Skip to content

April Showers Bring Des Moines Show Horse Powers

by Michelle Krentz

DES MOINES, Iowa - For many Midwestern exhibitors, Des Moines Springfest is the first show of the season, held April 24-27. Although some barns were missing at the show this year, most classes were well-filled with quality horses or ponies. Many new and impressive teams debuted here, forecasting what will surely be a sunny year of competition, even though the weather at this year’s Des Moines was bitterly cold and rainy. Judge Gene van der Walt made sure spectators did not freeze in the stands by keeping the show going at a nice quick pace, while organist Randy Roberts entertained the crowd and Rick Osteen captured the winning photos.

The Werry family has a reputation for quality stock, and the string they brought to Des Moines certainly did not disappoint. One of their newest horses, Heir Comes The Man, wowed the crowd with its bold, yet graceful way of moving to win the Novice Five-Gaited class with Tom Bombolis aboard. The well-bred gelding, by Supreme Heir and out of a Caramac daughter, had previously shown only twice in harness, but performed every gait with confidence. Reserve in the novice class was Callaway’s Cavalla. The pretty dark chestnut mare trimmed in white went on to win the Five-Gaited Stake with Louis Louw aboard for Action Marketing and Promotions.

Reserve in the stake went to the exciting new mount of Sarah Thordsen, Sensational Charm. While Thordsen was studying for her medical school exams, trainer Scott Matton got to have some fun on the young game mare. The winner of last year’s ASR Four-Year-Old Sweepstakes was at it again at Des Moines to win the Open Five-Gaited class with busy trainer Louis Louw. Fight Night, a Prize Contender son, edged out Callaway’s Born To Ride and Bob Brison for the win.

Although only two showed up for the Ladies’ Five-Gaited competition, it was quite the class. Keep Me Posted and Neva Van Ess and I’m Something Wicked and Theresa Vonderschmitt went head to head. In the end, it was 2006’s Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World Champion Keep Me Posted to be named the winner. Both horses looked great in their only appearances. Vonderschmitt won aboard her fiery Red Flame Thrower in both amateur gaited classes. Callaway’s Blue Blood and Teresa Freyer took reserve in both of the well-filled amateur classes.

The junior exhibitor five-gaited division only had two entries, but both horses happened to be world champions. With Faye Wuesthofen aboard, Callaway’s Lil Abner looked better than ever to win the two classes under the Glenmore banner. Not far behind, though, was the tried and true combination of the grand campaigners, CH Harlem’s Hot Ticket and Nick Neviaser.

Louis Louw coached several winning teams from the rail.

Bob Brison and Marc Jacobs won the Junior Five-Gaited class for owner Redwing Farm. Taking very much after his sire, Designed, the young colt looked refined yet powerful. Reserve in the class went to Air Of Mystery and Louis Louw. This colt, by the young stud The Mystery Writer, made his under saddle debut for owner H. Curtis Meanor. The UPHA Five-Gaited Classic winner was Until Now, who also made his under saddle debut with Jan Burden.

Princess In Training was the Three-Gaited Stake Champion, ladies’ reserve champion, as well as the novice amateur reserve champion with proud owner Sally Graf. Lisa Hilmer and Private Conversation were the ladies’ champions. After two wins at the Royal last fall, the amateur classes belonged to Uncle Charlie, this time with owner Diana Ennis in the saddle. Reserve in both classes went to Champagne Suzie and Jane Costello. The adorable combination of Sultan’s Michelangelo and Nicole Lathrop was the Novice Amateur Three-Gaited Champions.

In the junior exhibitor three-gaited ranks, CH Tip O The Hat and The Velvet Cat flip-flopped in the qualifier and championship. The championship went to CH Tip O The Hat and skilled rider Brittany Balgna, under the Centre Pointe banner. Renee Van Zomeren skillfully directed qualifier champions The Velvet Cat and Allison Rohloff to two perfect rides. Absolute Prince Of Hearts and Jan Burden won the Junior Three-Gaited class, and I’m Custom Designed was another example of the fine quality that Designed has been producing to win the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic for Redwing Farm with Bob Brison aboard.

