Guy Ellis

Equestrian students of the Royal Horse Ranch on Monkey Island were honored at the Hunter Jumpers Exhibitors of Oklahoma (HJEO) awards banquet in late February. The ceremony was held at the Bridal Creek Resort and Lodge in Sperry. Approximately 150 people were in attendance at the awards dinner.

Nancy Saamer, owner of the Royal Horse Ranch, sits as Vice President of the HJEO and organized the event with the aid of her students. Five of Saamer’s students were in attendance at the show and were recognized for their achievements throughout the past season.

Erin Swartz, aboard her horse Peppy La Pue, finished the season as Reserve Champion in the Level 1 Jumpers class. Swartz placed third in season points in the Very Low Hunters class aboard She Won First. Also aboard She Won First Swartz took third place in the seasonal rankings for the Modified Children’s/Adult Hunter class. Swartz placed seventh in the end of year standings for the Modified Equitation division.

Swartz is a 13 year old student at the Grove Middle School. She is the daughter of Dr. John and Carmel Swartz of Grove.

Fourteen year old Hannah Benjamin of Claremore placed eighth in the seasonal standings for the Intermediate Hunter class. Benjamin rode Miss Daisy Mae. Benjamin placed eighth in the Very Low Hunters category, again aboard Miss Daisy Mae.

Eight year old Taylor Seaton of Vinita placed sixth aboard Pied Piper in the Short Stirrup Hunter class for the season. Seaton also placed in the Short Stirrup Equation division with a sixth place mark for the year.

Heaven Ragsdale, a junior at Grove High School, placed fifth in the Level 1 Jumpers class aboard Sky’s The Limit.

Fourteen year old Paize Blaylock of Fairland finished eighth in the Very Low Hunters division aboard Jumpin’ Jazz. Blaylock is the daughter of Jim and Diana Blaylock.

Royal Horse Ranch student Britt McCullough of Tulsa also attended the banquet after a season of competition.

Riders who finished the season in the top eight placing of their division received ribbons or were “pinned” as it is called. Champions and Reserve Champions were also awarded embroidered saddle blankets and cooler blankets for their horse. A cooler blanket is used to absorb moisture from the animal after a workout session.

While Saamer and her students took the evening to reflect and celebrate on a season of hard work and achievement they could not afford to be idle for too long. Already the training and exercising for the new equestrian season has begun. Aside from the regular shows throughout Oklahoma that the school attends the stop on the circuit that is being looked forward to the most is the Royal Horse Ranch Spring Fling at the Flying Cow Arena.

The Spring Fling is being organized by Saamer and her students and will be a fully sanctioned stop on the HJEO tour. The event is believed to be the first of its kind for the Grand Lake area.

The Spring Fling will be held April 12th and 13th. The course design is being developed by Robin Brightwell of Kansas City. Brightwell will also serve as the judge for the competition. Brightwell is a fully-accredited judge with many years of experience.

Fifteen different divisions will be competing at the Spring Fling with participants ranging in age from six years old to adults. Riders need not be members of the HJEO to participate but only HJEO riders will earn points for season standings.

“It is a really nice facility,” Saamer said of the Flying Cow Arena. “There will be a full concession and we look forward to having the public come out and see our students and the other competitors. This will be the first show where we will be able to have all of our students compete together.”

It is expected that at least 16 students from the Royal Horse Ranch will compete at the event.

For more information about the Spring Fling or the Royal Horse Ranch contact Saamer by telephone at 257-4195.