November News

Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,

            I took several days, and three trailers, but Kurt is moved!  His stuff is still in boxes, and in trailers for the most part, but we’re slowly getting him unpacked!  He brought 7 horses with him, 5 of them are weanlings and yearlings!  Also coming along, was his youngest son, Mush.  Mush is a beautiful and kind Bernese Mountain Dog who is just over a year old!  Darla and Mush as still establishing their roles.  By establishing roles, I mean Darla knows she is the queen, and we are only here to serve her, not him.  Here are some interesting things to know around the ranch:



Ok, so there is no beach.  But Frank is here, and as usual, we are pulling shoes for the winter on most of the horses.   It’s great for them and gives them a chance to let their feet relax and spread out!  I’m sure your wallets don’t mind it, either!



Some of our new Kurt arrivals include: Paris Hufferd, one of Kurt’s broodmares, who also doubles as a lesson horse!  Centerfold (aka Angel) broodmare.   Peachy Keane and Epic both weanling fillies.  Witches Brew, yearling filly and two fillies owned by Judy Whitney Harris named Jane and Judy!



My sister Kristy, just bought a very nice yearling colt named Atwood’s Forensic Topic, “Jordan.”  He is by Commanding Topic and out of a Bell Flaire mare! 



The elegant park gelding, CBMF Stealth,  will be arriving in the next couple of weeks to continue his winning ways!



We will be at the American Royal next week with Rhett and Zoom!  There will be normal lessons, but Melissa will be giving them!



Just to touch base, we are planning to cut back on some shows for 2016 so we are not spending so much time on the road!  I heard a rumor that Centennial wasn’t happening in 2016, but that is NOT TRUE.   They are having Centennial and it will be an “A” rated show, like always April 7-10th in OKC.  Summer Daze is moving to the weekend of July  9th in Kansas City.  Big D plans to move to Forth Worth this year.  Here are my thoughts for 2016 and tentative plans (and dates that I know for certain) Let me know your thoughts as well, I’ll happily follow what the herd is hoping to do!



SASHA – San Antonia, TX



7-10…Oklahoma Centennial – OKC, OK



Big D – Fort Worth, TX???

11-14… UPHA Chapter V – Kansas City, MO??



Gold Cup Regional – Columbus, OH

Tulsa Summer Classic – Tulsa, OK



4th …Circle J – Denver, CO

9th….Summer Daze – Kansas City, MO ???

New England Regional – Northampton, MA



World Championship ASB Horse Show – Louisville, KY



Jubilee Regional – Springfield, ILL



Morgan Grand National – OKC, OK



American Royal (ASB) – Kansas City, MO


See you soon!

Love, Kelly


Categories: Horse shows | Leave a comment

September News

Sept 8th 2015


Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,


Man it feels good to be home!!  We spent the day driving home from Jubilee yesterday, and I got to spend today hanging out with Emmy.   I thought I would touch base with you all and get your clever ideas on some things!


Yes, there are lessons today with MEEEEEEEE for any of you who didn’t go to Jubilee.  All of you Jubilee-ers…. Stay home and rest, like your ponies are!  PS Melissa said you guys here at home had the best lessons EVER in the history of the world last week!  You go with your bad selves, rockin’ it all out!



I am about to order stall mats for Nationals to help keep our horses sound and healthy and off of the concrete!  I do bed with a ridiculous amount of shavings, but having the rubber between them and the concrete floors adds an extra cushion!  Cost is $120 per stall, so far I have Bruce, Libby, Johno, Andy and Kit on the list!  Let me know if you like them for your horse as well before Saturday Sept 12th.



…..and I want it to be all of you!  The evening sessions on Friday and Saturday night at Nationals has been set to be “dress up nights,” by the Grand National Committee!  You all know I love an excuse to get dressed up, and I’m sure you do too!  I want you to plan to wear your most outstanding dresses, outfits, tuxes, so we can show the rest of the country how it’s done!   I will be awarding a Cottonwood Creek Ranch Prom King and Queen.  Does anyone have any connections for Boutonnieres or Corsages that we could have at the barn?  It will be like grown up (and still kid-friendly) prom….but you won’t get suspended for spiking the punch!! A high five maybe.  But not suspended.


But do feed the grooms!  Nationals keeps us soooo busy we can’t leave the facility to grab grub!  Let me know which day you could provide an early lunch!  We will be your best friend forever!  Promise.



I ordered a ton more seat covers for our box seats at Nationals!  There should be plenty to show our barn spirit and keep all of our chair backs covered!!



No, Kurt and I are not getting married just yet.  BUT… dad is almost finished with the new addition to our fabulous ghost town, which is a chapel!  Kind of ironic, but last year we decided it would add good balance to the House of Ill Repute and Undertaker!


It’s that time!  I’ll be in South Africa next week coaching the US World Cup Young Riders Team in South Africa!  What an awesome opportunity and honor!  Our very own Caroline Rainbolt – Forbes is also on the team and will be joining me there! 



Please let me know of any known changes in your lesson plans for next week, so I can give Melissa an accurate lesson schedule before I leave! 



Fall vaccines have already been given here at the ranch, but next week your horses will be seeing a lot more of Dr. Sammie Crosby.  He’ll be going over each and everyone of our athletes to try to nip in the bud any sore spots they may have now!  Injecting joints, treating sore tendons or using chiropractic techniques are all great ways to help insure our horses are feeling their best before we put them under the stresses of such a long hard competition.  I’ll be in South Africa, so be sure to check with Melissa to see which horses you can ride, and which ones are enjoying a few days off after any needed injections.  If your mount is out of commission for the day, there are many more who will keep you on your toes.  Lungeline anyone??


Important dates:

Sept 15-19th – Lessons with Melissa (Kelly in South Africa)

Sept 12th Saturday– Nationals show fees due to me

Sept 27th Sunday – Boot Camp and last day to give us your stuff to haul

Oct 2nd Friday– Last day of lessons before Nationals (no Saturday lessons, relax!)

Oct 4th Sunday– CCR Moves into Nationals

Oct 8th Thursday – You can move into your dressing rooms

Oct 9th Friday – Practice Rides

Oct 10th-Oct 17th – GRAND NATIONAL HORSE SHOW!!!



See you all soon!





Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on September News

Denver Show Schedule

Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



Youth of the Year Contest & Horsebowl

8:30 Exhibitor Lounge – Registration

8:45 – 9:45 Exhibitor Lounge – Written Exam

10:00 -11:00 Upstairs Meeting Room – Oral Presentation

11:00 – Show Arena – Horsemastership Patterns

12:00 – Exhibitors Lounge – Pizza Party followed by Horsebowl Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



Western Dressage – Limited to 50 Rides

201 Western Dressage Intro Test #3

202 Western Dressage Intro Test #4

203 Western Dressage Basic Level Test #3

204 Western Dressage Basic Level Test #4

205 Western Dressage Level 1 Test #1

206 Western Dressage Level 1 Test #4

207 Western Dressage Level 2 Test #1

208 Western Dressage Level 2 Test #2

209 Western Dressage Level 3 Test #2

210 Western Dressage Level 3 Test #4


1. Weanling Fillies & Yearling Fillies

2. Two-Year Old Fillies

3. Circle J Regional Junior Champion Filly & Reserve

4. Three-Year Old Mares

5. Four-Year Old Mares

6. Five-Year Old & Over Mares

7. Circle J Regional Senior Champion Mare & Reserve

8. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Grand Champion Mare & Reserve

9. Showmanship, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under

10. Two-Year Old & Under Geldings

11. Three and Four-Year Old Geldings

12. Five-Year Old & Over Geldings

13. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Grand Champion Gelding & Reserve

14. Weanling Colts & Yearling Colts

15. Two-Year Old Colts

16. Circle J Regional Junior Champion Colt & Reserve

17. Three-Year Old Stallions

18. Four-Year Old Stallions

19. Five-Year Old & Over Stallions

20. Circle J Regional Senior Champion Stallion & Reserve

21. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Grand Champion Stallion & Reserve Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



