“Clinics, Events, Trail Rides, Shows & Parades”


Marilynn Baker is our current NWPFHA President and also works tirelessly with PFHA.  She generously gives her time for the benefit of the Paso Fino horse and we are proud to have her as a valued member.  She may seem very quiet when you first meet her, but she's funny and talented and full of great ideas.  The following is just a glimpse of the way Marilynn sees the world. 

During my recent 6 month dental examine, my dental hygienist, Danna, and I began sharing our horse related experiences as children. We were both amazed at each other’s lack of common sense when it came to our beloved horses. The fact that I could share my stories with her while she was cleaning my teeth is testimony to her tolerance for her patients and our common passion for horses.

Of my childhood recollections that I shared with her, the following seemed most indicative of my lack of common sense! Growing up in Pasco, WA had the temperature advantage of being able to ride your horse almost 12 months out of the year. However, there were a few adaptations that seemed logical to me at the time.

One strategy that I quickly discovered was avoiding wearing blue jeans in the summer with temperatures in the high 90’s to low 100’s. Wearing shorts instead of heavy jeans made all the difference in the world! However, as a wannabe cowgirl, I refused to give up my treasured cowboy boots. Wearing boots didn’t make much sense because I rarely took the time to put a saddle on my horse. Who needs boots, if you don’t have stirrups? Right??

The two main disadvantages to wearing shorts and boots were #1, my non-horsey friends always made rude comments about the tan on my legs which extended to my mid-calf only. Frankly, I didn’t care, but I did care that #2, I was not allowed to sit down in any upholstered chair at home after riding due to the fact that the inside of my legs were covered in horse sweat and horse hair and in particular, I was not allowed to sit down to eat at the dining table in the condition described above! I quickly discovered an old metal stool in our basement. My mom graciously allowed me to sit and eat @ the table if I used this metal stool and for that I was eternally grateful! Imagine my surprise when Danna, my dental hygienist, told me that she experienced the exact same situation as a child growing up with her horses in the desert of southeastern Washington! Of course, I am looking forward to my next 6 Month Dental Checkup.



Fay Seppala with La Regalia
Reserve Champion 4 year old Fino Fillie
2013 Grand Nationals
Photo courtesy of Larry White Photography

2013 WAS MY DREAM YEAR.  I was able to attend The Grand Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky. I worked to get the points to qualify and made arrangements to have two weeks off of work. I am fortunate to have a husband who likes to drive so off we were across the USA. First stop, Idaho to pick up the horses at Alberto Sierra's. Then 4 days with overnight boarding at farms which some even had rooms we could rent. Next was REST   getting there early so the horses could recover from the trip and us too. The facility at Lexington Horse Park was large and it took a day to figure out where everything was. We quickly figured out we would be doing a LOT of walking. Despite eating out and sitting in a truck for 5 days I still lost 2 lbs!

The PFHA does a great job of giving information to participants. Alberto showed in the Open classes and I did the Amateur Owner classes.  I realized how important it was to have Alberto there to help me and to work out any problems with the horses. For example El Chacal needed different shoeing. To have my trainer with me helped give me the confidence I needed.  I had never even gone to Nationals as a spectator so had no idea what to expect. The show ring is HUGE.  Even with 20 horses it didn’t seem crowded.

There were lots of classes to watch and the horses were all speculator. I am thankful to PFHA for their live video so my family at home was able to watch my classes.  They called to keep giving me encouragement.  That helped a lot.   At the lunch break there was mounted shooting and barrel racing- if only I was a little younger. Every day at Nationals the classes run later, ending late at night. In the evening the Judges wear tuxedos or formal length evening gowns. There are six judges to cover the size of the ring and they do see every mistake. The last day is Fino stallions and party time.

In my 4 year old fillie class I had a work off between 2nd and 3rd place and that was fun. Part of it I goofed up and the rest was perfect and won me my second place. Every competition is a learning experience and if anyone wants to go to Nationals it does not have to be just a dream. Whether you ride or watch it is worth going.

