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ASHA Award Bios

Editor’s Note: Speeches for all of the award winners except the Lifetime Achievement award were not available. However, we are pleased to present you the 2004 Award winners.

Breeder’s Award-Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Groves

Like their Thoroughbred operation, the Saddlebred Division of North Ridge Farm in Minnesota has boasted top horses, including the memorable Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion CH Belle Elegant (1975 and 1977). The Groves’ breeding program goes back four generations, and Mr. Groves can recite the bloodlines from memory. Having won the Eclipse Award as Thoroughbred breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Groves have that special “eye” the great breeders are famous for. Among the Saddlebred stallions they’ve stood, CH Irish American, CH Kourageous Kalu, Super Supreme and CH Foxfire’s Prophet have consistently sired World’s Champions, stakes winners and outstanding broodmares.

The Groves put high priority on the quality of the bottom line, operating on the premise that their top show mares make outstanding broodmares.

Among their outstanding recent produce have been In My Heart (2001 National Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Futurity), World’s Champion Seismic Force, World’s Champion CH Hear The Music, etc. They also bred the Broodmare Hall of Fame member Northern Empress, dam of World’s Champions I’ve A Jewel and Harlem’s Yankee Queen. Meritorious Service Award-Ray Sheffield

As owner of The National Horseman magazine for several decades, Ray provided space gratis on a regular basis to the ASHA, UPHA, American Saddlebred Museum and other horse organizations and worthy causes. An early morning call from Ray, with a smile in his voice and a joke to tell, gave many people a bright start to their day and he is well known for his contagiously positive outlook on life. He also has a serious side, and has spent many hours, on more than one occasion, compiling statistics concerning the impact of the Kentucky State Fair and the Saddlebred industry in general upon the economy of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which he presented to legislators (and he has been recently working on another such report).

While he had loved Saddlebreds from the first time he saw them as a child, he was not involved with the horse business. After some years in the Coast Guard during World War II, he applied for a job at The National Horseman, and was hired. He traveled to show stables and farms throughout the Midwest, making friends with owners and trainers, and by 1952 was advertising manager. Eventually he purchased the magazine, which he owned until 1999.

Ray is well-known for providing assistance in any way he can to anyone who asks, always cheerfully, and, in addition, he supported many horse shows with sponsorships.

He was also a horse show father: daughter Tricia’s best year was 1986, when she showed CH Copper Locket to win the Five-Gaited Pony 14-17 at Louisville and at Asheville. Ray was an accomplished writer, covering several important shows himself as well as contributing many historical articles about horses, trainers, owners and farms to his magazine.

Ray was inducted into the Kentucky State Fair Hall of Fame in 1995. C.J. Cronan Sportsmanship Award-Keith Bartz

Director of the American Saddlebred Museum for more than a decade, beginning with its inception at the Kentucky Horse Park location, Keith is still on its board of trustees. He was also a licensed ASHA judge (until he retired from that activity in 1998) in 11 Divisions. He has served (or is serving) on the following USA Equestrian Committees: board of directors, budget and finance, licensed officials (Co-Chair), planning, national nominating (Chair), executive, Saddlebred, ad hoc federation delegates (Co-Chair). Under the U.S. Equestrian name of the organization, he was on the board of directors, budget and finance, and the administration and finance working group. Under the ASHA name, he was on the Futurity Rules and Pleasure Horse Committees. Keith is also a past president of the UPHA, and the 2003 recipient of the Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award from USA Equestrian.

Keith owned Hollow Haven Farm in Minnesota for 27 years, with his wife Carol. They put many amateur and juvenile riders into the show ring, beginning with an extensive lesson program. Keith also has experience as a horse show father and grandfather, and has spent his entire life devoted to the promotion of the American Saddlebred. Lurline Roth Sportsmanship Award-Ann Curl

Louisiana-born Ann Curl’s first horse as a child living on her parents’ farm was a Quarter Horse, but as she was one of nine children, they only rode for fun, sharing the horse. After marriage to husband Rick, when her daughters Ashley and Jessica became interested in riding, they began with a Quarter Horse. The girls, however, later preferred Saddlebreds. Tragically, Ann’s daughter Ashley and four others were killed in a traffic accident returning from Louisville in 2001. After that, rather than quit the horse business, Ann began driving horses in her daughter’s memory. Also in her memory, the Curl family donated a 32-stall barn at the Longview Horse Park in Kansas City, Mo.

Ann can be described as generous, caring and competitive, and always with a smile-win or lose. Gordon Jenkins International Award-Nancy Becker

Nancy has been a World Class instructor for nearly 30 years. First working with trainer Bill Becker, horses from the Bill Becker Stables in Mathews, North Carolina, under their direction included such World and National champions as CH Shadow Run, Capricious Capers (Nancy's gaited mare), Wind Capers, Starlike Sultan, Society Knight and many more top horses, ponies and riders.

Moving to California, they built El Milagro Stables in California, producing many well-known show horses.

Nancy is currently located at Shadow Run in Nicholasville and is deeply involved in the World Cup program for international saddle seat equitation competition. In 1998, Nancy was nominated to coach the US World Cup team, with South Africa as the locale of that year's competition. Nancy went early and stayed with Anne Judd, who lived there at the time. Nancy fell in love with South Africa and its people. She had the vision to see where the World Cup was taking the Saddle Seat industry on a world scale. Nancy has served as Chairman of the US Saddle Seat World Cup committee for four years, which involves the tasks of shipping a team abroad, keeping the coaches, riders and fans happy. This year, she put together the World Cup competition held at the Kentucky Horse Park. Frank Ogletree Youth Award-Shelby Reimer

In the many decades of the Saddlebred's existence, probably thousands of youngsters have wished, at least once, that they lived on a horse farm of that their parents were trainers. But being the offspring of professionals is not all fun and getting to ride whenever you want to. Such parents have obligations and responsibilities toward the many horses in their care, and the clients who own them, and can't cater to your every wish. While some offspring of professionals have distanced themselves from the industry, Shelby Reimer has made the best of it and that best is very good indeed.

Shelby began riding and showing leadline at the age of 18 months and continues to enjoy competition at every level, from winter tournaments to the World's Championship Horse Show. She has learned the horse industry from the bottom up, including the handle of a manure fork. She won her first World's Championship in 2002 aboard Town Fantasy (Three-Gaited 11 and under, Division I), and we expect there are many more in her future.

Definitely a leader, and one that has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility, sportsmanship and horsemanship, Shelby represented the State of Georgia at the 2004 Jr. National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Scholastically, this Flint River Academy student is a member of the Jr. National Honor Society, on the Academy's Honor Roll, has received a National Math Award, Accelerated Reader Award, Drama Performance Award, and highest yearly average in Social Studies and Science. She is a member of ASHA, UPHA, AHHS, USEF, ARHPA and ASHAG, and a participant in their activities. Shelby has received UPHA Chapter 17 Awards for Sportsmanship and for The Three-Gaited Pony of the Year, Return To Innocence, plus numerous Georgia State High Point Awards, presented by ASHAG.

Shelby is appreciated by all who know her as a most dependable team player, supportive of other riders and her good judgment and mature outlook have been great assets to all those with whom she has come in contact. Picture perfect on a horse, win or lose there is always a smile on her face, and she is an ideal representative of this award.

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