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Blue Ribbon For Blue Ridge

by Bob Funkhouser

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - You better have had your spurs buckled on tight when you arrived in the mountains of North Carolina for the 10th annual Blue Ridge Classic because it was some kind of horse show. It’s come a long way in a short 10 years as the first show featured 150 horses (125 Morgans and 25 Saddlebreds/Hackneys). The numbers have certainly turned around with Liz Holmes top secretary staff reporting 681 horses represented by 568 Saddlebred and Equitation horses, 19 Hackney/Harness ponies, 40 road ponies, 19 road horses and 35 Morgans.

Much of the success of the show goes to third year manager Liz Holmes and her sister Trish Murray. After some initial success the original show lost its management and committee members and was close to being canceled. Then, in stepped Holmes and with great desire and an exhibitor’s point of view she rolled up her sleeves and started building a show that was enjoyed this year by exhibitors from 31 different states. This is not another circuit show, it attracts barns from all points making for a nice change of pace for the Carolina/Virginia regulars.

“I love doing this,” exclaimed Holmes from railside during the Saturday morning Academy session. “I was on the committee and wanted the show to continue. I can’t say enough about our user friendly office staff and Steve Wilson who takes care of the stabling.”

“This is perfect for her [Holmes] as she is a classic Type A personality,” said sister Trish Murray. “She wanted this to be a horse show for the trainers and exhibitors. The numbers got bigger and we went to a three judge system and I have to say this panel has done a great job keeping the sessions moving.

“The social part of the show is also a big hit. The progressive party has become very popular and our Friday night exhibitor’s party is a lot of fun. We wanted activities for everyone, grooms, trainers and exhibitors. They all work together to make this a success. After this year we need to seriously sit down and look at our class list as to what’s filling and what’s not and revamp it a little bit."

There weren’t many classes that weren’t filled to capacity. This year the Morgans were the lightest they’ve ever been as a few regulars went to the New England show, however it was truly amazing to sit back and watch virtually huge class after huge class.

“Where else can you show in July with weather this cool, a great facility and show management that appreciates you being here?” said Tennessee trainer Mike Barlow. “We’ve been coming for a few years and we just love it. You can’t beat this facility.”

That came from a trainer who was stabled “down below.” At many other shows exhibitors would be raising a rukus if they were stabled that distance from the show ring. It was so refreshing to hear exhibitor after exhibitor happy to be there. It didn’t matter their ribbon color or where they were stabled; they were enjoying being part of a really good show.

“Our people just love it,” said Wisconsin trainer Lynda Freseth. “You know what you’re going to get when you get here. The stabling, work area and show ring are great and there’s lots to do in the area for the customers.”

Holmes had everything going her way the week of July 23-26. The weather was tourism bureau perfect and the quality of horses and ponies was better than ever, according to many different horsemen. Her judging panel of Dick Boettcher, Ray Krussell and Pat McConnell were praised for the way they handled the large and competitive classes.

“It was a pleasure to see them go through those large classes as quickly as they did,” said Elizabeth Deknatel. “And I think they did an extremely thorough job.”

Blue Ridge featured Jackpot Stakes in many divisions on Saturday night. Horses or ponies did not have to qualify for these stakes and while there were a few one timers, many used the large money classes as another opportunity to get tuned up for Louisville.

Another item that gives a check in the plus column is the vocal audience. While attendance isn’t busting at the seams, the weekend attracts a good number of interested horse persons as well as the general spectator and they are quite vocal when it comes to supporting their favorites. There was plenty of electricity in the house!

Exhibitors did their part to keep the audience entertained and that went all the way through the last class.

The boys in the Carolinas have been known to go at it strong when that gate opens. They can fish and eat barbecue together when they’re not on top of or behind a horse, but when that bugle blows it’s each man for himself. And in the case of the $500 Five-Gaited Jackpot Stake it was each man for himself as well as a tough ridin’ blonde lady that had the crowd cheering wildly. This was a classic Carolina gaited stake including one point when Lewis Eckard came right out from under his hat in a heated battle in the turns. Yes sir, it was show time on Saturday night.