22. Walk-Trot Hunter Seat Equitation 11 & Under

23. English Pleasure, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under Soldier/Caroline

24. Western Pleasure, Open Boogie/Kelly

25. Classic Pleasure Driving, Open

26. Park Harness, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under

27. Carriage Pleasure Driving Turnout

28. UPHA Morgan Challenge Cup, 17 & Under Maverick/Eleanor

29. Hunter Pleasure, Amateur 18 & over Buzz/Becky

*********ARENA DRAG*********

30. Park Harness, Junior Horse

31. Western Pleasure Junior Horse

32. Hunter Pleasure, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under Guy/Eleanor

33. English Pleasure, Ladies 18 & Over

34. Pleasure Driving, Open

35. Western Pleasure Gentlemen

36. Park Saddle, Open

37. AMHA Hunter Seat Medal (On the Flat)

38. Hunter Pleasure, Walk-Trot 11 & Under

*********ARENA DRAG*********

39. Park Harness, Ladies

40. Western Pleasure, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under Boogie/Caroline

41. English Pleasure, Amateur 18 & over

42. Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation, 11 & Under

43. Hunter Pleasure, Ladies 18 & Over Buzz/Becky

44. Roadster to Bike, Open

45. Park Saddle, Amateur 18 & Over

46. AMHA Western Seat Medal

**********Fifteen minutes following last class – USEF Rules Forum at the Exhibitors Lounge



47. Circle J Futurity Yearling Fillies, Colts & Geldings

48. $10,000 Circle J Futurity Yearling Championship

Friday Night, After the Show


Main Aisle of Show Barn Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



49. Lead Line, Riders 2 – 7

50. Hunter Seat Equitation, 17 & Under

51. Park Harness, Two-Year Olds

52. English Pleasure, Walk-Trot, Junior Exhibitor 11 & Under

53. Hunter Pleasure, Limit Horses

54. Western Pleasure, Ladies 18 & Over Kit/Danica

55. Saddle Seat Equitation, 17 & Under Casey/Caroline

56. English Pleasure Junior Horse Gaston/Eleanor

*********ARENA DRAG*********

57. Pleasure Driving, Amateurs 18 & Over

58. Walk-Trot Western Pleasure, Jr. Exhibitors 11 & Under

59. Roadster Under Saddle

60. Park Harness, Open

61. Hunter Pleasure Open Ozzy/Becky

62. Western Seat Equitation, 17 & Under

63. Classic Pleasure Saddle AOTS

64. Park Saddle, Ladies

*********ARENA DRAG*********

65. Pleasure Driving, Two-Year Old

66. Carriage Pleasure Driving Working Open

67. Park Harness, Amateur 18 & Over

68. English Pleasure, Limit Horses

69. Classic Pleasure Saddle, Open Vincent/Jerri Jesse/Becky

70. Western Pleasure, Limit Horse

71. Walk-Trot Western Seat Equitation, 11 & Under

72. Park Saddle, Junior Horse

73. AMHA Hunter Seat Over Fences Medal Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



74. AMHA Saddle Seat Medal Casey/Caroline

75. Hunter Pleasure AOTS

76. Pleasure Driving, Junior Exhibitors 17 & under

77. Hunter Pleasure, Junior Horse

78. Western Pleasure, Amateur 18 & Over Kit/Danica

79. Pleasure Driving, Ladies 18 & Over

80. Park Saddle, Junior Exhibitors 17 & Under Earl/Eleanor

81. English Pleasure Open

82. Road Hack Ozzy/Becky

83. Pleasure Driving Junior Horse

84. Western Pleasure AOT

85. Roadster to Bike, Amateur 18 & Over

86. AMHA Reining Seat Medal

Immediately following last class in the Warm-up Arena

Top of the Rockies Bar-B-Que

Fun and games in the warm up arena Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



87. Hunter Pleasure Walk/Trot 11 & Under Championship

88. Park Harness Championship, Junior Horse

89. Classic Pleasure Driving Championship

90. Western Pleasure Championship, Junior Horse

91. Pleasure Driving Championship, Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies

*********ARENA DRAG*********

92. Park Harness Championship, Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies

93. Walk-Trot Hunter Seat Equitation, 11 & Under Championship

94. Western Pleasure Walk/Trot 11 & Under Championship

95. Hunter Pleasure Championship, Junior Horses

96. English Pleasure Championship, Junior Horses Gaston/Eleanor

97. Walk-Trot Western Seat Equitation 11 & Under Championship

98. Park Saddle Championship, Junior Horse

*********ARENA DRAG*********

99. Pleasure Driving Championship, 2-Year Olds

100. English Pleasure Walk/Trot 11 & Under Championship

101. Park Saddle Championship, Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies Earl/Eleanor

102. Hunter Seat Equitation Championship

103. Pleasure Driving Championship, Junior Horse

104. Hunter Pleasure Championship Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies Buzz/Becky Guy/Eleanor

105. Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation 11 & Under Championship

106. Western Seat Equitation Championship Circle J Regional Championship Morgan Horse Show



107. Saddle Seat Equitation Championship Maverick/Eleanor

108. Western Pleasure Championship, Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies Kit/Danica Boogie/Caroline

109. Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship Vincent/Jerri Jesse/Becky

110. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Hunter Pleasure Championship Ozzy/Becky

111. Carriage Pleasure Driving Reinsmanship, Open

*****High Point and Reserve Carriage Presentation*****

112. TOP OF THE ROCKIES English Pleasure Championship

*********ARENA DRAG*********

113. Roadster to Bike Championship

114. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Pleasure Driving Championship

115. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Park Saddle Championship

116. English Pleasure Championship Junior Exhibitor, Amateur & Amateur Ladies Soldier/Caroline

******High Point Youth & Youth of the Year Presentation*****

117. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Park Harness Championship

