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All American Classic Horse Show

by Margaret Cordes


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It was a horse show that started like no other. It was a show that opened with The Cat Walk and closed with a command performance by the 2006 and now 2007 Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champions Starlet’s Commendable and Beth Kunkel.


It was a show that brought two-time UPHA Reserve Senior Pleasure Equitation Champion Emily Abbott to the winner’s circle. And it was a competition that offered $177,000 in total winnings to 46 weanlings and their owners who traveled to Indianapolis for the fourth annual All American Cup. In all competitors split more than $400,000 in awards, national titles, American Saddlebred Sweepstakes, Hackney Horse Society Limited Breeders’ Stakes, Hoosier Hackney Association Futurities and Indiana Saddlebred weanling and yearling futurities.


There is no rest for the weary as show officials, including manager Claire Panke, board members Dawn Kendrick and Steve Kildow, secretary Judy McManama and assistant secretary Carolyn Shepard, made sure the show was complete and the exhibitors were content. Eleven judges in all were called to center ring throughout the duration of this show. Each judge was needed for his or her expertise and opinion in the wide variety of competitors. Don Brookshire, Jan Lukens and Gene van der Walt offered several unanimous decisions in the All American Cup. Merrill Murray, Richard Obenauf and Gene van der Walt were called to center ring for the American Saddlebreds, Sweepstakes and road horses. Merrill Murray returned to the ring to join Ellen Beard and Nancy Troutman to pick the top riders in saddle seat equitation, UPHA Pleasure and the Adult Challenge Cup Championships. Dennis Lang was called for the Hackney ponies, Hackney horses and carriage classes and then returned to his post to join judges R. E. Shenker and Mark Wilson for the AHHS Hackney Limited Breeders’ Stakes. Dick Obenauf was also called for double-duty to judge the Friesians that added even more elegance to the formal affair.


With a little break from Louisville announcer Peter Fenton commanded attention and added his insight from center ring, along with top ringmaster Kent Moeller and music maker, organist Gene Wright. There was no lull at this show as The Jazz Renegades Dance Band filled the air with their music while special guests, composer Jamie Aikman and vocalist Dave Newman, entertained the crowd Tuesday night during sessions at the All American Cup. Jamie who joined his father, Jim Aikman, many times and for many years in center ring tailing weanlings and yearlings is now proudly adding a new dimension to his father’s creation, the All American Cup. Jamie’s music is also featured in the video biographies of the trainers now being produced by his father and dedicated to the promotion of the American Saddlebred.


Ready to present the ribbons, Jim Aikman

escorted Indianapolis television reporter Kevin Radar

and his daughter, Alana, to center ring.





The five-gaited division brought several top contenders to Indianapolis including Reserve World’s Champion Memories Paragon shown by Clark Clouse to win the open gaited stake for Kenny and Ceil Wheeler. Janet Kellet’s five-gaited CH Callaway’s Banner Headline finished in reserve with Todd Miles.


In the ladies five-gaited division, Dena Lopez continued a blue ribbon streak for Courtier, an entry of Belle Reve Farm. The Kentucky Saddler was in reserve for Elizabeth McLemore.


The Amateur Five-Gaited classes brought consistent results in the championship and the qualifier with Starlets Commendable and Beth Kunkel tying first and Hartfelt Legacy, shown by Bill Marple, in reserve. It was a competition that welcomed now a two-time All American Classic Grand Champion to center ring for the show’s grand finale victory pass in the spotlight. Beth Kunkel was thrilled with her repeat performance and described her ride Saturday night as awesome. “We are more together and more like a team than ever and we are really starting to mesh.” Kunkel, under the direction of trainer Armon Effinger, was teamed up with her relatively new five-gaited teammate just last year. She is proud to admit Starlets Commendable is quickly becoming one of her favorite horses.


