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Coming Home Again



By Leeann Mione

Kevin Michael made a triumphant return to the show ring at Carousel Charity Horse Show Friday morning behind the elegant and high-stepping Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony CH Heartland Resplendant owned by Sandra Surber of Calistoga, California.

Sandra Surber and Kevin Michael each have a long and well-decorated career in the show ring with champion ponies in multiple divisions and the 2018 Carousel Charity marked a homecoming of sorts for both of them.
Although Kevin Michael was born in Illinois and has called the state of California home for many years he spent many happy years in Arizona with his mom Sharon who trained American Saddlebreds. 

In his long and storied career Kevin has evolved into an exhibitor extraordinaire and his knowledge of the Hackney and Saddlebred industries is legendary. It’s no surprise that he was once again, as he has been so many times over the years, called upon to catch drive a top pony.

Sandra Surber’s career has also been legendary and the number of world’s champion ponies she has owned and shown is too long to list but includes greats such as CH Crystal Creek’s Commander, Heartland Infinity, CB Party Girl and many others including the incomparable Regal’s Norma Jean LF who also showed at Carousel to sweep the harness pony division with Jennifer Dixon. 

One of those top show ponies on the Surber show string was the Heartland High Tech-sired CH Heartland Resplendent. Surber wanted to bring some ponies home from Kentucky so that they could be closer to her. Her association with Jennifer Dixon goes back decades so JL Dixon Stable (in their new home in Vacaville, California) was the perfect choice to “come home” to. Seeing the Surber/Dixon team together brought back great memories. CH Heartland Resplendent did her part to makee the homecoming even sweeter with her blue and tricolor wins in the Hackney pleasure driving division.

Sandra Surber, Kevin Michael and Jennifer Dixon helped the Carousel Charity be a rousing success for 2018 and soon JL Dixon customer Gen Hess will make her own memories with the talented pony as she became the proud new owner during the show.

It was great to see Kevin Michael back in fighting shape and back in the show ring sitting behind a beautiful champion pony and it was great to see a great Sandra Surber-owned pony head down victory lane to the winner’s circle. Sandra will no doubt be one of those cheering the loudest as Gen Hess and CH Heartland Resplendent start their own new chapter.

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