118. TOP OF THE ROCKIES Western Pleasure Championship

Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on Denver Show Schedule

Tulsa Summer Classic Show Schedule

Tulsa Summer Classic


Thursday Morning – 9:00 AM

1. Pleasure Driving 2 Year Old

2. Showmanship 13 & Under

3. Showmanship 14 – 17

4. Western Pleasure Open Stallions & Geldings Kit/Kelly?

5. Park Saddle Open

6. Pleasure Driving Open

7. Western Seat Walk/Trot Equitation Reggie/Nathan

8. Hunter Pleasure Jr Exhibitor 13 & Under

9. Hunter Pleasure Maiden Horse

10. Classic Pleasure Saddle Jr Exhibitor

11. Western Pleasure Mares Paris/Kelly

12. Opportunity Carriage Driving Reinsmanship Open

13. Western Pleasure Jr Exhibitor (13 & Under)

14. Hunter Pleasure Amateur Geldings/Stallions Bling/Lynne Captain/Kristin

15. Saddle Seat Walk/Trot Equitation

16. Road Hack

17. UPHA Challenge Cup Moose/Kinslie

18. Hunter Pleasure 3 Year Old

19. Western Pleasure Jr Exhibitor 14-17 Mo/Kinslie

20. Opportunity Carriage Driving Reinsmanship Novice

21. English Pleasure Ladies

22. Hunter Pleasure Amateur Mares

23. Western Pleasure Novice Rider

24. Walk-Trot Hunter Seat Equitation

Thursday Evening – 7:00 PM

25. Hunter Hack Open

26. Hunter Pleasure Stallions & Geldings

27. Western Pleasure Maiden Horse

28. Hunter Pleasure Jr Exhibitor 14-17 Libby/Rachel D.

29. Walk-Trot Western Pleasure Reggie/Nathan

30. Hunter Pleasure Novice Horse

31. Classic Pleasure Driving Open

32. English Pleasure 17 and Under MJ/Brigitte

33. Hunter Pleasure Mares

34. Opportunity Carriage Driving Turnout

35. AMHA Western Seat Medal Mo/Kinslie Ignite/Rachel D.

36. English Pleasure Jr Horse

37. Western Pleasure Ladies Mare Paris/Vicky

38. Buy-A-Class Your Choice

39. Hunter Pleasure 4 Year Old

40. Western Pleasure Ladies Geldings Kit/Danica?

41. AMHA Hunt Seat Medal

42. English Pleasure Amateur

Friday Morning – 9:00 AM

43. Opportunity Carriage Driving Timed Cones Open

44. Opportunity Carriage Driving Timed Cones Novice

45. Hunter Seat Equitation 14-17

46. Western Pleasure Novice Horse

47. Hunter Seat Equitation 13 & Under

48. Hunter Pleasure Ladies Geldings Bling/Lynne Captain/Kristin

49. Walk-Trot English Pleasure

50. Pleasure Driving Jr Exhibitor

51. English Pleasure Open

52. Hunter Pleasure Ladies Mares

53. Classic Pleasure Saddle Open

54. Western Pleasure 3 Year Old

55. Opportunity Walk Equitation 11 & Under

56. Western Pleasure Amateur S & G

57. Opportunity Western Pleasure

58. Hunter Pleasure Novice Rider

59. Saddle Seat Equitation 17 and Under Moose/Kinslie

60. Walk-Trot Hunter Pleasure

61. Western Pleasure 4 Year Old

Friday Afternoon – 1:30 PM

62. Trail Open

63. Trail Walk-Trot (No Age Limit)

64. Trail, Novice Horse or Rider

65. Trail, Championship

Tulsa Summer Classic

Friday Evening – 6:00 PM

66. Opportunity Carriage Driving Pick Your Own Route

67. Opportunity Carriage Driving Pick Your Own Route Novice

68. Hunter Seat Equitation 13 & Under Championship

69. Opportunity Hunter Pleasure

70. Hunter Seat Equitation 14-17 Championship

71. Western Pleasure Amateur Mares Paris/Vicky

72. Western Seat Walk/Trot Equitation Championship Reggie/Nathan

73. Saddle Seat Equitation Championship Moose/Kinslie

74. Hunter Seat Walk/Trot Equitation Championship

75. Hunter Pleasure Jr Horse Champ

76. Park Harness Open

77. Buy-A-Class Your Choice

78. Western Seat Equitation 17 & Under Mo/Kinslie Ignite/Rachel D.

79. Hunter Pleasure Amateur Champ Bling/Lynne Captain/Kristin

80. Classic Pleasure Saddle Ladies

81. Saddle Seat Walk/Trot Equitation championship

82. Western Pleasure Open Champ Kit/Kelly?

Saturday Morning – 9:00 AM

83. Classic Pleasure Saddle Jr Exhibitor Champ

84. Hunter Pleasure Walk/Trot Championship

85. Buy-A-Class Your Choice

86. English Pleasure Jr Exhibitor Champ MJ/Brigitte

87. Classic Pleasure Driving Championship

88. Western Pleasure Jr Horse Champ

89. English Pleasure Walk/Trot Championship

90. Western Pleasure Jr Exhibitor Champ Mo/Kinslie

91. Pleasure Driving Championship

92. Command Class Ignite/Rachel D.

93. Opportunity Carriage Driving Working Novice

94. Opportunity Carriage Driving Novice Presentation

95. Opportunity Hunter Pleasure Championship

96. AMHA Reining Seat Medal

97. Reining Open

Saturday Afternoon – 1:30 PM

98. Low Working Hunter 1

99. Low Working Hunter 2

100. Low Working Hunter Under Saddle

101. AMHA Hunter Over Fences Medal

102. Working Hunter 1

103. Working Hunter 2

104. Working Hunter Under Saddle

105. Low Jumper 1

106. Low Jumper 2

Saturday Evening – 7:00 PM

107. Leadline

108. Showmanship Championship

109. English Pleasure Jr Horse Championship

110. AMHA Saddle Seat Medal Moose/Kinslie

111. Western Pleasure Walk/Trot Championship Reggie/Nathan

112. Park Saddle Championship

113. Buy-A-Class Your Choice

114. Hunter Pleasure Championship

115. Classic Pleasure Saddle Champ

116. Western Seat Equitation Champ Mo/Kinslie Ignite/Rachel D.

117. Opportunity Western Pleasure Championship

118. Opportunity Carriage Driving Working Open

119. Opportunity High Point Carriage Presentation

120. Opportunity Walk Pleasure 11 & Under

121. Hunter Pleasure Jr Exhibitor Champ 13 and Under

122. Hunter Pleasure Jr Exhibitor Champ 14 – 17

123. Western Pleasure Amateur Champ Paris/Vicky

124. English Pleasure Championship

125. Ladies Western Pleasure Championship Kit/Danica?

Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on Tulsa Summer Classic Show Schedule

May 24, 2015

Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,


Holy Monsoon!   Can you believe the record breaking rain???   Good news is that although much of Oklahoma is in a state of emergency, Cottonwood Creek Ranch is on a hill!  Although we have been slowed down on some of our outside projects, rest assured that CCR is not flooding and is handling the rain great!!  

Kurt and I enjoyed a very quick trip last weekend to Key West!  We had an absolutely fabulous time!  We are both scuba divers (this could be in handy after the rain here in Oklahoma!) and got the opportunity to dive the Vandenburg, a large WWII troop transport ship that they sunk to make a manmade reef.  We also went tarpon fishing, however, some one must have tipped the tarpon off to our ambushing plans as we did not catch a single one!  Here’s some news and information about what’s going on here at home!


Circle J and Tulsa Entries:

I’m working on these puppies right now!!  We had a lot of changes for these shows…. Sooooo….Please let me know if I need to take you off of a list or just plain left your poor horsey-poo off the list all together!!

Circle J:


















Move it!

Val has officially moved here to CCR!  She is enjoying a much shorter commute and is super handy to have here on the property everyday!  Welcome home Val!!


Cashing in Her Chips!

Congratulations to Madi and the whole Fitzgerald family on the sale of RRB Casino aka “Chip.”  Chip has made the trip to Georgia where he will be Amberly Payne’s new walk-trot mount!


You’re a Daisy if You Do!

Playmors Mi Amor, aka “Daisy B” has been lease to a junior exhibitor for the 2015 show season!  She has made the trek down to Florida to under the direction of Kris Cole.

 Helping Bill Caywood

Our good friend and horse shoer Bill Caywood needs us.   As you recall, I have started organizing a fundraiser to help raise money for him.  He is awaiting a lung transplant.  With his body failing but his mind strong I know it’s hard for him not to try to get out and work.  He would never ever ask for help, but he needs it.  Can you imagine not being able to breath and having to worry about buying daily things like food, medicine and just paying your normal bills to survive while not being healthy enough to live….let alone SHOE A HORSE?  But he tries to so he can support himself with the bare necessities.    There has now been established a special bank account through Midfirst Bank where we can deposit money to help him, mail it in or you can give it to Karen Cooley or myself and we will deposit it!  My plan is to get a good wave of support going for him now, and continue with the Auction, dinner and big fundraiser later in the year as a secondary wave of income!  I’ll have envelopes and information at the barn.   Help me make a difference in the life of this wonderful man!

Healthy as a Horse!

Many of you have now heard of the small outbreak of neurological strain of EHV-1 in horses.  It affects the horse’s nervous system and results in them needing to be put down.  This same type of outbreak also occurred several years ago.  It’s been a much more talked about in our circles recently because a Saddlebred barn did have a few cases of it.  Although there have been no known cases in Oklahoma or any place we plan to show, like the original outbreak we will once again be re-boostering our entire herd with the EHV-1 vaccine!  We are already vaccinated, but I’d rather be aggressive in protecting our animals.  The vaccine has not been proven to fully protect the horses, but it is believed to help minimalize nasal shedding (you know, SNOT!) which will infect less horses, and make the symptoms milder if they were to get it.  No need to panic, I’d just rather be safe than sorry!


Wait?  What? You ordered Clothing?

Just in case you didn’t read your past newsletters, you forgot, your dog ate your order form, you want more because they are freakin’ awesome, it didn’t fit….. or whatever…… I will be placing another order of CCR clothing!   I will for total reals be needing your order form in my hot little hands no later then SUNDAY MAY 31st!!   SOONER IS BETTER!  I’ve attached an order form to this email and will have some at the barn.  Hopefully (fingers crossed) the exact same items will still be available, but there is a chance they could be sold out if we aren’t fast!  I also actually know the prices this time, so I included those as well!



Photo Order/Ad Reminders!

We are about to run our mid-year ads as a barn family in The Morgan Horse Magazine!   This will include Centennial, Big D, Chapter V and Gold Cup and will be distributed at the HUGE New England Regional show in addition to being mailed out!  Make sure you order those photos NOW so they are ready to go!  …..well except maybe Gold Cup, you should probably wait to order those until we actually have ATTENDED the show!  Hehe!!  Our next (and last) big group ad will be the pre-Grand National issue in September!  Contact Kim Oplotnik (or me) for your ad sizes and particulars!  

Things You Didn’t Know About Kelly:

I was born in the city…in Torrance, California actually!  I had never ridden a horse or been around horses until I received riding lessons from my family for my 7th Birthday!    My first horse show was a little show they put on there at the ranch I took lessons from, and I showed a horse named “U.S.” with and elderly man named Old John leading me.  I won both of my classes!  Ok, that’s totally not true. Hehehehe!   It actually took me foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to finally win!   My first horse show finishes were a 4th and a 6th place and I loved it!

Get the Gold!

Don’t forget!  Our 1 day Pre-Gold Cup Boot Camp is happening!  Sunday May 31st9:30am – 2:30pm! $120/rider.  So far I’m looking forward to seeing Roberts, Darrow, Geary and Chloe-bean there!   RSVP if you plan to attend!  



Important Dates:

-Sunday May 31st…….. Boot Camp (And last day to give us your stuff to pack for Gold Cup and Clothing order forms!!)

-Saturday June 6th – Sat June 13th…..No lessons (Gold Cup)

-Tuesday June 23 – Saturday June 22nd….No Lessons (Tulsa Show)

-Tuesday June 30th – Saturday July 4th…No Lessons (Circle J Show)



See you guys soon!  Next stop GOLD CUP!!!!




Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on May 24, 2015

Tentative Schedule for Big D

The tentative schedule for Big D!  We are expecting adds changes to the Saddleseat Equitation (and adding ASB Pleasure Equitation).  The Newsletter will be eventually making it’s appearance again!  I have all kinds of stuff to share with you!  

BIG D Tentative Schedule

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March 26 News

March 26th 2015


Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,

It’s here.  Show season is upon us and I am EXCITED!  We leave for Centennial in just 12 days! Here’s our latest newsletter to catch you all up!


Show Up to Help!

Mandy could still use some help for the Cottonwood Creek Ranch barn show this Saturday March 28th to be held in the academy barn!!  Gate keepers, grooms, etc are all helpful contributers!


