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Great River Benefit Was Great Indeed


by Leeann Mione

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Well, the cat is about to be let out of the bag…
Great River Saddlebred Association Benefit Horse Show could be considered, until now, one of Iowa’s best kept secrets. Well run, with a friendly staff, nice facility and a great schedule – the list goes on and on of why it is destined only to get bigger and better every year.

Nearly 200 horses made the trek to the Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The three-day show, held May 19-21, offered classes for Saddlebreds, Hackney and roadster ponies and Morgans, as well as equitation and academy riders. Filled to capacity with horses from all over the Midwest, classes were also filled with quality.

One of the nicest things about the show is that it is actually fun from beginning to end. The staff works hard to make sure everyone feels welcome. A full roster of classes provided something for everyone and a nice sized ring with good footing was a great place to show young horses or let young riders perform.

Friday evening’s cocktail party and Saturday afternoon’s pork chop lunch also allowed owners, trainers and exhibitors a chance to enjoy some great food and the opportunity to relax with friends.

Cedar Rapids offered a small, conveniently located airport, plenty of hotels, and restaurants easily accommodated those who attended.

Nancy Weber served as show secretary, and her son Mark Weber was ringmaster. The two of them were a driving force along with the horse show staff, in making this year’s show such a success. The move several years ago to the Iowa Equestrian Center has proven to be a good one. Even though it was filled to capacity, there was plenty of space to work horses and warm up before classes. An indoor warm up ring, while not especially large, was attached to the show ring. There was also a large outdoor ring, and with the great weather that Mother Nature bestowed for the weekend, it offered plenty of space whether riding or driving.

Sunday was championship day, and with two action packed sessions which Judge Smith Lilly kept moving along in good order, good class followed good class.

The Open Five-Gaited Stake featured four talented entries. Callaway’s In The Limelight with Monty Wallen joined Social Engagement with Rob Kritzler, Highpoint’s Mahogany Prince and Kenny Smith and Callaway’s Deal Breaker with Louis Louw. Highpoint’s Mahogany Prince had previously won the qualifier for Charles and Mary Reising, and he was back in fine fashion to finish with the open grand championship title. Social Engagement with Rob Kritzler put together the reserve effort for owners Julie Witthoff and Sandra Donohue.

Rare Friends and Amanda Glasgow represented Rancho Del Rio when they headed to center ring to accept the tricolor as the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Grand Champions. They came into the stake as winners of the junior exhibitor qualifier. A Little Imagination and Jill Bosshard were reserve grand champions under the direction of Monty Wallen. The Perfect Face and Jana McConnell from Heartland Stables won the amateur qualifier.

Kenny Smith and Marge Fergusson’s Boulevard topped a nice six-entry junior/novice class to add another blue to the Royal Scot total.

Reedannland certainly had a happy ending in the Three-Gaited Stake when Lilly named the three-year-old Callaway’s Happy Endings the grand champion with Louis Louw on board for Dr. Alan Raun and Barbara Molland. She also won the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class earlier in the week. Undulata Gypsy, consistently in the top ribbons for Wright Way Equestrian, was the reserve grand champion and open winner with Peter Archer riding.

Merchant’s Perfect Picture and Cindy Greif won the amateur qualifier from Green Wood Stables.

Amy Glasgow and Let The Good Times Roll gave the
Glasgow family and Rancho Del Rio another victory to celebrate when they won the junior exhibitor class.

Peter Archer had a good weekend at Great River, and Chesapeake Cowboy joined the list of winners he trained. He rode Dr. Jane Keil’s entry to the open park blue and then returned in the open park stake to take that tricolor as well. Havana Harry and Greg Breausche were right there for reserve in the stake. Breausche rode for owner Bruce McClaren and was directed by Country Meadow.

Jana McConnell continued her good show when CH Undulata’s Hall Of Fame took the blue in the amateur park class, directed by trainer Vikki Vogel.

Bonnie Terese also had several winners showing under the direction of Roger Lucas. Esoteric’s Louis Vuitton was one of them that Meagan Heath rode to the winner’s circle in junior exhibitor park.

Rob Kritzler and Winnepeg Parks won the junior/novice horse class for owner Penny Eckert.

’s C My Radiance and Dr. Mary Jensen have had a successful career together and they put together two winning team efforts at Great River. They won the Fine Harness Open Stake after winning the amateur class. Private Sultan and owner Philipp Meyer won the open class before returning to take the reserve streamers in the open stake, directed by Monty Wallen. Winsdown Celebrate Celebrate took the title in the junior/novice class for Bonnie Terese.

Four talented roadster ponies hit the ring for their open stake, but it was Gib Marcucci, still recuperating from knee replacement surgery, who drove to the winner’s circle. Wait & See’s Real Lobo, owned by VeeAnn Woods, won the open class with Marcucci before coming back in the stake for another victory. Neon Rocket and Cathy McKinley were reserve in the stake for co-owners Faulconer and McKinley.

