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Fireworks and Fun Make For A Festive Twin Rivers

by Claire Panke

DELAWARE, Ohio - Held July 1-3 at the picturesque Delaware County Fairgrounds, the 40th Twin Rivers Benefit Horse Show was back this year with more of the same, and in this instance, more of what has gone before is a very good thing indeed since the main ingredient at Twin Rivers is fun.

The show’s virtues – generous hospitality, a relaxed atmosphere, a terrific exhibitors’ party, an excellent facility, a central location, an extensive class list and a management sensitive to exhibitors’ needs - all combine to make Twin Rivers one of the most enjoyable and appealing shows on the strong Buckeye circuit. The show attracts quite a loyal fan base locally, as well as drawing stables from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Tennessee. In 2010, only one day separated the conclusion of Twin Rivers from the start of Lexington, so a few barns split their strings between the two shows. Even with a couple familiar faces missing, Twin Rivers enjoyed solid entries and plenty of quality, including a robust pony division.

Show chairperson Leslie Backus, secretary Judy Peters and a core of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers worked hard to make sure Twin Rivers ran like a well-oiled machine. It’s easy to understand why exhibitors voted this event Tri-State Horse Show of the Year in 2009. Adding the perfect flourish to an already fine show, the weather could not have been better, with sunny days and balmy evenings.

Twin Rivers started out as an all-amateur competition. Reflecting this tradition is the presentation of the "Outstanding Amateur of the Year", presented by the show annually to a deserving recipient on stake night. Board member Ray Blanton presented this special award this year to Tri-State exhibitor Candy Gierke, of Candy Cane Farm. This popular and irreplaceable amateur-owner-trainer is a mainstay on the Ohio circuit, with numerous championships in Saddlebred pleasure, parade, Morgan and Hackney classes. It would be hard to find someone with a more positive outlook than Candy Gierle showing today.

Leslie Backus modestly attributes Twin Rivers’s success and longevity to the horsemen and owners. However, the key appears to be that Twin Rivers is truly a show put on by exhibitors for exhibitors. The management team, she says, "Is deeply appreciative of its loyal fans, as well as our new exhibitors for bringing such nice horses and ponies to the show. Myself, Judy Peters and the other 10 board members are proud to be a part of Twin Rivers, but we couldn't do it without you, the exhibitors!" When asked how the team keeps things fresh after so many years of service, she responded, "We strive to keep things fun for everyone and to produce a quality show. It's a great feeling when someone tells you that this is one show they don't want to miss."

Indeed, the show committee had better keep room on their walls for more "Best Show" banners.

Armon Effinger, Chandler, Ind., marked the cards for all divisions throughout the show. Testing his abilities was the hard fought Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, with Brooke Dearien giving the speedy Dusty Challenger the ride of his life to capture the tricolor in a blaze of glory. Kristen Thorin guided Linda Johnson’s CH Summit Up to a scintillating performance in the qualifier to earn the blue in their only appearance. Hartfelt Legacy and Joan Hammond collected strong reserves in both classes for owner Linda Lewis. The junior exhibitors were not to be outdone with the handsome Beaudacious Bay and Marina Nimm claiming the championship, with Tim McGraw and versatile Lindsey Merrill in reserve. These positions were reversed in the qualifier.

Trainer Mary Waickman brought Attache’s Royal Princess, the Ladies Five-Gaited Pink Ribbon winner, back into the open championship, making it two-for-two for this exciting mare and owner Terri Robsom. Racking away with reserves in the open championship and qualifier was Mountainview’s Allegro and Marcia Belcher. The versatile and sporty Superior Revelation earned top spot in the open class for Joan Hammond in their single performance at Delaware. The junior class saw Winsford Taylot and Perfect Testimony ride away with the blue ribbon for Shelley Morgan. In the "all West Virginia" UPHA Classic, James Lawrence and Bouguereau took the top spot for Jim and Nancy Stanton, followed by Genee’s New Moon and Winsford Taylor for the Taylor Made Farm.