Oh Hail!

We did get some killer hail on Wednesday this week!  It was a little over quarter sized and broke holes in many of our skylights!  All of the horses were fine, but the loud banging definitely made them nervous!


Meals on Wheels!

I felt our dinners and Hospitality worked out great last year!  I do need runners, though!  If anyone can escape from the fairgrounds about 2 hours before the evening session begins to pick up the already-been-paid-for food, please let me know!  A day here or there would be awesome!  

Save Our Souls!

…By feeding us!   Anyone who would be able to bring lunch for the grooms any day during the week to the Oklahoma Fairgrounds during Centennial would be our new bestest friend in the whole wide world!  Please let me know if and days Tuesday April 7th – Sunday April 12th would work for you!  We are usually famished by 10:30am….likely due to the fact we’ve already been up for 6 hours by then!


On Schedule!
You should find the Centennial Schedule attached with all of our CCR rider’s classes listed!   If you aren’t showing, please come support your team!  Enjoy the horses, the competition and we usually have grown-up drinks and lots to eat!  About an hour before the evening session enjoy dinner which will be located in the client’s kitchen!  Our horse total you ask?  Looks like we’re bringing 37 horses to show!

The Best Man for the Job!

Welcome to Madi Fitzgerald’s new English Pleasure horse,  Fire Run Best Man “Kaii,”  who arrived here all of the way from Washington State!  The pair already look like a Million bucks and they are just getting started!


Kelly’s Lessons will be cancelled on and between:

Tues April 7-11th……Oklahoma Centennial – OKC, OK

Tues April 28-May 2….Chapter V – Kansas City, MO


Don’t be THAT Person!!

With the first show of the season coming up, I think it’s a great time to touch on our horse show barn Etiquette!


1) They are DRESSING rooms, not LIVING rooms.  Please be respectful of your roommates and allow just ONE attendant per rider in the dressing room at a time.  Family members take up room and make it uncomfortable for the other room mates who are trying to get dressed for their classes (especially male family members in rooms with mostly female riders). Please remember the dressing rooms are for dressing and undressing for your classes.   If the storage of computers, purses, games, etc is causing a lot of traffic please ask me about using an empty trunk to store that equipment.  They can be easily pad locked and even have trunk covers over them.  We always have an awesome sitting area in the front of the barn with chairs, tables and plenty of space for your family to be comfortable and for you to hang out when you are not prepping for a class.  That’s exactly what it’s there for! 


2)  No food or drinks in the dressing rooms.  It never fails, cups are spilled and sticky stuff gets stuck on the most expensive/favorite/newest outfit in the whole room!  We’ve got a great kitchen area and that sitting area in the front of the barn is perfect for your drinks and food.


3) Don’t be an Oink – keep your rooms neat.  Hang up your clothes, pick up your boots, put away your make up and clean up your messes so your roommates don’t have to dodge it.  It’s YOUR job, not your Mom’s. Please be your own housekeeper…..or their maybe a pink elephant necklace and an aisle sweep in your future!  Many trainers don’t create private dressing rooms for their people.  One dressing room is shared by every single rider, and many of them get partly dressed at the hotel as well. They look simple, but they are very time consuming to put up and take down.  We wash all of the carpets, pack them up and haul them to every show.   By the time we put the wood up to frame the stalls out, and then do the ceilings (expensive plastic), carpet, electrical, and drapes on the walls it’s a huge undertaking.


4)  But mommmmmmm, it’s not fair!  I’ll continue to do the dressing room lottery to pick roommates to spread everyone around and try to make it even.   It’s all part of the horse show experience!  It’s eventful, unpredictable and some of the best lessons we learn are outside of the show arena.


5) There are generally no lessons on the Tuesdays after the show for Riders/horses who were at the shows!  It gives the horses and riders a much needed rest….and the trainer!  If you aren’t sure if you have a lesson, just ask!


6) Whatever you do, don’t ever do this!  Never ever in a million billion years come hang out in the groom aisle.   The hustle and bustle of our worker bees will stop and stare as you are escorted out with an armed guard!   There is so much going on back there, it really puts a hiccup in our system.  It distracts the horses and makes them dance while we are down on the ground painting feet or wrestling with one to cleans his ears.  Be respectful of your grooms and hang out in our wonderful lounge area!  Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


7) If you have a problem, talk to Kelly. If you are happy, talk to Kelly too!


8) Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated.  This goes for riders and relatives!  Be polite to all of the exhibitors, grooms, trainers, and your family. 



Centennial Practice Ride Schedule!

If you are wanting to take a quick spin on your show horse before the show starts practice rides will be once again the day before the show! It’s your job to text me for a time Wednesday April 8th afternoon/early evening, I’m already booking!!!!!!!


Never Take a Wooden Nickel, and Other Fine Tips!

While we were at convention giving our seminar, Kurt and I were asked about tipping of the horse show grooms.  What is the standard amount?  What a great question!  I decided to discuss it here with all of you.  Yes, tipping your grooms is not required, but definitely appreciated.  They work crazy long hours at shows, getting up around 4am – 11pm at night,  to make you and your horse your best.   They haul in heavy trunks, set it all up and pack it all up so you don’t have to!  Lunging, cleaning tack, shining silver, stall cleaning, feeding, watering, hand walking and taking care of our precious horses are all things they do for us.  They miss meals, eat pop tarts on the fly and down 5-hour energy drinks by the handful! The tips make them feel appreciated and important.  Many people also give them little treats during the week or cards at the end as well.  Generally the tips are given to me, and I divide them up and pass them out.  So what’s normal?  I’d say around $25/class is probably the basic amount, but probably 60%  tip more.  If you have a lot of silver to polish, or you know your horse requires a lot more lunging or work, your grooms did something even more extraordinary then their normal excellent selves…you might consider tipping more.


Are You Going?

I’ve been working on entries for both Chapter V and Big D!  Big D is going to require more then our normal $30/entry sponsorship to make it fly.  We promised we’d help.  Please let me know what you can contribute, as I will be bugging you soon!  I think I have a pretty good idea of who is going where, but just to clarify I’m going to list who I have confirmation from so you can let me know if I need to add or delete you:

 Confirmed for Big D:

Ely, Buzz, Stevie, Jesse, Rhett, Jack, Bruce, Johno, Andy, Zeke, Champ, Zoom, Boogie, Guy, Gaston, Maverick, Casey, Soldier, Earl, Chief, Bebe, Kazi, Opie (possibly Kaii, MJ)

Confirmed for Chapter V:

Paris, Reggie, Orion, Kit, Daisy B, Bling, (Possibly Kaii, MJ, Joli)


We Can’t all Be Naked!

I’m ordering more CCR logo apparel!!!  So far, I’ve had requests for long sleeve shirts, vests, ¾ zip stretchy sweatshirts, tank tops and more tee shirts!  I don’t have prices quite yet, but attached is an order form that is due back to me before April 12th!  I will need enough interest to place the order, so hop on it!  


Things You Didn’t Know About Kelly:

I was born in Torrance, California and grew up in the city until I was about 8 years old.  I had never ridden a horse until I got riding lessons for my Birthday when I turned 7 years old!  I was hooked!  Maybe I should make it a career???

You’re Probably Not Going To Win

I think it’s a good time to touch on sportsmanship.  It’s not only a great reminder for all of you, but for me as well.  Remembering how to be good winners and good losers, how to be good barn friends and be good friends to people from other barns as well. 

 When I was a rodeo queen, I used to give clinics all over country teaching girls how to compete and prepare for competitions.  One thing I always started my sportsmanship speeches out with was that when you go into your pageant, or in our case, the show arena, YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO WIN.  It’s just plain old math and statistics, if there are 9 in your class, there is a 1:9 chance that you are actually going to win the class.  Those are not good odds, statistically; you are PROBABLY not going to win!  Obviously we do a lot of things to help increase our chances of winning through preparation, practice and educating ourselves.  Obviously we all want to win, our goal is to improve our skills and get consistently better and hopefully those higher ribbons will come with it.   But in all reality, when you go into the arena, YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO WIN.   So go into the arena, doing your best, and don’t be offended if you do not come out with the blue ribbon.

 Nobody out there ever has a truly PERFECT ride.  The winner is not ever ever ever going to have a perfect ride, the loser is not going to have a perfect ride.  It’s never perfect, there is always going to be something that you can improve on.  It might just be a slight head bob in the corner, forgetting to shift your weight, something spooked your horse, losing focus at one time, but there is always something.  Whether you win or lose there is always something to be improved upon.   If you finish at the bottom of the class, or second, don’t come out of the arena saying, “The winner did this and this and this, how could they have won?”  You need to come out saying, “Sure, that horse won, but what can I do better?  How can I improve?”  Do I need to work on steadying my legs, better ring placement, keeping my horse collected, strengthening my body, setting my horse up better to canter?  Horses try really hard for us, but they are not people, they are not cars, things scare them and they are not as smart as we are.  They are kind creatures and do this for us but we have to help them get the correct answers and do the correct thing.  There’s a lot we can do to make their lives easier, and a lot we do that  makes it harder for them, but yes they mess up too.

