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Heartland Classic

by Claire Panke


Manager: Judy Peters

Secretary: Joyce Berger

Ringmaster: “Skeeter” Williams

Announcer: David Rice

Photographer: Linda Wollaber

Organist: Wanda Schuh

Farrier: Vernon Ridgely

Veterinarian: Good Thunder Veterinary Services

Judge: Susi Day



SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Sponsored by board of the Ohio American Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association, the Heartland Classic Horse Show appears to be thriving at its expansive new home, the Champions Center at Springfield’s Clark County Fairgrounds.


A long-time fixture on the Ohio show scene at its former location in Delaware, Heartland’s move to the new indoor complex in Springfield a few years ago has seen the show grow. Champions Center boasts one of the Midwest’s newest and most comfortable facilities, and Heartland exhibitors need no longer fear the whims of springtime weather. Add to this convenience the easy access to hotels and restaurants, a broad range of classes and an exhibitor oriented management and it’s easy to see why this show continues to grow in popularity.


This year over 250 horses and ponies were on hand to compete in 125 events over the three-day weekend of May 11-13. Manager Judy Peters was very happy with the 2007 turnout, pointing out that Heartland “was up more than 50 horses over 2006. We keep increasing the number every year.”  Horses from all over the Midwest filled the Champions Center - the overflow had to be stabled in adjacent outdoor 4-H barns (which were very nice by the way). The central Ohio location attracted stables from Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as a large complement of native Buckeyes.


True to its grassroots, Heartland offers something for nearly everyone, including novice riders, pleasure walk and trot and academy classes, plus the popular open-to-all-breed divisions. Saddlebreds and Hackneys were out in force, especially the park and pleasure horses. Judge Susi Day was particularly impressed by the level of horsemanship displayed by entrants in Heartland’s well-filled and formidable equitation division, noting that in several classes “every rider in the class was outstanding.” A quick perusal of riders in those events revealed many competitors to be current national and/or world title holders. 


One of the chief pleasures of this show is its relaxed atmosphere. Heartland isn’t a little horse show but the ambience makes it feel like one. With arena, stalls, offices, vendors and concessions all under one roof, the atmosphere seems quite cozy. Coffee and doughnuts await exhibitors each morning and snacks are available in the show office. Saturday night Joan and Jackie Hammond of Riverbend Farm hosted their well-received exhibitors’ party. Despite morning classes, the show ended early most evenings, allowing people to socialize. 


With an expansion and additional improvements on the horizon for the Champions Center, the Heartland Classic will undoubtedly remain a key stop on the Ohio show scene for many years to come.




Four horses and riders answered the call for the Five-Gaited Championship, with the exciting Varsity Blues racking and trotting up a storm for Sena Bowling, pitted against the open winner, the handsome and speedy Callaway’s Wish Me Luck, who was piloted by Phil Price for the Jeff Grimm family. Pressing these two was the entertaining duo of Callaway’s Said And Done and David Crego for George Henn.  When the card was marked, Judge Day tied Wes And Sena Bowling’s popular Varsity Blues for the top spot, with Callaway’s Wish Me Luck and Callaway’s Said And Done following respectively.


The championship for amateur five-gaited contenders quickly became a duel between the Hawkcrest, winner of the amateur qualifier, and the juvenile gaited champ, Hoochie Koochie Blues.  Hawkcrest and owner/rider Kim Blaker were on fire during the final rack and could not be denied the tricolor, while Krystal Murphy, aboard Wes and Sena Bowling’s very sharp Hoochie Koochie Blues, picked up the reserve. Lynnwood’s Supreme Country and Jennifer Gulati were reserve in the amateur preliminary while CSF Memories Silk and Brooke Dearien were the runners up in the junior exhibitor class.


Wes and Sena Bowling’s Taylor Creek Stables continued their winning streak with a victory in the limit/junior division for Blue Calliou and Sena up. Buckingham Affair and owner/rider Ed Harper were second.




Many times champion CH Caramac’s Norma Rae added both the open and the Three-Gaited Championship to her long list of accolades, performing with decisive flair for owner/rider Stacey Bare. Second in both these classes was the big, bold By Honor Bound, with Tony Potts riding for Dominic Iannvzzi.


Margo Coleman had Sir Andrew marching a brilliant, high cornered park trot to command both the amateur championship and amateur qualifier. Reserve champion was Worthy Wonder for Debra Saul while Prophet’s Fantastic Fullfillment and Kathy Oberschlake took second in the preliminary. The perfectly polished team of Casey Morgan Tibolet and Up In The Heir could not be denied their victories in the junior exhibitor division while Chance To Dream and Danielle Williams stepped up for two reserves.


Top honors in the limit/junior class were captured by Never Worry and Donna Grieder. Rare Mischief, shown by Jodi Bertagnolli for Lakeview Farms, took reserve honors.


Iris and Frank James’ cocky Catabolic was in fine form to capture the Park Championship, bettering his second place finish in the qualifier. Reserve champion went to the expressive Looney Toons, with Autumn Hunt up for Jim Aikman. In a crowded and competitive qualifier, the extravagantly motioned Madeira’s Lady, with Mike McIntosh aboard for Albert Alexander, took the blue ribbon.


