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Equine Obituary - CH Boo!

CH Boo! Wasa Possessed – 

With Beauty, Brains and Talent!

By Leeann Mione

She had a personality bigger than she was. So perfectly named, she was destined to be a star in the show ring no matter who was on her back because she was beautiful, game and talented. She was a three time World’s Champion of Champions, four time world’s champion and she was one of a kind.

The powerful and popular black mare CH Boo! died May 2, 2015 of complications from colic and she will be truly missed by Barbara Goodman Manilow and the entire Goodman-Manilow family as well as all her former owners, trainers and members of her huge fan club.

Foaled in October of 1995 and originally named Battle’s Hot Stuff, she first came to the attention of Raymond Shively when she was about three. Mary Beth Harter had seen her racking barefoot and in western tack with her then owner and thought Raymond should see her.

“She didn’t even know what a snaffle bit was,” said Raymond. “We had to cut her tail and get her with the program. Todd [Miles] started working her and he got along pretty good with her. She had a lot of potentional.” 

The first time she left the farm was to go to Rock Creek just to work. She was small and not really strong yet but Beth Clifton saw her and was bowled over by her presence. She called trainer Rob Byers to tell him about her and that she wanted to make an offer. He told her to “go for it” and she purchased the mare. 

Rob worked her over the winter to aim towards getting her in the show ring in 2000. “Todd had gotten her really good,” he said. “She was very game but I knew she would be a great junior exhibitor horse. Hayne Clifton was a really good rider and she really wanted a gaited horse to show.”

In early March 2000, Beth decided to change her name to CH Boo! - a moniker that turned out to be stunningly perfect for her. No one could have known then that the mare, who had never been in a show ring, would develop an unparalleled following in the Saddlebred industry at a time before “selfies” and instant show results online. 

Rob debuted with her at Rock Creek and she burst on the scene in her first show ring appearance ever to win the Open Five-Gaited class. He brought her back in the Five-Gaited Championship and she was unstoppable on her way to the winner’s circle. 

At Lexington, Premier Stables’ assistant trainer at the time Ashley Isenhower showed her to win the Five-Gaited Mare class. The win came in a class of 12 at a show that poses its own unique challenges and is unlike any other in the country. It can take down even the most seasoned show ring veteran. They returned in the 14-entry Five-Gaited Championship and were the reserve grand champions. 

With three wins and one reserve in her first four appearances, her fan club continued to grow. Who could resist the perfectly named, solid black little dynamo born so close to Halloween and with so much charisma?

From Lexington she headed to Louisville. Byers showed her and won the Mare Stake and by the time they came through the gate for The Big Dance Saturday night, her reputation preceded her. The crowd was in her corner and they let the pair know they were rooting for her.

In the world’s grand championship she made the workout but threw a shoe right after the rack and that loss of momentum cost her. She finished with the yellow streamers and a roar from the crowd. 

It was soon time for Hayne to show her and they debuted at ASHAV with mom Beth Clifton crying with excitement and anticipation. Her nerves were unwarranted however; Hayne handled her game little mare like a pro and they won the 10-entry Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class in their debut. They went two for two and won the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship to end their great week in Lexington, Va. They swept the division at Kentucky Fall Classic and closed out 2000 winning the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14 and Under blue ribbon at The American Royal. 

The following season they debuted at Rock Creek and won both junior exhibitor classes which put them on track for their next stop in Louisville where they won the world’s championship in the 14-15 age group and came back in the 14-17 championship to take the blanket of flowers and the tricolor. That season would end with a successful sweep in the junior exhibitor five-gaited division at the American Royal. They were the 14 and under age group champions and the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Grand Champions.

Rob Byers had done a great job matching the two together and helping them have success but he was quick to attribute that success to the two of them. “Hayne’s will to succeed and the mare’s talent and freakish motion all came together to work so well. They made me think outside the box and one of the things I loved about Boo was that once she learned it, she learned it. You didn’t have to go back and re-teach that task. I also loved her ‘go forward’ attitude. She was such a grand mare and every day she got better and better. She loved to show and always wanted to be something.”

While CH Boo! and Hayne were working their magic in the show ring and earning fans every time they hit the ring, one fan in particular was enamored with the mare.

Barbara Goodman Manilow, herself a little dynamo, made it her mission to own CH Boo and in January 2002 Charles Goodman purchased her. Their partnership would become one that dreams are made of. 

They made their debut at Des Moines Springfest and in their only appearance earned the blue ribbon in the Amateur Five-Gaited class. By the time they got to Louisville to face a big group of 14 in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Mare Stake, they were becoming increasingly comfortable together and more and more popular with every electrifying pass down the rail. When they exited the ring with the reserve world’s championship in their qualifier they were accompanied by cheers and applause. They returned in the ladies amateur championship to take the reserve world’s champion of champions title.

Saint Louis National Charity has always been one of Barbara’s favorite shows and they won the amateur ladies class and then came back to win the Amateur Five-Gaited Ladies Championship tricolor. Their first season together ended at Penn National where they won the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. 

Working together over the winter would pay off big time in 2003 and they successfully defended their Des Moines Springfest Amateur Five-Gaited win in a single appearance. They would go on to win both classes at Asheville Lions Club and Tanbark before returning to Louisville where they earned two more reserve world’s titles. They headed to Mid America Mane Event where they took victory passes in the Amateur Five-Gaited Mare class and Amateur Five-Gaited Championship.

Their sweep at Midwest in 2004 started their season on a high note and they would go on to earn another reserve world’s championship and wins at Wisconsin Futurity and Kansas City.

In 2005 and 2006, CH Boo! and Barbara would go to the ring 13 times and win 11 classes including the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions back to back titles. They were the 2005 Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champions and amateur mare champions at the American Royal and closed out 2006 with the amateur mare class win and reserve in the amateur championship in Kansas City.

After four successful seasons together, CH Boo! and Barbara ended their show career together and the beautiful little mare became a broodmare with get sired by I’m A New Yorker, Harlem Globetrotter, At Night and the Goodman’s stallion Arrowhead’s Once In A Lifetime.

Part of what made CH Boo! so special to Barbara was how much fun and happiness she brought to her life. “Boo was extremely special, both as a show horse and with the joy she brought me every time I went to the barn,” said Goodman-Manilow. “She was as enthusiastic, bubbly, sweet and happy Friday afternoon when I hugged her and spoiled her as she was when she was showing. I am grateful that I was with her the day before she died.  

“She was like a puppy; bright-eyed and happy every day of her life. She is the only horse I personally fought to buy. I hounded the Cliftons and Rob until they agreed to sell her. I had never done that before or since. She was an absolute blast to ride, had a huge heart, and was as much fun to be around outside of the ring as she was in it. 

“She was truly a once-in-a-lifetime horse. I honestly can’t say enough wonderful things about her. She was perfect, loved and she will be missed. I’ve been fortunate to have a few special horses over the years but there is only one CH Boo!”



Avis captured this gorgeous head shot of CH Boo! in 2012 during her retirement at Skyline Stables. That intense expression was her trademark and part of the reason she had such a huge fan club.

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