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Del Mar Charity Fair Still Growing After 26 Years!

by Leeann Mione

DEL MAR, Calif. - The 26th annual Del Mar Charity Fair Horse Show was a fantastic four day extravaganza of top competition for Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans and Friesians that drew more than 260 horses.

Last year was the first year for the show to be held with the covered arena and it was as popular this year as it was last year. Big classes across the board made for a competitive horse show and wins in so many classes were made even more special by the effort it took to best the incredible human and equine talent.

Harriet Landrum has served as show manager for years but this year, she was unable to attend at the last minute as she was recuperating from a fall. Committee assistant Roxanne Hood took over and with Landrum communicating by phone, and the very competent office staff taking care of things, the show ran as smoothly as ever.

Secretary Sheri Hurst was joined by data processor Ron Hood and clerks Mary Kay Hartman and Bev Hurst to help owners, trainers and exhibitors.

Mark Farrar returned as show announcer and Grace Yaglou was once again the ringmaster. Eric Tasker served as paddock master and Cecile Hetzel-Dunn was the USEF Steward.

Security at the fair requires everyone to have credentials to get in the gate and Adele Maurer was in charge of keeping those in order. Chrisi Hard and Lisa Iaria teamed up to be in charge of awards and Charles Gardner was the organist.

The Ray Vinole Orchestra played in center ring for the evening sessions and Classic Video was named the official videographer of the show. Rick Osteen was the official photographer.

Joni Cranmore and Lisa Otterson manned the gates and Alice Phillips was stable manager. Dr. Linda Byer served as the show veterinarian and Jessie Vaughn was the official farrier.

The show held their exhibitor’s party at the host hotel Hilton Del Mar, located across the street from the show grounds and it drew a big crowd that stayed late into the night to enjoy the food and hospitality.

Rancho Del Mar had their annual ice cream social and the weather was warm enough that the ice cream was a popular treat with those in attendance.

The silent auction had a big variety of items available for bidding and raffle winners were announced every day.

On a sad note, Texas trainer Dan Flowers was in an accident on his way to the show with eight Saddlebreds. His truck and trailer caught on fire and one horse perished at the scene. Two others were taken to the vet clinic to recuperate. Flowers lost his luggage, wallet, equipment, tack and supplies in the fire and the immediate response and generous outpouring of support and help was overwhelming.

As is so often true in the horse business, the sad news was just one small part of an otherwise very happy and successful week.

Whether it was the 19-entry Equitation Championship, the 16-entry UPHA Challenge Cup, the five horse workout in the amateur gaited class, the four horse workout in the adult pleasure championship or the two-rider workout in the open walk and trot equitation 10 and under championship, just about everybody had reason to smile.

Paul Cates judged the Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Friesians and Open Breed divisions and Sandy Sessink judged the Morgans, Equitation and Friday morning academy classes. The competition is highlighted below.

Thursday evening’s finale, the Five-Gaited Stake closed out a night of competitive classes across the board and judge Paul Cates had a group of five competing for the tricolor.

Grand Revival and Desiree DeVries were joined by Goodtime Jimmy and Breen Cullen, Winsdown Bridgeworks and Robb Wallen, Ciao For Now! and Jim Cherry and Trophy Hunter with Barbara Beamer.

All five horses performed with very different styles and when Cates lined them up and turned in his card, it was reserve champion from the open qualifier Ciao For Now! named the winner for owner Grace Arnold.

The powerful gelding was followed in the ribbons by the equally powerful and dynamic Grand Revival. DeVries teamed her entry under the Yount Stables banner.

CH Walterway’s Remember Me, yet another gaited star known for his power and athleticism turned in the blue ribbon effort to win the open class with Jennifer Dixon showing for owners John and Jacque Jarve.

Earlier in the evening, the amateurs had their stake class and like their qualifier, nine entries came through the gate. This group had put on a fierce battle in the first class and they did it again in the stake. Desert’s Double Memories couldn’t be denied however and Teri Yount headed down victory lane in the championship.

All About It and Britt Frome have really been coming on strong this season under the direction of Deardorff Stables and they exited as the reserve grand champions after a great team effort.

The real story for the amateurs however was the fact that they rode so hard and put on such a great qualifier the first time they appeared in front of Cates, that he called for a five horse workout.

Callaway’s Editor’s Note and Lexie Castaillac, All About It and Britt Frome, Heir Dazzle and Dr. Amy Voliva, Special Vintage and Julianne Rafferty, and Desert’s Double Memories with Yount, all headed back to the rail for another look by Cates.

