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Bonnie Blue National Horse Show

by Margaret Cordes and Bob Funkhouser


Horse Show Manager: Scarlett Mattson, Irvington KY

Show Secretary: Beth Snider, Cox’s Creek, KY

Judges: Steve Crabtree, Elizabethtown, KY; Lana Gilpin, Loretto, MN; Steve Old, Cartersville, GA

USEF Steward: Stacey Wright, Blairs, VA

Farrier: John Bare, Forest, VA

Announcers: Mark Farrar, Nashville, TN; Sally Moore (Paddock), Lexington, VA

Organist: Charles Ritchie Jr., Bartlett, TN

Photographer: Pics of You, Dry Fork, VA

Ring Masters: Kent Moeller, Powhatan, VA; Don Baker, Louisville, KY

Video Services: Richfield Video, Shelbyville, KY

Veterinarian Service: Mountain View Equine Hospital, Steeles Tavern, VA


LEXINGTON, Va. - There was a little concern the Bonnie Blue National would suffer this year with Asheville running the same week, May 16-19, 2007. But once the horn sounded that fear was over with most pleasure classes calling on double-digit class numbers. The Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship welcomed 17 competitors, adults brought out 14 of the best and even 13 entries in the Show Pleasure Driving class. Each division welcomed world’s champion horses. With a three-judge panel, exhibitors got the experience to prepare for the tough competition ahead later this summer in Lexington and Louisville.


One of the most experienced teams has been running this show for years.   Scarlett Mattson and Beth Snider no doubt are a big reason the show continues to be a success each year. Exhibitors enjoyed food and drink overlooking the arena Friday night followed by an auction to raise money for the show’s charity. A little more fun was added Saturday night with a stick pony race for the young cowboys and a pig toss competition for some of the older kids and adults who relied on a squeaky rubber pig to cash in on a big jackpot. Half of that money raised will also go to the horse show charity.


Bonnie Blue will be remembered forever by at least two exhibitors who have waited a long time for a special ride and drive. Exhibitors too are sure to remember Saturday night when Tammie Conatser screamed and leaped into the arena after the announcement of Candace Meili and Coco Loco’s victory in the Amateur Fine Harness class. This is Meili’s first drive and now her first championship ribbon in Amateur Fine Harness with her young, two-time world’s champion horse.  


It was also the moment Betsy Thomas had been waiting for with her three-gaited New York’s Perfect Gift, fondly called Rudy. You might say it was made to order. Six years ago Thomas pulled an embryo from her world’s champion mare Undulata’s Perfect Gift and crossed her with I’m A New Yorker. She waited patiently, enjoying several world’s champion titles from her young colt.  Now, at the 2007 Bonnie Blue National, Thomas not only made a grand debut but started a new blue ribbon streak with her exciting new teammate.


There are many other stories and firsts that took place this week, and so many good memories each day and night from what will again go down as a successful and very competitive Bonnie Blue.


Wednesday Evening


There was some fear that the overlapping of the Asheville Lions Club Show and Bonnie Blue would hurt the 20th annual edition of Bonnie Blue. The first class of the show indicated differently as the Ladies Three-Gaited Park class kicked off the Lexington, Va., classic.


A winner at Lexington (Ky.) and Louisville last year, Perfect Vengeance led the way in the Ladies Three-Gaited Park class. Kaitlyn Grom was again aboard for Revelation Farm and trainer Mike Richardson. A beautiful, young mare, Princess Ruby Begonia was Nancy Leigh Fisher’s reserve champion, followed by recent UPHA 14 Spring Premiere Amateur Park Champion Snorkle, ridden by MaryBeth Alosa.


Princess Ruby Begonia’s stablemate, Hero’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash, captured the next class in unanimous fashion with owner Travis Van Zetten riding to the winner’s circle of the adult gaited pleasure class. It was the first of many winning ribbons for Hollow Haven Farm on Wednesday night. Jan Frame’s Heirborne Express collected the red streamers.


Travis Van Zetten and Hero’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash

captured the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure

qualifier and championship.


Extremely familiar with the winner’s circle at Bonnie Blue, Sightline added another title to his winning career with the unanimous decision in the Open Three-Gaited class. Rob Turner was riding for Holli Esposito. A new entry for Elaine Gregory, Coco Royale was the reserve champion with Robin McGahey in the irons.