Shown by trainer Cindy Maloney, the bold and lofty bay stallion Kalarama’s Superman topped off a highly successful show for Frank and Iris James by adding the Three-Gaited Championship tricolor to the JM Farm tack room. The talented winner of the open class, CH Broadway’s Mama Mia and Stacy Bare, had to be content with reserve in the championship. Earning the red ribbon in the open class was the many times winner His Heirness, guided by Mindy Preston for Linda Lewis. Phil Price was in the irons as the aptly named Elegant Impression took trotted away with the blue ribbon in the Junior Three-Gaited class.

The Great Tatus enjoyed a sharp ride from Mindy Effingham, impressively winning the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship. Prophet’s Fantastic Fulfillment and Kathy Oberschlake displayed a strong performance for reserve. Owner Ed Harper was aboard The Great Tatus to claim the qualifier over First Night’s Attraction and Katy Mallory. Annabel Kippi Noe and her many times winning Sultan’s Truly Fancy added another championship to their collection by annexing the junior exhibitor stake. Classic With A Twist and Sierra Comer had a blue ribbon ride to take the top spot in the junior exhibitor qualifier.

The Wings Of The Dove, owned and shown by Vernon Wise, has been a winner in every amateur division in which she has shown: five-gaited, park, pleasure and now fine harness. At Twin Rivers this lovely mare topped a competitive Fine Harness section, taking the amateur class and championship. Consistently a winner on the Tri-State circuit, Side Show Bob was driven to the winner’s circle by trainer Phil Price in the open class for Bill and Kathy Hickman. High Times Matchmaker and Rae Golden were a strong reserve in the open and Fine Harness Championship.

Jim McIntosh had Linda Lewis’s promising Freddie R Puddles marching to top the Junior Fine Harness class, a repeat of their win earlier in the season at River Ridge. Mike Van Dyke was on the lines of the Plum Sykes for the red ribbon. Joan Hammond had another good young horse in Gone Wild, winner of the UPHA Classic over Uhlen’s McDreamy and Susan LeVally.

CF Prowler’s Rare Affair came back from a reserve in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park to capture the Open Park Stake with a heads up performance for Lauren Burin and owner Lisa Mazey. Donna Schultz had Heiron Neville looking through the bridle to claim the open title for Third Day Farm LLC. Stephanie Wright’s sporty Tango Blues was reserve in the open qualifier and championship.

French Kiss has taken to her new division like a duck to water, decisively capturing the Amateur Park and Amateur Park Championship for Katie Lindamood. Cassie Cervantes and High Dollar Woman were up for the reserve championship. Guided by Brock Rutledge, Love Happens never put an ear back or a foot out of place to bring home the blue for Diana Whitinger in the Junior Three-Gaited Park class. Callaway’s Made In Missouri took the red ribbon for Marcia Belcher.

Lauren Burin and Caper’s Impressive were indeed impressive to trot away with the Open Park Pleasure and Open Park Pleasure Championship. The flashy Emanating and Jessica Wilson took the reserve tricolor, with Pam Specht and High Times Perfect Blue getting up for the second slot in the qualifier. Crystal Blue continues to be a strong contender in this division, winning the Amateur Park Pleasure class for Iris and Frank James with Jessica Sexton in the irons. Hurry To Paradise and Connie Irvin earned the second place.

Joan Hammond’s homebred Spike’s Rare Ruby notched the Junior Park Pleasure class with an appealing performance. Brock Rutledge took the reserve spot with Laurelwood Stable’s Centennial’s Comet. Tom Sworm teamed Tesoro, a high motioned youngster by Designed, to the top position in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for owner Dr. William Edgar. Con Me, shown by Mike McIntosh for Steve and Katie Lindamood, took the red ribbon.

The expressive My Domain and Cam Boyer have been near unstoppable this season in the Park Pleasure Driving division, and Twin Rivers proved the case as they captured the open and championship honors. Matt Schuckert was on the lines to guide Sara Wise’s A New Gentleman to the reserves in both classes.

