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Great River Benefit: Great Facility, Great People, Great Fun!

By Sarah Bosshard

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The 2010 Great River Benefit was once again one of the area’s most enjoyable and hospitable shows. It was held Friday, May 14 - Sunday, May 16, 2010. Proceeds of the show went to New Kingdom Trailriders – a group that provides the community service of therapeutic horseback riding for the benefit of people with physical and mental disabilities.

The Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood Community College was a beautiful venue, where the sold out show required stabling in two overflow barns in addition to the main all-enclosed facility. Show management was concerned about the distance, and provided golf cart shuttle rides to and from the show arena to accommodate these exhibitors.

An abundance of parties included margaritas Friday night and the "World Famous" pork chop lunch Saturday afternoon that many look forward to each year. After Saturday evening’s session, an additional get together was held for all, generously hosted by Rick Wallen Stables.

The show offers something for everyone and somehow retains a laid back atmosphere even when competition is steep. Several fun classes in the schedule include lead line, stick horse and horse show pet. To the crowd’s delight, two entries were named as finalists in the pet class. They were Derby, a Jack Russell Terrier adorably dressed as an academy rider from Sunset Knoll, and Powder Puff, a precious princess and unicorn combination from Equitate, LLC. It was Powder Puff, with princess Hadley Novak, who won this enjoyable event.

The Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Stake was a good-sized class with Liz Schultz emerging victorious aboard Karaoke. A brand new combination for Equitate, LLC in 2010, this pair also picked up the blue in Amateur Five-Gaited class and is fresh off wins at Mid-America Spring. From Rancho Del Rio, My Heiristotle put in a nice showing to earn the reserve title with Marie Nielsen in this competitive class.

Moonlight’s Matchmaker and Laci Keith were the winners in a solo performance in the Open Five-Gaited Stake, while the Open Five-Gaited qualifier finished with a victory pass by Santana’s Last Dance and trainer Jeanne Wallen for Tia and Taylor Crone. Taylor later took the saddle for a nice ribbon in Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class. The West Wing earned the top spot in that class with Samantha Thomas.

Making the switch from park pleasure to five-gaited this year, Bell View’s Safe Harbour won the Junior/Novice Five-Gaited class with Julio Rodriguez for Linden Isle Farms.

The three-gaited division brought several fine entries to the show, with The Velvet Cat and owner Allison Rohloff winning the amateur championship under the direction of Timber Hills Farm. This sporty horse was recently shown by trainer Renae Van Zomeren for a win at Des Moines Springfest. My Cheatin’ Hart and Clif Paulsen were reserve grand champions, as well as the Open Three-Gaited champions.

In their second season together, the always-elegant Callaway’s Campaign Manager and owner Kate Baumann earned the blue in the Amateur Three-Gaited class. At only his second show, youngster Callaway’s Bring It On Home won the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class with Brandi Bushard, under the Hanrahan Stables banner.

Simbara’s Exclamation remained undefeated at Great River Benefit for the third consecutive year, claiming the open stake and Amateur Fine Harness classes with Dr. Scott Cairns. Out of the Broodmare Hall of Fame mare Denmark’s Radiant Society, this winning entry holds multiple world titles in Amateur Gentleman’s Fine Harness, most recently in 2007. Reserve in the stake was Shot An A Beer with Ryan Rongers for Clean Sweep Farm, who also won the Open Fine Harness qualifier. The junior/novice class was won by the beautiful halter entry, Supreme Attachment with Helene Zasadny driving.

A strong competitor from Northern Tradition Farm, Phillip Martinelli and Tom Thorpe didn’t miss a beat, putting in repeat winning performances to capture the Three-Gaited Park Stake and Open Three-Gaited Park titles for owner Maribelle Granger. The flashy Take It Easy Baby finished reserve in the stake with Robert Gardiner for C Klasek Design Ltd.

Competition in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park classes was strong, but the same pair, Callaway’s Place Your Bets and Lindsey Bade, claimed victory in both, directed by Bell View Acres. They were also the winners in this division just over a month ago at Mid-America Spring. The beautiful, well-matched pair of Kalarama’s Carrousel and Kristen Eve Gardner took reserve honors in the stake.

Another park winner from Bell View Acres, the four-year-old Merchant’s Legacy and Julio Rodriguez, put in a consistent performance to win a nice Junior/Novice Park class.

