Sisters Lisa Hopper

Sisters Lisa Hopper

KAREN GRIFFITHS HORSEPLAY COLUMN: Sisters bring back load of wins from Oklahoma

A LIFETIME LABOR of love, hard work and discipline paid off in a big way for siblings Tina Johnson and Lisa Hopper when they drove to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in June’s Pinto World Championship Show.

Between the two, they came home with a cartload of top 10 wins, including seven World Champion and World Reserve Championship titles.

“We’ve wanted to do this forever,” explained Lisa. “Two years ago, we discovered attending was high on both our bucket lists, so we started saving and planning to make it happen.”

The show, June 11-23, had more than 7,500 entries for the 573 classes from Western Pleasure to dressage to barrel racing and driving. Participants came from all over the United States, Canada and the Netherlands.

Their first night, they stayed in Nampa, Idaho, where the temperature was 36 degrees with 30 mph winds. The next night, it was 105 degrees in Tulsa.

On the drive home, Lisa said she almost had a heart attack when she came out of a store during a water and feed stop to find Fernando standing untied outside the trailer and staring wide-eyed at the cars whizzing past.

Tina, a registered nurse at Olympic Medical Center, took her gelding Flashin My Style aka “Pockets,” 7, a breeding stock pinto.

Their wins include: Amateur Trail — World Champion; Amateur Western Discipline Rail — World Champion; English Showmanship — Reserve World Champion; Western Showmanship — Reserve World Champion; Amateur Western Pleasure — Reserve World Champion.

Tina also won Overall Hi-Point Amateur Breeding Stock and overall Hi Point Amateur Western Horse for the entire show.

She said her greatest triumph was winning Reserve World Champion in Open Discipline Rail Western.

“We were competing in front of four judges, so every move scrutinized from all angles,” said Tina. “We had to go through every discipline in the book — flying lead changes, extend the gait — you name it.

“It was difficult, but Pockets just gave me an awesome ride.”

Lisa, Sequim’s code enforcement and animal control officer, took two of her mini horses, Dakota Capitan’s Fernando, aka “Fernando,” 7, a 38-inch miniature brown and white gelding, and Starrific Jimmy’s Harlequin Man, aka “Harley,” 9, a 29-inch black and white gelding.

Fernando got off to a terrific start the first day, winning three titles: World Champion and two reserve. One more win, and they’d win the ultimate prize: a driving cart and money.

Sadly, things went haywire the next day when Fernando pulled a suspensory ligament during his obstacle driving class.

And then things went even more haywire. Attending vets gave him medicine that caused a stomach ulcer, which led to colic, where he came close to dying. Thankfully, he pulled through OK.

Lisa said after Fernando got hurt, “little Harley had to step up to the plate and do classes I’d entered Fernando in, like the jumping classes where the jumps were almost as tall as he was, but he was a trouper and tried his best.”

Wins with Fernando included: Amateur Ideal Driving — World Champion; Open Ideal Driving — Reserve World Champion; Open Halter Geldings (B Mini) — Reserve World Champion; Open Trail in Hand (B Mini) — Reserve World Champion; Amateur Trail in Hand — World Champion; Amateur Halter — fifth; Open Color Class All Minis – eighth; Amateur Color All minis – fifth; Amateur English Showmanship — fifth; Amateur Obstacle Driving — third.

Harley took home a World Championship in Open Trail in Hand (A Mini); Amateur Trail In Hand — Reserve World Champion; Open Hunter — sixth; Open Jumping — fifth; Amateur Western Showmanship — fourth.


— July 14-15 — Jefferson County Pre-Fair open horse show at the fairgrounds. Forms available at On Saturday, performance horse, 9 a.m., $7. On Sunday, Western games, 10 a.m., $6.

— July 21-22 and

Aug. 4 — Performance horse shows at Clallam County Fairgrounds. Phone Maria Rentas 360-457-4623.

— Aug 3-5 — Joe Wolter cow clinic at Freedom Farms. Learn elements of working livestock, including positioning, timing, pressure points, control and horsemanship. Pre-register with Mary Gallagher at 360-457-4897 or visit

— Aug. 23-25 — OPPH Adult Horse Camp riding clinic with Sara Richerts at Olympic View Stables. Phone 360-775-5084 or visit

Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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