Tag Archives: Western

After Hosting NTRL Finals, Jacksonville Equestrian Center Gears Up for More Crowd Pleasing Events

Photo courtesy of SDPhoto.

Jacksonville, FL (February 12, 2018) – The momentum remains strong at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center (JEC), a world-class facility that hosts a wide variety of events and leisure gatherings – from equestrian competitions to BMX biking – each year. Over the four days of January 25-28, riders attending the NTRL (National Team Roping League) National Finals got down to business at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, while competing on world-class arena footing and enjoying the many amenities the center has to offer. With over $500,000 in cash and prizes at stake, competitors from around the U.S and the league’s top contenders in the sport of team roping displayed high speed teamwork and “edge of your seat” excitement.

“This was our biggest finals yet!” exclaimed Katie Smith. “We finished the weekend with 2,559 teams, a cash payout of $425,000, and a prize line payout of $90,000. Not only was this the biggest payout yet at the finals, it’s also the largest ever East of the Mississippi.”

After hosting the NTRL Finals at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 13 straight years, the league remains dedicated to the center. Located about 12 miles east of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 400-plus permanent stalls and huge indoor coliseum, which includes a 123,000 square foot arena with permanent seating for 3,700, makes the center a perfect choice for NTRL competitions.

“We really love having our finals here,” Smith added. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us. We ran a second arena outside this year that allowed us to run more teams in less time. Once that arena is covered, those advantages will become even bigger without the weather factoring in.”

Also held in January, the Pals and Paws Dog Agility Club, a group of dog agility lovers from the Jacksonville, Orange Park, and surrounding areas, came together to enjoy this wonderful canine sport. The club hosts four trials each year – open to all breeds – and has a top-notch practice field for use by members and to host weekly classes. Pals and Paws, which began in the early 1990s, will offer agility enthusiasts another chance to catch the dogs in action at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in late March. As always, spectator admission and parking are free of charge.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also has a variety of must-see events scheduled during the month of February.  From February 13-15, Construction Career Day, designed to introduce school students to the wide range of career opportunities available to them in the construction industry in a hands-on environment.

For equine enthusiasts, The First Coast Classical Dressage show, a schooling show attended by First Coast group members but open to the general public from 8a.m.-5p.m., will take place in the Dixon Square Arena on Saturday and Sunday, February 17-18. The Florida Paint Horse Club hosts the Zone 9 Southern Classic February 16-18 from 8a.m.-8p.m., featuring horses who display their unique splashes of color and all round athleticism in a variety of classes. Next up is the Florida Reining Horse Association Florida Classic, Feb 21-25, offering Open and Non-pro Derbies as well as many super classes for rookies and green reiners, show times 8 a.m.-8p.m. daily.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming a variety of crowd-pleasing events to its facility throughout the winter and spring months. Plans are also in place to enhance the facility with even more additions and construction projects in the future. The facility hosts a wide range of popular, family-friendly gatherings throughout the year, such as car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, bicycling events, and equestrian competitions for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

Known for its extensive amenities and ideal location only a short drive to the city and beautiful beaches, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and access to an Olympic sized swimming pool. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Tryon to Host Carolina Classic Derby and Team USA Reining Selections for WEG

Photo by Waltenberry, Inc.

TRYON, N.C. – February 1, 2018 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) announced today that it will host the 28th annual Carolina Classic Derby at its facility on May 8-13, 2018, the first reining event to be held at the 1,600-acre venue.

Renamed the Carolina Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center, the event will also host the Selection Trials for the Reining USA Team in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG), as well as the $15,000 CRI3* WEG Reining Test Event. The show’s expanded schedule also includes the Carolina Classic Open and Non Pro Derbies and Atlantic Breeders Incentive Derby along with a double slate of National Reining Horse Association ancillary classes, American Quarter Horse Association classes and USA Reining classes.

Mike Hancock, longtime producer of the event, was glad to see this next step for the Carolina Classic. “After 27 years of producing the Carolina Classic Derby, I am proud to see the event move to another level. The facility at Tryon is spectacular! I know the management team will do an outstanding job producing an event that will be exciting and fun-filled for the exhibitors. It is good to see that our history of Southern hospitality will continue!”

