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Dayton Horse Show

Judges: Bill & Lisa Waller

Manager: Evette Moody

Assistant Manager: Wade Flory

Secretary: Barb Dunham

USEF Steward: Bill Munford

Ringmaster: Walter “Skeeter” Williams

Announcer: R. Phillip Rice

Organist: June Marie Brune

Photographer: Doug Shiflet


By Claire Panke


 DAYTON, OhioThe Dayton Horse Show has been one of Midwest’s major competitions for over 70 years. Held August 1-4 at the at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in the heart of the city, this show could be one of the oldest equine events in the nation: according to a 1937 newspaper article reprinted in the show program, Dayton may be directly descended from a horse fair on the same site, initiated in 1867.


The Dayton Charity Horse Show has, inevitably, changed over the past couple decades. Other shows have been chipping away at its constituency. The fabled Shrine sponsors, who filled the grandstand with spectators night after night in the old days, are long gone.


Yet the show’s character remains much the same. The fairgrounds are charming and old fashioned, with grassy lawns, mature trees and barns set high atop a hill. All of this is smack in the city not far from downtown, which creates a unique atmosphere. A few fortunate exhibitors can park their tack chairs beneath the shade trees outside their barns, the better to visit with other horse people and watch the show from their hilltop vantage points. The huge grandstand’s towering lights illuminate the track and show ring as brightly as ever. Although fewer spectators are sitting in those stands, the infield box seats are filled with local horse people and sponsors. The area stables which are the backbone of Dayton are intensely loyal to their hometown show. 


Dayton has always felt important, as if winning a prize here is especially significant, and the old glamour still entices. (Grand champions at Dayton receive a tricolor, neck sash *and* a blanket of flowers.) This is also a good place to see young stock before they try their wings at Louisville, a good venue to tune-up your amateur horses before the Big Dance.


In looking for ways to preserve and improve the show, the management faced some extra challenges. This is one of last shows held on a race track, so improving the footing and stabling was at the top of the list. Yet the biggest hurdle Dayton faced turned out to be nothing to do with the physical plant.


Dayton has coexisted for several years with the Shelbyville show, with which it shares a same time slot – yet there always seemed to be enough horses to go around.  But this year, with the Kentucky State Fair only a scant three weeks away, venerable Dayton found itself competing with not just one but two shows on top of its dates. According to secretary Barb Dunham, the show lost several West Virginia stables due to a local event on Dayton’s dates. The show’s date conflicts were also compounded by USEF’s 2007 date changes that moved Ohio State Fair to the week before Dayton and left local Morgan barns cramped for time coming back from Northampton. Add to that an expanded Burlington show the weekend after Dayton – it was a schedule crunch extraordinaire.


Yet nothing appeared to dampen the enthusiasm of the show committee or the tireless, cheerful volunteers of the Therapeutic Riding Institute (TRI), Dayton’s worthy charity. And while the number of horses and ponies this year was down, there were many quality entries on hand to keep the judges on their toes. Despite missing several old faces, there were a few new exhibitors in 2007. Those who brought horses were very glad they did, finding a lot to like at the “improved” Dayton. It’s a much easier place to show a horse than it used to be.  The staff and office are attentive and helpful. The show schedule is manageable. Management kept their word and provided, new, better stalls, generous stabling with spacious, airy aisles, and a widened show arena on the grandstand track with a new, cushiony footing.  Some traditions even stayed the same, such as the unusual selection of gift-style trophies awarded to Dayton’s winners. Top prizes might be crystal decanters, wooden clocks, pewter trays or resin sculpture, but the trophies are always unusual and highly prized.  


Dayton provided lavish hospitality to exhibitors, hosting a continental breakfast daily at the hospitality tent and parties three nights after the show. Two special highlights included the retirement celebration for ringmaster Walter “Skeeter” Williams Thursday evening and a delicious multi course pasta buffet and progressive party Friday after the show. A fixture at Tri-State shows for several decades, Skeeter retired in style but will no doubt continue to be a part of horse show life – much more comfortably, no doubt, from a box seat.