Kinsey Rabourn came to Twin Rivers ready to rock, turning in two outstanding rides aboard The Solstices to dominate the Five-Gaited Pleasure qualifier and championship for K3. Cloverleaf Taho Taho and Stacey Siess were runners up in the championship with Shooter and Brooke Dearien earning the second spot in the qualifier,

Crowd favorites Jessica Wilson and her colorful pinto CH Rhianna turned in two powerful performances to claim the Three-Gaited Adult Show Pleasure qualifier and championship. Timely Caper and Tiffany Sharp secured the reserve in both classes. Reba Whitacre and Belhaven’s Dalwhinnie could not be denied with two good wins in the junior exhibitor 14-17 class and championship. Harlem’s Easter Lilly and Alexandria Giguere claimed second for Meadowland Farm. Alexis Fenger and Undulata’s Pretzel Logic got the nod for first in the 13 and under section, followed by Callaway’s Pretty Polly and Jessica Flynn. Amy Haller brought two horses to Twin Rivers and left with two blues, one with Hot Monica in the novice show pleasure class and the other aboard Radiant Princess Of Monaco in the AOT Show Pleasure class. Linda Sullivan was a strong reserve in the novice, while Veronica’s Surprise and Kaitlin Klukas were a well deserved second in the AOT.

Perennial pleasure star CH Kool Tyme BH looked better than ever for Iris James as they swept the Show Pleasure Driving division with two perfect performances. Preferred Branch and Larry Carver were a good second in the qualifier and championship.

A thrilled and delighted Candelyn Fredericks put it all together in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship with her pretty Reedann’s High Phlier to capture the tricolor. This duo had won the ASB Pleasure In Hand on Thursday plus a second in the AOT Country Pleasure class. She’s Extra Charming and Nichole Sedevic topped the adult qualifier and were reserve champions, while the pretty bay Kalarama’s Flo Jo and Diana Whitinger claimed the red ribbon in the adult class. Marti Lockwood and the black and beautiful Arrowhead’s Captain Morgan took the blue ribbon home to Michigan from the AOT Country Pleasure class. Admirals Royalty and Elizabeth Sites marched to the blue in the nice Novice Country Pleasure class, followed by Bravo’s Charlie Brown and Linda Heater. Iris James made it a hat trick in Country Pleasure Driving as she took Theology to the tricolor over Classic Gem and Linda Walker. Beth Jones and Highpoint’s High Adventure made the victory pass in the qualifying class.

Under the direction of trainer Tom Sworm, At First Sight has been in the winner’s circle at Twin Rivers for the past three years. Lizzie Edgar rallied aboard the winning gelding in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship to capture the tricolor again in 2010. Lenore’s Maddie’s Design and Samantha Reed prevailed in the 14-17 age division, with Phantom Moon and Alexis Rydarowicz securing the reserve spot in the 14-17 class and the stake. For the younger age group, Royal Crest’s Rock Country and Jessica Zarlingo got the judge’s nod, with Callaway’s Time To Dance and Lacy Makima taking the red ribbon.

Alesia Spears and Stardust’s Ruby Tuesday are no strangers to the winner’s circle at Delaware and proved formidable once again this year, accounting for all four western classes: the championship, the qualifier, the Shatner Western Pleasure and the Working Pleasure classes. Mister Joe Cool and Jill Wilson took the reserve championship, while Jan Canine and Tubac were a good reserve in the qualifier and Shatner Western Pleasure. Donna Spears and Casually Elegant grabbed the red ribbon in the working class.

Tall, dark and handsome, Too Wong Foo has been knocking at the door of the Hunter Country Pleasure division all season. At Twin Rivers, Terry Meade and "Timmy" were the comeback kings as they turned in a polished performance in the Hunter Pleasure Championship to take the tricolor back to Kentucky. Lynn Shaw’s new partner, Gypsy’s Spot Check, captured the reserve championship. Casually Elegant and Donna Spears showed their versatility by claiming the hunter qualifier and Saddle & Bridle Classic. Kourageous Obsidian Dusk and Lindsey Grimm got the nod for the red ribbon.