Only a four-year-old, the charismatic He Is The Heir followed up the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and qualifying blue at UPHA 14 Spring Premiere with a Bonnie Blue victory pass in the 18-40 show pleasure section. Careen Dubuc was on board for Phoenix Prophecies. The Werk Way Stables team of Brooke Jacobs and My Southern Charm returned to the barn with a red ribbon.


The heavy hitters continued to invade Waldron Arena as Gone Platinum and John Conatser turned in a performance worthy of three first place votes in the Open Fine Harness class. Ronnie Graham drove The Tango Dancer to reserve honors.


Carriage Lane Farm won the next class as well. In the Adult Show Pleasure 41 and Over competition CH Just Special and Carol Hillenbrand had the unanimous approval of the panel. Paula Monty and Capsaicin rode to the reserve finish.


Hollow Haven Farm was back on the scoreboard as Nancy Anderson and the queen of country pleasure driving, CH Callaway’s Pretty Penny, emerged with the blue streamers. Showing for Fish N Fun Farm, Ali DeGray guided Harlem’s Worldly Lady to a second place prize.


All through Wednesday night Hollow Haven and Carriage Lane presented world’s champion after world’s champion. Swish and Carol Hillenbrand were the next John Conatser-trained team to occupy the winner’s circle of the amateur gaited qualifier. The always-busy Champagne Property was reserve with Jan Frame aboard.


The Waldron family’s Bent Tree Farm presented the next winner of the evening, Friesian Pleasure Driving Champion Iedse. Bent Tree also sent Lee Hudson and Night Editor down victory lane in the Open Harness Pony class.


He’s A Royal Pepper and Nancy Leigh Fisher had the right dash of spice in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park class. The competition was also first rate as Margaret Biggs and CH Desert’s Supreme Admiral rode away with the red ribbon.


Bonnie Blue was the coming out party for Betsy Thomas and New York’s Perfect Gift and what a party it was! Three first place votes went to the celebrated champion and his amateur rider in the amateur three-gaited class. Also putting on a topnotch show, Broadway’s Mama Mia was crowned reserve Amateur Three-Gaited Champion with Careen Dubuc in the irons.


The first blue hung on the Mercer Springs tack room belonged to True Blue Cat, the Virginia Owned Five-Gaited Champion owned by Lisa Lucas and shown by Smith Lilly. Second belonged to Star Dreamer and Darlene Rose.


Hollow Haven struck again with Mary Gise and Heartland Sundust taking a unanimous decision in the Amateur Road Pony qualifier. Dr. Robert Pugh’s Stat crossed the finish line in reserve.


Reserve World’s Champion Callaway’s Born With Style marched a trot worthy of the blue in the Junior Three-Gaited class. Smith Lilly was the winning trainer for Bill Beckley and Robin Vuillermet. Also a world titleholder, Forever Foxy claimed reserve honors for owner/breeder Barbara von Berries and trainer/rider Mike Tunstall.


Jon Walker was in the saddle when Joker’s Wild was called out as the Virginia Owned Three-Gaited winner for Bob and Jan Gunn. Gary Altizer rode Joe Phipps’s Heaven’s Silver Lining to reserve.


Marching a big trot off both ends, His Supreme Reflection turned back all competitors in the Open Three-Gaited Park class. Andy Freseth made the winning ride for Marilyn Gaiswinkler. Reserve to the champions were Kelly Vernon and I’m Simply Divine.


The Ruth Gimpel/James Roseburg team was listed as the trainer/owner of Open Roadster To Bike Champion Roar Of Thunder. Also roadster enthusiasts, Jon Dabareiner and Fish N Fun Farm had the reserve champion in Postmaster Mike.


Wednesday evening was proving to be the debut session for a couple of high profile teams. Ericka Nelson and Sue She got their career together started in blue ribbon fashion as they scored three first place votes in the Ladies Three-Gaited class. Georgia Morrison and her longtime partner, The Marrying Man, marched out with reserve.


Jimmy and Georgia Morrison (seated on trunk) and

their customers at Meadow Dream had a great week.


