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Citrus Cup Regional


by Diana Davidson


NEWBERRY, Fla. - The championship spirit was certainly in the air during the Citrus Cup Regional Morgan Horse Show. As the show took place in Newberry, Fla., on April 18-21, the celebratory mood in nearby Gainesville could still be felt. The University Of Florida’s repeat victory as the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions had Gator fans at the horse show and everywhere you looked sporting shirts, caps, flags, car decals and tattoos displaying their Florida Gator pride. The Florida Morgan Horse Association also does its best to promote its own branding with the slogan “Florida for sun, Morgans for fun!”


Citrus Cup serves as the first AMHA Regional Championship Horse Show each season, and Region 4 is one of the smaller regions in terms of numbers. However, the show committee and most exhibitors are proud to carry the banner and enjoy Citrus Cup for what it is. If you come to enjoy your Morgans and the weather that Florida provides, you came to the right place.


The hospitality at Citrus Cup began with coffee and pastries sponsored each day by Shoo-fly, Inc. The always-popular progressive barn party was held on both Wednesday and Thursday nights following classes and was supported by many stables with a myriad of gastronomic delights. A wine and cheese party courtesy of Arboria Morgans and its clients was held prior to the Citrus Cup Yearling Sweepstakes on Friday evening. Following the conclusion of Saturday's daytime session, a well-attended AMHA/USEF Rules Forum was held under the direction of Jane Blue and Tony Lee followed by an FMHA meeting with President Nina Spencer. Everyone gathered for the show’s grand finale following the last class on Saturday night to toast the Citrus Cup champions at the afterglow breakfast in the show arena. 


Citrus Cup featured many special presentations held in center ring. Earleen Kenyon directed an outstanding field of youngsters in the Citrus Cup Youth of the Year Contest that featured Rebecca Jones earning a trip to Oklahoma as well as a replica of the Jennifer Montgomery Perpetual Trophy as the Senior Youth of the Year with Megan Dunkle again earning reserve. The junior division featured a sweep by the Bell sisters with Cassie Bell earning top honors and Madye Bell coming in reserve.


A quartet of high point awards were also presented on Saturday. The UVM Windfall Sport Horse Challenge Trophy was awarded to Kon Max’s Aero Commander and owner Katherine Maxwell following a busy week in dressage, carriage and trail with FCL Justa Miracle and Rebecca Jones finishing in reserve. FCL Just A Miracle and Rebecca Jones drove away with the High Point Carriage Driving Award and the C. Brad Hammond Memorial Trophy for the second year in a row with Kon Max’s Aero Commander and Katherine Maxwell following in reserve. PTR Joint Venture hurtled his way to the High Point Working Hunter Award with owner Susan Milbrath for the fourth year in a row. Jamie Clarke earned the top score for the High Point Dressage Rider Award for the second year in a row with Kathy Gray earning a big round of applause for her reserve championship score.


The Citrus Cup was presented by the Florida Morgan Horse Association under the direction of President Nina Spencer. Alicia Davis continued her tenure of outstanding service as show chair. In addition to Davis, the list of show officials also included Show Manager Euchee Matthews, show secretary Jane Brown, USEF Steward Jane Blue, announcer Jeff Hyman, photographer Shane Shiflet, organist June Brune and ringmaster Janet Barber along with numerous other committee members and volunteers. Mike Carpenter officiated in all of the performance, equitation and in hand classes, while Tina Drake scored the dressage division and Conky Price judged the carriage competitors.


The Citrus Cup show ring activity got off to a tricolor start on Wednesday morning with all of the stallion, mare and gelding in hand classes. The mares were first to hit the ring with the Yearling & Under Fillies providing the largest class of the in hand session with LNT Wynn Win enjoying a victorious show ring debut. Lyniece Talmadge cheered on her elegant Belalugosi daughter as Peter Falso presented her to the blue ribbon followed by the Junior Champion Mare and Reserve Grand Champion Mare honors. The Gradell Farm breeding program was in the Citrus Cup spotlight once again as Cheri Barber guided Gradell Noble Anela to the Two-Year-Old Mare win along with the Reserve Junior Champion Mare award for Drs. Jerome and Shirley Modell.


