Highlander Ranch Licensed Show Report Region 4

Gabreille Gordon’s Shagya Bay GG Griffin prepares for his second place finish in Intro

Highlander Ranch Draws Working Equitation Enthusiasts

The Texas  fall competition season continued on November 18-19 as twenty six horse and rider pairs including one schooling L1, fifteen L1, five L2, two L4, two L5, and one L7 gathered at Highlander Ranch in Waco, Texas for the ranch’s third and final working equitation show of the year. 

Megan Kenney described her six year old daughter Amber’s first show off the leadline as she completed the schooling L1 division.  Megan is a huge advocate for youth, specifically in finding fun and safe ways to segue children into this sport. She says. “I’m absolutely grateful and blessed for our local leadership, show management,  and judges giving grace to allow for a non-rated leadline class to be squeezed in.   The littles can gain confidence through safe practices while they learn the ins and outs of the sport. I was on cloud 9 when my mini-me and the saintly Pocket had such a good warm up Friday night that Amber asked to come off the line and try all by herself. And they did it!”

Gabrielle Gordon raises the rare breed Cleveland Bay.   She introduced her six year old homebred Cleveland Bay / Shagya Arabian GG  Griffin  to WE over a year ago, and plans to move up to Novice A next year.  She says, “Another great weekend at the Highlander Ranch Working Equitation show.  The staff is always so knowledgeable and helpful, and the facilities are wonderful.  The new Ease of Handling obstacles are beautiful, and I think someone said they are painted in the school colors.  I also like the updated concessions hut.  It’s great to see the barn’s young students working to raise funds for next year’s show goals.”

Sara Faivre competed on her Andalusian/Lusitano gelding, Aragorn. They’ve been partners for 2 1/2 years and this is their second year competing. Sara has never shown prior to competing in WE, and has fallen in love with the sport. Sara says, “It’s hard to decide what my favorite part of the show is. I love getting toward the end of the year and seeing the progress the various horse and rider pairs have made. But it’s equally fun to see new folks coming in and giving the sport a go. Our seasoned competitors are always so welcoming and helpful to the new folks. In the end, though, nothing can beat watching Megan Kennedy’s young daughter ride her off-lead run on her adorable little horse, Pocket.”

The 200-acre Highlander Ranch is owned by Mclennan Community College (MCC).  In addition to an active show program featuring Ranch Horse, Open, Dressage, and Gaited Dressage as well as Working Equitation, it provides services to the community such as horseback riding lessons, camps for children, equine boarding and numerous continuing education courses. Highlander Ranch is also home to MCC’s Veterinary Technology and Agriculture associate degree programs, as well as the Veterinary Assistant certificate program.  The property has a long history with horses.  In the 1980s it  was known as Bentwood Farms, where owner Jerrel McCracken established a renowned breeding and sales program for Egyptian Arabians, producing national winners through his commitment to his bloodlines. 

Highlander Ranch facility manager Aimee Edwards was  also the show secretary, and Jaime Volski was the Technical Delegate. Judge Nicole Chastain Price from California remarked,  “I’m just here to tell you about my experience at Highlander Ranch in Texas. I judged down here for the first time.  It was a lovely group of people with well prepared and presented horses. The facility has good footing and  quality obstacles.  It was very well managed –  the show ran on time.   I am really impressed with the way that WE is growing in this area and it was a real honor to be a part of it.” 

Sara Faivre and TCR Aragorn finished in second place in Novice A (photo by Kate del Aguila)

Amber Spiess and Pocket entered leadline, but were confident enough to complete the show without the leadline.

The 2023 show season in Texas will conclude in December with the Texas Hot Shots show at Willow Draw in north Texas. 

Article written by Sharon Miesen, reporter for Central Zone USAWE

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