As versatile and talented as any junior exhibitor showing today, Ali DeGray earned yet another blue for the Ruth Gimpel Stables’s count. Holly Go Lightly was her Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Champion. Veterans Brenda Rappaport and Cover Story commanded reserve honors.


When John Conatser sends Gabe Deknatel to the ring on a gaited horse you know it’s going to be a good one. Deknatel piloted Tipsy Gypsy to win the Open Five-Gaited class to close out the evening. Merrill Murray and the 2006 American Royal Five-Gaited Stallion Champion Kalarama’s All Time High were reserve for the Catron family.


Thursday Evening


Day two of the 20th annual Bonnie Blue Horse Show brought about another session of topnotch competition beginning with the NHS Good Hands class. Teamed with CH Titleist Symbol, Rachel Machamer showed she was going to be a force again this year with her unanimous blue ribbon ride. A familiar sight at the top of junior exhibitor pleasure classes with her Spirited Edition, Christie Milbury was the second rider called out by announcer Mark Farrar.


Jan Lukens directed Traci Massaro and CH Titleist Commander to the winner’s circle of the Adult Country Pleasure 18-40 qualifier. Continuing a great start to the season, Patricia Bartsch and Mr. Rockefeller represented Cater Stables with the reserve finish.


Lee Hudson couldn’t have been prouder of the drive Anna Hudson gave Miss Scarlett to win the AHHS Road Pony Medallion for Bent Tree Farm. Among the six entries Alex Ververeli and Mastercraft’s Gambler were reserve.


Among a good group of horses, Heir’s Intoxication and Joy Bowman came out on top in the 41 and over country pleasure class ahead of reserve champions Debbie Dyson and My Chesapeake Bay, among others.


There were three other teams coming at them, but Ali DeGray and her multi-titled world’s champion CH Tigerlee still managed a unanimous decision in the junior exhibitor gaited class. Charging hard as the reserve champions, Callaway’s Smooth Sailing and Katherine Abraham made several strong passes.


The seasoned team of Claudia Fletcher and Midtown Magic led the way in the Show Pleasure Driving class. The next ribbon was presented to Callaway’s Summer Solstice and Kathy Crotty.


Among the six Friesian Saddle Seat Pleasure entries last year’s East Coast Friesian Champion Gooitzen Fan Teakesyl stood alone in the winner’s circle with Carson Kressley riding for Annika Bruggeworth. Karen Waldron and Douwe floated out with the reserve title.


World’s Champion CH 98 Degrees was on top of his game to win the Virginia Owned Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Champion for Susan Creekmore and Hollow Haven Farm. Second place was awarded to Move Over Darling and Mary Dunker.


Linda Shelhart greeted Katherine Randall and Callaway’s Viscount in the winner’s circle of the Open Three-Gaited Pony class. Their competition was Sultan’s Crescendo, ridden by Allyson Ehle.


Heir Popper was popping his knees in the air to win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 and Under blue with Kelsey McDonald up for Revelation Farm. Ashley Bradbury had a talented entry herself in the reserve champion Diamond I Am.


Bent Tree Farm continued to keep the pony division alive at Bonnie Blue, hoping some others will show up. Heartland Ooh La La was the lone amateur cob-tail.


The junior exhibitors were putting on quite a show with their gaited pleasure horses. The best of that good group was Summit Up, the Mercer Springs entry owned and ridden by Allison Combs. Jessica Moctezuma and Blackhawk’s Girls Nite Out went home with a reserve ribbon.


Defending Amateur Roadster To Bike World’s Champion of Champions Kentucky Wildcat was already in midseason form to take the Amateur Roadster To Bike blue. Pushing hard for that blue was reserve winner Eclipse, driven by owner Steve Deutsch.


One of the best classes of the night might have been the Ladies Five-Gaited class. Seven entries came through the gate and from start to finish Out Of Reach was picture perfect. Karen Blankenship Shumate was at the controls under the direction of Royal Winds Farm. Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Whimsicality was again a star as the reserve champion with Kaitlyn Grom.