Fay Seppala  

Fay Seppala is Vice President of NWPFHA and represented us well at the 2013 Grand Nationals.  Video of all the classes is still available on the PFHA website.  www.pfha.org


DaM Awesome Results at the Mountain Trail Championships!

Ari and Dee
Big Log Step
Cruiser & Marilyn

Hills, ditches, rocks, logs, switchbacks, waterfalls, ponds, creeks, sagebrush, pine, fir and deciduous trees--the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Oregon, was filled with this eye-catching autumn theme for the Northwest and National Championships held the first two weeks of November. You just can't get this much “trail obstacle territory” condensed under one roof anywhere else.

Ari & Dee
Into the Water Box

A challenging range of obstacles and technical movements was required to successfully navigate the course. Cruiser and Ari were up to the task. These wonderful horses once again were leaders in the pack (over 130 horses in the Championships) finishing in the top five of every class entered—a tribute the Paso Fino breed.

Cruiser & Marilyn
Crossing the Log
Ari & Dee
Rock Dismount

During competitions we are constantly working together to improve our performances. Some of Dee’s suggestions to help Marilyn “hone her skills” might be the reason Marilyn topped Dee’s scores the second weekend...only by a few points. In fact, in the Timed and Judged class [In this class you are allowed to attack the course at whatever speed you desire while executing the obstacles correctly and safely. Your final score is based 60% on your total obstacle score and 40% on the time it took you to complete the course] the difference was just 0.4 of a point (yup, that’s a decimal point there).

Cruiser & Marilyn
Ari & Dee
Up the Waterfall

Hard work and attention to details helped Marilyn & Cruiser corto away with National Championships in Bareback and Timed/Judged—favorites for riding like we did when we were kids. And the season long Northwest Mountain Trail Horse Championship Series-Open (four show total of 16 runs) was a close finish with Cruiser taking the Championship over Ari’s Reserve by only four points! Exciting waiting for that announcement!

Cruiser & Marilyn
Crossing the Plank

Every time we participate we improve on our performance and find that there are ALWAYS more tasks we need to go home and work on. Even though we are competing against each other, we always help the other to do their best. This is what keeps us coming back and lovin' it!

Can’t wait for the next season!

Happy New Year,

Dee & Marilyn


Dee Myers and Marilyn Bunnell are MEMBERS and SPONSORS of NWPFHA.


Annual Meeting and Clinic        September 14-15 2013

Franklin County Saddle Club, Pasco, WA


D a M Awesome Clinic with Dee Myers & Marilyn Bunnell


Attending the clinic were, Nancy Koski, Marilynn Baker, Kathleen Philippsborn, Fay Seppala, Jayne Lindeman, Jan Gibson and Linda Holzer.  Auditing (and taking all the pictures, holding horses, moving obstacles, etc.) were Becky and Neil Maier.

Dee Myers

Dee and Marilyn started the clinic Friday evening with a short presentation of what we would be learning in the following two days as well as showing off their horses and giving us a preview of what we all came here to accomplish with our own horses.  Their emphasis is on Communication with your horse.  The idea being, if you and your horse develop trust and communication, you can accomplish most anything you are willing to work at.  No rushing, just communicating, listening, hearing what your horse is telling you.

