by Diana Davidson
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show hosted its 47th edition on June 6-9 at the Eastern States Exposition Grounds. The show began on a somber note as Carl Nason, father of trainer Judy Nason, died suddenly on Monday, June 4 shortly after arriving at the show. Nason’s clients and friends supported her throughout the week as she continued to put winning horses and riders into the show ring as her father would have wished. The Morgan community was also there to support Connecticut show manager Mary Ellen Holcomb and her family following the tragic loss of daughter Jaci two weeks earlier. The close-knit network of Morgan friends and family once again rose to the occasion with care and concern.
Judy Nason honored the memory of her father
with many winning performances including
Ladies Hunter Pleasure Champion Arboria Ben Hur.
While the show did have a quiet and subdued mood, everyone did unite in the spirit of those who love Morgans and competition as the show did indeed go on. Connecticut Morgan is steeped in tradition with a reputation for attracting many top entries at the starting point of the show season. Each year many young horses as well as new horse and rider combinations emerge on the scene at Connecticut Morgan. This year’s show featured a few such debuts of note along with the season debut of some other winning veteran performers. In addition to the horses performing in the ring, a number of trainers brought horses to work for later shows that had those at rail side buzzing about the prospects.
The stabling was at near capacity, and with the numbers came nice quality along several classes and championships with entries well into the teens. This year marked a change in the schedule. With the elimination of Tuesday evening’s session, the show started on Wednesday morning with all of the in hand classes followed by the first 20+ performance classes. The four-day show featured two sessions per day at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. leaving time in the morning and between sessions for other work and entertainment.
The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show is sponsored by the Connecticut Morgan Horse Association, Inc. under the leadership of President Melissa Curtis. The show once again benefited the Tupenny’s Terrence Equine Colic Research Program at Tufts University. In addition to the awarding of many of the show's championships, there were some other special awards presented on Saturday night. The session started off with the presentation of the colors by the Connecticut Morgan Youth Group followed by the Youth Of The Year Contest awards.
The party schedule began with Copper Beech Morgans sponsoring a pizza party to start the socializing following Wednesday evening's classes. A grand Hall Of Fame celebration was held following Friday night's session in honor of this year's Hall Of Fame inductee Tedwin Taurean (see separate story). Helen Michaud hosted a marvelous party for all of Taurean's friends and fans to enjoy at the Janbark Farm stabling area.
The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show thanked its exhibitors on Saturday by starting off the day with an omelet breakfast served in conjunction with the Celebration Of Diversity Symposium (see separate story) sponsored by the Brown/Klein family. The show concluded with a coffee and desert party in the main barn aisle way to toast the 2007 champions on Saturday evening.
The list of Connecticut Morgan Horse Show officials was once again headed by show manager Mary Ellen Holcomb and assistant manager/barn manager Johnna Chenail. Linda Burke maintained an organized office as horse show secretary. Bill Whitley and Grace Yaglou shared the duties as ringmasters, while Mary Lynn Whitley kept things by the rules as USEF Steward. Farrier Tim Keller was busy as always while Kris Koss made the rounds as show veterinarian. Announcer Kenn Marash and organist Bob Dunham maintained their ringside posts.
Exhibitors enjoyed photographer Howie Schatzberg’s great new digital systems with proofs available within moments of the classes. The list of officials also included; Laurence and Gail Williamson (carriage coordinators), Stacey Hathaway (dressage coordinator), Melissa Weinand (trophies), and Jim Holcomb, Tony Ferro and Ron Matthewson (paddock).
Handling the judging duties at this year's show were Larry Bolen (Park Harness, English Pleasure, Stallions and Geldings In Hand, Western Pleasure, Classic Pleasure Saddle, Western Equitation and Leadline); Fay Lowry (Park Saddle, Pleasure Driving, Mares In Hand, Classic Pleasure Driving, Hunter Pleasure, Saddle Seat and Hunt Seat Equitation, and Roadster); Dee Loveless (Dressage) and Mickie Bowen (Carriage Driving).
