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ASHA Of Alabama Celebrates 2009 And Plans For 2010

On a cold, but clear and starry January night, members of American Saddlebred Horse Association of Alabama celebrated their accomplishments on Red Mountain at the historic The Club. With the lights of Birmingham sparkling below, ASHAA members enjoyed a wonderful dinner, highlighted by The Club’s famous orange rolls; bid on silent auction items; celebrated its high point award winners and other special awards; and enjoyed great fellowship.

The wonderful evening resulted from yeoman efforts by Association Vice-President Cindy Slemmons, Treasurer Emily Grigsby, President Suzanne Schnetzler and aptly-named "worker bee" Tamala Hillhouse. Past President Karon Bowdre presided over the brief business meeting that included election of new members to the Board of Directors: Scarlett Lowe, Vice President/President Elect; Brittany Fox, Corresponding Secretary; and Vivinne Von Baillou, Treasurer. Cindy Slemmons stepped up as president; Pam Robertson remains as recording secretary; and Suzanne Schnetzler stays on the Board as past president/member at large.

This year’s silent auction featured more items than ever before, due in large part to efforts by ASHAA outgoing president Suzanne Schnetzler who received generous donated items from such noted Saddlebred supporters as Doug Shiflet, Horse World magazine, Hartmeyers, Sandra Hall Photography, Alabama Blue Ribbon Tack, Show Ring Times, Friersons, Becker Brothers, Besco Awards, Clement Dennis, Judith Berkshire Jones, Cheryl Polland and Commotion. The UPHA Chapter 8 Horse Show and the Alabama Charity Championship Horse Show also donated "Box Seat" packages for their 2010 horse shows. ASHAA member Brittany Fox donated a "Collage Poster" from her Bee Photography. Each barn provided a special gift basket and competed to draw in the highest bid; that distinction fell to Winsalot Stables for its "Wine and Dine" basket. The auction raised approximately $3,000 to help fund ASHAA’s scholarship and youth awards.

As usual, the highlight of the evening featured the Outstanding Youth Awards. Erin Luks (Heathermoor Farm) received the Junior Award and proudly accepted a Fennell’s show bridle. Few dry eyes remained when Vice-President Cindy Slemmons read aloud Dabney Hofammann’s award-winning essay about her special relationship with her horse, Absolute Proof, (aka "Mr. Big"), who helped her through the untimely death of a friend. As Outstanding Senior Youth, Dabney received a check from ASHAA for $1,500.

Stepping Stone Farm won the High Point Academy Barn Award, and Heathermoor Farm Riding Academy won the Anita Cowart High Point Performance Barn Award. As part of the tradition begun in 2007, Stepping Stone honored CF Prince’s Night Out as the Academy Horse Hall of Fame inductee, and Heathermoor inducted Marie and Ray Attleberger into the ASHA Hall of Fame. The Attlebergers had horses with Ray Pitman in the 1950s, then with Jimmy Martin and became long-time customers of Billy and Kay Cox. They showed such outstanding horses as Hello Broadway and the road horses Rex Pendragon and Tigerette. Mrs. Attleberger, who is still active in the breeding business, was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent word that at 85, she is "still upright and has all her teeth."

In addition to the 12 academy division awards and 24 performance division high point awards, ASHAA recognized Stephanie Opp (B&W Stables) as High Point Junior Exhibitor, Reagan Huguley (Stepping Stone Farm) as High Point Adult Exhibitor, Rachael Wamble (Stepping Stone Farm) as the High Point Academy Junior Exhibitor and Bettie Borton (Stepping Stone) as the High Point Academy Adult Exhibitor.

The ASHA State High Point Pleasure awards for Alabama were presented as follows:

Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Junior Exhibitor - Kelsie Zuercher with Cadillac’s Crystal (Rocking S); Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Adult - Squash Creek shown by Vickie Honeycutt (Winsalot); Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Adult - I’ve Been Dheired, shown by Stephanie Fox; Show Pleasure Driving - Nora Gilliland showing Callaway’s Up A Creek (Winsalot); Country Pleasure Junior Exhibitor - The King’s Will shown by Austin Waldron (Heathermoor Farm); Country Pleasure Adult - Witchy’s Unlisted Prize shown by Christie Schnetzler (Rocking S); Country Pleasure Driving - Donna K. Smith showing Kelly Santana (Tim Henderson Stables).

Looking ahead to the Mid South Spring Premier Horse Show (May 13-14, 2010 at Priceville, Ala.), members stepped up to sponsor the "money classes" for the show. This year’s show will offer more of its famed southern hospitality, including the Friday night exhibitors’ party. The show has added some racking classes, as well as the crowd-pleasing costume class. For more information about the MSSP Horse Show, contact Charlie Byron at or at 256-654-0142.

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