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Local horse trainer rides in Rose Bowl parade


DENA LOPEZ, shown riding CH Doctor Zhivago, rode in this year’s Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo submitted)

Dena Lopez of Double D Ranch in Versailles, participated in the 2017 Rose Bowl parade this year. Dena is no stranger to the Rose Bowl Parade. Born in California in 1966 to the Hall of Fame trainer Rob Tanner, Dena has ridden in the parade many times. But this year, Dena was excited to be representing her hometown of Versailles, and the state of Kentucky. This year’s parade was extra special to Dena because her daughter, Alyssa Lopez Northcutt, made that ride in the parade with her. Alyssa also resides in Versailles. In 1998, Dena and her husband, Dave, with daughter Alyssa in tow, moved to Kentucky and built Double D Ranch in Woodford County, a full training facility for the American Saddlebred horse. They have called Versailles home ever since. Dena and three of her horses, which were shipped to California mid-December, were personally invited to be a part of the parade this year by Michele MacFarland, owner of Scripps Miramare Saddlebreds out of California. Dena and Michele have been friends for many years. Michele has been associated with the Rose Bowl parade for over 30 years, and is one of the top Saddlebred promoters in the United States. The Scripps Miramare name is known world-wide, making appearances as far as Japan and being invited to participate in the Queen’s Jubilee in England. The three horses that made the trip to California were My Silver Lace, the matriarch of Double D; a young horse named Dr. Dolittle, the son of WCC CH Doctor Zhivago (WCC, RWCC), who also made an appearance in the parade. CH Doctor Zhivago retired from the show ring last year, but by his fans still want to see him. CH Doctor Zhivago and Dena Lopez have had their share of wins over the years, especially in Louisville, where the World Grand Championship horse show is held each year. CH Doctor Zhivago has claimed many championship titles at the prestigious Louisville horse show, and carried the red blanket of Roses back home to Double D Ranch. Doctor Zhivago was named Breyer horse of the year in 2007. Dena is no stranger to that arena, with many championship titles and reserve wins to her name in many different divisions. Dena has mastered them all. The five-gaited World Grand Championship was won by Dena in back-to-back years of 2000, and 2001 aboard WGCH Wild eyed and Wicked. Dena Lopez is among only a few female trainers who can claim the triple crown of the Saddlebred world. Champion Saddlebreds are an everyday staple in Dena’s life. She has bred them, raised them, trained them, and showed them. She was named the inaugural winner of the Trainers Equitation Cup Champion in 2014. For many years. Dena hosted “Breakfast With the Babies,” which was a promotional effort to educate about the Saddlebred bloodline and breeding. She has raised thousands of dollars for the ASHA (American Saddlebred Horse association) as well as the UPHA (United Professional Horse Association). Dena and Dave Lopez underwrote, sponsored and hosted at CastlePost a fundraiser for the Dewey Henderson foundation, which assists professional horsemen who encounter challenging situations such as tornadoes, barn fires and illnesses.

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