The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show celebrated its 47th anniversary by continuing its tradition of top competition in 2007. The show ring highlights follow with complete results available by clicking here.
The show got underway on Wednesday morning with all of the in hand competition first on the schedule. DRF Ladies Night Out and Joanne Galvin posed for the first blue ribbon of the show in the Yearling Fillies. Mike Carpenter introduced another promising youngster from the Dragonsmeade breeding program in Two-Year-Old Mare winner and Junior Champion Mare Dragonsmeade Balenciaga, a daughter of Mizrahi and HVK Firefly. The Reserve Junior Champion Mare CBMF Going Places certainly looks to be a youngster on the move as she started off a tricolor show for Copper Beech guided by Jaisen Von Ballmoos.
The senior mare competition featured the in hand return of 2002 World Champion Mare Queen’s Victorian Lady as the Mizrahi daughter started off a memorable show for owner/breeders Pete and Sandy Hendrick as well as trainer David Rand. Victorian Lady showed off her beauty and elegance sweeping the Five and Over, Senior and Grand Champion Mare honors. The level of competition was high indeed as 2005 Junior World Champion Mare MEM Shock & Awe topped the three and four-year-old class guided by Rick Lane for George Schott's Maine Event Morgans. The smooth and stretchy bay represented her sire Serenity Masterpiece and dam AFF Evening Episode in great style with reserve tricolors in the Senior and Grand Champion Mare classes.
The In Hand Geldings were next on tap with A Man’s Man and Rick Stevens teaming up to collect the two & under blue as well as the Grand Champion Gelding honors for Kimberly Dunn. Grand Cru Taittinger showed off his good looks with Ann Anderson handling the lead for John and Karen Teller to capture the three and four-year-old victory. David Rand had Ultra’s Proclamation cranked up for a winning pose in the five and over class, and returned to be named Reserve Grand Champion Gelding for Adriana Liberty.
The In Hand Stallion division capped off the in hand competition with more crowd-pleasing performances. The get of World Champion Stallion LPS The Boogie Man are starting to make their presence known as Leatherstocking Elvis took his place in the winner’s circle in the Yearling Colts and returned to be named Reserve Junior Champion Stallion with David Rand assisting Coby Holowacz in the presentation for Douglas and Adrienne Gable. CBMF Arbitrage (Ben’s Rhapsody x Ariel) has certainly grown up since his reserve world title in 2006 as he stood proudly as the Two-Year-Old Stallion winner, Junior Champion Stallion and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. James and Harry Sebring presented the charismatic youngster to the honors for owner/breeder Ann Hailey’s Copper Beech.
The Queen’s River Farm breeding program earned the spotlight once again on Wednesday morning as Queen’s Romeo (Mizrahi x Queen’s Mercy Me) displayed his regal presence and athleticism as the Five and Over, Senior and Grand Champion Stallion with David Rand handling the lead. George Schott’s well-named MEM Blue Chip (Futurity French Command x Miss Bluegrass) struck the winning pose in the three and four-year-old class and was named Reserve Senior Champion Stallion guided by Rick Lane.
The Open Park Saddle Championship is the traditional ending to the Friday night session at the Connecticut Morgan Horse Show. It was another tricolor finish for Ann Hailey's Copper Beech Morgans as Something Wicked and Amy Neifert teamed up for an outstanding performance to earn the Bennfield's Ace Trophy. Following his in hand victories, Queen’s Romeo showed off his extravagant motion under saddle to earn the open qualifier blue and cap the show as the Park Saddle Reserve Champion with David Rand in the irons for Queen’s River Farm.
Ann Hailey (l.) with Something Wicked
and Amy Neifert
Queen's Victorian Lady also showed off her talent as well as her beauty as Sandy Hendrick directed her to the Ladies Park Saddle blue ribbon and flowers along with the Moreover Challenge Trophy and closed out the show as the Amateur Park Saddle Reserve Champion. The Rand banner also displayed the Amateur Park Saddle Championship as BKC Valiant Star and Casey McDonald turned in a magnificent performance to earn the tricolor after a crowd-pleasing blue ribbon ride in the amateur qualifier for Firewind Morgans.
