Skip to content

CH A Step Of Time – A Bright Light In The Park Division

by Leeann Mione


In a show ring career that spanned eight years with Luanne Kilday, CH A Step Of Time amassed an almost unheard of winning streak at show after show, year after year. On Jan. 8, 2007, that came to an end when he was humanely put down due to complications from colic.

During his career with Kilday, under the direction of trainer Steve Hanks and then from 2004 forward with trainer Debbie Foley, “Snorty” earned 77 wins and 13 reserves in 103 show ring appearances at USEF rated shows. He also earned victories at many of the smaller shows that Kilday has been supporting for years.

He was like the energizer bunny. He just kept going and going. In fact, after winning his third consecutive amateur park world’s champion of champions title in 2006, he went on to Kansas City and made arguably two of his best shows ever to come home as the American Royal Amateur Park Grand Champion and section II qualifier champion. He also won both classes at the American Royal in 2001, 2002 and 2004.

We’ve all known those horses that just have it. Whether it is their expression, their funny little quirks or just their overall charisma, they are the ones who reach out and touch our hearts and make us remember why we love this business so.

Snorty was one of those. He always had a way of coming in the gate and capturing the crowd’s attention. As the park division grew and grew and he faced bigger and bigger classes, his ability to capture our attention just got better.

He didn’t just do it because Kilday asked him to. He did it because he loved it. He didn’t know how to do it any other way than right on the money. He knew we were cheering for him and he wanted that victory pass. One more chance to shine in the spotlight until the horse van came to pick him up again for the next horse show.

Many of us in the industry have known horses around the country that have captured our imagination. Some of them want to climb in our pockets and return our kisses. Snorty never wanted to climb in anyone’s pocket, but he loved when those that admired him followed him back to his stall and showered him with adoration. None of us however, adored him more than Kilday.

From the beginning it was a match made in heaven… a dream team. In 1999, Kilday and CH A Step Of Time debuted at Gasparilla Charity and won both classes under the direction of trainer Steve Hanks. There was a line of people afterwards inquiring as to whether he was for sale. Little did they know that Snorty had a home for life from day one with Kilday.

The team followed those wins by winning both classes at J.D. Massey Classic and Asheville Lions Club. CH A Step Of Time went on to win at Lexington in a single appearance, then ASHAV, then the qualifier win at North Carolina State Fair. Back in the championship at the fair, he faced 18 other entries and took the reserve grand championship to close out a heck of a first season with Kilday.

In 2000, he went to the ring 18 times at USEF rated shows and came home with the win 11 times and was reserve five times. That year marked his second appearance on the green shavings of Freedom Hall with Kilday. After having finished fourth in the stallion/gelding qualifier and eighth in the amateur championship the year before, this time he took the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Reserve World’s Grand Championship. He finished third that year in the amateur stallion and gelding class and would never finish lower than third at Louisville again. His time with trainer Steve Hanks earned him a solid reputation as an incredible contender in the amateur park division who was headed for the winner’s circle at Freedom Hall.

In 2001, Snorty proved his supporters right by winning the Amateur Park World’s Champion of Championship and stallion/gelding world’s championship. It was a great year for Kilday and her remarkable gelding as it was a year that saw them begin to split their time between Kentucky and North Carolina. The next two seasons also proved to be tremendously successful for Kilday and Snorty.

In 2004, Debbie Foley took over as trainer and under her direction he was undefeated that season. In fact between 2004 and 2006 he lost only two classes out of 32 appearances at rated shows. He was Asheville Lions Club’s amateur reserve champion in 2005 and amateur reserve grand champion in 2006.

CH A Step Of Time was bred by Kathy Capsuto and foaled in 1993. He was sired by the CH Will Shriver son Time Willing and out of a granddaughter of CH Wing Commander, L.A. Fictitious.

CH A Step Of Time, along with another Capsuto-owned coming-yearling Time Well Spent, was sold to Anne and Sam Stafford. Capsuto didn’t have the time to devote to the two promising but rambunctious colts and the Staffords had plenty of room for them to just grow up with the other horses.

Eventually CH A Step Of Time found himself in Morrisville, N.C., under the direction of Bob Stafford, Sam Stafford’s uncle. Snorty actually belonged to a friend of Bob’s who fooled with him a little to see what he would become. It soon became obvious that Snorty wanted to be a show horse and had a lot of promise. Bob Stafford had the experience and the know-how, so he began helping his friend develop Snorty’s skills.

In an unlikely turn of events, Sam Stafford was in North Carolina visiting his uncle and saw Snorty work. He called Anne and told her that he thought they probably needed to buy him back. Anne agreed and soon CH A Step Of Time was owned again by his former owners. Luanne Kilday had also seen CH A Step Of Time while he was in Morrisville and he captured her attention. She contacted the Staffords about buying him, they named a price and Kilday wrote the check.

It was the beginning of an incredible ride . . . one that would at times be difficult as Snorty worked hard to prove that he would strive to be the best . . . but he was no pushover. As Kilday and Hanks worked to get together with Snorty, his potential became more and more obvious. They took him to his first championship victory at Louisville and from there he was off and running.

By the time he was teamed with Foley at her Silver Brook Stables full time, he was at the top of his game. Or so we thought. Snorty set out to prove that we didn’t know what the top was. He garnered world’s title after world’s title and Kansas City win after Kansas City win with many, many victories in between.

“In my opinion, Snorty defined the park division,” said Foley. “He was one of the grandest horses that I have ever had the opportunity to train.”

She went on to add, “You know, all Snorty asked was to treat him right and be good to him and he’d do the rest. He was remarkable and we had a remarkable routine. Every year after Louisville, I would pull his shoes and turn him out for a month. The first of October, I would put plates on him and jog him for a month, then two weeks before Kansas City I’d put his show shoes on. I would ride him once and we’d go to the horse show.”

It worked so well that Snorty was undefeated at the UPHA/American Royal National Championship Horse Show with eight wins in eight classes.

To spend eight years at the top of his division was a remarkable accomplishment for this remarkable horse. But even more impressive was the fact that Snorty actually got better and better every year. Perhaps the adage “With age comes wisdom” is true. He certainly proved that older is indeed better and he’s gathered now with his friends reliving those wonderful show ring moments that cemented his place as one of the amateur park division’s brightest lights.


Louisville 2006

More Stories