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Casual Plus Classy at The IASHA Spring Warm-Up!

by Claire Panke

CLOVERDALE, Indiana –Third time was a charm for the Indiana American Saddlebred Horse Association’s (IASHA) Spring Warm-Up Show. In only its third year at the Crossroads Arena & Expo, the show drew a contingent of top Midwestern stables, attracting approximately 200 horses and ponies to central Indiana. After a weary and dreary Midwestern winter, exhibitors were more than ready to start the show season; the Warm-Up’s early March 18-20 dates made it an ideal opener for the 2011 campaign.

Sponsored jointly by IASHA and the UPHA Chapter 11 Academy Club, the Spring Warm-Up has earned a reputation as a good spot for that all important first "test drive" before the show circuit hits full swing. Located within an easy drive of adjoining states, Crossroads Arena boasts a large show arena, full sized make-up ring, seating, vendor area, concessions and stalls all under one (heated) roof. Exhibitors can park adjacent to their stall areas and once inside need never leave the building except to go home. Management is sensitive to key details, such as providing excellent footing, while a dedicated show committee transforms the arena and ringside tables with bunting, flags, banners, tablecloths and flowers. Hospitality plays a prominent role at the show: exhibitors are treated to free parties and receptions, which this year included St. Patrick’s Day cookies delivered to stable tack rooms. For even further incentives, the show qualifies for Kentucky State Fair pleasure qualifying points and is a member of the Equine Services Roadster Cup Series.

The Spring Warm-Up unveiled a new logo in 2011, used to good effect on the custom trophies and embroidered blankets presented to the winners. Champion and stakes winners received additional goodies, including a gift bag with a cap plus a certificate for free LubriSyn or Re-Borne, all courtesy of corporate sponsors Halstrum LLC and Debbie Ecksten. Debbie also generously donated a portion of all sales made during the week to the Fire Relief Fund for the stables devastated by the recent barn fire in Kentucky. Diamond level sponsors enjoyed free ringside tables with munchies as well as custom banners hung around the arena.

The Spring Warm-Up offers an intriguing variety of classes: over 140 events for amateurs, pros, novice riders, young horses, academy and open pleasure. Trainers have embraced the show’s eclectic format, giving it high marks for its fine facilities, relaxed atmosphere and hassle free convenience. "We loved the show. The customers had a good time and we’ll definitely be back next year," commented Jannie Giles of Black Horse Ranch, who ventured to Cloverdale for the first time in 2011. "It’s a great ring to show in," added Danette Musselman, "and the make-up area makes it easy to prepare a horse – everything is so close." Renee and John Biggins concurred. "It’s a wonderful horse show – everything runs so smoothly." Judge Lisa Waller was enthusiastic as well. "I really enjoyed judging this show. This group has come up with a different and winning concept."

Unique among major shows, the Spring Warm-Up gives considerable prominence to its large academy division. Instead of being exiled to the wee hours outside the regular show schedule, the Warm-Up’s academy classes become an integral part of the show with dedicated sessions Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Music accompanies the riders, just as during the regular performance sessions and winners proudly take their victory passes. The schedule is designed to allow the academy contingent to see a portion of the performance show and socialize with their stables’ show horse customers, giving them a little taste of the glamor and excitement of the big time. Academy chairperson Carolyn Boyer does an amazing job of organizing both the UPHA Chapter 11 Tournaments throughout the winter as well as the academy division at the Warm-Up. Her efforts were amply rewarded as 100 academy riders participated at Cloverdale this year. UPHA Chapter 11 awarded its 2010-2011 academy highpoint championships after each academy session, with free receptions following for all riders, parents and instructors.

Much of the Spring Warm-Up’s success can be attributed to the efforts of the veteran IASHA show committee, many of whom are the same folks who bring you the Indianapolis Charity and All American Horse Classic. Chairpersons Linda Beltz and Claire Panke were ably assisted up by operations manager Bill Whitinger and wife Diana, who built the center

ring and white rail in the main arena. Dee McNealy and Dawn Kendrick handled the popular ring side tables as well as the center ring décor, seeing that table holders did not want for snacks or candy. Linda Sullivan took charge of the junior judging contest while Judy McManama performed her usual smooth and cordial job as show secretary. Mark Coovert returned as paddock master, aided by Jo Twining at the in-gate. Greg Mominee was once again the show’s blacksmith and Dr. Scott Bennett’s Equine Services of Monrovia returned as show veterinarian.

Don Baker was a welcome addition to the team as the Warm-Up’s new ringmaster. Michele Carvin covered the ring clerk’s duties as well as supervising the awards and presentations. Steve Moody accompanied the entries as show organist. Capturing the competition in digital format were photographer Terry Young and videographer Seehorse Video. Claire Panke was the show’s announcer and MC for highpoint presentations. Capably marking the cards in all divisions was Lisa Waller, of Heiskell, Tennessee, appearing poised and proficient throughout the show.

