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February 2010


Photo of Marnye LangerPresident's Message

I know we need the water, but it was starting to look as though we would never get the 2010 show season launched.  Fortunately, the Verdugo Hills and Lake View shows at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center did run--and under sunny skies to boot--and many LAHJA members were out to get a jump on the show season.  I took my young horse, No Sugar Added, and had a great time.  It was fun getting back into the show ring, and lots of other people seemed to agree.  I saw many LAHJA trainers there, like Sandrine Seifert, Nancy Frost, Mark Purcell, Karen Perlow, and Kay Altheuser, to name a few.

Although the show season has just gotten underway, your LAHJA board and various committees are hard at work all year round.  You will read about a number of the committee activities in this e-news, and if you are interested in helping out, we are always looking for interested volunteers.  Committee work is often rewarding and gives you a chance to not only contribute to the success of the association, but to be involved in your horse passion in a different way.

The Communication Committee oversees the monthly e-newsletter and also helps prepare some of the features in this e-news. We are bringing back a favorite, From the Judge’s Box.   We asked some judges from around the country some questions on topics of interest to our members.  In this edition you’ll read about various views on braiding.  If you could pose a question to our panel of judges, what would you ask?  E-mail me your question, and perhaps you’ll see it addressed in an upcoming From the Judge’s Box.

We are also adding a new feature where we will profile various members.  This month, learn a little about Sandrine Seifert, a successful trainer and LAHJA Board member.  Do you have suggestions for someone interesting to profile?  Send an e-mail!

This week the USHJA hosted one of its Trainer Symposiums in Thermal.  For more information on the Trainer Symposium schedule and the newly launched Trainers' Certification Program, click here.  These are great programs and the Symposiums are not limited to just professionals.  These are a great way to learn and further your knowledge.
George Morris, our U.S. Chef d’ Equipe is giving the jumper portion, and John French, last year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby winner, is giving the hunter portion.  Tomi Clark, a member trainer, is one of the demonstration riders for the hunter portion, and yours truly is riding in the jumper portion.  If you can’t make it to the symposium, we’ll provide highlights in the next LAHJA E-News.

Have a great time riding and I hope to see you at the shows.  I enjoy meeting members, so look me up at a show and introduce yourself.  I want to hear your thoughts about LAHJA.

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Table of Contents:

President's Message

Upcoming Dates


The Equestrian Minute

From the Judge's Box

Member Profile: Sandrine Seifert


One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they don't spend
a lot of time trying to impress other birds and horses.  -- Dale Carnegie



Upcoming Dates:

Feb 19-21: Gold Coast 1
Feb 27: Camelot February
Mar 6-7: Verdugo Hills 2
Mar 7: Lake View 2
Mar 13: Camelot Spring
Mar 19-21: LAEC Winter
Mar 28: Elvenstar March B


Committees make sure that someone is in charge of handling all of the important operations of the association. Descriptions of each of LAHJA’s committees are below; visit the website for more information or for contact information for current committee chairs.

Budget and Finance: The purpose of this committee is to put on the most extravagant, lavish year-end banquet possible and present the highest quality awards. When there is money left over, it is used to fund other programs as needed, such as scholarships. Income is derived from horse show fees and membership dues, and it is hoped that when the economy improves, there will be more sponsorships as well to help fund needed programs.

Show Dates: This committee inspects eligibility of show date applications, determines their eligibility under the current rules, and recommends either approval or denial to the Board. This committee reviews the current requirements for shows to be approved, the current standards for approved shows, and makes recommendations for rule or procedure changes to the Board in these areas.

Rules: This committee has the responsibility to review the rules, interpret the rules, clarify the rules, and propose rule changes. All proposed rule changes go to this committee before they are presented to the whole board.