Mark Bellissimo, Co-Founder and CEO of Tryon International Equestrian Center, said, “We are incredibly honored to be the new host of the Carolina Classic and expand our footprint to welcome Western disciplines to Tryon International Equestrian Center. With the addition of our covered arena, we look forward to delivering world-class reining competitions at our venue year-round and are very proud to launch our reining program with such a distinguished show and its impressive team.”

For more information about the Carolina Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center, please contact Pro Management, Inc. at +1 (580) 759-2572.

Admission and parking to the Carolina Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center is free and open to the public. For WEG tickets, event schedules or to sign up for the e-newsletter featuring the latest WEG updates, please visit www.tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media. Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort is located at 25 International Boulevard, Mill Spring, NC 28756.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Hosts BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race in Honor of Brie Ahearn

One of the many riders showing their love of Brie, wearing the BrieStrong shirt rounding the barrel. (Photo courtesy SDPhotography)

Jacksonville, FL (January 22, 2018) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center may be a destination on the map for riders from across the United States, but it still retains the small-town feel loved by the equestrian community that calls Jacksonville, Florida home. This month, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center paid tribute to a young equestrian from its own community who passed away tragically in a car accident last year. The first annual BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race was produced by No Bull Barrel Races and held on January 12-14.

Brieana (Brie) Taylor Ahearn died at the age of 18 on January 19, 2017. “She was a vibrant, smart, and beautiful lady. She has been barrel racing since she was old enough to sit on a horse, which was her true passion all throughout her life,” Ahearn’s family stated.

Ahearn was known for her fierce bravery around the barrels, strong heart, and determined mind. In addition to racing barrels, she competed in track and weightlifting. She was a senior at Baker County High School at the time of the accident.

At the BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race, members of the Jacksonville community came together to support Ahearn’s family and celebrate her passion for horses. Show sponsor Rick Horne said, “Brie went to school and rode horses with my daughter. Some of our best friends were the first ones to reach her on the night of the accident. It’s a small town, and we all want to help.”

No Bull Barrel Races was honored to be a part of the tribute through producing another of the company’s well-known races. Winners included Ashley Davis, who raked in prize money throughout the weekend, and Jamie Hodges, who won the WBRL Futurity.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center made the perfect location for the union of a competitive barrel show and a memorial for one of Jacksonville’s own star barrel racers. The spacious facility was glad to be a part of honoring Brie Ahearn’s memory and sharing comfort and sympathy with her family and the entire local equestrian community.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will continue to host equestrian events for all disciplines throughout the rest of the year, including the Gypsy Vanner National Championship, Florida Feathered Horse Classic, Special Olympics, and Team Roping Finals, which all take place this month. To find out more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

First Western Dressage National Champion Honored at Arabian Sport Horse Nationals

Hillary Rapier and SB Heritage+ (Photo courtesy of Rachael Harze)

Raleigh, NC (October 13, 2017) – For the first time since its inception, the Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Show offered Western Dressage as a championship class. Triple Crown® Nutrition was proud to reward Hillary Rapier and SB Heritage+ (Maranello x Abaskiss), with the coveted Triple Crown Excellence Award.

The Triple Crown Excellence Award is presented to a rider who demonstrates exceptional horsemanship on a fit and healthy mount. Rapier and SB Heritage+, nicknamed “Cricket,” were a shoo-in for the honor as they were also named Western Dressage Basic Level National Champions during the weeklong show held in Raleigh, North Carolina. The pair garnered the national championship with an average score of 69.4%. The impressive performance came after a nearly two-year layup.

For “Cricket,” the win was fitting recognition for his journey from a debilitating illness to being named a National Champion at the Arabian and Half Arabian Sport Horse Nationals.

In 2015, Cricket was diagnosed with EPM after having finished in the Top Ten in Dressage Training Level ATR with his owner, Liliana Nabhan. When Nabhan decided to put him back to work, she sent him to Rapier. “I used western dressage as a way for him to come back,” Rapier said.

“I’ve always called him a comeback kid. He’s seen the worst of the worst and he’s just has the heart and fight to not give up,” she said. “Because he didn’t want to give up, his people didn’t give up and now he’s a national champion.”