Beth Kunkel with Starlets Commendable


Andrew Nadder and Prairie Sunrise dominated the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited classes with Sartorial Splendor in reserve both times with Jackie Riddle. Limebank King Of Clubs earned its first American blue ribbon in the limit division with Mark Turner. This horse, owned by Magdalena Meyer, is a grand champion from last year’s competition in Bloemfontein, South Africa


The sweepstakes and judging panel lured several top junior gaited horses to Indianapolis including the World’s Champion Junior Five-Gaited team Arrowhead’s Dreamcatcher and Todd Miles for Deborah Butler. Fight Night shown by Louis Louw for David Nierenberg was a champion in the sweepstakes and reserve in the junior five-gaited class. The UPHA Five-Gaited Classic blue ribbon went to Callaway’s Carnival In Rio and Billy Jarrell.       

Louis Louw and Fight Night


Don Harris put on a show with the talented and very sporty Gotta Be Charmed in an impressive Five-Gaited Three-Year-Old Sweepstake class with Chris and Jean Nalleys’ Temptress Two in reserve, shown by Tiffany Wheeler.


All the way from Oklahoma City and in an incredible debut, Cross Creek trainer Diana Rannells put on a spectacular performance with five-gaited Attaché’s Easter Present in the two-year-old sweepstakes for Katie and Karen Cunningham.




 A three judge panel and 12 three-gaited classes brought numerous top walk-trot teams to Indianapolis, two of them world’s champions, and most of the three-gaited teams top ribbon winners just a week earlier in Louisville.


The three-gaited blue ribbon teams included World’s Champion The Starwalker and Tré Lee showing for Melissa Moore in the open stake to claim the tricolor. Melinda Moore earned the ladies three-gaited champion title with her Worthy’s Pure Love, a top three contender in the over 15.2 three-gaited junior division in Louisville.


Karen Mayer who made her debut with three-gaited Simbara’s Cara Mia last year at the All American Classic returned this year for two blue ribbons and the Amateur Three-Gaited Grand Champion trophy.


Karen Mayer and Simbara’s Cara Mia
and Bret Day


Hometown girl Brittany McGinnis is getting stronger and even more together with her new three-gaited teammate Ostentatiously. The junior exhibitor team added two more blue ribbons to an already successful show season.


The young Steeling The Show earned another blue and now a ticket out of the three-gaited limit division with Mike Robert’s assistant trainer Zach Duffy. The horse is proudly owed by Joan Alexander of Metairie, La.


In the junior division, Reserve World’s Champion Harlem’s Showman and trainer Robert Gardiner earned the top prize and check in the four-year-old sweepstakes for EquiElegance Ltd. The junior three-gaited victory pass went to World’s Champion Punch Baby and Jackie Tanner for Sarah and Joe Benza.


Teammates Roi Du Soleil and Elizabeth McLemore earned the UPHA Classic victory pass and prize for Julie Lynn Andrew and Halston Manor. A first blue and a sweepstakes prize for three-year-old three gaited team Stonecroft’s Nightlight and Jim Lowery excited owners Karrie Graham and Duane Kinderknecht. The two-year-old sweepstakes division lured Jim Lowery back to center ring for a victory pass on Catalyst’s Blonde Ambition for Tri Color Ventures Inc.


Duane Kinderknecht, Karrie Graham and

trainer Jim Lowry with Stonecroft’s Nightlight




 The park division also brought big names and top teams including Reserve World’s Champion The Woodsider and Jackie Tanner, the All American grand champion and champion in the open division for Bob Facciola. World’s Champion Ya Ya and Dena Lopez finished in reserve.


Bill Marple’s French Kiss dominated the amateur park division with Emily Abbott catch-riding in the qualifier and then with Marple in the championship.


The Junior Horse Park class brought out Talladega Red and Dena Lopez for Kay Marschel. It was a second blue ribbon for a horse new to the show ring this year.


Fine Harness


There were eight classes offered for fine harness horses at the All American Classic. The champions included the 2007 World’s Champion Amateur Park Horse High Heat who was shown by owner Melody Adler in Louisville. Trainer Melissa Moore earned a blue ribbon with High Heat in the Open Fine Harness Championship.


