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Heartland Classic - Growing by Leaps and Bounds!

by Claire Panke

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Since moving to its current home at the impressive Champions Center in Springfield several years ago, Heartland Classic has grown in size and stature every year. As news spread about the show’s fine facilities and expansive array of classes, more and more exhibitors from the Midwest have made Heartland the start of their horse show season. Indeed, there’s little not to like about this show, including the fact it’s easy on owners’ pocket books. This year’s sold-out edition, held May 7-10, attracted even more horses than in 2009 – definitely a good trend. In quality and in quantity, this was the best Heartland Classic yet.

Manager Judy Peters, Secretary Joyce Berger and numerous volunteers from sponsoring organization the Ohio American Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association work hard to make everything right for exhibitors. But plans are afoot to make Heartland even bigger and better in years to come. "We’re negotiating with the Champions Center to rent the entire show grounds for 2011," reported Peters. "That will allow the covered outdoor ring to be available for schooling at all times, plus we will have 80 additional stalls in the outside barn and up to 40 more stalls in two additional buildings, giving us 120 more available stalls for the weekend."

With the success of the new open English pleasure classes, the popularity of the AHHS Amateur Driving Challenge and the inception of the Equine Services Roadster Cup series, Heartland will need all the stalls it can get. According to Peters, "The show will be looking at expanding the roadster horse division, and we may expand the novice horse/novice rider classes for 2011 as well." Adding to the attractions in 2010 were new features such as the Junior Park Horse Jackpot and the Heartland "Economic Stimulus Package" which added prize money to the open and amateur championships. Hospitality was in focus Saturday night at River Bend Farm’s traditional pizza exhibitors’ party. Joan and Jackie Hammond have zeroed in on a menu guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any exhibitor: pizza, soda, chips and three varieties of cake!

Exhibitors looking for a great start to the 2011 show season should make a point of checking out Heartland Classic. With fine facilities, a schedule that emphasizes amateurs and junior rider, plus a convenient location, it has a lot to offer.

Judge Barbe Smith had the daunting task of sorting out over 130 well filled classes. One of the high points of the weekend was the competitive five-gaited division. Fresh from recent wins in Mason, Mich., the combo of Callaway’s New Day and Sena Bowling captured the championship title with some powerful moves. A new horse for the Taylor Creek bunch and owner Jocelyn Hagerman, more blue ribbons are surely in the future. Many times champion Summit Up took a detour from his regular pleasure division to grab an impressive win in the open class for trainer Mike McIntosh and a delighted Linda Thorin Johnson. Regular jockey Kristen Thorin rode him back in the championship for a good reserve.

Guided by the team at Memory Lane, Jamie Wise Lanier and the gorgeous Callaway’s Gabriele were picture perfect to command not only the amateur gaited championship but also the UPHA Ladies Pink Ribbon qualifier. Vernon Wise is the proud owner. Ann Moro Gioffre has been cutting quite a swathe through the amateur classes in Ohio with the spirited Harlem’s Leading Star. This duo captured the amateur qualifier, returning for a reserve in the amateur stake. The junior exhibitors were riding hard with several in contention in their two classes. Former open champion Varsity Blues turned in a stirring performance to top the championship for Krystal Murphy and owner Mitchell Walker. The talented Beaudacious Bay and Marina Nimmo were tops in the qualifier but had to settle for reserve in the championship. In the junior horse division Marcia Belcher took the handsome bay Moutainview’s Allegro to the winner’s circle for Yerian and Lester.

Entries from the Mike McIntosh Stable enjoyed a terrific weekend in the three-gaited division at Heartland. Stepping out of the amateur ranks, Linda Sullivan swept the open and the open championship with two smooth rides on her beloved campaigner Let’s Boogie. The biggest smile of the weekend could be found on Linda Thorin Johnson’s face after her exciting debut with her new mare, More Than Enough, brought her the amateur and amateur grand championship. Keeping the open division to a "Hoosier" theme, Corey Coovert and Mega Volt stepped up for the open championship reserve, while the stallion Kalarama’s Superman had the red ribbon in the open for Cindy Maloney and owners Frank and Iris James. Dana Cook Baer and Maxed Out grabbed the reserve amateur championship while Katy Mallory and First Night’s Attraction took reserve in the qualifier.

Christine Orser and her pert Miss Believin’ parleyed their recent triumphs at Spring Warm-Up and Harrodsburg into an undefeated season as they captured the junior exhibitor qualifier and championship. Last year’s champions, Sultan’s Truly Fancy and Annabell Kippi Noe, had to settle for reserve in both classes. The junior/limit class was another blue ribbon ride for the pretty Sir Yes Sir and Jamie Wise Lanier.