Bonnie Kittredge brought a big group and they had a good show under her direction including Patrick Kittredge’s winning drive with Good Spirits in the amateur class. Tim Lockard drove Oakwoods Farm’s own Boogity Boogity Boogity to the win in the final class of the division, the junior/novice class.

Seamair Spectacular and Gib Marcucci won the Harness Pony Stake, which had two entries after a five-entry open qualifier. Marcucci drove for co-owners Todd Gordon and Frank Boyd. Boyd qualified the pony with wins in the open class and amateur class. Wait & See’s Winter Day was the Harness Pony Reserve Grand Champion with Dr. Raun driving for Randy Wells. They also had a blue ribbon coming into the stake. Dr. Raun took the victory pass with Wells’ pony in the junior/novice pony class.

Forever Showtime, also shown by Marcucci, was the Hackney Pony Grand Champion and open winner for Gayle Buck. Extremely Classy won the junior/novice class with Peter Archer driving for Roger and Mary Kirkton.

Kenny Guell led the entries of Eagle Bluff Training Center to a big weekend in Cedar Rapids, and owner Susan Ellis had more than one winner including CC Ryder, winner of the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Stake and qualifier. She made it three for three when her Disco Dolly won the junior/novice class. Riverview’s Royal Salute and Bevan Sukowaty were reserve in the stake, directed by Bonnie Kittredge.

Kalarama’s Pretty Woman and Nina Lieponis were met by Dale and Mike Arnston and Julie Anne Wroble from Country Meadow when they won the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Stake. Collective Soul and Erich Aschenbrenner finished with the reserve streamers under the direction of Vikki Vogel. Roseridge’s Daybreak and Kristen Pettry won the adult qualifier after winning the junior/novice class earlier in the week for Royal Scot Stables.

Dr. Mary Jensen had yet another winner at Great River, but this time her entry was shown by trainer Peter Archer. He rode to the tricolor in the Park Pleasure Stake. Amber Kaiser rode Phoolin’ Around to the blue in the open class for Susan Ellis to add another win to the Eagle Bluff total. She Ain’t Much and Louis Louw won the junior class for Reedannland, which was the largest class of the park pleasure division with five entries.

Callaway’s Sneak Preview and Cathy Eichorn topped a quality filled six-horse Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Stake for owner Emory Eichorn. Callaway’s People’s Choice and Cathy McKinley were the reserve grand champions for Joyce McKinley. Novice Pleasure Horse Champion My Gingerbread also won the adult qualifier with Ashley Alden up for owner Caitlin Donohue to top five other strong teams for the win and captured two blues for the Donahue family.

CH May Issue and Allison Rohloff have had numerous wins in their career together at Timber Hills, and they swept the junior exhibitor three-gaited pleasure division, which, like the adult classes, was well-filled and featured top talent. Highpoint’s Happy Day and Brittany Linstrot were the reserve grand champions for Dave Linstrot.

Irresistible Day and Abby Reising added another blue to the Royal Scot total when they were named the winners of the Junior Horse Three-Gaited Pleasure class.

CH Harlem’s Strong Will and Kay Richardson, directed by Rick Schotthofer, captured two of the three show pleasure driving classes. Sarah Pranger and Fairmont, from RSVP Stables, were the reserve grand champions. Undisputed and Susan Ellis won the Junior/Novice Pleasure Driving which featured a trio of entries.

Wild Love Letters and Rebecca Jacobsen took the tricolor in the Open English Pleasure Stake for owner Sue Pierson. Aldert and Amanda Simpson were the reserve grand champions for owner Pamela Dice. You Think I’m Gorgeous and Kenny Smith won the qualifier. The Alden Farms entry bested a competitive group for the blue ribbon.

Absolute Martini and owner Barbara Vincent topped a nice group to win the Novice Rider English Pleasure class from Country Meadow.

The country pleasure under saddle division was also nicely filled, and like the other divisions, featured top quality across the board. Callaway’s Simon Says had a big weekend with numerous wins in the division. Rob Kritzler directed Cindy Greif to the Adult Country Pleasure Grand Championship after Julie Witthoff rode to the blue in the competitive six-entry junior/novice horse qualifier. Grief topped a nice group for the tricolor and added another win to the Green Wood Stables total. Stand Up & Shout teamed up with Anne Roberts for the reserve grand championship from Country Meadow after having won the adult class.

Sarah Bosshard and Three Diamonds won the AOTR qualifier, which hosted a pair of entries.

Michael Nall and Salty Dog swept the junior exhibitor division under the direction of Vikki Vogel. They won the six-entry qualifier and then returned in the five-entry stake to capture that tricolor as well for owner Mary O’Keefe. Elizabeth Duhachek had the ride with Allison Beth to claim the junior exhibitor reserve grand championship for owner Susan Aschenbrenner, also from Heartland Stables.

