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Dayton - Honoring the Past, Building for the Future

by Claire Panke

DAYTON, Ohio - The 2008 Dayton Horse Show was held July 31 through Aug. 2 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. One of the Buckeye state’s oldest and most revered shows, this edition, still recognizably an old favorite, opened a new chapter as it presented a "new, improved" Dayton in almost every respect.

Faced with a variety of challenges in recent years, including conflicting show dates and fewer entries, the show committee resolved that the 2008 Dayton Horse Show offered an opportunity for renewal, a chance to build on history and tradition while improving the present. Volunteers redoubled their efforts to entice exhibitors to central Ohio, offering bonus trainer incentives, improving the stabling and footing, designing a classier show program and offering generous hospitality options such as exhibitors’ parties, morning munchies and more. The trophies at Dayton have always been special and this year they were quite handsome, most notably the distinctive championship coolers and flower blankets. The show ring, always impressive under the bright lights of the grandstand, never looked better. It was obvious the show’s volunteers had been working overtime to put Dayton back in the spotlight.

Their efforts were rewarded by a substantial increase in entries from new exhibitors and former constituents. Herbert Headwell, of Misty Hills Farm in Troy, N.Y., was impressed by his first visit to the Dayton Horse Show: "This was one of the nicest horse shows I’ve ever been to," he said. "Hands down, it was a totally positive experience." This is the kind of endorsement, echoed by other exhibitors throughout the barn area, to put a smile on Show Manager Yvette Moody’s face.

One of Dayton’s iconic traditions is its unique location. The Montgomery County Fairgrounds inhabits an urban hilltop setting, surrounded by the city and next to a major trauma center. Yet once inside the grounds it seems to exist in another time and place, graced by large old shade trees and grassy lawns overlooking the grandstand and racetrack. Even more than the charm of the setting, however, generations of exhibitors recall with relish the legendary audiences of the show’s glory days, when the stands were filled to the rafters.

"We wanted to do more for our exhibitors this year," noted Board President Phil Price, "but we especially wanted to put people back in the grandstand, one of the main things that people remember and loved about this show." Dayton’s re-energized publicity committee, headed by Tim Doll, made a concerted effort to attract spectators, publicizing the event extensively within the community. While they didn’t quite fill the grandstand, their efforts did bring a nice sized audience to the show, especially Friday and Saturday nights. Team Dayton secured a significant number of corporate and local business sponsors, whose banners were hung around the arena. Saturday night was designated James Advantage Group Night. The corporate partner hosted a hospitality tent next to the show ring which was well attended by its clients and employees.

The Saturday night audience was treated to a stirring exhibition by Jannie Giles and her Friesians Leo and Bouke. Leo’s "liberty performance" at a full gallop brought the crowd to its feet and gave new dimension to the term "flying Friesian". On Thursday night, the Dayton’s charity, Therapeutic Riding Institute (TRI), hosted Tri Spirit Night featuring a therapeutic riding demo and retirement of one of their service horses. It was not only touching, but educational. Dayton offered a full academy division in the mornings but made a special presentation to the academy winners during Saturday evening’s performance. Academy riders from local barns showed up in force to root for their respective stables, adding to the celebratory atmosphere Saturday night.

It was appropriate that Dayton chose this particular year, a time of renewal, to inaugurate the Dayton Horse Show Hall Of Fame. Seeking to salute the past by honoring the contributions of its most notable exhibitors, Dayton installed Paul Field, Walter Murphy, Betty "BJ" Taylor and Floyd Sullivan Jr. as its first inductees. These honorees were not only notable supporters of the Dayton Horse Show, but also vital contributors to the Saddlebred industry, persons whose guidance and example continues to inspire to this day. Mike Van Dyke accepted for Paul Field; Bobby Murphy for his father, Walter Murphy; Louie Taylor for his late wife, BJ; and Floyd Sullivan was there in person to accept. To put even more luster on this event, Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin was the special guest Friday night, performing this presentation. The Mayor was a convert to the Dayton Horse Show, declaring, "I absolutely enjoyed myself and I hope to come next year."

