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CH LA Wing Victory Set To Retire At The Pennsylvania National Horse Show

As if he knew retirement was near CH L.A. Wing Victory, with
rider Megan Ryan, showed power and presence at Freedom Hall
last August where he won a third World Championship title.
Photo Credit: SaddlebredWeb


The lights will dim, the spotlights will turn on and one special Saddlebred will feel like Hollywood isn’t just his stable name-but actually where he is.  CH LA Wing Victory, known to his stable mates as Hollywood, is a 17 year-old American Saddlebred who has won numerous awards in both driving and 5-gaited classes throughout his show career.  On Friday, October 20th during the evening session, after class number 251 in the show schedule, he will appear for the last time to exhibit the power and presence a Saddlebred legend has in the show ring.  

The Ryan family has been associated with CH LA Wing Victory since 2002, when he came into trainer Gary Guz’s barn in
Bangor, PA.  Mika Ryan and her three daughters, Kate, Megan and Molly, have all shown CH LA Wing Victory.  After competing at the 70th annual Lexington Junior League Horse Show at The Red Mile in early July, the Ryans and Guz recognized CH LA Wing Victory was no longer at the top of his game.

“He hasn’t had the speed, strength, or physical quality that separated him,” stated Mika Ryan on CH LA Wing Victory’s performance earlier this year.  “We had hoped to finish out the year, but the horse can’t go on anymore.”   

CH LA Wing Victory started his career in 1994 as a five-year-old.  Showing on both ends of the Saddlebred spectrum, CH LA Wing Victory began as a driving horse before becoming a top 5-gaited competitor.  “He did it in reverse,” explained Mika. 

Saddlebreds typically begin in gaited classes and in the later years of their life become driving horses.  “The thing that makes him unique in the Saddlebred world is he has won a world championship in two divisions,” Mika said.  In 1998 CH LA Wing Victory won a world championship and reserve world championship in show pleasure driving before taking home the reserve world championship title in the 5-gaited class in 2005 with Mika’s then 13 year old daughter, Megan.  Mika gave a long list of shows CH LA Wing Victory and Megan were successful at in 2005, including Rock Creek, Raleigh Spring Premier, Syracuse International, and the World Championships in

CH LA Wing Victory has competed at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show multiple times, making the show a fitting location to hold the Saddlebred’s retirement ceremony.   “He’s had a lot of success there, and he’s going to retire in
Pennsylvania,” explained Mika.  CH LA Wing Victory won at the PNHS in 2002.  In both 2003 and 2004 he was first and second, while in 2005 he took home third place honors.  Mika continued, “This is really the only place we wanted to retire this horse. We’re just thrilled we’ll be able to do it there where he’s had a lot of success.”

Trainer Gary Guz shares in the emotions from the retirement of CH LA Wing Victory. The trainer bought CH LA Wing Victory last year anticipating the horse’s retirement on his farm.  “He has given us everything he had and he’s just been a great horse. I wanted him to live his life out and not be used as a school horse,” Guz explained.  Guz has worked with riders on CH LA Wing Victory for five years, noting the horse has always made a valiant effort in the show ring.  “He’s got the biggest heart in the world,” Guz stated as he described CH LA Wing Victory’s success a day after recovering from a bad colic episode.  Guz will be present for the retirement ceremony at the PNHS.  “I’ll be happy for him knowing that he’s getting recognition that he deserves.”

The ceremony will be a fairly traditional Saddlebred ceremony.  The event will affect the entire Ryan family, in addition to now-owner Gary Guz.  “We all cried after his show at
Lexington because we realized it was over,” explained Mika of the sadness the family endured.  Mika’s oldest daughter is flying home from South Africa to exhibit CH LA Wing Victory at the retirement ceremony.  After unsaddling the steed, a ceremonial cooler will be presented and CH LA Wing Victory will leave the show ring for the last time.  “We just want him to enjoy the rest of his years, he deserves it.  He’s certainly given a lot to our family,” Mika said.  “To think that we’ll load up and go to another show without him is hard to fathom.  A horse like that is hard to replace.”

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show will be held
October 12-21, 2006, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.  Eleven national championships are awarded each year at the PNHS, which is the nation’s largest multi-breed indoor horse show.  The show will feature the ASHA Northeastern Regional Championships, which will compliment the Good Hands competition and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Equitation Challenge.  The complex features 26 acres of stabling, warm up, arenas, vendors and seating for the over 4,000 participants and 30,000 spectators.  Prize lists are available on the website, www.panational.orgor by calling (717) 770-0222.

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