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What Goes Up, Must Come Down At Connecticut Morgan

by Diana Davidson

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show hosted its 46th edition on June 6-10 at the Eastern States Exposition Grounds. For many exhibitors it was their third trip to this well-appointed show facility thus far in 2006, following April's UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere and May's Vermont Spring Classic. The record rains that took place before, during and after Vermont Spring Classic continued during much of this week as well. While the weather made it difficult for entries to warm up for classes, the balloon festival being held on the fairgrounds also took away a large part of the facility that is usually available to horse show exhibitors. While the rains were falling and entries were lower than last year’s near sell-out, there was partial clearing for the weekend that allowed balloons to ascend and a competitive field of championship entries to warm-up outside of the show ring prior to their classes.

Connecticut Morgan is steeped in tradition with a reputation for attracting many top entries at the starting point of the show season. Each year many young horses as well as new horse and rider combinations emerge on the scene at Connecticut Morgan. This year’s show featured a few such debuts of note along with the season debut of some other winning veteran performers. The show started Tuesday night with in hand classes followed by two sessions of performance classes per day on Wednesday through Saturday.

The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show is sponsored by The Connecticut Morgan Horse Association, Inc. and for the benefit of the Tupenny’s Terrence Equine Colic Research Program at Tuft’s University again this year. In addition to the awarding of many of the show's championships, there were some other special awards presented on Saturday night. The session started off with the presentation of the colors by The Connecticut Morgan Youth Group as well as the CMHA Youth High Point Awards presented by CMHA President Melissa Curtis. The awards for Saturday’s Youth Of the Year Contest, coordinated by Maura Sweeney-Reeve, rounded out the presentations with Christine Harb earning the title of Senior Youth Of The Year along with a trip to the finals competition in Oklahoma City. Abby Raucher earned the title of Junior Youth Of The Year with Hillary Wiles-Lafayette in reserve, while the newly added walk-trot division saw Christian Wiles-Lafayette earn top honors with Julianne Lagosz in reserve.

The party schedule began with Copper Beech Morgans sponsoring a pizza party to start the socializing following Wednesday evening's classes. A grand Hall Of Fame celebration was held following Friday night's session in honor of this year's Hall Of Fame inductee UVM Valcour (see separate story). Chris and Rob McDermott hosted a marvelous party for all of Valcour's friends and fans to enjoy at the Chrislar Farm stabling area.

The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show thanked its exhibitors on Saturday by starting off the day with an omelet breakfast that was served in conjunction with the well-attended Equitation Symposium (see separate story) sponsored by the Brown/Klein Family. The show concluded with a coffee and desert party in the main barn aisle-way to toast the 2006 champions on Saturday evening.

The list of Connecticut Morgan Horse Show officials was once again headed by show manager Mary Ellen Holcomb and assistant manager Johnna Chenail, who also served as barn manager. Linda Burke maintained an organized office as horse show secretary. Bill Whitley and Grace Yaglou shared the duties as ringmasters, while Mary Lynn Whitley returned as USEF Steward. Farrier Tim Keller was busy as always while Kris Koss made the rounds as show veterinarian. Announcer Kenn Marash and organist Bob Dunham maintained their ringside posts.

Exhibitors kept photographer Howie Schatzberg and crew busy as they ordered photos, while the weather and space limitations kept special shoots to a minimum this year. The list of officials also included; Deb Becroft and Pam Pruitt (carriage coordinators), Stacey Hathaway (dressage coordinator), Melissa Weinand (trophies) and Jim Holcomb, Frank Hester and Ron Matthewson (paddock).

Handling the judging duties at this year's show were David Earehart (park harness, English pleasure, stallions and mares in hand, hunter pleasure, classic pleasure saddle, Saddle Seat and hunt seat equitation and roadster); Cheri Barber (park saddle, pleasure driving, geldings in hand, classic pleasure driving, western pleasure, western seat equitation and leadline); Sandy Osborn (Dressage) and Charles W. Kellogg (carriage driving).

The Connecticut Morgan Horse Show celebrated its 46th anniversary by continuing its tradition of top competition in 2006. The show ring highlights follow. Complete results can be found by clicking on SHOW RESULTS.

In Hand

The show got underway on Tuesday evening with all of the in hand competition taking place in the coliseum. It began on somewhat of a quiet note with smaller than usual numbers in both horses competing and spectators. Those who were in attendance got the chance to see some outstanding entries star as the first champions of the week.