Andrea Wolkoff and Little Lord Huntley had the ring to themselves in the Five-Gaited Pony class before four high caliber harness horses competed for the amateur blue. Current World’s Champion of Champions CH Kalarama’s New Sensation was again a blue ribbon winner with Mary Gise driving for Priscilla Gise. Candace Meili had a beautiful debut with World’s Champion Coco Loco to command reserve honors. Also making a bid for top honors, Tornaado’s Tidal Wave and Joellen Fisher Blount were third.


A former pleasure world’s champion, CH Absolutely Exquisite was exquisite to win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 class with Revelation Farm’s Tara Grom. The young team of Anne Kennedy and I’m Out To Impress rode back to the Phoenix Stables tack room with the reserve title.


The world’s champion parade continued as Seize The Moment was the Open Road Pony Champion for Pixie Dust and Steel and trainer Ruth Gimpel. Larry McKemy and Heartland Strutter breezed by with the red streamers.


A high class Junior Five-Gaited event closed out the evening to entertain the Bonnie Blue audience. When it was all said and done, all three judges had Smith Lilly and former Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited World’s Champion Spirit Of New York PSF make the victory pass for Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bowling. Just coming off the Five-Gaited Jackpot Stake and junior blue at the UPHA 14 Spring Premiere, Worthy’s World To Know was the reserve champion with Rob Turner riding for Riverdreams LLC. Also in the fight, Todd Graham and He’s Born To Royalty were awarded the yellow streamers.


Friday Morning


The 9 a.m. start found most people in jackets and horses feeling good. Jessica Moctezuma was the first rider to grace the winner’s circle via the 14-17 equitation age group.


I’m Goin’ Out Tonight was the first name called when winners were announced in the ASB Country Western Pleasure class. From Emmaus, Penn., Patricia Malcolm was the winning owner/rider. Owner Pat Johnson rode to the reserve among several contenders with CH A Magic Surprise.


New England’s Cater Stables took home the next blue ribbon as Elizabeth Dirth rode New York’s Times Square to the top of the cards in the Pleasure Equitation 17 and Under class. From Wentz Stables, Mary Mitkish was next in line for a prize.

Elizabeth Dirth represented Cater Stables as the
Pleasure Equitation champion and qualifying winner.

Mike Tunstall was the only trainer with a three-year-old gaited colt. He’s A Big Wheel put on a nice performance for Tunstall and owner Connie Schweitzer.


From talented young horses to talented young riders, Taylor Hiestand displayed winning form in the UPHA Walk and Trot Equitation class. Jimmy and Georgia Morrison greeted Hiestand in the winner’s circle. The red ribbon was presented to Hannah Knapp from Mercer Springs Farm.


Sherri Surface had Ben Peterson and The Grand Star on top in the Walk and Trot Pleasure 12 and Under class, just ahead of Allison Womack and the tried and true Rock The Night.


Friday was a morning filled with children and beginning level classes. In that mix was the Three-Gaited Pleasure Pony class won by Tiara Terra aboard Walterway’s Mighty Hifalutin. Joelle Bennett and Worthy’s Heirloom wore the red streamers from the ring.


Smith Lilly was aboard Milady Ala Lucie for a winning ride in the Limit Three-Gaited class. Christina Newman and Tony Leone followed in reserve.


Next on tap was the 13 and Under Saddle Seat Equitation class. In that round Stephanie Lilly was the winning instructor and Taylor Deer the blue ribbon student. Karin Folkers-Smith was proud of her reserve champion Kerry Jefferies.


The 14-17 Country Pleasure class was filled with big-time talent and leading that parade of champions was the world’s champion combination of Kalarama’s High Roller and Ali DeGray. Reserve to the champions were Tara Grom and Uwharrie’s Patriot Sage.


Fish N Fun Farm supported Bonnie Blue in several divisions. Among them was the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class in which Ronnie Graham drove Dance On The Inside to the blue.


Margaux Clark and Endear were in the top spot of the 13 and Under Country Pleasure class. Savannah Pike aboard Jan Lukens’ Solidarity’s Sweet Georgia followed the Bill Heizer trained team.


When awards were handed out in the Novice Road Pony class, Black Jack and Sherri Surface were called to the winner’s circle just ahead of Lee Hudson and Aragorn.