Judges Boettcher, Krussell and McConnell had worked the large and competitive classes with great efficiency and this finale was no different. When the cards were tabulated Jon Walker and Dusty Beau were called out by announcer Mark Ferrar as the grand champion. Just like he did at Roanoke, Walker tossed his hat into the crowd on his way to the winner’s circle where Howie Schatzberg took the winning photo. Also just like Roanoke, Eckard was again reserve to Walker except this time he was riding Stud Cor Donatello. Third among the eight entries went to the highly expressive Kami Kazi who was ridden by Mary Lou Greenwell for Hayden Bracknell. Both Kami Kazi and Donatello are South African bred.

There was some horse power in the amateur gaited division which featured 11 entries in the qualifier and eight in the championship. A couple of those from the qualifier went in the Jackpot. Super charged in both classes Callaway’s Weatherman and Gabe Deknatel added another major championship to their arsenal for 2003. The Conatser trained combination was unanimous in both trips. With a much more controlled performance than in the qualifier Dr. Wendy Troyer and CH Hank Heiron weren’t going to let Deknatel and Weatherman just walk away with it however. They cranked up several good passes for reserve grand champion honors. Kami Kazi had earned the red streamers in the Amateur Five-Gaited qualifier.

A Ladies Five-Gaited Championship was added and 11 teams returned for a shot at the tricolor neck garland. Straight across the board in both the qualifier and championship Maria Gilman and CH Discover gave two veteran performances for Barbara Woods and Judd Stables. Stepping up with two impressive shows was the twice reserve team of Andrea Nelson and Daddy-O. This is a new Grey Ridge team with a lot of expression. Also making every pass count, Denise Stumbo and Callaway’s Royal Carriage exited with the yellow prize among a group of big name performers.

Junior exhibitors had a tough way to go in both of their rounds. Both classes were eight deep and any of the eight were capable at making a run for the tricolor, but bobbles and flat out mistakes kept the judges scrambling for the top horses. In the end it was Pam Austin and the always busy Social Worth trotting to the winner’s circle with Robbie Lucas greeting the Magnolia Farm champions. Reserve grand champion honors went to a sharp bay entry The Magic Hour ridden by Shanna Goodwin. They had moved up a notch from the qualifier which had Adrienne Fitch and Cash’s Prime Dividend behind blue ribbon winners Stud Cor Donatello and Talley Harris.

The votes were straight across the board in the Novice Five-Gaited class in which Bret Day and Kalarama’s Pretty Woman had control for Prime Land Development. Showing his own Longshadow Reveille, James Hale returned to Alabama with the second place money.

Lawman was the name called out first in the Junior Five-Gaited Stake which had Darrell Cruse in the winner’s circle for Frank Jones. Having been at the top all season, Callaway’s W.J. Bryan was reserve with Peter Cowart in the irons for Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Mains.

It was a typical Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class with entries in and out of gear, but it was Red Hawk Red Hawk making the biggest impression with the panel. The beautiful colt earned three first place votes for owner/trainer/rider Bill Schoeman. Martin Teater made some entertaining passes with reserve champion Callaway’s In The Limelight.

There was certainly a diverse crowd on hand for Blue Ridge this year. Both gaited pony titles went to the Florida team of Cassi Roth and Small Packages. Never dropping an ear, Small Packages was the unanimous grand champion and two of the three votes in the qualifier under the direction of Bill Rogers. From the Cleveland Park Stables Meredith Smith and Jake’s Little Big Man pushed hard for reserve in both events.

They came six strong for the Three-Gaited Jackpot Stake and what a finish to a great week for Bret Day. After a natural three-way tie sent three horses back to the rail Day and Sensational Heir claimed two of the three first place votes for happy owners Coe and Bill London. The crowd was in to this class all the way as cheers were spread among the top three entries. The smile on Carrie Warner’s face told she was appreciative of the great support she received as the reserve grand champion riding CH Time’s Mirrored. John Conatser and Sacre Bleu were also on the workout for I-80 Auto Parts.