Rapier described the event as a whirlwind, especially since the decision to enter Cricket was made the day entries closed. The 10-year-old chestnut gelding had only been in Rapier’s training program for four months.

“It was the perfect combination; everything came together,” she said. “He had one shot and he cleaned up.”

Cricket is currently up for sale and Rapier will keep him in training and progressing him up through the levels until he has new owners. “His future depends on if he stays here with me under new owners or moves on with new owners,” she said. “There is nothing holding this horse back at this moment. He is strong, ready and waiting for next person to take him and continue climbing.”

In addition to winning the national championship aboard Cricket, Rapier also showed WKF Ebony Phoenix, a horse she co-owns, and was the Western Dressage Level 1 Reserve National Champion and finished third in Western Dressage Level 2.

While Rapier trains and competes in a variety of disciplines from sport horse under saddle to traditional dressage, hunters and ranch events, she starts every horse in western dressage. “When they start with that foundation, horses can go in any direction that is chosen for them,” she explained.

Winning the Triple Crown Excellence Award, which includes a tri-colored ribbon and an engraved silver tray, was an affirmation to Rapier’s commitment to maintaining healthy and fit equine partners. Coincidentally, all of the horses in Rapier’s program thrive on Triple Crown feed. Rapier has been exclusively feeding Triple Crown products for well over two years and can’t say enough good things about them.

“I’m absolutely in love with all of their products,” she said.

Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, Triple Crown® Nutrition was the first company to add prebiotics, probiotics, and organic minerals to horse feed. Today, the company continues to deliver the very best in equine nutrition with its revolutionary formulations and premium quality ingredients. Triple Crown is proud to honor success stories like Rapier’s and Cricket’s with the Triple Crown Excellence Award.

To learn more about Triple Crown, the official feed sponsor of the U.S. Dressage Team, the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team, and the Hermes U.S. Show Jumping Team, go to www.TripleCrownFeed.com, call (800) 451-9916, or visit the company’s Facebook page or Instagram @TripleCrownFeed.

Contact: Kelly Payne
Triple Crown Nutrition
(800) 451-9916
kpayne@triplecrownfeed.com

Summer Sizzles with Fun Family Events This July at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL –The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is turning up the summer heat through the rest of July with a sizzling lineup of exciting events that are fun for the whole family. Sparking things off on July 15th is the Jacksonville All Breed Open Horse Show. Sponsored by Holmes Ranch, this show offers all the favorite classes including Open Halter, Showmanship, Hunter Classes, Western Classes, Gaited, Saddleseat, Trail Classes, Dressage and Western Dressage. Kids 7 & under are able to show their stuff as well in the Walk Classes including lead-line and walk equitation. The show runs from 8am – 5pm, and AQHA/ARHA/Breed Specific rules apply to applicable classes.

The following week, take advantage of the chance to spend a cool summer evening with fellow equestrians in the spacious main arena on Tuesday, July 18th, in the Community Night Schooling program. The program runs from 3pm – 8pm and costs only $10 per horse. After that, things will heat back up again at the Jacksonville facility with a different kind of Horsepower. The 3rd Annual Rollin Sound & #GetLikeHeather Car Show and dB Drag on Saturday, July 22nd provides the opportunity to see Hot-Rods and Muscle Cars and hear some hot tunes like never before! Car Show classes include Best of Truck/SUV, Mini Truck, Import, Domestic, Exotic, Lights, Paint, Donks, Bike, and Best of Show. Be sure to stick around for the chance to participate and cheer on your favorite for the Crowd Pick award as well. Spectator parking is only $5, and goodies will be handed out to the first 100 people. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the day for $1. The show starts at 10am and trophies and raffle will be awarded at 4:30pm.

July at the JEC then wraps up on Tuesday, July 25th with the rare opportunity to see some of the best Belgian Warmblood Horses in North America at the N.A. Division’s Belgian Warmblood Inspection Tour. This spectacular event runs from 7:30am – 1:00pm and gives Belgian owners and breeders the opportunity to register their youngsters and certify mares and stallions, demonstrating that they meet strict guidelines for conformation, performance, and breeding standards within the registry.