Mark Shohayda enjoyed a dream weekend in Delaware. He made a clean sweep of the strong Roadster Pony division, capturing the open and championship with the speedy BRS Nite Rider and the amateur championship with LLF Dancing With The Stars. Gary Altman teamed Kiss From A Rose to the open reserve championship, with Missy Fleming in the bike of Kilbro’s Gloriouswon for the reserve amateur tricolor. Heartland Masterpiece and Roy Harris were up for second in the open qualifier. In their only appearance in Delaware, Heartland High Command and Beth Jones took charge of the Amateur Roadster class. Allison Pullin is no stranger to speed; she piloted Heartland Range Rover to the AHHS Medallion Roadster To Bike over Our Celebrity and Christopher Reed. Taylor Boyer had the blue ribbon ride with the sassy Craycroft Marksman in the AHHS Medallion Under Saddle.

Championship honors in the long tail division went back to Kentucky with Craycroft Bandit and Larry Meyer, who bookended this achievement by claiming the cob tail stake with Craycroft Zebulon. Lofty going The Final Contender and Linda Lewis took charge in the Open Hackney Pony class. Mark Shohayda took Diamond’s Sexy Lexie to the winner’s circle in the Open Harness Pony class with Mi Leonardo and Linda Lewis in reserve.

Linda Warner and BCF Armed And Dangerous turned in a pleasure perfect performance to claim the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship. Cres O Lar Creative Genius and Julie Moro drove to the reserve honors. Heartland Showboat and Jackie Hammond drove away with the top prize in the adult class, followed by Heartland Honor And Glory with Jane Altman. The Youth Medallion was a blue ribbon drive for Wild Wind and Katie Sharp for Beth Jones. CH Cadet’s Son Kristen with Kristen Siess on the lines accounted for the novice pleasure driving class.

The Hackney Country Pleasure Driving division has come on strong in Ohio, no doubt aided by the AHHF Amateur Driving Challenge series. Dominating these nice classes so far is Sarah Wise and Driving Miss Emma, who captured the qualifier and championship here with aplomb. Taking home the reserve tricolor was Pony Vista’s Firezazz and Julie Moro while the reserve in the qualifier went to Heartland Center Attraction and Denise Sharp for Beth Jones.

Lindsey Merrill, riding from Taylor Made Farm, owned the Equitation division at Twin Rivers, winning the top title for the last several years. In 2010, she achieved the hat trick again, garnering the 14-17 class, UPHA Challenge Cup and Equitation championship for the fourth year in a row. Runner up in the UPHA was Megan Reilly. In the Pleasure Equitation ranks, top honors in the championship went to Alexis Fenger, followed by Dierra Madison Comer for the reserve tricolor. Lacy Makima won the 13 & Under Pleasure Equitation class, while James Damone made the victory pass in the senior age group.

A happy Gabrielle Sherkoski captured the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Championship, with Lauren Hickmott the reserve champion. The order was reversed in the age group, with Lauren on top and Gabrielle settling for reserve. Chelsea Lowry carried away the blue in the UPHA Walk & Trot Challenge Cup.

Young Zachary Roe and Lookaway’s Fortune were looking sharp as they claimed the Morgan English Pleasure Junior Exhibitor class and championship for Tom Roe. Dragonsmeade Accolade and Susan Sunday were reserve, but took home blue ribbons from the amateur and Ladies English Pleasure classes. In the western division, Kanagy’s Acres Curious took the top spot in the open, amateur and championship. Majority Leader and Beth Snyder were reserve champions. Beth also had the ride on Nightshadow’s Black Russian to claim the hunter open qualifier and championship for Sharon Cassel over Razor’s Edge and Sherlynn Howard.

The OTAB Pleasure division saw the gorgeous black Friesian horses take the lion’s share of titles. Petite Liza Payne and Daimler B boldly wore the tricolor for the High Spirit Farm in the Open English Under Saddle Championship. Linda Lewis drove the striking Marko to victory in the Open Pleasure Driving Stake. Dolf was second for Alcia Stroble in the driving classes, while Vamoose and Eric Adams were reserve in the under saddle stake, and at the top of the card in the open English class.

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