Dee, Fay and Macias

 Because of the HEAT, we started the clinic on Saturday morning at 8:00 with horses in halters, unsaddled. Two tarps were set up, held down by long poles.  The process began by learning to “send” our horses in a straight line or in a circle and learning where the “drive line” and “stop line” were located so we had control of the forward motion of our horses.  Sounds easy enough, we all knew how to “drive” in a circle, lounging being part of our daily groundwork.  But, for most of us, the “stop” was not as easy, especially if we had trained our horses to stop by doing a slight bow with our bodies and their response was to turn in and face us.  Unlearning that proved to be a challenge.  People were confused and horses were confused.  We all finally accomplished our goal, even if it wasn’t perfect.  We then began “sending” our horses in a straight line which eventually lead to crossing the tarp, stepping into a hula hoop, front feet and back feet, and stepping over the poles holding the tarp.  I, for one had never shown my horse a tarp but without too much difficulty, he was crossing it like it was nothing. Dee and Marilynn use a short stick as an extension of their arm, to remind the horse to move either forward or backward.  With the other hand, they point in the direction they want the horse to move.  Let me tell you, if you’ve never used a stick, you will feel like the most uncoordinated person in the world.  The horse gets it pretty quickly, without ever touching them.  We, the humans, had a little more difficulty remembering to point with the stick, point with our other hand, lower the stick as soon as the horse responds, keep your own feet moving so the horse will continue in a straight line, use the stick, use the finger, UGH.  A lot to think about,  but in the end, we were all pretty proficient and our horses were cooperating.

Dee showing Regalo the tarp


Kathleen and Guaracha
Marilynn and Tia

It was really HOT, we and our horses had had enough so after a short lunch break we gathered in the meeting room and got some great insights from Dee and Marilynn.  They demonstrated how a horse sees where his feet are from the top of his eye, and what’s around him from the lower part of his eye.  We all tried being the horse and realized that they must be able to put their heads down to see where their feet are stepping.  Most of us had reins too short to do this.  We think they can drop their heads, but as seen the following day, they need more rein than most of us were giving them.

Linda and Regalo

Sunday morning we began again at 8:00 with our horses saddled and ready to ride.We used the hula hoop on the ground and all over their bodies.  We then used a rain coat and eventually were able to “throw” the coat at the horse and have him just stand quietly.  We also put the raincoat on the butt of the horse and had him walk around until the coat fell off.  Again, with a little practice, horses were yawning during a process that would have had them flying into space previously.  Dee and Marilyn designed a test for us to try our hand at the obstacles.  We began by mounting up, using the mounting block and began to use the small obstacles next to the arena in a specific order, like in a real show.  We were to grade ourselves over each obstacle.  How did we “feel” about our performance.  Most of us completely forgot that we were to grade ourselves and were focused on getting the horse over the obstacle………fast.  Really funny.  We graded the horse, not our “feelings”, missed the whole point of the exercise.  We later repeated the exercise, again grading ourselves, and were surprised at how we “felt”, and how well our horses performed.  Again, the whole point of this clinic is Communication with your horse.  All of us had greatly improved our communication with our horse.  It was very rewarding.

Kathleen and Marilynn "sending" through the cones.

After a short lunch break, we assembled and rode over to the Competitive Trail Course set up on the hill at the Saddle Club.  This was the big time, not just a few logs and a bridge.  Straight up, big boulders, teeter totter, ropes hanging from a high pole, tractor tires, everything you could imagine.  With our safety in mind, and after a short demonstration, Dee and Marilyn had us try some of the simpler obstacles.  I think most of us were surprised at how well our horses did.  With a little help, most of them accomplished all the obstacles they were asked to try.  Again, an Aah Haa moment, communication is the key.

Our thanks to Dee and Marilyn.  They have again shown us what can be accomplished with communication between horse and rider.  Listen to your horse, hear what he’s telling you.  You might learn what communication is all about.

Linda Holzer and Regalo



Oregon State Fair Horse Show Results

August 23-24 2013

April Carter and family. April is riding Victoria Raine

Included in this list are NWPFHA members ONLY.  For a complete list of show results, see PFHA.org.