The mares were first on the schedule with Larry Bonnell hanging the first blue ribbon of the week on his banner. The victory came in the Yearling Fillies on the lead of a yet unnamed filly bred by David Lantz of Lebanon Valley Morgans.

Last month’s Maine Event Sale is already paying dividends for new owners as several got the chance to watch their new purchases make victory passes at Connecticut. Mike Carpenter was on the lead of the elegant MEM Brown Eyed Girl to collect the Two-Year-Old Mare and Junior Champion Mare top honors for delighted new owner Linda Langlois.

The Copper Beech breeding program added several bright young stars to its list of champions at Connecticut. CBMF Magic Moment displayed the Reserve Junior Champion Mare tricolor under the direction of Sebring Stables. One of Ann Hailey’s marquee purchases over the winter was that of World Champion Halle Berry who added the Reserve Senior and Reserve Grand Champion Mare honors to list of Copper Beech champions.

The headliner of the mare division was Whispering Wildflower who showed off her silver-tailed brilliance on the way to the Three and Four-Year-Old, Senior and Grand Champion Mare honors with Ann Anderson and Peter Wheeler presenting for Juris Morgans LLC.

Stardavari is best known for her winning athletic performances in harness and under saddle. Here, she showed her good looks as well as her talent with a blue ribbon performance in the Five and Over Mares with Mike Carpenter presenting for Terry Titus.

The geldings were next on tap with the Copper Beech breeding program returning to the winner’s circle courtesy of two and under winner CBMF Trading Up. Nikki Rae Woodworth introduced KGA Irish Eyes to the Three and Four-Year-Old Geldings victory as the Aljaks Double Whammy son posed for owner/breeder Maggie Hood.

Meet Joe Black stood at the head of an impressive field in the Five and Over Geldings on the way to the Grand Champion Gelding honors with Rick Stevens on the lead for Alissa Leonard. The sporty chestnut Whispering Bellavante followed up as the Reserve Grand Champion Gelding with Vickie Wirth presenting for John and Paula Macklin.

The in hand stallion division capped off the evening with more crowd-pleasing performances. Harry Sebring brought out an impressive colt when it was time for show and tell, CBMF Show And Tell, that is. The Junior Champion Stallion honors went to Copper Beech LLC for the second year in a row as the two-year-old winner posed for the tricolor as well. Mike Carpenter’s showy Yearling Colt winner, MCS Bandini, performed his magic for the Reserve Junior Champion Stallion title.

After his stunning 2005 Northampton victories, it was not beyond reason to think he would be back for more tricolors. Way Beyond Reason was an even more mature presence as Peter Wheeler and Ann Anderson guided the Chris and Andrea Kelley entry to the Three and Four-Year-Old, Senior and Grand Champion Stallion honors to conclude a victorious evening for Hobby Knoll Stable.

Grand National Champion CBMF Cutting Edge opened his show season with impressive style to capture the Reserve Senior and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion honors to finish off a tricolor Tuesday evening for Copper Beech, LLC.

A many-times champion in hand and in harness, CVH Celtic Command was in a class by himself as he visited the winner’s circle in the Five and Over Stallions with Bernard Parker on the lead for owner/breeder Catherine Haynes.

Park Saddle

The Open Park Saddle Championship is the traditional ending to the Friday night session at the Connecticut Morgan Horse Show. It was a tricolor finish for Heidi Kunkel as Rick Stevens and the expressive KD Hot To Trot teamed up to earn the Bennfield's Ace Trophy. They were the winning combination in the open qualifier as well. The four-entry championship also featured ladies qualifier winner PAF Ecstasy turning in a bright showing despite a cast shoe the second way of the ring. Wendy Sogoloff rode the full sister to Something Wicked to the reserve honors for Donna McClain.

Larry Bonnell continued a memorable debut season with the charismatic Quabbin Obsession. Following a pair of tricolor shows in harness at UPHA Chapter 14 and Vermont, the leggy bay made his winning saddle debut in the limit class for Donald Girroir.

Cynthia Fawcett and Fox Glen Hail To Divinity continued their winning streak with a pair of polished rides in the competitive amateur division. They repeated their blue ribbon ride from a year ago in the five-entry amateur qualifier and then carried the Amateur Park Saddle Championship back to the Hobby Knoll Stable banner to the delight of their vocal fan club. Clare Simpson enjoyed a stellar ride aboard his athletic CPM Sabrina to add the reserve tricolor directed by Luman Wadhams.