Manager Evette Moody and the show committee are determined to keep Dayton a presence on the Midwest show scene. The Montgomery County Fairgrounds is scheduled for improvements and sprucing up, which can only benefit exhibitors.




Three answered the call for the championship, which proved to be an Indiana exacta. The powerful winner of the ladies class, Callaway’s Belfast and Mindy Preston, racked away with the championship for owner Linda Lewis. This win topped off a great week for this barn and made a dandy present for trainer Jim McIntosh and his author wife Sandra, who were celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary at Dayton. Fellow Hoosier Jennifer Townsend was up for the reserve championship aboard Four Willows Farm’s High Times Sweet Rob Roy.


Debbie Ecksten, rider Mindy Preston,
Sandra McIntosh,
trainer Jim McIntosh and
owner Linda Lewis celebrate

Callaway’s Belfast’s five gaited championship.


Jim McIntosh owns the good winner of the open class, Shamrock Commander’s Image, also teamed by daughter Mindy Preston.  Grabbing the win in the junior exhibitor was Hey Big Spender and Danielle Hewitt. Tina Stodd’s good Attaché’s Thunderbolt colt, Thunder Over The Amazon, added another blue to his growing collection of prizes with Phil Price aboard. Joan Hammond continued her unbroken series of victories with her home-raised and very cute Superior Revelation in the UPHA Classic. I Ma Jewel I Ma Jewel picked up the red for Jodi Johnson and owner Stanley Jozwiak in the UPHA.


Cliff Moxley,
Superior Revelation and Joan Hammond

after their big win in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic




The championship saw a contingent of five competitors striving for the tricolor. Joe Cloud made a strong show aboard Kathy Oberschlake’s pretty amateur mount, Prophet’s Fantastic Fulfillment, to take the crown. Donna Grieder and Never Worry captured a nice reserve. Tony Potts rode the long necked By Honor Bound to the blue in the open preliminary. Tina Stodd had a wonderful trip on Great Day’s War Princess to grab the blue in the ladies class over Donna Grieder and Never Worry.


The amateur championship and qualifier were both closely contested as two of the circuit’s top walk-trots battled it out for top honors. The tricolor in the championship went to the letter perfect duo of Margo Coleman and Sir Andrew, with the sporty and colorful His Heirness having to settle for reserve. This was reversed in the amateur qualifier, with His Heirness on top. Chelsea Patterson gave her handsome Stonecroft’s Front And Center two smart rides to annex both junior exhibitor classes with aplomb. Chance to Dream and Danielle Williams smartly collected two reserves.


The open park championship could not be denied to I’m Remarkable and Murphy McSemek, with Bow Tie And Blues and Katie Hafer Young settling in for reserve. Bow Tie And Blues had previously strutted off with the win in the open, followed by Truly Intrepid and Tony Potts for Dominic Iannvzzi. The amateur park division showcased two of this season’s best park horses, the colorful Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood with Abby Campbell and elegant The Lady’s Heir and Lynn Gutches Snowden. They tied that way in the championship, with the roles reversed in the qualifier.


Abby Campbell and Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood


Fine Harness


Creating a fine impression in this division’s junior and championship was the elegant Side Show Bob, Phil Price on the lines for Bill and Kathy Hickman. Fresh from a win at Ohio State Fair, Tropical Treasure got the blue ribbon in the open. The UPHA Classic saw a good performance from Bucardi and Steve Demjen for Kelly Naylor. Steve was again on the lines of the nice two year old Curtis Lowe, who prevailed in that class over the promising Mooi Mooi and Jennifer Townsend for K-3 partnership. The amateur and championship saw two grand horses and their lady drivers putting on a show for the crowd. In the preliminary it was the bright and airy going One’s Dizzy Lizzy and Jackie Hammond marching to the blue with CH Kool Tyme BH and Iris James in reserve. Kool Tyme and Iris really turned it on to collect the amateur championship, with Jackie and Lizzie in pursuit in reserve.