 We need to remember why we show horses.   We show horses to enjoy our beautiful horses, and enjoy other people’s horses.  We get great time to spend with our families and other wonderful families and people with the same interests.  We build character, work ethic and self-esteem in our children and ourselves.  We challenge ourselves and are blessed to do so.  We get to spend time with friends, make new friends and support each other.  We help the new people as well as the people who have been around forever.   Being a special part of the large horse show family is really the meat in the horse show sandwich.  It’s just not the same to just ride around alone at home, it’s the camaraderie and friendships that make this what it is. 


Be thankful.  Be thankful that we get to do this.  It’s truly a blessing.    There are a lot of people who can’t do this.  Maybe they can’t afford it.  They may have physical limitations.  They may be too intimidated to do it.  They may not have the time or the support.  Make sure you are thanking your spouses, your parents and whoever makes it possible for you to chase your passion. You are truly blessed.  Those people could be doing what they enjoy, spending the time and money on hobbies they would rather do.  Your husbands and parents could be in Hawaii, or on a boat fishing, but they chose to spend it with you.   Normally, if it were their day off or they had extra money, they would not be at a horse show.  They’d be spending it how they want to spend it.  They do it for you.  That’s a huge sacrifice they are making for you.  Appreciate them for that, be sure and thank them, they truly do a lot for you.

 The same goes to your grooms, the horseshoers, the veterinarian and even your trainer!   They all invest a lot of time and love into this.  They all care.   They care about you, they care about your horses, and when something happens, like they pull a shoe, they get injured, it hurts everyone’s feelings.  They frequently check in when they know one has been hurt, or one of you has a sick family member.  We feel horribly for you, we feel horrible for the horse, just like they are each our very own.  Appreciate them and tell them thank you for the incredible job they do for you.  We tend to only talk to them when something is wrong, or you think there is an issue on your bill.  Remember that they put a lot of themselves into each one of your horses, and a small thank you here and there goes long ways.    They take it very personally.

 Horse showing is about improving and progressing. As you get better and better at riding, you start to see problems before they arise.  You are able to think ahead instead of merely reacting to the moment at hand.   You can look ahead and see a rider whose horse is picking up the wrong lead and know that they are probably going to stop and change it, so you’ll plan to give them extra space even before it happens.  That way you don’t suddenly look up and have a horse’s tush in your horse’s face!  You’ll see a baby stroller up ahead with a mom about to stand up and know that could spook your horse way before you get there, you’d plan to cut that corner.   So yes, you might not have won because your horse spooked….but a great rider would have seen that coming and avoided it!   It’s not just about fixing things as they come at you,  it’s about fixing things that haven’t even happened yet.  As you keep practicing, you’ll become more consistent and keep heading towards that perfect ride.   We can’t control judges.  They might love you and they might not like you at all.  They may like your horse’s style, and they may not like your horse’s style, we can’t control that, but we can keep working towards what we think is perfection, and over time, the ribbons will come with that.  When you become more consistent, you tend to place a little bit more consistent. 

 Our goal is improving and progressing.  It’s not just the blue ribbon.  Lord help us, sometimes we win when we really feel like we didn’t deserve it!  It may have been a ride we would have just assumed forgotten about and then we are shocked to be called out the winner!   Maybe everyone thought you should have been last except that judge….oh well, it happens!   As your trainer, I try to give you honest feed back on your classes.  Whether you won or didn’t, I will tell you how it looked from my perspective.  Sometimes you have a killer ride and may have placed lower then we expected.  Other times you come out with a great ribbon but didn’t ride as well as I know you can.    You can bet if I tell you I thought it was a great ride, that I truly think it was.  Especially since I’ll also let you know where we need to improve, even if you win the class!

 Although the judges are judging you against other teams your are really working to better yourself.   If you win the blue ribbon, but have a ride where you forget to shift your weight, let your horse get strung out, hang on your curb, run into another rider, do a “circle of death,” and other things that we have worked so hard to correct, it’s not really a check in the box of winning at your horsemanship.  While the blue ribbon is really nice….we really didn’t achieve our goal!  So winning wasn’t really a successful ride, because you kind of sucked.  But sometimes that happens!  Other times you had the ride of a lifetime and did everything we have been working so hard on, and everyone thought you should have won except that pesky judge….that’s still a win in the grand scheme of things!  You are on the right track!!  It all balances out.  Don’t be offended with a last place ribbon on a great ride…..but also don’t gloat when you win the class!  Next time, it could be reversed!  Sometimes, the other riders just happened to suck less than you that day.

 If our passion was truly just about winning, and only about that blue ribbon, we’d take our foofy and impeccably trained and turned out riders and horses to little tiny open horse shows!  It would be like taking our NBA basketball team and playing against the 5th graders in an elementary school P.E. class.  Sure, we’d likely win every single time, but it wouldn’t be fun, and that’s not why we do this.  We like good strong competition!  We like the feeling of really accomplishing something!  We need to compete against the best, to push ourselves to be better!  None of us are really all about just winning the blue ribbon. That’s not it at all.  The competition pushes us to improve and give us that rush of adrenaline we all love, and the satisfying feeling of topping a class of outstanding horses and riders.   It’s the competition, seeing the progression and enjoying our animals. 

 What I think is a nice horse, others might not like as much.  Same goes for you and other people’s horses (and kids, hehe)!   When people in other barns buy new horses, they might not be what I would pick, just like what I pick might not be what other trainer would pick.  Just like husbands.  One person’s perfect spouse, would not necessarily work for another.  Ever seen Wife Swap?!  Lol!  The same thing goes for judges.  They all like different looks, styles, movement and all hold qualities  at different values.

 When you do win, be gracious.  You might not even have won that class with a different judge judging.  Remember that and be thankful when things do come together and you are given that honor.  Say thank you and then say it again.  Be courteous to the other riders,  and if people congratulate you, say thank you, make eye contact and say it loudly enough that they hear your response.  Everyone loves to hate the winner.  Don’t get sucked into that spiral.   The better you and your horse become, and the more you win, the more people will try to find reasons to dethrone you.  It’s the human mind’s way of justifying their jealousy.   It’s truly human nature.  Be the first person to say hello, say thank you and congratulate them when they deserve it.  The more you win and the better you do, the more people will try to pick you apart and sink your ship.  This doesn’t just include people from our barn.  This includes people from other barns as well.  We need to be nice, helpful and courteous to everyone.  We are all in the same industry, enjoying the same horses, doing the same types of competition and we are all in this together.  Support each other.  Whether people ride here at my barn, or any one else’s barn, we are  all the same people doing the same thing for the same reasons.

  Just like being a good winner (which is MUCH more fun to do then being a good loser) being a good loser is also very important.  It’s hard to do, I know.  The good news is that you can get better at it as you practice.  Start with congratulating the winner!  Maybe they got a wrong lead or their hands are not as solid as yours, don’t dwell on what they did wrong, and don’t be angry at them!  It’s not their fault the judge saw them as the winner that day!   You might think they didn’t deserve it, oh well,  the judge thought they did, so they won!  Congratulate them!  Someday they’ll have a great class and get last too, it happens to everyone. 

 Don’t be a brat.  Whether you are a kid, parent or amateur rider, don’t be a brat and don’t let others be brats either. If you don’t win, don’t have a fit, don’t throw yourself on the floor kicking and screaming. Don’t have tantrum because you didn’t get the blue ribbon!  As I stated at the beginning, you’re probably not going to win!   Not winning happens; we should be thinking about what we could do better in our next class.  If you know your horse is going to be scared of the signs or the video cameras, in your classes you need to be thinking, “I‘ve got to remember to keep my horse away from that video camera or that wall!”  You have to fix your own personal things, don’t waste energy and create a bad attitude and habit of tearing down the winner. Think about yourself, “What do I need to do to be better, so that can be me next time?  Do I need to work on keeping my heels down further for equitation, do I need to remember to keep my hands steadier? What are things I do to fix me.?”  If you’re just thinking about the winner, what they are doing wrong, or what you don’t like about their horse or their style of riding, you are seriously hindering yourself.  Your progression as a rider is going to slow while others continue to improve, that will make you more critical of others, which will further  hinder your self improvement, and you’ll find you’re self trapped in a never ending cycle of bitterness.  The horse shows are more than just competitions.  They are about how to work hard,  how to be a good winner and to be a good loser.   They build strong character and teach us to acknowledge our short comings and work toward strengthening them, all while doing our best to highlight all of our unique strengths!  GAME: *<Be the 1st or 5th person to say the code words, “I make Kelly Proud,” to Kelly and receive a FREE lesson Coupon!>*