Casey McDonald and BKC Valiant Star
David Rand and Queen’s River Farm teamed up for another memorable Connecticut debut this year as Queen’s Newport Summer had everyone talking. The daughter of world champions Mizrahi and HVK Tiz Flaire was all show horse as she marched to the Junior Park Saddle blue and tricolor. Amy Neifert directed world champion Whitemud Dixie Dance King to the reserve tricolor in this entertaining division for Patricia Lloyd.
Stevie Meder’s accomplished riding skills have taken on a new dimension this season as she has paired up with the bold-performing Set To Dance to capture the Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle blue and tricolor under the Taylor River Farm banner.
Following a tricolor 2006 campaign in harness, MEM Thriller enjoyed an impressive saddle debut to earn the limit blue with Mike Carpenter in the irons for George Schott.
The Open Park Harness Championship caps off the show ring competition at the Connecticut Morgan Horse Show each year. This year’s final tricolor was placed on the harness of MXM Mystere as Percy McDaniel took a trip down victory lane on the lines of the fronty gelding who also won the limit class for the partnership of McDaniel and Barber. Five-year-old TTA Freedom Hall showed off a newly matured look as he lit up the winner’s circle as Harry Sebring drove the Copper Beech entry to the open qualifier blue in his only performance of the show.
Following their victorious team debut at UPHA Spring Premiere, JW Raire Review and Erin Kelley turned in another tricolor drive here to earn the Amateur Park Harness Championship and the Laurelledge Renegade Trophy. Robert Neimeth gave Stonecroft Sudden Impact a strong drive as they added the reserve tricolor to the Misty Meadows banner. The amateur qualifier featured JW Sporting Victory and Carol Wesson sporting the blue ribbon with a polished performance under the Moreland Farm banner for Equus Novus LLC.
Azeedad’s Lucky Star and Ann Anderson followed up their winning UPHA Spring Premiere debut with two more dynamic victories as they carried the Junior Park Harness Championship and the four-year-old blue back to proud owner/breeders Chris and Andrea Kelley.
Mike Carpenter's string of outstanding young horses featured a pair of winning park harness entries during the Friday matinee performance. The son of world titled park harness horses HVK Vibrance and Kim’s Bellegante, SYP High Fidelity debuted as the UPHA Park Harness Classic winner for owner/breeders Phil and Gloria Blevins. Just a year ago Mike Carpenter debuted a yearling named MSC Bandini at Connecticut, a year later and with a world title to his name Bandini returned to Connecticut to make his winning performance debut in the Two-Year-Old Park Harness for owner George Schott.
The English Pleasure division contained a number of large and competitive classes with some notable youngsters and new combinations enjoying winning performances. The Open English Pleasure Championship closed out the division with five top champions vying to wear the tricolor. Following several successful seasons in the park division, Fox Glen Hail To Divinity made an effortless transformation to the pleasure division to capture the tricolor along with the Morgan Manor Challenge Trophy with Ann Anderson presenting for Joy Ann Bogstad. Belalugosi, the centerpiece of Grande “L” Morgans, enjoyed a tricolor return to the show ring as Keely Sogoloff was in the irons for the reserve championship finish for Lyniece Talmadge. The open qualifier featured Luman Wadhams and Sarde’s Manistique teaming up for a polished performance to carry the blue ribbon back to Deedee Ludlam.
Ann Anderson and Fox Glen Hail To Divinity
Connecticut marked the show ring return of Amy Gatewood Gendjar following the birth of seven-week-old Ashlyn. With her whole family cheering her on, Amy was reunited with Nicoria to capture the Ladies English Pleasure blue ribbon and tricolor. Lisa Howa matched up beautifully with her newest partner Futurity’s Touch Of Harley as they captured the reserve tricolor directed by Luman Wadhams.
