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Gasparilla - Kicking Off The Season For 23 Years


by Diana Davidson and Katherine Hansil


TAMPA, Fla. - The 23rd annual Gasparilla Charity Horse Show kicked off the Southeast’s horse show season at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla. The show was held Feb. 28 through March 4. Marking the cards this year for all performance and equitation classes was Lewis Eckard. Darlene Trento-Wright served as the academy judge on Saturday afternoon. Joanne Quade, show manager, and her awesome staff made sure all the details were tended to while William Whitley, Beth Snider, Jeff Hyman and Tom Bloch made sure the show ran smoothly as ringmaster, show secretary, announcer and paddock master respectively. Howie Schatzberg was on hand to capture the winning moments while June Brune set it all to music.


Friday evening after the session was finished, everyone gathered in the pavilion to enjoy music and great barbecue with all the fixings sponsored by Judd Stables.  During the week everyone took time to check out and bid on items in the silent auction.




The Five-Gaited Jackpot Championship closed out the show with another win added to the banner for Judd Stables. Winning the class was Worthy’s American Society. Don Judd was in the irons piloting this handsome horse for new owner Cheryl Sotrop. Reserve honors went to the youngster Essence Of Heaven with Maria Gilman presenting for Barbara Woods. Even with only two entries making the gate call these two teams gave the crowd something to cheer for, and it was not just the Judd Stables gang cheering as the entire crowd picked their favorite.


It was a repeat in the amateur championship as well as two Judd teams vied for the top honor. Jessica Anderson was aboard Callaway’s Royal Mark to win the class. Purchased last year and campaigned primarily by Maria Gilman, Anderson confidently showed this high-headed chestnut to sweep the amateur division. Reserve in the amateur championship went to the Ladies Five-Gaited winner Sun Time’s Commander and Trisha Long.


Mia Wilson debuted with week aboard her bold moving Just Marvelous to win the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship after an earlier win in the Denver/Novice Five-Gaited, all under the direction of Desiree and Adam Clauson. Essence Of Heaven and Maria Gilman earned the red ribbon.




For the third year in a row a Judd Stables team topped the Three-Gaited Championship. Winning it this year was the elegant team of Keeper Of The Stars and Jackie de la Parte. Earlier this team captured the blue in the junior exhibitor qualifier. Champagne Reve and Christina Shahum earned the reserve championship honor after winning the open qualifier.


The titles kept coming for Judd Stables as they earned the one-two decision in the amateur championship. Sweeping the amateur division was Amber Lager, with Anitya Marlowe, giving two stunning performances. Reserve championship honors went to Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Betty Valenti. This new team debuted with a blue ribbon in the ladies qualifier. Nineties Man and Christa Rodriguez earned the red ribbon in the amateur qualifier.


Winning the Denver/Novice Three-Gaited was the three-year-old Walterway’s Valedictorian. Maria Gilman presented the Star Material-bred chestnut for Barbara Woods.


Three-Gaited Park


The beautiful bay Ah What A Night swept the open park division with David Chretien in the irons for Shirley Giraudo and Val Johnson. Capturing the red streamers in both classes was Worthy One’s Rhythm and Blair Redlhammer for Andres Herrera while he was away on a senior class trip.


Elegant Mandarin and Paula Frenette moved up a notch to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. Winning the qualifier was the Mary Jo Schmidt trained Ms. Amber Merchant and Brenda Oakes. They returned to earn the reserve championship title.


CH Discover and Jenna Palmeri started the season right where they left off, in the winner’s circle. This consistent team turned in two great rides to sweep the junior exhibitor park division. Callaway’s Tobar and Ali DeGray had a comeback ride to win the reserve championship title. Earning reserve in the qualifier was the flashy Absolut Leigh So and MacKenzie Ligas.


Winning the Denver/Novice Three-Gaited Park was the punchy Faizah. This neat bay was presented by Jenna Domanico for Paula Frenette. The bright Snoop Dog earned the reserve ribbon with Adam Clauson in the irons for Paul Rice.