Adult Amateur Equitation:

Mary Schoenheit riding July Del Norte              Second Place

Marilynn Baker riding Tia de Celestia               Forth Place

Bella Forma:

Mary Schoenheit showing Legado PLF               First Place

Mariann Deering showing Flying M Capacho      Second Place

Bella Forma Championship:

Mary Schoenheit showing Legado PLF                Champion

Mariann Deering showing Flying M Capacho      Reserve Champion

Country Pleasure:

Fay Seppala riding Springstar DC                      First Place

Mary Schoenheit riding July del Norte               Second Place

Lynne McKinney riding Lucero del Norte           Third Place

Fino 3 y/o Fillies:

Alberto Sierra riding Gitana de Piaba owned by Estaban Ambrad-Chalela    Third Place

Fino 4 y/o Fillies:

Carolina Sierra riding La Regalia                          First Place

Fino A/O 4 y/o Fillies:

Daniel Sierra riding La Regalia                             First Place

Fino A/O Mares:

Fay Seppala riding La Regalia                              First Place

Daniel Sierra riding Sierra Filipino. Later in the day, Daniels father, Alberto Sierra, gave Philipino to Daniel as a birthday gift. Good job Daniel and congratulations.

Fino A/O Stallions:

Daniel Sierra riding Sierra Filipino                       First Place

Fino Mares:

Carolina Sierra riding La Regalia                          Third Place

Performance A/O Geldings:

Linda Holzer riding Alferez del Dictador              Second Place

Mariann Deering riding Flying M Capacho            Third Place

Performance A/O Geldings Championship:

Linda Holzer riding Alferez del Dictador               Reserve Champion

Performance A/O Stallions:

Fay Seppala riding El Chacal de la Sierra               First Place

Linda Holzer and Alferez del Dictador

Performance Geldings:

Linda Holzer riding Alferez del Dictador               Second Place

Performance Geldings Championship:

Linda Holzer riding Alferez del Dictador               Reserve Champion

Performance Stallions:

Fay Seppala riding El Chacal de la Sierra                First Place

Pleasure A/O Geldings:

Mary Schoenheit riding Lucero del Norte                First Place

Fay Seppala riding Mesias de Llano Bonito              Second Place

Pleasure A/O Mares:

April Carter riding Victoria Raine                             First Place

Mary Schoenheit riding July del Norte                      Third Place

Bruce Reed riding Belleza Reeda El Mejor                 Forth Place

Marilynn Baker riding Tia de Celestia                        Sixth Place

Patricia McKinney riding La Isabella de Toledano      Seventh Place

Pleasure A/O Mares Championship:

April Carter riding Victoria Raine                              Champion

Bruce Reed riding Belleza Reeda El Mejor                  Forth Place

Patricia McKinney riding La Isabella de Toledano      Seventh Place

"Getting a Shave". Christie Hartin and Testigo de Besilu

Pleasure Geldings:

Jim McKinney riding Flying M Veneno                        First Place

Christie Hartin riding Testigo de Besilu                     Second Place

Lynne McKinney riding Lucero del Norte                   Third Place

Linda Holzer riding Regalo de la Noche                    Forth Place

How do you clean your horses' feet? Lynne McKinney shows us how.

Pleasure Geldings Championship:

Jim McKinney riding Flying M Veneno                        Champion

Lynne McKinney riding Lucero del Norte                    Reserve Champion

Marilynn Baker with Tia de Celestia

Pleasure Mares:

Daniel Sierra riding Victoria Raine                             First Place

Marilynn Baker riding Tia de Celestia                        Third Place

Mary Schoenheit riding July del Norte                       Fifth Place

Bruce Reed riding Belleza Reeda El Mejor                  Sixth Place

Patricia McKinney riding La Isabella de Toledano       Seventh Place

Pleasure Mares Championship:

Daniel Sierra riding Victoria Raine                             Second Place

Mary Schoenheit riding Victoria Raine                        Forth Place

Bruce Reed riding Belleza Reeda El Mejor                  Seventh Place

Youth Horsemanship:

Carolina Sierra riding La Regalia                                 First Place

Daniel Sierra riding Alferez del Dictador                     Second Place


My apologies if I’ve missed anyone or gotten your placement incorrectly noted.  I’ve taken these results off the PFHA website and some classes did not show complete results.  If you do not see your name in the class you competed in, please contact PFHA to correct the results.

