. Contact the Florida Horse Park at 352-307-6699.

VIP Packages are available and include entry to the Invitation Only Pre-Party, a Meet + Greet with the Bull Riders, One Day Entry to the PBR Event, VIP Seating Section, and a ticket to the VIP After-Party with live entertainment featuring county singer Luke Kaufman. The VIP Package is the experience of a lifetime – not only do you get entry to all the parties, but you’ll be up front and personal right next to all the action. There may also be an opportunity to walk through the bull pens and be on the bucking chutes when the bulls start bucking. Don’t miss out!

Media Contact:
Emily Holmes
publicrelations@flhorsepark.com
www.flhorsepark.com

Do You Know What It Means to Moderately Extend the Jog?

By Dan Trein in The American Quarter Horse Journal

What is the moderate extension of the jog supposed to be?

Simply what it’s called: It’s just a moderate extension of the jog. We put enough extension to it so that there’s a notable difference.

However, with this gait in a western pleasure class, you won’t see the level of impulsion as you would if you asked that hunter under saddle horse to trot ahead.

A Little Bit of Flutter

We like to sit back a little more and use a “flutter” or bump with the legs to ask the horse to extend. We might use or add a verbal command.

When we want to back off the extension, instead of fluttering the leg, we take the full leg down around and underneath the rib, so the leg comes up against the body, and the horse comes to associate that squeeze with a slowdown.

If our horse surges forward at that point, we restrict and restrain his face with our hands. But we’re not going to demand or command so strongly that the horse is intimidated and the face goes behind the vertical. If the horse yields, he gets a reward: We soften that hand control. But we might still keep that wrapped leg so he understands what we’re trying to do.

The Comfort Zone

For me, the comfort zone relates to how knowledgeable a horse is.

To help a horse gain training stability and confidence, I ride him with a little bit of contact. I hold him in my hand, and he ultimately understands to yield at his face and throatlatch. It doesn’t mean he’s snapped and jerked behind the bridle, but it does mean that as I ask him to go forward, as a training technique, I don’t release his head completely.

When a horse resists, say if he’s going from the jog to the extended jog and he overreacts, to me that means he’s not in a comfort zone. My repetitive response to that would be to accelerate into the extended jog but hold him in my hand and get him to yield into the bridle and stay there.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Tickets Available Now for the Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jimbo Albritton and Penney (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography)

Jacksonville, FL (April 25, 2016) — With less than two weeks to go until the start of the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on May 6-7, Mustang trainers like Jimbo Albritton of Penney Farms, Florida are preparing for action.

Each trainer participating in the Extreme Mustang Makeover has been tasked with transforming a wild Mustang into a very rideable, outstanding performer in just 100 days. The Extreme Mustang Makeover is designed to test both human and horse for their ability to learn quickly and make the most out of a small period of time.

The competition at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will begin with an opportunity for spectators to meet the trainers and the horses on Friday morning, before competitors gather in the main arena for show prep. Next, each trainer and Mustang duo will compete in several classes. Friday’s classes will include Handling and Conditioning, Youth Classes, and an Adult Trail Class. On Saturday, coffee and donuts will be provided in the morning before further Mustang exhibitions and award ceremonies.

Spectators can enjoy free admittance to the event on Friday and until 4:45 pm on Saturday. After 4:45, the competition will really get serious. The top 10 Mustang and trainer pairs will be announced, and they will head into the Top 10 Freestyle Finals – where they can strut their stuff and show off what they learned in their own personal style. The Extreme Mustang Makeover Freestyle Finals are known for jaw-dropping performances; past Freestyles have featured riders standing in their saddles, roping, obstacles, and more.

As competitors work to put a few more days of training on their assigned Mustangs, participant Jimbo Albritton feels lucky that he and his Mustang mare, Penney, hit the ground running. Albritton says, “It was the luck of the draw that I was assigned Penney.” Even from the beginning, the sweet-tempered mare seemed to act more like a puppy dog than a fiery Mustang.

