Paddock Schooling Turns Four

By July 10, 2013
Riders line up for the judge at the 4th Annual Paddock Schooling Show.

Riders in the "Rusty Sirrup" division, many of them parents whose kids were participating, line up for the judges. (Photo courtesy Sagebrook Farms)

One thing on which we can all agree: in California, valuable show-miles are hard to come by at a reasonable price, and high-quality exhibition opportunities for young riders, equine babies and general newcomers to the sport are to be encouraged.

Which is why the 4th Annual Paddock Club Schooling Show was a welcome addition to the SoCal schedule on July 7.

The show took place on the grounds of the gracious, oak-dotted Paddock grounds, alongside the L.A. River, between Los Feliz and Atwater Village. IT was managed by Julie Sloane of Sagebrook Farms, which is based on the premises. Hunter/jumper riders from as far as Agua Dulce and Santa Clarita came in to  compete at schooling level in a relaxed atmosphere.

Sloane says her favorite thing about the Paddock is the “relaxed feeling” she gets upon passing through the  grand wrought-iron gates that welcome visitors to the facility, which she characterizes as “lush and well maintained.”

Her schooling show offered classes ranging from lead line to jumpers and a special longe line class designed to bridge the gap between the lead line and the walk/trot.  “I felt like that was a huge step for a young person who is just learning to ride and that wants go to a show,” Sloane said.

Trainer Julia Seltz with student Mathilda Barr

San Pascual student Mathilda Barr earns ribbons at her first show, earning a hug from trainer Julia Seltz. (Photo by Edmund Barr)

Prior to Alex and Nadine Chaves purchasing the Paddock in 2006, the place had been home to a series of B-rated horse shows that had a cozy, small-town feel.  “I showed there when I was 16, so I guess you could say we’ve come full circle,” Sloane chuckled.

The trainer hopes her schooling show will provide participants an experience “that parallels a rated show, at a more affordable cost.” She refers to a local B-rated show as “a $500 day” and notes the Paddock Schooling Shows are  “only $20 per entry, with flat a $10 processing fee.”

The overall vibe is upscale, but low-key. In approximating the atmosphere of a rated show, there is a dress code, which stipulates collared-shirts with sleeves, tucked in, although jackets are not required, “I make sure my own students who are participating have all the finishing touches, including gloves, belts, hair nets and all the details. That level of polish is all part of the showing experience,” Sloane said.

The event drew more than 80 junior and adult riders and drew quite a few onlookers. “There was a crowd of about 150 family and friends, and some nice vendors.” For the 2013 iteration, local retail establishments Damoor’s Tack and Feed and Stephen’s Hay & Grain supported the fledgling effort by offering gift certificates for the blue ribbon winners.

The show was judged by trainer, Andre Barbarossa of Team McAllister, based at the Flintridge Riding Club in La Canada-Flintridge. Barbarossa said she enjoyed the experience. “It was a nice change of pace for me and I love getting back to the roots of why we all got interested in horse sports.”

Julie Sloane poses with her horse Tino.

Julie Sloane and Tino (Courtesy Sagebrook Farms)

Caroline Sterckx, riding school director of San Pascual Stables in South Pasadena trailered a herd of 12 riders to compete. “This is a great event for the less advanced rider who would normally not show because of high costs and travel,” Sterckx said. “We brought kids and adults who had fun and took home ribbons.”

San Pascual plans to host a similar show on Sept. 15 to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

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