The event will be the sixth stop in the fifteen-city breed inspection tour, which is conducted by the Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association’s North American Division. Executive director, Chris Sallee, is excited to host the event at the Jacksonville facility this year. Sallee stated: “After doing some research, we knew it was the obvious choice for our keuring event in Florida. The facility is unbeatable – it has all the amenities you could ever ask for when hosting an event like this.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming these sizzling summer events to its world-class facility. In addition to these exciting and fun summer events, plans are also in place to enhance the world-class Jacksonville facility with even more additions and construction projects set to take place over the coming months. The facility hosts a wide range of popular family-friendly events throughout the year, such as horse shows, recreational events, car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, and equestrian events for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

Known for its extensive amenities and ideal location only a short drive to the city and beautiful beaches, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and an Olympic sized swimming pool. For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

The Luck Carries Forward from NBHA Shamrock Showdown at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (March 28, 2017) – It’s a combination of skill and a little luck that makes a winning barrel run, and barrel racers at the 2017 Shamrock Showdown found some extra Irish luck this month at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, an 80-acre state-of-the-art equestrian facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Hundreds of competitors and their horses vied for payouts at the annual National Barrel Horse Association show, a highlight of the month for the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center held the show in its 3,500-seat 150’ x 300’ indoor arena. In addition to the indoor coliseum, the facility boasts several outdoor arenas, over 400 permanent stalls, ample parking, and RV hook ups. The premier facility was excited to host the annual NBHA show once again, providing riders the opportunity to run for winning titles and their piece of large payouts over a three-day weekend.

Jennifer Lee-Sims of Elkton, Florida had lightning-fast rides throughout the weekend, placing first in the 1D women’s races every day, staying in the top five overall each day, and finishing the final day with a 15.033 time. Lee-Sims, who has competed at the Shamrock Showdown since the show’s inception, was happy to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for another show. “It’s a great facility,” she said. “And it’s close to home.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a top destination for equestrians from across Florida and the country. For Lee-Sims, the convenience of traveling to a nearby venue has always been a huge draw for her and her students. Especially this year, as her 10-year-old homebred Quarter Horse Specta Hayday just recovered from an injury and has returned to the arena only recently.

“This was our first big win since his break, and I was so happy to see him come back so strong,” Lee-Sims said. “I am also very proud of all my students that come for lessons on all the improvements we have been working on to make them better in the arena.”

With youth divisions offered at the Shamrock Showdown as well, Lee-Sims’ daughter, Kaitlyn, had a successful weekend competing at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center as well, with top finishes throughout the show. She and her mother plan to continue running at big NBHA shows, and Kaitlyn, who’s been riding since she was two years old, will hit the Junior Rodeo Association shows throughout the rest of the year.

With the luck of the Irish on Lee-Sims’ family’s side, they will return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center next year for another shot at the Shamrock Showdown’s pot of gold.

Other events at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this month have included an all-breed open horse show, community night schooling, dog agility competition, dressage show, and reining show. The upcoming event calendar at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center includes more exciting equestrian and recreational events throughout the spring, and the facility’s staff wishes all future competitors a share of this season’s luck as they compete in the sports they love at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center hosts a spectrum of equestrian events, as well as other sporting, recreational, and community events at its expansive state-of-the-art facility. To learn more about all the facility has to offer, how to host your event there, or to request more information, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Virginia Horse Center Hosts State 4-H Horse & Pony Show

Morgan Strickler and Ima Glowin Coco Chip. Photo courtesy of Leona Randsdell.

Lexington, Va. – Oct. 18, 2016 – The Virginia Horse Center was proud to host juniors from around the state at the 2016 State 4-H Horse & Pony Show Sept. 15-18. Riders competed in a variety of disciplines from hunt seat to western to dressage, in addition to numerous other contests and events.

The overall high point Dressage championship went to Hannah Rice of Accomack County and Page 3 Girl. In the Senior Hunter division, Katie Define of Albemarle County and Prize claimed the championship title. Hannah Revere of Hanover County took home the top spot in the Junior Hunter division aboard She Sells Sea Shells.

In the Western divisions, Randi Roehl of Caroline County took home the top spot in the Junior division with Ima Keeper. The Senior division championship went to Morgan Strickler of Frederick County with Ima Glowin Coco Chip. Maryann Johnson of Southampton County took home the Overall Western Highpoint championship with Zippos Sweet Tea.