Willowick Center Stage returned to the site of her show ring debut in 2005 to reprise the title of Grand Champion Mare. Mary Brannon guided Kaye Bedell’s dynamic chestnut to the head of the class as the Three & Four-Year-Old, Senior and Grand Champion Mare. Tom Johnson started off a winning show in the Five and Over Mares with Change The Stars who went on to be named Reserve Senior Champion Mare for Louis Lapine.


The Gelding In Hand classes followed with Jason Gray on the lead of Mary Jean Bonfili’s THK Adonis to capture the Grand Champion Gelding honors for the second year in a row after a blue ribbon pose in the five and over. The get of Belalugosi continued to earn the tricolors as LNT Sir Lancelot topped the two and under on the way to the Reserve Grand Champion Gelding honors with Cheri Barber presenting for Lyniece Talmadge’s Grande L Morgans.


Cheri Barber once again handled the lead of the Citrus Cup Grand Champion Stallion in 2007. This year, LNT King Arthur earned the distinction as the first regional Grand Champion Stallion of the year. The charismatic Belalugosi son completed a tricolor morning for owner/breeder Lyniece Talmadge as Two-Year-Old, Junior and Grand Champion Stallion. The next generation of Gulfwind Morgans is earning its share of attention as Gulfwind Center Court represented his world champion parents Centerpiece and Gulfwind Wild Solitaire as Yearling Colt winner as well as Reserve Junior and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion with owner Margaret McKnight-Karrh handling the lead.


The Friday night session featured the Citrus Cup Yearling Sweepstakes as the first competition on the schedule. Tom Johnson and Lynn Wiezycki spearheaded a renewed interest in the Yearling Sweepstakes and helped attract numerous sponsors to the tune of over $4,000 in prize money along with several prizes and trophies including the Forever Spring Wild Willow Perpetual Trophy.

Cheri Barber was again on the lead of not just one, but both tricolor entries in the promising field of eight in the Yearling Sweepstakes. For the second year in a row, Barber guided a smooth and showy son of the impressive young sire Grand Cru Dom Perignon to the honors. This time it was Stoney Point Remington who earned the top honors for proud owner Pat West. Drs. Jerome and Shirley Modell’s Gradell Farm continues as one of Florida’s most prominent breeding programs as Cheri Barber guided the Centerpiece daughter Gradell Angel Of Peace to the reserve honors.


Graywoods Kera earned the distinction of being the only park horse to compete at Citrus Cup. Owner Madye Bell started off a winning show with the Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle victory for the second year in a row. Jennifer Scotto handled the riding honors to make the Park Saddle Championship victory pass on Saturday night.


The English Pleasure Championship brought the show to an exciting finish with Judge Carpenter bringing two of the horses side by side for closer conformation inspection before tying Grand Champion Gelding THK Wild Adonis as the champion. Jason Gray was aboard for the tricolor as well as the novice blue for owner Mary Jean Bonfili. Tom Johnson directed Sunny Acres Sinful to the reserve tricolor as well as the English Pleasure Mares win for the second year in a row. Owner Beverly Skovgaard also drove her sleek, black mare to the Ladies Pleasure Driving blue.


The Amateur English Pleasure Championship featured an outstanding win of the Great Oaks Ashmon Perpetual Trophy for Glenn Winograd and his partner HVK Flaire Park. They also topped the stallion/gelding qualifier and teamed up with Chloe Hooper for a winning performance in the Ride & Drive Combination class. DBL F Commanding Officer and Felicia Schlemmer put on a bold show to collect the Amateur English Pleasure Reserve Championship directed by Tom Johnson.


Willowick Double Vision and Morgan Cunningham teamed up to win the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship and the Citrus Cup Perpetual Trophy. They also earned dual blues in the 14-17 pleasure and 14-17 equitation qualifiers for Paul and Nancy Jo Smith. Chloe Hooper and MEM Reality Check added the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 & Under blue to the West Coast Morgans banner with a crowd-pleasing performance and also picked up the reserve tricolor under saddle as well as the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor.


