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Friday Night In Freedom Hall



         Friday night in Freedom Hall. We’re building to a feverish pitch and a few classes tonight sent the octaves way up the scale, particularly the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. This was a Who’s Who of park horses if there ever was one but at the end there could only be one horse occupying the winner’s circle and that was CH It’s Aerosmith. The crowd roared with approval as the Monnington Farm-trained superstar was hitting every note. Skylar Rueff rocked her last ride before new owner Reagan Campbell takes over.

         The enthusiastic audience also showed its love for reserve world’s champion of champions Enchanted Kiss and Ali DeGray. There weren’t enough ribbons for all the great horses but those who did make the grade included CH Let’s Talk, I’m Strapped, Balenciaga, CH HS Dignitary, CH Undulata’s Just Perfect and Forever A Mystery. There’s a load of world’s titles among that group!

         Not quite as deep but pretty darn close, the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship featured in the winner’s circle one of the coolest dudes to ever pull a viceroy, Heartland High Tech. Winner of this class for the second time in three years with Ali DeGray, the finely chiseled cob-tail turned back challenges from world’s champions Heartland Road Show, Heartland Majestic, CH Heartland Globe-Trotter and Heartland Rough And Ready in the top five finishers. This could have been named the Kolkman Invitational.

         The evening’s finale, the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship was a clinic in horsemanship, headed by the master clinician herself Nancy Leigh Fisher. As she always does, she put her partner CH My Wonder in just the right spots at just the right times to garner the world’s champion of champions title now three of the last four years.

         Another crowd pleasing repeat winner was Iamnotacow. It was his third win of the week and the second time in three years to take the World’s Champion of Champions Amateur Roadster To Bike honors with Marty Schaffel in the bike. Also in the speed division, Deborah Jahn put back to back wins together this week with Regal’s Night Shadow LF to bring a blanket of roses back to the John Shea Stables tack room with trainer Abel Vega in a hard-fought Amateur Road Pony Championship.

         The Saddlebred pony classes were as large as we’ve seen in years and there were no room for mistakes in both sections. The gaited pony championship opened the evening and Ryan Visser collected her fifth win of the week with a roses victory pass aboard Infamous Kiss for her late grandfather, James Orr. In the walk-trot section Madeleine Woods showed five-year-old One Black Pearl to make a “yeah boy” type of performance winning the world’s champion of champions title in the athletic mare’s first year under saddle.

         Ryan Visser didn’t rest on her laurels as she came back later in the evening aboard Lady Mandolin. If there was any pressure showing a former world’s grand champion you certainly couldn’t tell it as she piloted the big-doing mare to the winner’s circle in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 & Under Championship for her dad Neil Visser and owner Elisabeth Goth. And it was her sixth win of the week.

         The top three in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 Championship last year were at it again tonight, however, this time it was a different result. Alex Rudder was horse-back ridin’ aboard CH Soquili’s Curious George to make the round of honor for trainers Chris and Stephanie Brannan. Grace Weisner and She’s Born To Sparkle collected reserve honors tonight, with Reagan Campbell and CH Real Action taking top three.

         In the gaited section of the 14-17 junior exhibitor riders, last year’s ASR Junior Five-Gaited Sweepstakes Reserve World’s Champion HS I’m A Dreamer gave Rose Marie Wheeler another world’s champion of champions gaited title.

         Phyllis Brookshire joined the list of extremely seasoned riders winning on the green shavings tonight. It was with her newest partner, Ladies Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions The Great Oz.

         Another veteran of Louisville battles was teamed with one of her favorite partners, Heartland Demonstrator to win the World’s Champion of Champions Amateur Harness Pony honors for the fourth consecutive year. Mary Gaylord McClean was that winning driver for her Golden Creek Farms.

         That wrapped up another great night of horse show and we’re all looking forward to those last two sessions of 2017.

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