There is nothing like the song the Reata sings, as she slices the air. Sure. Confident. Within her coils lives a tradition....that only a few choose, it is not the easy path.
Skills of the Rancho. What an apropos name for the first annual event held by the Californio Bridle Horse Association. Bruce Sandifers baby. I can remember several years back, when Bruce started thinking about putting an event together. As everyone knows, getting people, cattle horses vendors AND food together...with a facility that will acomodate a crowd, and is roomy enough in the arena department to allow a run down the fence or two, is not an easy job. Thank God, Bruce was determined, and also knew exactly what he wanted...because we were ALL the beneficiaries of this tedious labor of love.
The First weekend in February proved that the Viejos of old, were smiling down...just as in the days of old..to capture the escence of a time long past..a tradition that reaches back, and whispers "manana".. don't worry that horse, and don't hurry that horse. In fact how you handle your horse even in the warm up pen is watched, if you rough up a horse or cow...well. No Bueno. To allow an animal to work cattle in a slow, deliberate, way...to think...to be a partner, and encourage him to use his body.... Is almost a lost art. But, not here. Here, you could see the skills of the rancho take form..and believe you had stepped into a by gone era. The mist in the valley that had so long cloaked the traditions,..lifted to reveal there is life. Todavia estoy aqui, I am still here, and the spirits of those gone before, in the half light...they rolled in with the fog~and with a hush..just a hint of their secrets, they surrounded us with their lore~the gear they loved and stories yet to be told around the campfire. Under the same stars, as a winter gather. In the cradle of the same hills as ages ago. The secrets have been revealed. They allowed the breath of a of a tradition to be reborn.
Because it is time.
Just like the snake and the shake of the reata...stinging it's way through the herd..the traditions came to life. Everyone was welcomed, and brought their finest horses...the gear, all traditional..and as in days of old, the pride of workmanship, the love of craft, was evident, from the silver shining in the sun, to the lazy shoo fly an honest metronome of cadence and gait.
There is much that goes in, besides time..to making a bridle horse. Pat Puckett calls it the Disciplined Ride...and that is what it is...no, not harsh or cruel...but the discipline it takes to refine yourself, your skills to communicate in seamless way, from the heart of the horse, to the heart of man. Dos es Uno. Two are one, in this ancient dance of the pacific slope.
I hope that as you look through some of these photos, the spirit of the event will come to life, and you can see that the Vaquero lives..in our heart and in our desire to better our horsemanship, and partnership with the horse. Early Californio Skills of the Rancho, where The Bridle horse is elevated as much, maybe moreso then the rider. Somehow, knowing that the Viejos smiled, and the traditions are carried forth, is a very humbling thought. Todavia estoy aqui, we are still here.
As always, these events have their unsung heros...the behind the scenes folks who make your well being their priority. The sister wives, rolled in from Colorado, and en mass kept the entire deal organized. Jeff Mundell, who was everywhere at once, helping with everything...Karen Ross the driving force. The vendors who brought their finest. From Bosal to Saddle, to Saddle Blanket. Wild Rags, scarf slides. Posters, Bags. You name it, and it was there. Very many thanks to the following vendors, who make this lifestyle such a delight.
Please let me know if I missed you, I tried to get everyone that was in the program, I apologize if I missed you....please email me, and I will fix that right away..
Prairie Karen~ Karen B. Ross....just the good stuff.
Karmel Timmons~ Fine Art
Bruce Haener~ Bit and Spur Maker
Linda Hayden~ Hand spun wool Saddle Blankets
Ron Butler~ Custom Saddles and Gear
Amy & Jeff Mundell.~ The Brand Wild Rags, Hand swewn silk Scarves and Hand painted silk ties.
Michael & Joanne Rhoads~ Flat Hat Trading Engraved Silver, Fine Palm Hats, Children's Books, and Vintage Gear
Tully Hole Saddlery~ Bryan Kunic Custom Horse Gear & Knives
Don Howe~ Working Cowboy Saddlery Custom Saddles and Reatas
Gary Field~Silversmith Custom bits, spurs, conchos rein chains
Greg Gomersall~ Saddlery Custom Saddles and Tack
Kansas Saddlery~Shannon Wrango and Tuffy Flager Custom Gear
Tap's Bit and Spur Shop~Custom Bits and Spurs
Los Padres Outfitters~ Graham Goodfield Serving Delicious Food, Beer Wine
KJ Murphys Custom Hatter~Kevin Murphy
Scott Wehrmann~Double Diamond Ranch Quarter horses, Andalusians and Aztecas
Osuma Boots~ Tucson AZ
Jack Armstrong~ Braider
Bill and Teresa Black~ Rawhide braiding
Domingo Silver Bits and Spurs
Tom Hirt ~custom hats
Open Calf Branding:
1st Buddy Montes, Cody Real, Adrianne Cruz Won coustom headstalls donated and made by Fred Buckmaster with silver concho's and buckles made by Richard Brooks from the C.B.A.
