Paso Robles, the birthplace of Reined Cow Horse competitions, is now home to the brand-new Mid-State Cow Horse Association. Sharon Michelucci, founder, and a few friends were struggling with the loss of several Reined Cow Horse shows in Paso Robles, CA. As they complained to each other a vision began to develop.
“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” – Henry J. Kaiser (1882 – 1967), American Industrialist, Father of Modern American Shipbuilding
Developing The Vision of the Mid-State Cow Horse Association
Sharon and her husband purchased some ground to develop a Reined Cow Horse training facility about two years ago. This was the birth of Triple R Ranch in Paso Robles. First on the list was to develop an arena with great footing and get set up to provide fresh cows.
Young horses need experience in different venues and competitors need less-expensive places to run with fresh cows. The vision was unique. They wanted to provide a place where non-pro, limited pro and seasoned open Reined Cow Horse competitors can practice and learn together.
“I sat down with my Reined Cow Horse friends and we talked about the things we liked and did not like about Reined Cow Horse shows,” explains Sharon. The ideas they came up with formed the basis for what the Mid-State Cow Horse Association is all about. An organized front office, great footing, fresh cows, available stalls, and a competition that ends before the end of the night are some of the key ingredients to a great experience at the Mid-State Cow Horse Association schooling shows.
The right people in the mix provide professionalism and experience. President Mallory Valdez brings years of professional experience with the California Cow Horse Association to the Mid-State Cow Horse Association.
Great Arena Footing is Necessary
The first need for Reined Cow Horses is excellent footing. The quick turns, spins, slides and galloping down the fence need footing which is level, resilient, with traction and the right depth of loose material on top. This was a high priority in developing the arena at Triple R Ranch in Paso Robles, the home of the Mid-State Cow Horse Association.
Fresh Cows Are a Key Ingredient
Two of the three events in a Reined Cow Horse competition involve cows. “The cows catch on to the game easily. They figure out where the gate is and where their buddies are,” states Sharon. “A cow who won’t be worked frustrates the horse.” This is why working “fresh” cows, ones who have not experienced “going down the fence” or being cut out of the herd, is vital to a schooling show.
“We get cows from local cattle ranches like Hearst and Harris,” explained Sharon. The ranches truck in the cows on Friday and pick them up on Monday. It costs $60-65/ head to have the cows for the weekend. “We offer 2.5 cows per person at our schooling shows,” says Sharon regarding how they draw in competitors for their schooling shows.
The Right Scheduling Part of the Success Mix
How many of us have been at shows where we’re wrapping up a day with the last classes taking place in the dark? My hand is raised. Sharon and her friends have their hands raised too. Limiting entries at these Mid-State Cow Horse schooling shows ensures the show will end before the sun goes down.
Also, in order to keep the weekend cows fresh the Herd work is scheduled for Saturday and the Box work – going down the fence – work is performed on Sunday.
The Mid-State Cow Horse Association Has Produced a Winner
The Mid-State Cow Horse Association has produced a winner and met a need for Reined Cow Horse competitors. Their first show attendance was to capacity and was surprisingly mostly Santa Ynez competitors. “We were like, wow! We expected more Paso competitors, then realized the pros had their own competition to go to that weekend.” The following show, also filled to capacity, was more of a mix of Paso Robles and Santa Ynez riders. All competitors and riders must become members of the Mid-State Cow Horse Association in order to ride on the property for insurance reasons.
Check the Mid-State Cow Horse Association event schedule for future schooling show dates. Right now they are offering schooling shows, but next year they are considering adding sanctioned shows. “There’s a ton more paperwork and moving parts,” added Sharon when describing how sanctioned shows would impact the Mid-State Cow Horse Association.
So for Reined Cow Horse fun in Paso Robles, the birthplace of Reined Cow Horse competitions, go enjoy the amenities and become a member of the Mid-State Cow Horse Association.
Photos courtesy of Sharon Michelucci