The Five-Gaited Show Pleasure division has gained much popularity among junior exhibitors. In only her second season showing five-gaited, the top honors in the qualifier and stake went to Jennifer Worden riding Heir’s Special Report under the direction of Country Meadow Farm. The handsome Desert’s Supreme Memories’ son, The Evangelist, finished reserve with Grace Gabower for Liz Schultz.

It was hard to believe five-gaited show pleasure top ribbon winner Starlet’s Commendable arrived at his new home, Show Fizz Farm, only one week prior to the show. Gabby Zimmerman turned in nice rides on her new mount, and they will definitely be ones to watch this season. Another to watch in this division will be Emily Teehan and Carlucci. Great River marked young Teehan’s debut five-gaited performance on this five-year-old former futurity winner by The Last Don.

Picking up the Junior/Novice Five-Gaited Show Pleasure title was A Bolt From The Blue and yet another successful juvenile in this division, Darcy Ozer.

2010 marked the third consecutive year Rosemont’s Mystre was victorious at Great River, turning in two nice performances to sweep the Open Park Pleasure division for owner and trainer Rick Wallen. Tigger By Tiger finished reserve in the stake with Curt Kligora for Adell Donaldson.

Amateur Park Pleasure saw Vertical Horizon, who also enjoyed success in Great River’s halter offerings, on top for rider and owner Stephanie Benjamin. In an exhibition performance, the homebred Supreme Heir son, The Sweetest Heir, won the Junior/Novice Park Pleasure class with Mark Van Zomeren.

The three-gaited show pleasure classes were well filled at Great River, requiring some sections to be split. Callaway’s Colate and Dr. Mary Hanrahan, whose son and daughter-in-law, Jimmy and Brandi Bushard, have been heading up the training at Hanrahan Stables, won the adult stake. Finishing reserve in the stake and winning the qualifier was last year’s Great River winner Stonecroft Serengetti and Kristen Pettry.

In his first year out of walk-trot, Zack Cutting rode his new mount for 2010, Prime Time Player, to win the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Stake as well as section A of the qualifier. Reserve grand champion in the stake, was the section B winner, Oak Grove’s M’Lady In Red and Lisa Simonis, paired up by Ginger Schinktgen at De Equus Stables.

Coming off impressive wins at the UPHA Chapter 10 Spring Horse Show, Man At The Helm and Margaux Walker earned the top spot in the competitive Novice Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class. And making the trip from Michigan, the flashy flaxen, My Genius’ Dispel The Night, and Claudia Olejniczak won the AOTR Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class.

Proven campaigner CH Callaway’s Queen Of Crimson received top honors in both show pleasure driving classes with Susan Aschenbrenner at the lines. They were joined in their victory laps by trainer Amanda Simpson of Heartland Stables. He’s Got It All and Tabby Zimmerman put in a very nice and consistent drive for the reserve honors in the stake, under the direction of Ann Thibo at Show Fizz Farm. Rounding out the Show Pleasure Driving division, the Callaway-bred Torin was victorious in Junior/Novice Show Pleasure Driving with Dr. Dan Bushard.

The Five-Gaited Country Pleasure division featured only two entries, but it was still a competitive class, as each horse already claimed victories earlier this year at the Mid-America Spring show. The Five-Gaited Country Pleasure Stake was won by Alpha Priority with Sharon Vuinovich for owner Barb Fahey. The sixteen-year-old Riprap and Tresha Nielsen finished with reserve honors in the championship, but were victorious in the qualifier, under the direction of Rancho Del Rio.

New to the Country Pleasure division this year and having already claimed wins at River Ridge, former equitation mount Callaway’s Gold Reserve picked up the tricolor in the Adult Country Pleasure Stake with Mary Anne Calabria. Reserve honors went to the winner of the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier, and 2007 World’s Champion Concrete Blonde and Kristen Pettry.

Justa Reflection and Alison LaPidus were a hard combination to beat and epitomized the ideal country pleasure mount. This pair won the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Stake, AOTR Country Pleasure and Novice Rider Country Pleasure classes. Reserve in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Stake was Amazed and Jade Woods for Deb Yount Woods. This pair also took top honors in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure qualifier, and is trained by Rob and Stefanie Kritzler at Green Wood Stables. The win in Junior/Novice Country Pleasure class went to Stars Go Blue and Katera O’Rourke.

The colorful Spotlight Dancer didn’t need a spotlight to stand out in the Country Pleasure Driving division. Curt Kligora drove this colorful daughter of Circus Prince under the Clean Sweep Farm banner. The Wizard Of All Odds came in reserve in both classes with Dena Capitani exhibiting.

