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American Idol Craze Has Saddlebred Connection

The hit television show American Idol has a connection to the show horse industry this time around. One of the contestants, Ayla Brown, is a student of Raye Lynn Mercer’s Franklin School For The Performing Arts (FSPA) in Franklin, Mass. She is the wife of Saddle Horse Report Editor Bob Funkhouser as well as a lifelong exhibitor of Saddlebreds and Morgans. Mercer has also produced many of the Symphony of Horses events around the country including UPHA 14’s, as well as those in Houston, Tex., Springfield, Ill., and Columbus, Ohio.

Brown was prepared for the Idol Competition by Mercer as well as FSPA vocal director Hallie Wetzell. For the past two Tuesday evenings Brown has been on national television and made the cuts for both nights of competition. One of eight female contestants left, Brown will compete again on Tuesday, March 7. The competition continues through May when the overall winner is selected.

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