With a long neck, way over level motion and an explosive way of moving, Daddy’s Treat looked like the epitome of a park horse. Scott Matton did not hide his enjoyment in showing this mare when he guided her around in a smooth and elevated trot. "Darby" won both open park classes for owner Kerry Honkamp. The Border Star and Rick Wallen were reserve in both classes for the Schallocks.

Kent Swalla guided Amateur Park Champions Gotcha Covered and Ann Eaker to the winner's circle.

Repeating their win from Des Moines last year, Ann Eaker and Gotcha Covered were the Amateur Park Champions under the direction of proud trainer Kent Swalla. Switching this year from country pleasure to park, Tamale Wally and Nicole LaRoussa were the Junior Exhibitor Park Champions for owner Nancy Rothe. Lemon Ice was red hot to win the Junior Park class with Lindsey Ward for Bob Jensen Stables.

The harness division belonged to CH Harlem’s Proud Mary and Ann Curl. The two lovely ladies glided down victory lane in the amateur class and the open stake. The winner of the open qualifier, Gretchen’s Gift was reserve in the stake with trainer Rick Wallen for Ann MacMurray Cox. The 2006 Two-Year-Old Harness Mare World Champion had the Des Moines Fairgrounds talking. Bred by Elisabeth Goth, the Exalted Effect filly, Glinda The Good looked "wicked" good to take the Junior Fine Harness class with Rick Wallen for excited owner Janene Steggeman. Reserve in the class went to Absolute Purple Heart and Jan Burden for Tom and Marcia Hollands. The UPHA Fine Harness Classic went to yet another Designed baby, Kate Moss. This bay filly is impeccably bred, out of a Radiant Sultan mare, and driven to the win by owner Dr. Alan Raun.

Mike Schallock was very successful in the road pony division, winning the open championship and qualifier reserve with his black pony Nightheir, and sweeping the amateur division with Seamair Strutter. Winning the open qualifier blue and picking up reserve in the championship was Navigator with owner Mike Herron. After driving his pony for the first time the night before, Tony Wuesthofen made trainer Gib Marcucci very proud when he won the AHHS Youth Medallion class with The Wizard LF. Reserve in the class went to Heartland Patriarch and Paige Boyer for Mike Herron. Dr. Alan Raun won the UPHA Road Pony Classic with Velvet King.

The Harness Pony Championship and open qualifier went to Truly Enchanted and Cindy Ireland. Wait & See’s Winter Day and Randy Wells were the reserve grand champions and amateur winners. The UPHA Harness Pony Classic blue went to Image Of Sophistication and Gib Marcucci. Heartland Undeniable and Doc Raun were close behind for the red ribbon.

Deborah Jahn swept the Hackney Pony division with Heartland Alluring under the Reedannland banner. Lovie Smith and Gib Marcucci were the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Champions for Muffy Ernster. Ernster also owned the UPHA Hackney Pony Pleasure Classic and Hackney pleasure pony winner, Extremely Supreme. Reserve in the Hackney pleasure pony qualifier, Romeo’s Sargeant LF went on to win the championship with Carolyn Helton. Reedann’s Special Delivery and Avis Van Zomeren won both the AHHS Youth Medallion Pleasure Driving Pony and the under saddle classes.

Debbie Mulberry and He's Heirresistible were excited to be the Adult Five Gaited Show Pleasure Champions and Reserve Grand Champions in the biggest division of the show.