In addition to mounted competition the State 4-H Horse & Pony Show offers a wealth of other competitions for its exhibitors from stall decorating to art and photography. Ruth Alexander of Goochland County was the champion in the photography contest, while Taryn McFarland earned the top spot in the art contest.

The Leg-Up Award is given to a 4-H participant who exemplifies the qualities of 4-H and strives to “make the best better” This year’s recipient was Colleen Chaplin. She was nominated by Sofia and Kelly Whealton from the Chincoteague 4-H Club. With 10 years of 4-H experience, Chaplin is a multi-disciplined rider, and has held every office in her club, has been inducted as an All-Star, and is also a Northern District Horse Council Teen representative.

“I was very honored to be nominated,” Chaplin said. “It was nice to be recognized. I love showing at the Virginia Horse Center, it’s my favorite show of the year. I think the 4-H motto, ‘make the best better’, encompasses a lot, it’s amazing to see how helpful everyone is at the horse show and what a positive attitude all the competitors have, it’s great.”

The Connie Collier 4-H Scholarship Award is given to a 4-H participant who has been an exemplary volunteer. Applicants are required to submit an essay describing how 4-H has influenced their life and their goals for the future along with three letters of reference. This year’s award went to Libby Arnold and Mattie Ruth Stanley who were both awarded a $1,200 Scholarship.

The 2017 State 4-H Horse and Pony Show will be held September 14-17. For more information on the Virginia Horse Center, please visit www.horsecenter.org.

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
PhelpsMediaGroup.com

Banner Year for Western Dressage Association of America and Its World Championship Show

Parket, Colo. – In 2013, it was little more than a dream. Then, the fledgling Western Dressage Association® of America hosted the first Western Dressage World Championship Show, which drew 42 horses and 167 entries.

Now in its fourth year, the Western Dressage World Show is nothing short of a celebration. Hosted for the first time by WDAA at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla., the show has attracted 213 horses and 830 entries, a 34 percent increase over 2015. Twenty-seven states, three Canadian provinces and 29 breeds of horses will be represented.

The show will be Sept. 29 – Oct. 2 and will be live-streamed at www.horseshowwebcasts.com for those who would like to watch from home.

The 2016 Western Dressage World Show offers a number of improvements, including expanded prizes, exhibitor parties, an additional day of competition and additional show classes and divisions, such as walk-jog rail and para-equestrian classes.

2016 has been a breakout year for WDAA, as the association also rolled out a points and awards program and a show recognition program, in addition to making continued improvements in its judges training program.

WDAA, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the United States Equestrian Federation’s recognized affiliate for western dressage and is proud to be the standard bearer for what is one of the industry’s fastest-growing disciplines.

The World Show will be preceded by the 7th annual WDAA Annual Meeting & Convention, which allows members to get an inside look at their association. The convention also includes the debut of the 2017 tests – which is an exclusive unveiling for meeting attendees only.

Another highlight is the honors luncheon, at which WDAA will recognize the first Horse Lifetime Achievement Awards, as well as the Top Hand Award, which recognizes an outstanding WDAA volunteer. A generous sponsorship from USEF supports both the annual meeting and the honors luncheon.

As the convention concludes, the action is nonstop – both in and out of the arenas. Rail classes begin on Sept. 29, and an evening welcome party will be the official kick-off to the show. Sept. 30 is freestyle day – one that spectators won’t want to miss! – made even more fun by a freestyle party sponsored by GGT Footing.

Oct. 1 is the gala dinner and silent auction, with tickets available for purchase. Many state affiliates will be donating state-themed baskets to the auction, and a number of sponsors have also kicked in great prizes. Corcoran Saddlery has donated a custom-built western dressage saddle to be raffled off. Tickets are available on site or online at http://westerndressageassociation.org/news-events/win-a-custom-saddle-at-the-wdaa-world-show/.

As the show concludes Oct. 2, a farewell party will be the venue for the presentation of breed high-point awards and custom-made divisional championship belt buckles.

Throughout the convention and show, the focus is not only on top competition but also on a shared celebration of this special discipline and the horses who make it possible. Come prepared to have a wonderful time with old friends and new.

