Hunter Riders: Team Up for Fun Championships

USHJA Zone 7 & 8 Hunter Championships, presented by SmartPak

Summer in the Rockies IV – June 27-July 1, 2018 at The Colorado Horse Park, Parker, Co.

Qualifying period:
July 24, 2017-April 28, 2018
The Ch/AA Hunter Championships give Children’s and Adult Hunter riders a fun opportunity to compete on a team and individually!

Become a More Well-Rounded Athlete

It’s time to apply for a 2018 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Regional Training Session!
Sessions feature intensive mounted and unmounted instruction from top clinicians in the sport and are open to riders 25 and under who apply and meet the requirements.
In Zone 8:
July 31-Aug. 4 at The Colorado Horse Park with Julie Winkel and Nanci Snyder. 
Apply by May 14
Click here to view the full calendar of sessions. Click here to apply.

USHJA Zone 7 & 8 Team Jumper Championships

Summer in the Rockies IV
June 27-July 1
Parker, Colorado
Qualifying period:
July 16, 2017-May 14, 2018
The Zone Jumper Team Championships are an entry point to the Show Jumping Athlete Pathway. Individual medalists are invited to a USHJA Gold Star Clinic.
Upcoming Clinics in Zone 8

Zone 8/Arizona Hunter Jumper Association Member Clinic with Bernie Traurig

February 3-4
Tucson, Ariz.
April 6-8
Smoke Tree Ranch
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Our Very Own Kristina Matthews to Receive Sportswomen of Colorado Award

It was announced this past week that our very own, Kristina Matthews, has been selected to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award in Equestrian Sports from the Sportswomen of Colorado. This award is coming off the heels of her Zone 8 Championship and CHJA Adult Jumper of the Year Award.  To view our highlight reel of Kristina click here.

Founded in 1974 by the YWCA of the Metropolitan Denver, in cooperation with Gart Brothers Sporting Good Co., Sportswomen of Colorado is recognized as the first community-based organization in the nation to solely honor female athletes, celebrate their achievements and recognize those whose efforts have advanced and women’s individual and team sports endeavors.


Summer in the Rockies 2017 – The Colorado Horse Park


The Sportswomen of Colorado will honor Colorado’s top female athletes and contributors to women’s athletics at its 44th Annual Awards Celebration, Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the Denver Marriot Tech Center. For tickets and to view the event details please visit Sportswomen of Colorado.


Kristina & Neolisto van het Mierenhof


Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners, who will be honored at the Celebration!


Photos courtesy of Mackenzie Shuman at Quintessence Photography.

Whether you’re getting ready to get back in the saddle this year, or want to be ready for your upcoming shows, these seven ways to get fit can help you to become a more effective horseback rider.

There’s no denying the fact that equestrians are athletes. As athletes, we need to get as physically fit as possible. When riders are physically fit, they are better able to control their bodies and communicate with their horses. Riders also stand a better chance at staying on the horse during a buck or spook, thanks to their muscle strength. Finally, physically fit riders can be more effective than unfit riders.

With so many benefits to being a physically fit rider, what are you waiting for? Consider these seven ways to get fit for horseback riding.


Go Running

Running can be a great activity for horseback riders. Running strengthens your leg muscles, and by concentrating on your posture while you run, you can also use the time to train yourself to sit up straight and keep your shoulders back.

As a bonus, running is a cardio activity, which can improve your breath control.



Go Swimming

Swimming is a relatively low-impact activity that provides an excellent workout. Swimming is ideal when you have an injury that won’t hold up to higher-impact activities, like running.

Swimming, even just for a short time each day, can build up your strength and endurance without taking a toll on your body.



Take a Bike Ride

Consider heading out on a bike ride as another way to get physically fit. Bike riding can help to develop your leg strength, especially if you find some hills to ride up.

Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!




If you have mountains or great hiking trails nearby, grab a friend and head out for a hike. Hiking develops your muscle strength and can help to improve your balance as you work your way over different terrain.

Make sure to bring along water and snacks, and wear appropriate shoes.




Don’t forget to include a good amount of stretching with your exercise regimen. Always stretch before and after exercising to reduce your chance of injury and to keep your muscles limber.

Remember to stretch before and after you ride, too – stretching before a ride can make a big difference in your comfort and effectiveness during the ride.

Be sure not to forget the equestrian’s favorite stretch – stand on stairs, drop your heels down, and let your weight drop down into the heels. Do this stretch religiously and you’ll be better able to drop your heels down in the saddle.



Do Specific Exercises

Don’t forget to include some specific exercises meant to target the muscles that you use most as an equestrian. You’re sure to benefit from exercises that target your core, such as planking. You can also use balancing exercises to improve your balance.

Even the simple act of lifting hay bales or water buckets can help to build your strength.




You’ll love this tip – ride. As you’re trying to improve your fitness, focus on also riding more often to become a stronger rider. Make a riding schedule and stick to it. Too much for one horse? See if there’s another horse in your barn that would benefit from some exercise and offer to ride him as well.

The more that you can do to get yourself physically fit, the better a rider you’re likely to become. Plus, you’ll feel good about yourself and parts of riding (such as keeping your leg secure or getting into two-point) will become easier.


