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Local riders bring home sweepstakes awards

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Photo submitted Betty Garrett and Cinnabar

Members from The Women's Surface Creek Saddle Club traveled to New Mexico on two occasions in April to compete in the North American Trail Riders Conference, NATRC, sanctioned trail rides.

The NAN Ranch Competitive Trail Ride was held the first weekend in April near Silver City, N.M. The NAN Ranch is a 67,000-acre private ranch, established in 1867; few outsiders have been privileged to ride on this ranch. This was the first time the NAN ranch had opened to the public and it was an amazing venue.

Betty Garrett from Eckert won the Competitive Pleasure Division in horsemanship and her horse, Royal's Rock'N EZ Cinnabar was first-place horse. As a team, they won the Competitive Pleasure Combined Sweepstakes award.

Juleen Feazell from Cedaredge competed in the Open Division at NAN Ranch on her horse, SAS's Smokey Annie Oakley. This was the first time Annie and Juleen had competed in Open and the pace was very fast. They placed fourth in both horsemanship and horse.

Caballo Canyon, held on April 16-17 near Aztec, N.M., was the next NATRC event. Five riders and two very supportive husbands from Delta County traveled over the snowy passes to compete.The weekend was a bit damp with rain off and on, but the trails were sandy and the footing was more arena like with hardly even a muddy spot. Camping with your horses and good friends made for a fun, laughter-filled weekend regardless of the weather.

Betty Garrett and Cinna once again took home first-place horsemanship, first-place horse and the Sweepstakes Combines trophy. Competitive Pleasure has always been a difficult division to win as the riders are very experienced and the horses are very well trained. The Horsemanship Judge and the Veterinarian Judge were some of the toughest judges in the nation. Betty and Cinna both scored very high which is a testament to how well they work together as a team.

Kristie LaValley competed in Novice Lightweight. This was Kristie's third NATRC event and her Missouri Fox Trotter Senteney's Spirit's second competitive trail ride. Kristie placed third in horsemanship and her horse, barn name Sienna, won first-place Novice Lightweight horse. Kristie and Sienna also won Novice Sweepstakes. Sweepstakes is a special award which combines Novice Heavyweight, Novice Lightweight and Novice Junior and selects the highest-scoring horse from those three classes. Sienna was competing against some well-seasoned horses and received a 97.5 score out of a possible 100.

Juleen Feazell and her horse Annie rode in the Open Division. The weather was cool and many of the horses were feeling good. Annie was feeling a little too good and was difficult to control. Annie finished fourth-place horse and Juleen was fifth horsemanship. They still enjoyed the wonderful sandy trails, and know they have more work to do to become a viable team.

Michele Skerl from Crawford and April Walker from Cedaredge also competed at Caballo Canyon and were enjoying their first NATRC adventure. Unfortunately, Sunday morning Michele's American Quarter Horse, Shuzam, coliced and withdrew from the competition. April, being a good sport, supporting friend and knowledgeable horsewoman, opted not to ride, knowing the sick mare would become more upset if her traveling companion, Mclintoc, left for the day.

If you are interested in learning about what it takes for both horse and rider to participate in NATRC events, a clinic is being held on May 14, in Eckert. A NATRC sanctioned ride, Island In the Sky, will be held on the Grand Mesa Aug. 5-7. Contact Juleen Feazell at gjfeazell@tds.net or phone 970-985-1182 or visit www.natrc3.org.

Photo submitted Kristie LaValley and Sienna
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