Friday night’s Amateur Three-Gaited Championship had much excitement, especially for Carol Hillenbrand. Riding In My Heart from John Conatser’s Carriage Lane, Hillenbrand turned in a brilliant performance to garner the grand champion streamers after qualifying with a win in the ladies class. Making their first show of the year Phillipa Sledge and CH Yes It’s True had to settle for the Amateur Three-Gaited Reserve Grand Championship. They warmed up with a blue ribbon in the amateur qualifier in which Kim Williams and Bernie’s Spirit came away with reserve.

Blythewood Farm did have the winning number in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Championship. Representing Creek Ridge Farms, Abby Jones piloted Viola Madden to the top prize. The new combination of Morgan Berger and Hollywood Scandal carried the reserve honors back to Boone’s Farm & Stable. In the qualifying round Jessica Anderson debuted the multi-titled American Wine with blue ribbon results. The Judd Stables team defeated Jones and Viola Madden in that class.

Competition was just as strong in the younger age group in which the always smiling Aaron Stump rode the athletic Undulata’s Perfect Gift to the top award. The Clover Leaf trained team enjoyed their second victory pass of the week. My Coco Chanel and Cole Rosenbaum rode away with reserve grand champion honors. In the qualifier Steve Joyce put Shelby Reimer and Tipitina in the reserve slot.

The best of the novice walk-trot horses turned out to be Sweet Jane. Bret Day made the winning presentation for Connie Blue and Sandra Salmen. Mike Barlow was aboard Melissa Scrushy’s In Bold Print for the reserve ribbon, followed by Lisa Lucas and Loves To Dance in third among the eight entries.

It was a perfect beginning to a perfect relationship as Lynda Freseth took The Perfect Blind Date to a unanimous decision in the Junior Three-Gaited Stake for Travis Van Zetten. New to the Hollow Haven string, Perfect Blind Date defeated Lexington’s Junior Three-Gaited Grand Champion April Hi Lite, ridden by Mike Barlow for Frank and Penelope St. Charles.

Extremely refined, Miss Hannah Jane topped the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake. Bret Day hung this winning ribbon on the Grey Ridge tack room for A.E. Nelson. Paul Boone presented a very expressive campaigner in Chesney for the red streamers.

This seems to be the year of the walk-trot pony. Huge classes have been witnessed at nearly every show and Blue Ridge was no exception. With 11 ponies vying for the title it was Suzanna Crews stepping up for the championship ride aboard Cameo’s Carte Blanche. Under the direction of Matt and Kristen Shiflet, they had been reserve in the qualifier to Cameron Garrison and Callaway’s Viscount. Greg O’Kelley put CH Callaway’s Career Girl and Suzanne Kinzler in a great spot to command reserve grand champion honors.

Saturday night’s Three-Gaited Park Jackpot Stake was highly entertaining especially with Bob Gatlin and CSF Supreme Memories parading to the winner’s circle for Judy Brown-McEver. Their unanimous decision topped reserve champions Renaissance lady and Bill Waller as well as seven other entries.

Corbin Smith and Justa Rascal gave Carriage Lane a complete sweep of the amateur performance championships. They moved up a few notches from the qualifier to take championship honors for Fritz and Candace Meile. After making a most impressive show in the qualifier, Muf Clark Purvis and Waltz had to settle for reserve grand champion honors while showing from the Johnny Lucas Stables. Rusty Grundy and Nic Nac Caramac had been reserve to Waltz in the qualifying round.

Cathy Klump and Cannoli received the winning nod in the Amateur Trained Park class which had Debbie Koning and Town Tempest in reserve.

Jon Walker had a great week at Blue Ridge and part of his string’s success came in the Junior Exhibitor Park Championship and qualifier where Tomorrow’s Future and Sally Pyles turned in two unanimous performances. The closest competition came from Drowning Creek Farm which sent Sanibel and Chelsie Smith to the ring.

