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2017 HORSE HEADLINERS 24


A Year to Remember Saluting a year’s worth of highlights and heroes


JANUARY The cow horse world lost a


legend in late 2016 when Benny Guitron passed away, and on Jan. 29 it came together for a heartfelt celebration of life for the Merced-based trainer. More than 400 friends and family at ended the memorial hosted by Loren Booth in Minkler. Benny, a National Reined Cow Horse Hall of Famer and the 1976 NRCHA Snaffl e Bit Futurity Open Champion, had died the previous month from complications in his bat le against cancer.


Great news came out of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on Jan. 26 when it announced that the California Department of Food and Agriculture released the LAEC from all quarantine, ending an episode of horse health concern that had begun two months earlier with con-


fi rmed cases of the EHV-1 virus. Dr. Katie Flynn, California’s State Regulatory Veterinarian, applauded LAEC’s management, staff , horse owners and trainers for their diligence and teamwork in the situation. With 725 horses on the property, a large show facility and public trails, the chal- lenge was large and immediate. “Their responsiveness to reg-


ulatory recommendations truly demonstrated that they had horse health and the best inter- est of the horse as their priori- ties,” said Dr. Flynn.


Larry Langer, a part of the horse industry for 66 years— from starting lessons as a child to his induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame—was hon- ored in January for his devotion to equestrian sport with the Lifetime Achievement Award. “It was both a surprise and


a great honor to be chosen for this award, and I am extremely grateful to have been selected,” said Larry. “I am very proud to fi guratively stand next to the likes of Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot, George Morris, Jimmy Woford, and Bert De Nemethy. It truly represents the crowning achievement of my lifetime in a sport that I love dearly, and it pays tribute to the horse, who plays the essential role in it.”


Sunland horseman Dale


Gibson threw his cowboy hat into the political arena as a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council. Dale’s advocacy for equestrians has been eff ective and heartfelt for more than a decade, and although he didn’t win a seat aſt er the votes had been counted, he off ered good advice for horse people every- where to take a part in repre-


senting the lifestyle they love. “United we stand, divided we


fall,” he said during the cam- paign. “My message is to stand together—yes, it’s the mot o of Kentucky, where I’m from. But most equestrians want to go ride and be leſt alone. I tell horse people and non-equestrian voters in this District that we REALLY need to stand together. One person rarely makes a big diff erence, but a community that stands together can make great things happen. Horse people are very independent, self-suffi cient folks, but a loner can easily be picked off by wolves and there are lots of wolves out there. The other thing is, stand for your community. We have fi ve acres here. Many developers have tried to buy this place with big checks, but I couldn’t live with myself if I sold out. If I sell, then it will be to another horse-owner.”


Becky Hanson photo Kathy Higgins photo


Courtesy photo


USEF photo


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