  Linda Holzer


Report on the NWPFHA Show @ the Oregon State Fair’s All Breed Horse Show by Marilynn Baker

Many thanks to all who participated and/or supported the NWPFHA’s only pointed Show at the Oregon State’s Fair and 2013 All Breed Horse Show on August 23 and 24. As of August 21, we had 22 Paso Finos registered for the show. (There were 30 horses in the barn but some were there for the “horse show experience” and were not entered in classes).

Rancho Toledano, owned by Yvette and Robert Trevaro from California entered 7 horses. Fay and Dennis Seppala entered 4 horses. Alberto, Daniel, and Carolina Sierra had 3 horses not to mention the long list of horses Alberto has trained for our NWPFHA members. Other NWPFHA members who brought one or more horses included Mariann Deering, Mary Schoenheit, Lynne McKinney, Jim and Patricia McKinney, Linda Holzer, Christie Hartin, Esteban Ambrad-Chalela, new members April and Jerry Carter, Bruce and Betty Reed, and David and Marilynn Baker. There were several riders that were not listed on the August 21 list who rode horses in the show for Rancho Tolendano as well.

Our only youth who participated in the show, Daniel and Carolina Sierra, son and daughter of trainer, Alberto Sierra, inspired us all with their outstanding performances throughout the show.

Owners who showed their Pasos for the first time at this show included new NWPFHA members, April and Jerry Carter and Esteban Ambrad-Chalela who has been a member for several years.

Thanks to the following:

1. Dennis and Fay Seppala who generously hosted a BBQ dinner @ their home on Thursday evening. And Fay who tirelessly worked with Roxanne Hood, OSF Show Secretary, to get all our classes in proper order and show days changed back to the first weekend of the show.  She also worked with PFHA to get our judge and steward and to make sure our show qualified with PFHA and USEF to be a pointed show.

2. Linda Holzer and Christie Hartin for organizing and hanging NWPFHA Banners for all Fair -goers to see, and organizing the “Logo Wear” to sell as a fundraiser. 

3. Dee Myers and Marilyn Brunnel for sponsoring a Hospitality and Educational Booth with video and flyers educating us all on all their clinics, demonstrations, and trail & obstacle competitions for Gaited Horsemanship. Dee has successfully competed nationally with her Paso Fino, Tucker, and Marilyn has experience in working with Pasos as well as other gaited breeds.

Dee and Marilyn will be the clinicians for our NWPFHA Annual Meeting on September 14 and 15 @ the Franklin County Saddle Club in Pasco, WA. If you have not yet registered for the fun and educational event, please contact  Fay Seppala at fayseppala@gmail.com.

4. Alberto Sierra for his educational banners and flyers explaining the benefits of his newly patented “Sierra Horse Halter.”  Special thanks to our new treasurer, Gail Springer, for her willingness to answer questions and explain benefits to interested horse owners regarding this unique and practical halter.

5. Gail Springer and Shirley DePew who took videos of the 22 Paso Fino Classes.

6. Paso Fino Farm Owners who set up a table advertising their farms.

7. Alexi Sierra for being ready and willing to help us all on the spur of the moment.

As emphasized in previous articles, the camaraderie and support of our NWPFHA members to each other throughout this competitive event was impressive beyond words! Once again I felt fortunate to be a member of this professional and enjoyable group of people who love their Paso Finos! 

Marilynn Baker

NWPFHA President



 June 29-30 2013

 Listed below are the results for NWPFHA members only.  For a complete list of competitors and results, go to PFHA.org.

Fay and Macias

Flatirons Classic had four judges, two on Saturday, two on Sunday.  The results show the placement from each judge.  They will be noted as follows:  Nicanor Miranda (NM), Guillermo Iglesias (GI), Shaw Laney (SL) and Edward Smith (ES).