There was also a Junior Park class which had seven entries competing for the blue. Paul Boone delivered the winning ride aboard Richard and Doris Marr’s Mystic Affair. Steve Gassen and MJB High Fire trotted off with reserve.

When the mighty bay mare, CH Kalarama’s New Sensation hits the ring she takes over and that’s exactly what she did in both of her harness classes. Directed by Hollow Haven Farm the world title holder was both the Fine Harness Jackpot Grand Champion and open class winner with Guy Smith at the whip. Bill Schoeman and Cape Town Talent moved up in the standings to receive the reserve championship streamers for John and Cheyenne Bagley. Steve Gassen and Latte had earned the reserve tie in the qualifier.

One of the grand ladies of the show ring, Ellie Pedersen has enjoyed many winning drives over the years and she was especially pleased with both performances with her Metro Heirea at Asheville. The John Conatser trained team was pushed hard on both occasions by the lofty going Callaway’s Head Over Heels and driver Mary Gise.

Dakota Willimon made a quick trip to the mountains in between many rides at Harrodsburg, Ky., to win the ASHAF Fine Harness Youth Challenge. She guided Randi Wightman’s Callaway’s Trade Wind to the title.

Votes were across the board for the two entries in the Junior Fine Harness class. In Touch and Bret Day received the top votes for owner/breeder A.E. Nelson, while Steve Old and War Shadow were reserve for James Dellinger, Jr.

It was much deeper in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness class in which Bob Gatlin and Baggar Vance led the way for Cindy and Lee Wagoner. John Warner also had a sporty youngster in reserve champion Last Tango In Paris. Bret Day and Jamaican Heir was in the mix for third in the good class.

Tom Lee was an extremely proud parent following the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class. He debuted a beautiful and talented black colt named VHF The Licorice Drop Kid to defeat five other contenders, including reserve champions Mystic Pointe and Bret Day. There was much talk about Lee’s colt around the grounds for the rest of the weekend.

What a nice ring it is for showing a road horse and that’s exactly what four drivers did in the Roadster To Bike Jackpot Stake. Big and impressive, Quill was a powerhouse to take the title for owner/driver Jon Walker.

Eight entries were featured in the Amateur Roadster To Bike qualifier and six came back for their championship. In both classes it was Kentucky Wildcat on the front end of the fast break to give Jon Dabareiner and Fish N Fun two more titles to hang from the rafters. David Crockett and the veteran speedster Lexus drove away with the reserve championship, while Harry Chapman and Diamond Hustler commanded the red streamers from the amateur qualifier.

Sam Stafford and Shawnee left no doubt they were the Novice Roadster To Bike Champions as they received a unanimous decision. Always introducing a nice new road horse, Mike Barlow had the reserve tie with Don’s Iliad.

CSI Farm has had their share of roadster champions over the years and Where’s Reuben’s youth blue ribbon added to the legacy. John Simpson was the winning driver. Deidre Davis and Amos Moses represented by J.D. Gardner and Quail Hollow Farm in reserve.

Roadster Under Saddle entries got to mix it up two times and the final round went to Beth Barksdale and Boogieman. The grand champions were prepared by Page Champion at North Star Farm. Kim Collins and Where’s Reuben landed the reserve tricolor streamers. The qualifying round had two different winners among the seven entries. Maria Gilman and Mardi Gras were champions in their only appearance. Debbie Koning and Pretty Woman garnered reserve for David Crockett.

Steve Joyce came back with the multi-titled world’s champion The Cajun Cat to win the Road Pony Open Jackpot Stake with nine ponies vying for the honors. Steve Gassen and world title holder Cappuccino put it in high gear for the reserve championship ribbon.

The Amateur Road Pony qualifier and championship were two of the most exciting classes of the show. It was deep, deep water so every pass counted. When the dust had settled Heartland Sundust and Mary Gise were in the winner’s circle for the second time this week. They had two unanimous decisions under the direction of Andy Freseth. Always a tough competitor, Susan Harris directed Seize The Moment to two reserve finishes.

It’s not often you see Peter Cowart in silks, but he made it count in the Junior Road Pony class driving Mark Wilson’s athletic mare Journey My Way to the blue. They were pressed by China Princess and Lewis Eckard.