The five-gaited show pleasure division was the largest at the show, filled with many nice horses. In the combined amateur and junior exhibitor stake class, Callaway’s Full Moon topped the field of 10. Owner Chris Varner showed the chestnut gelding to the tricolor. Reserve in the stake class went to the adorable pair of He’s Heirresistible and Debbie Mulberry after they won the adult qualifier. Mulberry was very excited, stating, "That was my best ride ever!" Tova’s Priceless Gem picked up the adult red streamers, while the great riding junior exhibitor Katherine Abraham won the junior exhibitor qualifier. Close behind in the junior exhibitor class were The Evangelist and Liz Schultz, showing under the LaFleur/VanEss banner.

Bob Jorgenson and Espiritu prepared to show where they won the Open Park Pleasure class.

The park pleasure division was filled with many exciting prospects. Winning the stake with Louis Louw was Magic Hero, a four-year-old Haven’s Hero colt. Lisa Hillmer Pope showed Clover Hill’s Coup D Etat to reserve in the stake for Linda Cozad. The qualifier blue went to the chestnut Espiritu and Bob Jorgenson for Lynn Merrill. The red ribbon in the qualifier belonged to Sultan’s Flashback and Todd Perkins for owner Peltier Agri Services Inc.

Perfectly Phine Wine was thrilling to win the Junior Park Pleasure class. By the late Phi Slama Jama, this horse will surely get even better with age. Hot N Dicey picked up the junior reserve with Lindsey Ward for Bob Jensen. Louis Louw was back in the winner’s circle with County Supervisor in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. In his under saddle debut, after winning the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class at the Royal last fall, this expressive bay colt by the young stud County Treasure showed tremendous promise. Todd Perkins showed the nice Winsdown Fifth Avenue to the red ribbon for proud owner Dede Disbrow.

Faye Wuesthofen won both 14-17 show pleasure classes with First Class Heir.

After earning the red streamers in the 39 and over qualifier, Max Millennium and Julie Witthoff topped a large field to win the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Stake. Reserve in the stake class went to the 18-38 winners, CH So Fortunate and expert rider Janene Steggeman, under Rick Wallen’s watchful eye. The Swan Princess and Nancy Cowette Seward were the 39 and over winners.

Jessie Wuesthofen and Brookhill's King Of Kool swept the 13 and under show pleasure division.

Glenmore Farm dominated the junior exhibitor show pleasure division. Topping both 14-17 classes, Faye Wuesthofen and First Class Heir put in two perfect rides, beginning a junior exhibitor career in undefeated style for the 2005 world champion park horse. The great new combination of Jessie Wuesthofen and Brookhill’s King Of Kool topped both 13 and under classes. Jessie guided the exciting gelding around the ring like a pro in their debut together.

Jourdan Schaye was successful with her horse Jack Nicholson in the show pleasure and pleasure equitation divisions.

Reserve in both 14-17 classes was the grand pair of Jack Nicholson and Jourdan Schaye. Reserve in the 13 and under class went to the tried and true campaigner Outrigger and smooth-riding Nadine Van Zomeren. The consolation stake went to the elegant bay Walterway’s High Enough and Kathleen Rhoades, under Amanda Simpson’s direction, with Mahogany Heiress and Margaret Easton in reserve.

After picking up the reserve in last year’s ASR Two-Year-Old Park Pleasure Futurity with Tom D. Pettry, Ravishing Man won Des Moines Junior Three-Gaited Pleasure class with owner Rebecca Westberg. Ro & Me’s Miss Independent came in reserve with owner Amy Weiler. Although they were the only pleasure driving pair, Sweatin Bullets and Theresa Vonderschmitt picked up both wins in high style.

Beth Krueger and Pierre Cardin were the Adult Country Pleasure Grand Champions and 39 and over champions.

Beth Krueger was very excited to win the Country Pleasure Stake and 39 and over class aboard her mom’s Pierre Cardin. Reserve in the stake and the 39 and over class was the nice chestnut gelding Amazed with owner Deb Yount Woods. CH Undulata’s Hall Of Fame and Jana McConnell picked up the 18-38 blue. The cute pair I’ll Tell You What and Libby Lunn won the junior exhibitor stake, while He’s A Little Big Man picked up the stake and qualifier reserves with Rebecca Elcock. A Horse With No Name and Nathan Hinds were the qualifier winners.