Management was very happy with the results of everyone’s hard work. "We had our biggest and best show yet," noted Mrs. Beltz. "We’re very grateful for the support of trainers, owners, sponsors and our UPHA Chapter 11 members. We had some fabulous horses here and everything went very well. We hope to continue to grow every year."

Finishing the show in style was the Amateur Five Gaited Championship, a duel between the bold amateur qualifier winners, Bourbon Sky and Bill Marple, and the fiery ladies winning team of Silvashay and Angela Gibson. Claiming the final tri-color of the show in a great comeback was Silvashay, Angela Gibson riding for Pegasus Enterprises, with Bourbon Sky and Mr. Marple settling for reserve. Reserve in the qualifier to Bourbon Sky was last year’s open stake champion, Benelli, teamed by Dr. Jane Keil. The four year old King’s Carma racked and trotted smartly for the blue in the junior class, shown by John Biggins for Phyllis Harris, followed by the pert Betsy Johnson and Chuck Herbert. Kentucky Creek Stable brought a strong performer to Cloverdale in Harlem Divine, champion of the Open Five Gaited Stake under the guidance of Cobi van den Berg for owner Luci Nouwens.

The elegant More Than Enough, with owner Linda Johnson in the irons, dominated the Three Gaited Amateur Championship to be named champion of the division. This duo displayed a new confidence and flair in their first 2011 outing. Trotting up for the reserve tricolor was the consistent pair of Our Fallen Angel and Cheryl Friedman. In their sole appearance at the Warm-Up, CH Sue She and Jeffrey Schab served notice that they will be one of the nation’s top teams in the amateur gentlemen’s walk-trot division as they made their debut a winning one, grabbing the amateur three gaited qualifier. Lexi Ross and the lofty going Callaway’s Topaz were sharp to take the three gaited junior exhibitor and championship back to Evansville for Remi Adams.

Ventura Farm had a nice group of horses at Cloverdale, including a good pair of walk-trot horses for Karen Paverd. Her Destiny’s Lady Grace took top honors in the Open Three Gaited Stake while the talented Peri Dazzle marched away with the Three Gaited Junior in her four year old debut. Shanna Gish teamed Indian Creek Farm’s Desirea to the red ribbon in the junior.

One word could describe the three gaited park division at Cloverdale: "smokin’!" The open division saw a battle of three top horses, as two former world champions and an intriguing newcomer strutted their stuff. In one of the highlights of the show, former world’s champion Our Axel Rose made a strong showing to capture the Three Gaited Park Open Championship for John Biggins and owners McDonald LLC. Looking through the bridle, My Domain made his under saddle debut count, taking the reserve for Mike McIntosh and Roselane Farm. In the open qualifier, the brilliant Nuttin’ To Lose never backed an ear to earn the judge’s nod for the blue. Chuck Herbert had the former World’s Champion Two-Year-Old sharp for Edward and Thomas Elliott. Our Axel Rose and John Biggins had to settle for reserve. It is interesting to note that all three of these horses were making their park division debuts at this show.

The amateur park classes were nearly as contentious as the open division. Designed By You displayed the perfect combination of manners and motion. With Susannah Sherman aboard, this versatile contender was crowned Three Gaited Amateur Park Grand Champion. Starting off the season in style, French Kiss and Katie Lindamood sewed up the reserve honors. Jason Gershman and Phillip Martinelli established themselves as one of the top amateur park teams in 2010. With a new name (Checkpoint Charlie) this fiery bay trotted to the winners circle in the amateur park qualifier. Designed By You took a good red ribbon.

The striking fine harness horse Bridgeman’s King Friday waltzed away with the amateur and amateur fine harness honors for owner-driver Gregory DuPont. A top contender since a two year old, the handsome bay Mooi Mooi earned the blue ribbon in the Open Fine Harness Stake with Tony Boxdorfer on the lines for Four Willows Farm. The stallion Bakchos was reserve with Chuck Herbert driving for Wade Fairey Jr. Joyce Cashman is the lucky owner of the lovely La Renaissance, an exciting Junior/Limit Fine harness Champion for Danette Mussleman. Koos van den Berg drove Madeira’s Heartfelt Moment to the second spot for Sunset A Trust.