The amateur park division entertained the crowd with fine performances. One of the best teams in the country, Abby Campbell and the white-trimmed CH Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood, were at the top of their game to claim both the preliminary and amateur championship. Reserve in both of these events was another multi-titled duo: Lynn Gutches Snowden and her pretty The Lady’s Heir.


Fine Harness


Lofty going and never backing an ear, the delightfully named Hoof Prince dominated the amateur and the Fine Harness Championship for owner/driver Jill O’Hara.  Tropical Treasure stepped smartly to the reserve championship for Susan Levally and owner Linda Litzinger.  Steve Demjen had A March Day looking through the bridle to nab the open fine harness honors. Reserve in the amateur qualifier went to the limber legged One’s Dizzy Lizzie and Jackie Hammond.  Phil Price was on the lines with Side Show Bob, winner of the limit/junior event for Tina Stodd.




There were only two in the road bike class, but with the wide turns of the Champions Center the drivers were able to put on quite a show, much to the delight of the audience. Trotting away with the blue was Whatever Works and Joshua Jones for Erin Jones. Travis Smith was hot on his tail for second with Rosetta’s Sergio.




A very happy David Estis gave Regal’s Poetic Moment LF a great drive to grab the limelight in the roadster pony championship. The same team earlier claimed an impressive win in the amateur class. Speeding away with the honors in the open was Shooting Star for owner/driver Beth Jones. Simply Awesome, with Katie Sharp in the bike for Ohio High Steppers, was sharp to capture the AHHS Youth Medallion class.


The cob tail division was dominated by the snappy Diamond’s Whiz Bang and Beth Jones who claimed the open qualifier and the championship with great aplomb.  Right behind this pair marched Romeo’s Warrior LF and David Estis for reserve. Jimmy The Tulip and Harriet Schultz were the blue ribbon pair in the limit class. Top honors in the harness pony division went to Kilbro’s Patent Leather and Kim Becker.


Driving away with the pleasure driving championship were Beth Jones and her handsome Unanimous Success. Reserve in the championship went to Sheriff Taylor with Abby VonBargen on the lines for Kim Becker. Shirley Sanislow’s Canadian Club was smooth and polished to claim the blue in the open class. The Ohio High Steppers proved invincible yet again in the AHHS Youth Medallion with Logan Jones driving Mr. Jack Daniels.


Show Pleasure


Joan Hammond is noted for her smooth rides and quiet assurance with a pleasure horse, a talent she put to good use piloting her Superior One to a well-earned tricolor in the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Megan Humphreys and her powerful The Master Showman were outstanding to win the five-gaited preliminary but had to be content with reserve in the championship. Amanda Blaker and her Conduct Unbecoming were the best in the Novice Five-Gaited Pleasure class.


Sena Bowling turned in a strong ride on Wendy Zehnder’s sharp and good moving Future Perfect for top honors in the Open Park Pleasure Championship after earning a red ribbon earlier in the show. Truly one of the great pleasure horses of this era, CH Bi Mi Ad Lib was a decisive winner in the open qualifying class for owner Kendra Fisher.


Feisty and athletic, the white trimmed She’s Unretouched commanded the top award in the amateur park pleasure qualifier and championship for Wendy Nelson, with Ultra Ultimate and Ashley Neal stepping up for second in both events. Beth Jones’s very pretty and refined Magna Carta was letter perfect for Connie Smith in the park pleasure driving qualifier and championship.  Harlem’s Dark Star and Jessica Williamson drove to the second spot in both classes. The park pleasure junior driving class was captured by a blue ribbon drive by the perfectly mannered Blue Jean Baby and Susan Levally for Linda Litzinger.


Among the very best in their division anywhere, the grand team of Piper Granger and CH Uncle Abe bested all challengers in the three-gaited adult championship. Reserve champion honors went to the very handsome Joyful Affair and Lindsey Rinehart, who had taken a richly deserved win in the Limit Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class earlier in the show. The adult qualifying class went to the cute Captain Kaos and Joan Hammond.  The amateur/owner/trainer class went to Cathy Schueler and her Backstage Pass.


Kendra Fisher’s pretty and talented Out All Night was perfectly matched with Alex Lawson to triumph in a large championship class for three-gaited pleasure entries shown by novice riders. The same pair also won the qualifier. Reserve honors in both classes was claimed by Wes and Sena Bowling’s Cameron Crest Stonewall, shown by Katy Repic.


Top team for the junior exhibitor preliminary and championship was the very sporty and colorful Good Graces and owner/rider Krystal Murphy, a duo that will be making their presence felt throughout the season.  Callaway’s Jess Luvon and Sarah Grace stepped up to reserve honors in the championship. Claiming second in the junior exhibitor class were Cloverleaf Skybird and Kristen Siess.


