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Good Competition, Great Fun Highlight Big D Charity

By Ann Bullard

IRVING, Texas – It felt a lot like the good old days. At least that describes exhibitors and spectators’ reactions to the Big D Charity Horse Show as horses and riders from Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma joined their Texas neighbors for the annual event held April 30–May 2 at the Las Colinas Equestrian Center.

To begin with, Big D is one of the few remaining shows at which Tennessee Walking Horses and American Saddlebreds show together. Both groups are well-represented on the show’s Board of Directors and cheer one another on from the stands. And it’s the last reunion of Saddle Horse people before they take off for Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and other parts for late spring and summer shows.

"I thought the show was very good and consider it a big success," said Manager Peter Fenton. "The facility folks stepped up and made a lot of nice improvements. Trainers brought nice horses and we had a number of very competitive classes. The Saddle Horse/Walking Horse relationship continued to be strong. Everything was positive."

Positive included the weather. Although there were a few showers, sunny and warm would best describe days and evenings. In other words, almost perfect weather for a horse show, the Perwien’s annual Kentucky Derby party on Saturday afternoon and John Eagle-sponsored exhibitors’ party that evening.

Between the parties came championship evening with competitive classes in almost every division. The gaited stake brought screams of support from fans of every discipline as Lonnie Quarles and Fox Grape’s Dauntless again stamped their mark on the Southwest Circuit’s Open Five-Gaited division. Jack Magill racked and trotted with speed and form to earn reserve in both classes. Many of the cries were "Go, Owen" as Owen Weaver and CH Parker Road returned from their reserve placement in the ladies class to take on the Milligan trainer, Magill and James Nichols. She picked up the yellow ribbon with Nichols and Annadale Farm’s My Moonlight Serenade coming up behind them.

Stace Rust qualified her Stonecroft’s All That Jazz with a pair of reserves in the Amateur Three-Gaited division. Trainer Michael Beasom brought the horse back on Saturday night to win the Three-Gaited Championship.

Connie and George Blue purchased the lovely Elegant Song as a yearling, placing her with Tommy Benton’s Maranatha Stables for training. They rode off with the tricolor in a small but quality-filled Three-Gaited Park Championship. Magill won the open qualifier with CH Ya-Ya before turning the mare over to Ashley Bryce for the remainder of the show. Bryce won the junior exhibitor title and a reserve to Penny LeBlanc and The Final Edition in the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Park Championship.

Riders from Jack Magill and Milligan Stables stayed head-to-head in the hunt for the top number of blue ribbons. Both Dallas-area barns brought a full contingent of nice horses, with the Magill team leading the race with 17 blues and tricolors to Milligan’s 15.

Coe London and Mega Star maintained their undefeated status in the Southwest, earning their seventh and eighth top awards in Amateur Three-Gaited competition this spring. The J&J Horse Interests sisters, Joan Cantrell and Jan Myers, stayed busy, with Cantrell maintaining Bluebonnet’s Challenger’s undefeated record this spring by winning the Ladies Five-Gaited title and amateur championship. Cantrell and I-Tunes extended their Adult Show Pleasure winning streak, picking up the blue and tricolor at Big D. Myers drove the seasoned Mariachi to win both Country Pleasure Driving titles.

Magill teamed Kay Marschel with CH My Grande at Pin Oak. Since her two winning rides in Park Pleasure, she has added the Country Pleasure blues and tricolors from Oklahoma City and Big D.

Magill’s junior exhibitors did equally well. In addition to her wins with CH Ya-Ya, Ashley Bryce won the Three-Gaited 14-17 Show Pleasure qualifier and a reserve in the grand championship with Supreme Spotlight. CH Tax Man and Jessica Cloud won the Show Pleasure 13 & Under blue, coming back to give Magill the first place finish in the championship.

While Quarles led the Milligan Stables’s contingent with Fox Grape’s Dauntless and Dr. and Mrs. J.B. Miller’s Lady Morticia in Junior/Novice Park Pleasure, he was far from being the only Milligan representative in the winner’s circle. Penny LeBlanc and The Final Edition topped the Park Pleasure Amateur Stake, while the popular team of Chloe Goodwin and True Blue Cat rode off with another Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure blue. Nancy Lassiter took time off from her duties as Big D Board Member to drive Once Upon A Time to the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving qualifying blue and championship tricolor.

Candee Carlson, who runs Milligan’s academy program, always has her riders prepped and ready to go. Their academy winners included Lauren Amos, winner of the Advanced Equitation and Performance qualifiers and championships; Kristen Feedback, Academy Maiden Equitation; and Chandler Grace Smith, Academy Limit Performance and Equitation.

It’s difficult to believe that Kevin Berman was off looking at colleges during part of Big D. It seems just yesterday that Ed and Ada Perwien’s grandson sat behind his first roadster pony. Although he spent much of Friday checking out schools, the high school junior took time to drive the speedster Albert Kaponey and his granddad’s iPod to win both Roadster Pony titles, the Pleasure Driving Youth Medallion and reserves in Country Pleasure Driving. Trainer Sandy Currier had Bluebonnet Farms’s performance horses in good order, winning the Park Pleasure qualifier and championship, Junior Five-Gaited and UPHA Park Pleasure titles with homebred stock.

Barbe Smith’s Cascade Stables enjoyed a good week in performance, equitation and academy competition. Rachelle Drygalla rode the seasoned CH Creditworthy to win the UPHA Challenge Cup, Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion and Equitation Championship. Maddie Costelli topped the Saddle Seat Equitation qualifier, tying reserve in the Pleasure Medallion and Equitation Championship.

When daughters age out of the junior exhibitor division, occasionally their mothers step into the irons. Such is the case with Vicky McHenry who rode Executive Phorce to win the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Novice Rider title, a repeat of her Pin Oak performance.

Cascade’s academy riders more than held their own. Deanna Davis, Anne Pateman and Sammi Tutis earned more than one top award.

Maguire Hall and Victoria McCune represented Randy Cates’s Cross Creek Stables in the winner’s circle. Hall rode won her third and fourth Five-Gaited Pleasure titles of the season with CH Callaway’s Kit Carson, warming up for a repeat performance at UPHA Chapter 5. McCune and Callaway’s Independence Day won the Five-Gaited Amateur title before placing reserve to Cantrell in the championship. Cates headed academy winners Amanda Ifill, Bonnie Tom and Emma Wood for their photos and victory passes.

Marjorie Judd’s Stable is in the rebuilding process, but her limited number of riders brought home several top ribbons. Paige Pennington returned to the ring with CH Mahvelous Asset to win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited blue while Mary Lynn McMains and I’m An Early Riser drove off with both Show Pleasure Driving titles.

Paul Cates rode a pair of three-gaited winners; Jan Henderson’s Madeira’s Maverick (Three-Gaited Junior/Novice) and Miranda Gray, Pete Galanos’s Open Three-Gaited winner.

Top ribbons also hung from the Foster Farm and Carol Jones’s tack room drapes.

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