WDAA is devoted to building an equine community that combines the western traditions of horse and rider with classical dressage. We honor the horse. We value the partnership between horse and rider. We celebrate the legacy of the American West. Won’t you come and celebrate with us?

Visit the WDAA World Show website at www.horseshowconsulting.com for details. More information about the annual meeting & convention, and about WDAA, is available at www.westerndressageassociation.org.

For additional information, please contact info@westerndressageassociation.org. Or you can contact Dini Swanson at dini@westerndressageassociation.org as well as Ellen DiBella, WDAA president, at edibella@aol.com.

Favorite Mustang Trainer, Jimbo Albritton, Embarks on Next Wild Horse Training Journey

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (July 14, 2016) – It’s been over two months since the Extreme Mustang Makeover drew crowds to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to watch recently tamed Mustangs perform impressive feats before being auctioned off to permanent homes. Local Jacksonville trainer and Extreme Mustang Makeover entry Jimbo Albritton, though, has still not gotten his chance to exhibit his Mustang in the competition due to a last-minute injury. So after spending time this summer training at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Albritton will be heading to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover with the support of the Jacksonville community behind him.

It was a perfect example that things don’t always go as planned – especially in the horse world – when Jimbo Albritton’s assigned Mustang mare, Penney, tore a suspensory before the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in May. Albritton opted to pull her out of the competition rather than have her endure any unnecessary pain. Although the rules of the competition still stood for Penney – the Mustangs must be auctioned off after spending 100 days working with a trainer – there proved to be luck in store for Albritton and the Mustang mare.

Albritton’s “lucky Penney” has had her fair share of luck (especially since landing in Albritton’s care). Instead of her going to a new home, one of Albritton’s sponsors purchased Penney for him so that he could continue to give her the care she needs to heal.

“Penney is now doing much better than expected and is healing great,” Albritton said. “She is now getting some monitored turn out in a small paddock. She has not been lame at all. She will have a re-check with her vet most likely in the beginning of August, and then hopefully we can start riding her again. It may be a far stretch, but we do have a ranch horse show at the end of September that I think she would be very successful in. If the vet clears her to work, I may try conditioning her back for that. If not, we will wait to do those shows next year and, in the meantime, she will be my go-to horse at the ranch for working the new colts and cow work. She will also be ridden by my two-year-old little girl Kendall, because that is who she really belongs to!”

While Penney rehabilitates, Albritton is keeping busy with many other endeavors, including signing up for the next Extreme Mustang Makeover competition that will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 15-17. For this competition, he was assigned a new Mustang called Cassius. The 100 days that Albritton spends transforming Cassius from a wild horse to a trained horse will include riding and clinics at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The 80-acre facility features an enormous indoor arena for all all-weather riding, several outdoor arenas, more than 400 stalls, and accessibility to miles of trails.

Albritton and Cassius will be at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic on July 16-17, a clinic that Albritton is co-instructing with Mike Woodard. While Cassius isn’t quite ready to participate in the clinic, Albritton plans to trailer him out to get him exposure to a new setting and the stimulus that horses experience at an event.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to be a part of helping the area’s favorite Mustang trainer with his newest project, and also stands behind Albritton in his efforts outside of the arena. Albritton is currently dedicating time to helping two local residents overcome tragedies. On July 9, he held a benefit barrel race for Jacee Beth Thomas at Albritton’s facility in Green Coves Springs. Barrel racer Thomas was injured in an accident when a train struck her car, and she is now on the long and costly road to recovery. Albritton hopes that the proceeds from the event will help provide Thomas and her family with some financial support.

Albritton is also working with the organization Dreaming of Three to help brighten the life of Kasen, a young cancer patient. Albritton plans to host an event that will let the young boy experience the animals on Albritton’s ranch amidst friends, family, and supporters in Jacksonville. Albritton also hopes to have a blood donation bus at the event, as Kasen is in need of blood donations. For more information on how to contribute to these efforts, contact Albritton at james.albritton@rocketmail.com.

Meanwhile at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, other events open to the public will immediately follow the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic. Next up will be Community Night Schooling on July 19, and then the #GetLikeHeather Car Show on July 30. 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

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