In addition to Manager Yvette Moody, officials for the show included Assistant Manager Wade Flory, announcer David Rice, organist June Marie Brune and photographer Doug Shiflet. Judging duties were handled by Janet Green, who had in years past been a frequent exhibitor. "I loved being back at the Dayton," she remarked. "It was obvious everyone knocked themselves out to make it a nice show. And I hope to bring horses again."


Five good teams returned for the championship, providing a fitting finale for the week. Sena Bowling made a good return to Dayton after a year’s absence by taking this title with Mitchell Walker’s Varsity Blues. This pair flew down the rail in two fine performances to take the stake and the open wins. Close behind them were last year’s winners, the impressive Callaway’s Belfast and Mindy Preston for Linda Lewis.

The amateur contingent had their own smack down the night before, as amateur winner Harlem’s Leading Star and Ann Moro Gioffre took on ladies pink ribbon winners Callaway’s On Line and Jamie Wise Lanier. Fresh from winning the championship at Ohio State Fair, Ann and Harlem’s Leading Star continued their victory march, with Lanier and Callaway’s On Line reserve. It was a welcome sight to see Lanier back in the ring for the UPHA Pink Ribbon class, pink coat and all. The blue ribbon was the perfect color complement. Second in the ladies class was Beth Jones with new acquisition Northbound, smoothly teamed by Connie Smith. This class was very well received and a welcome addition to the roster.

Joan Hammond and Superior Revelation racked up another fine performance to capture the blue in the junior stake. Mountainview’s Allegro and Marcia Belcher took the reserve slot. George Schmid debuted the exciting newcomer I’m Looking For You to deliver in the UPHA Classic. This loft three-year-old is owned by Kay Bowles Durnell. He’s Got The Blues and Bob Phillips showed promise to take the red ribbon.


Two walk-trot horses with completely different styles dueled in the championship. The elegant I’m Bossy, only a three-year-old, turned in a remarkably mature performance to carry out the tricolor for Bob Phillips. This pair had previously won the UPHA Classic for owners Novak and Angove. Reserve in the championship was the open winner Kalarama’s Superman and Cindy Maloney riding for Frank and Iris James.

The amateur championship featured another fine performance from the spirited team of His Heirness and Debbie Ecksten. This white trimmed gelding and Ecksten took the tricolor back to Indiana for the second year in a row. Jessica Saul teamed Gypsy’s Santana Lady to the reserve slot in the stake after prevailing over a good class to win the amateur qualifier. The highly decorated duo of Stonecroft Front And Center and Chelsea Patterson were in the winner’s circle for the junior exhibitor championship and preliminary. It could be said this duo owns this class, having staked their claim for the third year running. Chance To Dream and Danielle Williams took the reserve honors in both classes.

Thunder Over The Amazon, formerly a winner in the gaited division for Phil Price and Tina Stodd, made a great transition to the park division at Dayton, capturing the championship and the open in bold style. The colorful Tango Blues and Stephanie Wright were a good reserve in the championship, while Stonecroft Sincerely was good for Bob Phillips to take the red ribbon in the qualifier. The gifted My Paramour had the right stuff for Abby Campbell to capture the amateur and amateur park championship. Campbell won this same stake last year with Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood.

Fine Harness

Sideshow Bob and Phil Price rallied to make a bold impression in the championship as they drove away with the tricolor, a repeat of their win in 2007. Linda Litzinger’s Tropical Treasure and Susan LeVally had a great drive for reserve. The gorgeous bay It’s Tea Time and Jim Salerno took the top honors in the open class. One’s Dizzy Lizzy seems to light up in Dayton’s long ring, and she was definitely "on" to capture the amateur and amateur championship for Jackie Hammond. The handsome CH Kool Tyme BH marched up for the reserve tricolor for Iris James.

Dayton offers an excellent opportunity to bring out young horses or fine tune prospects before the major finals. Herbert Headwell was on the lines of the sharp Design’s Dancing Air for Misty Hills Farm as they drove off with the top honors in the junior class. This duo had accounted for the junior stake at Ohio State Fair just the week before. The UPHA Classic saw the debut of a talented new star in Assets And Memories, driven by Jim Taylor for Cindy Scoggin. They took the blue ribbon followed by Midori and Joe Cloud for Frank and Iris James.

The two-year-old division saw another auspicious debut in Judith Grimm’s Elegant Impression, a full sister to Catalyst’s Work Of Art, who made a sharp show for trainer Phil Price. The Ohio State Fair winner, Biscotti And Bourbon, was reserve for Marcia Belcher.