You never know what class Rachel Machamer might show up in next but you can usually count on her being around the top. She presented Brookhill’s King Of Kool for Guy and Karen Smith to win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park class for Hollow Haven. Ruth Gimpel and her extremely versatile and talented junior exhibitor, Ali DeGray, claimed reserve honors with Callaway’s Tobar.


A world’s champion performer in hand, Golden Market represented his recently deceased sire, The Irish Connection, in blue ribbon fashion to take a unanimous decision in the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited division. Trainer Smith Lilly rode for owner/breeder Silverlin Farm. Shirley Trail had the reserve champion in Bay My Way.


There was lots of rackin’ and trottin’ going on in the large Novice Five-Gaited class but in the end Jimmy Morrison and Shamrock’s Mysterious stood alone in the winner’s circle. Smith Lilly represented Platinum Stock Farm with reserve champion Platinum’s Crescendo to close out the morning session.


Friday Evening


While the phone and computer lines as well as the tack room chatter at several shows concentrated on what was happening at Asheville, Bonnie Blue was unfolding as a pretty deep and certainly impressive show itself. The crescendo had been building and by Friday night exhibitors had better have come to the ring with their A games.


Novice Roadster To Bike opened the session with veteran road horseman Merrill Murray passing the competition with another good one. Sundown’s Peak IV represented Merlin Farm as the winner. The red prize went to longtime roadster enthusiast Mark Catron and the ground covering Cookie Monster who made his show ring debut.


The second class of the evening set the tone for the rest of the night and what a tone it was. Seventeen adult show pleasure entries fit nicely into the large arena and there were many stars among the 17. Judges Crabtree, Gilpin and Old conferred following the backing of the pleasure horses, which meant there was going to be a workout.


Two horses went back to the rail as 15 other teams watched quite a show from the middle. They happened to be the horses that were first and second in the Adult Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions battle last August and the National Championship in November. In the end Lynda Freseth ran the length of the ring to meet owner/rider Susan Creekmore and CH 98 Degrees in the winner’s circle. This grand campaigner continues to star for a yet another owner. Returning to the business after some time off, this one happened to win Lynda (Williamson) Freseth’s first world championship back in 1986.


The 2006 Reserve World’s Champion of Champions and Reserve National Champion, CH Just Special gave it great go with Carol Hillenbrand at the controls. Right in the thick of the competition, Brooke Jacobs and My Southern Charm trotted out with the yellow streamers while screams of joy went out for Cassi Wentz and The Mahogany Bay when they were called out in fourth.


Karen Waldron and Bent Tree Farm were again stand out solos in the Friesian Pleasure Driving Championship and Amateur Hackney Pony Championship. Iedse and Heartland Oh La La were the respective champions. Bent Tree also came out on top in the AHHS Road Pony Under Saddle Medallion as Caitlin Leith rode Bagheira for them to command the blue. Leigh Kauffelt and Rolex won the red prize.


Riding for Mr. and Mrs. Paul Rice, Ashley Bradbury had Co-Ed’s Impressive Lady just right to win the 13 and under show pleasure class. Rob Turner put this winning combo together. Austin Hazelwood had a reserve ride with The Chesapeake Bay.


His Supreme Reflection has grown up quite a bit and he marches as hard off all fours as anything showing today. The victory pass in the Three-Gaited Park Championship was his second of the week for trainer Andy Freseth and owner Marilyn Gaiswinkler. Kristen Cater and Snorkle made a most favorable impression as reserve grand champions for MaryBeth Alosa. Brent Jacobs and Beaujolais Nouveau claimed a good third prize.


What a picture Betsy Thomas and New York’s Perfect Gift made parading down the rail as the unanimous Amateur Three-Gaited Grand Champions. It was everything Team Conatser had hoped it would be. Not letting the champions take all the spotlight, Careen Dubuc and Broadway’s Mama Mia earned the reserve grand champion streamers for Phoenix Prophecies.


Nealia McCracken sent Marge Brown and Pachelbel’s Canon to the top of the Shatner Western Pleasure class. Mark Shumate and Lucky Manhattan OCF jogged out with the red ribbon.


Ali DeGray was back at it again to take home the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship with the Ruth Gimpel trained Holly Go Lightly. Reserve grand champion honors were bestowed upon Regal’s Class Act LF and Craig Bland.