The amateurs once again provided the audience with plenty of opportunities to cheer them on as they vied for top honors. The 11-entry Amateur English Pleasure Championship featured the only workout of the show as judge Larry Bolen sent four teams back to the rail with their fan clubs cheering them on. Queen’s Proud Mary and Sandy Hendrick were in sync every step of the way as they added another tricolor to their string of impressive wins directed by David Rand after making the victory pass in the amateur qualifier as well. L’Cima’s Exclusive and Terri Travers were familiar faces in the winner’s circle as they were selected as the reserve champions after their number topped judge Bolen’s card in the amateur ladies qualifier. Lisa Howa and Rampaige were up for the challenge with a bold performance that netted the yellow ribbon in the championship. The always-game Hylee’s Dann Osgood and Kristi Evans completed the entertaining workout group with the white ribbon ride.
Sandy Hendrick and Queen’s Proud Mary
WSG Whamo has been a winner in every division in which he has shown, and he added to that list at Connecticut where he matched up with Kristin Cyr for the Youth English Pleasure victory after earning two wins with his petite new owner Alexandra Frangiosa in the Walk-Trot Pleasure 9-11 qualifier and championship. Miller Young Fina added to her repertoire as she matched up with Barbara Irvine’s lovely Rumor Has It for the walk-trot 9-11 reserve tricolor.
The Walk-Trot Pleasure 8 & Under featured two young ladies who represent a proud family heritage in the show ring. Lexi Lettre was the pride of Wright Way Stables as she rode Medomak Ever Beamin to the blue and tricolor honors. Isabelle Shepard turned in two fine rides as well to the cheers of her family and friends at Moreland Farm as she rode Moreland War Dance to the reserve honors.
The names Happy Hollow Heidi and Peggy Alderman were indelibly linked in the 1980s, so it comes as no surprise that Peggy Alderman’s children have set a mark in the class with a trophy in honor of Happy Hollow Heidi. In their debut show Spencer Alderman and Graywood’s Arthur earned the top honors in the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 & Under Championship and collected the trophy he won a year ago with Plum Haven Gunrunner and his sister Kate won the previous year with Limerick Pepperdon. The reserve tricolor honors went to the fronty FCF Fandango and Maggie O’Toole matched by Jean DeGutis, who also trained the winning pair of Highover Oaklyn Starfire and Gabrielle Blackman in the 13 and under qualifier as well as the limit rider junior exhibitor.
Spencer Alderman with Graywood’s Arthur
Nikki Evans and Medomak French Invasion added two more victory passes to their record as they were awarded the junior exhibitor 14-17 blue and tricolor under the Moreland Farm banner. Adriana Liberty and Ultra’s Proclamation turned in a great ride of their own to collect the reserve tricolor honors.
Betsy Clark was the happy winner of the Limit Rider English Pleasure Championship as she matched up with FCF Champagne Command for a tricolor toast after a blue ribbon ride in the adult limit rider class. Jennifer Martin and Townshend Rise and Rule enjoyed a fine ride to garner the reserve streamers.
David Rand brought a pair of exceptional junior horses to compete in the English pleasure division at Connecticut. Queen’s Fancy Me earned quite a following in her winning performance debut at UPHA Spring Premiere and her fan club grew in her blue ribbon showing here in the Four-Year-Old English Pleasure to add to a stellar show for Pete and Sandy Hendrick. Following his purchase just ten days earlier at Southern States, AWS Icon delighted new owner Elizabeth Poirier with a winning performance in the Three-Year-Old English Pleasure guided by David Rand.
Capes Yankee Command and Nikki Rae Woodworth celebrated a memorable trip to the winner’s circle in the Junior English Pleasure Championship performing for Mike and Mary Scanlon. Another handsome youngster topped the novice class as Graywood’s Lennox and Jennifer Mason teamed up for the victory pass for Katrina Wood. Andrea Kelley was the proud owner/rider as she guided her handsome stallion Way Beyond Reason to the limit blue under the Hobby Knoll Stable banner.
