Horsemanship of a Different Color: Cowboys Coming to Coto de Caza

<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

The refined horsey set at Coto de Caza is in for a wild and woolly time this weekend, when 120 cowboy teams descend upon its equestrian center for the annual Spring Round-Up and Team Penning events.

A test of practical horsemanship skills, the event requires a team of three horses and riders to cut three specific head of livestock out of a 30-animal herd. Consummate cutting-horse and riding skills are needed to “round up them dogies.” Horses must be able to stop on a dime, spin and change directions.

Sanctioned by the Professional Team Penning Assn., the event is drawing circuit riders from Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, who will compete for points and cash prizes.

Teams will vie in open, celebrity, women’s, junior and amateur divisions. Among celebrities expected are John Perry of Falcon Crest, Gennilee Harrison, and cowboy stars Bo Hopkins and Jerry Potter.


The annual event sponsored by the Rotary Club of Coto de Caza/Trabuco Canyon is a major fund-raiser for Polio Plus, an international nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the goal of eradicating polio.

Spectators may attend free. For more information, call (714) 835-9677.

Results of two shows in April at the Orange County Fairground Equestrian Center included the following winners of championship classes:

Western Division: Adult/amateur stock seat equitation champions--Shannon Bielling (rider), Midnight Mariah (horse), and Tish Wood, Doc’s Hot Wheels.


Stock seat equitation champions (age 17 and under)--Shannon Baker, Hobo’s Tide (owned by actor William Shatner), and Tricia Bisbee, Doc’s Hot Wheels.

American Horse Shows Assn. Medal Class winner--Chad Hardwick, Ms. Maybelline.

English Division: Amateur hunt seat equitation championship on flat (18 & over)--Elizabeth Applebaum, Home James.

Pre-green hunter championship and low hunter championship----Larry Hollahan, Frederikus.


Novice hunter championship--Steven Keith, Something About You.

Pre-Training jumper championship--Sharlyn Kerr, Variable Rate.

Training jumper championship--Linda Levine, Bingo.

Children’s Jumper Championship--Julie Passo, Royal Doulton.


Adult/amateur jumper championship--Sonya Rego, Amadeo.

Countdown to Oaks: Preparations are under way for the largest jumping event in Orange County, the two-day Oaks Classic at The Oaks stable in San Juan Capistrano. Offering a total of $75,000 in prize money, the event begins June 4 with three classes: a $7,000 open welcome stake, $6,000 speed stake and $2,000 junior/amateur welcome stake. The next day features a $10,000 junior/amateur grand prix and the grand finale: the $50,000 Oaks Grand Prix, which draws top grand prix jumpers from the West.

For information: Martin Cohen, (818) 993-4711 or (818) 784-8950.

Darlene Sordillo, an author of two books on horse training and competition, covers equestrian events for The Times. Her column appears every Saturday.


Readers may send horse-related news to her at: Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, 92626.