A good group of seven competed for the Limit Road Pony blue which was awarded to Brandy Johnson and Spirit’s Echo. K & J’s Durango Kid and Rachel Seifert went home with the red ribbon.

Jimmy Womble’s Mountain Shadow Stables took control of the junior exhibitor speedsters. Womble greeted Frank Polley and Seamair Twice As Nice in the winner’s circle of the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Championship as well as the AHHS Youth Medallion. Both times Abby Jones and Heartland Wonderful Miss drove off with the reserve title.

When they said, “Let ‘em go” in the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony Under Saddle, it was Sarah Sessoms and Rowdy Yank out in front the whole way. Crossing the finish line in reserve was Brit Gentry aboard K & J’s The Harley Sportster.

The rackin’ and trottin’ was wide open for the 16-horse Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship and the 19-entry qualifier. There were many big name entries gunning for a good prize, however, it was the team of Andrea Nelson and Collector Of Blues moving up two places to take the grand champion prize home for Grey Ridge Farm and owners Tim and Susan Saxe. One of the handiest horses showing today, Harlem’s Hot Scoop collected the reserve ribbon from both large classes. Lisa Dabareiner was aboard both times under the direction of Lisa Lucas. Juvenile World’s Grand Champions in 2002, Bongo and Corbin Smith won the adult qualifier with 18 entries behind them.

Juvenile riders had their own qualifier and championship and they were just as competitive as their adult counterparts. Under the direction of Heather Boodey, CH My Korbel and Victoria Woodruff withstood several strong runs by competitors to take home two unanimous decisions. The new team of Sarah Sessoms and Peppermint Sonburst garnered two unanimous reserves.

Following suit, the Show Pleasure Driving Championship was large and competitive and the perfect stage for Lois Vartanian and CH Callaway’s True Grit to shine. The Judd Stables team returned to Florida with grand champion honors as well as a blue in section B of the qualifier. World’s Champions Lib Jones and CH Harlem’s Heat captured section A of the qualifier before finishing the week with reserve grand champion honors. I’m The Real Deal and Harlem’s Babe Ruth had been reserve in the qualifiers.

The California team of CH Advantage Me and Aliyah Asch led the way in the ASHAF Youth Pleasure Driving Challenge with Allie Wellington and I’m The Real Deal shining in reserve.

Adult riders on pleasure horses filled the ring for their championship, 19 in all. There were world’s champions from top to bottom, but none could touch the performances of Ericka Nelson and CH Blackberry Delight. It was a unanimous sweep of the division for the Hollow Haven team. The closest competition came in the form of world’s champions Absolutely Exquisite and Paula Frenette. Jacqueline Ware and The Excelsior moved up to third in the championship followed by hard riding Laura Hundley aboard CH In Neon for fourth.

Jim McIntosh made the trip from Indiana worthwhile for Debbie Ecksten and Linda Lewis. Ecksten rode Mirrored Dancer for Lewis to win the Novice Rider Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Highpoint’s Heir Apparent and Kevin Ingram emerged from the line up with the reserve grand champion title.

Also in the pleasure ranks Morgan Wolin and CF Cool Night Out won the limit class ahead of Clarissa Henry and If Time Allows. Debbie Koning and What A Keepsake wore the blue ribbon from the amateur trained class in which Donna Ross and Paragon’s Fascination claimed the red prize.

Harrison Shiflet directed Jessica Singleton and So Much To Say to the top of the highly competitive Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Pleasure Championship in which Ginny Hack and The Cajun Moon captured reserve among the 12 entries. It was the second victory pass of the week for Singleton and So Much To Say, while Sydney Carter and CH It’s Yabba Dabba Doo Time were selected for the red prize.

Heather Boodey’s Ingleside Farm had a banner week and part of that success was brought on by Caitlin Leith and Junior Exhibitor 13 and Under Pleasure Grand Champion Future Treasure. Ashton Hale was aboard Jigsaw Johnny for the reserve honors. Adrienne Fitch teamed up with CH Wing’s Main Attraction to take the blue ribbon stroll in the qualifying round where Cassi Rath and Man Of The House were strong reserve winners.