Hackney Ponies

Dun Haven Awesome Image and Beth Jones were indeed "awesome" to capture the amateur roadster and the roadster championship for High Hopes Farm. The long straight-aways suited this road pony well, allowing him to gather quite a head of steam. Reserve to the champion was Misty Hill’s Jubilee’s Power Play, the champion of the Youth Medallion Roadster for Thomas Headwell. Beth Jones was on the lines to capture the open class with Heartland High Command just ahead of Twin Willow’s Macerator and Ryan Fornango for Misty Hills.

The harness pony division was strong top to bottom. The entries in the championship put on quite a show, with Twin Willow’s Triumphant getting bolder and bigger with every step to drive away with the tricolor for Ryan Fornango and Misty Hills Farm. The gorgeous Mi Leonardo and Linda Lewis were a strong reserve after marching off with a strong win in the amateur class. It was a Misty Hills celebration as Herbert Headwell had a great drive to pilot Twin Willow’s Wild Elegance to the top spot in the open class, while Stacey Headwell drove Twin Willow’s Triumphant to the second slot.

In the cobtail division, it was two years in a row for the incredibly gifted The Final Contender and Linda Lewis who drove away with the amateur class and championship. Dun Haven Awesome King was the reserve champion for Abby Von Bargen. Bob Phillips had Faydelle Schott’s Heartland Fortune Maker marching a big trot to bring home the blue ribbon in the open class, followed by Connie Smith and Diamond’s Whizz Bang for the red.

The pleasure driving classes were filled with nice ponies. Hawkeye’s Seven Eleven displayed the perfect combination of brilliance and manners to take the amateur and championship titles. Beth Jones and D J’s High Fashion had to settle for reserve champion, while Mark Of Esteem and Kim Becker took home the red ribbon in the amateur class. Katie Sharp and Mr. Jack Daniels marched to the winner’s circle in the AHHS Medallion with Thomas Headwell and Marked By Rhythm stepping up for reserve.


Reese Ritchey caused a stir in the park pleasure division by taking the junior and the championship with the exciting filly The Belleheiress for Patricia Dozier. A full sister to French Silk Stockings, she is all show horse. The striking Brookhill’s Storm Trooper was sharp to take the reserve championship after impressing with a victory in the Amateur Park Pleasure. He’s My American Soldier and Jennifer McCollum marched to the top position in the Open Park Pleasure over Ornellaia and Jannie Giles. New York’s Finest was in fine form with Herbert Headwell on the lines to grab the tricolor for the park pleasure driving division. Majestic Wing and Phil Price had a smooth drive for the reserve. Roseridge’s Tip Top and Bob Phillips earned the judge’s approval with a blue ribbon drive in the Open Park Pleasure Driving. Miso Pretty topped a nice class of three-year-olds to take the UPHA Classic. Harlem’s Sweet Success and Jennifer McCollum took home a nice reserve.

Fiesta Blues and Stacey Headwell are a new team to watch in the five-gaited pleasure division. They carried out the first prize in both their classes at Dayton, followed by Kinsey Raburne and Madeira’s Denmark Dan.

Simply Enough and Jessica Sexton simply couldn’t be denied as they earned Judge Green’s favor in the adult class and a large championship event. Tracy Engle and Callaway’s Jess Luvon had a smooth ride to capture the reserve championship. Mi American Gigilo and Herbert Headwell got the nod for second in the adult class. Kelly Stine and Morton Melody topped a huge limit class over Callaway’s Jess Luvon. The junior exhibitor section highlighted two strong rides by Megan Thomas and CH Extended Warranty to top their qualifying class and championship. CF Chief’s Mood Swings and Amie Labrie were in good form for both reserves. Black and handsome, Harlem’s Dark Star trotted away with the pleasure driving qualifier and championship for Jessica Williamson. Lauri Pauley’s Kissing Casper settled for reserve.

