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California Saddle Horse Futurity Cools Off and Heats Up

The California Saddle Horse Futurity Horse Show welcomed Show Chairman Peter Fenton of Somis, Calif., and under his direction along with a veteran staff which included manager Harriet Landrum, the show saw more barns in attendance to show in front of judge Pat McConnell of Versailles, Ky.

The show is a final stop on the horse show circuit for some exhibitors and barns, while for others, it's just a stop along the way to a season finale later on this year. McConnell marked the cards in the Saddlebred, Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony, roadster pony, Friesian, In-Hand, equitation and academy divisions from Thursday evening, Sept. 16 until Sunday afternoon Sept. 19th.

The show takes place at the L.A. County Fairgrounds during the L.A. County Fair, the largest county fair in the country. That means that exhibitors get to show in front of a large audience at virtually every session, especially Saturday and Sunday.

Temperatures were considerably cooler than last year's almost unbearably hot weather and the evening's were in fact often cool enough that a light jacket came in handy.

One of the highlights of the weekend was Saturday night's party in honor of legendary horseman Robert H. Lewis' 90th birthday.

Nearly 150 people were in attendance at the event which raised money for the California Saddle Horse Futurity and American Saddlebred Horse Association Foundation and was hosted by AHSA Executive Secretary Alan Balch. Upon arriving for the party, guests passed through a re-creation of Lewis's show tack room, complete with photos and show tack. The tack room was set up by Michele Macfarlane and Don Trunk.

Guests were then able to socialize for about an hour and a cash bar was available. Dinner was a plentiful buffet that drew rave reviews from many.

After guests had time to enjoy their meal, Balch took the podium to get the program started. He thanked all those who had worked so hard to make the evening possible. Royalee Cleveland, Kim Matoza, Michele Macfarlane, Kathie Dunn, Kathy Green, Mary Paine and Barbara Walker

Lewis, with family in attendance including his granddaughter Jeremy Lewis, had a front row seat for the video that was shown which highlighted a long and illustrious career that produced many, many show ring champions.

Many people in the room stood and shared favorite stories and anecdotes for the crowd. Lydio Lopez, who worked for Lewis for 28 years, received a warm reception from the crowd when he stood and passed along congratulations and best wishes to Lewis. Rich Swiger and Terry Konkle, both of whom also worked for Lewis at one time, were in attendance at the event.

As the evening came to a close, Balch thanked everyone for coming and passed along personal messages from several people who were not able to attend.

The horse show provided a Thursday evening barbecue dinner after the evening performance to welcome exhibitors. An ice cream social was also a huge hit with the crowd and a welcome relief from the afternoon's warm temperatures.

Each year at the futurity, a sportsmanship award is presented to a junior exhibitor chosen by the judge, who best exemplifies the qualities of good sportsmanship. Last year's winner Kendall Weber presented this year's award to fellow Sabino Equestrian Center rider Brandon Cawthorne.

Scripps Miramar, Diamond Hills, Rockridge Farm, Jannie Giles Stables, Park Place Stable, Seaview Farm, Fair Hills Farm, Rancho Del Mar, Barry Yount Stables, Rainwater Saddlebreds, Seamair Farm, White Star Stables, Sweetwater Farm, Altadena Stables, J. Bennett Farms, Sabino Equestrian Center, Miller Equestrian Services, Lake View Farm, Rich Swiger Stables, Liz Bolton Stables, Pleasant Street Stables and Bugle Boy Stables all came to show at Pamona and posted wins or reserves by Sunday afternoon's final class. In addition, owner/trainer/exhibitors, including Jeffrey Fetzer, had successful appearances in the ring with their mounts.

The futurity horse show again showcased top talent in the open stakes, California State Championship classes and futurity classes for Weanlings,

Saturday evening's $1000 Five-Gaited Stake featured four entries that battled hard to impress McConnell and take home the title of Five-Gaited Grand Champion. Callaway's Spring Blossom, with Nicole Johnson up for Debbie and Beau Rash, met Callaway's Lil Abner and Bill Tomin, Michele Macfarlane and open winner CCV Casey's Final Countdown and Premier's Belief with Teri Yount up for the call of the horn by ring master Grace Yaglou.

All four turned it on and responded to the crowd but it came down to a battle between Casey's Final Countdown and Callaway's Lil Abner. Both horses put on an exciting performance and the big crowd definitely made their approval known. When McConnell turned in his card, it was the South African entry and Macfarlane taking the victory pass. Callaway's Lil Abner was the reserve grand champion followed by Callaway's Spring Blossom and Premier's Belief.

The Three-Gaited Stake had only one entry after no entries in the open class. Dave Hysaw, continued his winning weekend by piloting No Ordinary Joe to the title after they had previously won the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class for owner Nicola Bird.