Great pass after great pass had the crowd enthusiastically cheering their favorites and all five truly rose to the occasion and were working hard for the win. Every one of the five has made numerous trips to the winner’s circle in their careers, but on this night it was Yount and Desert’s Double Memories selected to wear the blue.

Dr. Amy Voliva and Heir Dazzle pressed hard every step of the way and they claimed the red ribbon under the direction of Marcia Everett’s Bridleway Stables LLC.

The junior exhibitors turned in two nice classes and results of both were very different. Yahooligan and Natalie Grunnan came out on top in the stake under the direction of Barbara Beamer of Seaview Farm. The pair racked and trotted their way to the win in fine fashion for owner Jamie La Fortune. Magellan and Shea Federico kept the top ribbons coming to the Yount Stables tack room with their strong performance to take the reserve grand championship for Rick Federico.

Yount Stables teammate Superior One was named to take the victory pass in the junior exhibitor qualifier with Kirsti Martin up for Jeanette and Kirsti Martin. Katie Jarve and CH Walterway’s Remember Me are getting more and more comfortable with each other and they captured the red ribbon under Jennifer Dixon’s direction.

Winsdown Bridgeworks and Robb Wallen were the team to beat in the limit class which featured a trio of nice entries. Wallen rode for owners Bob and Paula Lovo. The Epocolipse, with trainer Tod Roettiger on board, finished with the reserve tie for owner Jennifer Polich.

Blues And Wine kept a successful season going for owner Crown Valley Farm when David Blevins rode to the win in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Desiree DeVries teamed Gurley Street to second for Teri Yount and Chuck Hetherington.

The Three-Gaited Stake showcased a group of four elegant, high stepping Saddlebreds and all four turned in a great class for the audience. When it was over however, I’m High ‘N Mighty took the picture perfect victory pass after being named the grand champion with David Blevins riding for Bruce and Jennifer Foster. Gloria Vanderbilt had already turned in an impressive performance to win the open qualifier with Ann Miller and they were named the reserve grand champions for Ann Blankenship. I’m High ‘N Mighty came into the stake as the open reserve champion.

CH Like Sunshine and the mother-daughter team of Sue Valley and Julia Chen added two more wins to the Dixon Stable total. The mare is equally comfortable with both riders and as they usually do, they switched it up between the amateur qualifier and the amateur stake. Valley headed down victory lane when they won the blue and Chen had the honors of taking the victory pass in the championship.

Matinee Starlet and Peggy Kelber, another team that is getting more and more comfortable together were right there in both classes to take reserve under the Deardorff Stables banner.

Victoria Lynn and Caroline Cherry made it two for two in the junior exhibitor division under the direction of owners and trainers Jim and Helen Cherry. A Solar Flare and Shelby Jackson were met by the team of Roman and Cayce Marcos after both classes when they were named the reserve grand champions and reserve champions for Craig Jackson.

Timeline and Lexie Castaillac teamed up to claim the blue ribbon in the Junior/Limit Three-Gaited class for Judy and Lexie Castaillac from Dixon Stable. Royal Conduct and owner/trainer Nani Barnes followed in the ribbons.

Michael Aponte guided Fair Hill’s Lucky Strike to the win in the three-year-old class with excited owner Linda Brittan on hand to watch her youngster’s debut in the show ring.

The park horses had three nice classes and like the rest of the country, the park division on the west coast gets more and more competitive all the time. Jamie La Fortune’s great show continued when she turned in a strong ride with her self-trained The Unforgettable Fire to take the tricolor in the park stake.

Love and Luck and Michelle McVey, of Desert Palms, have been consistent performers in the division with their share of blues and top ribbons and on this night they exited with the reserve grand championship title.

My Ultimatum, owned by Mike and Lisa Valletta, topped the open class with Desiree DeVries riding for the win and they were followed in the ribbons by Le Reve and Roman Marcos, riding for Bob Battaglia.

Larry Witter and First French Kiss turned in a powerful team effort to take the blue in the amateur class under the direction of David Blevins. My Ultimatum made his first appearance for the week in the amateur class with owner Lisa Valletta on board and they claimed the red ribbon.