Fine Harness


The young Sonita’s Only You returned to capture the Fine Harness Championship with David Chretien on the lines for Susan Dean Sowle. Earlier this team earned the red ribbon in the open qualifier. Winning the qualifier in their only appearance this week was Pi’ece De R’esistance and Ruth Gimpel with a great show for Bon Mar Farm. Denzel and Yvonne Herrera began their season in winning form, earning the Amateur Fine Harness title.




Get A Grip and James Reynolds returned to speed off with the championship title in the open roadster to bike division. Earlier they garnered the red streamers in the open class. Reserve in the championship went to the fresh Mr. Popularity and Adam Clauson for Cheyco Farm. Winning the open qualifier was Roar Of Thunder and Ruth Gimpel for Pixie Dust & Steel.


The Dream Thief appeared here first last year winning with Ruth Gimpel in the open division. This year James Rosburg has taken over the lines, earning the blue in the amateur qualifier in their only appearance. Moving up a notch with a crowd thrilling performance Top Star Willie and Paul Misiewicz captured the tricolor, with Graymond and James Reynolds earning the reserve championship title.


The crowd was on its feet cheering as the added Roadster To Wagon class hit high gear. Racing to the winner’s circle was Scatmando and Bob Jenkins. Reserve honors went to Humdinger and James Rosburg. Blair Redlhammer debuted on Iwi Rob N to win the Roadster Under Saddle.




For the second year in a row Jessie Pettie swept the open road pony division. Last year she did it with Fiendishly Clever. This year she earned both trips to the winner’s circle with her 2006 amateur grand champion and champion Surprise Me. Reserve in both classes went to Pixie Dust & Steel’s Bud Lite with Ruth Gimpel on the lines. Tia Maria and Madren Jenkins turned up the heat to win the amateur championship after an earlier reserve. Winning the qualifier and returning for the reserve championship title was Bambino and Jessie Pettie. In their single performance Seize The Moment and Ali DeGray took home the junior exhibitor blue.


Stephany Monteleone’s Delightful Time went three-for-three just like in 2006, winning the Harness Pony Championship and the open champion and amateur qualifier with Monteleone on the lines. Abel Vega took a turn in the open qualifier for the win. Vega was back to the winner’s circle to capture the open Hackney division with Golden Creek’s Limited Edition.


Stephany Monteleone was back to the winner’s circle two more times with her young star Mastercraft’s Namesake LF. This team had two outstanding performances in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship and qualifier. The flashy Holly Go Lightly, also a youngster, garnered a set of red streamers with Helen Rosburg.




Sweeping the five-gaited show pleasure division was the high-stepping The Denali with Jessica Anderson presenting under the Judd Stables banner. Reserve in both classes went to the charismatic team of He’s Real Good and Mary Jane Curtis who seemed to have fun while performing effortlessly.


A Perfect Affair made the move to park pleasure this week, proving his versatility. He was presented by Euchee Matthews for Christy Parker, winning both the championship and qualifier. Blair Redlhammer was in the irons aboard Bouquet O Hearts, earning a pair of reserve titles for R Farm.


For the fourth year in a row CH Sweet Virginia and Barbara Woods topped the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship once again with a flawless performance. This team also captured the qualifying blue. Earning a pair of red streamers were For Reference Only and Tracy Garcia. Known by most as Doc, Garcia decided to bring him down to Florida and show him on her hometown circuit. He made the trip down with Desiree and Adam Clauson and will be kept with Leslie O’Sullivan in Florida.


Winning the novice rider class was the Silver Run Stables team of Man Of The House and Deborah Exelby. Reserve honors went to Not Listed and Linda Richmond.


Star Of The Millennium made the trip down from the Northeast to capture the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship with Marissa Gillispie presenting for Wendy and Alan Lanoue. This team also won the 14-17 qualifier for the Wrighthall banner. Mo Rhythm and Christine Freeman were in top form to earn the reserve championship honor. Earlier in the week this team topped the Florida owned qualifier.

Winning the 13 and under qualifier was the Hawkewood team of Hans Solo and Nicole McSweeney and they returned for a strong third in the championship. The cute as a button team of Highpoint’s Hot Wired and Cheyenne Mabey captured the reserve in the 13 and under in their only performance appearance. Seismic Force earned reserve in the 14-17 qualifier in his only performance with Amy Greenberg. Reserve in the
Florida owned qualifier went to the Avalon team of Pikachu and Melanie Mullis.