In the Three-Gaited Park division, the powerful HS She Be Bad and Steve Demjen could not be denied the open and the championship for proud owner Jackie Hawkes. Mindy Preston had Linda Lewis’s CH Callaway’s Belfast looking good in his new division for reserve in the championship. Donna Schultz and Heiron Neville commanded the red ribbon in the qualifier. Owner-rider Stephanie Wright and trainer Jim McIntosh found the key to Tango Blues – Wright and her colorful mount were looking terrific to command top honors in the amateur and amateur championship. The exciting new team of Katie Lindamood and former harness star French Kiss had to settle for reserve in both classes.

The Junior Park Jackpot witnessed a star in the making as Marilyn Moores’s black gelding The Perfect Man took this class for trainer Mike McIntosh. This horse was the talk of the show after his class. Finishing in second was the promising and talented Callaway’s Made In Missouri for Marcia Belcher.

Side Show Bob and Phil Price have been one of the top fine harness duos on the Ohio circuit for the past two years. They are back in 2010 as strong as ever as they paraded into the winner’s circle in the Open Fine Harness and championship for owners Bill and Kathy Hickman. Simply Satisfying and Maygen Brandenburg carried out the blue ribbon in the amateur class, returning to earn the reserve championship on Sunday. Freddy R Puddles, a new entry for Linda Lewis, made a blue ribbon pass with trainer Jim McIntosh in the junior/limit event.

The road horse to bike class was an exciting contest between two nice horses giving their all. Zooming to the blue ribbon was the exciting Bait Box Bob with Phil Price on the lines. Many times winner John T Bert N Me and Connie Smith had to be content with reserve.

It was a very good weekend for High Hopes Farm. Dun Haven Awesome Image lived up to his name as owner Beth Jones gave him two splendid drives to capture the Amateur Road Pony class and the grand championship. Then trainer Connie Smith put her Do The Wild Thing in the spotlight as they claimed the top honors in the open class. Kharbon Copy with Rebecca Roller on the lines claimed the reserve championship, while Kilbro’s Be Impressive and Page Champion got the nod for the red ribbon in the open qualifier. In the amateur class Greg Scott and Kentucky Hot Brown drove to a good reserve. Alex Terry sped away with two good blue ribbons at Heartland, claiming the Youth Medallion with Regal’s Mysterious Stranger LF and the Medallion Under Saddle with Melbourne’s Classic Headlines. Taylor Boyer took the reserve in the under saddle class back to Indiana with Craycroft Bandit, with Christopher Reed and Our Celebrity driving away with the red in the roadster medallion.

One of the Hackney Pony division’s best, The Final Contender, displayed his remarkable style for owner-driver Linda Lewis as they marched away with the blue ribbon in the Hackney Pony class. Warren Finkbine and Ultimate Revenge captured the red ribbon. David Estis led the way for Debonair Stables as he teamed the outstanding Leather And Lace to top honors in the Open Harness Pony. Linda Lewis and the beautiful Mi Leonardo had to be content with reserve.

A former champion as a roadster and in harness, Heartland Most Wanted made a commanding debut in the pleasure driving division to decisively claim the adult pleasure and pleasure driving championship for Beth Jones. Kim Becker had her Kilbro’s Patent Leather in fine form for the reserve championship, while Jackie Hammond was on the lines of Heartland Showboat for the red ribbon in the adult class. The junior exhibitor and medallion were blue ribbon drives for Autumnwood’s Rumor Has It and Taylor Russel for Beth Jones. Wild Wind and Katie Sharp trotted away with the red ribbons in these classes.

The pretty Driving Miss Emma and Sarah Wise continued their winning ways, turning in two outstanding performances to claim the country pleasure class and championship. Y R U So Happy was the reserve champion in this popular division for Tonia Becker.

Highpoint’s The Cat’s Meow turned in a fine performance in the Open Park Pleasure Championship as this new face in the division earned a well deserved tricolor for Shelly Fisher and owner Toree Lewis Heffner. Reserve champions in this competitive class were Jane Jarvis and Hurry To Paradise, who had previously impressed by winning the open qualifier. Such Spirit and Steve Demjen captured the red ribbon in the qualifier for Kelly Morris. Moving from the junior exhibitor pleasure ranks into the park pleasure division, the versatile In Due Time enjoyed two blue ribbon rides from Amie Rowe to earn the judge’s nod in the amateur and amateur championship. The flaxen trimmed Emanating took reserve champion with Jessica Wilson in the irons. The reserve slot in the amateur qualifier found Belle Reve’s Daily News and Rebecca Roller taking the red ribbon. The junior class was a good win for the sporty Royal Crest’s Stone Idol, perfectly teamed by Sena Bowling for owner Charlotte Elwert. Joan Hammond claimed the red ribbon with her homeraised Spike’s Rare Ruby.

