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Germantown: A Challenge in Every Way

by Ann Bullard

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – The venue is beautiful; the hospitality the best the South can offer. While the weather always is questionable, even with heavy rains of yesteryear or evening long, steady ones during June 2-6, the grounds crew keeps the arena in better order than one might expect.

As one of the few, true multi-breed shows in the country, Germantown offers Saddle Horse, Tennessee Walking Horse and hunter-jumper exhibitors the opportunity to show before good crowds. It’s a wonderful showcase for the American Saddlebred in a city that, at one time, boasted several of the most competitive barns in the country.

So what forces combined to limit Germantown’s Saddle Horse participation to only eight barns, slightly more than half of last year’s? Perhaps the dates; Indianapolis Charity fell the same weekend; Rock Creek follows right behind and being two weeks before Midwest and Chattanooga Charity played an important role. Perhaps it’s last year’s show had Saddle Horse classes entering the ring minutes before midnight. A combination of very light classes in both the Saddle Horse and walking horse divisions, and rescheduling some of the jumper classes so the later show could start on time, had most exhibitors on their way home by 10 p.m. this year.

That’s a question the show committee and next year’s President Ross Herrin must address. Herrin comes from a Saddlebred family: his grandmother, Nancy Livermore, showed in the Germantown oval decades ago. She sat on the hill and watched Saturday night. Long before the week was over, Germantown officials were discussing what needs to be done to make this Memphis suburb a ‘destination city’ for Saddle Horses. Certainly, there are few venues with more to offer. Germantown itself is a lovely town. And there’s plenty of time to visit Graceland, Beale Street, take a river cruise and enjoy the fantastic restaurants throughout the area. Knowing these dedicated volunteers, fans can rest assured that every feasible thing will be done to bring these breeds back to the city that sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

Michael Craghead of Fresno, Calif., marked the cards in all Saddle Horse classes in this Charles Byron-managed event. Mark Farrar of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Charles Ritchie of Memphis kept the show moving with their patter and music. Sandra Hall, Chesterfield, S.C., photographed the event while Nancy Noble, Lexington, Ky., and Jim LaHood, Wheeling, W.Va., served as stewards. And all was under the watchful eye of Charles Byron of Hartselle, Ala.

While numbers were way down, the horses and ponies present showcased their breeds well. And when Gwen Stableford took her victory pass with Heartland Elegant Touch in the Hackney/Harness Pony Pleasure Driving Stake, the standing ovation the crowd gave the 91-year-old long-time Buffalo Creek client brought tears to many eyes.

When the chips were down in the open division, top honors went to Germantown regulars. Jack Magill and Night Of A Thousand Stars added more silver, blue and tricolors to owner Ann Berger’s collection. Marjorie Judd again led the way in the three-gaited division with the Claude Pennington’s CH Mahvelous Asset. Paul Richardson came all the way from Ontario, Canada to drive In Bold Print to a pair of Fine Harness wins.

Dr. Debbie Hagerman celebrated Cascade Stables trainer James Nichols’s winning drives with her homebred Aqua Sport. By Hagerman’s World’s Champion Wartrace, a son of the incomparable Eyre Lad, and out of Deanish by Bonefish, this roadster and his trainer are primed for Louisville’s USTA Classic.

Cascade Stables and trainers Barbe Smith and Nichols brought a representative group of performance, pleasure, equitation and academy riders. Their 11 horses earned 16 blues and tricolors. Jan Small Beth and The Proof Is In The Heir added the Germantown Ladies Three-Gaited blue and amateur championship tricolor to the blue she won at Big D earlier in the year. Crystal Sanders kept up the blue ribbon rides by taking both adult pleasure classes with Warfaire.

Scooter Scheurich enjoyed an outstanding week, preparing for Midwest by riding Irish’s Earth Wind And Fire to win the Park Pleasure qualifier and championship. Brighton Barouche, Rachel Drygalla, William Nalty, Georgie Wilson and Elissa Champagne added to the barn’s collection of blue and tricolor silks.

Jack Magill introduced Bill and Coe London’s newest five-gaited contender to the show ring, winning the Novice Five-Gaited title. Recently purchased from Debbie Foley’s Silverbrook Stables, Without Any Doubt shows the promise the Londons and their trainer look for. Coe London had good rides on her Mega Star, earning the Three-Gaited Amateur blue and reserve in the amateur championship. Magill and instructor Debbie Graves’s junior exhibitors brought home more blues and tricolors, with Supreme Spotlight winning his show pleasure qualifier and championship, Matrix adding the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure blue while Alexandra Eagle and Tatum Winans each picked up two more top ribbons.

SGF Winning Ways Farm entries spent more than 12 hours on the road from Tomball, Texas to make a repeat appearance at Germantown. Owner Sherry Frankel had a pair of good rides on Walterway’s Headline Material, earning a pair of adult show pleasure reserves. Chadick-trained young horses made good shows, with four-year-old Wicked In A Winning Way making his junior five-gaited debut in the rain and mud, and Chadick and Urad’s Walterway’s Custom Made winning the UPHA Palk Pleasure Classic.

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