Banquet: The purpose of the Banquet Committee is to create an atmosphere that enhances the awards ceremony, as LAHJA accomplishments represent a high level of achievement. Occurring at year end, it allows many recipients to finish the season with a fond and lasting memory of their accomplishments. It also signals to those with fewer accomplishments that year that a new competition season is just around the corner and ready to start.

Education: The Education Committee has started a monthly blurb in the LAHJA e-news called the Equestrian Minute. This will be a question and answer mini session to educate riders on horsemanship, show rules, riding and grooming techniques. The Education Committee is also responsible for the Horsemastership Program, which is a program that awards Scholarships for Overall Top Scorers of the program. The Horsemastership Program is made up of hands-on, written, and riding phases with education and workshops preparing participants for the three-phased test.

Hunter/Jumper/Equitation: The Hunter/Jumper/Equitation Committee discusses and proposes rule changes that benefit the LAHJA Membership.

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Photo of Sandrine SeifertThe Equestrian Minute
Written by: Sandrine Seifert and the
LAHJA Education Committee

Welcome to The Equestrian Minute! Look for this new column in the monthly LAHJA E-News. The LAHJA Association strongly believes in educating their members with horsemanship, horse care, and knowledge of Association and Show rules, feed, and more! We are pleased to announce that there will be a “Tip or Topic of the Month” presented by the LAHJA Education Committee. Hopefully, these will be helpful tips or tidbits of information for all of our members.

This month, our own Executive Director and judge, Charlotte Skinner, states that all trainers and riders should “Learn their Rules.” Charlotte Skinner is often in the jumper ring, and is saddened to see some exhibitors getting disqualified for not know the jumper rules and regulations. Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure that when the whistle blows you are through the starter timer before your 45 seconds are up. If you take too long to get to fence number 1, you might not even get to ride your course.
  2. Make sure you go through the starters and finishers before your first jump and after your last. If you don’t, your time will be affected or you could get disqualified.

Next month, we'll bring you another great educational topic to help you succeed in the show ring.

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From the Judge's Box

Question: Since braiding is not required in the USEF rules, what is your opinion about braiding or not?

“I think braiding is WAY over rated. When do braids make a horse jump better? I do think they should be braided for finals and rated sections.”  Sue Ashe

“I like the tidiness and the formality, but I don't penalize someone for not braiding. I braided my own, so that was a way to save money. (We used to walk barefoot through the snow too!)” Gardner Powell

“Since there are no rules about braiding in the rule book, braiding is more about the tradition of the show ring.....tradition is not legislated, but it is an important part of the horse show world. Right now, I feel that it's okay not to braid at all even at the "AA" shows and Medal Finals, because of the present economy.   The most important thing to remember is if a horse is un-braided, the mane and tail MUST be neat and trim and well-groomed.”  Penny Carpenter

“I think the myth that judges penalize you for not braiding is unfounded.  I do expect that a horse be turned out to the nines and have a neatly pulled mane.  For very special classes, like classics, derbies, and major medal finals braiding is like putting your very best dress or suit on.”  Marnye Langer

“It is fine to not braid for unrated classes. However, at a hunter-type medal finals, appropriate presentation of the horse demands braiding.”  Mike Nielsen

“I think horses should be braided for all medal finals. It goes along with the well turned out workmanlike appearance. It's okay not to braid for unrated classes, but it ALWAYS looks better if the mane is done at least. Should I judge in jeans because I'm trying to save money? If you are worried about the expense, learn to braid. After all a HORSE SHOW, not a schooling session.” Debbie Sands

“Turn out is important, and I would probably want to know why a horse wasn't braided for an important class, but the best performance wins.  Therefore braiding may become a tie breaker.”  Katie Young

“Since braiding is not required, it should not be penalized. As tradition has it, however, the rated sections have always had horses show braided.  For major events such as a medal finals, or for certain sections like the conformation classes, it is still generally expected that horses will be braided as part of being "well turned out" for that event. But, if one is not I do not let that affect my judging because you never know what might have happened behind the scenes that day. The braider may have become ill, the groom misread the list, a trailer broke down, who knows? My only comment is that it does take a little bit away from the overall impression of being properly turned out for the class, and that could become a tie breaker.”  Chrystine Tauber

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LAHJA Member Profile: Sandrine SeifertPhoto of Sandrine Seifert


Our first member profile is on successful trainer and LAHJA board member, Sandrine Seifert. Have an idea on who should be profiled in a future issue? Drop Marnye a line at

LAHJA E-News: How long have you been riding? How did you get started?