Christie and Testigo
Linda and Alferez

Performance A/O Geldings:

Linda Holzer Riding Alferez del Dictador         2nd NM, 2nd GI, 1st SL, 2nd ES


Performance A/O Geldings Championship:

Linda Holzer riding Alferez del Dictador          1st NM, 2nd GI, 2nd SL, 2nd ES



Jayne and Indulto

Pleasure A/O Geldings:


Jayne Lindeman riding Indulto de Mark-El         First place all Four Judges


Fay Seppala riding Macias de Llano Bonito        2nd NM, 2nd GI, 3rd SL, 2nd ES


Christie Hartin riding Testigo de Besilu             3rd NM, 4th  GI, 2nd SL, 3rd ES


Pleasure A/O Geldings Championship:

Jayne Lindeman riding Indulto de Mark-El         2nd NM, 1st GI, 2nd SL, 1st ES


Christie Hartin riding Testigo de Besilu             3rd NM, 4th GI, 2nd SL, 3rd ES


Fay Seppala riding Macias de Llano Bonito        1st NM, 2nd GI, 1st SL, 2nd ES

Daniel, Christie and Testigo

Pleasure Geldings:

Daniel Sierra riding Testigo de Besilu                1st NM, 1st GI  no entry on Sunday


 Exhibitors representing the Northwest were, Fay Seppala with Macias de Llano  Bonito, Jayne Lindeman with Indulto de Mark-El, Christie Hartin with Testigo de Besilu, Linda Holzer with Alferez del Dictador and Daniel Sierra riding Testigo de Besilu.  A great time was had by all. 

Linda Holzer



As a young child all I ever wanted was my own horse. Every birthday, every Christmas, every bedtime prayer was for my very own pony. Sadly, I never was able to fulfill those wishes. Looking back now as an adult I can understand my parent’s decision, but as a child, I did not understand. From the age of 12 on I went to the State Fair every year. I spent as much time in the arena and walking around the horse barn as I could. When I was 12, I was determined that someday I would have a horse and show at the fair!

As soon as I could as an adult, I purchased my first horse. No experience, not sure what I was doing, I got a large pony from an older woman who had spoiled him rotten. His name was Sham. I remember hearing all of the stories of kids having their pony buck them off, rub them against a tree, etc, well that is what I ended up with. I look back on my experience with Sham now and just laugh. He taught me a lot and since I had no saddle, balance was a big one since I rode him bareback everywhere.

Several years and a couple of horses later I found my companion and the love of my life Bennies Sir John. John was a beautiful little bay Morgan gelding who was government line bred. He had that old school Morgan look. I was lucky enough to have John in my life for 11 years. We rode all over and spent too many hours to count together. John and I did dressage and trail riding. Once I had John, that dream of showing at the State Fair came back. I had no experience with a large show. John and I had done quite a few schooling shows and did quite well. But the fair was a whole new world for the both of us. First of all there was a large political atmosphere that I had no idea existed. It will suffice to say that what I had dreamed of as a child was not what happened in reality. That experience was not fun and I can look back at it now and laugh, but at the time, it was very, very disappointing.

So now we shoot forward again in time to 2003. Due to serious back problems, I had to sell John. Because of my pain, I had already been doing a half lease with him. The women I had leasing him wanted to buy him. They adored each other, so it was the perfect match. It broke my heart, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Not a year later I had to undergo major back surgery and thought horses were a closed chapter in my life. But such was not the case. In 2007, I had to undergo hip surgery and after that with the rehab, I found Forward Stride Therapeutic Barn. I contacted them and started lessons. I was thrilled that in fact I could ride! True, I will never be able to sit a trot, but I can still post and even do small amounts of cantering if the canter is smooth…..which brings me to my discovery of the Paso Fino….long way around, but once I rode one, well, I am sure that story is similar to everyone else’s J

Now we shoot forward again and I decided I would like to show at the Fair again, only this time, I would just go to have fun and see if I could make new memories to make up for the old ones.