Gimpel went from directing DeGray to driving her own star, UPHA Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Classic Champion Pi’ece de R’esistance. Wearing the harness like it was made for him, this Supreme Heir colt was outstanding to take the first place money for Bon Mar Farm. Representing Jones Mountainview Farm, John Champagne and Mountainview’s Nite Hawk went home with reserve money.


Certainly at the top of the list for the greatest horse of the past 10 years, CH Blackberry Delight is working on yet another division. This time he was the 14-17 Show Pleasure Champion for Rachel Machamer. Taking reserve in the large and extremely competitive class was Cater Stables’s Memories Of Memphis, owned and ridden by Caroline Rose. Christie Milbury and Spirited Edition made a strong big for top honors as well and they finished with the yellow streamers.


They’ve been a lot of miles together and it paid off tonight for Georgia Morrison and The Marrying Man. Jimmy Morrison joined them on the victory pass in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship. Qualifying winner Sue She and his owner/rider Ericka Nelson had to settle for reserve this time out.


The Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship was one of those “yeah boy” kind of classes. World titleholders Perfect Vengeance and Kaitlyn Grom made it hard on the Bonnie Blue competition as the Revelation Farm entry marched off both ends on their way to the winner’s circle for the tricolor presentation. The string of competitors behind them included reserve champions He’s A Royal Pepper with Nancy Leigh Fisher and third place finishers Margaret Biggs and CH Desert’s Supreme Lady, among others.


Has there been a better road pony with the longevity of Heartland Sundust? He fires on all cylinders each and every time and did it again to win the Amateur Road Pony Championship with Mary Gise. Sweet Impression and Lisa Dabareiner stepped it up to move into the reserve grand champion spot.


Ten entries burst through the gate for the evening’s finale, the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. CH Swish looked like he had enjoyed his time off this winter and was ready to get back to the ring. He was as sharp as ever to take a unanimous decision with owner Carol Hillenbrand again making the winning ride under the direction of John Conatser. Roger Meade was the trainer behind reserve grand champions Champagne Property and Jan Frame.


Saturday Morning


The call came early Saturday morning for perhaps the most eager exhibitors at Bonnie Blue-the lead liners. They were ready to ride and ready to win. Four-year-old Justin Smith borrowed his little sister, Kate Lynn’s, What A Doll to impress his trainer/mom Karin Folkers-Smith in the Lead line division. Gracie Coover had it all together too with the help of her teammate Annie Oakley and trainer Kelly Vernon.


As the temperature heated up outside so did the competition inside Waldron Arena with eight competitors for the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic division. Proof Perfect, shown by John Conatser for High Hickory Farm, lived up to his name with a blue ribbon and victory pass for this team’s debut. Smith Lilly and Cape Grace also finished at the front of the class in the reserve spot for Stephanie McMahon.


Ben Peterson was the “grand star” in Walk/Trot Pleasure 12 and Under class. He and his teammate The Grand Star earn the Champion title in this division. Morgan Gocke and teammate Satin Cat finished in reserve and started what was about to become a fabulous morning for Fiesta Farm and trainer Stephanie Lilly.


Three judges and three eager exhibitors made the quest for the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Champion title exciting. Wentz Stables’s Alex Ververeli and Mastercraft’s Gambler came through the gate first followed by Anna Hudson driving Miss Scarlett for Bent Tree Farm in reserve.


A busy morning for trainers Tom and Tara Wentz didn’t slow down for the next class and a reserve grand champion ribbon for the three-gaited pony team Sultan’s Crescendo and Allyson Ehle. Kathryn Brook Randall and her Callaway’s Viscount took both a champion and grand champion title home for Brookdale Farm.


It was two blues in a row for eight-year-old Kaitlyn Creekmore and her new teammate Imagination Station. The team finished in Hollow Haven style with a victory pass in the Saddle Equitation 10 and Under Walk and Trot class and the walk and trot championship. Taylor Hiestand and Bi Mi Champagne Tate finished the show with a reserve grand champion ribbon for Jimmy Morrison Stables.


Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Grand Champion Summit Up and Allison Combs started their 2007 show season under the Mercer Springs banner with the confidence of two top rides and victory passes. Callaway’s Rhapsody In Blue and Margaret Anne Kennedy moved up a place from the qualifier to earn the reserve title.