There was also an abundance of quality stock in the Junior Park Pleasure qualifier and championship. Maria Gilman was aboard Kelsey Olson’s new entry So Audacious to win both classes, the championship being unanimous. Reserve both times out belonged to Callaway’s B. Gratz Brown with Kristen Shiflet in the irons for Greg Crews.

The youngest of junior exhibitors also had their time to shine at Asheville. Lauren Henderson and CH Empress In Black posted six first place votes in their two performances 12 and Under Walk and Trot Pleasure division. Beth Watson’s CH Harlem’s Black Magic was reserve twice.

Likewise, Ali Deutsch and Santana’s Flaming Dawn were unanimous in both Three-Gaited Pleasure Pony classes. Megan Bush Barrett and Sunkissed Supreme were twice the reserve champions.

Other than the pleasure and roadster divisions, ponies were the one disappointment at the Blue Ridge Classic, but then that has been the case at a majority of shows this year. The pleasure combinations featured several world class teams, but none was going to touch Bob Anderson and Pacifico’s Standing Ovation. Gifted beyond belief, yet mannered to perfection, last year’s world’s grand champion is well on his way to a repeat performance. Rita Camp and Heartland Hightime know a little about winning as well and they commanded to reserve finishes.

Six entries competed for the Hackney Pleasure Driving Limit Pony honors which were bestowed upon Heartland Stetson and Sallie Turner. They were ahead of Boxford Grand Expectation and Elizabeth Kuykendall in reserve.

Parker Hodges and Mystic King qualified for Kansas City with the AHHS Youth Medallion Pleasure Driving title. Jennifer Shell guided Cherry’s Dream Motion to the reserve finish. The under saddle of the AHHS Medallion went to Texas Pete and Taylor Church, followed by Excessive and Cara Wolf.

Tina Smith’s Dixie Jubilee was the lone long-tail on the grounds, while Debbie Koning and Oliver Twist were the single team in the Hackney Pony Stake. They did have one other team in the amateur class and that was Linda Lewis’ Spirit’s Eastern Morn.

The other half of the dynamic driving duo, Nancy Anderson again swept the Country Pleasure Driving division with her world’s champion Callaway’s Pretty Penny. They earned six first place votes between the two classes. Winner of the junior exhibitor class, Callaway’s Wish Me Blue was the reserve grand champion with Ashley Sargent, while Frank Jones and Rich Prince were reserve in the adult class.

Callaway’s Pretty Penny’s stablemate CH The Shadow Knows also swept his country pleasure classes. Ridden by Karen Smith, the Hollow Haven entry won both the adult championship and qualifier on the way to Freedom Hall. Under the direction of Mike and Kathy Barlow, Melissa Scrushy and CH Mr Gary Cooper were on top of their game for two reserve performances in a very large and competitive division.

Junior exhibitor country pleasure horses were broken down into two age groups. Boone’s Farm celebrated the 14-17 championship as The Kentucky Connection and Jessica Holmes were standouts. It was their second unanimous performance of the week. Roaring Gap and Abby Jones were right there for the reserve championship among nine entries. Aimee Austin and Finn MacCumhail received the red streamers in the qualifier.

It was a great week for Joan Whitesides and her family. Granddaughter Garrison Hodges rode CH Belle Of The Abbey to the 13 and Under Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier under the direction of Barney Garrison. Attitude Matters and Stephanie Fox moved up a spot to take reserve grand champion honors. Rebekah Cloninger and Attache’s Irish Wine held the reserve spot in the qualifier.

Other country pleasure winners included Sultan’s Gold and Bill London (limit horse), Meredith Dancer and The Crimson King (novice rider) and Sar’s Rambo with Stephanie Leidenheimer (amateur trained).