 Good sportsmanship is something that is learned, kids are not born being good sports. Even when my sister and I were kids, we had to learn how to graciously win and lose.  Kids are not born with the ability to share with others, they don’t understand that they aren’t gong to win every time and how to look at it.  My parents also had to deal with the same things that I know all of you have to deal with your children showing.  I’m not biased or anything, (hehe) but I feel like they did a really great job when we were showing.  My mom always told us that if we were not good sports, we would be taken home from the show right then!  And we were.  We knew she was serious and it only took once. Over time we learned how to lose, and eventually we learned how win.   Sportsmanship is something you have to teach your kids.  For parents, I know you feel bad for your kids when they don’t win.  You know how hard your kids work.  You know all of their best qualities, and it always seems to you that their weaknesses are so much less of a big deal then those of the other kids they are competing against.   When they don’t win, their feelings will be hurt that they didn’t win the class, and as parents we feel their pain as well.   It’s the nature of the game.  Being a good example and teaching them to deal with those feelings, to think about how to have a better next class, and what to work on at home instead of redirecting these feelings towards the winner is key.   I feel like my job with my daughter, Emmy,  (I’m sure you feel the same way) is to teach our children to grow up to be good human beings.   If your kid is having a hard time not acting out on their disappointment to not winning the class, it’s my suggestion that you use enforceable consequences.   Although it would be a pretty harsh first offense consequence to take them home from the whole show, we sure as heck can keep them out of their next class!  As the owner of this barn, if I ever see it or I saw anybody exhibiting really bad sportsmanship from my barn you would not be going in your next class!  I think sportsmanship is super important.  Being kind to each other is the foundation of my barn.  I will not tolerate anything less.  To me, a lifelong lesson of learning to be a good sport is much more important than who won a class at a horse show.  It’s my suggestion to my parents that if your child is having a pity party or not acting appropriately, to just tell them if they continue,  they won’t be showing in their next class.  If they are unable to straighten up, then they need to sit out the next class and realize what a privilege it is to get to show.   It’s a privilege (and fun) to show whether they won the class or that they just got the opportunity to go into the show ring!   Showing is a reward and privilege in itself!   I don’t think it should be a right for them to show if they cannot handle themselves.   We need to teach our young people to be good human beings.    To appreciate the opportunity to show.  To be kind to others and focus on pulling themselves up, not cut others down.  

 I feel our barn is really great.  I think our people are good!  I know- I know- we can’t help but feel a little disappointed when we don’t win that class we thought we had.  As hard as we try not to, we all act in ways that we are embarrassed about later.  We do need to think about it and keep a handle on it.  Everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. One of our riders might be a rock star pattern girl, but she has looser legs and she has to focus on keeping her hands still.   Another rider has to work really hard on her patterns but she is solid and tight on the rail! Everybody has something they are working on and they have something that is just a god given talent that may come easy for them.  It’s that way for the horses as well.  Some naturally lope great, some need help.  Some are nervous, others are lazy.  It’s never just an easy and sure thing, we all have to work hard, we all have things that we’re great at, and then we all have those less-then-great qualities. We try to highlight those strengths, and then for those things that may still be a work in progress, we will try really hard to overcome them and down play them while we’re showing.

 It’s pretty rewarding to see your hard work pay off at a horse show!  Putting together a great ride in big class of great horses and riders and then having the judge reward you with that blue ribbon is truly icing on the cake!  There is so much more to showing then just those blue ribbons!  Appreciate those who make it possible for you. Be a good winner and a good loser.  Support your barn friends and make new friends.  Work hard to improve your skills. Teach yourselves and your children to be better humans, and enjoy your wonderful horses….even if you are PROBABLY NOT GOING TO WIN!


I’m so proud of each and every one of you and how far you have all come!  See you soon!



Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on March 26 News

March 2 News

March 2, 2015


Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,

         What a great few weeks we’ve had here at Cottonwood Creek Ranch!  I’m happy to report, we only had a few baby chicken fatalities so we have 40 (oh my) healthy, strong, hungry and growing baby chickens!    That’s a record for us, and I credit Teo’s great chicken care and our wonderful post office staff who called me at 5am when they arrived!  Here are some more happenings!


Baby it’s Cold Outside!

Kurt and I had a great time meeting up in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the AMHA Convention!  As many of you heard, we did a seminar on running a Horse Business and it went very well.  As in, no one threw tomatoes, which I consider SUCCESS!!!

I was honored to be given the Cecil Brown Sportsmanship Award and my beloved Kern’s Endeavor GCH was inducted into the Hall of Fame!  Kurt also accepted the Breeder’s Award for Springmill Morgans (Stretch’s breeders) during the Gala!



The People Need to Brag!

Congratulations to all of our amazing horses and riders who were named People’s Choice winners this year!  How do you feel about running an ad, or even splitting one with the whole crew?  The advertising rates for a full page are $480 (black and white) and $875 (full color).  The back cover is $1595 in color.  The deadline for space reservations and materials is March 5th!  Please let me know ASAP if you are interested in advertising, or not at all! 


Ducks in a Row!

I got a ton of great feedback from our barn advertising plan for last year, and I thought it worked out GREAT!  It made things organized, affordable, and what an IMPACT!   Our plan once again is to do a huge spread in the Morgan Horse Magazine in the summer (earlier this year then last year).   We will see where the deadlines land, but try to cover Centennial, Big D, Chapter V and Gold Cup with our summer ads, then do Tulsa, Circle J, and Jubilee with our Pre-Grand National Advertising!!!  We might think about doing a sharing Saddle Horse Report ad, splitting it a bunch of ways would be very cost effective and hit a different group of folks!  We may need to play with some of those lumpings, but at lease you have an idea of what to expect!  As always, you aren’t ever required to advertise, and if you wanted to do more, you are more then welcome to do so!


Put it in Writing!

Several articles will be coming out in the next month or so with CCR input!  Horse World Magazine is doing an article on my Instructor of the Year award, Jenny Gray interviewed me, and I always enjoy her questions!  Jenna Britt is working on a Trainer’s Round Table article about taking a young western horse from a snaffle to curb bit that will be in the Morgan Horse Magazine!  I just finished the photo shoot portion of an article for AOPA talking to Jill Tallman about having my pilot’s license, and of course, HORSES!  I used Paige Crowley’s UVM Opportunity GCH “Opie” for the shoot, and he was a doll! 


Buy to Rule!

We have a 1/10 portion of Annandale’s Born to Rule “ Louie” available if any of you missed out initially and would like to buy into the partnership!  He just turned 2 this year and is hooked and driving and has plans to debut at the Oklahoma Centennial!   $1000 buys you in, and it’s first come first serve, so let me know ASAP if you are interested!


Big D Needs Big Help!

With the death of the Red River Classic, Big D stepped in and added Morgans and an extra day to their horse show for us!  They need help in the form of sponsorships. 


Germantown Show

Mark Farrar has contacted me about a great outdoor show in Tennessee called Germantown!  Would any of you be interested in attending??  Here’s some information he sent to me, “Below is a list of the Top 10 reasons to come to Germantown that we put together last year – and here is a link to that original email –  Germantown is a horse-loving town and this show gets a huge crowd.  I would love to see Morgans represented and will do what it takes to get you there!  I’m fine with having your classes earlier in the week so you can get to Gold Cup.  In fact, I’m so hopeful that this will work out, we’re planning our exhibitors party on Thursday night to make sure you’ll be there 🙂  We’ll also have daily breakfast, ice cream socials and wine & cheese receptions.”


Bird is the Word!

Have you noticed the Midfirst Bank commercial with me and Karen Cooley’s Fastrak Thunderbird, “TBird” is back in rotation???   What a fun surpise!!


Kelly’s Lessons Cancelled on and between:

Fri Mar 6 –  Sat Mar 7th…….US Saddle Seat Equitation World Cup Team Practice in New Orleans, LA


USEF Horse of the Year!

Congratulations to Chloe Farischon’s Hylee’s The Devil IM for being n named USEF Horse of the Year in Morgan Hunter Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Champion in both Region 5 and Region 6!  “Ozzy” was also the Road Hack Champion in Region 6!  Chloe’s other great horse, D Bar J Habakkuk was Region 5 Road Hack Champion!  Congratulations!


Things you didn’t know about CCR: 

Once upon a time, a long time ago there was actually a big fire that burned part of the main barn!  The pool is what saved the place as firefighters used it to put out the fire!  Although it was before I even lived in Oklahoma,  you can still see the black burn  marks on some of the rafters in the NW corner of the main barn!   Check it out!



See everyone at the barn soon!  I hear it’s supposed to approach 60 degrees tomorrow and I might actually not wear a jacket.  Maybe.





Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on March 2 News

Feb. 5, 2015

Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,

Spring is coming (although according to the overly shadow-observant ground varmint not for another 6 weeks) so I have tons to say and lots going on! I’ve decided to add a section that will be making regular appearances!  “Something you might not have known about Cottonwood Creek Ranch” or “Things you might not have known about Kelly!”   I hope you enjoy learning more about my history and the history of our wonderful facility!  Here’s some new good stuff:


I need ‘em.  Like for reals.  Please bring me the copies of your 2015 Cards (AMHA, USEF and ASHA/UPHA if applicable) and copies of your horse’s registration paper with YOUR name on them if they have changed ownership since last year.  You can even do the card renewal online now!  It’s super duper fast!  I also need signed checks made out to each show you “might” attend for the entire year!    I can tear them up, give them back, etc if you don’t use them.  Like always, I will text you the amount they are written for before I mail them out with your entries so they don’t surprise your bank account!   If I don’t have a check, I might just think you don’t wanna go!  If it makes you feel better, put a post-it note on the checks with the specifics!!  There will be a $20 charge and pouty face for any entry checks I have to write.  Sooooo here’s your homework checklist:

1.             Copies of your new horse’s registration papers (or old ones just to be on the ball!)

2.             Copies of your AMHA card

3.             Copies of your USEF card

4.             Copies of your ASHA card (if you show Saddlebreds)

5.             Copies of your UPHA card (if you show at the Royal or in the Challenge Cup)

6.             Blank checks made out to every show you “Might” attend.


The Geary family says they are all in!  We’re totally going.  Plan on it.  CCR is attending the New England Regional in 2016!



Many of you are quite aware of my fondness for poultry, and I’m not talking about the dinner variety!  Our flock of fine feathered friends has fallen to a very pitiful low. So of course,  I ordered more baby chicks!  And you know, I got to ordering and I was like, that breed is cute!  Oh wow!  Those are fun!  Look at the feathery feet on those ones!!!!  And then the colors.  They come in all colors!  Blue, Gray, White, Black buff!  I have to get all of the colors!  And I better order extra just in case some of them die, because well, you know, stuff happens.   And by stuff, I mean cats. And coyotes.   

After my little online chicken spree, I proudly announced to Kurt that I had ordered all kinds of new baby chickens!  Kurt asked, “How many did you buy?” Ummmmmm…..well, let me see here….5, 15, 25…..42.  So I mighta ordered 42 chickens.  Rut Row.   Anyone need a chicken?



Remember, like, foreverrrrrrrrr ago when we were trying to raise funds to finish off the new barn?   Well, the signs are finally up in honor of those who supported our efforts and named several of the rooms and the arena!   We now officially have, “The Robert’s Figure Arena,” which is the incredible outdoor.  “The Revard Suite” which the Revard family helped make possible for our out of town guests to stay in.  “The Honorary Linda Ganley Throne Room,” which is the restroom in the new barn and all of the large barns now have signs as well to help keep our newer visitors from getting lost!  


It’s going to be epic!  Big “D” is doing it!  Morgans have officially been added to the Big D Show in Irving Texas!  But…..they are sticking their neck out for us.  They added tons of classes and a whole extra day!  They need sponsorship money to help get it off the ground and let them know we appreciate them for gambling on us!  Please let me know what you can add to our CCR Sponsorship pot!


I was super excited to learn that I was Voted Horse World’s People’s Choice Instructor of the Year…..AGAIN!   Such a cool honor and I’m so proud of all of you who make me look so stinkin’ good!  Good thing they don’t know how spoiled I am by having such great riders….oh wait, I guess they did!  I heard a TON of our HORSES and RIDERS were also winners, but they don’t have the list out yet.  Please stand by as that info becomes available!


Please don’t make me be the cranky old lady who has to yelp at you for busting out with some NASCAR like moves and Ricky Bobby speed coming in the ranch!  Drive sloooooooow!  We have all kinds of chickens, horses, dogs, cats and other not-very-smart-critters that live here…..not to mention lots of little humans running around!   Driving fast in the short little CCR driveway is not gonna make up lost time!  If you’re running late, you are still gonna be late. Promise.


It’s that time of year!  Vaccinations and Coggins and Sheath Cleaning – ohhhh my!   It’s been busy around here, we got the sheaths knocked out and are looking towards the vet coming to pull coggins and get everyone’s spring vaccinations up to date!  Fun.  Not really.  The horses are about as excited about it as Emmy is to go to the doctor!  Dr. Crosby has also been floating teeth a few at a time and we should have them all wrapped up soon!


Ever  wonder whose grave is in the front pasture?   If you guessed Kern, you’d be wrong, he’s buried in the center of the outdoor arena where he can watch lessons!  Kern would have been scared to death to be that far away from the barn!  That grave is Poco Dodger a great cutting horse stallion who basically paid for the building of the original barn on the property for owner Bill Reynolds.  Poco Dodger was buried here many years before I bought the place, and despite all of the remodeling and work that I have done over the years, I felt it was fitting that his grave site should remain marked and be left untouched.  So it has.  When I first bought the place, I was going through a big pile of old mildewed books, moldy papers, rotten leather, expired horse medicine, etc and I found a poem written on a homemade wooden plaque.  I kept it, and it’s still in the cantina in the main barn. I know you’ll appreciate this man’s love for Poco Dodger who greatly affected his life, as Poco Dodger actually still affects all of ours:


By Mike Parker


Now ole Bill Reynolds is a cuttin’ horse man

Who hales form the sooner state.

He leaves the house at the crack of dawn

And don’t come in until late.


He rides a hoss called POCO DODGER

That can really work a cow

When it comes to turning, ducking and dodgin’

That ole pony really knows how.


He can turn around so doggone fast

It will start your eyes to blinkin’-

But every move that ole cow  makes

He knows just what she’s thinkin’.


He’ll back his ears with a glare in his eye

And get way down on the ground.

A better horse for workin’ a cow

To this day has never been found.


He was born in the year of ‘58

Along about the middle of June.

When ole Bill seen this new bay colt

He started whistling a happy tune.


A prettier baby never was born

This Bill R. knew,

He tended to him with the best of care

And my how Dodger grew.


For Thirteen years they lived together,

A pair that couldn’t be beat.

But one day in June of ‘71

Ole Dodger couldn’t get on his feet.


An ailment had happened that couldn’t be cured,

The vet said Dodger was dying.

Bill walked away with a solemn face

But down inside he was crying.


To this great pair of horse and man

That could put some good ones to shame

I make a motion for Bill and Dodger

To be put in the Hall of Fame.




Beginning March 1st 2015 (next billing period) there will be some changes to training, horse show rates (mainly Nationals) and the way we do cash discounts!  I’m hoping to make it easier to figure and balance!  With the large amount of help  (and because they all deserve to make good wages for their long hours and devotion), products and supplies, etc required to maintain our level of awesomeness at horse shows, I made the biggest adjustments to the shows.   I’m changing the cash discount, since it just got too confusing as to what was eligible and what wasn’t!  I’ve decided to just break things out into a cash prices (the green kind) vs check prices.  There is still that secret bonus lesson coupon available to super early training payers (within 3 days of the invoices arriving), and late fees for those arriving after the 1st of the month (yes, even on the 2nd of the month!).   And cash of course, will help us BOTH out….even a little bit more then before!  I’ll post both of the rates on your invoices to help until we all get into the groove! 

2015  Monthy Training Rate and Discount Changes

2015 Regular Training $950 ($900 cash)

2015  Winter Training: $850 ($800 cash)

2015  Maintance/part-time training- $750 ($700 cash)

2015 Stall Board: $425 ($400 cash)

2015 Rehab care (hand walking/wrapping/doctoring, etc): $525 ($500 cash) 

2015 Pasture Board: $300 ($275 cash)

 2015 Horse Show Rate Changes:

Nationals $75/day ($70/day cash) 

Regular show day fees $65/day ($60/day cash)


See you all soon!



Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on Feb. 5, 2015

January 28, 2015

January 28th 2015


Dear Friends and Family of Cottonwood Creek Ranch,

         It’s supposed to hit 80 degrees here today!  Why am I pecking away at my computer you ask?  Well, I’m recovering from a food poisoning extravaganza that required I cancelled yesterday’s lessons!  Although I’m carefully and gingerly moving about the house, I am planning to give lessons as usual tonight!  It’s not all bad, it’s given me a chance to catch you guys up on all of the latest CCR happenings!



Yes, it’s true!  Emmy turned 6 years old on January 18th!  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long!  She had a great Birthday Party here at CCR with Mandy and her helpers giving rides to her guests!  If you wonder why Toys-R-Us is out of My Little Ponies, and Littlest Pet Shop toys, you now know why.  They are all here.  In my living room.  Sock drawer.  Fish tank.  Shampoo bottle…..



Well, only during their lesson.  Kim Oplotnik suggested we buy a weight vest to practice in!  I ordered one last week that weighs 40 pounds!  We’ll definitely be adding it to the program to build strength, proper position, and to insure no one is leaning to the side!