Lucky Memory and Derrick Moore exited the ring with the blue ribbon in the novice rider class, which featured five hard-riding jockeys.

A Kiss Farr You and owner Janette Wanner turned in two winning efforts to sweep the country pleasure driving division.

The western country pleasure and open western pleasure divisions at Great River gave additional proof, like so many shows already this season of why the division has finally earned a place at Freedom Hall. Well-supported and featuring top quality entries, the classes were enthusiastically received at Great River.

Super Rooster and Lisa McClaren finished the weekend with three victories under the direction of the Arnston-Wroble team at Country Meadow. Super Rooster won the Western Pleasure Stake, western pleasure qualifier and the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure class to make it three for three.

CH Brett Maverick and Shari Eades, showing from Oakwoods Farm, were right there to take the reserve tricolor after topping the six-entry Saddle & Bridle Shatner Working Western Pleasure class, which was another fun class to watch.

Glendale’s Royal Irish and owner Kathy Rhoades won the Open Western Pleasure class, which was also well supported at the show. They were directed to their win by Vikki Vogel of Heartland Stables. Khaki Jack and Rick Schotthofer won the Open Western Pleasure Novice Horse class for owner Marilyn Durbin to take the blue amongst a strong field of entries.

A Touch Of Rhythm and Emily Bunn captured two wins under the direction of 7 Oaks Stables. They won the junior exhibitor class and the AOTR class.

Caraman and Erica Mundt went three for three in the hunter pleasure division, winning the Open Hunt Seat Championship, open qualifier and the Saddle & Bridle Hunt Seat Classic. Callaway’s Scoop The News and Kristen Pettry took the reserve tricolor for Royal Scot.

Eight riders came through the gate for the Equitation Championship and rode hard in an effort to earn the title. With the equitation division so often featuring small numbers, it was great to see such a big, talented field at Great River.

Anna Bergman has been on a roll all season and she added another Equitation Grand Championship tricolor to her resume under the direction of Vogel, after having won the 14-17 class. Zack White, instructed by Bonnie Kittredge, left the ring with the reserve streamers. White had previously won the Youth Showmanship class.

Margo Walker, from Country Meadow, won the 13 and under class which featured five strong competitors.

The 10 and under division belonged to the Van Zomeren girls. Nadine and Avis Van Zomeren took the top two spots in the walk and trot championship and UPHA Challenge Cup, but traded places so each captured a blue ribbon for Timber Hills.

Nadine Van Zomeren won the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship and Avis Van Zomeren won the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup. Anne Roberts won the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup and Danielle Hensley won the 17 and Under Challenge Cup. Samantha Thomas, also from Timber Hills, won the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion with a trio of entries competing.

A Little Imagination with Monty Wallen showing for owner Jill Bosshard won the Halter/Model Championship to best three other entries. Callaway’s People’s Choice won the Saddlebred Show Pleasure Model class before returning to claim the reserve grand championship with Cathy McKinley showing for Joyce McKinley.

Phine Prowler and Judy Steenhoek took the victory pass in the open model class and Stand Up And Shout won the Country Pleasure Model class with Anne Roberts.

Lovin’ Asset added another blue to the Eagle Bluff total when Amber Kaiser teamed Susan Ellis’ entry to the blue in the Two- or Three-Year-Old Training class.

Ellis was on a roll all weekend and her Morgan entries captured several wins. Cyderbay Sassafras with Ellis presenting was named the Morgan English Pleasure Grand Champion after winning the open qualifier. They also took the blue in the Morgan Pleasure Driving qualifier.

HTC Fine-N-Fancy was reserve grand champion with Rob Kritzler showing for Joe and Mary Borg.

SMS Acapulco and Greg Dehning were the Morgan Pleasure Driving Grand Champions. Medomak Cobra Command and Milt Gauger were reserve in the stake for Joe and Mary Borg.

EBM Diamond Lady and Susan Ellis won the Classic Pleasure Saddle class after having already won the Classic Pleasure Driving class. They made it three for three with the win in the Morgan Halter class as well.

Alakazam and Susan Ellis won all three classes in the Morgan western pleasure division. They followed up their wins in the open and amateur qualifiers with the tricolor ride in the Morgan Western Pleasure Stake.

Teton Royal Raven and Judy Gauger put together the reserve effort to be named the Morgan Western Pleasure Reserve Grand Champions for Iowa Valley Stables.

Summit’s Socialite was the Morgan Hunter Under Saddle winner with Charles Berzins in the irons to close out the Morgan division at Great River Benefit.

This highlights the winners from the Great River Benefit Horse Show. Complete results can be seen on by clicking Show Results.

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