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Better Together



            People often refer to making the trip to Louisville as “entering the bubble.” It’s as if the outside world goes away and we all step into an alternate universe where every sight, sound and experience become all-consuming.

            Kate “Mimi” Weems and granddaughter Lauren Treiber entered the bubble that is the World’s Championship Horse Show this year with the title of “exhibitor” following their names for the first time.

            Neither is new to horses, ponies, showing or even Freedom Hall. Their families have been involved with the horse show world for years, but both were new to the feeling of coming down the ramp and bursting onto the green shavings.

            When asked whether sharing the experience as grandmother and granddaughter  brought any added pressure, both were quick to say that it only made the experience more fun because they were lucky enough to share it together.

            Kate Weems was a horse show mom to daughter Thea but she did more than just shuttle her daughter to horse shows. She and Thea both showed in the academy division when Thea started riding at seven years old.

            Weems was also president of the Mid-America Horse Show Association and a board member for Midwest Charity Horse Show for years in addition to cheering for Thea in the show ring.

            When Thea went off to college Mimi bought Coe’s Wing, her first horse. She could ride him and drive him and she shared him with Thea. She also went on to have a western horse with Nealia McCracken and then took a break from the horses to show Yorkshire Terriers competitively.

            When she returned to showing ponies she started with Cherry Royale. “He was the perfect first pony,” she said. She eventually moved on to her next pony and eventually became the owner of her current pony Manitou and shows under the direction of Eric Griedl and Erica Savary at Pepper Hill Farm.

            “I love him and I trust him,” she said. “He gives me everything I ask for and he’s a good guy. Eric and Erica have done the best job with him.”

            They showed Tuesday evening in the very competitive Amateur Ladies Hackney Pony class. She called upon Mike Bletsoe to show him Sunday evening in the amateur gentleman’s class. “I was very comfortable and not nervous. I pictured myself in the ring and I knew what I had to do. I was better so he was better.”

            Weems attributed her success in part to attending the Majestic Oaks Pony Camp. “That was a turning point in my driving career,” she said. I wouldn’t have the confidence I do without it. I learned so much about driving, showing and ringsmanship. Of course Eric and Erica have done such a great job as well teaching me how to show my ponies.”

            Thea and Lauren Treiber were on the rail cheering for Manitou and when it was time for Lauren Treiber to show Aussie Tuesday morning, Mimi and Thea were there on the rail as well.

            Lauren had great success when she began riding in the academy division and in fact at the national academy finals in 2009 she was the Walk/Trot Equitation Five- and Six-Year-Old Reserve National Champion.

            Her first performance horse was Royal Crest’s Mister Stone. She showed him for two years in the country pleasure division and he was a great teacher. Next came Henry Hudson, a horse with a bit of a reputation. They were competitive in the junior exhibitor three-gaited pleasure division. Callaway’s Gabriel (Gabe) was her first gaited horse and came from Allie Poovey at High Caliber Stables in 2015.

            She debuted with Gabe at Mid-America Mane Event and they won the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Stake and qualifier to go two for two in their debut. They had wins, reserves and great ribbons in their career together which came to an end in July when Gabe was sold to a new owner. It was the third time Lauren’s hopes of showing at Louisville were dashed. Or so she thought.

            Owner Laura Gralton had Lauren show Aussie at Oshkosh in the junior exhibitor three-gaited show pleasure division and they won the juvenile blue ribbon and Wisconsin Owned class. Gralton rode to win the Open Breed English Pleasure class. Lauren went on to win at ASAW Summerfun in the 14-17 class.

            Gralton showed at Summerfun and earned the reserve in the 18-49 adult qualifier. She and Lauren had been having tremendous success with Aussie and Gralton really didn’t mind not showing at Louisville so she was happy to offer Aussie to Lauren to show. It was a dream come true for Lauren and they hit the ring Tuesday morning in the third split of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 class and earned a great top four finish in their Louisville debut.

            “It was everything I expected and more,” said Lauren. “I have been so excited thinking about showing here and I knew it would be fun, but it was more fun and exciting than I could even imagine.”

            She’s known as Katherine to some and Kate to others but “Mimi” is a name that only her friends in the horse show world use to address Mrs. Weems and Mimi loves that. The horse industry has been a place where she has been able to share friendships and relationships with her family.

            The World’s Championship Horse Show has now become the place where she and Lauren can share unique memories and no doubt they’ll be counting the days until they can enter the bubble again next year.

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