Iris James heads down victory lane

with CH Kool Tyme BH




Only two road horses were on the grounds but both teams put on two great shows for the audience and judge Waller. Speeding away with the top honors in both the open and the championship was John T Bert N Me with Holly Russell in the bike. Rosetta’s Sergio and Travis were reserve in both events.




Pony power in Ohio means Beth Jones, trainer Connie Smith and High Hopes Farm. Beth had two top roadsters in the championship, with Beth and her incredible Dun-Haven Awesome Image beating their brilliant stablemate Heartland High Command and Connie Smith. Dun-Haven Awesome Image and Beth had earlier taken the amateur blue, while Heartland High Command had been the confident winner of the open class. Kim Becker had the cute Mark Of Esteem up for reserve in the amateur. Jodi Johnson drove Heartland Victory Call to the second prize in the open. McKenzie Maple was on the lines to trot away with the junior exhibitor class with the good mannered Dylan.


Kim Becker has amassed quite a collection of blues and tricolors this season with her long tail pony Kilbro’s Patent Leather. Dayton fell to them as well, as they captured the harness pony open and stake. Reserve was another consistently winning duo, Mi Leonardo and Pam Ahrens. The cob tail division was yet another conquest for the phenomenal The Final Contender and Linda Lewis as the strutted off with the amateur and grand championship. The striking Kilbro’s Code Red and Catherine Houck turned a strong drive for second in both classes. Pat Kennedy drove the powerful moving Kenhurst Kalahari to the open title in their only appearance.


The pleasure driving championship went to the sharp junior exhibitor team of Mr. Jack Daniels and Logan Jones for Ohio High Steppers. This duo had previously nabbed the AHHS Youth Medallion. Beth Jones drove the talented D J’s High fashion to the blue in the adult pleasure driving. Kim Becker had the good Fitz’s Dutch Treat up for second.


Show Pleasure


The five-gaited pleasure division has been tough across the country this season and Dayton proved no different. Breaking through to a new level was the handsomely chiseled gelding Confidential Sorce and rider Lynn Gutches Snowden who took the top spots in the championship and qualifier. Harlem’s Gifted Treasure and Jacquie Hawkes had a smooth performance to be named the reserve champions, while Elegant Superiority and Joan Hammond turned in a good ride to capture the red in the qualifier.


Lynn Gutches Snowden and Confidential Sorce


Some of the largest classes in the show were the three-gaited show pleasure events. Piper Granger and CH Uncle Abe are one of the best three gaited show pleasure teams in the country. Fresh from wins at Lexington, they commanded both the adult and adult championship events. Reserve in the championship and adult were the good duo of Simply Enough and Jessica Sexton. The junior exhibitor championship was one of the highlights of the show, with the wonderful Highpoint’s Grandee and Dakota Reiser making dad proud by carrying off the tricolor in a great ride. Hot on their heels was the wicked new team of He’s A Royal Pepper and Sarah Lawson. The pretty A Midnight Kiss gave the top performance in the qualifier with Lydia Uhlyarik in the irons for Pamela Boyers. Paige Klee nabbed the red ribbon with Beware The Fox. The limit class was the domain of Stephanie Wright and Heart of Stone, with Bravo Blitz and Melissa Seitzman stepping into second.


The driving championship was a strong class, the top two in the adult class squaring off against the winning juvenile duo. Blue Jean Baby and Flo Pippert were the happy winners of the tricolor, with the youthful Paige Bundy and On My List close behind in reserve. This team has really taken to the driving division as they added the ASHAF Youth Driving Challenge blue to their recent Ohio State Fair win. Harlem’s Dark Star and Jessica Williamson got the nod for the blue in the adult qualifier.


Brian Yount had a competitive group of pleasure horses at Dayton, none better than Irish In Lights, shown by Brian to the blue and tricolor in the open park pleasure division.


Brian Yount and Irish in Cream


Vickie Siemon Webb was riding hard for the reserve tricolor on Unsanctioned. Ryan Stodd had Uwharrie’s Showdown in good form as they captured a close reserve in the open class. Fresh from a win at Ohio State Fair, Erin Sparks and Miss Albany took the blue back to Pamela Boyers in the junior class. Meadowcreeks Town Attraction and Katie Singleton were the winners in the amateur over Unsanctioned.


