Kevin McGinn Stables - Horse Sales and Training - Los Angeles CA, Monday, September 7, 2009
Firstly, I must say that the management of el Sueno on Kingsgrove Road in Somis have designed a perfect equestrian venue.
With its perfect climate, (Somis is the most temperate climate in the California) el Sueno is both picturesque and functional -- with an impressive indoor riding hall and perfect footing, it's quite a place.
I was thrilled when Lisa Westin invited me, on behalf of the ownership, to judge the 3rd show on their calender. Aside from being non-rated, there was nothing second rate about this show. It was perfectly managed by Patty Littman, with perfectly turned out arenas thanks to the the help of Esteban Rodriguez and what seemed to be enough staff to put on an "A" show. Everything was organized, and the classes started on time. The back gate stewards kept the show moving. The courses made sense and were level appropriate for each class. And most impressively, el Sueno's owner, Gina Atton Thomas, was often seen bouncing from ring to ring to hand out the winners' prizes -- beautifully made baseball caps and directors chairs.
There was only one thing missing for me on the day; (happily) absent was any feeling of "ATTITUDE" or "One Up Manship" that, in my opinion, is far too often seen at far less opulent show venues !! These kids had a first-class introduction to the world of horse showing, and I believe they went home having had more fun than stress! And maybe even having made a new friend or two?
For the Parents' part, el Sueno kept the fees on the nominal side, and hopefully other show managers can "CATCH ON" so that horsemanship can once again become a sport that can, at least on some level, be accessible to everyone. This, to my thinking, is the most certain way to insure its place as part of the American lifestyle.
More on schooling shows in my next entry!