A trio of fancy entries hit the ring for the Fine Harness Stake and each had their share of fans but when Cates turned in his card, it was Carolyn Melka’s entry Roselane’s Ready To Jet named the grand champion. Eric Antman, from Majestic Farms, drove for Melka. Kalarama’s On A Roll, no stranger to the winner’s circle and last year’s grand champion, won the open class before finishing with the reserve streamers in the stake. Jack Reich and his mare showed under the direction of Bill Tomin.

Sally Spalding and CH No Jacket Required have had an incredible career together in the amateur fine harness division and with the exception of last year, when they didn’t show at Del Mar, Sally and "Tex" have won Del Mar blue and/or tricolor ribbons every year since 2002 under the direction of Michael Craghead. They did it again in 2010 as the amateur grand champions and champions.

Fusilier and Keith Roberts were directed by Barbara Beamer to the reserve ribbon in the amateur qualifier.

Seaview added another blue in the division to the tack room wall when Natalie Grunnan drove Casablanca’s Fortune Teller to the win in the ASHA Fine Harness Youth Driving Challenge class for owner/trainer Barbara Beamer.

Get My Drift added another win to Linda and Maynard Brittan’s total when Fair Hill’s trainer Derek Repp drove to win the Junior/Limit Fine Harness class. They edged out Roselane’s Ready To Jet and Antman.

Military Secret hit the California show scene at the end of last year as a two-year-old. Now at three, he’s growing up a bit and is having a successful season for owner Grace Arnold. Jim Cherry had the winning drive in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness class to add another blue to the Cherry Stables total. Unkissable and Austin Eversman followed in the ribbons for Majestic Farms LLC.

DF Tres Chic and Kendall Weber have proven their versatility with wins in several roadster pony divisions under the Sabino Equestrian Center banner. They won both the Roadster Pony Championship and open class to add two more to their win list.

Lila Tatar is notoriously busy at horse shows with her various Saddlebred and Morgan horses but she has now stepped into a new division and she debuted with Heartland City Boy at Del Mar.

The new team proved to be the ones to beat in the Roadster Pony Under Saddle class which also served as City Boy’s debut in that division. Tatar showed under the direction of Glynis Snowden and Bob Petersen of Glyn-Rae Stables. Weber and Tres Chic were the reserve winners under saddle.

Heartland King Of Kings and Joanne Weiner were unstoppable on their way to a sweep of the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Stake and qualifier under the direction of Rockridge Farm. The reigning world’s champion of champions topped reserve grand champion Catcha Dream Tonight and Terri Antman in the stake and Seamair’s Winterfest with owner Janet Overstreet in the qualifier. Antman drove for owner Carolyn Melka, and Overstreet showed under the direction of David Becker Jr.

The team of Global Scene and Royalee Cleveland have consistently been at the top of the cards in the five-gaited pleasure division but their wins and top ribbons have been hard fought as the division is quite competitive on the west coast show scene. Under the direction of David Blevins, they added two more wins to their total after two really nice classes at Del Mar. CH Callaway’s Capitol Reporter and Katie Jarve, no strangers to the winner’s circle in this division put together two strong team efforts to claim the Five-Gaited Pleasure Reserve Grand Championship and reserve championship for John and Jacque Jarve.

Kay March is another exhibitor with several entries which always leads to a busy horse show for her, under the direction of trainer and exhibitor Nani Barnes, Mountainview’s King William helped make March’s week a big success at Del Mar. The pair won the Park Pleasure Stake after having won the Junior/Limit Park Pleasure class earlier in the week. Callaway’s Liberty Valance and owner Breen Cullen were right there to take the reserve streamers in the stake under the direction of Tod Roettiger.

CH A Magic Spell is back. The blonde mane-and-tailed mare returned to the show ring in a big way with the winning performance in the Open Park Pleasure class. Jennifer Dixon teamed her to the win for owner Heather Buhr. Naughty Bisquotti and Cheyenne Banks-Diaz, from Rancho Del Mar, claimed the red ribbon in the open class for Bob and Vita Banks

Stylish Dancer made her mark with the red ribbon effort in the junior/limit class. Michelle McVey rode for Desert Palms.

CH French Silk Stockings and Debbie Tomin not only turned in two great performances to sweep the adult three-gaited pleasure division, but their win in the championship came after a four horse workout.

Winners of the limit rider class CH Tommy James and Helen Roy, limit horse champions Evangelical with Teri Yount and limit rider reserve champions CH Picante with Julie DeVault were also selected by Cates to go back to the rail in the big 11-entry championship. The workout was a great showcase of talent after a really competitive class full of top teams.

