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Buckeye Morgan Challenge Horse Show Offers Fun Times and Good Competition

by Linda Stewart

Ohio Morgan Horse Association held the 36th edition of the Buckeye Morgan Challenge Horse Show at the Roberts Arena facility in picturesque Wilmington, Ohio. The facility provides excellent work and show arenas and plenty of good stabling. This year’s perfect weather and hot competition provided a perfect setting for one of the best little horse shows on the Morgan show circuit. Set in the middle of Southern Ohio horse country, this show grounds provides an excellent facility for exhibitors to work and show their horses with plenty of outside and inside arenas available.

Chris Nelsen and Sandy Sessink served as this year’s judges. The list of show officials also included; Show Manager Jennifer Carr, Show Secretaries Barbara Dunham and Dayne Maple, USEF Steward Judy Peters, Ringmaster Mr. Gene Holloway, Organist Barbara Dull, Photographer Terry Young, Veterinarian Dr. James Henschen and Farrier Adam Pendleton.

Since this show is one of the few left to qualify for the Morgan Grand National, some exciting new horses and exhibitors were on hand to polish their performance. Entries from Memory Lane Farm, Morgan Horse Farm, PlayMor Farm, Liberty Stables, Wind Blu Morgan Farm, Society Stable and Lookaway Farm, to name a few, supported the show with quality horses.

The Buckeye show has a tradition of genuine hospitality and fun parties. The Buckeye show’s party lady, Elizabeth Burick, came up with a unique idea of dog and people races on Friday evening. After serving pizza to the hungry attendees, each entrant paraded in front of the crowd and bets were taken on who would cross the finish line first. The dog races resulted in some very frustrated dog owners when their dog decided to run the wrong way, but everyone had a great time! On Saturday evening, there was plenty of good food along with the traditional celebration of Bob Fraunfelder’s birthday. Fraunfelder is truly part of the Buckeye horse show tradition, handling the job of stabling manager with a big smile and always helping out wherever he’s needed. The children were treated to a piñata filled with treats afterwards while the adults cheered them on.

An interesting class held at the Buckeye show is the Liberty class. Each horse is turned loose in the show ring and has two minutes to show off to the music of choice. The winner, Hylee’s Ain’t I Something, owned by Katrina Clouse, was dressed in Ohio State colors and paraded to the OSU fight song much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

The in hand division was exciting as John Warner enjoyed a tricolor sweep on the lead of all three grand champions. Meet Joe Black, owned by Stonegate Farm, was crowned Grand Champion Gelding. The Grand Champion Mare and Stallion were a pair of youngsters owned and bred by the Morgan horse Farm. RJMF Cavalia, earned the Grand Champion Mare honors while Annie Morgan’s two-year-old Rage was Grand Champion Stallion.


Mikaela’s Victory Flair and Marilyn Rutledge put on quite a show to be named Park Saddle Champion for owner Holly Linden. The Park Harness Championship went to Minion Valentino driven by owner Darwin Olson.


David Earehart rode SPR Don Juan to the Western Pleasure Championship while Kathryn Schwartz guided JAX Noble Onyx, owned by Meadow Lane Farm, to the Hunter Pleasure Championship.


The Classic division had numerous entries, and the Classic Saddle Championship was won by JW Enjoyabelle, owned and shown by Marilyn Hackett. Owner Janet Siddle was delighted when she was called out as the Classic Pleasure Driving Champion with her homebred Patchwork Stage Star.


Meet Joe Black and John Warner turned back all the competition to be named English Pleasure Champions. Jim Stewart drove his Lookaway’s Fortune to the Pleasure Driving Championship.

Equitation classes were well filled with Caroline Gaker riding Wind Blu Supreme Fantasy to the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Emily Gill rode flawlessly to be named Hunt Seat Equitation Champion. The Western Seat Equitation Championship crown was won by Lauren Bruss.

The 2006 Buckeye Morgan Challenge Youth of the Year contest was a huge success. These talented exhibitors, ranging in age from six to 15 competed over a day and a half in three divisions. Each and every contestant gave 100 percent in each category, and it showed with their excellent performances. Congratulations to walk-trot winner Jerry Acklin, junior winner Emily Gill and senior winner Katie Frazee, who will be competing for the Youth of the Year Finals in Oklahoma City.  Winners received some very nice prizes, including championship ribbons, plaques, hoodies, gift certificates, grooming supplies, magazine subscriptions and an ad. Thank you to our generous sponsors Dabora Inc., Hobby Horse, OMHA, Hartmeyer Saddlery and Foxmoor Farm. 

Buckeye Manager Jennifer Carr announced that the show will have new dates next year, so exhibitors should mark their calendars for Aug. 10-12 in 2007.

Complete results for the Buckeye can be found by clicking here.

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