Helen Rosburg debuted with the impressive Midtown Man in show pleasure driving to sweep the division. Reserve in the championship went to another debut team as Elsa Hackett and CH Sanibel made the move to the division after a successful 2006 in the ladies and amateur three-gaited, proving this grand mare can be pleasure perfect too. Reserve in the qualifier went to A Lil Wild and Mary Adams for Lark Henry.


Country Pleasure


Delay Of Game TS also made a successful change of divisions as Betty Valenti debuted him in the adult country pleasure division. Under the Judd Stables banner this team swept the adult division with two flawless performances. Reserve in both classes went to Euchee Matthews’s Cat Tale with Jaclyn Wynn in the irons.


Last year Kalarama’s High Roller began the season in this arena with Helen Rosburg sweeping the adult division. Mid-year her daughter, Ali, successfully took over the reins earning title after title. They began their year back in the winner’s circle with wins in the junior exhibitor championship and Florida owned qualifier. Winning the junior exhibitor qualifier was the Anne Judd owned and trained Answered Prayer with Hope Long in the irons. The fancy Honey Brown WRF earned a pair of red streamers with Jayne Major riding for Barbara Woods. Deep Velvet Aire and Christine Arnold captured the red ribbon in the Florida owned qualifier.


Eyes Wide Open and Val Johnson began their season where they ended it…in the winner’s circle in the Charlie Lykes Arena. This team trained by David Chretien swept the country pleasure driving division.         


In the western country pleasure Piney Flats and Brendan Heintz moved up a notch to capture the championship win for Nancy Fortner. This team also won the Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure. Reserve in the championship and winner of the qualifier went to Galahad’s Gold Mine and Jean Johnson.




With solid rail and pattern work Kristen Thomas captured the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship aboard Cabernet’s Will Command under the direction of Bill Rodgers. Reserve championship honors went to their stablemate Morgan King. King debuted earlier in the week aboard her new mount Wizard’s Icon, winning the NHS Good Hands and earning them a spot in the finals later this year. They also earned a reserve in the UPHA Challenge Cup.


Christine Thomas instructed by Maria Gilman had a great start to her equitation year aboard Magic Mahogany, winning the 14-17 qualifier and the UPHA Challenge Cup, qualifying for the finals. Stablemate Jayne Major earned the reserve in the NHS Good Hands and the 14-17 qualifier.


Britni Ruyle garnered the blue ribbon in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup. Jamie Boros aboard Soulful Warrior topped the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup with Cassie Bell in for reserve. Winning the Saddle & Bridle’s Pleasure Equitation Medallion was Amber Pitts from Avalon. Instructed by Desiree Clauson, Cheyenne Mabey garnered the red streamers.


Madye Bell moved up a notch with a polished ride aboard RWF Titletown to win the Morgan Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Earlier Bell garnered the reserve in the 13 and under qualifier under the direction of Jennifer Scotto. Kelly Venza earned the reserve championship title riding Hylee Hill Street Blues after an earlier win in the 14-17 qualifier. Jessica Stone captured the 13 and under qualifying blue aboard Ms. Hot Tamale in their only equitation appearance under the direction of Lark Henry. Morgan Cunningham earned the reserve 13 and under qualifying ribbon aboard Willowick Double Vision. Kelsey Thomas presented CBMF Danger Zone to the win in the Open Hunter Pleasure.




Piatt Steele was in top form to win the Walk and Trot Pleasure Championship with Shelby Fahlman presenting for Sneha Paul. This team also won the 11 and over qualifier under the direction of Avalon. Somersby and Susan Zimmer returned with a solid performance to earn the reserve championship title. Winning the 10 and under qualifier was Soulful Warrior and Jamie Boros.


Madren and Bob Jenkins’s The Cajun Moon were pleasure perfect to sweep the open English pleasure division with Paula Frenette presenting under the Hawkewood banner. Born Rich Girl garnered both reserve titles for Patti and Bruce Boysen with Brendan Heintz presenting in the championship and trainer Christy Parker in the qualifier.