Sunday Funday is done and in the books and it might have been the best boot camp yet!  It was the perfect amount of time, had a huge turnout (17 joined us for lunch at Mr. Lu’s Chinese Restaurant) and everyone learned, laughed and got a great work out!  The bareback version of Capture the Flag might have been the highlight of the whole thing, with many a story coming out of that adventure!  Long live the Blue Team!!



It ain’t what YOU’RE thinkin’!  We’re talking the Big D in Dallas!  It looks like the Big D Horse Show (formerly all Saddlebreds) will be adding Morgans this year!   The show lands on the dates that Red River used to be held, May 1-3 down in Irving, TX.  With all of the trainers who are showing interest, I think it’s going to be a BIG one!!!



MEM Star Power, “Earl” is a big gelding by Liberation First Star (so he’s a half brother to, like, almost every horse in the barn!) has arrived from Massachutes to be tried out as another one of my Saddleseat Equitation horses!  Earl narrowly beat  Snowmageddan that is suffocating his home state, and I’m sure he’s glad he missed it!


RWJ  Massimo also just arrived from Peeper Ranch!  “Gaston” is a gigantic 4 yr old English Pleasure gelding that I am starting on Saddleseat Equitation patterns!  He’s smart as can be, and I’m excited to watch him progress!  After just a week, he’s already nailing his lead changes and circles!



Scott (Marsha’s son) from Marsha De Arriga will be here Saturday 14th at 1pm (right after lessons) to get everyone ready and fitted for show season! 



Just a reminder not to use the CCR mailing list unless permission has been received by the Big Kel-huna.  Me!   No spam, just my fam!



 I got a message from Stacy Hennessey that Morgan Medallion in Santa Barbara has changed their dates, for this year at least!   It will be held July 29-August 1 to help those kids who are usually in school during the fabulous show!  They are also offering Saddlebred classes, and are hoping we’ll think about coming back!! It’s flattering, but it backs right up to Summer Daze in Fort Worth.  Let me know if any of you are interested, but I bet we’ll stick a little bit closer to home.  Although the allure of the beach, palm trees AND horses is tough to resist……


Horse Show Dates 2015:

April 10-12……Centennial in OKC, OK

May 1-3………..Big D in Irving, TX

May 7-10……….UPHA Chapter V in Kansas City

June 10-13……Gold Cup in Columbus, OH

June 25-29….Tulsa Summer Classic in Tulsa, OK

*July 2-4…….Circle J in Denver, CO

August 6-9…..Summer Daze Regional in Fort Worth, TX

Sept 2-6…….Jubilee Regional in Springfield, IL

Oct 12-17……Nationals in OKC, OK

*Note: Not many interested in Circle J this year.  We might have to drop it.  Let me know if you want to go!




I have been hearing quite a bit of talk about possibly changing the qualification requirements for the Morgan Grand National to require a horse or rider to show at a minimum of 3 shows.   I went ahead and wrote up a letter that I forwarded to the committee about my thoughts on this idea.  No worries, it wouldn’t be for 2015 but it still concerned me!  Here’s a shortened version of what I forwarded on: 

“We show a lot, and last year I brought horses to 12 horse shows.  I have some people who can barely make it to 1 or 2 shows, and others who would show at every singe show if their horses could handle it!  I continue to bring more and more horses to every show I attend, and I am attending more horse shows.  We added several shows this year that we didn’t even attend in 2013 including SASHA (20 horses), Gold Cup (12 horses), Tulsa Summer Classic (12 horses) and Jubilee (12 Horses).   Our numbers at shows from 2013 and 2014  have increased at every show including:  Red River 20 to 22 horses, Summer Daze 15 to 23 horses, Nationals 39 to 41 horses, and Centennial 25 to 29 horses as well as all of our other shows.  Forcing people to attend these shows is not how I am steering my boat, but the direction my customers have wanted to go.  I have added stalls to my barn every year and finished the year with 41 horses at Nationals.  Although I am very much for the promotion and expansion of the breed and the growth of our shows, for several key reasons, I do no think this is the best way to do it.

The cornerstone of my concerns rests on my high school level of Economic education and reflects basic supply and demand.  If we can’t get enough horses to our horse shows, don’t make it harder to get to horse shows.

I worry about our sweet Junior Horses.  The Junior Horses aren’t usually even ready to hit the show arena until late summer.  I don’t think it’s fair to push these little guys, to take them to shows before they are ready, just to qualify them for Nationals.  These are our future amateur and kid horses and we need to ensure they have a proper start and foundation so they can enjoy a long, happy and healthy show career.

The Arabians tried this tactic many years ago, and it also didn’t work for them.  They switched their qualifying system back.  I don’t know the details, but Stan Morey can fill in the blanks and I think he’d be worth talking with before any decisions are made.

 I worry that we’ll be breaking the little guy’s bank.  Many people who show with me, do so on a shoe string budget.  They figure out where and when they can spare work days to show, how much overtime it will take to pay for it and try to go to the best shows possible to qualify for Nationals and keep them within budget.   Their kids, horses and themselves are often times crowned World Champions and they deserve to be at Nationals.  If you force them to show at 3 shows to qualify I worry they will just quit going to Nationals, or with no golden egg to look forward to they will quit trying to compete with the wealthier people all together.  Some of my people enjoy two horses, but alternate shows with them so they can afford it.   Forcing them to show at 3 shows with each horse will just cause them to sell one which isn’t going to help the shows, nationals or the breed at all.

Along with hurting the little guy, I worry this rule will squeeze out the more affluent people.  We need these people as well, but these types of people have other interests.  They travel and may even compete in other sports, are involved with large community functions, or their businesses keep them away for long periods of time.  They have limited open weekends that they can attend shows because they have so many other things going on in their lives.  Although I’d like to think they’d choose showing Morgans over a trip on a Yacht to Portugal, the Westminster Dog Show, or a golf tournament with the President, I am not so naïve to think that they might not  pick our wonderful little breed.

 I have gained a little bit of perspective on our special breed and the concerns of it’s future over the years. I enjoy aviation and scuba diving, and I have a habit of paying attention to those businesses as well.  In reality, our equine industry is not much different.  We are luxury industries.  They rely on bringing in new people and teaching them to enjoy our products like we do.  I’ve noticed a common theme, and these industries have been talking about the same things we are talking about.   I feel like this is less of a horse issue and more of a reflection of the economics of the United States.  The scuba diving companies are talking about there being less people learning to dive, and taking dive vacations.  The AOPA just published an article in their aviation magazine talking about the diminishing numbers of people applying for their Pilot’s Licenses.  Just like us, they were wondering why and how to fix it.  I have found that the Equine industry lags behind the regular economy.  When the market crashed, it took a bit before our horse industry also saw the decline.  As the economy has started to recover, I anticipate the same delay will occur as our breed rebounds.  It’s not just the equine industry.  All luxury hobbies and businesses have seen the same things we have. 

That being said, I do not think we should sit on our laurels and hope our ship comes in.  I do believe we need to row out and meet it! Our breed can recover faster, and grow to bigger and better proportions but I don’t think making it harder for people to get to Nationals is the way to do it.  I have built my business on the principles of baby steps and despite the lagging economy my business has grown consistently every year.  I have had to add more stalls, hire more people, have more horses and am giving more riding lessons to new people with every passing month.    Requiring my people to go to horse shows was not responsible for this upswing in my business. 

The way I have gathered so many new Morgan owners is through a no pressure approach that allows people to take baby steps into horse ownership.  Or not.  It’s entirely up to them.  I offer lessons, and as they enjoy it, THEY start asking questions about the show horses and show program.  I have horses to lease, and they can get their feet wet without the big scary financial investment of initially purchasing one.  They usually then realize that if they buy their own, we can hand pick a more competitive horse or one that is more custom fitted to their own idiosyncrasies.  We start horse shows the same way, no pressure, just start with one show and if they want to do more (they always do!) we go from there.  I feel like this trail of bread crumbs that they follow has worked incredibly well, and forcing people to attend 3 shows a year (plus Nationals) is exactly the opposite, it’s like trying to force them into it.   They are going to spit the bit and run backwards!  People show horses because they want to, and because they love it.

Although I am against this change, I hope this brings to light some additional ideas and concerns that can be addressed during the discussion of this matter. 

Thank you for your time, and all of your hard work in trying to better our shows and our breed!  I appreciate you and I know we all want the same thing!”


Andy Illes will be here to do photos Saturday August 15th!  And yes, Andy is a girl!   Laurie Revard was at the helm to set up this awesome opportunity!  She is a master at horse photos and takes many of the great photographs used in the Magazines as well as the coffee table book in the cantina catching those great expressions! She would be a killer photographer for your senior pictures!


But she will whip you into shape!  The very esteemed Cindy Mugnier will be here at Cottonwood Creek July 8-10th to do a clinic.  She’s a judge, trainer, clinician, has served as President of AMHA and was just named AMHA’s Woman of the Year!   Please RSVP with me if you are intereste!



February 26-28th…….AMHA Convention!


See everyone soon!
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Categories: Horse shows | Comments Off on January 28, 2015