Gambler’s Choice Trails Challenge Results

gamblers_choice_imageSaturday night at the SAFE Show we held the first ever Gambler’s Choice Trails Challenge, an event we dreamed up with the help and guidance of Mr Dan McCallister, who not only designed the course, but acted as judge and Master of Ceremonies for the evening. As a recap, the Gambler’s Choice Trails Challenge —sponsored by Mt Rainier Equine Veterinary Clinic — featured 8 local trainers and riders competing for points on an advanced Trails course. Different obstacles on the course were worth different point values, and each rider had 2 minutes to gather the highest point total for the win. Riders were required to attempt at least 4 different obstacles, and no obstacle could be attempted twice in a row. We saw a variety of strategies, with some riders going right for the high point obstacles, while others made multiple runs on the lower valued obstacles which were faster to complete. Everyone added their own flair to the course, and it was very exciting for the spectators!

But before the event began, each rider was auctioned off to members of the audience in order to create a “win pool” which would be divided 50% to SAFE, 25% to the winning rider, and 25% to the “owner” of the winning rider. The auction was conducted by Dan, who kept everyone in stitches as he worked the crowd and kept the bids rising! In the end, the “win pool” reached an incredible $1,785…which meant that the riders were each competing to win $446.25 for themselves and $446.25 for their winning bidder. SAFE would be walking away with $892.50 as its share of the “win pool.” The generosity of our audience members exceeded our wildest dreams!

Our winners, Rachel Koehler and Bacardi!
Our winners, Rachel Koehler and Bacardi!

In the end, the winner of the inaugural Gambler’s Choice Trails Challenge was Rachel Koehler, who rode Bacardi to victory with 85 points earned. During her run, Rachel made two successful attempts at the “Ring of Death,” an obstacle worth 20 points, as well as the 20 point gate and the 15 point lope poles. The bidder who “won” Rachel in the auction, Cathi Champion, surprised us all by donating her winnings back to SAFE —making everyone cry in the process —and bringing the total earned for the horses to an amazing $1,339. We are so grateful for Cathi’s incredible support and generosity, and for making this first time event such an incredible success!

Here are the results for all our competitors, every one of whom did great! We can’t wait until next year!

1st — Rachel Koehler — 85 points

2nd — Adina Roberts — 80 points

3rd — Spencer St James — 75 points

tied for 4th — Juliane Hanley — 65 points

tied for 4th — Erin Richardson — 65 points

tied for 4th — Lauren Wiefer — 65 points

tied for 4th — Sara M — 65 points

5th — Andy Johnson — 30 points

Thank you again to our amazing sponsor, Mt Rainier Equine Vet Services and Dr Bob DeWard, DVM for your generous support of this event. Mt Rainier Equine put together a Hydration Station in the vendor area this year, offering relief from the heat to horses and humans!

And we cannot say thank you too many times to the incredible Dan McCallister and his wife Julie for everything they did to make this event possible. They were delightful to work with and we hope that we can continue this event for many years to come!

We’d also like to thank Pilchuck Vet Hospital, who donated bottles of Ecovet Fly Repellent for each of our Gambler’s Choice competitors — great stuff, thank you so much!!


Congratulations to our Champions

The 2014 SAFE Show was an incredible success with a record number of entrants over 2 days. Everyone who came out to support us was a winner, but these were our champions:

Grand Champion — sponsored by Anderson Equine Saddle Fitting
Chloe Smith and Four Sox in Time

Reserve Champion — sponsored by Mindful Healing Veterinary Care
Susan Bunch and Zipity Do Rock

Champion Rescue Horse — sponsored by Sweeney Road Old Horse Retirement Home!

Champion Senior Horse — sponsored in memory of Sonny Oakes, age 30
Zipity Do Rock

English Rider, 12 & Under — sponsored by Scout’s Kitchen LLC
Chloe Smith and Four Sox in Time

English Rider, 13-17 — sponsored by FirstFruits Feed of Redmond
Georgia Rae and Mi Moulin Rouge

English Rider, 18-29 — sponsored by Gwen Blake & Donida Farm
Micaela Read and Furbalisous

English Rider, 30 & up — sponsored by Seattle Equestrian Massage
Leslie Hodgson and Gemstone

Novice English Rider — sponsored in honor of Perfect Pal and Dottie Belle
Kayla Priebe and Coconut Macaroon

Western Rider, 12 & Under — sponsored by Leslie Norton, CFP®
Chloe Smith and Four Sox in Time

Western Rider, 13-17 — sponsored by Leslie Norton, CFP®
Mallory Phillips and Red Hot Zippo

Western Rider, 18-29 — sponsored by Performance Matters and Jerry Pelikan
Kristi Ressler and LadyRobins Rhinestone

Western Rider, 30 & over — sponsored by Chateau Espresso
Susan Bunch and Zipity Do Rock

Novice Western Rider — sponsored by Confident Companions Horsemanship
Ellie Pagh and Jump’in Jack