Sandrine: I have been riding since I was 10 years old, (26 years now). French was my first language, and "horse" in French was my first word, even before mom and dad! I guess it is in my blood. I started riding at Foxfield and started working there exercising horses and working at the barn at a very young age. All I ever wanted to do was ride and be with horses, and I begged my parents for riding lessons. One day my dad and I were riding our bikes around, and we found this gorgeous riding facility, and it was Foxfield. I wanted to take a lesson then and there, and I convinced my parents to let me take lessons if I got straight As in school. They went for it and at the end of the quarter, I earned straight As. I think they had hoped that I would forget about my horse infatuation, but of course I didn't. They fullfilled their end of the promise, and I started taking riding lessons once a week. I started with once a week, then twice, and then everyday within a year and a half. I would work at the barn, babysit, dogsit, etc. whatever I could do, to help pay for more lessons.

LAHJA E-News: What are the secrets to your success? Who have been your coaches, and what are your personal philosophies?

Sandrine: Coaches: Foxfield Riding School: Nancy Turrill, JoAnn Postel, Kathy Megla, Susie Postel. I was fortunate to clinic a few times with Bert de Nemethy and Anne Kursinski when I was younger, as an adult and trainer I get help from Will Simpson, Bob McDonald, and Cathy Simm. My personal philosophy is to listen to your horse. Horses can't talk English, but they communicate in so many different ways. There is no relationship like one between a human and a horse, and when horse and human understand each other there is nothing like it! It is the most amazing connection ever! I am also a strong believer in horsemanship and think that horsemanship is just as important (if not more) than riding.

: Tell us about your background.

Sandrine: I Majored in Business and Psychology. Started at UCSB, but transferred and finished at UCLA. Then, went to graduate school, got my teaching credential with a specialization in teaching reading and also teaching second language learners. Went on to get a Master's in Education (was Graduate Student of the Year at CLU (California Lutheran University, it was the number one university for teaching credentials at that time). After that I went to CSUN and obtained my second Master's Degree in Educational Administration. I decided to not pursue my career as a School Principal, as I thought it wouldn't allow me enough time to spend with my four legged equine friends. After 8 years of working in the California School System as a teacher and Administrator, I decided to start my own business in the horse world. I started my barn almost 4 years ago, and decided to call it D & D Stables, based off of two very special horses I had, Disco and Donovan. I am currently at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in the "private section/facility" there. I am in the private barn that Eddie Milligan built for his daughter. D&D Stables is a beautiful facility, and very private, even though it is in a public facility which has the Verdugo Hills, Lakeview Series horse shows and IEL there.

LAHJA E-News: Do you have any hobbies besides horses?

Sandrine: I am a life long learner, always trying to further my education, riding skills, and teaching skills. I love to read, travel, and go to the movies also.

LAHJA E-News: Tell us about your family.

Sandrine: I am an only child, born and raised in California. My parents are European (mom is French, father is German), and a first generation American. French was my first language. My parents currently live in Bordeaux, France.

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The monthly LAHJA E-News is sponsored by LEG Up News. LEG Up News provides public relations and marketing services to the equestrian sport, especially show jumping and dressage. LEG Up News features stories about events, riders and associations from the West Coast, as well as coverage of key competitions that have national and international championships. For more information or to obtain photos, please contact LEG UP News at Please contact us for additional stories from this and other shows, as well as additional quotes. 

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