Tomin’s sweep of the division marked the fifth year in a row that Debbie and CH French Silk Stockings have won both the championship and qualifier in the adult division at Del Mar.

Yount and Evangelical were next in line for a ribbon in the championship to add to Yount Stables successful week and Peanut Butter took reserve in the adult qualifier with owner Carolyn Melka from Majestic Farms.

The junior exhibitors also had two really nice classes and Tuffy’s Gunslinger moved up in the ribbons, with Caroline Cherry riding for Steve and Chris Kling, to take the championship title. CH J Peterman and owner Hannah Rahav stepped up to exit both classes with the reserve ribbons under the Emerald Hills banner, and Helen Ragan teamed Into The Cosmos to the blue in the qualifier under the direction of Frank and Ann Miller of Miller Equestrian.

Wild Sweet William and owner Laura Dorwart put together a strong team effort to finish with the red ribbon in the limit horse class.

Foxy Cleopatra has made the move to the show pleasure driving division and she’s proven it’s a good one. Virginia Bergstrom drove to the championship and qualifier wins for owner Elfriede Munday under the direction of David Becker Jr. Callaway’s Back At Ya and owner Karyn Wonderly were named the reserve grand champions under the direction of Robb Wallen. Jeffrey Fetzer, in his own inimitable style, drove Will I Am to the red ribbon in the qualifier.

Ragan and Into The Cosmos also added the blue ribbon from the ASHA Show Pleasure Driving Youth Challenge class to their total to close out their good week. Cascade Of Words and Sydney Shaw, showing for owner and trainer Desiree DeVries, were the reserve champions.

CH Spike Leigh and owner Carole Whitt were on top of their game to sweep the country pleasure division under the direction of Dave Hysaw of Bugle Boy Stables. Allison Gann and Callaway’s Party Time have been having a banner year so far in their first season together and they were right there to be named the Country Pleasure Reserve Grand Champions after winning the junior exhibitor class.

Miss Giggles and Suzanne Lyons took the red ribbon in the adult qualifier under the direction of Bridleway and Sultan’s Sarah Mariah was reserve in the junior exhibitor class with Kendal Osterberger for owner Cathrine Cartwright from Wallen West.

Two seasoned performers, Mountainview’s Crown Prince and CF Prowler’s Keepsake traded victories in the country pleasure driving division. Toni Nickell drove Crown Prince, from Rancho Del Mar, to the tricolor and qualifier winners Prowler’s Keepsake and Amy Vicker Smith turned in the reserve grand championship effort under the direction of Tara Weber.

The western country pleasure division is yet another one that just keeps getting deeper and deeper and CH Fiasco and Spurwing’s Superfine Lady both ended up with two wins apiece by the time the show was over.

Doug Glick showed CH Fiasco to the Championship and adult class wins under the direction of Michael Craghead. Buttoned Down and Grace Arnold were next in line with the reserve tie in both classes from Cherry Stables.

Allison Gann teamed Kathie Dunn’s mare Spurwing’s Superfine Lady to the blue in the junior exhibitor class and Missy Bennett rode to the blue in the Shatner class. Ivory Jack and owner Sedona Gallagher took the junior exhibitor class reserve under the direction of Dian Lundell. Louise Curran and Sunshine Superman are familiar competitors under the Wallen West banner and they stepped up for the red ribbon in the Shatner class.

I’m W. O. Bentley, Kathie and Lorrie Dunn’s beloved rescued Saddlebred made two appearances in the parade horse division with Missy Bennett, of Jim Bennett Stables, riding both times.

To say the equitation division was strong once again this year at Del Mar would be an understatement. One of the best things manager Harriet Landrum does at this show is to make the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship an open class so that riders on Saddlebreds, whether trimmed or pleasure equitation horses, and Morgan equitation riders all show in the same class.

In a night when workouts were prevalent and class after class was really great, 19 hard riding young ladies came through the gate to try to take the tricolor and title.

What a class! What a showcase of determination and effort on the part of each and every rider in the class in front of judge Sandy Sessink.

The caliber of riders was exceptional and the vast majority had numerous wins to their credit in their equitation careers already. Winning a ribbon in this class was an impressive accomplishment, let alone taking the championship tricolor.

Sessink selected eight riders to perform the workout and the stellar group headed back to the rail for her evaluation of their skills.

