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 Kevin McGinn's Equestrian Blog 
Kevin McGinn rides, trains, judges, and conducts clinics nationwide and locally in the Los Angeles area. He specializes in preparing both horses and riders for the jumper ring. As a widely published equestrian writer, Kevin provides insights on equestrian related topics in his blog and elsewhere.
Tuesday, August 23 2011

Benchmark Program founder Linda Allen at the El Sueno Equestrian Center in Somis.El Sueño Equestrian Center in Somis hosts the second of three 2011 Benchmark Rallies on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. The events are part of a program developed by renowned international show jumping course designer Linda Allen.

Allen (shown left at the El Sueno Equestrian Center in Somis) developed the Benchmark Program in response to what she sees as a need for an affordable system of putting miles on young horses that would be comparable to what is offered in Europe.

Lisa Westin, Kevin McGuinn and Samie VallaAccording to trainer Kevin McGinn, who, along with Westin and El Sueño events manager Samie Valla (pictured at right), has worked closely with Allen in developing the program, the main constituents are “dealers, breeders and those with young horses, in addition to people who want to get in one more big practice before a show.”

The third Benchmark Rally at El Sueño will be held on Dec. 4, 2011.

For more information on both events, contact Lisa Westin, 818-426-8668, or visit

This article is excerpted (with permission) from the full article that appeared August 17, 2011 in The Equestrian News.

» Click here to read the full article. (Photo credits: Paula Parisi)



Posted by: Kevin McGinn AT 06:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 12 2011

Saturday July 9th saw the marine layer lift over Huntington Beach Equestrian Center to reveal the latest incarnation of Linda Allen's concept franchised by Ms. Julie Golden and fully realized with the assistance of one of Southern California's busiest course designers, Scott Starnes. The 1.30M track met every one of Linda's priorities by being a legitimate AA Quality course while remaining inviting to the greenish horse or rider. The advantage in the simplicity of this H.S. model is so obvious one wonders why it hasn't been done before.

The idea of dealing with only one ring and course in descending heights allows both riders and trainers to breathe and not just walk, ride, and run to the next arena.
Every detail was secured by Julie Golden, including jumps leased from Blenhein Equisports, a carded jumper judge, a first aid tent, and a local charity that provided snacks and beverages.

The fiercest competition of the day happened in the closing hours with large ponies battling it out over .75 and .70 M. And that is the idea: To make this sport an inclusive one that has a hand reaching "up" while the other is reaching "down" to guide the ones that follow.

For more information on the remaining Benchmark Rallys on the calender at both Huntington Beach Equestrian Center or el Sueno, go to The Benchmark Program website at

If you would like to host a Benchmark Rally of your own, please see the The Benchmark Program Forms page for more details.

Posted by: Kevin McGinn AT 02:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

    Kevin McGinn
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