Always a top ribbon winner in the western division, including wins at St. Louis, Super Rooster and Lisa McClaren took home top prize in the Country Western Pleasure Stake and qualifier, and is again qualified for St. Louis by winning the Shatner Western Pleasure class. Super Rooster often celebrates his wins by being quite excitable after his name is called. The versatile Ima Wild Card and Liz Willis were reserve in the stake, after winning the Working Western Pleasure class earlier in the show. Prominent owner, trainer, rider Mary Strohfus won the AOTR Country Western Pleasure class with the handsome Sedona Red.

Successful in both hunt and western, Choir Boy’s Bay Knight with Kelsi Keith aboard claimed the Hunter Pleasure Championship and Hunter Seat Classic.

Former Junior Exhibitor Road Pony World Champion Cowboy Magic was in top form for exhibitor Tabby Zimmerman. This speedy pony took top honors in both Junior Exhibitor Road Pony and the Road Pony Under Saddle classes, trained by Ann Thibo’s Show Fizz Farm and owned by Fritz Zimmerman. The Junior Exhibitor Stake was won by I’m A Believer and Hope Hatchitt, under the direction of Green Wood Stables, while High Gait Grand Stand finished second with Claire Sorge for owner and trainer Fonzie Del Rio. Romeo’s Desert Warrior LF and Lynn Durant turned in two winning performances in Open Road Pony and Junior/Novice Road Pony classes for owner Connie Thomas. And, topping off the division, the Road Pony Stake grand champions were Mighty Boomerang and Kim Herron for Mike Herron.

Open Harness Pony, Amateur Harness Pony and the stake all finished with the same result, a victory for Romeo’s Cavalier LF with owner and driver Thomas Paulsen. Lightning Up and Maggie Robertson had nice drives and were reserve in all three classes. Owned by Neal and Patsy Loeb, this entry is trained by Rick Wallen. Truly Canadian EH was also a repeat winner, picking up the prize in all three Hackney Pony classes.

Susan Ellis enjoyed a winning weekend at Great River, and continued to do so with CC Rider in both of the Pleasure Driving Pony classes. Extremely Supreme finished second for owner and driver Mary Narko in both classes.

Megan Hull showed her winning equitation form to earn top honors in the Saddle Seat Equitation qualifier and championship under the direction of Jonelle Gardiner at Landmark Farm. Brooke Boyer was reserve in each class aboard The Crowd Favorite, who is splashed with white true to his CH Heir To Champagne lineage.

Under Equitate LLC’s banner, Riley Socket claimed wins in UPHA Challenge Cup, Pleasure Equitation Medallion and Pleasure Equitation 14-17, as well as a reserve finish in the Pleasure Equitation Championship. Winning that class was strong equitation contender Mallory Hartigan, who was paired up perfectly with Simbara’s Salutation by Country Meadow Farm. The Pleasure Equitation 13 & Under winner was Kristen Stucker, while Shannon Koffler turned in a winning performance in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup. A rider to watch in the future, Monet Harrison won the UPHA Walk/Trot Challenge Cup as well as the Walk/Trot Championship aboard Radiant Revival. Sara Maurke took reserve in both classes.

Susan Ellis brought quality Morgans to the show, placing well in many of the classes offered. In addition to winning in halter, EBM Diamond Lady placed reserve in the Morgan English Pleasure Stake with Ellis aboard. Rick Wallen rode the winning entry, Cosmos Gabriella for Susie Weiss, who were also victorious in Morgan English Pleasure Open. This versatile entry was also shown in driving, and earned reserve grand champion in the Morgan Pleasure Driving Stake, with Rick Wallen exhibiting again. Susan Ellis’s entry of Boxford Belle Aire won both the Morgan driving classes with trainer Kenny Guell exhibiting.

Another Susan Ellis entry, Alakazam has been winning at Great River Benefit every consecutive year since 2005, and continued to do so again in 2010 by winning the Morgan Western Pleasure Stake and Morgan Amateur Western class. Serene Main Dance and Cathy McKinley were reserve in the western stake, while Kenny Guell piloted Susan Ellis’s up and coming junior horse, Givenchy, to the blue in Morgan Western Pleasure Open. Claiming the Morgan Hunter Pleasure class was Summit’s April Love and Charles Berzins.

The sold out 2010 Great River Benefit Horse Show was another huge success, providing excellent hospitality, tough competition and a fun atmosphere for all who attended.

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