Sisters Samantha and Natalie Robinson were joined by Tayler Walters, Courteney Kabel, Claire Brownie, Emily Evans, Angelica Berning and Lila Tatar for the work out. All eight did a great job with a nice crowd looking on, but when Sessink turned in her card, it was Tayler Walters riding Pinstripe Dancer, named to take the victory pass under the direction of Anne Speck.

Courteney Kabel, riding her Morgan Mantic Top Gun under the direction of Debi Jeppesen and Bob Hughes of Blackridge, turned in the reserve grand championship effort for Steve and Kathleen Kabel. Evans, Tatar, Brownie and Natalie Robinson claimed the remaining ribbons in that order.

Emily Chapman topped a really nice 14-17 class under the direction of Michelle McVey. Kirwan Kennedy made a single appearance to win the 13 and under class. Kennedy’s win was especially emotional as she won the class on a borrowed horse after having lost her beloved equitation horse Callaway’s Show Me When. Kennedy rode Risen Star, from Liz Bolton Stables and owned by Demetrios Kallios, under the direction of Marcia Everett. Angelica Berning took the reserve behind Chapman, and Natalie Robinson was reserve behind Kennedy.

Tayler Walters and Amelia Coomber gave Rancho Del Mar the one-two finish in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal class, which was well filled and competitive.

Lila Tatar and her Saddlebred Heir’s Encore made their debut at UPHA Chapter 1 and they were back together again at Del Mar with a lot at stake in the UPHA Challenge Cup. Tatar won the class last year riding Stoneledge Chancellor and she very much wanted to make it a repeat victory with her new horse.

Standing in her way however, were 15 other riders looking to take the victory pass with a nod from Sessink.

Yet another fantastic equitation class was in store for the audience and yet another test of horsemanship and ridership for a big group of top competitors. Sessink selected seven riders to perform the standard challenge cup workout.

Tatar could not be denied however, and she took the top spot under the Glyn-Rae Stables banner to make it two years in a row. The victory, along with her wins in the Morgan division, combined to make her the Anne T. Speck High Point Junior Exhibitor of the show. Tayler Walters also turned in another strong equitation performance to take the reserve in the UPHA Challenge Cup aboard Boston’s Big Whammy.

Natalie Robinson proved small but mighty as she turned in a big effort to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Maiden Riders class. Katie Kabel added another top ribbon to the Kabel family’s total with her reserve tie in the maiden riders class.

Kendall Weber earned top ribbons as a junior exhibitor in the equitation division and she’s also been quite successful since moving into the adult ranks. She took the blue in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup. Lynnda Martin, instructed by Ann Miller, was right there for the red ribbon in the class.

A trio of young riders did their best in the lead line walk and trot class for riders four to seven years of age. Natalie Kim took the blue and Angelina Cooper finished with the reserve.

Sessink had a great group of Morgans to evaluate all week. Numerous world and Grand National champions graced the ring and she had a tough task picking the winners more often than not.

Kathleen Kabel took her turns in the winner’s circle to add to the Blackridge-Kabel successful team effort. She rode DMH Back In Black to the Morgan Park Saddle Championship and open class wins. Tara’s Mojo and Erica Santa added to Rushton Stables very successful show at Del Mar with their two reserve wins in the park saddle division for owner Kathy Taylor.

Rushton Stables teammate SYP High Definition kept the wins coming with the Morgan Park Harness blue. Stacy Hennessy drove for Ted and Elaine Olsen. Toscanini and Bob Hughes followed in the ribbons for owners Daniel and Janet Unrein.

Elaine Galatz and Queen’s Guardian were unstoppable on their way to a clean sweep of the amateur park harness division under the direction of Harold Angell. SYP High Definition, teamed with Elaine Olsen was right there in both amateur classes for the reserve finishes.

Desperado Of Monarch and Frank Miller took the victory pass in the Morgan Park Harness Junior Horse class for Frank and Ann Miller.

The English Pleasure Championship featured a top group and when it was over, TE Ammunition emerged on top with Stacy Hennessy riding for Glenn and Kim Weed and KW Morgans. GLB Sanatra, winner of the open class exited as the reserve grand champion. Brooke Yule rode both times for Yule and Howard.

Another top champion bred by the Bumb’s Silver Creek Stables and carrying the GLB prefix, GLB, Perfect Harmony and Kirsten Johnson teamed up to win the Morgan English Pleasure Ladies class from Rushton Stables. SLB Andiamo and Kathleen Kabel were next in line for a ribbon from Blackridge.