The reserve world championship team of NAS Simpatico and Nicole Neville started off their second season with a pair of bold and confident rides at Vermont and did likewise at Connecticut to earn the Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle blue and tricolor to add more honors to the Luman Wadhams Stable banner.

Park Harness

The Open Park Harness Championship caps off the show ring competition at the Connecticut Morgan Horse Show each year. This year’s final tricolor was placed on the harness of The Alchemist following a winning debut show for Misty Meadows Farm. Jaisen Von Ballmoos closed out a tricolor show with the victory following a winning drive in the open qualifier. Bernard Parker was on the lines of the sporty Queen’s Protégé to challenge for top honors as they carried the reserve tricolor to owner Susan Evans.

Misty Meadows enjoyed two impressive tricolor performances in the park harness division. Following their winning team debut under saddle at Vermont, Bob Neimeth and Eye Spy switched over to the harness division at Connecticut. The results were equally spectacular as they put on a stylish show to capture the Amateur Park Harness Championship. They had some outstanding competition including the reserve championship team of Ann Hailey and TTA Freedom Hall. The springy chestnut four-year-old started off with a big win in the amateur qualifier with a polished drive for Copper Beech LLC directed by Sebring Stables.

The Ladies Park Harness featured a trio of top winning performers vying for the Marcella Howard Memorial Challenge Trophy. The honors belonged to the dynamic Something Wicked who showed off her style and athleticism in her new division with Carolyn Sebring piloting for Copper Beech LLC.

It was a banner week for Sebring Stables as the Junior Park Harness tricolor also went back to the blue and teal banner as WS Commanding Spirit took command of the championship with Harry Sebring on the lines for proud owner Patricia Lloyd. MEM Thriller and Mike Carpenter followed up their memorable performance in the Maine Event Sale with a victorious team show ring debut for new owner Mendonhall Morgans in the Four-Year-Old Park Harness followed by the reserve junior championship tricolor.

English Pleasure

The English pleasure division contained a number of large and competitive classes with some notable youngsters and new combinations enjoying winning performances. The Open English Pleasure Championship closed out the division with World Champion Stonecroft Byzantine making his presence known to open the new season. Anne Benson teamed up with Heidi Kunkel's majestic stallion to capture the tricolor along with the Morgan Manor Challenge Trophy for the second year in a row following a blue ribbon ride in the open qualifier. World Champion Sarde’s Manistique and Luman Wadhams were reunited to earn the English Pleasure Reserve Championship with a stylish ride for Fire Run Farm.

Luman Wadhams' string of impressive English pleasure entries also featured a winning debut for the charismatic Futurity’s Touch Of Harley who earned the limit blue for Kevin Schengrund. The novice class saw Mike Carpenter team Robin Mills’ fronty Hylee’s Christmas Beau to the victory.

Saturday night featured a breakthrough performance for the always-entertaining CBMF Ruling Class as Amy Neifert gave the Wayne and Kathy Comeau entry a fabulous ride to earn the Ladies English Pleasure Championship victory. The ladies competition was outstanding as Lisa Howa and Minion Mademoiselle teamed up to start the season with the ladies amateur blue as well as the reserve tricolor. The field of Grand National Champion entries also boasted Minion Starlette and Ann Anderson who topped the ladies qualifier for Livingston Morgans.

The amateurs once again provided the audience with plenty of opportunities to cheer them on as they vied for top honors. The seven-entry Amateur English Pleasure Championship saw the world titled team of Hylee’s Dann Osgood and Kristi Evans continue their tricolor partnership in a new division following a record junior exhibitor career. Loek Neimeth and Haute Couture continued a great season for Misty Meadows as they turned in a determined ride for the reserve tricolor. Lisa Howa enjoyed her first show of the season as she also got the opportunity to show her dazzling chestnut Rampaige to top honors in the competitive amateur qualifier directed by Luman Wadhams.

Laura Poulin and SLB Triple Play earned a trio of Connecticut victory passes as they swept top honors in the youth division. Cindy Mugnier directed them to a pair of bold rides to earn the Youth English Pleasure blue ribbon and tricolor followed by the Youth Pleasure Driving victory with another stylish performance.

The junior exhibitor 14-17 division saw SpringMill Independence and Jenna Britt step up for a tricolor ride to add to the Bellewether banner. The qualifier winning team of FCF Coeur De Lion and Gina Macari followed up with the reserve tricolor ride as part of a busy tricolor evening for Luman Wadhams Stable.

The Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 and Under Championship featured a memorable victory for Spencer Alderman in just his first show cantering. Paired with Plum Haven Gunrunner, Spencer earned the tricolor that was won a year ago by sister Kate and coached by his mom Peggy to earn the Stillcove Challenge Trophy given in honor of Happy Hollow Heidi who was trained by Peggy back in the 1980s. This was also quite a show for the reserve champion rider Abby Raucher who was paired with Liberation Madison Square for the tricolor as well as for the qualifier blue in addition to adding new talents showing in the hunter and roadster divisions with great success, coached by Jennifer Roberts.

The Walk and Trot Pleasure 9-11 featured a large and competitive group of young riders and impressive horses. The perfectly matched new team of Born Yesterday and Emily Tarr were on top of their game to earn their second tricolor in as many shows to the delight of the Cedar Spring Farm team. Think About It MEM and Alexandra Frangiosa showed off their style and polish to collect the reserve tricolor honors. Janbark stablemates Connundrum and Gabrielle Blackman stepped to the head of the class in the qualifier to earn the blue ribbon.

Manistee Lee Mistral and Hannah Bornt enjoyed a pair of victorious rides for the Walk-Trot English Pleasure 8 and Under blue and tricolor to add to their equitation wins coached by Alicia Groff and Keith Friday. Nicholas Roberts picked up his first of three reserve tricolors in a memorable first show in the saddle seat division matched with Answer The Call.

The Limit Rider English Pleasure Championship featured a pair of happy ladies in winning rider Lisa Nichols and owner/trainer Jennifer Keuhn along with a lovely chestnut mare in Raintree Main Attraction. Loek Neimeth was giving it her all as always paired with the challenging Treble’s Legal Tender for the reserve tricolor performance for Misty Meadows Farm. The Adult Limit Rider English Pleasure qualifier saw Hillwood Irish Rose and Kathy Dowding team up for a trip down victory lane in the seven-horse field.

Luman Wadhams has quite an impressive string of junior horses and English pleasure horses, so it’s no surprise that he swept this division at Connecticut. It was a victorious show for Duel as the Saralin Farm entry bested the Junior English Pleasure Championship along with the four-year-old qualifier with Wadhams in the irons. Scott Travers had the bright and stylish Tara’s Momento in high gear to collect the reserve tricolor with owner Michele Lomba cheering them on from rail side. Wadhams also gave LNT Jack Be Nimble a winning debut ride as they took a trip to the winner’s circle in the Three-Year-Old English Pleasure for proud owner/breeder Lyniece Talmadge.

Pleasure Driving

Some new horses and combinations in the pleasure driving division did battle with some well-tested combinations to earn a trip to the winner's circle. The awarding of the Bay State Flyon Challenge Trophy in the Open Pleasure Driving Championship featured an impressive victory for Grand National Champion MEM Just My Style. The Connecticut audience cheered on the handsome Black Orchid Farm entry as Percy McDaniel guided him to the tricolor. World Champion FRF Seattle Reign started off his open career in blue ribbon fashion earning the qualifier blue. Richard Boulé was on the lines for the blue ribbon performance as well as the reserve championship drive for Jeff Gove and a supportive Taylor River Farm cheering section.

The six-entry limit class featured a winning show ring return for Smoke Signal as Bonnie Sogoloff drove her young breeding stallion sired by Man About Town LPS and out of On Fire to the victory.

The Ladies Pleasure Driving Championship featured a crowd-pleasing victory for Graywood’s Arthur and Sarah Gove, whose smile lit up the ring as she proudly carried the champion’s flower bouquet. World Champion Can’t You See MEM and Melissa Morrell followed up with the reserve honors following a blue ribbon drive in the qualifier for Phyllis Frechette.

Nancy Bitters and her bold performing Hillock Rienzi are off to a winning start again this season. They bested the competitive field to earn the amateur qualifier blue for the third year in a row and finished with their second consecutive Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship prepared by Mike Carpenter. The Grand National championship team of Contagious and Ann Hailey turned in a dynamic drive for the reserve championship honors to conclude a tricolor show for Copper Beech LLC.

The Limit Driver Pleasure Driving saw Judy Dorr step in for owner Paula Macklin as Dorr was reunited with Whispering Bellavante to make a trip to the winner’s circle under the Best Of Both Worlds banner.