Kelly Self and The Bluesmaster put it all together to be named champions of the adult country pleasure division after a top performance to take the limit class. Neon Deon enjoyed a good reserve after capturing the AOT class earlier in the week. Fresh from wins at Ohio State Fair, Top Shelf Jenn N Tonic and Katie Hafer Young added to their resume with a blue ribbon ride in the adult class. Donna Grieder and I’m Your Superman stepped up for the red ribbon in this class and the limit. Jessica Cushing and Lightening Struck PHF had two fine performances to capture the junior exhibitor qualifier and championship over versatile My Genius Private Secretary and Jasmine Reeves.

Theology and Iris James were back in the winner’s circle with two fine drives in the country pleasure division. They were champions in 2007 as well. Callaway’s For Always and Katie Skaggs were the runners up in both events. Romero Cassanova and Christine Johnson couldn’t be denied the top spot in the open and western championship. Intellectual High and Jill Wilson took reserve in the qualifier, with My Genius Private Secretary and Lynn Shaw reserve in the stake. Kaitlin Klukas came up "gold" in the hunter championship with a career best performance on her palomino Showtime Shamrock to capture the tricolor. Callaway’s For Always and Katie Skaggs took the reserve. Nash Bridges and Candy Gierke have been getting better and better all season so it was no surprise they rode off with the blue in the preliminary. Showtime Shamrock had to settle for reserve here.

The Open English Pleasure attracted a variety of competitive entries. Crystal Blue was sharp for Jennifer Moye to claim the top honors for Frank and Iris James. Neon Deon and Melissa Seitzman carried out the red ribbon. The handsome Wentworth Lucifer was a perfect gentleman winning the open pleasure driving for Beth Jones.


Although not a large division, Dayton still boasted some of the top names in the country among its entrants. The championship tested horsemanship skills on the rail and in a workout tricky to perform in the narrow ring. In a breakout performance, Hallie Sansbury completed both phases to perfection to be named the grand champion. Sarah Jane Smith was named the reserve champion after capturing the age group with a strong ride. The championship marked Smith’s last ride on her grand equitation campaigner Callaway’s Dubonnet, who was retired after this class. The Cape Cod Farm bunch draped Dubonnet with roses for her final pass in the show ring.

Elizabeth Thomas has grown in confidence and flair over the season. At Dayton, she captured the pleasure equitation preliminary and championship with assurance. Toria Heck turned in a beautiful ride to be reserve champion. Second in the preliminary was Cassidy Dolby. Melissa Setzman crossed over from the pleasure division to win the adult equitation class. Candy Gierke got the nod for second. Amie Larrie qualified for the finals at the All American Classic by bringing home the blue in the UPHA Challenge Cup.

Among the younger riders, Aleia Brown showed a maturity beyond her years as she teamed her mount to perfection to take the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Championship. Elizabeth Wicker was well matched with her cocky horse to make two strong rides for reserve. Rebecca McKinley was all smiles as she cruised to the blue in the UPHA 10 & Under Challenge Cup. Petite Delaney Webb took the red ribbon.


Lightly contested, the Morgans nevertheless entertained with some nice entries. Many times winner Jebon Quick Time looked smart as he took home the blue in the English Pleasure Championship as well as the amateur class for Marilyn Brendalin. CKH Packin’ Heat and Kathi Hummel nabbed the blue ribbon in the open class. Ryan’s Valentino was lofty and impressive for Tim McKinley, trotting off with the Pleasure Driving Open and championship. Kathryn Schwartz drove the reserve open winner in Lookaway’s Perfect Storm for Mane Street Morgans. The Classic Pleasure Saddle title went to Razor’s Edge and Candy Gierke for Cherlyn Howard over Adara’s Diamond Rio and Jennifer Hope. Kathryn Scwartz took Rocky Ridge Farm’s Loaded Question to the Classic Pleasure Driving title.

The western and hunter pleasure divisions proved to be well supported. Jax Noble Onyx and Kathryn Schwartz had a pleasure perfect ride to jog away with the Morgan Western Championship plus a reserve in the open hunter division. Reese Richey had the exceptionally handsome RBF Russian Roulette in fine form to bring home the blue to Conner Chaffin Farley in the open class. SNR Steel Blue Magnolias and Meredith Rosnier took reserve in both classes. Cedar Creek Zephyr and Meredith Rossier were smooth as smooth can be to top the card in the Hunter Pleasure Open and championship. Razor’s Edge and Candy Gierke took the reserve tricolor after grabbing the blue in the amateur class.

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