Sarde’s Sinful and Lila Tatar claimed victory in the combined Amateur/Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship after winning the well filled junior exhibitor class. They topped a nice group both times including reserve grand champions GLB Perfect Harmony and Johnson and junior exhibitor reserve champions Heir Rifle and Angelica Berning.

Tamarisk On Target and Kaitlin Gibson put together the winning effort to take the blue in the amateur qualifier. They showed under the direction of Lance Bennett of Rancho Vista. Glory Days was reserve with owner Susan McCullough in the irons from Gerry Rushton Stables.

Ultra’s Private Eye was selected by Sessink as the top junior/limit horse for owner Eric and Kristen Yang. Gerry Rushton was in the saddle for the winning ride. Hawk and Laura Dorwart, from Majestic Farms, took the second place tie.

The Noblest lit up the Del Mar arena as he headed down victory lane in the Morgan Open Pleasure Driving class with Bob Hughes before returning in the stake to win that class as well for Tom and Teri Brisco and their Tomeri Morgans.

Mary Leudtke drove Mantic Boogie Belle to the reserve in the championship and they also claimed reserve in the ladies class behind the winning team of Alliteration and Lexie Ellsworth from Blackridge.

Elaine Olsen and Stonecroft Notorious were the Amateur Pleasure Driving Grand Champions to follow up their reserve in the amateur class. Lucky As Me and Shirley Biszants, of Kachina Morgan Ranch, won the amateur qualifier before claiming the reserve streamers in the amateur championship. It was a tricolor sweep for Rushton Stables.

Elaine Galatz put her young homebred star VVM Dreamkeeper in the top spot to win the Junior Horse Pleasure Driving blue ribbon. Kevin Worsley and his Dreammaster Rare Image were right there for the red ribbon award.

Abalone and Gerry Rushton won the two-year-old pleasure driving class for co-owners Aldinger and Stewart.

The Stewart-Aldinger team wasn’t done winning yet. Kate Aldinger rode Dreammaster J’st Outrajus to top a nice Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship after taking the blue ribbon in the ladies class and red ribbon in the open qualifier earlier in the week. Leesa Galatz rode VVM Elektra, yet another Vegas Valley Morgans home bred entry, to the reserve grand championship title.

Debra Hurst Walters added her name to the family win list when MLF Caliente topped the competitive Morgan Classic Pleasure Saddle qualifier under the Rancho Del Mar banner. Tayler Walters also piloted Caliente to top honors with the reserve in the ladies class.

CPM Man Oh Man and Lila Tatar were victorious in the junior exhibitor class which hosted a good group and like the other Classic Pleasure Saddle classes, showcased a big talented group. Cingate Mystery and Vanessa Ybarra took the reserve behind Tatar for owner Patricia Ybarra.

Tomeri Morgans was represented in the winner’s circle in the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship when Sessink named Tomeri Swingtime the winner with Teri Brisco driving after their previous win in the ladies class. McCartney and Bob Lovo teamed up for owner Cathrine Cartwright to win the open qualifier before taking the reserve tricolor.

AMHF Absolut Mystery and Samantha Lyttle were second in the ladies class for Debra Hurst Walters.

Heather Leudtke took on the task of showing Primera Winchester for owners Bond and Berberet and she proved she was up to the challenge when they were called out as the winners. Owner Amy Daniels piloted Four Fields Top Brass to the open class win with a strong effort and returned to take reserve in the championship.

VCF Naughty But Nice and Premier West trainer Nicole Johnson were right there for the red ribbon in the open class. Johnson rode for Minerva and Victoria Walz.

Charlene Edleson and Ellen McCook traded places on Sessink’s card in the Morgan Western Pleasure Amateur Championship and amateur qualifier.

Out Of The Blue Willow and Edleson won the ladies class and finished in second in both the amateur championship and qualifier behind VVM Aleesa and McCook.

HP Yippie Ki A and Mary Leudtke took the victory pass in the Junior/Limit Horse Western Pleasure class for owners Hal and Stacy Parker. Platinum Diamond was next in line for a ribbon with Brooke Yule up for Crystal Eller Quam.

Whispering Incognito, with trainer Jill Yerger on board, was the one to beat in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship for King Lehr Stable. Their win followed up the reserve in the open class. ALS Bedazzle and Michellie Jones scored the open blue ribbon with their effort and they also won the ladies class, ahead of reserve champions Sandra Gruen and Light Year. Trainer Darcy Albino-Attig also directed the reserve champions to their reserve grand championship finish in the amateur stake.

