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Change Can Be Good

by Bob Funkhouser

W. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - It sounds a little strange, the Vermont Morgan Horse Show held in W. Springfield, Mass., but then again it sounded strange when it was the Vermont Morgan Horse Show at Northampton, Mass. The difference is a much nicer facility, especially for this time of year, and over 100 additional horses for the May 14-17 event, which was again managed by Hayes Sogoloff with the backing of the Vermont Morgan Horse Association.

Enthusiasm was plentiful as exhibitors moved into the Eastern States Exposition center where stalls were safe and the show ring was clean and decorated for a nice weekend of early season competition. There were plenty of new combinations and then there were the teams that were shaking the cobwebs off from the long winter layoff.

When it was all said and done it looked as if exhibitors and horses were through with winter and ready to get about the business at hand....finding the right path to Oklahoma. Some made promising starts, while for others it was back to the drawing board for a few adjustments before regional competitions swing into play.

Richard Boule and Shirley O’Gorman shared the judging duties and had several good classes to test their abilities. Casey McBride made the trip up from Dixie Cup to capture the winning moments on film, while Bill Carrington was perched above as the voice of Vermont Morgan. Grace Yaglou was another familiar face again serving as ringmaster. Helen Fenton stepped in as steward for Dot Potter, who was with her extremely illl husband, Elmer.

Also on hand as officials, Renate Lansburgh made the calls in the Dressage ring, while Jean Kinsella scored the card from the carriage competitions.

Not only did Vermont Morgan have a competitive show, it also hosted nightly dinners starting with pizza, moving to lasagna and finishing with ribs. These nightly get togethers were hosted by the residents of the main barn.

“I was more than pleased with the show this year,” said an elated Hayes Sogoloff. “Everyone wants to give me the credit for putting on a good show, but it wasn’t anything I did other than moving it to here. I put on the same show I always put on, just this time everyone showed up. The credit goes to the trainers and exhibitors for bringing the horses. They are the ones that made this show.

“Sure, we made a few little changes, but this is basically the same show we’ve been having. It was our first year working with the grounds people here and we learned a few things that I think can be better for next year. Also our goal for next year is to have a nice dressage and carriage area. I think we can improve on that.”

The show ring competition opened with the in hand division and it was Northgate Stables taking the first tri-color of the 2003 Vermont Morgan show. John and Sheri Lampropoulos presented Pearl Of Wisdom for Judith Cherry to make a sweep of their classes: Grand Champion Mare, Senior Champion Mare and Four-Year-Old Mare. Coming from the winner’s circle of the Junior Champion Mare competition, V. Ann Hailey’s Boxford Living Art was crowned reserve grand champion with Sebring Stables making the winning presentations. Living Art also held the Two-Year-Old Fillies title.

ESS Fleur De Lis was Reserve Senior Champion Mare behind Pearl Of Wisdom. Mark Mason was also on the lead of the Ernestine Smith entry when she picked up the blue in the Three-Year-Old Mare class. The very first blue of the show went to the Mike Carpenter trained Angelina Jolie, winner of the Yearling Filly class for Claire Guggenheih. They went on to model for the Reserve Junior Champion Mare title behind Boxford Living Art. In the senior division, Earleen Kenyon showed Fury’s Fortune to the Five and Over Mare title for Robert and Loek Neimeth.

One of many winning ribbons hanging from the Rand tack room by week’s end, the Grand Champion Stallion title capped a good morning for LPS The Boogie Man. The son of World Champion Man About Town LPS and a daughter of World Champions Born To Boogie and UVM Unity started with the Three-Year-Old Stallion class and marched right through the Senior Champion Stallion competition to land the Grand Champion title for David Rand and owners Michael and Nancy Ramsey. Anne Benson and the highly touted Cartier were in reserve for all of those outings with Benson presenting for Gay Grove, the new owner of the son of Cedar Creek Harlequin and Schiaparelli.

Bernard Parker and CVH Celtic Courage were at the top of judge Richard Boule’s card in the Two-Year-Old Colt class. He was there again when ribbons were handed out for Junior Champion Stallion. Catherine Haynes was the proud owner of this champion performer. Steve Davis and the University Of Vermont product, UVM Kyros, commanded the Reserve Junior Champion Stallion title following their blue ribbon performance in the Yearling Colt class.

