Compete to Ride with a Pro in the Finals!!

November 18, 2010
Bob Jeffries coaches a rider
Bob Jeffries coaches a rider in his "Three Minute Miracle"
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Photo Credits: Geert Teuwen

America’s Wind Rider Challenge will blow into the Northwest, March 18 through 20, 2011, at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon. The Wind Rider Challenge is a featured presentation of the 2011 Northwest Horse Fair & Expo, presented by Bison Coach. According to John Cloe, Event Manager for the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo, “America’s Wind Rider Challenge is an amazing all-breed, cross-disciplinary competition, presented by Bob Jeffries and Suzanne Sheppard from Middletown, New York. We’re thrilled to introduce this exciting competition for the first time ever in the Northwest!” Mr. Cloe continued, “Wind Rider Challenge is open to riders from all riding disciplines including Western, Trail, Dressage, Hunter/Jumpers, Gaited Horses, Natural Horsemen and more!”

Suzanne Shepard, Co-Founder of America’s Wind Rider Challenge explained more about the event. “We want to put the fun back in competition, so we’ve designed an event that’s as stress-free as possible, and fun for horse, rider and audience! We challenge riders of all disciplines to sign up for our Wind Rider Challenge coming in March to the Northwest Horse Fair! If you’ve worked long and hard to build a strong relationship with your horse, we want to showcase your skills! This event is designed for riders from all walks of horsemanship, for horses of any breed, and is open to riders 12 years of age and older. Unlike other competitions at Expos, we don’t include obstacles that are intentionally scary. No matter what your saddle preference or style of riding, come and show off what you and your horse can do! You could be our next Wind Rider Champion!!”
The event attracts horses from a full range of breeds and uses, from flashy Friesians to fuzzy Fjords, elegant Arabians to athletic Appaloosas, crafty Cow Ponies to dancing Dressage horses. In each preliminary round, horse/rider teams face a timed course of obstacles and riding challenges, which could include jumps, ring jousting, dressage, reining, trail class, barrel racing, ranch versatility and more. As the competition gets underway, excitement builds, as Western horses try Dressage, Jumpers attempt Reining, and Dressage horses are asked to work barrels! “Don’t miss the fun, humor and entertainment in this cross-disciplinary horsemanship challenge!” exclaimed Ms. Sheppard.

Following the first round scored by judges, riders select one element of the course to work with Bob Jeffries, as he coaches them in his “3 Minute Miracle”. Bob creates such dramatic improvements in the horse in just 3 short minutes, that even the most novice horse people in the audience can see the difference! While Bob coaches the riders, Suzanne delivers a colorful “play by play” of the action for the audience’s enjoyment.

Three expert judges evaluate each team’s performance using 4 criteria: Accuracy on the course; Horsemanship of the riders; Equitation or how well the contestants ride and control their horses; and the Attitude of the horses as they negotiate the course.
“The 3 riders with the top scores from the preliminary rounds, plus a Wild Card Rider, will be selected for the Finals, to ride a new, more advanced course and a chance to win cash and prizes!” said Ms. Shepard. “And for the grand finale, finalists have the opportunity of a lifetime: to pair up with a Northwest Horse Fair Clinician or local equine professional to present a Musical Pairs Freestyle! Our judges will be looking for the “Wow Factor” – costumes, color, fun – the sky is the limit! This is your chance to show your creativity with a top notch pro rider, and blow the competition away!”

Bob Jeffries & Suzanne Sheppard’s Wind Rider Challenge premiered in Ocala, Florida in November 2007 and has been thrilling audiences across North America ever since. Northwest area riders are invited to enter this exciting horsemanship competition open to riders and horses of all riding disciplines. For an application to participate in America’s Wind Rider Challenge at the Northwest Horse Fair, visit the website at or contact the Northwest Horse Fair office.

For more information on the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo, go to or email or call 765-655-2107.

Sponsors for the 2011 Northwest Horse Fair & Expo include: Bison Coach, the presenting sponsor; Andis; Beelart Embroidery; Coastal Farm and Ranch; Northwest Rider, the official publication for the Northwest Fair and Expo; and Purina Mills, LLC.