Festival Atomic Energy continued the great week for the Sturm Family and trainer B.J. Schafer with the win in the amateur stake. Savannah Sturm took the victory pass under Schafer’s direction.

The walk and trot 11 and under pleasure riders were allowed to choose any seat and VCF Naughty But Nice headed down victory lane but this time Victoria Walz was in the saddle. Willowick Mafia Princess and Shaunicy Sturm followed in the ribbons.

ATM Trust Asure and owner Ann Gaipa took the title in the Limit/Junior Horse Hunter Pleasure class.

Tayler Walters, riding Boston’s Big Whammy and Amelia Coomber, riding Stonecroft Make A Wish, finished one and two respectively in the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal which showcased eight talented equitation riders.

Savannah Sturm and Shaunicy Sturm closed out the Morgan equitation division with wins. Savannah won the Morgan Hunt/Western Seat 17 and Under Equitation class and Shaunicy won the Morgan Walk and Trot 11 and Under Any Seat Equitation class.

The Friesians had a variety of classes to compete in and judge Cates switched gears from the Saddlebreds to evaluate the Friesian contingent.

He named Otto the Friesian Park Saddle Open winner with Lance Bennett up for Friesian Focus in their only appearance. It would not be Bennett’s last trip to the winner’s circle for Joan Fernandez.

Erin Rae Smith and her Kieran Of Carisbrooke swept the Friesian saddle seat pleasure division and topped a talented group both times for victory. They also took reserve in the amateur/junior exhibitor class. Wodan and Bennett claimed the reserve grand championship title.

Harem and Koreen Greenberg exited as the red ribbon winners in the open class. They showed under the Rancho De Servin banner, managed by Laurie Servin.

Sjoerd and co-owner Xena Vimercati won the combined Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Friesian Saddle Seat Pleasure Championship, one of three wins for them for the week. Janna Goldman, of Black Sterling Friesians, also had a busy week with her Friesian entries including reserve grand champion Majestic. They came into the combined championship having won the combined qualifier.

Keimpe and Koreen Greenberg were twice victorious. They won the Friesian Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Tymo and Marilyn Bickers topped the even larger junior horse class before taking the red ribbons in the country pleasure championship and qualifier.

Sjoerd and Vimercati won the Friesian Saddle Seat Pleasure Junior Horse Championship to add the tricolor to their total. Snoepje and Lance Bennett claimed the reserve in the junior horse qualifier in their only appearance for Friesian Focus.

Laurie Servin took the lines to drive Harem to his wins in both the Friesian Show Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier for Greenberg. They were followed by Tjalke and Carole Gatti in the championship, showing under the direction of Barbara Beamer. Jolmer and Steve Young, of Friesian Thunder, were the reserve champions.

Lance Bennett rode Gerrit to the Friesian Open Walk and Trot Championship and qualifier wins then turned things over to junior exhibitor Elektra Mustaine. She piloted Gerrit to the impressive win against the adults in the Amateur Walk and Trot Championship for Pam and Dave Mustaine. Rembrandt FQ and Marissa Emery took the reserve in the open championship for Bob and Vita Banks and Sjoerd was reserve in the open qualifier with Tynan Morley riding.

Jelle was named the high point Friesian after a busy and successful Charity Fair show. Leigh Ann Hill followed in the ribbon count in the amateur championship and they also were reserve in the amateur walk and trot qualifier behind Sjoerd and Morley.

Itse and Bennett swept the Friesian hunt seat pleasure division and faced a great group both times for the victories. Parmant and Nicole Fernandez, also from Friesian Focus, were the reserve grand champions and Jelle was reserve in the qualifier with Julie Picot riding for owner Georgeanne Greiner.

Tiede G and Sale Visser took blue for Black Sterling Friesians in the Friesian Dressage Suitability Championship to move up in the ribbons. They bested reserve grand champions and reserve champions Jelle and Picot. Trainer Rachael Stokes, of Fire Dance, rode her own entry Mercury Of Honor Bright to the dressage qualifier.

The open-to-any-breed division continues to grow in popularity at shows across the country as owners and trainers look for new avenues to showcase their horses. Del Mar certainly reinforced the success of the division with a full slate of classes offered.

