The farm has been in the Johnson family since 1912. Hans Johnson, Great Grandfather of Deborah Johnson, purchased it after he worked in the lumber industry at Glenbrook, Lake Tahoe, as timber was in great demand during the Heyday of silver mining at the Comstock mines in Virginia City.
Over the years, the 360-acre farm progressed from horse-powered farm equipment to advanced John Deere machines. Crop production had always been an integral part of the farm. Alfalfa, oat, and grass hay proved to be most successful. For five years, garlic and onion were harvested from a variety of the HJ fields.
Cattle ranching became a significant part of the farm beginning in 1914. Shorthorn Hereford cross was the primary type of cattle raised on the ranch. The herd fluctuated between 90 and 130 cows. In 1914, the ranch brand was registered with the state and is still in existence today.
Arabians graced the facility in 1978. As with most family operations we promoted two stallions: MHR NOBLE and GO ROYAL COMANDAR+/, owned a few select mares, and produced beautiful foals. During this time, Deborah Johnson was embarking on a winning equitation career. She was guided by many outstanding individuals in her climb to the top.
At the very beginning, Deborah was instructed by Sandy O’Brien in the foundations of hunter and jumper disciplines. Working western disciplines (Stock Horse/Reining, Working Cow Horse, and Trail Horse) were studied for many years. Patricia Richardson (Pat Mock), the great lady behind the Park Horse *Gdansk, was fundamental to Deborah’s background with the English horse. Gwen Nix, one of the founding ladies of Saddle Seat Equitation in the Arabian breeds, provided Deborah with the skills and therefore the confidence to dominate Saddle Seat Equitation during the late eighties. Gwen Nix, however, did much more than teach Deborah how to ride. Mrs. Nix inspired Deborah to pass along the philosophies of horsemanship to future generations.
Today, the Reno-Tahoe Equestrian Centre has between 25-32 horses residing on the farm. Several are “school horses” that are maintained to help all of our students become better riders in the Riding Academy. These horses allow our students to practice skills so that they have this skill when they get on their show horse. Many of our client horses are with us year ‘round. This allows for the horses to maintain physical fitness, mental freshness, and consistency in show performance come “show season.”
In 2006, on Deborah’s way to Louisville, Kentucky, she met Jim Anderson on a United Airlines flight to Denver. They chatted the entire two-hour flight and by the time they arrived in Denver, Deborah knew she had met someone incredibly special. Over the next three years, Jim learned everything he could about the horses and RTEC. They were married in September 2009 and have continued to cherish every day. Jim can be seen regularly at RTEC in his “office,” i.e., the classroom, on a tractor, feeding the fish, shaking hands with clients, or driving the truck and trailer to a show. Deborah and Jim know they are very lucky to have found each other!
Jim works for a company in Atlanta, GA. and is a long-time Nevadan, an avid golfer and fishermen, and a very proud father of two married children.
Deborah opened her public training facility in 1995 and in a brief time continued to compete. She has led her students and their horses to eighteen National Championships and Reserves, fifty-eight National Top Ten Awards, sixty-eight Regional Championships, and Reserves and 182 Regional Top 5 Awards.
In 2007 the farm was relocated to Reno, Nevada, and the Riding Academy took on many more students. The new facility is exquisite and every detail imaginable is in place. The 200’x100’ indoor arena is a welcome addition, as is the Kiser Footing System that is used daily to maintain it. The tack rooms are tidy and the lockers are a joy for every student. Families enjoy the clubhouse and all of its amenities. RTEC enjoys quarterly events that have included a Spring Fling Horse Show and Clinic, a Summer Celebration BBQ, a Fall Harvest Party, and our Holly Jolly Holiday Hangout. We also have an “End of Year” Party that features the anxiously awaited Year-End Awards and slide show.
In 2019 Deborah will adjudicate at the prestigious Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show for the 7th time. In 2018 Deborah was honored to judge at the Arabian Youth National Championship Show in Oklahoma City. In 2017 Deborah served on the Western/Hunter Panel for the Scottsdale show in February. In 2016 Deborah adjudicated the horsemanship, showmanship and trail divisions at the US Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2015 Deborah was again at Scottsdale and in the fall of 2014 judged the working western division at the US Nationals. 2013 once again found Deborah working the Scottsdale show. In 2011 Deborah had the privilege of judging at the prestigious Scottsdale show and the US National Championship show in the western division in Tulsa in October. In 2009 Deborah was honored to adjudicate the Youth National Championship Horse Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2007 took Deborah to Parys (outside Johannesburg), South Africa, to judge the Free State Championships. In 2006 Deborah adjudicated the Scottsdale show and the United States National Championship Show in Louisville, Kentucky in the Hunter and Show Hack division. In 2004 Deborah adjudicated the Canadian National Championship Show and the prestigious Scottsdale Show. In 2003 and 2001 at the United States National Championship Show, Deborah had the pleasure of adjudicating the Working Western division (reining, working cow, trail) and Stallion/Western Division respectively. This reward for years of consistent, competent, and fair judging provided Deborah the opportunity to have her peers and fellow Arabian horse enthusiasts present their finest horses to her at the highest level – the ultimate compliment.
2019 promises to be another exciting year for the entire RTEC team. Plans are underway to attend several competitions, participate in promotional events, local and Arabian competitions, successfully attend Region 3 and Pacific Slope Championships, as well as the Canadian National Championship Show. We will be having quarterly fun events, barn shows and plenty of workshops, so stay tuned to the e-blasts, Facebook, Instagram, and bulletin board for more information.