There was plenty of Western Pleasure action with six entries in the Country Western Pleasure Championship. Luanne Kilday and Rum Tum Tigger jogged down victory lane in the championship round. They were followed by Barbara Brown and The Midnight Express who had also been reserve in the qualifier. Marilyn Swimmer and Sue’s Great Day topped that qualifier.

Kilday was back in the winner’s circle taking Irradiate to the top prize for the Saddle & Bridle Working Western Pleasure class, while Brendan Heintz made his first Blue Ridge appearance and won the Saddle & Bridle Shatner class with Simply Southern.

Marie Gwinn and Hurricane Swamp Fox had two convincing performances to win the Hunter/Sport Horse Championship and qualifier. Allie Morgan and Simply Southern were reserve champions among the five entries.

While there were some solid riders in the equitation division it wasn’t as large as the performance sections. Completing a great week for Magnolia Stable, Aimee Austin was named the Saddle Seat Equitation 14-17 Grand Champion and she also added the UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup to her resume. Forever Farm’s Sarah Ann Howell was reserve grand champion after taking a reserve to the multi-titled Whitney Irwin in the 14-17 qualifier. Riding under the Crumpler Stables banner, Irwin also qualified for the USAE Medal finals with a victory pass in that section.

While learning of the death of her father that week, Rachel Machamer showed lots of poise and courage to win the 13 and Under Saddle Seat Equitation Championship and the 13 and Under qualifier from Clover Leaf Stables. The Zubrod family put Olivia Weber into the reserve championship.

Emma Nichols had the winning smile and form for the UPHA 13 and Under Challenge Cup. She was followed by Aliyah Asch. John Whalen has been turning out champion riders from his Chestnut Lane and Jennifer Roberts represented him in the winner’s circle of the UPHA 11 and Under Challenge Cup. Kristina Coil turned in the reserve ride.

Roberts’ stablemate, Kate Lovejoy, was again two for two in the walk and trot division. She continues to show confidence and horsemanship. Taylor Padgett was twice the reserve champion.

Although there were only three riders in the Pleasure Equitation Championship, all three have won major classes at top shows. Following the workout, the championship ribbon belonged to Zubrod Stable’s Megan Kucera, winner of the 14-17 qualifier. From Ingleside Farm, Misty Hall was the reserve grand champion after winning the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup and taking reserve in the 13 and under qualifier. Third place honors in the championship belonged to Abby Krempasky, reserve winner of the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup and 14-17 qualifier.

Earning a right to compete in St. Louis for the finals, Samantha Simpson won the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Medallion, placing ahead of Reagan Huguley.

While the Morgan division was light on entries a few veteran supporters were there with quality stock. “We really enjoy this show,” said Barb Goda of Friday Farm. “We like showing with the good Saddlebreds."

In fact, it was Goda’s entry, GFF Riverdance who won the Park Saddle Championship and open class with Sarah Dye Gallant in the irons. Tom Johnson presented the Morgan Park Harness Champion in Arboria Fortune.

There was a good group on hand for the Morgan English Pleasure Championship in which Mary Cannon and AFF Rooster Cogburn led the way. It was their third victory pass of the week as they qualified with a blue ribbon performance in the ladies class and a tricolor victory pass in the amateur championship. Jeff Sumner and Hollybrook Ms Highbrow rode away with reserve championship honors. Marcy Vance and Antioch Blessed Hope turned back all challengers in the Open Morgan English Pleasure qualifier. Barb Goda and Faithfullee were reserve in that section.

Tricolor honors in the amateur championship went to the sharp trotting AFF Rooster Cogburn and Mary Cannon, followed by the Friday Farm team of Sarah Dye Gallant and On Target, reserve winners of the amateur qualifier. Luren Martin and Century Cheyenne captured that amateur qualifier under the direction of Mary Ann Harris.

Ardun’s Yankee Royal and Stonecroft Wish Me Well were also winners in the English Pleasure division making exhibitions in the junior exhibitor and junior classes respectively.