Jessica Sebring followed the winning family tradition as she matched up with Hunter Hill By Design to earn the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor for Sandra Kimple.

World Champion RJMF Barrymore is off to a great start for new owner Louis and Nancy Andreano and under the training of Melissa Morrell. They drove away with the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship as well as the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classic following a pair of stylish drives. Capes Yankee Clipper and Michael Scanlon made the victory pass in the three-year-old stallion/gelding class and came back as the Junior Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship for Jane Barnard.

World Champion CBMF Mozambique returned to the pleasure driving division in blue ribbon style as Harry Sebring drove the Stonecroft Byzantine son to the four-year-old stallion/gelding blue for Copper Beech LLC. Highover To The Nines enjoyed a trip down victory lane in the Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving as Kass Booth guided the way for Kay Thompson.

Western Pleasure

The western pleasure division was filled with quality and quantity as many veteran champions jogged beside a crop of challenging new entries. Bonnie Sogoloff presented Meadowsong Rhythm to a flawless performance and a trip to the winner’s circle to collect the Corrick Challenge Trophy as the Open Western Pleasure Champion for Mary Jane Nau. Open qualifier winners, PLF Maximum Results and Roger Brown, jogged away with the reserve tricolor for Natalie Maloof. Brown also directed the novice winner, Equinox Catalyst, for owners John and Janice Vieira. The limit rider blue also went back to the Best Of Both Worlds banner as Patricia Briggs and Holly Ridge Mity Music earned top honors.

Ann Hailey and the Copper Beech entries were frequent visitors to the winner’s circle as Hailey matched up with Morningdance for the Amateur Western Pleasure Championship victory in addition to the qualifier blue over a grand field of 12 entries. Marion Bengtson and ECP The Seventh Stone turned in a lovely ride to capture the reserve tricolor honors. Robin Vergato and Master’s First Impression left a winning impression in the amateur ladies qualifier as they collected the blue ribbon and flowers.

Christine Nava was thrilled with her winning ride in the ladies class aboard Bogalusa. However, her own win could not compare to her sheer joy watching son Stephen guide Cadette B down victory lane as the winner of the Walk-Jog Western Pleasure blue and tricolor. They had some outstanding competition including the reserve tricolor team of Miller Young Fina and Marin Royal Command.

It was celebration time at Bellewether as DFM Poetic Justice and Jenna Britt fittingly earned the first leg on the newly donated DFM Poetic Justice Challenge Trophy with family and friends on hand to cheer them on. This was their fourth consecutive victory in the Junior Exhibitor Western Pleasure Championship and followed a polished ride for the qualifier blue as well. It was a tricolor sweep for Bellewether as Meadowair Fire Dance and Hannah Welch jogged away with the reserve honors.

’s Secret Promise and Sandy Wooding showed style and consistency as they collected the Junior Western Pleasure Championship as well as the qualifier blue.

Hunter Pleasure

The hunter pleasure division featured many outstanding classes of both quality and quantity. Arboria Surefire was a surefire hit as he showed off his style and stature to top the field as the Open Hunter Pleasure Champion. Judy Nason guided him to the tricolor following a blue ribbon ride in the ladies class, while owner Caitlin Harrison teamed him to an impressive victory in the 14-entry amateur qualifier. The well-named Double Or Nothing came up with a pair of trips down victory lane as Karen Bobbi rode the Noelle Thibeault entry to the reserve tricolor following the blue ribbon ride in the open qualifier.

Anna Weeks’ new purchase from the Maine Event Sale earned a matching set of blue ribbons as Melissa Morrell rode MEM Virtual Reality to the novice and limit wins. Wild Abandon and Elizabeth Jenkins enjoyed a trip to the winner’s circle in the maiden class.

Megan Colter and Red Barn Canadian Flag turned in a smooth and stylish ride to end the week on a high note in the 15-entry Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship. Elizabeth James and Apostrophe put an exclamation point on a good week with the reserve honors.

The white-trimmed NBN Excalibur showed off the winning style in the Ladies Hunter Pleasure Championship with Jennifer Mason in the irons for Jacqueline Palumbo. Laura Reed and her pretty partner SMS Moredelay followed up with the reserve tricolor for the second year in a row.

Joyce Thoma and her elegant Garland Fleur De Lis made a winning transition to the hunter division as they topped the amateur ladies class over a grand field of 15. Craig Cole is off to a winning start to his second season with CHC Ollie O as they topped the novice rider class directed by Jennifer and Mark Mason.