High stepping and saucy, Intrepid Asset was sharp for Tom Thorpe and Imagine LLC, taking the blue and tricolor in the open park pleasure and championship back to the Northern Tradition Farm tack room. The nice bay Playboy’s Legacy and Greg Reason stepped up for reserve in this championship and the limit class for Nicole Reason. Katie Lindamood’s Glamor Star got the nod for the red ribbon in the open qualifier. Diana Whitinger was proud as punch when she showed her fancy white trimmed Love Happens to a well-deserved blue in a good limit park pleasure class. Sweetening the deal is the fact that this future star was bred and raised by the Whitingers. Another homebred with a bright future was the winner of the junior class, Katie Lindamood’s Con Me, who delighted his owner with an assured performance. The elegant Sir Scandalous was rock solid for Dena Lopez as these two drove away with the park pleasure driving class for owner Susan Whittington. Robin Lamb drove Point Break to a very nice reserve for Carlton Huntoon.

The Homer Beltz family enjoyed a star studded blue ribbon show in the pleasure division. Current UPHA National Champions Linda Beltz and Top Recruit started things off with a bang by capturing both the five gaited pleasure qualifier and championship in two perfect rides. CH Summit Up and Kristen Thorin were good to take reserve in both classes for Linda Thorin Johnson. Just like her famous mom (WC Lightin’ Lil), Lil’s In Town has all the expression in the world, making her pleasure debut a winning one as she claimed the adult country pleasure and adult championship. Nicolle Beltz Tolliver had the key to her bay mare. The black and gifted A Midnight Kiss was the reserve champion with Erin Obenauf riding for Cheryl Friedman. Katie Raque and High Point Memories nabbed a red ribbon in the adult country pleasure class for Willow Wind Saddlebreds.

The adult three gaited show pleasure division was bursting with both established champions and new shooters, all eager to prove themselves. Fifteen pleasure pairs poured through the gate for the adult championship in a hard fought battle for the prizes. When the dust had settled, it was the exciting newcomer, Stonecroft First Request, expertly catch ridden by Emily Abbott, and under the direction of Mike McIntosh, wearing the tri-color and marching an extreme trot for owner Margaret Tirkes. Steel The Bess and Bebe Olcott had a sharp ride to earn the reserve champion title, a repeat of their second in the novice. In his only Cloverdale appearance, the impressive Schroeder and Dr. Morgan Wolin grabbed the adult qualifier with a smooth ride. Stonecroft First request and Emily Abbott settled for the second place. In an eye-catching performance, Undulata’s Nuts And Bolts and Wade Giles carried out the blue ribbon in the novice class.

Sophie Simpson and Elizabeth Hunziker were cute as punch in their two victories, claiming the junior exhibitor three gaited show pleasure preliminary and championship under the direction of Danette Musselman. Deal Or No Deal and Alyssa Wedell claimed the red ribbon in the qualifier, with Annabel’s Lucky Son and Lexi Ross claiming the reserve championship. A past champion in five gaited and three gaited competition, the gifted Conway served notice at Cloverdale that he will be a force to reckon with in show pleasure driving, taking the blue ribbon and tricolor in his new division for Sarah McDonald and McDonald LLC. The Major Factor will be just that in his new division: a strong contender for top honors in country pleasure driving division. Linda Fischer drove this future star to the blue and championship at Cloverdale. Reserve in both these classes was the pretty chestnut mare Champagne Symphony, owned and shown by Gene Ress

Under the direction of Jim Lowry, Erin Beever graduated from the academy division in a big way, earning two terrific wins in a large junior exhibitor country pleasure qualifier and championship with her handsome bay star, Star Sighting. Settling for reserve was the exciting new team of Midnight Starmaker and Caroline Moeller, from whom more will be heard this season. Trotting away with the red ribbon in the junior exhibitor qualifier was the good duo of My Christmas Eve and Lindsey Redifer. The personality plus CH Detached turned in a appealing performance to earn the blue ribbon in the novice country pleasure for owner-rider Claudio Schultheis. Katie Bartlett Pagan had a nice ride on Bartlett’s Retail Therapy for the second slot. The amateur-owner-trainer to ride event was a blue ribbon ride for Win Your Heart and Amy Ross for Shelby Chancellor. Sashay Steel and Stephanie Sheppard got the nod for the red ribbon.

The western country pleasure division had several outstanding contenders on hand. Earning the tricolor in the championship was the many-times champion Highly Charmed, perfectly teamed by owner Joan Todd for the victory. Sandy Bradfield rode her aptly named Next In Line the reserve championship. David Lopez and pretty chestnut The Power Of One grabbed a nice pair of blue ribbon wins in the Shatner and western qualifier for Double D Ranch. Highly Charmed settled for reserve in the qualifier, while Dr. Jane Keil and Perazzi took second in the Shatner. The future looks good for the entries of the country western pleasure prospect. Dena Lopez had Marie Gwinn’s Sir Don Juan looking pleasure perfect to jog out with the blue ribbon in this class over Walterway’s Wild Asset and Shelly Fisher.