The Rock Star took the stage again at Bonnie Blue. Trainer John Conatser and this undefeated park pleasure junior horse were back in center ring after an uninterrupted string of blue ribbons last year in the UPHA park pleasure classic division for Locksley Hall LLC. Smith Lilly showed Cat’s My Daddy to the reserve for Hawley Tool Sale.


Elizabeth Dirth and her teammate New York’s Time Square finished their show with a second blue ribbon ride in the Pleasure Equitation Championship. Wentz Stables’s Mary Mitkish finished in reserve with her partner Strictly Adventure.


There were not enough ribbons to go around for the large number of entries in the Adult Three-Gaited Country Pleasure Championship. Two age divisions came back for one tricolor that went to Heir’s Intoxication and Joy Bowman. In reserve were Kentucky Spring Premier winners, Platinum Asset and Roberta Hirshon.


Rachel Machamer continued a blue ribbon streak in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Championship with five-year-old Brookhill’s King Of Kool for Mr. and Mrs. Guy Smith. With nine horses in the class, Emily Druckman and Spool’s Top Star RHF earned the reserve title.


Next into the ring on Saturday morning were Mercer Springs’s Little Lord Huntley and Andrea Wolkoff to earn their fourth blue ribbon this season in the five-gaited pony division.


One of several winning combinations from Mercer

Springs Farm, Andrea Wolkoff and Little Lord Huntley

won the Five-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier.


The UPHA Challenge Cup was well celebrated all afternoon by the team and teammates of Fiesta Farm and their trainer Stephanie Lilly. With five competitors in this division Lilly’s two riders finished first and second. Hillary Keller was the champion with Callaway's Prince Harrod on loan from teammate Haley Kessner. Taylor Deer was very proud to be in reserve with her teammate Tanbark Heiress.


Eleven entries including a world’s champion of champion entered the ring for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Country Pleasure Championship. Ali DeGray and her Kalarama's High Roller continued a blue ribbon trek from Tampa and Gasparilla, to Clemson and now Bonnie Blue. In reserve, and coming off of back to back wins at River Ridge were Revelation Farm’s Uwharrie’s Patriot Sage and Tara Grom.


There were five entries for the Country Pleasure Driving Championship including the five time World’s Champion of Champions CH Callaway's Pretty Penny and Nancy Anderson. Ali DeGray who took just enough time to dismount and return to the ring to earn the reserve title with Harlem’s Worldly Lady in a catch drive for Fish N Fun Farm and trainer Ronnie Graham.


The junior exhibitor pleasure division was split in two age groups and still drew six entries in the 13 and under championship. That number seemed workable compared to the 17 entries expected later in the day in the 14-17 division. Leaving last with the blue ribbon was Co Ed’s Impressive Lady and Ashley Bradbury for Mrs. Paul Rice. The Chesapeake Bay and Austin Hazelwood finished in reserve with trainer Lori Ingram on the rail.


Three ponies finished the morning session in the pleasure pony division with Walterway's Mighty Hi Falutin and Tiara Terra going home with the champion ribbon. Worthy's Heirloom and Joanne Bennett Bartley finished the morning in reserve.


Saturday Evening


Saturday evening may be remembered best by Tammy Conatser’s cry of joy and leap into the ring to celebrate the championship ribbon for Candace Meili who showed Coco Loco in the Amateur Fine Harness Championship. CH Kalarama’s New Sensation and Mary Gise finished in reserve.


Hollow Haven’s Rachel Machamer headed home undefeated with six blues from Bonnie Blue. Two ribbons were earned in equitation including the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion title with teammate CH Titleist Symbol. Jessica Moctezuma, entering her eighth of nine classes at this show including seven catch-rides, finished in reserve.


Moctezuma’s ninth and final class was the next class in the ring. From formal attire to sequins and chaps, this amazing teen seemed unfazed by a changing of gears and garb. It was evident to the judges as well with a unanimous vote for Moctezuma and Pat Johnson’s CH A Magic Surprise in the Western Country Pleasure Championship. Pat Johnson followed right behind her in reserve with Pachelbel's Canon for Nealia McCracken.


