Home Online Exclusives Early Californio Skills of the Rancho 2015

Early Californio Skills of the Rancho 2015

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Dates for the third annual Early Californios Skills of the Rancho competition have been set for June 5, 6, and 7, 2015. The event has been moved from its former venue in Santa Ynez to the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, California.

“[It] is a little bit bigger venue,” says Bruce Sandifer, who has been responsible for spearheading the event’s creation and growth. “It’s got a thousand box seats. It’s going to be a lot better venue for spectators, I believe.”

Bruce Sandifer. Photo by Patti Martin.
Bruce Sandifer. Photo by Patti Martin.

The event is sponsored by the International Association for the Preservation of Early Californio Bridlehorses and Stockmanship (IAPECBS), or, known generally as the Californio Bridlehorse Association (CBA) for short. The Early Caliofornios Skills of the Rancho is a three-day roping competition that highlights the skills and gear of the Californio tradition. It is a free event for spectators.

The CBA endeavors to, “preserve a unique style of horsemanship and stockmanship developed during the Mission era of California. These methods became an essential part of California and western U.S. history. The techniques and equipment used by the Californios were passed down within family traditions and so secretly guarded they were almost lost to the pages of history. Through the efforts of the CBA these traditions will be kept alive in their purest form. The CBA will support events where competitions and exhibitions showcase the skills developed during the Mission period.”

“We have something for everybody,” Bruce says of the roping divisions for this year. “We have Youth, the Ladies Mixed, Viejo—which is old timers, Pro-Am, and Open. So, we’ve got a good mix of events for people. With all the divisions, I think it is going to be close to 200 competitors.”

One of the benefits of the new venue is that vendors now will be able to set up inside the main arena area above the stands, which will allow people to check out the gear without missing any events.

CBA_3
Photo by Patti Martin

“We’re a non-profit 501(c)(3),” Bruce explains, “so one of our primary missions is education, and preservation. This year, we’re adding a whole different element to [the roping competition]—at the same time but not the same arena, the facility has quite a few arenas—we’re going to pair up with the United States Working Equitation Association (USWAE), and they’re going to run a show at the same time. Our stock horse dry work [a type of reining test based on a series of horsemanship maneuvers] will actually be judged by the Working Equitation people. And, we’re going to run cattle work for their association.”

This dovetailing between the two groups at the event will provide a broader spectrum of traditional horsemanship styles than in previous years. Bruce refers to working equitation as, “kind of a pre-cursor to the Californios style—it’s about the way that they work in Spain and Portugal and France; a pretty strong influence on classical work. Still a working form, it’s not a show form or a dressage form or a school form.”

The USWAE defines working equitation as: “what horsemen in all countries with a tradition of handling cattle from horseback do on a daily basis.  It is now a competitive sport anyone can participate in, from beginner to advanced level riders. A multi-faceted equestrian sport whose fundamental purpose is to promote using the traditional styles of working cattle from horseback used in different countries while displaying a high degree of training and unity between horse and rider.”

Saturday night, demonstrations and a presentation from the CBA and USWAE will take place.

CBA_2
Photo by Patti Martin

“The Californios Bridle Horse Association will do a demo and explain a little bit to people what we’re trying to preserve and what we’re looking for as an organization, and things of that nature,” Bruce says. “[We’ll discuss] a little about the history. We’ll have some guys who will be there too as historians on the early Californios gear—saddles, bits, and whatnot. There’s going to be really good saddle makers, bit makers, raiders…anything to do with this style of riding.”

Entries for the roping competition are open until May 5, 2015. For more on the Early Californio Skills of the Rancho 2015, visit: www.californiobridlehorseassociation.com. More on the USWAE can be found at their website: www.usawea.com.

“I think that the main thing is that we’d like to get as many people out as we can and celebrate this style of working and to have a good time and keep it going,” Bruce says. “In this organization [the CBA], we try to have a platform so that people who are wanting to take a different path—go a slower way, do what’s right for their horses—give them a place here they can do that and be involved with people that are dedicated to it.”

Please enjoy more photos from past events. Photos by Patti Martin.

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

Photo by Patti Martin

 

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Tom Moates
Tom is a professional writer driving most of the people in his life nuts as he obsessively tries to get better with horses. His life and writing both took sharp turns, as chronicled in this book, Discovering Natural Horsemanship, and now he is a major figure in equine magazine writing. Learn more: www.tommoates.com