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The Saints of Todos Santos: Equestrienne Kaia

By Sergio and Bryan Jauregui, Todos Santos Eco Adventures

Queens may come and go, but queen-makers are a special force to be reckoned with, and Todos Santos horse champion Kaia Thomson has made 14 queens…so far.

Kaia and friends in Todos Santos

In 2005, Kaia was running a 55-acre ranch with 60 horses where she had trained 12 Gymkhana champions and 14 rodeo queens, including Brandy De Jongh, Miss Rodeo America 2000.  She was at the top of her game in the horse world with students, horses in training and competing.  Then she decided to move to Todos Santos. “It was my 50th birthday and I decided that I just had to move to Mexico with my horses. All my friends thought I was crazy, but I wanted to do something radical. I just had to do it.” So she did. She finished out the year on her ranch and arrived in Todos Santos in December 2005 with 3 horses and the remains of her worldly possessions. It’s now hard to imagine what the town would be like without Kaia and her incredible skills as a teacher, rider, trainer, naturalist and photographer.

Kaia is one of the most down-to-earth people you’re likely to meet in this life. A characteristic that is not explained by the fact that Kaia is a true Hollywood gal who grew up under the Hollywood sign, spent a lot of time on Hollywood Boulevard and had her first horseback riding lesson at the age of 4 at Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables. She went to Hollywood High School with many (now famous) stars and worked at a tack shop where she regularly rubbed shoulders with the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Sam Shephard, Richard Farnsworth, and Juice Newton.

She worked for Glen Randall who trained Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger (“he said Trigger was the smartest horse he ever met – he could recognize over 100 words and cues”)  as well as with Glen’s protégés Rex Peterson and Bobby Lovegren who trained horses for movies such as Black BeautyHidalgoZorro, and The Horse Whisperer. She ponied horses for Laz Barrera, renowned trainer of Affirmed (the last horse to win the Triple Crown) and worked alongside many champions on race days at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar racetracks. She rode a horse named Madrid, a grandson of Bold Ruler – Secretariat’s sire – and trained, competed and won in dressage, jumping and showmanship. She traded a saddle for a mule in the Sierra Nevada’s and competed on mules for over 16 years. She saw a Reined Cowhorse Show in Las Vegas in 1989, and soon became a regular on the National Reined Cow Horse Association circuit. She trained with Teddy Robinson, the world’s greatest Reined Cow Horse champion, and acquired the exceptional horse skills required to rein, cut and work cattle in competition. Kaia thrived on the perfect complement of sportsmanship, connection and discipline that horse competition in all its variety demanded.

Then she fell in love.

Read the rest of Kaia Thompson’s story on the Todos Santos Eco Adventures’ Blog.

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