Bonsall riders form new Gymkhana Club

Fallbrook rider Alana Jordan and mount Ghost Ryder round their final pole in Mudslingers “quadrangle” event. Christine Benton photos

BONSALL – A group of local riders have formed a new non-profit gymkhana club in Bonsall. As District #22 of the California Gymkhana Association (CGA), the new club, known as CGA Mudslingers, recently kicked off its 2017-2018 season.

Gymkhana, or games on horseback, is an action-packed precision sport that requires speed, dexterity and excellent communication between horse and rider. Events include a series of 13 games or “patterns,” with riders grouped in divisions according to their ability.

Gymkhana has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and the sport has become practiced widely enough in the Bonsall/Fallbrook area to constitute a new district of the California Gymkhana Association.

The CGA Mudslingers currently have 27 members. Ages range from five to mid-40s, though it’s not unusual for older riders to join, and they have their own divisions and time brackets.

Prizes for individual shows range from horse tack (such as bridles, halters and engraved stirrups) to performance accessories (such as bell boots and splint boots). Year-end prizes for club members will include saddles for first place at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Special two-day shows, held twice a year, offer belt buckles for division winners in addition to other prizes.

The club took its name “Mudslingers” from two sources. The first refers to a gymkhana Hall of Fame event, when a gymkhana rider achieves extremely fast times three times in 12 out of the 13 gymkhana patterns. The customary celebration is to have friends and family throw mud at them when they are inducted into the Hall of Fame. The second refers to the dirt or mud that flings up when a rider makes a great turn around a barrel or a pole in the course of an event.

“We’re excited to be starting a new gymkhana district right here in Bonsall versus traveling for our shows,” said Sara Krause-Whyte, vice president of Mudslingers and owner of Bonsall-based Sundance Hills Equestrian Center. “We have a lot of great riders, from ages 5 on up, who continue to grow in their confidence, skill and horsemanship, and we’re looking forward to meeting new riders in what promises to be a fun and exciting year.”

Riders do not need to own their own horse; many of the club members lease their horses from various owners for the season. This helps owners offset the cost of ownership and gives the riders a mount and the horses a job.

Riders of all ages and abilities are welcome to join the fun. Events are held monthly at Stenerson Ranch in Bonsall The next show is Saturday, Dec. 9. The ranch is located at 7910 Camino Del Rey. A full schedule can be found at

All are welcome to participate or come to watch. There is no admission charge for spectators.

Anyone interested in joining the Mudslingers can contact Krause-Whyte at [email protected] or (619) 843-3243.

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