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CH Havan Cabana - The "King of Country" Wasn't Just a Local Talent!

                      CH Havana Cabana and Barb Hendrickson

CH Havana Cabana, owned by Barb Hendrickson,
Wayzata, Minn., was humanely put down Oct. 11, 2005 due to a tragic accident at the farm where he had lived since his retirement in 1998. Foaled April 3, 1983, CH Havana Cabana was bred by Dianna Rannells. He was sired by Native Promise (by Oman's Desdemona Denmark) and out of  The Local Attraction by Starheart Peavine.

Among his many accomplishments, CH Havana Cabana was the first horse to earn the under saddle title of Country Pleasure World's Grand Champion when it was offered at the World's Championship Horse Show in 1994 for the first time. Beth Bidon (now Krueger), Hendrickson's daughter, showed the powerful gelding to the title after having already won at Midwest Charity.

In 1995, the country pleasure driving division was added to the Louisville schedule and with Hendrickson at the lines, CH Havana Cabana added the feat of becoming the first horse to win the Country Pleasure Driving World's Grand Championship title.

Purchased as a four-year-old by Paul Priebe, Barb Hendrickson fell in love with him the first time she saw him at Priebe's and bought him. From that point forward, he would be known as Havana Cabana.

Andy and Lynda Freseth, of Hollow Haven Farm, directed CH Havana Cabana to both of his first Louisville titles among his many other wins around the country during his tenure with them from 1993 to the spring of 1996. "Cabana was a show horse every day and it was refreshing to see a horse and its owner be as close as Barb and Cabana were. At the onset of the country pleasure division becoming a nationally recognized class, Cabana was setting the standard. He was a wonderful horse every day," said Lynda Freseth.

CH Havana Cabana's unprecedented success in the country pleasure division continued when he returned to Priebe's in the spring of 1996. At Freedom Hall that year he successfully defended his Country Pleasure Driving World's Grand Championship title with Hendrickson.

"People still remember mom's unique way of driving him. She used to hold her thumbs straight up in the air to show how light in the bridle he was," said Krueger. "What they didn't know was that he was actually very, very strong. It was like holding back a freight train. Mom used to take her shoes off and wrap her toes around the wood in the cart to brace herself. With her purse, which was always the size of a small duffel bag, sitting alongside her shoes in the buggy, there was barely enough room for her feet!"

In 1997, Beth Bidon [Krueger] was again in the irons and rode Havana Cabana to the Adult Country Pleasure Grand Championship and section two qualifier wins at Lexington Junior League, a title they won four times. "At Lexington, we would always show in the qualifier on Tuesday morning and in the championship on Wednesday morning," said Krueger. "We would be done showing by Wednesday, but of course stayed until Sunday. I used to get up early before it got too hot and ride him around the grounds bareback with a halter and a lead rope. People thought I was nuts!" she continued. "Here we had just won both our classes and I was riding him around without a saddle or bridle. But I always thought that that was what the country pleasure division was all about - horses that were calm and well mannered and could be ridden on a trail ride just for recreation."

Cabana was the epitome of a country pleasure horse and when in the ring, he was all show horse. His domination of the country pleasure division continued.

Hendrickson and her grand campaigner again made the trip to Freedom Hall in August of 1997 and came away with their third consecutive Country Pleasure Driving World's Grand Championship win. It was Cabana's fourth Louisville tricolor in as many years.

"He was like a person," said Krueger. "He was so smart and so incredibly sweet. It was like he actually understood what you were saying to him. At Priebe's, we used to take his tack off at the end of the aisle after he'd been worked and tell him to 'go to his house'. Every time, he would walk down the aisle and right into his stall."

In 1998, Hendrickson and Cabana won the Adult Country Pleasure Driving 46 and Over World's Championship title, then returned in the championship to earn the reserve world's grand championship streamers. They followed up their Louisville successes with a sweep of the country pleasure driving division at Wisconsin Futurity, then headed to the American Royal. In Kansas City, they closed out the 1998 show season with the title of Country Pleasure Driving - Div. II Champions.

After a show ring career that put him in the history books with titles including more than one UPHA Horse of the Year win, the first Gold Saddlebred Select Level win and the first CH designation in the country pleasure division, CH Havana Cabana retired at a farm owned by family friend Mary Hinton in Mahtomedi, Minn. He ruled the pasture just as he had ruled the show ring and hung out with his best buddy, retired five-gaited horse Call Me Sir, owned by Sharla Deuschle.

CH Havana Cabana paved the way for the many country pleasure campaigners that make the trip to the World's Championship Horse Show in hopes of earning a Louisville blue and tricolor under saddle or in harness. His record speaks for itself and he was a beloved member of the Hendrickson/Krueger families.

Beth Krueger summed it up, "I am very thankful to my mother for sharing Cabana with me. To win at Louisville is a dream, and it is because of him that the dream came true for me and my mother."

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