Lane Rabin was met by White Star Stables trainer Matthew Roberts after Mardi Gras Mambo won the OTAB Amateur English Pleasure class. Roberts headed to center ring again for the presentation when they followed up their amateur qualifier win with the victory in the championship. Dancing In The Dark, owned by Bonnie Farris, was reserve in the amateur championship after taking reserve in the open qualifier with Robb Wallen showing. Stacy Hennessy showed Monnington Titian to win the open qualifier for Arcola Farm.

Kelly Ganci, riding her mom Michelle Ganci’s Saddlebred Ribbons And Love, exited with the red ribbon in the amateur qualifier under the direction of Michael Craghead.

Undulata’s Sophisticated Design and Melody Wang won the junior exhibitor class for owner Missy Bennett and Sabino Equestrian’s CH Highpoint’s Abba Zabba was reserve with Alyssa Blinkoff up for Kendall Weber.

Believer’s Beware and Kaitlyn Jackson Horn, showing for The Horn Group LLC topped the English Pleasure 10 and Under Walk and Trot class. Ethan Feiber took his turn with CH A Magic Spell under Jennifer Dixon’s direction and they were the walk and trot reserve champions.

Forever And A Day, owned by Bill and Debbie Tomin joined a great group to win the OTAB Pleasure Driving Stake and qualifier and represent the Hackney pony breed.

Winze and Joan Fernandez followed in the ribbon count in both driving classes for Friesian Focus.

Black Sterling, the "mascot" of Black Sterling Friesians took on the open western pleasure horses and carried Janna Goldman to two victory passes. Smackwater Black, one of four Kay March-owned entries that showed in the OTAB western pleasure division, earned the reserve grand championship and reserve championship titles. Tim Beals rode in the championship and March showed in the qualifier.

Itse and Lance Bennett went back to the winner’s circle twice more. They won the OTAB Hunter Pleasure Stake and qualifier. Festival Atomic Energy and Savannah Sturm represented the Morgan breed with their reserve grand championship and Goldman and her Friesian Ate were reserve in the qualifier.

The Concours D’ Elegance was a single-entry class and the buzz it generated at the show was worthy of an "Oscar". All week the talk of the show was that there was going to be a "very" famous celebrity in the carriage when the class took place Wednesday evening.

When the carriage, pulled by Floris and Itse, mysteriously turned left at the end of the barn aisle instead of heading to the warm up ring, the speculation increased. Add to that the mysterious "security guard" running alongside and the cover pulled up to hide the rear seat and the whispered questions kept coming. "Who is it"? was heard all over the place, even as the carriage came down the ramp towards the arena.

When the song "Believe" started playing on the PA system and the top dropped on the carriage, we had our answer. "Cher" was in the house.

Joan Fernandez drove the perfectly matched team of Friesians and her smile was as big as everyone in the audience as she put them through their paces, all the while with "Cher" standing up and singing to the crowd.

No doubt many people in the crowd from the fair, or those in the upper seats, weren’t truly sure whether or not the real Cher was singing to them. As it turns out, it was a well known female impersonator named Chad who entertained the crowd, rather than the Oscar winning actress and singer.

Joan Fernandez, Lance Bennett and Scott Hickey worked hard to pull it off and the class was one of the evening’s most entertaining and lighthearted moments.

When the big crowd got to the elaborately decorated Friesian Focus/Rancho Vista stalls for their party that evening, "Cher" stayed to meet and greet the guests, complete with a blonde wig and wardrobe change and entertained the group with a song to make the party a huge success.

The OTAB walk and trot equitation riders however, were all business. They took on the challenge in style and worked hard to impress Sessink.

After a great 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation qualifier, won by Shaunicy Sturm with Ethan Feiber in second place, the group returned for their championship. The big group was so impressive that Sessink couldn’t make up her mind and called for a workout between Sturm and Feiber, a first for both of them.

Both young riders put their game faces on and turned in terrific efforts and when they returned to the lineup to await the results, it was anyone’s guess as to what the decision would be. In the end it was Shaunicy Sturm named as the grand champion and Feiber took the reserve grand championship title.

Great competition has been a hallmark of the Del Mar Charity Fair Horse Show for the past 25 years and this year, in its 26th installment, great competition made the show even bigger and better than ever.

Great hospitality, a top-flight staff and an enormous amount of volunteers combined with so many barns that made the trip to the coast to participate, will make this year’s show a hard one to top. Here’s hoping that year 27 only continues the trend of bigger and better.

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