2nd,Christian Clews,Justin Reichert,John Hardesty Won Bruce Heaner bridle concho's,donated by Bruce Heaner.
3rd,Barry Prosser,Lane Johnson,Wacey Kornemann won rein chains,made and donated by Richard Brooks.
Open Sort and Rope:
1st Jay Harney,Gene Roberts,Chris Burkmeyer won bridle concho's made by Shawn Didyoung from the C.B.A.
2nd Weston Albrecht,Matt Goodson,Paul Bonnello won hand painted ties made and donated by Jeffrey Mundell.
3rd Pat Puckett,Deb Puckett,Enrique Loperena, won silver bit hangers built by Linda Doyle donated by Pairie Karen.
Open Alley Sorting
1st Jay Harney, Gene Roberts,Chris Burkmeyer won3 sets of Gary Wiggins bridle concho's.
2nd Jim George, Lester Leslie, Jay Harney won three hand painted ties by Jeffery Mundell donated by Jeffery Mundell.
3rd Drew Mischianti,Natalia Estrada,Giulio De Donatis won 3 sets of Linda Doyle silver bit hangers donated by Prairie Karen.
Pro/Am Sort and Rope
1st Gil Camarillo, won silver mounted headstall made and donated by Cyndi N Greg Gomersall.
2nd Dave Matusazak,won 5/8ths mane hair macate donated by Jeff Stone and the C.B.A.
3rd Jeff Kadansky won Richard Brooks rein chains donated by Bruce Sandifer.
Pro/Am Alley Sorting
1st Peter Taylor won one set of Gary Wiggins bridle concho's donated by Gary Wiggins.
2nd, J Kevin Jones won a pair of spur straps made and donated by Gordon Andrus.
3rd, Tammy Evens, won Silk wild rag donated by Buckaroo Brand and a collection of Juni Fisher CD's bonated by Juni fisher.
Mixed/Ladies Sort and rope
1st Victor Cruz, Adrianne Cruz, won set of spurs each donated by Jeremiah Watt, JWP products.
Mixed/Ladies Alley Sorting
1st Buddy Montes,Laurie Montes,won two Beaver Valley Fiber Art Cinches made and donated by Dianne DeWeese.
2nd, Drew Mischianti,Natalia Estrada, 2 bosalitas donated by Bruce Sandifer.
3rd Mike and Darian Morgan.
Viejo Sort and Rope
1st Lester Leslie , Jay Harney won 2 sets of Gary Wiggins bridle concho's provided by the C.B.A.
2nd Ken Dodds ,Kelly Bradford, won wild rags donated by Buckaroo Brand Wild Rags.
3rd Renee Duycaerts, Cam Shryver.
Viejo Alley Sorting
1st Ken Dodds Kelly Bradford.2 knives and sheaths from C.B.A.
1st Mike Tarrant won braided honda made and donated by Aaron Dickerson.
2nd Jeff Stone
3rd Darian Morgan
Open Stock Horse Bridle
1st Robin Bond, won coustom built hat donated by Tom Hirt
2nd Matt Goodson
3rd Weston Albrecht
Open Stock horse two rein
1st Weston Albrecht won silver scarf slide made and donated by Tap’s Bit and Spur Shop,Mike Vatalaro.
2nd Dave Kay
3rd Brad Randall
1st Matt Goodson won hand painted silk tie by Jeffrey Mundell .
2nd Deb Puckett
Amateur Stock horse Bridle
1st Peter Taylor headstall made by Deb Puckett donated by Deb & Pat Puckett.
2nd Darian Morgan
3rd Britani Nelson
Amateur two rein
1st Mike Tarrant won git down rope by C.B.A.
2nd Anthony Borgatello
3rd Arlene Morgan
1st Courtney Meitz won a set of Trina Webers jail house stirrups donated by Kan
sas Saddlery Shannon Wrango and Tuffy Flagler.
2nd Glynna Hoekstra
3rd Elena Juarez
Ladies Stock horse bridle
1st Courtney Meitz won Wrango chap bag from Tuffy Flagler and Shannon Wrango from Kansas Saddlery.
Ladies Stock horse two rein
1st Arlene Morgan won bit bag from Kansas Saddlery
1st Deb Puckett
Top hand Open
Jay Harney won silver headstall by Linda Doyle donated by Linda Doyle.
Top Hand Amateur
Peter Taylor won rein and romals braided and donated by Bill Black Braiding.