The elegant and graceful Perazzi made a smooth transition from western to country pleasure hunter, impressing as a triple threat capturing the championship, Hunter Classic and hunter prospect. Too Wong Foo, one of the tops in this division, claimed the hunter qualifier with Corey Coovert, settling for reserve in the championship and classic. Sarah Pfettscher and My District Attorney had a nice ride for the red ribbon in the prospect class.

Whoa Black Betty made an impressive debut for Danette Musselman in the Open Roadster To Bike Stake, flying through Cloverdale’s wide turns and sending the tricolor back to Queenswood Stables. Caleb Herbert was in the bike to steer the speedy Heartland Prancer to the open roadster pony title for Kelsey Herbert. Taylor Boyer captured the road pony under saddle for the second year in arrow with Craycroft Marksman.

Displaying perfect manners, the striking and lovely chestnut Heartland Queen Of The Road and Susan Alcott claimed the amateur and harness pony championship. Amanda Matheis made the winning drive with Showtime’s So Impressive in the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship. My Travelin’ Man made the transition from roadster to pleasure driving a winning one as he captured the pleasure driving preliminary for owner Kayce Bell. Heartland Intimidator and Kelsey Herbert were reserve in both these classes.

Rebecca Martin proved she could handle the pressure as she earned the blue ribbon in the Open Saddle Seat Equitation. Riding from the High Spirit Farm, Morgan Mohr captured a pair of blue ribbons, winning the UPHA Challenge Cup and Morgan equitation, and nabbing a reserve in the open. Stablemate Sarah Chase trotted away with the blue in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. Taking both the medallion and pleasure equitation age group was Northern Tradition’s smooth riding Lindsey Minor. Kaelen Rice looked elegant in her tux as she rode away with top honors in the Saddle Seat Equitation Walk & Trot 10 & Under. Four adorable youngsters came through the gate for the Lead Line, won by 3rd generation horsewoman Nicole Lynn Mathews, followed by petite Taylor Nevitt. The young ladies competing in the Youth Activity Showmanship were quite serious, displaying a dedication to their cause. Earning the blue ribbon was Amanda Sorenson, followed by Kristin Rhodes, both from the Carlton Huntoon Stables.

Although the Morgan division was not a large one, it was filled with quality entrants. The handsome park saddle stallion Centerpiece turned in two impressive performances, taking the blue in the amateur park with owner Donna Zimmerman aboard, then returning to claim tricolor in the stake with Jennifer Hazen. Owned by the PlayMor Farm, the aptly named Bellisimo won top honors in the Open English Pleasure and championship with Brooke Lynn Shingledecker in the irons. Indian Creek High Stakes and Megan Buckley were letter perfect to ride down victory lane in the English Pleasure Amateur, returning to be named reserved grand champions for Indian Creek Farm. Megan had it all her way in the Classic Saddle and stake riding Med E Oka French Morocco to the wins for Indian Creek Morgan Farm. Donna Zimmerman had former world champion Firecrest E Ticket in fine form to complete the hat trick, jogging away with the top honors in the western open, amateur and grand championship. Reserve in these classes was the handsome Stoney Point Remington, owned and shown by Patricia West. Indian Creek Quantico and Emma Fedorcak made it two years in a row by sweeping the hunter pleasure amateur and championship for the Indian Creek Farm.

The open pleasure division enjoyed good support at Cloverdale. Carleton Huntoon had a great weekend, with one-two finishers in the English pleasure preliminary and championship. The popular Flashy Chassis and Kristin Rhodes took the top honors in these classes, followed closely by the pinto Nite’s Up In Smoke and Alyssa Wedell. The walk and trot pleasure classes saw a double win for Stacey Vance and the high stepping chestnut Moonlight’s A Lot Of Trot. Brittany Brammeier and Trooper, winners of the pleasure prospect, took the reserve. The Open Pleasure Driving winner was the gorgeous black gelding The Perfect Man, 2010’s ASR Sweepstakes Four Year Old Park Pleasure Champion, driven by George Burge for Marilyn Moores. The open western was a beautiful class, won by the typey Saddlebred Sir Don Juan, shown by Dena Lopez for owner Marie Gwinn. Jannie Giles jogged away with the red ribbon on her Friesian gelding Victor FC. The open western championship saw the return of the ever-popular Joshua Of The Friesian Connection, pride and joy of Jennifer Hazen, in a polished tricolor performance: as anticipated, Joshua entertained the audience on his victory pass. Joan Todd and Walterway’s Wild Asset turned in a polished performance to be reserve Jennifer Carlsen.

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