Starting what would be a good week for the Kenyon/Neimeth team, Silverheels Synergy stood out as the Grand Champion Gelding. Their road to tri-color honors began with the Five and Over Gelding blue. Their closest competition in both rounds was the smooth and handsome Burkland Rafinesque, shown by David Rand for Paradise Morgans.

The top prize from the three and four-year-old competition went home with Peter Falso and High Brook Challenge Me. They were representing Robert and Taylor Severino in the winner's circle. Luman Wadhams showed Elizabeth Poirier’s Movado, a purchase from last year's Vermont Yearling Sale, to the Two-Year-Old and Under Gelding blue.

Luman Wadhams won both the Open Park Saddle and the Park Saddle Championship, however, it wasn’t with the same horse. He showed four-year-old winner Something Wicked back to collect the championship honors for Grace Steere. Debbie Gowans had Ben’s Rhapsody marching for the reserve championship for Ann Hailey. They were also reserve to Wadhams in the open class, but that time he was riding blue ribbon winner Favorite Son for Laura Day.

Hobby Knoll celebrated the Amateur Park Saddle Championship as Meghan Willis and Mikaela’s The Overcomer went two for two for owner Nancy Gravel. Their first trip was a blue in the ladies class. Sandy Hendrick had two reserve rides aboard HVK Classic Design.

Debbie Gowans and the talented CBMF Undeniable finished the week as the Junior Park Saddle Champions for V. Ann Hailey. They defeated Wendy Sogoloff and the sporty Toplands Prime Time.

Cedar Springs had the one-two punch in the junior exhibitor competition as Shelley Stevenson and Marathon’s Electrafire would not be denied in either the qualifier or the championship. Stablemates Born Yesterday and Allison Wahrenberger turned in two reserve performances in the first show together.

Park Harness was much lighter than its saddle counterpart as there wasn’t one class with three or more entries. This is not an indictment of the show, but of the participation in this division in many parts of the country.

Exhibitors would be standing in line to show a park harness horse if there were more like grand champion JW Raire Review. This little machine can wind his legs and do it with presence galore. Luman Wadhams entertained the spectators in both the open and championship for Elizabeth Poirier. Mark Mason came back with Priscilla Robinson’s limit winner, Wintop’s Miss Pepperpower for the reserve championship.

Not just a pretty face, in hand winner Silverheels Synergy was also crowned Amateur Park Harness Grand Champion and amateur qualifying winner for Robert Neimeth. Ladies winner Comoshun’s Avante carried the reserve title home with longtime exhibitor Kathy Comeau at the whip. Rodney Hicks had the high trotting Comoshun’s Cruella De Vil trained to perfection to accept the four-year-old and Junior Park Harness Championship for Kathy Comeau.

A very nice turnout in the English Pleasure Championship made for an extremely competitive class, but on this night there was no touching Lilac Hill Under Fire. Nikki Rae Woodworth had the Tug Hill Whamunition son wearing the bridle and going a big trot from start to finish. They qualified with a blue ribbon performance in the youth class for owner Sheryl Sommer. HVK Man About Town saw plenty of action over the weekend including his reserve grand champion performance with Dr. Kevin Schengrund in the saddle.

OH Independence Hall made the last pass in the English Pleasure Stallion/Gelding class with owner Missy Ayers in the irons. John Bennett’s UC Top This was the reserve entry.

In the 12-horse Amateur English Pleasure Championship Dr. Schengrund and HVK Man About Town did have their way to take a championship ribbon back to the Luman Wadhams tack room. Their first of three performances came with a blue prize from the amateur stallion/gelding class. The up and coming team of Michelle Aulson and Whispering Rhythm-N-Blues was a sight on the way to reserve titles in both of the above classes for trainers John and Sheri Lampropoulos. AFF Tailored To Taste and Sandy Hendrick looked like a new team to be reckoned with as they wore the blue streamers from the amateur pleasure mare class ahead of Sharon Bryant’s Elizabeth Sue.

Rare Obsession and Shirley Haas emerged from the line-up first in the Ladies English Pleasure class in their team debut directed by Mike Carpenter. A red ribbon was awarded to Katherine Bennett and UC Top This.