Casey Stein was the happy winner of the Walk-Trot English Pleasure Championship as well as the qualifier with her handsome Grand Cru St. Emilion. They also added reserve honors in the equitation division. Cassie Bell and FCF Protege earned the reserve honors in the walk-trot pleasure as well as the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship as part of a busy show.


Mary Brannon introduced some bright new stars to the show ring at Citrus Cup. The appropriately named daughter of The Last Don, Willowick Mafia Princess debuted as the Junior English Pleasure Champion and three-year-old winner for Willowick Farm. Brannon also guided the dynamic Lamborghini In Black daughter Everlast Black Cashmere to the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship as well as the three-year-old blue for Jean Jones.


Mary Brannon was indeed on center stage as she directed Kaye Bedell and Willowick Center Stage to the Windy Pond Perpetual Trophy in the Open Pleasure Driving Championship. This was the sixth year in a row that an entry trained by Brannon won the honors in this class. The charismatic Hollybrook Stage Rage daughter also earned the Four-Year-Old Pleasure Driving blue earlier in the show. Kaye Bedell had quite an exciting show as she also teamed up with her newest addition KGA Picasso to paint the winning picture in the Amateur Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Megan Dunkle and Annapolis stepped up to drive away with the reserve honors in the Amateur Pleasure Driving while Jennifer Scotto guided the bold gelding to the blue ribbon in the Limit English Pleasure.


The Adult Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship featured a memorable win of the October Dancer Perpetual Trophy for the second year in a row for Raindrop’s Good As It Gets. Alicia Davis rode away with the tricolor victory following the adult qualifier blue for herself and co-owner Jean Rothe. Nichole Gooshaw and Ashdon’s Just In Command picked up the reserve tricolor following a winning ride in the Ladies Classic Pleasure Saddle.


Rebecca Watters and All Hail To The Chief were a winning presence at Citrus Cup. They closed out the show by earning the Helen Wallace Perpetual Trophy in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship for the second year in a row. This followed a crowd-pleasing victory in the 14-17 qualifier as well as wins by Watters in the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal, UPHA Challenge Cup and Classic 14-17 Equitation coached by Rick Davis. Night On The Town and Taylor Ekovich added the junior exhibitor classic reserve tricolor to a memorable show that featured the Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Championship and the 13 and under classic equitation blue under the West Coast banner. SBK Sasha's Valentine trotted away with the 13 and under classic pleasure blue for the third year in a row as Cassidy Bailey enjoyed the riding honors.


Snip A Pepper and Carola Chapman had quite a cheering section as they took their turn down victory lane in the Novice Classic Pleasure Saddle. Alicia Davis enjoyed a winning debut ride teamed with her homebred Raindrop’s Tiburon to earn a Citrus Cup blue ribbon in the Junior Classic Pleasure Saddle.


The Classic Pleasure Driving Championship featured Gulfwind Temptress and Mary McKnight-Cantey adding to the Gulfwind banner. They also earned matching blues in the adult and ladies qualifiers with the applause of their large cheering section. Darlene Stodolski enjoyed a memorable show ring debut on the lines of her multi-titled Willowick Will To Wynne as they drove away with the Classic Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship directed by Mary Brannon.


Really Keene and Kelly Venza added the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier blue to the Bridle Creek banner for owner/trainer Kristen Cole. Venza also matched up with HyLee’s Hill Street Blues to be named the Saddle Seat Equitation Champion.


The Citrus Cup Open Western Pleasure Championship featured another exciting tricolor finish for the McKnight family and Gulfwind Morgans as Gulfwind Sir William jogged away with the tricolor for the fourth year in a row. Margaret McKnight Karrh was aboard the world-titled stallion to also earn top honors in the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship and the amateur stallion/gelding qualifier.


Gradell Delightful Wishes jogged away with the Open Western Pleasure Reserve Championship following the win of the Rockingham Katrina Challenge Trophy in the ladies class with Cheri Barber guiding for Jerome and Shirley Modell’s Gradell Farm. Pat West enjoyed a great ride with Chase Manhattan as they carried the Amateur Western Pleasure Reserve Championship back to the Cheri Barber Stables banner following an exciting two-horse workout.