But despite Penney’s sweet disposition, she’s had a lot to learn these past couple of months. “Everything is going right and it’s been a dramatic change since the first day,” Albritton commented about Penney’s progress. “She’s a lot more quiet and we’re going places. Her skill level has drastically increased.”

As Albritton prepares for show time, he’s now focused on perfecting those skills. “I really want to refine a couple of things,” he said. “I want to make lead changes more solid. I’d like her to be a touch quieter and a little more solid in her overall performance.”

On the line – for Albritton and everyone competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover challenge – is a $25,000 award and custom-made Gist belt buckle for the winner.

But even as Albritton vies for the flashy reward, he plans on keeping things simple and sticking to the basics. When asked about his plans if he qualifies for the Top 10 Freestyle Finals, he said, “My main plan is to do simple things great, instead of doing a lot of complicated things not so great. We’re going to stick to a reining pattern – some spins and stops – and see if she’ll lay down for us.”

At the end of the day, whether Penney nails her spins or her stops, Albritton is grateful for the time he’s spent with his lucky little mare and, most importantly, he hopes that his work with Penney leads to her finding her forever home, as all Mustangs will be available for adoption after the event.

To see the excitement of the event yourself or to adopt one of the competing Mustangs, head to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the May 6-7 events. Preliminary classes are free to watch. Tickets for the Freestyle event ($15.00) are available here.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Barrel Racers Feel Some Irish Luck at Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s NBHA Shamrock Showdown

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (March 24, 2016) – Riders of all nationalities were feeling a bit of Irish luck as they headed to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this past weekend to vie for an equestrian’s version of a pot of gold at the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA)’s Shamrock Showdown.

The annual competition invited riders to compete in senior and junior barrel racing exhibitions for their share of the prize money. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center, an 80-acre multifaceted facility in Jacksonville, Florida, was excited to once again host the event in its enormous indoor stadium.

The fun-filled Shamrock Showdown proved a great opportunity for a family outing as it offered free parking and admission to spectators. With several hundred talented horse and rider pairs competing each day of the competition and rows of barrel racers’ favorite merchandise in the vendor areas, the event was a must for equestrians.

Known for its laid-back and yet exciting atmosphere, many spectators and riders alike find themselves celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the Shamrock Showdown year after year.

Ivy Grieb, from Green Coves Springs, Florida, is one of those people. Grieb has been coming to the show for the past seven years.

“The arena and the facilities at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center are amazing,” she said. “The practice arena is nice and the atmosphere around here is great.” To Grieb, years of competing at the Shamrock Showdown could never get old. “I just love barrel racing!”

Edie Neal, from Webster, Florida, on the other hand, brought her horse Gizmo to the show for the first time this year, and had an equally positive experience. This was four-year-old Gizmo’s first major show, and the Jacksonville Equestrian Center proved to be a great place to kick off the gelding’s career.

“He did really well,” Neal said. “Being that this was his first show, he was awesome. He’s very calm for a four-year-old.”

With the Shamrock Showdown under their belt, Neal is excited for what lies ahead.

“Probably by end of this year, I’ll want to pick up our time,” she explained. “Right now, we’re not running fast because we’re working on proficiency and getting around the barrels the right way, so right now we’re taking it slow. I took him here to get seasoned before we start going faster. This was a great experience for him.”

Ansley Herrin and her family traveled from Hortense, Georgia to compete with her horse Allie, who she’s owned for just a year. This was their second Shamrock Showdown together, and Herrin hoped to see improvements in their ride after spending a year working together since their first time around the barrels. “I am nervous,” she admitted as she prepared to enter the stadium, “But Allie loves what she does.”

The exhibition’s winners included Sabra Moore, Kenny Hodges, Kalie Ruthledge, and Ron Lattimer, among others. All of them clearly had a bit of Irish luck (as well as a lot of skill!) on their side.