I was given the opportunity to help Yvette and Robert Trevorrow , Rancho Toledano Paso Fino Farm from Penn Valley California at this years State Fair. I wanted to learn about showing and Yvette was kind enough to allow me to ride one of her horses in the equitation class. I can say without a doubt that the following is true:

The most fun at a fair – EVER,

The most exhausting time for any horse event I have ever helped or participated in,I learned an amazing amount of what it takes to prep for multiple back to back classes! AND most importantly, I would do it all again!

I arrived at the fairgrounds Wednesday night and jumped in. Yvette and Robert let me sleep at the fairgrounds in their living quarter trailer. This allowed me to stay close by and saved me the expense of a hotel, which was a plus.

What I loved the most was the opportunity to spend time with our other members who were at the fair. Everyone was so supportive of each other and I think (I realize I am biased) we were the most approachable group/club in the horse barn J

The highlight of the whole state fair experience was watching Lynne McKinney win the Country Pleasure class. Most of the people watching the show had left, but the ones still there gave huge applause and several stood up when she was announced the winner. Talk about a perfect moment in time. One I will never forget.

Here’s to many more wonderful Paso Fino experiences!!





Eastern Slope Ranch, Baker City, Oregon

Are you ready to "Walk the Plank"?

Most of us arrived at the Ranch on Friday afternoon. We got the horses settled in, moved ourselves into our campsites and enjoyed seeing friends from near and far. Dee Myers and Marilyn Bunnell were our clinicians for this year. Both of these women are truly amazing as are their very well trained horse partners. They gave us a preview on Friday evening, showing what could be accomplished with a horse that has complete trust and communication with the rider. We all watched with our mouths hanging open, “are you sure that horse is a Paso Fino” was going through all our minds. By the end of the presentation, we were excited to get started and could hardly wait until morning. WE ALL WANTED WHAT THEY HAD!!. Now, how do we get it?????


Are you sure you want me to jump up there????

Christie Hartin and Testigo. Everyone trying an obstacle.


SATURDAY: I audited this year, no horse riding for me yet after surgery. I didn’t expect to get as much out of just watching, but I was in for a big surprise. The clinic began in the outdoor arena, saddles and halters on. Ground work first, using the easy to handle “magic sticks” Dee’s husband made for us. Tap, tap, ask for only one step when asking the horse to encounter an obstacle. Take your time, let him think, release the pressure the second you get a “try” from your horse. Let him rest, tell him he’s a good boy and begin again. It was magical to watch. Why do we think it’s a race to cross the tarp or pick up the raincoat or put a hula hoop over our horse’s head? Ask for one step……….magic. No snorting (well not much), jumping around, freaking out or just generally acting like a Paso Fino. Soon most of the participants were on their horses trying what they had accomplished on the ground. Again, take your time, ASK, RELEASE, PRAISE.

After lunch we graduated to the actual Mountain Trail Course out in the back forty of the ranch. Again, each obstacle was discussed, Marilyn and her horse showed the effortless result of their communication, then it was our turn. Dee stressed SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY! Crossing water, climbing hills covered with boulders, logs and trees, crossing the little bridge over the creek, climbing up on huge tractor tires, traveling through a deep, winding trench and trying to cross over a very narrow plank balanced on a log. Then the BIG DADDY OF THEM ALL……..THE TRESTLE BRIDGE.

Jan Gibson and Sunny

One horse/rider at a time, either leading the horse or riding. Dee ponied several of the horses with Arie so the horses would feel more confident. By the end of the day, everyone accomplished exactly as much as their communication with their horses would allow. To be continued tomorrow!

SATURDAY EVENING, THE ANNUAL MEETING was held after a delicious dinner catered by The Ranch. We conducted the meeting, covered topics and discussed what had been accomplished since last year. The Nominating Committee tallied all the votes and the New Board of Directors was welcomed.