The Morgan division featured a blend of proven combinations and new teams this year at Gasparilla. Stepping up from the junior division where he earned Gasparilla’s top honors a year ago, five-year-old Patchwork Legend made the victory passes for the Open English Pleasure blue and tricolor. Euchee Matthews again guided the handsome bay for owner Dick Shea. THK Wild Adonis and Jason Gray matched up to carry the reserve honors to Mary Jane Bonfili.


Alicia Davis and Raindrops Chisum returned to the site of their team debut of a year ago to again carry home the Amateur English Pleasure Championship. They also topped the qualifier in one of the largest classes of the show with trainer Euchee Matthews directing. Glenn Winograd and HVK Flaire Park opened the season with the reserve tricolor performance under the West Coast Morgans banner. Nicola Varveris and SpringMill Navigator teamed up for the first time to garner the red ribbon in the amateur qualifier after trainer Lark Henry took the dynamic gelding down victory lane in the junior/novice class.


Kris Cole directed HyLee’s Hill Street Blues and Kelly Venza to the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship for Paul and Nancy Jo Smith. MEM Reality Check and Chloe Hooper collected the reserve tricolor for the second year in a row after a blue ribbon start in the qualifier. Hooper and her sporty gelding also added the Amateur Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship to the West Coast banner. It was the dapper duo of Stonecroft Wish Me Well and Chauncey Felker who swept the Amateur Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor once again under the direction of Mary Jo Schmidt.


DJE Answer To Destiny made a winning return to the pleasure driving division as Euchee Matthews was on the lines for the blue and tricolor. Following a win in the junior/novice class Elm Rock Danielle and Jason Gray earned the Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship for Edith Cram.


Alicia Davis added to the Horseshoe Farm banner as she presented her home-trained Raindrops Good As It Gets to the Adult Classic Pleasure Saddle blue and tricolor. Snip A Pepper and Carola Chapman carried the reserve tricolor back to West Coast Morgans.


Ms. Hot Tamale and Jessica Stone made a dazzling debut in the cantering ranks as the Bobbin Hollow cheering section escorted them down victory lane in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle qualifier and championship. Barbarella and Ashley Brackett were the reserve team in both classes for Barbara Merrill.


Cedar Creek Yavari and Curtis Childers enjoyed the trip to Florida from the chilly north as they earned the Western Pleasure Championship as well as the junior/novice blue for Applewood Farm. Owner Doris Bazzini and trainer Valarie Siemer shared the riding duties with the elegant Bel Cavallo Prima Donna as she collected the open blue and reserve tricolor as well as the amateur championship. The amateur qualifier winner Wallace’s Justice and Corrie Solomon also jogged away with the amateur reserve tricolor for Diane Lawton. Tara’s Zeus and Spencer Conklin started the season with a pair of trips to the winner’s circle in the junior exhibitor qualifier and championship.


CBMF Danger Zone and Kelsey Thomas followed up their victorious debut at Harvest Days as they earned the Open Hunter Pleasure blue and tricolor. Coalition Manifesto and Judy Martin carried the reserve ribbons back to Barbara Ferguson.


DMMF Confident Aire and Rachel Roth turned in a confident ride to carry the Morgan Walk-Trot Pleasure Championship tricolor down victory lane. The world titled team of Ariana Varveris and True Gold earned plenty of cheers from their fan club as they won the blue and reserve tricolor under the direction of Lark Henry.




Saturday afternoon belonged to the academy riders competing from the riding programs at Avalon, Bobbin Hollow, Five Gaits, Hawkewood, Judd Stables, MJO Stables, R Farm and Silver Run. Winning top ribbons in their divisions were: Alexandra Varveris, Rebekah Ocsody, Heather Writzel, Ray Oke, Ann Quick, Andrea Jenkins, Joanna Nelson, Zachary Yasin, Kyra Ciotti, Candace Fender, Alexandria Eagle, Alexandria Dedio, Maddie Young, Valencia Beckwith, Nicole Jaffe, Kira Chiaradonna and Ally Rose.

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