Dressage, Intro High Score — sponsored by John L Scott Real Estate
Iszabelle Marion and Tally Ho Rocket

Dressage, Training High Score — sponsored by Impact Embroidery
Cyarah Sell and Mr Black Magic

Dressage, First & Up High Score — sponsored by Amber and Louie
Heather Courtney and Rainman

Western Dressage High Score — sponsored by Cathi Champion and Velvet
Rachel Koehler and Shocking Awesome

Champion Clover Hunter, Trot Poles — sponsored by Rebecca Cypher
Champion: Grace Christianson and Bow Hill
Reserve: Shauna Morrissey and Spellbound

Champion Lily Hunter, Cross Rail — sponsored by Rebecca Cypher
Champion: Madison Caldron and Zeus
Reserve: Grace Christianson and Bow Hill

Champion Jasmine Hunter, 2′ — sponsored by TheraPlate NW
Champion: Christine Kuran and Zeus
Reserve: Heather Larson and Bella

Champion Willow Hunter, 2’3″ — sponsored by Evergreen Equine Veterinary
Champion: Hanna Young and Wallace
Reserve: Maia Smith and Rhodie

Champion Cedar Hunter, 2’6″  — sponsored by Eileen & Andy Carrel
Champion: Mackenzie Huggler and Missy
Reserve: Chyenne Pomeroy and Tommi

Final Dressage Ride Times

Here are the final ride times for Sunday’s dressage competition. There are no significant changes from the previous schedule posted yesterday.

Ride Times by Class

Ride Times by Rider

We still have some open ride times due to rider scratches. If you are interested in entering any of these open spots, please call Bonnie Hammond at 206-331-0006 or check in at the show office when you arrive at Donida.

8:14 AM — 304. Training Level 1
9:06 AM — Intro Level A
11:00 AM — Intro Level B or C
11:06 AM — Intro Level B or C

Dressage Ride Times for Sunday Aug 3

dressage-iconHere are the preliminary ride times for Dressage:

Preliminary Ride Times by Rider

Preliminary Ride Times by Class

Final ride times will be posted Friday morning by 9am




Due to a rider scratch, we have three two ride times open for the following tests:

Intro A (9:06am)
Intro B (11:00am)
Intro C (11:20am) — Ruth Jelinek, Coconut Macaroon

If you are interested in riding one of these tests, please contact Bonnie Hammond at 206-331-0006 or by email at

Trot Poles 101

hunters-iconHave you always wanted to try riding Hunter/Jumpers, but never had the opportunity? Well, guess what? The SAFE Show is your chance to give Hunters a try! And what better place to start than in the Trot Poles!

There are four classes in each Hunter Division, for example: CLOVER HUNTERS (TROT POLES)

  • 401 Clover Hunters, Under Saddle (Walk Trot)
  • 402 Clover Equitation, Not To Jump (Walk Trot)
  • 403 Clover Hunters, Trot Poles
  • 404 Clover Equitation, Trot Poles

The first two classes listed, 401 and 402, are Flat Classes. All the riders will enter the ring at the same time, and the judge will instruct all riders to walk, trot, reverse direction, and line up with your numbers facing the judge. It’s just like a rail class in the main arena. In class 401, Clover Hunters Under Saddle, the judge will be evaluating your horse’s performance, just like in a Pleasure class. In class 402, Clover Equitation, Not To Jump, the judge will be evaluating your performance as a rider.

Sample Hunter Course (click to enlarge)

The second two classes listed, 403 and 404, are Over Fences Classes. In both classes, you and your horse will enter the arena alone, and navigate over a course of 8 fences. For the Trot Pole division, each fence will just be a pole placed on the ground that you trot over. You may ride the entire course in the trot. The course will be posted at the entry to the arena, and you’ll need to memorize it before you take your turn. The course will consist of 8 fences, and they will be arranged in a pattern of straight lines and vertical lines. This drawing at the right shows you an example of what a hunter course might look like. Note: this is NOT the course that will used at the SAFE Show, it’s just an example! In the Clover Hunters, you’ll trot over the 8 fences and then make a big circle at the end of the ring before coming down to a walk and walking out of the arena.

There’s a lot more to Hunters that what I’ve just told you, but your coach or trainer will have to take it from here. But riding in the Clover Hunter Trot Pole Division is a good way to get a taste for the Hunter world, and it’s fun too!

If you don’t have experience riding your horse over fences, we don’t recommend that you enter any of the other Hunter divisions, because we want you to stay safe. If your horse has never seen a jump before, he might not want to go over it and stop suddenly, or he might jump WAY over it and unseat you. But if you’re a beginner who is comfortable navigating your horse at the trot, you could have some fun with the Trot Poles classes! And if you’re a grown up, don’t worry, you will not be alone! There are already a few brave adult riders signed up for Clover Hunters, so don’t let the fear of being beaten by a tiny kid on a pony stop you from entering! Register for the SAFE Show now for the best stabling assignments! Click here to enter!