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Portuguese Bend National Horse Show

Alexandra Farfaras, Staff Writer

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The Portuguese Bend National Horse Show, held annually at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates, California, has been providing family fun time and friendly competition for 59 years since 1957. The show is a benefit for the Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles (CHLA) and  “Taking the Reins of Hope,” was this year’s show theme. It honored the entire staff of CHLA who give hope to children and their families every day. The 2016 featured child was Jackson Renzi, who without any warning, was born blue and motionless. He was immedately incubated and placed on a ventilator. He spent the first 5 months of his life at CHLA, where he received incredible care.  His family was prepared to transition him from a hospital to their home to take care of him. Although doctors still do not know the underlying reason for Jackson’s medical condition, he continues to make big strides at home. He turned 2 years old this summer and although he continues to work with many doctors, Jackson has no deficiencies and wants to do same things as other 2 year olds. He is a little medical mystery but thanks to CHLA, there seem to be no limits to what Jackson can accomplish in life. And Jackson is just one of many kids that depend on CHLA every day. No wonder the Parlos Verdes community is so dedicated to rasing funds for CHLA! Personally, I was proud to be a part of it this year.

This show has a 59 year old history and every year it attracts many families that come to the park and watch riders compete in jumpers, hunters, and equitation rings. The show is a local tradition for both the town and its families. As soon as you arrive, you cannot help but notice that this is not your typical horse show.  No matter where you go, you feel surrounded by volunteers wearing white and blue checker outfits and a big smile just waiting to help you.  There are multiple generations of volunteers working together to provide unique experiences to competitors and spectators alike. From directing traffic and driving busses, to organizing and running food-booths as well as fun activities for kids including a petting zoo.

The Portuguese Bend National Horse Show has been the home of the PCHA 14 and Under Horsemanship Final (Tuffli Family Foundation, 2016 sponsor) for 29 years and the PCHA Victor Hugo-Vidal Adult Horsemanship Final (Pat and Rich Lucy, 2016 sponsor) for five years. Participants are honored at the show and enjoy fantastic gifts and awards.

Jumpers can compete in the $2,500 Children’s-Adult/Amateur Jumper Classic, the $15,000 Seahorse Open Jumper Classic as well as the $10,000 Barby Hartwig Hereford Junior-Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic. For the hunters, the show offers the $500 Windsor Stables Children’s/Adult Amateur Hunter Classic in addition to the popular $2,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter Classic. And have I mentioned the lead line class for the youngest ones?  After all, that’s where it all begins!

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