One Woman’s Vision and Generosity Brings Fun to Others
By Kim Roe
I spent the last weekend of February judging a Working Equitation show in Eugene, OR. Working Equitation is a three (sometimes four) phase event that is fairly new to the U.S. It involves a dressage phase and two obstacle phases—one judged, and one timed; sometimes there is a cattle-work phase as well. The horses and riders need to be multi-talented. It’s one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done with a horse, and the sport is growing throughout the world. The one drawback to the sport is these shows need volunteers, and lots of them.
Julie Alonzo of Eugene organized the show I judged. Alonzo has been instrumental in bringing Working Equitation to the Northwest. She began by organizing clinics, schooling shows, and fun days, and progressed to building an organization (WE United), hosting judge seminars, and putting on rated shows. She even organized our first national level competition last year.
Alonzo has a full-time job working at a university. She also owns and manages her own boarding stable and has been involved in breeding Andalusian horses for many years. Needless to say, she’s a busy woman whose hard work and generosity is benefiting many others.
With a passion for working equitation, Alonzo went to work and made it happen. She cheerfully does the work of many people, and the shows she puts on feel like a family gathering.
Alonzo is skilled at asking for help, and she sets the tone at her shows by kindly forgiving mistakes and helping others. Her generosity of spirit has rubbed off on the competitors and everyone pitches in. People bring crockpots of warm food, cookies, and coffee to share. Many help set up obstacles and then take them down again at the end of the show, and I didn’t hear any grumbling. During the speed phase competitors cheer and encourage each other.
Equestrian events are dependent on people willing to volunteer and help out. Julie Alonzo is a wonderful example of being a strong, organized and kind, show manager. I’ve attended many shows in my career where I’ve been snapped at by a growling show manager. And I don’t blame them. Many competitors attend shows with an attitude of “me first” and they grumble and complain about anything that isn’t perfect. This leaves show managers feeling unappreciated and unhappy.
If we want to continue to have equestrian events that we can afford, we need to lift up, encourage, help out, and most importantly show gratitude for all the people who are making these events happen.
Enjoy our Equine Events issue!
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.