American Bridle Idol
Does your horse do tricks? Are you the best barrel racer for miles? Can you ride a brilliant musical freestyle?

This is Texas! There must be more horse and rider talent per square inch here than in any other place in the universe. Could your horse become the first American Bridle Idol? Well, here’s your chance to find out.

Gene Molina is a native of San Antonio who trained horses for the movies in Hollywood for 40 years. He worked with the best, from Roy Rogers and Trigger to Zorro’s flashy mount, and he appeared in many films and commercials that required sophisticated riding or tricks. It was during this time that Gene developed his own method of starting young horses, the method now exclusively in use at Rancho de los Encinos (formerly known as Honey Branch Farm).



Glen Gamble also worked in the movies for many years, both with horses and as an actor, often a swaggering gunslinger in films and television. Like Gene, Glen rode in films that required skilled horsemanship.

Early one morning over coffee at the ranch, Gene (Ranch Consultant) and Glen (Ranch Manager) were talking about their work in the movies when they came to the realization that there is no one place a production company can call to find a particular kind of horse and rider combination, and the idea for a talent search was born. Gene and Glen presented their thoughts to ranch owner Sarah Swenson and her sister Maura (Ranch Horticulturist), and the plan was quickly expanded to include a competition that would become an annual event. 

El Rancho de los Encinos is now happy to announce a horsemanship talent search open to everyone who has a horse with a special talent. They are looking for horse and rider combinations from every discipline, both western and English, and from every age group, children through great-grandparents.  Open auditions will produce a group of finalists who will then participate in a juried Exhibition Competition held in the arena at the Ranch during its Grand Opening celebrations in November, which will be open to the public. The top finishers in the Competition will receive cash and other prizes, and will then have the opportunity to participate as paid performers in subsequent shows held at the Ranch. The Ranch will also be happy to serve as a resource agency for the winners of the annual competitions, so those production companies will be able to find you when they need talented riders for their projects.

So far the Ranch has had great response to the flyers announcing the competition, and they’d like to make sure all readers of the Horse Gazette have the opportunity to join in the fun. 

If you and your horse can do something that sets you apart from the crowd, call the office at 830-709-5725 to set up an appointment for an audition. El Rancho de los Encinos is located 20 minutes southwest of San Antonio, off IH-35 at 2929 FM 2790 between Lytle and Somerset. All you need is a spirit of adventure, a special relationship with your horse, and a negative Coggins. There is no entry fee. Who knows? The winner of the Rancho de los Encinos First Annual Exhibition Competition, and first American Bridle Idol, could be your horse! And even if you decide not to participate as a contestant, be sure to mark your calendar for the weekend before Thanksgiving, and take your family and friends to watch the show. Details will be available in the Horse Gazette in the Fall.



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