CH Cary’s Moonraker earned a victory pass with Margo Baird in the amateur division and reserve ribbon with trainer Pat McConnell in the open class.


McConnell returned to center ring for another fine harness victory and sweepstakes prize with four-year-old Alicia Silverstone. Kathy Capsuto enjoyed a victory pass with her four-year-old Sister Sally in the Junior Fine Harness class.


The UPHA Fine Harness Classic brought another Nalley-bred contended into the show ring. Trainer Tiffany Wheeler presented Voulez Vous for a Classic win.


The three-year-old sweepstakes brought Rain and Kathy Capsuto into center ring, followed by Bret Day and Last Class in the two-year-old sweepstakes for Fishers Sisters LLC. The two-year-old fine harness division brought Dr. Alan Raun in for a victory pass for owner Libby Mathers.




 There were only four classes but a lot of speed in the road horse division. Tom Fiedler and his Louisville contender, Valparaiso, stormed in to Indy for two victories that included a blue ribbon in the amateur division and a tricolor round in the combined championship. Raymond Shively kept Deborah Butler’s Dirt Devil tuned up in the open division to take away the blue. Katie Coup is testing a new division and doing well, earning a blue in the limit class with new teammate Bristle N.


The road pony blue ribbon teams include 10 different combinations starting with open grand champion team Jane Mueller and Murry Dickson. Wait & See’s Rio Lobo and Todd McNalley earned their blue in the open qualifier. Biggy Smalls and Mindy Van Hellemont were the ladies road pony champion team. Kevin Ingram earned the amateur championship and amateur qualifier ribbon with Heartland Carolee for James Dellinger.


Casey Bray earned the AHHS Youth Medallion with Kilbro’s Must B Dreamin. Ed Murray brought in a blue ribbon with To B Or Not To B in the limit division for Luc Boileau. In the Road Pony to Wagon class it was Regal’s One More Promise LF with Ed Murray who earned the blue for Dan Light. Dr. Raun is singing and celebrating the blues with his Velvet King after the UPHA Road Pony Classic.


Hackney/Harness Pony


Trainer Marilyn Macfarlane brought the 2007 Reserve World’s Grand Champion Fancy Ribbons to Indy for Randi Wightman. The team earned top pony points in the Open Hackney Pony qualifier and championship.


Amateur hackney pony team Kilbro’s Code Red and Catherine Houk brought in two more blues to round out a year that started with a blue ribbon at Indianapolis in the spring. Ed Murray earned a blue for the four-year-old Romeo’s Rhythm LF in the limit division while Darrel Kolkman brought his Heartland Fortune Maker in for a victory round in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic.


Tom Lowry headed Regal’s Lucifer LF and Jeff McClean

for the Three-Year-Old Hackney Futurity win.


The harness pony division brought Reserve World’s Champion team Christy Gantley and Nacho Mama to center ring for two more blues in the amateur division. This division also brought three more blue ribbon winners, two of them for Golden Creek including limit champion Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan with Jeff McLean and UPHA Classic Harness winner Mastercraft’s Promoter LF with Mary McLean. In the open championship it was Jay Kennedy with Boxford Perfect Timing to drive up for the blue for Thomas Caisse.


A variety of divisions brought out Hackney Pony Pair Champions Gifted Love and Ink Spot driven by Joel Brown and a Hackney Pony Gig display by Spiff and Polish and Luc Boileau.


Jane Mueller and her World’s Champion Early Edition came to continue a blue ribbon streak that started at the Lexington Junior League. Two more pleasure driving champion teams included Nicole Reason and Knolland Liberty Belle in the limit division and Dr. Bing Crosby and his Showtime’s So Tuff.




 It was win after win for Callaway’s Another Win and Debbie Owens in the five-gaited pleasure division. Racking in to take reserve in the championship was another hometown team, Linda Beltz and Champagne’s Irish Sea. Mary Jane Fredericks and her Cloudburst were reserve in the qualifier.