The junior exhibitor division has been split into three age groups due to the enormous numbers over the past several years. The Tupenny's Terrance Challenge Trophy was awarded in the 16-17 age group championship as Stradivarius and Nicole Neville put on a flawless show to bring the tricolor to the Luman Wadhams banner following the blue ribbon ride in the qualifier. Last year’s winning team of Mtn Run Noble Contender and Amanda Porto turned in another solid ride to collect the reserve tricolor directed by Scott Travers.

The 14-15 championship featured a tricolor sweep for the entries of Stevie Meder under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Meder graciously loaned her equitation mount Manchester In Demand to Trish Spinelli who returned the favor by earning the tricolor as well as the qualifier blue. Stevie Meder got to make her own victory pass as the reserve champion aboard her beloved Raintree Val Jean as well as cheer on her stablemate in a show of true sportsmanship.

Chelsey Abate and Lasting View Royal Design added to a stellar show as they strode away with the 13 and under tricolor. Abby Raucher showed off her versatile talents as she paired up Marjorie Miller’s Garland High Lilly for the reserve tricolor. The 10-entry qualifier featured an impressive winning ride for Katelyn Merrill and her partner KHF Dante De Lion adding to the Taylor River banner.

The walk/trot hunter pleasure division was filled with 13 promising teams with parents, grandparents, instructors and friends all rail side to cheer them on. Cailey White and Cabot Custom Order added to their impressive show and the tricolor laden banner at Taylor River Farm by earning the grand prize. Hylee's Celtic Flaire and Tyler Pelletier were the big winners in the qualifier and returned for a strong ride for the reserve tricolor for Driftway Meadows.

The Haynes sisters battled it out for top honors in the well-filled Youth Hunter Pleasure competition. Erin Haynes got the bragging rights to start the week with Quality High Ruler in the 16-entry qualifier. Stephanie Haynes evened the score in the championship as she guided Taproot Command Pilot to the tricolor guided by Jackie Ross. Mtn Run Noble Contender and Amanda Porto earned their first of two reserve tricolors of the day with a bold performance in the championship.

MEM Erotica and Amanda Worth became well known names following a big win in the Junior Hunter Pleasure Championship under the Rolling Oaks banner. It was a sweep for the entries bred by George Schott’s Maine Event Morgans as MEM Hot Shot and Rebecca Hunzeker collected the reserve championship. Better In Black was the epitome of hunter pleasure perfection as Larry Bonnell drew the riding assignment for Jane Brown’s lovely mare to top the junior qualifier under the direction of Taylor River Farm.

Classic Pleasure

The classic pleasure division once again featured some of the largest and most competitive classes of the show. Friday night's Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship was the largest with 16 teams vying for top honors. The veteran team of Rumor Has It and Elizabeth Young Fina showed off their winning style to rise to the top of the outstanding class with their trademark polish and consistency for Barbara Irvine. Following a victory pass with the blue ribbon and flowers in the 14-entry ladies class, SBS Power Play and Kristi Evans returned for the reserve pass under the Moreland Farm banner.

The mare qualifier featured an impressive victory for the hard-working team of Divine Comedy and Molly O’Brien over a competitive field of entries. Christina Fredette and Money To Burn earned a trip down victory lane in the 13-entry stallion/gelding qualifier with a fine ride directed by Scott Travers.

Barbara Ray and BBY Glorious Command took command of the ring to carry the blue ribbon from the junior class back to the Mark Mason banner. It was the expressive GDT Napoleon and Shelly White who bested the novice class to the delight of the Cedar Spring cheering section.

Cedar Spring Farm was back in the winner’s circle as an elated Jordan Schucart and Salem Shazam collected the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship over a fine field of entries. The dynamic Innocence and Kerri Towner followed with the reserve honors. The 10-entry qualifier featured an impressive victory for the newly paired team of Wintop’s Mr. Pepper and Amanda Bligh. They started off the week with the victory pass in the Junior Exhibitor Limit Rider English Pleasure directed by Jennifer Roberts.

The classic driving division followed suit with quality and quantity as the 12 outstanding competitors in the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship closed out the division in grand fashion. It was the reigning world championship team of Prindle’s Mere Mortal and Ann Hailey who rose to the top as they made the tricolor victory pass following a win in the 10-entry ladies qualifier. Shirley Tallman and her lovely Rare Obsession made a smooth transition to their new division with a reserve tricolor showing, directed by Mike Carpenter.