Today, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is transforming the barrels and western saddles to dressage rings for the facility’s next event, which will take place on Saturday, March 26. This will be the Northeast Florida Dressage Association (NFDA) Schooling Show, which will include a special Freestyle Challenge. Visit http://www.jaxequestriancenter.com/events/ to find out more about this show and other upcoming events.

Events at The Jacksonville Equestrian Center range from barrel races to dressage shows to horsemanship clinics and more. Even for non-equestrians, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center makes sure to keep something on the calendar for everyone, with canine shows, concerts, and community events regularly taking place. For more information, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Atlantic Coast Stampede Rodeo: It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Ticket

Photo courtesy of Tom Thomson.

Jacksonville, FL (March 2, 2016) – This weekend, the entertainment and excitement of an authentic Western rodeo will be in full gear at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. People of all ages are welcome to come enjoy the show on March 4-5 in Jacksonville, Florida. The two action-packed days of rodeo thrills will feature top cowboys and cowgirls in fierce competition, old-fashioned family western entertainment, and a full rodeo program of rough stock and timed events.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is bringing the Atlantic Coast Stampede, presented by Cinch Jeans & Shirts, into town for the first time in Jacksonville’s history. Rodeo competition is known as America’s #1 extreme sport, and will surely not disappoint the audiences this weekend.

“Rodeo is a lifestyle,” says Bill Fitzgerald of Western Events Rodeo Consulting and Event Planning of Franklin, Tennessee, promoter of the Atlantic Coast Stampede and an All American Pro Rodeo Series board member. “It’s about God, Family, Country, and Community. We love bringing rodeo fun – clowns, bull and bronc riding, and trick riders – to families and kids. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a wonderful, state-of-the-art facility and its folks have been great to work with. It’s the first time we’ve brought this rodeo to Jacksonville, but it won’t be the last!”

To find out more about the Atlantic Coast Stampede at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and see the exciting preparations for the rodeo, stay tuned to WJXT News 4 Jax, Jacksonville’s Channel 4, this week. Bill Fitzgerald and Jill Lauber of Western Events Rodeo Consulting and Event Planning are being interviewed by WJXT News 4 Jax, and the channel will begin a live feed of the rodeo preparations at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on Thursday March 3 at 11 am.

To get a ticket for the Atlantic Coast Stampede presented by Cinch, visit http://www.atlanticcoaststampede.com/. General admission seating for the event will be $15, general admission for children ages 10 and under will be $10, and all reserved seating will be $20. The show starts at 8 pm on both days, and doors open at 6 pm. A portion of the proceeds from Friday’s performance will benefit the northeast Florida chapter of Wish for our Heroes, and Saturday’s performance will benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Competitors who you won’t want to miss in the rodeo include Dustin Equsquiza of Marianna, Florida, who currently ranks fifth on the Header Team Roping boards; two Georgia leaders in the All-Around Standings – Justin Thigpen (who also heads the Tie-Down Roping standings), and Alexander ‘AJ’ Blaze (who also tops the Bull Riding leaderboard); and Bareback and Saddle Bronc standings leaders Joshua Michael Cragar of Tennessee and Eddie Parlier of Alabama.

The 80-acre Jacksonville Equestrian Center is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The facility is a part of a recreational park that includes picnic pavilions, a gymnasium, and an Olympic-size indoor pool.

Learn more about the exciting events coming to Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and how to host an event at this multifaceted facility, by visiting www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Al Dunning and Expensive Hobby Inducted into AzQHA Hall of Fame

Photo by Fallow.

Phoenix, AZ (March 1, 2016) – Al Dunning and his late mount Expensive Hobby were inducted into the Arizona Quarter Horse Association (AzQHA)’s Hall of Fame on February 20 for their individual and collective accomplishments in the Quarter Horse industry.