Some new horses and combinations in the Pleasure Driving division did battle with some well-tested combinations to earn a trip to the winner's circle. The awarding of the Bay State Flyon Challenge Trophy in the Open Pleasure Driving Championship featured another impressive Connecticut tricolor for Nancy Bitters and Hillock Rienzi as they followed back-to-back amateur tricolors in 2005 and 2006 with this year’s open victory under the direction of Mike Carpenter. Harry Sebring took over the lines of the dynamic MEM So Emotional to collect the Open Pleasure Driving blue along with the reserve tricolor for Copper Beech Morgans. Lee El’s Thunderbay followed up his blue ribbon debut at Vermont with a victory pass in the limit class with Percy McDaniel guiding the way for Christine Thorn.
The Ladies Pleasure Driving Championship featured The Bachelor MEM and Sarah Gove earning a stylish victory for owner Stephanie Slater. The world titled team of Can’t You See MEM and Melissa Morrell collected the reserve tricolor for Phyllis Frechette. The five-entry qualifier featured a blue ribbon debut in their new division for Stardavari and Terry Titus in their only performance of the show.
Heidi Kunkel is enjoying a victorious return to the lines of her charismatic world champion Stonecroft Byzantine as they duplicated their victories from Vermont in the Amateur Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Ann Hailey was beaming following her drive with her dazzling copper chestnut Paradigm Tokyo Rose as they capped a tricolor show for Copper Beech with the crowd-pleasing reserve finish.
Stonecroft Byzantine and Heidi Kunkel
SLB Triple Play and Laura Poulin made all the right moves as they collected the Youth Pleasure Driving victory for the second year in a row. Adriana Liberty borrowed brother Max’s sporty Gradell’s Wild Reflection for a winning drive in the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving. CBMF Simple Pleasures and Sharon Fuchs enjoyed a trip to the winner’s circle for their performance in the Limit Driver Pleasure Driving.
World Champion Dantree Night Call turned in a stellar season debut as David Rand guided the Dantree Farm entry to the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship with dynamic precision following the four-year-old blue. It was a tricolor sweep for the sons of Futurity French Command as MEM Taser and Jon Lettre captured the reserve championship honors for Rachel Frazier.
Grand National Champion Straight Up headed straight down victory lane as the entertaining Copper Beech entry lit up the ring in the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classic directed by Harry Sebring. The three-year-old class also produced an impressive winner as Highover To The Nines and Kass Booth collected the blue ribbon for Kay Thompson.
Mike Carpenter's string of pleasure driving horses were on top of their game all week long. It was the On Line filly Faloria who topped the competition in the two-year-old division earning the blue ribbon and tricolor for Mary Kuhn. Dale Vidler directed Sunny Acres Prophecy to the reserve honors for Mary DeFranco.
The western pleasure division was filled with quality and quantity as many veteran champions jogged beside a crop of challenging new entries. Whispering Suite Image left a tricolor image as Christine Nava guided Diane Tanquay’s handsome bay to pick up the Corrick Challenge Trophy as the Open Western Pleasure Champion. FCF Montego Bay and Judy Nason jogged away with matching blues in the open and ladies classes before closing out with the reserve tricolor for Joanne Kieger.
Fred Nava escorted wife Christine and
Whispering Suite Image down victory lane
Erica Mitchell and her pretty mare Wait A Second picked up right where they started out last year as they collected the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship and the ladies amateur blue under the Best Of Both Worlds banner. It was a pair of pretty bay mares on victory lane as ECP The Seventh Stone and Marion Bengtson captured the reserve honors following a blue ribbon ride in the amateur qualifier.
The limit rider blue also went back to the Bellewether banner as Greentree Nightowl and Tony Picardi jogged away with the blue ribbon. Judy Nason and Melanie Small teamed up to put another promising western horse in the ring as Pondview Pure Elegance collected the novice blue.
DFM Poetic Justice and Jenna Britt have earned their mark as one of the most consistent winning teams and they proved it once again by winning the Junior Exhibitor Western Pleasure Championship for the fifth year in a row. The Evans family had a stellar show with all of their horses as Nicole and Futurity’s On Your Mark jogged away with the reserve tricolor. The junior exhibitor qualifier featured the adorable combination of MCA Seawind Serenade and Anna Tassinari adding to their win streak from UPHA Spring Premiere and Vermont with a winning ride directed by David Rand.