Myst D’ Avalon
7 yr old 16.3 Black Oldenburg Mare

“Olive” competed with a junior in the 2’6-2’9″ hunters and equitation this past year. Schooling 3’+ at home. Good mover, beautiful jump, flashy markings, and a GREAT brain!
Great opportunity for someone to pick up a 3’6″ Hunter/Derby/Eq horse for a reasonable price! Fancy enough for a professional, safe and forgiving enough for juniors and amateurs!

Olive has a lifetime USEF and  USDF membership and was a premium filly at her Oldenburg inspection.

Susan Winston (719) 650 2871 or Lorelei Cudney (719) 337 7619

Spur Tech Spur Straps

By HH Contributor Kristina McCombie

Back in December, I was notified of a new product that had just hit the market that guaranteed to change the way I thought about spurs and spur straps. Intrigued, I reached out to the company and was pleasantly greeted by the company’s founder, Jill Howser from Arizona. Fast forward about a month, and I’m overjoyed to present Howser’s Spur Tech Spur Straps to The Hacked Horse and its followers.

Jill Howser

For the past 30 years of my riding career spur straps have been virtually the same… leather strips with plain or fancy buckles, or webbed black material. Those were your only choices – and it didn’t matter if they didn’t fit on your spurs, or didn’t have a hole that fit on your boot. In my experience, I remember taking off the fancy tips of the embellished straps to make them fit in the side holes, only to then find out that one spur fit and the other did not. I never considered there would be other options until I discovered Spur Tech Spur Straps, an American-made product from our friends in Arizona.

These innovative spur straps promise “an immaculate connection between boot, spur, and horse.” They come in two formats – The Show and The Farm, and look to tackle many of the problems modern riders have with spurs – including shifting and slipping spurs, mismatched lengths, inability to adjust and bulky connections between the rider & horse.

When first removed from the packaging, these spur straps appear to be basic velcro strips, but they are so much more. The straps, made from high-quality hook and loop material easily fit in any hole on any size spur (and I tried them on four pairs) and are easy to adjust and use. The Farm boasts a tasteful grosgrain strap, while The Show feature a more refined leather strap. Once adjusted (simply done with scissors and a great how-to video) these straps are truly changing the spur game for the better.

I used these straps the whole weekend I showed at The National Western Stock Show and was very pleased with their ease of use, strong connection between my leg and my horse and the ability to adjust height between horses. They were super convenient to remove, and would be great for riders who can’t jog in their spurs (am I the only one who trips?!) At a price point of $22-$25, these are definitely worth a shot.

I reached out to founder Jill Howser to find out more about her background and what makes Spur Tech a true product of the future.

HH: What was the inspiration behind creation of the products?

JH: I am an amateur hunter/jumper owner and rider. Based on my own desire for better connection with the horse when using spurs, I felt there was room for improvement. Ultimately, I decided to create a new product that offered an attractive, comfortable, durable option that stabilizes the spur location for best contact between boot, spur, and horse. Something I call immaculate connection! They are quick to put on and to adjust and the fit is unmatched.

HH: What are the straps made of?

JH: The straps are made of the highest quality and extremely durable loop and hook material. They fasten with Velcro™ in lieu of a buckle system. They do not fray, stretch or dry out and have a show ring ready appearance.

HH: Where are they manufactured?

JH: Arizona – USA

HH: How are these spur straps going to change the future of the sport?

JH: In a precision sport where second chances are not an option, the importance of a reliable spur system for specific contact is imperative.

HH: Who can we see using these already?

JH: Professional riders; Ariel Black, Janine Weatherby, Ashley Stannard, Allison Kroff, Henk Fredricks, Anne Bakker and many more on the way. Many of the highest profile riders and programs have expressed great interest and are starting to order them.

HH: The company has some great values and prides itself on giving back. Is that correct?

JH: First, the goal in creating this product was to assist all levels of riders by improving their aids to the horse and to do so at an accessible price point.

HH: Where do you see this vision moving forward?

JH: We are involved in providing product as class awards, championship awards and for Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) programs. Moving forward, the goal for these products is to better prepare every rider, to improve their rides and to help achieve their goals.


Author’s Note: We have TWO PAIRS of The Show Spur Tech Spur Straps to give away to our lucky fans. Stay tuned for our contest, but in the meantime, be sure to find Spur Tech on Facebook and Instagram!




HH Ambassador

Maggie Klau – Niwot, CO

Maggie is a 17-year-old junior at Dawson School in Lafayette. She started riding on the East coast when she was 4, and she now rides with Jen Shannon at Cornerstone Farm. Maggie participates in IEA as well as competing with her horse, Brent, on the USEF and CHJA Circuits. She’s currently showing in the Children’s Hunters and the 15-17 Equitation and hopes to participate in more medals and derbies this season. Last season she qualified for the CHJA Medal Finals, and was able to work with amazing clinicians like Bernie Traurig and Julie Winkel. She enjoys helping her trainer and her team during long show days, hanging out with her friends around the barn, learning from as many people as she can, and working on the mental side of riding. She looks forward to this coming season and working with the amazing HH team.