Vita Flex, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, veterinary-tested equine supplements, is proud to congratulate Al Dunning, who is a Vita Flex Victory Team rider. Vita Flex is dedicated to creating supplements that help horses and riders like Dunning continually cross the fine line between good and great.

Dunning’s impressive career includes 45 World Championships and Reserve World Championships through the National Reining Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association, and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Dunning was past president of the AzQHA and the Arizona Cutting Horse Association, as well as director at large of the AQHA. In 1996, Dunning was named the AQHA Professional Horseman of the Year.

“I have so many people to thank for helping me to be a success,” Dunning said. “I’ve been blessed with great customers who trust me to treat their horses with respect and get the job done. Then there are once-in-a-lifetime special horses like Expensive Hobby that make your dreams come true!”

Once-in-a-lifetime might be the best way to describe Expensive Hobby, who passed away in 2003. The buckskin Quarter Horse was a four-time AQHA Champion, and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2007. Expensive Hobby and Dunning won the NRHA Open Reining at the AQHA All American Quarter Horse Congress, and Expensive Hobby held AQHA Superiors in reining, working cow horse, and cutting. The famed Quarter Horse is forever eternalized as a Breyer model.

Dunning is proud to accept the honor and is grateful to those around him who helped him achieve such measured success.

“I have been riding most of my life,” Dunning said. “A great family, loyal friends, and amazing horses have blessed me throughout. I wouldn’t change a thing!”

Dunning continues to train and show western performance horses at his ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. With their induction into the AzQHA Hall of Fame, Dunning and Expensive Hobby join other Arizona greats including Doc Bar, John Hoyt, and Rick Johns.

Accomplishments like these demonstrate what it means to be a Vita Flex Victory Team rider. With his many successes, Dunning has proven he knows what it takes to maintain the competitive edge necessary to be leaders in the show and training industries. Vita Flex® equine performance products is something that Dunning always has on hand.

Vita Flex provides riders, trainers, and owners with a variety of high-quality equine products, including antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, and topical solutions to help keep horses in top health, so they can cross the fine line between good and great. Vita Flex’s products are backed by clinical research to ensure horse’s peak performance. For more information about Vita Flex and its line of superior equine products, visit www.vitaflex.com or call (800) 848–2359.

Contact: Katie Stevenson
kstevenson@central.com
www.vitaflex.com
(602) 281-3872

Atlantic Coast Stampede Rodeo: America’s #1 Extreme Sport Comes to Jacksonville

Photo courtesy of Tom Thomson.

Jacksonville, FL (February 29, 2016) – Hold on to your 10-gallon hats, rodeo fans, because The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is bringing the Atlantic Coast Stampede, presented by Cinch Jeans & Shirts, into town for the first time in Jacksonville history for two action-packed days of rodeo thrills. On March 4-5, the Southeast’s top cowboys and cowgirls will go head-to-head competing in America’s #1 extreme sport at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA), the Atlantic Coast Stampede promises Old West family fun plus an action-packed program of rough stock and timed events.

“Rodeo is a lifestyle,” says Bill Fitzgerald of Western Events Rodeo Consulting and Event Planning of Franklin, Tennessee, promoter of the Atlantic Coast Stampede and an All American Pro Rodeo Series board member. “It’s about God, Family, Country, and Community. We love bringing rodeo fun – clowns, bull and bronc riding, and trick riders – to families and kids. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a wonderful, state-of-the-art facility and its folks have been great to work with. It’s the first time we’ve brought this rodeo to Jacksonville but it won’t be the last!”

Among the stars on the southeast IPRA standings expected to compete are Florida hometown favorite, Dustin Equsquiza of Marianna, who currently ranks fifth on the Header Team Roping boards, and two Georgia leaders in the All-Around Standings – Justin Thigpen (who also heads the Tie-Down Roping standings), and Alexander ‘AJ’ Blaze (who also tops the Bull Riding leaderboard). Bareback and Saddle Bronc standings leaders Joshua Michael Cragar of Tennessee and Eddie Parlier of Alabama will also be competing.