New Board of Directors:

Marilynn Baker, President

Fay Seppala, Vice President

Becky Maier, Secretary

Robin Mudd, Treasurer

Michelle Gregory, Member at Large

Linda Holzer, National Delegate

The meeting ended with our thanks to the retiring BOD, hot apple and berry cobblers provided by the Ranch, and a good night's sleep for the weary riders.

Lynne McKinney and Lucero


SUNDAY: After another fabulous catered breakfast, the riders proceeded back out to the Mountain Trail Course to continue working on what they began yesterday and to try more obstacles. Again, we all saw just how much could be accomplished when we gain our horses’ trust and allow him to think instead of just react. By lunch time, most had traversed the BRIDGE, crossed the creek and attempted the huge truck tires. Our eyes had been opened to endless possibilities with our horses. After lunch, Dee and Marilyn took a much needed rest and most of our members enjoyed a three hour trail ride lead by our hosts at the Ranch. The trail was challenging in places and took them to mountain tops with extraordinary views. After the trail ride, some members loaded up and went home, some of us stayed over another night so we could get an early start home the following morning.


Margo Mittge and Pat Baker


My observations without riding were priceless to me. I saw, through others, the mistakes I make when trying something new. I can’t wait to get back on my horses and try some things. This I know, the hula hoop that sent my horses snorting and bucking in a panic, is now everyone’s friend. Well, maybe not friend, but they managed to make it their own. It’s now bald, and one long plastic tube. Doesn’t resemble a hula hoop anymore but they still love playing with it!!

Linda Holzer


Marilynn and Tia

As we planned for the NWPFHA's Clinic at our Annual Meeting, Dee Myers and I agreed early on that the biggest benefit of an Obstacle Course Clinic would be the opportunity to improve two way communication between horse and the human. I have to admit, I was excited for club members, but I was also excited for myself and Tia. Just the opportunity we needed.

Dee and Ariel


As a kid growing up riding horses, I never thought of the stuff that was in my way as an obstacle but rather just something that I needed to get around, go over, duck under, go through, or in many instances, find an alternate route. Today the term, “obstacle” has a whole new meaning. One, it implies the need for rider expertise, two it implies that one's horse has been professionally trained for such a task, and three, it requires sophisticated and reliable two-way communication between horse and rider. Out of my league for sure!


The day for the clinic arrived. I was in Baker City at the Eastern Slope Ranch with my husband, David including 20 + club members of which 11 were riding in the clinic. The weather was perfect! ( Thanks to our BOD for scheduling our Clinic earlier than we had in past years.) I can't speak for the other participants, but I was a bit nervous! There were lots of obstacles at Eastern Slope Ranch, but the one that captured my riveted attention was the bridge! Did I mention that I have been afraid of heights my entire life. On the other hand, Tia, my mare, seemed surprisingly relaxed.

Marilynn Baker following Dee across the BRIDGE.


Thanks to a TON, and I do mean a TON of Coaching and Strategizing from Dee Myers and her assistant, Marilyn Bunnell, I was able to traverse the bridge without fainting or getting sick to my stomach. A miracle to say the least! Dee was her ultra cautious-coaching-self and practiced leading just Tia (no rider) over the bridge while riding her amazing Paso Fino, Ariel. (We all fell in love with Ariel, but that is another story for another day.) Tia did fine. Then, Dee riding Ariel, led Tia and me over the bridge. Finally, I developed the courage to ride Tia over the bridge on my own accord, not just once, not twice, but three times. OK! So the first time I followed Dee and Ariel over the bridge...I could have reached out and touched Ariel's tail I was so close, but the last two times, I went all by myself. A miracle, to say the least! We all had our little miracles throughout the clinic, but I know for sure that I am looking forward to riding again in a Dee Myers' Clinic and working on crossing streams!

Marilynn Baker