Macfarlane's first open grand championship win of the evening came in the Fine Harness Stake. Joel Aguilar drove current Show Pleasure Driving World's Champion Delay to the win for Macfarlane's Scripps Miramar Ranch. Fusilier, with Barbara Beamer driving, was the reserve grand champion. Owner Laura Oldham drove her Wee Prefer Gold to the third place tie to complete the ribbon count.

The futurity show also offered two classes that awarded the prestigious title of California State Champion to the winners. Debbie Tomin, on her forward-marching Picante, topped the 10-entry championship class take the title of Three-Gaited Pleasure California State Champion. Maximilian's Court, with owner Lynda Lord riding, headed back to the White Star Stables tack room with the reserve ribbon and reserve state championship title. Bryn Mawr Sultan and Kathleen March finished in the top three and were followed in the ribbon count by Sneakin' In and Carole Whitt, Belle Reve's Lady In Red with Christine Morris, Some Kind Of Guy with Missy Bennett, Dandy Dude and Alexandra Brittan-Siemons, and Callaway's Liberty Valance with Breen Cullen up.

The California State Championship for the show pleasure driving horses featured six top entries on Sunday afternoon competing for McConnell. Highland's Gladiator, with owner Jennifer Sandefur driving, was crowned the state champion under the direction of Derek Repp of Fair Hills Farm after a powerful performance. Atlanta Brave took home the reserve state championship title with owner Janet Callahan in the buggy. Louise Curran drove Night Symphony to the top three finish for Aliyah Asch. Last year's California State Champion CH The Savoy, with Joyce Rollo, Undulata's Eli, with Patty Ladd driving for Susan Shaffner and Dark Justice, with Kim Carson, completed the ribbon count in the competitive class.

The California Saddle Horse Futurity Horse Show always gives gorgeous young equines the opportunity to show off for the big crowds in their futurity classes which are always a big hit with the crowd.

Shari Rainwater had the only three-year-old Futurity winner. Paladin's Outta This World, already a winner this season, was the Futurity Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Champion with trainer David Becker, Jr. showing for Rainwater.

Scripps Miramar and Miller Equestrian Center battled it out for the top spots in the weanling and yearling divisions.

Gladiola, last year's weanling futurity grand champion, came back and was victorious again as the Futurity Yearling Fillies Champion and Yearling Futurity Grand Champion with Aguilar showing. The gorgeous filly, sired by Supremacy's High Time and out of Sweet Intention, was also the winner of the Amateur Futurity Yearling class with Macfarlane showing.

Sovran's Crown Jewel, owned by Wanda Weir, was reserve in the Futurity Yearling Fillies class and the Yearling Futurity Championship with Meghan Holt showing. Weir's sporty black yearling was sired by Sultan's Black Sovran and out of Swan.

Mickey Blue Eyes, owned by Bill and Debbie Tomin and shown by Bill Tomin, was the winner of the Futurity Yearling Colts class and claimed the top three finish in the yearling championship. Tomin's beautiful spotted colt was sired by CH El Cortez and out of CH Aspen Queen.

The team of trainer Frank Miller and owner Pamela Dickerman were the team to beat in the weanling division. Miller showed Envision to the win in the Futurity Weanling Colts class and Twilight Vision to the win in the Futurity Weanling Fillies class. The filly came back to win the Futurity Weanling Championship with Caprice Soltice showing, and also won the Amateur Futurity Weanling class with owner Dickerman handling the lead. Lily Pad was the Futurity Weanling Reserve Grand Champion with Aguilar showing for Macfarlane.

The California Saddle Horse Futurity Horse Show, by giving owners, breeders and trainers the chance to showcase gorgeous young equines, offers proof that top American Saddlebreds will be seen in show rings around the country, representing California, for many years to come.

The three-gaited, five-gaited, fine harness, and futurity championships or the California state championships weren't the only classes where horses and riders shined. Saturday's championship sessions kicked off with the Park Pleasure Stake on Saturday afternoon. Doubletrees Doubletake and Danielle Glick topped three other strong teams for the victory. Undulata's Dekspose with Teri Yount up for Barbara Farrell, was reserve.

Saturday evening's championship session got started in fine fashion with the Amateur Fine Harness Championship. Three horses answered the gate call but when McConnell's card was turned in it was The Social Butterfly and Jeffrey Fetzer who headed to the winner's circle to add to an already impressive season so far. No Jacket Required and Sally Spalding, with many amateur titles to their credit, finished with the reserve grand championship title from Diamond Hills.

Ryann Prieser and Periaptor's Chief Executive took the victory pass in the Three-Gaited Park Horse Stake for Windchase Farm. Matthew Roberts met the pair for their presentation after they topped eight other teams for the win.