The Peace Giver and Barbara Southgate won both AOTR Country Pleasure classes.

Barbara Southgate was excited to win both AOTR Country Pleasure classes with her lovable The Peace Giver. Bonnie Novel Royal Fox and Margaret Easton were reserve in both classes. Pretty Ghoul and Alexa Stanislay were very excited to win the Country Pleasure Consolation Stake, edging out My Amarillo and Samantha Thomas, who were the Country Pleasure Driving Reserve Champions. Pretty Ghoul was also the winner of the Open English Pleasure Novice Rider class.

Knollwood’s beloved "Kirby", a.k.a. Undulata’s Clean Sweep, has done it all: three-gaited, equitation, show pleasure and country pleasure, bringing all his riders blues. After beginning his career in the harness division in 2000 with Junior Ray, Kirby has come full circle, this time in the country pleasure driving division. Proud owner/spoiler Loretta Mulberry was very excited to drive Kirby. Looking fabulous, Kirby and Mulberry swept the country pleasure driving division at Des Moines. Reserve in the stake class were CH The Society Gentleman and Rebecca Elcock.

Always stars in the western division, Braveheart Of Silver Oaks and Kim Gallenberg were the Country Western Pleasure Champions, over the AOTR stake winners and working western reserve finishers A Touch Of Rhythm and Emily Bunn. Charming Promises won the qualifier and Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure classes with owner Joetta Smith, while Miss Lotta Santana and Leah Southgate won the AOTR qualifier for mom Barbara. Liz Willis and Ima Wild Card won the Working Western class.

Good Deal has everything a good hunter should: smooth, fluid motion, a pleasurable attitude. These attributes led him to the winner’s circle in all the hunter classes Des Moines had to offer. Reserve in the hunter stake went to A Touch Of The Blues and owner Rachel Potter. Saddle & Bridle’s Hunt Seat Classic reserve went to Dreamacre’s Scott Joplin, while the open to all breeds reserve went to Winsdown Forbes Field and Bailey Knapp.

Meaghan MacQueen was the Saddle Seat Equitation and USEF Medal Champion.

Des Moines was proof that the equitation riders have been working hard all winter long. Lyndi Skinner executed a perfect pattern in the championship to win the class after getting two red ribbons in the age group and Challenge Cup classes. Both Skinner and her trainer, Jonnie Surland, were very happy with her ride aboard her partner, Guided By Magic. After a successful Mid America Spring in March, Meaghan Macqueen was at it again aboard Tantara’s Magic Blessing to win the age group and the USEF Saddle Seat Medal under Scott and Carol Matton’s direction.

With a perfect pattern, Lyndi Skinner was excited to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship.

Another Knollwood girl, Deanna Lanigan, found her way to the winner’s circle aboard the skilled equitation mare, CH Louisville Lass. After being trimmed for the last six years or so, Lass had a glimpse of mane to win the Pleasure Equitation Championship, Medallion and the open challenge cup with the steady and strong-riding Deanna Lanigan. Anna Bergman was also successful in the equitation division, winning the Pleasure Challenge Cup and coming in second in the Saddle Seat Medal.

A very excited Sarah Hinds won the pleasure equitation age group and was reserve in the Medallion aboard Airborne Ranger. Kent Swalla, who sported a Superman shirt for Hind’s class, trained Hind’s mount, known around the barn as Clark. Linda Quinn swept the adult equitation division by winning the Adult Challenge Cup and qualifier. Dorian Stulberg Anderson was reserve in the age group class. Haley Burdick rode beautifully to win the UPHA Walk/Trot Challenge Cup.

Mark Van Zomeren and Tilly The Filly won the Open English Pleasure Stake.