Keeley Sogoloff made the winning ride in the Maiden English Pleasure section with Deborah and Cara Bradley’s fancy bay WRS Status Quo.

Robin Mills knocked out two of her requirements for losing novice status as she rode the flashy chestnut Just Jack FM to the English Pleasure Novice Rider Championship and adult qualifier. Reserve to Just Jack in the qualifier, Loek Neimeth rode Stoneledge Step Aside to the reserve championship as well. Jenney Cramer’s Fox Hall Magellan was tops in the Junior Exhibitor Novice Rider class.

Burkland Cadet was the first name announcer Bill Carrington called in the Novice English Pleasure Stallion/Gelding class. Samantha Weinand was the winning owner and rider. Jane Morrell and WBM’s Worth Watching emerged from the novice mare class as the blue prize winners for Richard and Donna Evans.

The junior pleasure competition at Vermont Morgan featured a group of impressive youngsters beginning with Junior English Pleasure Grand Champion Rowenda Belleek. David Rand and Belleek were on top in both the four-year-old qualifier and the junior championship for Alice Welch. Wendy Sogoloff and Bent Apple Liberty, a son of World Champions Futurity French Command and Liberation Starbrite, rode up for reserve in both classes in their debut show for Bent Apple Morgans.

Mark Mason presented in hand winner ESS Fleur De Lis to received the winning nod in the Three-Year-Old English Pleasure class. Luman Wadhams was working hard for reserve honors with Brio Bell Martel.

A Vermont Morgan medallion went around the neck of Hylee’s Dann Osgood in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 English Pleasure Championship as Kristi Evans gave the tri-color ride. Christin Ramsey and 14-17 qualifying winner Robert E. Lee had to settle for the reserve championship.

Still one of the cockiest performers around, Hyland Acres Command carried Adriana Liberty to the winner’s circle of the Junior Exhibitor 13 & Under Championship and qualifier coached by David Rand. Nicole Evans and SBS Powerplay made strong bids in both classes to be twice reserve winners.

There was lots of interest from the young riders as a strong group competed for the Beginner’s Pleasure Championship in which Maggie Cramer and Rhythm Of My Heart were the stars of the moment. With a big smile, reserve grand champion Madison Wiles-Haffner warmed up with a blue ribbon ride aboard Absolut Appeal in the 9-11 qualifier.

Northgate Stables had a lock on the open pleasure driving qualifier and then came back and delivered in the championship as well. The “queen of driving,” Sheri Lampropoulos presented Rum Brook Immortal Bliss and Whispering Rhythm-N-Blues to win the mare and stallion/gelding qualifiers respectively. She returned with the many times champion Immortal Bliss and defeated reserve champion NBN Excalibur and Ben Kaufman, among others to earn the Pleasure Driving Championship.

From the Luman Wadhams Stables, Dr. Jerome Modell and Gradells Wild Reflection overcame a fourth place finish in the amateur stallion/gelding qualifier to trot down victory lane as the Amateur Pleasure Driving Grand Champions. Winning that stallion/gelding qualifier was the always tasty gelding Contagious. Erin Kelley presented the stallion/gelding champion to reserve grand champion honors. Robert Neimeth was the winning driver from the amateur mare qualifier and Fury’s Fortune was his entry.

Mark Mason directed Jennifer Lalone and Savenac’s Special Tee to the winner’s circle of the Ladies Pleasure Driving competition. Lindsay Jagodowski gave it her best shot with reserve winner Colors Of War.

Representing Sebring Stables, Amy Neifert drove HVK Wild Obsession to the top of the Novice Pleasure Driving class. Owner Nancy Bitters had the winning number from the maiden class and Hillock Rienzi was her entry. Meanwhile, Robert Cannon and Woodnbrook High-N-Mighty were the first called from the novice driver contenders as they put on a performance worthy of the blue.

Audrey Wickman’s Politically Correct was absolutely correct in the Pleasure Driving Youth class for blue ribbon honors. They were challenged by Hillary Senecal and UVM Emerson.

Cedar Springs sported yet another tri-color ribbon as Sara West and Xena delivered big time in the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving Championship. Stephanie Marcelonis and Paparazzi marched out with the reserve champion victory pass as well as a reserve in the 14-17 qualifier. Winner of the 13 & under qualifier, Westenfeld Band Leader and Hannah White were third in the championship.

