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Dawn Fire - People's Choice Morgan Amateur of the Year

Nine years ago, Dawn Fire only knew of Morgan horses by reading about them. In August, 1999, she bought Formal Attire, now her practice and trail riding mount. Two weeks later, she married her husband, Brad, and began a new life – in more ways than one.

Dawn Fire closed a memorable career with Erotic Dancer by earning the 2007 Ladies Park Saddle World Championship on her way to being named People’s Choice Morgan Amateur Of The Year

Perhaps it’s appropriate that Total Addiction was one of Fire’s first Morgan show horses. His name more than describes her devotion to the breed and to her Peeper Ranch in Lenexa, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb.

Fire’s ascendancy in the Morgan business – and the friends she has made – helped her be chosen your People’s Choice Amateur of the Year. It’s the second time you have voted her this award.

"To me, this is the most honorable award one can get," Fire said enthusiastically. "I never thought this would happen to me again."

Fire is well-known for her show ring success. She is as deeply committed to the farm as she is to being in the spotlight. Spring, summer and fall, she spends much of every day working in the office and with her horses.

Jaden Fire shares her mother’s love for Morgans as she spends lot of time with her special horse PTR Raz Ma Taz

The Morgans definitely are a family affair. Jaden, the Fire’s daughter, began showing in Academy classes in 2006. During New England, Fire found her daughter’s ‘perfect’ first horse, PTR Raz Ma Taz.

"We bought him and love him to death," she aid of the nine-year-old gelding. "He has a lot of patience. Jaden does all the funny little girl stuff to him … he knows. He’s just a good, laid-back guy."

Brock, the Fire’s son who has special needs, enjoys sitting on a horse. Two-year-old Annika "rides a little bit. She might be my biggest horse lover yet," her mother said.

Fall and winter are more ‘mom time.’ "I don’t get to spend much time with my family until the end of the season. Between November and January, there are a lot of weeks I barely come to the farm," Fire said.

It’s also a time to reflect on the previous year and to think of the future for the ‘about 20’ horses Fire and her family own.

The end of the 2007 season brought smiles, congratulations – and a few tears to the Peeper Ranch family. Oklahoma City would be the final show for Fire’s multi-titled Erotic Dancer.

"Ellie is such a big deal. Brad gave her to me for Christmas five years ago," said Fire, looking back at the time she had with the mare she rode to three Grand National and two World Championship titles. "I’m not a strong rider and she was a handful. I went from barely being able to get on her in the round pen to her becoming an easy horse for me to ride."

They began the 2007 season winning the Amateur Park Saddle Championship at the Gold Cup Regional. From there, they headed to Northampton, Mass., for the New England Regional. Whatever the reason, Erotic Dancer wasn’t herself.

"She’s a very expressive horse. It’s easy to know how she’s feeling," said Fire. "Phil had said I would know when she was done. At New England, he and I both said we thought that was it."

Back home, Ellie told her owner and trainer, ‘Not yet.’ Fire and Fountain listened; they wanted her to do well at the end of her career. The mare responded, winning both the amateur qualifier and championship at Jubilee Regional. Then it was ‘one more time’ at Oklahoma City.

Peeper Ranch already had enjoyed an outstanding week when Saturday night rolled around. Ellie and Fire entered the ring as the Grand National Ladies Park Saddle Mare champions. The two closed out their career together in the winner’s spotlight – as the best of the best in the Ladies Park Saddle division.

"It was such a thrill to have her leave the show ring as a winner," Fire said. "Phil was very emotional. I had shed an embarrassing amount of tears about retiring her, but we knew it was the right thing to do."

Ellie may have led Fire’s blue ribbon parade but she was far from their only champion. PPR Belly Dancer, Ellie’s daughter by HVK Bell Flaire, made her show ring performance debut at New England, winning the Two-Year-Old Park Harness Championship after tying reserve in the qualifier. Fire rode Treble’s First Take to English Pleasure Saddle blues and tricolors at Gold Cup and New England, ending the season with reserves in the Grand National English Pleasure Amateur Mare and Amateur English Pleasure World Championship competition.

Pretty is as pretty does … that maxim also could be used for ‘talented’. The proof of a mare – and of a farm – is in their breeding program. "So far everything Ellie has produced is absolutely incredible," Fire said, pointing out that ‘Bella’ is one of Ellie’s four offspring. "Optimus Prime, her two year old colt by French [Futurity French Command,] will show in harness. Phil loved him from the moment he was born. She has a yearling filly by Stand and Deliver, and Kay and Janelle Schroeder own Hello Kitty, a full sister to Belly Dancer."

"Our breeding program is exciting. We don’t have a lot, but I’m excited about what we have," Fire said.

In addition to showing, Fire is most excited about the Peeper Ranch breeding program that has produced the young stallion Supernova

She is justly proud of their young stallion, Supernova. By Cedar Creek Harlequin, and out of many time World Champion, Liberation Starbrite, he is standing for the first time to a limited number of outside mares. His first foal, PPR Godiva, out of Reserve Grand National Park Champion Mantic Diva, was the Weanling Filly Champion and Jubilee Futurity Weanling Filly Champion at the 2007 Regional Show.

Mantic Diva returns to the show ring this year after spending time in the broodmare band. The ranch owns her 2005 offspring, Devious, by Bell Flaire, as well as the Godiva filly.

Brad and Dawn Fire run Peeper Ranch as a business. They place what they call ‘the fun factor’ on the profit side to help balance their personal books.

"I’m excited about the show season," Dawn Fire said. "It’s hard to get motivated to ride since I don’t have Erotic Dancer. It’s like going to a dance studio without a partner. I love this time of year, to see young horses come together and babies come."

Not only is she looking toward home-bred foals, but to one from a Noble Flaire x Miss Bluegrass embryo that is due in May.

Dawn Fire and Peeper Ranch manager/trainer Phil Fountain have shared in many successes in the show ring and at the magnificent Lenexa, Kansas farm

Fire has earned the respect of the Morgan world through her dedication to the horse. She has surrounded herself with an outstanding team. Fountain, breeding manager Kenda Benn, and assistant trainer Kristen Tramposh have a challenging season ahead. It should be an interesting year.

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