Des Moines supports a very large open English pleasure division, giving horses and riders more classes to go in, allows other breeds to show alongside the Saddlebreds and offers trainers an opportunity to show pleasure horses. In the Open English Pleasure Stake, the sporty Tilly The Filly and trainer Mark Van Zomeren made the victory pass for excited owner Katera O’Rourke. Reverse in the stake and in the 18-38 class went to Precious Prosperity and Amanda Simpson, who showed the nice Catalyst filly for mom Vikki Vogel.

Oeds Fan T Lommerhof and Kathy Reiber were the 39 and over winners, while CH Reedann’s Sniper and Dorian Stulberg Anderson picked up the 18-38 blue. CH Wind Cruzer has made the trip to the winner’s circle many times, and he was at it again, this time with new owner Diane Balgna in the Adult Novice Rider class with Todd Perkins serving as trainer. The beautiful black Rudolph Giuliani and Elizabeth Duhachek won the junior exhibitor class, while The Enhancer and Julia Lee swept the walk and trot pleasure classes. Foote Prints and Haley Burdick were the reserve winners in the walk/trot pleasure class.

Reedann’s Special Delivery and Aaron Steenhoek won the pleasure driving class. The crowd really enjoyed the Pro/Am class, where the trainer rides one way and the amateur rides the reverse. In a nice class of three, The Mystery Machine, presented by Neva VanEss and Nick Neviaser, edged out Walterway’s High Enough with Kathleen Rhoades and Amanda Simpson.

Even though entries were down this year, Des Moines was still a very successful show with its great exhibitors’ parties and all around great exhibitor fun. The show will surely be a hit again next year, but hopefully Mother Nature will be much kinder!

More Stories

  • Nominations for UPHA Hall of Fame and Lifetime Awards Now Being Accepted

    The United Professional Horsemen's Association is accepting nominations for its UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame, Helen K. Crabtree Instructor Hall of Fame, Larry Bacon Lifetime Achievement Award, and Alvin C. Ruxer Lifetime Commitment Award. Read More
  • #FoalsNFocus – Week 11

    Some are just taking their first steps, others are shedding, but the quality of the 2023 foal crop has been spectacular week after week in all of our show breeds. Read More
  • High Spirits Riders Make Horses a Way of Life

    “The journeys for all five of these kids are basically the same. They’ve all become barn rats and it started with lessons and Academy,” said High Spirits Farm instructor Allison Cantrell, referring to the five junior exhibitor riders who just participated at the Madison Classic. “Four of these kids first showed with us and they are riding horses that were bred here. Read More
  • Beth Jones Passes Away

    Saddle Horse Report has learned the sad news of the passing of longtime owner and exhibitor Beth Jones of Bellefontaine, Ohio Monday, June 5th. Read More
  • ASHBA Announces Hunter Task Force

    The Hunter Country Pleasure division is one of the fastest-growing American Saddlebred divisions, with 645 classes across the nation in 2022. ASHBA recognizes the importance of this division and the versatility it offers our breed. Read More
  • Attention Hackney Youth

    The AHHS announced Hackney Youth Creative Arts and Writing Contest. This is your opportunity to showcase your creativity. Your goal is to share YOUR representation of the Hackney using any medium (material) of your choosing. Three lucky winners will be drawn from the entries to receive $500 each, along with select entries receiving featured spots in the youth newsletter. Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 5 23

    Read More
  • Hoof Beats and High Fashion

    The American Saddlebred Museum presents the annual July Fundraiser—Hoof Beats and High Fashion on Friday, July 14 at 11:00 a.m.  Read More
  • Freedman’s Gift Package Raffle

    The American Saddlebred Museum and Freedman's are offering a chance to win an amazing gift package and support the Museum at the same time! The prize package, valued at $550, is full of useful items any horseperson needs and features several exciting new products as well. Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 23 HW

    Read More