John Lampropoulos added another winning ribbon to the Northgate tack room after winning the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship with The Bachelor MEM. This Vermont grand champion was owned by Patti Morrison. Reserve to the champions were Hollybrook Sabrina and Shawn Amazeen. David Rand and MEM LaVida Loca scored the four-year-old title for the Ray Ramsey family in their only performance of the week.

KGA Picassa made a big-time statement in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Classic. The son of Tug Hill Celebrity was an all out star with Mike Carpenter driving for Maggie Hood. They had plenty of competition, especially from reserve winners Going Platinum and Harry Sebring.

Cliff Rowe and Black Ice had the best go in the Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving class for Shamlian and Rowe. Tim Morrell presented Burkland Sea Fox for the two-year-old driving blue.

Dr. Grace Steere and HVK Stradivarius are having a hard time finding competition, but at least there was one challenger in the Roadster To Bike Championship and qualifier. Ben Kaufman and Millbrook Raquel made it a horse show with their two reserves. Jennifer Lalone also rode Raquel as the lone entry in the under saddle class.

Moving to the Classic Pleasure Driving competition Loek Neimeth and Raintree Valedictorian were certainly at the head of the class in the championship round just as they had been in the ladies qualifier. “Stablemate” Robert Neimeth had the reserve championship drive with open winner Tug Hill Northmark.

Results were swapped in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Driving Championship as Steven Handy and Hermitage Avatar moved up a notch for the tri-color victory pass. Hanna Welch represented Meadowair Farm as she drove reserve grand champion and open class winner UVM Uptown.

What a team Sue Caisse and Hillwood Irish Keepsake have been. They scored the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship among a large group of contenders only after making a victory pass in the mare qualifier. With a victory pass in the ladies class, Rumor Has It and Elizabeth Fina made the reserve championship pass. And coming from the winner’s circle of the Classic Pleasure Saddle Stallion/Gelding class, SPR Black Magic and Maura Sweeney-Reeve were third in the championship round.

Kristin Johnson piloted Grace Steere’s Boomtown to two junior exhibitor saddle titles. Trained by Luman Wadhams, this combination won the championship and qualifier. Leigh Fitzgerald’s Bono In Command left the ring with the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Reserve Championship. Also in the classic saddle ranks, Katrina Baumgartner topped an enthusastic group of Beginner’s Saddle 11 & Under riders with Treble’s Breathtaking. Dutch Felch and Immortal Perfection picked up the blue in the junior saddle class.

New England has been home to many Western pleasure stars over the years, especially with Judy Nason in residence. She came out on top in the championship with the exquisite Treble’s Tangueray for owners Carol and Greg Fleck. Although he didn’t win the championship, Equinox Beau Jangles had an outstanding week with Roger Brown and John Vieira sharing the riding duties. The reserve grand champion also won the novice rider and novice horse classes as well as taking another reserve in the stallion/gelding qualifier.

Brown also jogged Sandlyn’s Connemara to the top of the Western Pleasure Mare class, while Rita Breden and Framsetta Masquerade scored the highest in the stallion/gelding qualifier.

David Rand put winners in virtually every division including Erika Ramsey and Surf Point Sally in the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship. Their performance had improved from their reserve finish in the amateur qualifier. Ladies winners Sandra Wooding and Acadia’s Odyssey jogged off with the reserve amateur championship. Alice Nazzaro and Sandyn’s Connemara turned in the winning show from the amateur qualifier.

Junior exhibitor riders also switched places from the qualifier to the championship. Kane Creek Kryptonite and Ellen McQuade had the final say in the championship round as they turned back qualifying winners Jenna Britt and DFM Poetic Justice.

Judy Nason proved to be just as tough to beat in the Hunter pleasure division. Riding for Kalyn and Nadine Bechle, Nason smoothly guided Tru-Lee Bills Boy to the Hunter Pleasure Championship and ladies blue. This was only after Bechle had already won the junior exhibitor 14-17 qualifier and championship. Junior exhibitor reserve grand champion honors were bestowed upon Hanna Welch and Meadowair Corporate Image.

Heather Casper had the reserve grand champion ride in the open division aboard Meadowair Yomen, winner of the open stallion/gelding class. Victoria Surr and UC Rianna topped the card among the mare entries.