The Classic Pleasure Driving Stallion/Gelding honors also went back to the Sebring banner as Patricia Lloyd guided her CBMF Strike Zone to a homerun performance. Bob Neimeth and Grand National Champion Stoneledge Step Aside added the Classic Pleasure Driving blue to their string of victories for Misty Meadows.

William Filosi enjoyed a fabulous return to the show ring on the lines of his three-year-old Final Judgement. They topped the card in both the junior and novice classes to the delight of the Mike Carpenter Stables cheering section.

Shae Scanlon continued the tricolor family tradition as she matched up with Nancy Packard's PT Son Of A Gun for the tricolor victory in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. The qualifier winning team of FSM Promise Keeper and Hillary Campbell followed for reserve honors for Rebecca Titcomb.


The equitation division featured a group of outstanding riders vying for top honors in all seats and age groups. The Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship brought the division to a close on Saturday evening with a top-flight field of six taking part in the rail work and Judge Earehart's challenging pattern. Classic Equitation World Champion Brittany Schilling showed off her style and precision to take top honors back to the Janbark banner following a blue ribbon win in the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup. Brynne Cummings followed a pair of winning rides in the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal and 14-17 qualifier with a focused ride for the reserve tricolor honors coached by Kay Bennett.

Following a tricolor walk-trot career, Carolyn Spinelli and her partner RRG Reign Man have started a new chapter in victorious fashion. They earned the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation blue and tricolor to the delight of the Taylor River cheering section. Alexandra Lally matched up with PKW Autumn Thunder to earn the reserve tricolor with a bold performance, directed by Jean DeGutis. Gaetana D’Alesio-Spina and HVK Hot Ember showed style and perseverance as they carried the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup top honors back to the Chrislar Farm banner.

The Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Championship featured a tricolor repeat for Equitation Unlimited rider Raisa Herriera. She was again matched with the veteran mount Black Gold Windsor to hang the tricolor as well as the qualifier blue on the banner. Reserve tricolor honors were awarded to Ashley Brown.

The walk and trot division was full of top riding youngsters receiving strong support from instructors, families and friends on the rail. The large and competitive 9-11 Walk and Trot Saddle Seat Equitation class came to a grand finale in a Saturday afternoon championship with Gabrielle Blackman stepping up with a dynamic ride to earn the tricolor aboard Connundrum instructed by Jean DeGutis. Amber Brown showed off her poised style to collect the reserve tricolor for the second year in a row. The ten-rider qualifier featured Alexandra Frangiosa smiling brightly as she made the victory pass aboard Think About It MEM prepared by Jean DeGutis.

Hannah Bornt completed a clean sweep in the Walk-Trot 8 and Under classes, claiming the blue ribbon and tricolor aboard Manistee Lee Mistral to the applause of the Rolling Oaks crew. Nicholas Roberts enjoyed another great show as he added the Saddle Seat division to his repertoire matched with Answer The Call. Aunt Cindy Mugnier guided her protégé to the reserve tricolor performance.

The Leadline classes were perhaps the toughest classes of the show to judge. The young riders battled it out for top honors with close inspection from the judge at the walk and the trot as well as in the line up. In the end it was Genevieve Kerr earning the Saddle Seat Lead Line blue ribbon with the winning ride led by Jean DeGutis. Kayley Qua turned in the winning ride in the Hunt and Western Seat Lead Line with a polished performance guided by Jackie Ross.

Stevie Meder topped all competitors as she displayed great form and supreme confidence to earn the Senior Hunt Seat Equitation Championship for the second year in a row. Now matched with Manchester In Demand in the equitation division, she also topped the 14-17 qualifier under the direction of Taylor River Farm. Valerie Shurtleff showed poise and polish to be named the reserve champion while also showing her versatile talents in winning the Dressage Equitation.

Hillary Wiles-Lafayette showed off her skills claiming the tricolor victory in the seven-rider Junior Hunt Seat Equitation Championship for the second year in a row as well under the Bittersweet banner. Chelsey Abate posted dual wins in the AMHA Hunt Seat Medal and 13 and Under qualifier, and she finished off with the reserve championship.

Cailey White displayed winning determination as she maneuvered Cabot Custom Order to the 14-rider Walk and Trot Hunt Seat Equitation Championship for their second tricolor of the day. They also topped the large and impressive field in the qualifier, coached by Sarah Gove. Nicholas Roberts showed determination in the large field of older riders to trot away with the reserve tricolor honors aboard TJB Opinionated.