Country Pleasure


A smiling Carolyn Stuart and her tall and elegant We Be Jammin’ made it all look easy as they marched up for the victory in the limit and championship.  Cool Side and Jessica Wilson continued their great year with a blue in the adult and the reserve championship.


Carolyn Stuart and We Be Jammin’
with trainer Chris Reiser


Prairie Wind Dancer and Linda Boxdorfer had a smooth ride to capture the red ribbon in the limit. Bucking The System and Bridget Petri took home the blue in the junior exhibitor. The amateur-owner-trainer-rider class had a good turnout with Melissa Seitzman and Neon Deon getting the nod over Uwharrie’s First Lady and Vicki Siemon Webb.


Iris James had Theology just right in the pleasure driving division as they took home the top prizes in both the championship and qualifier. Mary Strang and the super talented The Bay Princess had to settle for the reserve championship title. Willowbrook’s Great Day and Katie Singleton got up for second in the qualifier.  Romero Cassanova and Christine Johnson dominated the western division, jogging up for both the western pleasure and championship. Reserve in both classes was another top western pair, Intellectual High and Jill Wilson. In the hunter division, Callaway’s For Always and Katy Skaggs were the flawless winners of both their classes. Romero Cassanova and Christine Johnson were right behind for second in the qualifying class. Lyn Shaw turned in a good ride aboard her My Genius Private Secretary for the reserve championship honors.




Other than the well-filled 10 and under division, most equitation classes at Dayton were lightly filled. But the quality of the riders was never in doubt, with the decision often coming down to the last element of each workout. Judge Lisa Waller overlooked no detail in her scrutiny. With a new horse underneath her, a radiant and confident Sarah Jane Smith nailed her work-out to capture the championship title.


Erin Richey has a big hug for

equitation champion Sarah Jane Smith.


Taylor Newton, possibly the best junior age group rider in the country, was reserve after winning the age group. Long legged Toria Heck was also at the top of her game to win not only the pleasure equitation championship but also the USEF Medal.


Toria Heck


Hallie Sansbury put it all together in her UPHA Challenge Cup victory. Elizabeth Thomas served notice she is someone to watch as she took the blue in the pleasure equitation age group, plus reserve in the championship.


The 10 and under classes were chockfull of determined youngsters. Aleia Brown has been at or near the top of her division since last year, so it was no surprise to see her capture the age group and championship in two assured rides. Reserve in the championship was the sharp riding Peyton Miller, who earlier was the happy winner of the UPHA 10 & under. Reserve in the UPHA was petite Delaney Webb.




Like the equitation division, Morgans were also light at Dayton. But several nice horses shipped over from Ohio State Fair to make the division a profitable one.


The beautiful Claridge Armani and Alex Lawson have won a barrel full of blue ribbons this season. They made the English pleasure division their own here too as they swept the amateur class and the championship for grandmother Margaret Williams. DSD Absolut Command and Amy Haering finished reserve in both events.  Loaded Question and Art Hattan took the driving and pleasure driving championship for Rocky Ridge Farm.


The classic saddle championship went to Tricia Hess riding Festival Hone N Spice, another nice entry from Rocky Ridge. The winner of the classic pleasure saddle, DMMF Noble Dynasty and Tammy Ross had to be content with the reserve tricolor in the championship. Rocky Ridge Farm marched through the classic pleasure driving division, Art Hattan and RRF Grand Slam the winners in both classes. Jax Noble Onyx completely dominated the western division, jogging up for the championship, the open and the amateur. Kay Foley was aboard in the amateur and stake, while Kathryn Schwartz did the honors in the open class. Razor’s Edge and Cherlynn Howard were the reserve champions, but had the perfect combination in the hunter division where they turned the tables to capture the hunter pleasure open and championship. The amateur hunter was a winning ride for Trisha Hess and Sancrest Lana Jean, while Kathryn Schwartz piloted the same horse to reserve in the open hunter classes.


This concludes the highlights from Dayton. Complete show results can be found by clicking here.

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