October 2017 Issue - page 10

Page 10
October 2017
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
By Alicia Stephens-Martin
Cowgirls and cowboys, it is
time to brush the cobwebs from
your saddle. A new association
called East Coast Ranch Riding
Association (ECRRA) is just
what the horse and rider needs.
The equine industry has been
changing and over the past de-
cade has disappointed the average
western rider who just wants to
ride and show in an affordable
atmosphere with natural moving
horses. Time for a new ride in
town! Welcome to ECRRA.
Peg Helder on Ima Rock Solid Hobby competes in a Ranch Riding class.
Photo Credit: Kelsey Brindle and Teah Glunt/Beat of my Heart Photography
ECRRA: New Organization Gets Western Riders Back in the Show Ring
Most western equestrians
have heard by now about Ranch
Riding, which is taking the horse
industry by storm. The disci-
pline is now sanctioned by many
horse associations across the
country and is creating a rodeo
of chatter. Organizations like
the AQHA are discovering these
classes generate new members
and income in an industry that
has been declining.
But the real proof is in
ECRRA, the brainchild of Terry
Helder. A dedicated and nat-
ural born horseman with over
forty years in breeding, training,
showing, judging, teaching as
a clinician, and fitting horse to
client, Terry and his wife Peg
own Evergreen Farm in Wrights-
ville, PA, one of the east coast’s
largest breeding and training
operations. Terry saw a void and
out of his vision ECRRA was
born.
Recently, Terry had been
concerned by the expense and
decline of the industry he loves.
Western riders have become dis-
couraged. “The discipline has lost
versatility that enables the rider to
show one horse all day,” he said.
At the Mustang Make-
over, which he has judged for
several years, he realized that
Ranch Riding just might be the
answer. After connecting with
legend Dr. Doug Householder
and AQHA Hall of Famer B.F.
Yeates, Terry was impressed
by the concept of SHOT, The
Stock Horse of Texas Associa-
tion. They too had been disen-
chanted, and now promote “an
environment that is friendly,
affordable, and designed to fit
all levels.” Terry was driven to
create an atmosphere for the
natural moving horse. He was
sure the East Coast could ben-
efit by following this success-
ful association. ECRRA was
formed.
Terry knew he and Peg could
not do it alone, so they reached
out to Chad Mosier and his wife
Gina, a trainer from Dillsburg,
PA. He is young, energetic, and
they could handle all the tech-
nical needs. Terry’s vision is
simple: “Put more people back
to showing horses for fun. Make
it affordable and easy.” His main
concern: “Keep it real and keep
the Western image alive. Keep
the horse moving forward.”
Showing is judged on the
horse and rider combination. This
keeps the trainer competing on
his own horse. Not everyone can
afford trainers and the association
is set up for both the point chaser
and those just desiring a fun day.
A trainer can still assist but the
rider rides.
I had the pleasure to attend
the ECRRA show in Denver, PA,
only the second in the season.
There was plenty of excitement
in the air from riders, trainers,
and judges. Flooded with new
members, the show pulled in
event attendees with both simple
and elaborate rigs. The first class,
Ranch Horse in Hand, had a total
of 25 entries, and the full event
lasted well into early evening
with over 200 runs.
Why such a success? Com-
petitors agreed, the concept is
natural, affordable, and fun. Hel-
en Gildein, an exhibitor, breeder
and judge, said “ECRRA is a
great association which promotes
the Ranch Horse for all levels
of horse and rider in a friendly
atmosphere.”
(Continued on page 12)
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