DFM Poetic Justice and Jenna Britt
The walk/jog division saw the friendly rivalry between Stephen Nava and Miller Young Fina continue as Stephen and Cadette B earned the top honors in the pleasure with Miller and Marin Royal Command coming back to best them in equitation.
EKL Exotic Vision combined the good looks that won him in hand tricolors from New England and Oklahoma a year ago with the polish and consistency of a western pleasure star as the three-year-old jogged away with the Junior Western Pleasure blue and tricolor presented by David Rand for Elizabeth Poirier and Linda McDonald. Roger Brown had a promising performer in reserve champion Ensuite owned by Stephen Karnolt.
The Hunter Pleasure division featured many outstanding classes of both quality and quantity. JAR Golden Boy showed off his size and stature to top the field as the Open Hunter Pleasure Champion. Cindy Mugnier guided Jennifer Roberts' Cedar Creek Harlequin son to the tricolor following a blue ribbon performance in the open class. It was a tricolor repeat from 2005 as Laura Reed and her expressive bay mare SMS Moredelay followed up with the reserve tricolor.
Cindy Mugnier and Laura Reed exchanged congratulations
The Ladies Hunter Pleasure Championship featured Arboria Ben Hur and Judy Nason matching up for the tricolor and flowers after a blue ribbon ride in the ladies qualifier for Katie Hodges. Garland Fleur De Lis and Joyce Thoma showed off their stylish elegance as they topped the amateur ladies and also carried the Ladies Hunter Pleasure Reserve Championship back to the Cedar Spring Farm banner.
The team of MEM Virtual Reality and Anna Weeks enjoyed a big payday as they topped the $1500 Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship after sweeping top honors in the youth qualifier and championship. The bold pairing of Narragansett Bay and Nancy Desrosiers continued their winning ways in the amateur qualifier and also carried the reserve championship back to the Driftway Meadows banner.
The Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure division featured a trio of well-filled age groups. The fabulous new team of Under Fire and Bianca Abella made a clean sweep of the 16-17 qualifier and championship and also added the youth reserve championship to the Wynter Thyme Manor banner. The top team in the 14-15 also hailed from Wynter Thyme Manor as Melissa Lambrecht greeted Chelsey Abate and Grand Cru Valentino in the winner’s circle in the qualifier and championship. The multi-titled team of Stevie Meder and Manchester In Demand added the 16-17 reserve tricolor to the Taylor River banner, while PAF Boomerang and Jennifer Leclerc collected the reserve honors in the 14-15 for Kim Bernier.
Katelyn Merrill and The Lion King are enjoying an amazing season together as they swept top honors once again in the 13 & under qualifier and championship as part of a flawless show. Mattina’s Splendition and Eliza Hine are a splendid combination as they earned the reserve honors with smooth performances under the Bittersweet Farm banner.
Katelyn Merrill and The Lion King
The Walk/Trot Hunter Pleasure division was filled with promising teams with parents, grandparents, instructors and friends rail side cheering them on. Hylee's Celtic Flaire and Tayler Pelletier were the big winners in the 9-11 as they carried the tricolor back to Driftway Meadows. The 9-11 qualifier winning team of KHF Dante De Lion and Sarah Lane added the reserve tricolor finish. In the 8 & under division, Montanna Lambrecht kept up with the big kids at Wynter Thyme Manor as she collected a tricolor matched with the amazing UVM Allegro. Blk Orchid Winston and Delaney Pluta matched up for the 8 & under blue along with the reserve tricolor for Kim Bernier.
Banbury Hill Belletrist celebrated a victorious debut as Shannon Scioscia rode Penny Shawah’s pretty mare to the Junior Hunter Pleasure blue and tricolor under the Misty Meadows banner. Stonecroft Confidential and Christine Nava collected the reserve tricolor award for Michelle Quinlisk.
Nava also directed the winner in the Maiden Hunter Pleasure as CBMF Midnight Special earned top billing for Anna Eriksson. The limit class saw Till There Was You and Judy Nason add to a blue ribbon show for Joanne Kieger.