In the amateur division there was no stopping Elizabeth James and Double Dutch as they swept the qualifier and championship. Their closest competition was twice reserve champion Graywood’s Lancelot, ridden by Gail Bodine-Donahue.

Judy Nason directed Cabot Courage Command in the spotlight of the Hunter Pleasure Youth Championship. He was ridden to victory by Allie Rowbottom, the reserve rider in the qualifier. Northgate Stables hit paydirt again as Tori Mattozzi and Bradvues Sudden Impact made a strong statement as reserve grand champions and qualifying blue ribbon winners.

The Hunter Pleasure division as tough from top to bottom as witnessed in the 13 & under championship. Stevie Meder and Raintree Val Jean made it two for two with Ashley Mugnier and MLS Alexus stepping up for reserve grand champion honors for a tri-color sweep for Fox Meadown Farm.

Highover Narcotic made a big comeback with Kass Booth to win the Junior Hunter Pleasure Championship. Qualifying winners Jodi Calhoun and CBMF Mind Games had to settle for the reserve championship. The championship was their third trip as they also won the novice rider class. Judith Cherry has had success in a number of divisions and this time her Hillfield Nightfire scored the blue in the Novice Hunter Pleasure class.

Tess Kiritsy had a big smile when Meadowair Victoree was called out the winner of the Beginner’s Pleasure Hunter & Western Championship. Evelyn Villamaire was the second name called out and the reserve champion was riding D-Lair Command Dance. Qualifying blues went to Wind Blu Freeway and Sara Sebring (9-11) and FIF Celtic Courage with Jackie Dent (8 & Under).

As usual Jean DeGutis-Woodworth had a strong hold on the equitation competition as her girls were first and second in the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Lindsay Wood finished an excellent week as the grand champion, 16-17 winner, AMHA Medal winner and UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup Champion. Stablemate Jamie Kalalas turned in sharp performances to command the reserve grand championship as well as reserves in the 16-17 age group and the AMHA Medal. Samantha Sargent represented the best of the 14-15 riders.

Janbark Farm also put the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion into the ring. Samantha Weinand moved up a notch from the 12-13 year old round to ride out with the tri-color. Reserve grand champion honors went to the winner of that qualifier, stablemate Katie Coney.

DeGutis-Woodworth literally swept the saddle seat competition when Maggie Cramer was crowned the Walk and Trot Saddle Seat Grand Champion. She overcame a reserve in the qualifier to win the blue, red and yellow streamers. Madison Wiles-Haffner rode as the reserve champion, while Kelsey Ryan enjoyed the victory pass from the qualifier.

The Leadline title returned to Richmond, Mass., and Sebring Stables with Tori Wadsworth. Nicholas Roberts was the dapper reserve Leadline rider.

Andrea Pianka worked hard and moved up three notches to win the Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Fourteen to seventeen-year-old winner Leigh Fitzgerald emerged as the reserve grand champion. For the younger riders, Marguerite Smith topped the 13 & under competition.

The Medallions just kept getting hung on the Janbark tackroom as Devan Fahey added to the kitty with her two winning rides in the Classic Walk and Trot Championship and qualifier. Katrina Baumgartner showed great style with two reserve performances.

Ellen McQuade was the best of the Western Seat Equitation riders winning all three classes she entered. Michael Malinowski was her reserve competition.

After topping the Hunter Seat Equitation 14-17 class, Nicole Morrison turned away all challengers in the championship round. On her heels was reserve grand champion Sara Heffernan, the reserve rider in the 14-17 class. From the younger bracket, Stevie Meder added to an already successful week with a blue ribbon ride. Qualifying for Oklahoma, Katelyn Jenkins was the AMHA Hunter Sead Medal On The Flat Champion.

The Sebring gang celebrated many times, especially when Sara Sebring went two for two in the Western Seat Huner Seat Walk or Jog division. Her championship ride was followed by 8 & under winner Jackie Dent.

In addition to the above competition, Vermont Morgan also hosted large dressage and carriage divisions adding to the variety that the Morgan Horse is so known for. With the change of location it appears that this New England classic will keep the spirit of the Morgan Horse alive and well through the many champions crowned each year.

For complete results see that section of this website.

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