The park pleasure open division brought Mary Reynolds’s Steal My Thunder to the winner’s circle for a blue ribbon and then again for reserve in the championship. Darrell Case showed Riders On The Storm to a tricolor win.


Jim Lowry is enjoying several young prospects bred by Stonecroft including Sweepstakes Junior Park Pleasure winner Stonecroft I’m Radiant. In reserve were Stonecroft Serengetti with Tom Pettry up for the ride. The junior park pleasure division brought Brookhill’s Tom Tom and Steve Demjen to the winner’s circle for Danielle Loar with South Street and Renee Biggins in reserve for Dr. and Linda Beltz.


Smith Lilly finished first in a talented UPHA Park Pleasure Classic with Cape Grace for Roger and Stephanie McMahon. Brookhill’s Kool As Ice and Jackie Tanner were in reserve.


The Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Sweepstakes brought out Majestica and Robert Gardiner to the winner’s circle. John Conatser rode High Hickory farm’s Proof Perfect in for reserve.


Even the Two-Year-Old Park Pleasure Sweepstakes drew a crowd and talent to the ring. Gerhardt Roos proudly showed First Class Day TS for Tillman Stables.


Always a favorite and again wearing the blue, CH Lightnin’ Lil and Nicolle Beltz Tolliver were the champions and grand champions in the adult show pleasure division. Amanda Dellinger brought her My Grande in for reserve in the qualifier. Brooke Jacobs and My Southern Charm earned the reserve in the championship.


Junior exhibitors welcomed two different combinations to center ring for victory presentations. First, Rachel Machamer presented Brookhill’s King Of Kool and then for a spotlighted victory pass Jordan Mattingly moved up from reserve to the grand champion position with Sports Night. CH The Bess Yet and Lizzie Edgar finished in reserve in the grand championship.


The All American Classic offered novice, limit and amateur owned and trained classes in several divisions including pleasure. Top Guns Mandate and Gloria Heath picked a blue in the novice pleasure division while Kristina Keating and Arrowheads Captain Morgan picked up the honor in country pleasure. Tara Duff earned the amateur owned and trained blue ribbon with country pleasure teammate Val Hallelujah.


In Show Pleasure Driving, the teams to beat were Kathy Capsuto and her Dancing Up A Storm and Jane Mueller with Supreme Platinum as they traded turns in first and reserve. Dancing Up A Storm earned the championship tricolor while Supreme Platinum picked up the qualifier. In Country Pleasure Driving the results were consistent in both classes with Karen Thompson’s Shakespeare In Love finishing first and Joan Todd’s Heir Express in reserve.


Under saddle in country pleasure, Sarah Russell and her Haunting have been consistently in the blue all year and including both adult classes at Indianapolis. Kristin Smith and Sing My Song and Elise Lockwood with her What’s My Line locked in the first and second positions in the junior exhibitor division.


Country western pleasure divisions may be drawing more entries at shows as teams now compete for points to be invited to Louisville. A deep division brought three blues ribbons for Susann Strayer with her new western adventure with Yellow Rose Starafar. The only blue Strayer left behind was in the Shatner Western Pleasure which was earned by Royal Crest’s Dancing On Stones and Susan Hoskins. Kristen Pettry and Callaway’s Scoop The News found plenty of competition in the Hunter Western Pleasure classes offered in Indianapolis and were proud of the two blue ribbons earned. Beth Oliver and her Kansas City earn both reserve ribbons.


Kristen Pettry and her partner

Callaway’s Scoop The News




Eleanor Watkins came to Indy for the saddle seat equitation competition and left after two victory laps in the championship and 14-17 class. Christina Collis earned her Good Hands blue ribbon.


Christina Collis

William Nalty, all the way from New Orleans, earned not only big hugs from mom but his Challenge Cup victory in walk and trot 10 & under. Rachel Machamer snuck away from school to pick up a Challenge Cup blue in the 14-17 division.


William Nalty received a big hug
from mom Holly Nichols.

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