The novice class featured Quality Nobleman and Lindsay Perry matching for the victory pass for Julie Rohrer. Barbara Anderson was delighted with her trip to the winner’s circle as she guided SVF Midnite Raven to the honors.
The Classic Pleasure division once again featured some of the largest and most competitive classes of the show. Friday night's Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship was one of the largest with 13 teams vying for top honors. Stonecroft After Midnight and Amy Gendjar showed supreme style as they earned the tricolor ride. David Rand greeted them in the winner's circle after the win for Dantree Farm. SBS Power Play and Kristi Evans turned in a consistent ride and made the reserve pass for the second year in a row following a repeat victory in the ladies class under the Moreland Farm banner.
Kristi Evans, SBS Power Play, and Melissa Morrell
In another repeat winning performance, Divine Comedy and Molly O’Brien recaptured the Classic Pleasure Saddle Mares with a polished ride. The stallion/gelding class featured HVK Wild Obsession and Robin Vergato earning a trip to the winner’s circle with a bright and consistent ride. The novice rider class saw Corrine Messenger and Hearsay hear their names called as the winners.
PT Son Of A Gun and Shae Scanlon topped the card in the competitive Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship over a fine field of entries. The well-matched combination of That’s My Man and Chelsea Haber trotted away with the reserve honors for Roxanne Tubolino. Holly Feld and Victory’s Lolita teamed up for the blue ribbon ride in the hotly contested junior exhibitor qualifier.
The Junior Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship featured a tricolor ride for KGA Cabaret and Robin Mills under the direction of Mike Carpenter. Laura Spengler and Whispering Gatling followed up in reserve after besting the field in the junior qualifier.
Shirley Haas and Rare Obsession opened the season in tricolor form as they drove away with the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship to add to the Mike Carpenter Stables banner. It was a bittersweet tricolor for the Holcomb family as Jennifer Holcomb and Crinoline’s Regal Flaire turned in a stylish drive for the Classic Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship.
Ann Hailey enjoyed matching blue ribbons with her multi-titled geldings Contagious and Prindle’s Mere Mortal as they collected the ladies and stallion/gelding blues respectively for Copper Beech.
Traci Brown matched up with Ultra's Now And Forever for dual blues as they topped the mare and novice driver classes for Toni Watkins under the Vintage Valley banner.
Will Filosi and Final Judgement returned to the site of their winning team debut of a year ago to carry the Junior Classic Pleasure Driving Championship back to the Mike Carpenter banner. The qualifier winning team of Roxanne Sardelli and her handsome homebred Sarde’s Samurai collected the reserve tricolor directed by Rick Stevens.
The equitation division featured a group of outstanding riders vying for top honors in all seats and age groups. The Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship brought the division to a close on Saturday evening with a quartet of riders taking part in the rail work and pattern. Brynne Cummings stepped up with a precise performance to capture the tricolor honors to the delight of instructor Kristen Cater and their supporters. Brittany Schilling enjoyed a fine performance as well to collect the reserve tricolor following matching blue ribbon rides in the 14-17 qualifier and AMHA Medal under the direction of Jean DeGutis.
Carolyn Spinelli earned the distinction of winning the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship for the second year in a row as the Taylor River group cheered her on. Gabrielle Blackman added the reserve tricolor to her earlier win in the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup coached by Jean DeGutis. Amber Brown continued her winning ways as she stepped out of the walk-trot division to win the 13 and under qualifier under the Vintage Valley banner.
Meghan Bradley enjoyed a trio of victory passes as she earned the Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Championship following matching blues in the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup and classic qualifier for Equitation Unlimited. Jackuelyn Chase performed for the Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Championship honors.
The walk and trot division was full of top riding youngsters receiving strong support from instructors, families and friends on the rail. The large and competitive 9-11 Walk and Trot Equitation division came to a grand finale in the Saturday afternoon championship with Alexandra Frangiosa stepping up for her second tricolor of the show following a victory pass in the qualifier with Think About It MEM instructed by Jean DeGutis. Emily Tarr and Born Yesterday continued to impress as they collected the reserve tricolor directed by the Sogoloffs of Cedar Spring Farm. Lexi Lettre added to her stellar show with the walk-trot 8 & under blue and tricolor under the Wright Way banner. Isabelle Shepard captured the reserve tricolor honors with a confident showing.