CH Because You're Mine and Joanne Weiner have been a strong presence in the five-gaited pleasure division all season and they added another tricolor title to their resume after being named the Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champions from Rockridge Farm. Royalee Cleveland and Super Radiant turned in a strong effort for the reserve grand championship title.

Zenobia de Perior, with Jannie Giles up for Christine Ellis, topped teammate Keimpe Van Rijnwoude for the win in the Friesian Under Saddle Stake. Koreen Greenberg and Keimpe brought the reserve ribbon back to the Jannie Giles Stables tack room.

Diamond Hills also scored a one-two finish at the futurity show. Owner Doug Glick and CH Fiasco won the Western Country Pleasure Stake and Perfect Adventure, with Kevin Michael up for owner Janine Hill, was the reserve grand champion under the direction of Michael Craghead.

Smart Charlie added another championship title to his list this season when he was chosen to go to the winner's circle with owner Joan Richardson in the Roadster Pony Stake. Heartland Equalizer, with Anne Speck driving for Beau and Debbie Rash, claimed the reserve streamers.

World's Champion of Champions Sprinkles went to the winner's circle in the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake with Michele Macfarlane to add yet another Saturday night tricolor to the Scripps Miramar count. The Irish Ember, usually shown in the junior exhibitor division with Megan Hill, was the amateur reserve grand champion with Kevin Michael in the irons.

Susan Valley Chen teamed Like Sunshine to the win in the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship under the Diamond Hills banner to continue their strong presence in the division. Raising Havoc was reserve with owner Susan Cox riding from Jannie Giles Stables.

Fair Hills had a successful show which preceded the September 22 wedding of assistant trainer David Blevins and Leslie Ohmer. Blevins joined trainer Derek Repp for several presentations including the winning ribbon presentation to Fair Hills Farm owner Linda Brittan. She drove Fair Hill's Mountain Man to the win in the Country Pleasure Driving Stake. Don Trunk had Maranello in the reserve slot for Michele Macfarlane.

Seamair's Awesome Dancer and Julie DeVault have teamed up for numerous wins this season and the added the title of Hackney Pleasure Driving Grand Champions under the direction of Greg Carstens of Seamair Farm. Freedom Road left the ring with owner Tom Callahan as the reserve grand champion.

The first championship title of the Sunday afternoon matinee performance belonged to Prowler's Keepsake. Kendall Weber, of Sabino Equestrian Center, was up for the winning ride for owner Amy Vicker-Smith. April Kilbourne rode JC Key Valentino to the reserve tricolor.

Weber was back in the winner's circle, but this time under the direction of Barbara Beamer of Seaview Farm. Weber rode Jack-A-Lope to the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship. The Champagne Rebel Rouser, owned by Kathy McMasters, was reserve with Ebony Wimberly in the irons.

Seaside Surprise was the English Pleasure Grand Champion with Tina Schiller for Melissa Schiller. Wing Commander's Dream Catcher finished up with the reserve title with owner Laura Oldham.

Jacqueline Beck has been a strong presence in the equitation division for several years and she was joined by three other Rancho Del Mar teammates for the equitation championship which she won riding Santana Nana. Ariana Corrigan was reserve with I Do Believe In Spooks.

The Country Pleasure Stake put Thunder Country in the winner's circle for Elisabeth Goth with Kim Matoza riding to victory. Sunlight And Shadows was reserve with Michele Macfarlane up. Magic March carried Julia Chen to center ring for the ribbon presentation after they were called out as the winners of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure Stake from Diamond Hills. Samantha Lyttle, from Rancho Del Mar, rode CH Radiant Love R.W.F. to the reserve tricolor.

Shari Rainwater was met by trainer David Becker, Jr. after Highpoint's Tip Top won the Junior/Novice Western Pleasure Stake and topped a proven group of four other competitors for the victory. Geronimo's Cadillac was reserve in the class with owner Brian Terkleson.

Sunday afternoon's final class, the UPHA Chapter 1 Challenge Cup Championship featured four talented young equitation riders, all directed by recent Audrey Gutridge award recipient Anne Speck. Taylor Sams, riding Shermandell Asgard, took the victory pass. Ariana Corrigan was reserve with I Do Believe In Spooks. Mackenzie Lyttle and Samantha Lyttle finished third and fourth, respectively.

This year's show, with Peter Fenton at the helm, was indeed a pleasant experience for owners, trainers, and exhibitors. The show offered first rate hospitality, an extended show schedule to let virtually everyone find a class to compete in, a terrific facility and the opportunity to show off the American Saddlebreds, Friesians and Hackney Ponies to a large and enthusiastic horse show crowd each day.

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