2014 CRCHA show – HT
From Horsetrader staff reports – May 15th, 2014
BAKERSFIELD — Even though Lance Johnston won the $13,000-added Valley Cow Horse Association California Horse Trials Open Derby for the third straight year, the win was a fresh one.
The Lindsey-based trainer used stellar herd and fence scores at the popular three-day VCHA show April 25-27 to claim the $5,912 top prize on Cee Me Too, his 5-year-old mare that missed almost all her 3 and 4-year-old campaigns after a barn accident at the 2012 pre-Futurity in Paso Robles.
“She’s sound now, and this is the first she’s showed this year,” Johnston said of the mare by his stallion, Cee Mr Hickory. “Nobody’s seen her very much. Some of the guys might remember seeing her very briefly as a 3-year-old — she marked a 220 in the herd work.”
Johnston acquired her as a 2-year-old from a client, training her through that year and the next year before the August 2012 National Stock Horse Association Futurity, where she opened strongly.
“I believe I was third,” he said. “I schooled her that night and put her in the stall, then showed up early the next morning and her whole stall was torn to heck. She was torn to heck. There was a stud out, and he came up to her door. She just went crazy — just one of those bad luck deals.”
Non-Pro Debbie Wise showed her Get It Master to wins in three levels of Derby classes, picking up $2,002. Big Daddy photo Johnston’s slow rehabilitation of the mare is complete, and she demonstrated her talent at Sundance Arena amid a tough field. Five points behind the winners’ 447 composite score were reserve champions John Ward on Gotta Go Get It, owned by 4D Ranch and Ward Ranch, and Tina Robinson on TF Choice Sugar, owned by Travelers Farms. Both earned $4,117.
Johnston, who plans to show Cee Me Too in the hackamore at the Sherri Gilkerson event May 16-18 in Temecula, has been aiming her for a 2014 comeback for some time.
“She was such a great mare, and it was so disappointing when that freak accident happened because I thought she was my next best chance of possibly winning the Futurity,” said Johnston. “She was that good, but never got the chance.”
She was sound early last year, but Johnston took 2013 to fully rehabiliate and condition her.
“Now we got her going, and she’s started out good,” said Johnston, who’ll take her to the NRCHA Derby June 9-14 in Paso Robles. “I didn’t want to rush it because she was so nice. I think we did the right thing. She felt great in Bakersfield. We’ll hit everything we can this year.”
Monica Caetano rides Gay VerSteeg’s Dual Chexx to a 439.5 score that captured the Limited Open Derby, earning $759. Big Daddy photo Johnston’s barn fared well at the VCHA California Horse Trials, which also had a $2,000-added Open and Non Pro Bridle Spectacular and Non Pro Limited Spectacular. His wife Tammy showed Miss Cee Street in the mare’s first competition and took third in the Non Pro Derby and second in the Intermediate Non Pro behind Champion Debbie Wise on Get It Master. Johnston’s pupil, Jennifer Lauzon, won the Limited Non Pro Boxing Spectacular on Master Frickles, earning $1,148. Wise starred in Non Pro Derby classes, taking home more than $2,000 for wins on Get It Master in the three levels of Derby classes.
“I feel pretty good about this win,” said Wise, who outdueled J.J. Fisher and Keg Of Jules in the big Non Pro Derby class, earning $1,542. “The competition was good – it was a strong list of competitors, and Get It was real consistent the whole weekend for me.”
Wise, who also showed Smartlookinboots in Bridle competition, showed Get It to the hackamore non pro finals at the NRCHA Stakes, and was glad to have another good spring outing.
“I was glad to come back and get a good show on him,” said Wise, who trains under John Ward and also works closely with Chris Krieg there. “He was good for me in the hackamore at the Stakes. At Bakersfield, he was really super in the herd work, which we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get a little better in.”
VCHA President Monica Caetano said the California Horse Trials contiues to grow, especially in the boxing classes. She added that her innovative club will move the July pre-futurity show for 3-year-olds to a three-day October post-futurity event this year — giving owners a chance to show good futurity horses locally after Reno. The added-money event will be the same Oct. 31-Nov. 2 weekend as the VCHA Saddle Shootout and Box-off for the buckle events.