Huh?  JRH stands for Janet’s Retirement Heaven.  Here, I am delivering Solo Chex, age 30, to her new home at JRH.  I am accompanied by Kensley Ditmore, riding Jack, also a resident of JRH.  I am riding Piper, Janet’s horse, who returned to Carmel River Ranch.  Oh, and then there’s Sally dog, of course.

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What’s Next? Let’s Finish Our Year


Here’s a synopsis of the remainder of the show season at Clifford Horse Training:

October 8,9 San Luis Obispo GSVRHA show.  This is the the final Golden State show of the year.  I love this show and its beautiful setting at Central Cost Boarding and Training.  I will be one of the judges and clinicians, so I will not be available to coach.  But I encourage all of our team to enter.

October 13-16.  Wine and Roses Quarter Horse show in Corning, at the impressive equestrian center which has recently been built.  AQHA is holding a full quarter horse show and a TWO full versatilities, both double judged.  This is four opportunities to get AQHA points while showing twice.  I know, it’s complicated. Let me know if  you have questions.  I am certain that I will attend the first two days of the show (Thursday and Friday).  I am uncertain about whether I will attend the second two days, because……

Monday, October 17 is the Cow Palace versatility show!!  There are classes for everyone at this event.  It is a quarter horse show with classes available for non-quarter horses. It also has an AQHA Limited division for riders not yet going down the fence.  It’s also an AQHA sanctioned show with AQHA Ranch Riding classes.  I have promised the show manager that I will bring riders, and I want to be true to my word.  The future of Cow Palace versatility events depends on the success of this show. We would want to spend the night in San Francisco on October 16.  I can help to organize that.  However, it is easily possible to leave home in the wee hours, drive to San Francisco, show, and go home in the same day.  PLEASE give this show some consideration.  You have an opportunity to be a part of the historical, venerable Cow Palace.

October 28, 29, 30 is the Western States Finals in Arizona.  To qualify, you only need to have shown in ONE GSVRHA show.  It is time to start putting together our team and travel plans for this great event.  We will depart for Arizona on Wednesday, October 26, arriving on the 27.  We will return on one long day, Monday, October 31.  We are looking into renting a VRBO in the Queen Creek, Arizona area (southwest Phoenix).  Based on the last two years, this is the event where memories are made.  PLEASE let me know if you are considering this trip.  I can make it work for you. And who knows?  Perhaps we have a Western States Champion in our midst?

I know, this is an action-packed autumn.  You probably have lots of question.  Feel free to e-mail me at cliffordhorsetraining.gmail.com.  I have the answers!


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I Love This Horse


Very Smart Cow Pony has had a wonderful year.  He won the challenging Ranch Horse Class at the Ranch Roundup for the second year in a row.  He always gives me his entire effort, no matter how little time I have had to prepare him.  At age 11, he epitomizes consistency. This is his competition record so far in 2016:

Trigger Happy Productions GSVRHA Open Champion

Cinch Up Productions Open Versatility Champion

Twelfth in Open Versatility at AQHA World Show

Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic Open AQHA Reserve Champion

Silicon Valley Classic Open AQHA Champion

Cal Coast Circuit High Point AQHA Open Champion

Susanville AQHA Open Champion under both judges

Ranch Roundup Ranch Horse Class Champion

I am so blessed!!  Thank you, Kelly Saunders, for the beautiful buckles.


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Ranch Roundup!!!


Well, we pulled it off.  Another great Carmel Valley Ranch Roundup has come and gone.  Our event was well attended, with more competitors from a greater distance than we have ever had.  The Clifford Horse Training gang made a fantastic showing.  There are many performances, too numerous to mention, for me to remember everything.  But here are some performances that I found especially noteworthy, for a variety of reasons:

Grace Davis, third out of 32, included professionals, in Trail

Kelly Saunders, fourth out of FIFTY, including professionals, in Cutting

Mei Mei Dorrance, youth champion, in Ranch Riding

Mei Mei Dorrance and Grace Davis, Reserve Champions in youth Ranchers’ Choice

Dawn Poston, Reserve Champion (out of 30) in an extremely competitive Buckaroo class

Grace Davis, fourth in the same Buckaroo class…..and TWO flying lead changes!!

Dawn Poston and Cheri Gladstone for MOST IMPROVED (in my book) in Reining.  Eight solid stops between these two.  And joyous, free, relaxed, correct circles.

Brittany Connell in Cutting, Buckaroo, and Reining.  Brittany and Jessi were competing together for the first time ever, and I was SO IMPRESSED with the composure of both horse and rider.  The future is bright!

Karin Zofcin for amazing sportsmansip.  Karin’s romal broke in the middle of what was looking like a winning reining run. She gracefully exited the ring, excused for failed equipment, and cheered on her teammates and fellow competitors. I love our team!


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Going Home

I always enjoy returning from a trip because Alexi Connell has been working on projects at Carmel River Ranch. I caught her returning home with her great little tractor after fluffing up and greatly improving our arena. Thanks, Lex!

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Endurance? Yup!


I have reconnected with Peggy Davidson (formerly Peggy Eaton), whose lovely Arabian, Dakota, I trained many years ago. I always really liked this horse. However, I did not train him for endurance.  That was all Peggy.  Dakota is by Sheila Varian’s great stallion, Desperado V.  I already knew that Peggy had won the Limited Distance (25 mile) National Championship on Dakota.  She set a record for a single year at 895 miles.  But what I didn’t know is that she added another 1110 miles to that number, making a limited distance total of just over 2000 miles.  She also started competing in 50 mile races, eventually racking up a total of 5605 miles at that distance.  Last but not least, she completed the Tevis cup, the world famous 100 mile race right here in California’s Sierra Nevada.  Peggy and Dakota are pictured here in that race.  My math tells me that they have completed at least 7800 miles in their Endurance career. Even better, Peggy still rides and enjoys Dakota.  He is retired from racing, but she says she’s interested in working some cattle.  Cool!!

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Sugarland Horse Park GSVRHA


While I was away on a family trip, this adventurous crowd headed to Woodland, California for a GSVRHA show.  Not pictured is Kim Donlon, who continues to work hard, and successfully, on relaxing her talented mare.  Congratulations to Margaret Pare, Reserve Champion in Intermediate, for her successful return to the show ring.  Yippeee! Congratulations to Jennifer Harden for the Select Championship.

But, all this success aside, I have one thing for which I am most proud:  This group stayed for the ENTIRE cutting to provide turn back and herd help for the competitors of every division.  I heard this from many sources.  In the absence of trainers, they served as expert help and inspiration for all who rode.  They sacrificed their own warm-up time and preparedness in other events to encourage other riders and see that a GSVRHA show went smoothly.  Now that’s the spirit.  Thank you to Kim, Kelly, Grace, Maribeth, Margaret, and Jennifer.




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