Doris Bazzini and her pretty Bel Cavallo Prima Donna teamed up for the blue ribbon ride in the Amateur Western Pleasure Mares. Gerry Auermann and her white trimmed Hidawayhill Highlander carried home the Amateur Masters Western Pleasure top honors. Valarie Siemer and Lora Dunlap paired up with the amazing UVM Windfall to jog away with the Pro-Am Western Pleasure win in addition to a pair of blues in the trail division.        


Spencer Conklin and Tara’s Zeus closed out a tricolor show with the Junior Exhibitor Western Pleasure Championship after topping the Western Seat Equitation Championship and the 14-17 equitation qualifier directed by West Coast Morgans. Merlot and Lauren Tyner picked up the reserve tricolor following the win in the 14-17 pleasure qualifier, while trainer Rick Davis rode the smooth gelding to the open qualifier blue.


Kitty Dorwart and Hipp’s Prestige started off the season in winning form as they added the Walk-Jog Western Pleasure blue and tricolor to the Cheri Barber Stable banner performing for Mountain Ridge Farm. They also added reserve honors in the equitation division.


Graywoods Belinda Breeze made her presence known with a trio of victorious performances as Rick Gervasio directed the pretty bay to the junior and novice blues on the way to the Junior Western Pleasure Championship for Becky Marsted. Margie Blaik and Coulee Bend Immortality followed up in reserve in all three classes. Wallace’s Justice and Corrie Solomon teamed up for the limit blue for Diane Lawton.


The entries of Lynn and Ken McColl’s Echo Lake Morgans had a lock on the hunter pleasure competition at Citrus Cup. They topped the Open Hunter Pleasure Championship for the third year in a row as Spice O Life Night Cadence and Tracy Roy again earned the tricolor after blue ribbon rides in the open and hunter under saddle classes. Tom Johnson stepped aboard Sonatina Dolce for the reserve tricolor after owner Kelly Simpson rode her bay mare to a trio of blues in the 14-17 pleasure, 14-17 equitation and AMHA Hunt Seat Medal.


WSG Independence Command and Lindsay Levert showed off their talents to earn the Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship for the second year in a row. They also made a pair of blue ribbon victory passes in the amateur and ladies classes for Ken and Lynn McColl.


The largest and most competitive class of the division came in the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Championship where Monnington Soul and Channing Ligas earned a memorable fourth consecutive win of the Daniel Ligas Perpetual Trophy coached by Ian Ferguson for proud parents Larry and Debbie Ligas. Brittany Hawkins and Standean Chancellor carried home the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Reserve Championship. The Hunt Seat Equitation Championship was a tricolor repeat as Channing Ligas again made the victory pass with Brittany Hawkins following in reserve.


Kelsey Thomas and CBMF Danger Zone followed their winning start at Gasparilla and Tampa by earning the 13 and under blue at Citrus Cup. Rachel Roth and DMMF Confident Aire enjoyed a flawless show earning top honors in the Walk-Trot Hunter Pleasure and Equitation classes under the West Coast banner.


Tracy Roy introduced another promising hunter for Echo Lake Morgans as Friday Night Lights strode away with the Junior Hunter Pleasure blue and tricolor. Coulee Bend Immortality and Margie Blaik added the reserve honors to a busy show. Arborwind Black Market made a winning transition with the blue ribbon ride in the novice class with Kristen Cole. Brittany Hawkins guided Hidawayhill Bold Captain to the limit win.


The Bell sisters were a winning presence in the equitation division coached by Jennifer Scotto. Madye Bell turned in a poised ride to earn the 13 & Under Saddle Seat Equitation blue. Cassie Bell showed her versatile skills earning the blues and tricolors in the saddle seat and western seat divisions. Jamie Clark earned the AMHA Dressage Medal for the second year in a row as part of her Citrus Cup top Dressage Rider score.

This completes the highlights of the Citrus Cup Regional Morgan Horse Show. Complete results can be seen and searched by clicking here.

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