Mary Daughtry and Hollybrook Indian Brave were on cruise control to win the Morgan Pleasure Driving Open Stake, a repeat of the open qualifier. Jason Gray and TWK Willy Anna Commando moved up a notch to win the Morgan Junior Pleasure Driving Championship for Sherry Lynn Kipikasa. They had been reserve to Chauncy Felker and Stonecroft Wish Me Well in the junior qualifier. Also from Hi Time Stables, Betty Gray and Dare You All drove away with the reserve triclolor in the junior championship.

Getting lots of practice, Mary Daughtry and Hollybrook Indian Brave also won the Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship for Morgans. Amateur qualifying winner On Target had to settle for reserve in the championship round with Sarah Dye Gallant.

The best of the Morgan Western Pleasure entries turned out to be PTR Raz Ma Taz. With a beautiful and smooth way of going this youngster was presented by Euchee Matthews for Alicia Davis. They had qualified with a victory pass in the junior/novice class. Reserve grand champion honors were bestowed upon WB Enticement and Jo Nell Harrison. This proven team had won the open and amateur qualifiers in which Barbara Duell Hewitt and Suntime Maximum Exposure were twice reserve. Maximum Exposure did, however, win the Morgan Western Pleasure Ladies class, followed by Radiance Cavalier and Amanda Hewitt, winners of the junior exhibitor class.

Six entries vied for the Morgan Classic Pleasure Saddle Stake, but it was Bud The Wiser taking the top honors for owner/rider Sue Stroud. They had moved up two places from the qualifier which was won by Lori Felker Roberts aboard DAF Monte Cristo. Jo Nell Harrison and OH Relentless picked up the red prize in that round.

Coalition Royal Billing and June Davis went home with a blue prize from the Limit Classic Pleasure Saddle class. Junior exhibitor winners BEM Felise and Megan Ford were reserve to Davis.

Steady and solid every step of the way, Whitemud Forever Sunbeam and Prescott May captured the Morgan Classic Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier. Their closest competition in the championship turned out to be OH Relentless and Jo Nell Harrison. Chauncy Fleker and DAF Monte Cristo had earned reserve honors in the first round.

Closing out the competition for the 2003 Blue Ridge Classic, HVK Hard Rock topped the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Open Stake with Tristanne Weber in the irons for Marilyn North. They had also strolled down victory lane in the open and ladies classes. Winner of the amateur qualifier, Ponderosa Chippendale and Megan Hewitt carried off the reserve championship streamers. Winner of the junior/novice class, Jason Gray presented Myrrwood Montebello to third place honors in the championship.

This completes the highlights of one of the best shows of the year to this point. Judge’s cards and results can be found in this issue or results can be viewed at

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  • Obituary - Dick Boettcher

    Saddle Horse Report received the sad news that Redmond, Washington trainer Dick Boettcher passed away today (March 22). A 2012 inductee into the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame and recipient of the ASHA Lifetime Achievement Award... Read More
  • Local Riding Club to Host Charity Horse Show

    The Castlewood Riding Club, in Castlewood, Virginia, will host a charity horse show May 5, 2018 at the riding club. The show will feature a variety of breeds and the schedule will include numerous divisions including academy classes. John Scott will serve as the judge for all divisions... Read More
  • Bobbie Jo Jaakkola Wins AMHA Young Adult Alliance Judging School Scholarship

    The American Morgan Horse Association Young Adult Alliance (YAA) presented their fifth annual Judging School Scholarship to Bobbie Jo Jaakkola of Northwell, Michigan. The Professional Development Project created by this passionate group awards a $1,500 scholarship to one individual aged 21-40, professional or amateur, who is interested in attaining their Morgan R judging card. Read More
  • Spring Fling Horse Show to debut in its new location of the Equestrian Center at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, IA, April 5-8, 2018

    Spring Fling Horse Show to debut in its new location of the Equestrian Center at Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, IA, April 5-8, 2018... Read More
  • Des Moines Springfest announces location

    The Des Moines Springfest Horse Show is scheduled for April 26 – 29, 2018.   We are pleased to announce the show will be held in the beautiful, state of the art Jacobson Arena at the Iowa State Fairground, Des Moines, IA. Read More