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Friday Matinee Highlights

            We’re headed down the homestretch now and what a way to celebrate than with several championships for young riders and drivers and an array of two-year-old classes giving us a glimpse of the future.

            First, we started with young riders. Khloe Jankowicz made her second victory pass of the week to be named World’s Champion of Champions 8 & Under Walk and Trot rider. That was followed by Isabelle Fischer continuing her great year as the 9-10 world’s champion of champions. Stepping up to the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship, Ella Hampton topped a host of finely tuned riders to make the last pass following individual workouts for that honor.

            Nick Schubert is having the week of his life as he made yet another victory pass. Teamed with The Ivy League, this one came with the title, World’s Champion of Champions Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony. It was also a return to the winner’s circle for Nicole Jackson and Stat Tistic as they were crowned the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony 13 & Under Champions.

            Junior exhibitors showing American Saddlebreds included Brianna Tolkacz and Brookhill’s Express Yourself leading the way in their show pleasure driving championship for the second consecutive year. Much like Nick Schubert, Nissa Sultan is having the time of her life this week. This morning she took King’s Carma to the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 13 & Under Championship. Bella Hodge also found her name again at the top of the judges’ cards. She was teamed with Brookhill’s Knockout for the Junior Exhibitor 13 & Under Country Pleasure Championship.

            The kids didn’t have all the fun today. Amanda Murchison has as much fun as anyone at the horse show, especially when she’s aboard her beloved CH Spread The Word who was again named the World’s Champion of Champions Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure horse. Also a repeat team, Helen Rich and Heartland Sugar Plum paraded down victory lane as the Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving World’s Champion of Champions with a tricolor drive.

            Junior titles were awarded in the American Saddlebred and Hackney divisions. The Heartland prefix has been attached to champion after champion this week and today Darrel Kolkman presented one of his own, Heartland Rain Dreamer to the Junior Harness Pony Championship. Jim Lowry made Katie Cunningham one very happy young lady as she watched him take her Are You Joeking to the Junior Three-Gaited Park World’s Champion of Champions honors. Another title returned to Majestic Oaks with Heartland Seriously and Abel Salazar in the Junior Road Pony Championship.

            The two-year-olds did light up the ring today starting with Midd’s Ponce in section one of the three-gaited division. Michael Aponte made the winning ride from the Mike Roberts Stables for new owners Tim and Marty Shea. Section two honors returned to Georgia with Gabriel Desoto winning his first world’s championship under the direction of Vicky Humphries. He was riding Glasscock Financial Services’ homebred Special Gentleman. Cobi van den Berg delivered another blue for Singing Hills Stables. This one came with Doll Me Up in the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake.

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