Jenna Britt earned her ticket to Oklahoma with the winning ride in the AMHA Western Seat Medal to add to a great show with DFM Poetic Justice under the Bellewether banner. The Walk and Jog Western Seat Equitation 11 and Under blue and tricolor featured Miller Young Fina earning the top honors and the cheers of her friends and fans for the third year in a row aboard Marin Royal Command. Stephen Nava added the reserve tricolor to his outstanding show aboard Cadette B to the delight of his proud parents and many supporters.


Morgans are offered a chance to show in a variety of disciplines in the approximately 200 classes that Connecticut Morgan offers. The crowd got the chance to show its vocal support in the Roadster To Bike action on Saturday night with the crowd-pleasing Blkorchid Live From NY turning on the jets to open the season in victorious fashion with Percy McDaniel on the lines for Black Orchid Farm. The Roadster Under Saddle competition started off the action with Dial Wild and his talented young rider Abby Raucher racing across the finish line to carry top honors back to Jennifer Roberts.

Ariel Eclipse and Robin Vergato earned a leg on the UC Top Hat Challenge Trophy as they rode away with the Road Hack Championship. The open qualifier winning team of Kass Booth and Highover Viking followed with the reserve pass for Earl and Gretchen Nobles. The amateur qualifier featured a winning performance for Gail Bodine-Donahue and Graywood’s Lancelot. Lancelot showed his versatility as he also earned the Carriage Driving Open High Point Championship along with a quartet of blue ribbons.

The outdoor competition on Friday and Saturday in the carriage arena also saw Equinox Beau Geste capture the Limit Driver High Point Championship, while Hickory Lane Advantanna was also a blue ribbon winner from the carriage driving competition.

The dressage competition featured a large field of entries in the weekend performances with Oak Creek Rebel Spirit, Imperial Major (Training Level Senior Champion), Stormhaven Hopscotch (First Level Junior Champion), Taproot Flag Ship (First Level Senior Champion), Wintergreen Sultana (Training Level Junior Champion), HVK Noble Portrait, Smithfield’s Forever Yours, Rose Valley Leggo, Magic Flute Maestro and Orcland Supreme Echo all earning top winning scores.

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  • Walk of Honor Expansion Announced

    The American Saddlebred Museum is pleased to announce the expansion of the Museum’s Walk of Honor. This is a great way to honor someone for their contributions and dedication to the American Saddlebred. Read More
  • Professional Advisory Committee Named to Equine Sports Council

    Equine Sports Council is honored to announce its Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) comprised of representatives who are industry leaders in the American Saddlebred, Morgan and Hackney breeds.  Read More
  • Latest Issue 4 15 24

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  • Bookend Morning

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  • Kentucky State Fair Update

    The American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association (ASHBA) received a letter from the Kentucky State Fair Board (KSFB) yesterday acknowledging that they would not be pursuing a path that would allow them to hold the ASHBA Prize Program classes at the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show in 2024.  Read More
  • FoalsNFocus – Week 3

    We’re in full swing as entries for our weekly contest are being submitted from breeders across the country. This week’s winning shot came from Shale HillStables, Muncie, Illinois. Jan McGlaughlin and family sent this photo of their curious filly by Reedann’s Flying Double out of Forty-TwoSecrets (by Forty-Second Street ERB). Read More
  • Obituary – Jane Blue

    A USEF judge, steward, many times committee member, exhibitor and lover of all things Morgan, our friend Jane Blue passed away Monday, April 8. A tribute obituary will run in an upcoming issue of Saddle Horse Report. Read More
  • A New Look For Connecticut Morgan Horse Association

    The Connecticut Morgan Horse Association, a leading Morgan Horse Club, is thrilled to announce an exciting rebranding initiative in partnership with Firebrick Design and Pam Howard that marks a significant milestone in the club's evolution. The comprehensive transformation encompasses a new logo and visual identity, redefining CMHA's presence in the equestrian ecosystem. Read More
  • Latest Issue 4 8 24

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  • FoalsNFocus – Week 2

    Week two of the #foalsNfocusphoto contest had several adorable shots from a group of nice American Saddlebred, Morgan and Hackney babies. Not many things put a smile on your face the way these shots do as they are the pride and joy of their breeders. Read More