Cleveland Weisgerber | 9/6/2006 1:24:38 AM
News Release Distributed 09/01/06
A statewide stock horse association that was formed in June already has a season of shows and a clinic under way. Competitions began in mid-August and run to mid-November.
With the LSU AgCenter acting as the catalyst, Louisianans interested in ranch horse competition got together and formed the Louisiana Stock Horse Association this summer.
The LaSH Association’s president is Kent LeDoux, a ranch manager in Vinton, La., and also a finalist in the 2006 LSU AgCenter Farmer of the Year recognition program held earlier this year. LeDoux says the stock horse association was developed to create opportunities for good all-around ranch horses that can work cattle, ride the trail or pleasure ride. Competition is designed to test the horse’s and rider’s skills under ranching conditions.
Competition includes three classes: (1) a ranch cutting class to demonstrate the horse’s ability to handle cattle – the rider has 1½ minutes to cut one cow from the herd; (2) the ranch versatility class to demonstrate the handling ability of the horse and the ability of the rider to drive and turn cattle – the rider must exhibit the horse in both a reining pattern and working cow horse pattern in 6 minutes; and (3) the trail class to demonstrate the horse’s ability to handle various obstacles encountered on a trail – the horse maneuvers around typical obstacles.
A person may enter one or all classes. Divisions have been established for participants of all ages and experiences levels – youth, novice and open.
The current season consists of four co-approved shows with the North Louisiana Ranch Horse Association and a clinic. The first show was held in Ruston, La., Aug. 13 with 27 riders. Upcoming events are shows on Sept. 10 and Oct. 15 in Ruston, a stock horse clinic Oct. 28 in Sulphur, La., a show Oct. 29 in Sulphur and a show Nov. 12 in Ruston.
Plans for 2007 include 10 competitions, with four in Ruston, three in Alexandria, La., and three in places to be named.
Some 27 riders competed in the first show Aug. 13. LSU AgCenter county agents Cleve Weisgerber of Vernon Parish and Eddie White of Jackson Parish said participants were excited about the excellent turnout. Both agents said they would encourage other horsemen and women across the state to get involved in this fast-growing segment of the horse industry.
LSU AgCenter state horse specialist Dr. Clint Depew said, "These competitions are an excellent opportunity for horse owners with ranch horses to ride and compete in a statewide organization. They also provide economic development for both the hosting community and the state from those people involved in the horse industry."
White added that LaSH is an example of how the LSU AgCenter helps its clientele by bringing people together locally and across the state to work on issues of similar interests.
Momentum for the organization began last April when ranchers Peggy Walker and Rachel Lower of Welsh, La., approached Weisgerber with the idea of helping establish a ranch horse competition in Louisiana, similar to that of the Stock Horse of Texas Association. The Texas association has been active in Texas for a number of years and has grown in membership each year, drawing several members from Louisiana.
Weisgerber told the ranchers the LSU AgCenter’s role wouldn’t be to create and run a new organization but could help pull interested parties together.
With the Depew’s assistance, a meeting was set up to determine the interest level. When Weisgerber contacted his counterpart White to attend, White told him a somewhat similar organization was already holding competitions in North Louisiana and suggested inviting them as well. That group was the North Louisiana Ranch Horse Association.
At the initial meeting, approximately 20 interested equine owners listened as the North Louisiana association president Ben Lolley explained how his association operated. At two subsequent meetings to set up a board of directors, elect officers and discuss some minor changes from the North Louisiana association’s show order, the Louisiana Stock Horse Association was formed.
For more information about LaSH membership or competitions, contact Kent LeDoux, president, or Judy Weisgerber, secretary, at (337) 238-0193.