While rough riders and rough stock entertain audiences, an equally important contribution will be taking place behind the pens at Friday’s ‘Armed Forces Night’, sponsored by Swisher International, and Saturday’s ‘Children’s Night’, sponsored by 99.9 Gator Country. Each night will see a portion of rodeo proceeds go respectively to benefit the northeast Florida chapter of Wish for Our Heroes and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“Each night we will make a check presentation in the arena to each charity,” said Fitzgerald. “These charities are the two best reasons why everyone should come to the Atlantic Coast Stampede.”

For more information and tickets for the Atlantic Coast Stampede presented by Cinch, visit www.atlanticcoaststampede.com. General admission seating for the event will be $15, general admission for children ages 10 and under will be $10, and all reserved seating will be $20.

Learn more about the exciting performances and special guests coming to Jacksonville Equestrian Center and how to host an event at this multifaceted facility by visiting www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Follow Jimbo Albritton on His Extreme Mustang Makeover Journey to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of Jimbo Albritton.

Jacksonville, FL (February 18, 2016) – When second-generation horseman Jimbo Albritton of Jacksonville, Florida decided he would take on the challenge of competing in the next Extreme Mustang Makeover, he was a little nervous. He would be taking on a horse untouched by human hands and have 100 days to transform her into a winning steed – a bit different from the training he’s used to. As Albritton explains, “It was the luck of the draw.”

As fate would have it, luck was on his side. He was assigned to his own lucky Penney, a five-year-old mare he describes as sweet-tempered and eager to please, “kind of like a puppy dog.”

Now, Albritton and Penney are working feverishly to prepare for the upcoming Extreme Mustang Makeover, which will be hosted at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 6-7.

During the competition, Albritton and horsemen like him will be vying for the $25,000 award and custom-made Gist belt buckle, each working with a mare that had freely roamed on land protected by the Bureau of Land Management before partaking in this challenge.

As the action unfolds, trainers will show off their Mustangs’ beauty, versatility, and performance in several rounds of competition. The horse-and-rider pairs will first compete in handling and conditioning, then a pattern class, and then a combined leading and riding class. Ultimately, the selected finalists will compete in an exciting four-minute freestyle event where this year’s champion will emerge.

For Albritton, the odds are looking good – thanks to his training experience and his remarkable partnership with Penney.

“My favorite thing about her is that she is like a sponge,” Albritton explained. “She’s taking everything in, she’s not panicking, and she’s willing. She’s improving each day, and it’s rare you get a horse who is that willing. She’s really changed my outlook on what Mustangs are made of.”

But that doesn’t mean Penney doesn’t have a few quirks. For one, Albritton says she could use a little help with steering. “The biggest challenge when I’m riding her is her handling her direction,” he said. “Lefts and rights and stops – the whole nine yards.”

Luckily, Albritton has a few tricks up his sleeve after practically growing up in the saddle alongside his dad and starting his own training business, Flying A Performance Horses, a few years back.

But for Albritton, whether or not Penney turns on a dime – or even wins the competition – isn’t his top concern. His highest hopes lie with her finding the perfect home for her to start her next adventure with. “I want to see her riding around really good and gentle, so anyone can get along with her.”

Like all the other Mustangs in the program, Penney will be available for adoption after the event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center as part of an effort by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to find happy homes for the deserving horses. And as Penney and her other equine counterparts wow the crowd with their ability to quickly evolve from roaming free to mastering the ring, there’s little doubt they’ll find someone to take them home.

To see how this year’s event unfolds or to adopt one of the competing Mustangs, head to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the May 6 and 7 events. Preliminary classes are free to watch. Tickets for the freestyle event are available here.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The facility is a part of a recreational park that includes picnic pavilions, a gymnasium, and an Olympic-size indoor pool. For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221