The Leadline classes were perhaps the toughest classes of the show to judge. The young riders battled it out for top honors with close inspection from judge Bolen at the walk and the trot as well as in the line up. In the end it was Nicole Kaufman earning the Saddle Seat Leadline blue ribbon with the winning ride led by Nikki Rae Woodworth. Daniel Wesson was the winning cowboy in the Hunt and Western Seat Leadline with a polished performance guided by Melissa Morrell.
Stevie Meder topped all competitors as she displayed great form and supreme confidence aboard Manchester In Demand to earn the Senior Hunt Seat Equitation Championship for the third year in a row. She also earned the 14-17 qualifier blue under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Bianca Abella showed poise and polish to be named the reserve champion aboard Under Fire under the Wynter Thyme banner. The AMHA Medal also went back to Wynter Thyme as Chelsey Abate turned in an outstanding ride to qualify for a trip to the finals in Oklahoma.
Katelyn Merrill showed off her skills posting the tricolor victory in the Junior Hunt Seat Equitation Championship as well as earning the qualifier blue directed by her proud sister Sarah Gove. Alexandria Warner followed up with a fine ride as well to earn the reserve championship.
McKenzie Snow displayed winning determination as she maneuvered to the Walk and Trot Hunt Seat Equitation 9-11 Championship coached by Scott Travers. Sarah Lane turned in a polished ride for the reserve tricolor following a blue ribbon ride in the qualifier coached by Sarah Gove. Delaney Pluta strode away with the tricolor in the 8 & under championship. Montanna Lambrecht followed up her qualifier win by collecting the reserve tricolor under the direction of her mom Melissa Lambrecht.
Jenna Britt earned a clean sweep in the western equitation jogging away with the blue and tricolor honors as well as the AMHA Western Seat Medal to add to a great show with DFM Poetic Justice under the Bellewether banner. Nicole Evans matched up with Futurity’s On Your Mark for the reserve tricolor honors.
The Walk and Jog Western Seat Equitation 11 & Under blue and tricolor featured Miller Young Fina earning the top honors and the cheers of her friends and fans for the fourth year in a row aboard Marin Royal Command. Stephen Nava added the reserve tricolor to his record with Cadette B to the delight of his family and supporters.
Morgans are offered a chance to show in a variety of disciplines in the approximately 200 classes that Connecticut Morgan offers. The crowd got the chance show its vocal support in a trio of outstanding roadster classes. The open bike stake capped the action on Saturday night with Twin Peak Limitless and Dr. Grace Steere earning their second victory pass in as many nights as they also strode away with the amateur win directed by David Rand. Kentucky Capurr BHF and Allison Fritz had the winning colors in the Roadster Under Saddle competition.
Grace Steere and Twin Peaks Limitless
Rumor Has It earned a leg on the UC Top Hat Challenge Trophy as Elizabeth Fina rode Barbara Irvine’s pretty mare to the Road Hack Championship following matching blue ribbons in the open and amateur qualifiers. Mt. Pleasant Echo’s Quality and Megan Lesperence teamed up for the reserve tricolor honors in this always-entertaining division.
Saturday's dressage competition featured a long day of competition with Smithfield’s Forevermine, Janeway Sierra’s Sage, Orcland Supreme Echo, Grahns Miss Celerity, Smithfield’s Forever Yours, and Bittersweet Beau Jangles among the top-scoring entries.
The carriage competition also took place in a well-filled division primarily held in the outdoor carriage arena. DRF Sea Wolf earned the Carriage Pleasure Driving Championship with Hickoryledge Advantanna in reserve while Middlemist Midnight Magic topped the Limit Diver Carriage Driving Championship followed by Select’s Command It. Other blue ribbon winners included; Sky Farm Mae Star, Orcland Supreme Echo, UC Rianna, and FR Freedom First.