Hope you have been “shaded up” during this long hot spell. Just make certain that there are copious amounts of water and that the trough is deep enough for the temperature to remain cool. Auto waterers can be a boon to avoid hot water. A tall glass of iced tea and a good book should while away more than a couple of heated hours till the coastal breeze kicks in to cool the atmosphere enough to ride.

BR Chimes in With a New Book

Heard from my dear friend, Bill Reynolds. He is finishing yet another book, Joe DeYong: A Life in the West. It was a hard decision on which photos to retain, but the author of The Western Saddle and Groundwork (Brannaman) amid many others has made his decision.

Joe DeYong: A Life in the West is the only book ever written on artist Joe DeYong (1894 -1975) DeYong was the only protege of artist Charles M. Russell. His was a life well-lived – a catalyst that touched lives of artists and those who loved the West.

The book took over ten years of research and includes hundreds of never-before-seen images, art work, letters and notes. Bill is taking pre-orders for his beautiful upcoming book at $50 each. Order a copy and stash it for the holidays or enjoy it now yourself (you know that you will peek). For more information contact the author, Bill Reynolds at www.wcreynolds.com or wcreynolds@mac.com.

Mike Knecht & Friends

In his manuscript, Tales From the Chimineas Ranch, Mike Knecht relates his story of one of the largest land holdings in this area and those who peopled it. Knowing some of the characters and events included in the book, fills in my understanding of the events on the Plains. You’ve seen many of them at the fair, at Cattlemen’s events, and in town helping to make the region function. The names read like a who’s who list of colorful SLO County characters.

Some, like former ranch manager, Pat Russell, are still with us. He went on to provide cattle across the state for special events. Coming from a city background, Pat literally could not have embodied elements of the West more. Pat is one of those iconic men who seem bigger than life. He looks and lives the part. Tales should be on your summer reading list. Contact Mike (805-610-4200) for your copy today.

La Fiesta 

Old Spanish Days will see horses and riders strutting their stuff along the Santa Barbara parade routes as well as in the arena in competition. A two hour drive south takes you to another era and romantic state of mind. Santa Barbarans are proud of their heritage. Exhibits and demos abound throughout the city. Most are free to spectators and you will see many competitors who call SLO County “home” competing.

VA Still Vital

Lift a glass to the late Sheila Varian as the first weekend of August marks her birthday.  Perhaps there is a horse you may wish to take home or, like one of our customers consider taking a horse to be trained at VA.

The Varian Staff is working hard to continue the Varian tradition at the Arroyo Grande ranch. A learning center, VA will instruct you in the tried and true methods of working with horses to bring out their best. Developing the potential of each individual is a main goal. Generations of top bloodlines have been brought together to improve the Arabian breed as a whole over the decades. More than 80 per cent of the Arabian horses in the show arena today carry Varian blood.

Dressage Fall Fling

The Fall Fling is set for August 12 & 13 at the Paso Horse Park. Boasting two judges, the show will be under the eyes of Hilda Gurney and Melissa Creswick. Entry for spectators is free as is parking. Plan on a lovely day with gorgeous horses being put through their paces like ballet dancers.

“The Quiet Man” Ray Berta Clinics

Learn how to effectively work with cattle in a ranch type setting. Ray sets up a safe and supportive environment so you and your horse can progress.

You will learn how to read cattle and position your horse to drive, turn and hold cattle. Ray will set up situation exercises to help your horse be more comfortable with the cattle, become interested in the cattle and get them “hooked on.” You will do both one-on-one work with the cattle as well as herd work. You will learn to work efficiently with a partner to sort and pen cattle all the while hearing Ray’s comforting voice walking you through the exercise.

Join Ray, a member of an old California family, and fellow horse enthusiasts for an educational, interactive and fun day with your horse. www.rayberta.com

Simply the Best

You’ll see the horses up close in the stalls and recognize the carriage of the more mature bridle horses over the young snaffle bit group. The will be shown under saddle in dry work, herd work and down the fence as they vie for the championship and reserve positions. The richest stock horse competition will run at the Paso Events Center August 22 through 27. Bragging rights, huge smiles and big checks will be seen and heard in Paso.

The competition is loosely based on the Vaquero traditions of the Pacific Slope. It’s all codified today in an effort to make the playing field equal. There will be a webcast and also a stallion service auction. The horse sale averaged $6,095 per head for the 20 head sold last year. Auctioneer Rick Machado is also offering his entire 2016 foal crop for sale. They are by “Masters Crackerjack” and “One Big Time.” Who knows, you might find a winner or at least a working partner at the sale this year? Admission is free.

Equine-Human Experience

Take half a day August 26 to make a big difference in your relationship with your horse. At a ranch near Heritage Ranch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. you will be walked though the discovery by Jutta and Kasia during the clinic. $175 includes the clinic and lunch. Call for more information and to reserve your spot (975-5443).