The ASB Country Western Pleasure Grand Champion

was the multi-titled CH A Magic Surprise,

 ridden by Jessica Moctezuma for Pat Johnson.


Wentz Stables’s Tiana Tapper drove into the ring next with a longtime barn and family favorite CH Lover’s Heir. Moving up from a fourth place in the qualifier, this team left with the championship sash. Midtown Magic and Claudia Fletcher finished in reserve out of 11 entries.


The next class was breathtaking as six elegant Friesians pranced in rhythm throughout the class. The reward for winner Gooitzen Fan Teakesyl, shown by Carson Kressley for Annika Bruggeworth, was a relaxing evening walk around the show grounds with Friesian buddy Daimler B. Bent Tree Farm’s Douwe finished in reserve.


Enjoying the beauty of the Virginia Horse Center,

 Annika Bruggeworth and Carson Kressley went

riding following Kressley’s win.


Four junior exhibitors headed to the ring for their five-gaited championship. Ali DeGray was among them and headed into Waldron Arena for her 10th time this week. DeGray and her CH Tigerlee finished once again in grand champion style. Callaway’s Smooth Sailing and Katherine Abraham made a great finish in reserve.


Where’s Reuben and Debra Clark raced into the area to earn a unanimous decision in the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship. Eclipse and Steve Deutsch finished in reserve. Both teams are trained by Jon Walker.


Debra Clark earned a unanimous tie

 with Where’s Ruben in the amateur

roadster to bike division.


Two teams competed for Three-Gaited Championship title. Another unanimous vote put Sightline, shown by Rob Turner for Holli Esposito, in the blue followed by Coco Royale and Robin McGahey in the red.


The judges seem to be in sync Saturday night, handing down several unanimous decisions including the tie in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Adult Championship. Travis Van Zetten and Hero’s Jumpin’ Jack earned the grand champion title two years in a row at Bonnie Blue. Callaway’s New Day and Megan Graham from Mercer Farm finished in reserve.


The ponies headed into the ring next with Danny Troutman taking Stat on a Roadster Pony Grand Champion victory drive for Dr. Robert Pugh. Larry McKemy finished in reserve with Heartland Strutter for Suzanne Blair. The speed soon turned into elegance with the Reserve World’s Champion Night Editor and Karen Waldron in the Harness Pony Championship.


Danny Troutman has been a longtime

 supporter of Bonnie Blue.


Jean Heiney received the blue ribbon for campaigning her Harlem For President and bringing in the votes in the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship. Heiney moved up to first from fourth place in the qualifier. Classic Native Dancer and Kathy Jones Cook also moved up from third place to pick up the reserve.


Two road horses had plenty of room to move in the Roadster to Bike Championship. Ruth Gimpel and her Roar Of Thunder took advantage of the open space to keep their blue ribbon winning streak alive this spring. Postmaster Mike and Jon Dabareiner delivered a reserve for Fish N Fun Farm.


Seventeen contenders in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure 14-17 Championship provided a Louisville and Lexington style competition with three judges in center ring. Yet, despite the competition and crowd, CH Blackberry Delight proved his perfection with a unanimous vote from the judging panel. Caroline Rose and her Memories Of Memphis also rose to the top in a deep and impressive show pleasure division.


Unanimous continued to be the word of the evening as trainer John Conatser presented Mary Sally Aylward’s Gone Platinum in the Fine Harness Championship. Trainer Ronnie Graham finished in reserve with The Tango Dancer for Pixie Dust and Steel Stables.


Seven junior exhibitors returned to the ring Saturday night for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship. CH Absolutely Exquisite and Tara Grom finished twice at the top in this division. Holly Wilson brought in the reserve on Callaway’s Compatible for Lora Johnstone.


The night wrapped up with three exciting rides for the Five-Gaited Championship. After finishing 2006 with a winning ride in the Five-Gaited Stallion class at the American Royal, Merrill Murray and Kalarama’s All Time High finished their first show of the new season with a championship victory pass at Bonnie Blue. Karen Blankenship Shumate and Out Of Reach took reserve after winning the blue in the ladies gaited class earlier in the week.

This concludes the highlights of the Bonnie Blue National Horse Show. Complete results can be seen by clicking here. Judges cards can be seen by clicking here.

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