Nichole Sedivec had her Highpoint’s Golden Flame just right to capture the Show Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Reserve champion in the final went to Katey Smith and Century Masterpiece. Dave Fleming drove Missy Warner’s Reedann’s Crown Jewel to reserve in the show pleasure driving class. The solid team of Beau’s Fair Play and Kinsey Raburne took home the blue in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving.


Country Pleasure


Joan Hammond had Sunset Jubilee bright and happy in the bridle to capture both the adult championship and the amateur-owner-trainer class. Cool Side and Jessica Wilson capably captured the reserve championship.  The brand new team of Kristie Keating and her Arrowhead’s Captain Morgan was outstanding to claim both the novice rider and the adult classes. The junior exhibitor class and championship were double-barreled wins for the cute Badaboom Badabing and Shelby Graves, riding for Diana Lewis. The versatile The Hidden Charm, piloted by owner Hannah Stillwell, stepped up for the reserve championship honors.  Sarah Dunaway and Mr. Douglas Fairbanks took the red ribbon in the qualifier. Joan Williams gave her Candid Comment two flawless drives for championship honors in the Country Pleasure Driving Championship and preliminary.


Long time western exhibitor Susan Hoskins has a new horse for the division, and the handsome Royal Crest’s Dancing On Stones appeared to suit his division perfectly. Together this pair swept every class they entered at Springfield, including the western pleasure qualifier, Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner class and the western championship.  Reserve champions were the winning duo of Sportin’ Life’s Bold Gold and Rebecca Overmyer. Riding up for the red in the western pleasure class were CF First Night Action and Sharon Cassel for Springlake Stables. Fresh from their win at River Ridge, the pretty Heir Express and Joan Todd claimed the novice western with authority, with Staffordshire and Corey Coovert jogging up for second.


Good moving Emily Grey and Joan Todd have been one of the Midwest’s top pairs in the hunter pleasure division. At Springfield they were right on track, taking both the Saddle & Bridle Hunt Seat Classic and the hunter championship.  Callaway’s For Always and Kathleen Skaggs were strong to be named reserve champions after winning the qualifier. Nash Bridges and Candy Gierke rode to the red ribbon in the qualifier while She’s Snow Angel was just right to take the red ribbon in the Classic.




Unlike other shows where equitation numbers have been light, stake night at Heartland saw nine riders come through the gate for their grand finale.  At least six of those contenders were world/national champions or reserve champions, and one more was a UPHA Top Ten recipient. Judge Susi Day assigned a workout to commensurate with these riders’ abilities.


Maintaining her poise throughout both the rail work and the pattern, the elegant Emily Abbott claimed the championship with a near perfect ride. Riding better than ever at Heartland, Sarah Jane Smith was the confident reserve champion. The versatile Casey Morgan Tibolet was third.


Casey Morgan Tibolet displayed perfect form in a bold ride to win the 17 and under age group.  The outstanding 13 and under rider Taylor Newton rode aggressively for the red ribbon.  In the large pleasure equitation age group Sarah Lawson was a sight to claim the top prize, with Hannah Stillwell, riding her new horse In Due Time, up for reserve.


Both the UPHA Challenge Cup and the NHS Good Hands were claimed by Sarah Jane Smith. Casey Morgan Tibolet was second in the UPHA Challenge Cup, with Emily Abbott reserve in the NHS Good Hands.


The Walk/Trot UPHA Challenge Cup and 10 and under walk/trot championship went to the seemingly invincible Aleia Brown, quite the pretty picture on her big chestnut horse. Petite Paige England was second in the Challenge Cup with Zachary Clifton staging a comeback to claim the reserve title in the championship.




Springlake Stables’s snappy Jebon Quick Time and rider Estill Tibbs brought a trio of blue ribbons back to the barn including the English Pleasure Championship, open pleasure and the stallion/gelding in hand. Another Springlake entrant, Fletcher T Bar, also needed a basket to haul the blue ribbons home. Teamed with Estil Tibbs, he swept the western classes including the open, amateur and championship. Claridge Armani was in fine form to capture the blues in the junior exhibitor and amateur championship for Alex Lawson and owner Margaret Williams. Just for good measure, this team also brought home the win in Morgan equitation.


Marilyn Brendalen and her LTS Immortal Hymn took the blue in the classic pleasure open and classic championship. FCF Immortal Affair and Susan Kanke were the blue ribbon team in the amateur pleasure driving. 




Scores of academy hopefuls - from walk and trotters to adults - invaded Champions Center arena Saturday morning.  It was nice to full classes in this division, and it was even nicer to see many of these families stay through the afternoon to watch the show.


Walk/trot/canter winners included: Sarah Maloney, Liza Payne, Emily Grunder, Madison Bartha and Allison Sowers. Second place finishers were: Mandy Kleinman, Allison Sowers, Taylor Boyer and Samantha Reed.


Walk/trot blues were awarded to: Sarah Chase, Paige Worley and Jasmine Dickerson with reserves going to Sophia Dueno, Allyson Smith and Regan Engle.

This completes the highlights of the Heartland Classic Horse Show. Complete results can be seen, searched and printed out by clicking here.

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