Cam Boyer and My Domain are on a roll this season as they followed their wins at Spring Warm-Up with two sparkling performances at Heartland to trot away with the Park Pleasure Driving and championship. Matt Schuckert and the Wise family’s A New Gentleman were in fine form for both reserves.

Looking very good in his new division, the multi-titled champion Midnight Senor, teamed by owner Amie Rowe, was unstoppable in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Fiesta Blues and Sofia Dueno racked away with the blue ribbon in the novice class, returning to claim a good reserve in the championship. Cloverleaf Taho Taho and Kristen Siess grabbed the reserve in the qualifier with Shooter and Megan Humphries taking the red ribbon in the novice.

Katie McAuliffe, making her debut as an amateur adult, scored double wins aboard the talented Supremacy’s Fiery Kate, nabbing a quality filled adult qualifier and Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. Tracy Engel rode Jackie Hawkes’s Callaway’s Jess Luvon to a good reserve championship. Sharon O’Connor and Napa Valley claimed reserve in the adult class. The Grand Master has been a truly "grand" horse for the three-gaited pleasure division. At Heartland he proved he still has what it takes when he won the junior exhibitor championship for owner-rider Mary McWilliams. Fresh from dual victories at Mason, Mich., Gypsy Champagne and Cassidy Dolby were good winners of the 14-17 class plus a strong reserve in the championship.

The aptly named Quite Delightful and Kathy Schueler took the top prize back home to Indiana in the amateur-owner-trainer class over runners up The Picadilly Ritz and Roxanne Feldkamp. Wendy Zhender and Spirited Edition made it two for two as they turned in the winning performances in the novice rider class and the novice rider championship. Shown by Christine Johnson, Romeo Cassnova took the second spots. In a competitive novice horse class Dana Baer and Uwharries Street Legal proved the team to beat. Iris and Frank James’ Crystal Blue was reserve for Jessica Sexton.

Paige Bundy was a picture of confidence driving her exquisite Chantilly Lilly to a pair of wins in the Show Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship. Reserve champion was the popular CH Kool Tyme BH with owner Iris James on the lines.

Callaway’s Big Deal, shown by Sharon O’Connor and owned by Linda Johnson, added another pair of wins to his many victories with two good blue ribbons in the huge Adult Country Pleasure class and championship. Shown by owner Diana Whitinger, the pretty bay Kalarama’s Flow Jo annexed the second slots in these classes. Taylor Newton turned in two skillful performances aboard the colorful Tip Top’s Aristocrat to claim the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure class and championship for Shelly Fisher. Lindsey Redifer and My Christmas Eve were a strong reserve in the championship, with Money Line and Erin Pinelli taking second in the qualifier.

Cloverleaf Skybird and Shaelynn Adams topped the novice rider class in a good show after being reserve in the qualifier. Shelby’s Genie In A Bottle had the red ribbon for Madeleine Kissinger. Claiming the top spot in the novice rider qualifier were Big Show and Patricia Reed. The stylish Ladies Great Night Out and owner Amie Rowe were in the winner’s circle for the Country Pleasure Driving class and championship. Beth Jones was on the lines of Highpoint’s High Adventure for reserve.

Making it three for three, Champagne’s Lover Boy and Joyce Schuda proved a powerful threat under western tack as they captured novice, Shatner and western championship. Blue Calliou and Amie LaBrie, the good winners in the western qualifier, had to settle for reserve in the other western events. Iso Full O Potential is indeed a good name for the winner of the Hunter Classic and hunter championship. Irene Hodge was aboard this nice entry for Shelly Fisher. Harlem’s Buckeye and Virginia Jeffries were the reserve champions, while Callaway’s For Always and Katie Skaggs trotted out with the reserve in the Classic. The promising Too Wong Foo has been getting better with each show for rider Terry Meade. At Heartland they claimed the hunter qualifier for owner Paul Price. Reedan’s Crown Jewel and Missy Warner were good for second.

With two equitation powerhouses within half an hour’s drive of Springfield (Cape Cod and Sugar Knoll), it’s no surprise that top riders were competing at Heartland Classic. The saddle seat discipline is thankfully alive and well in Ohio this year.

Indiana’s Taylor Newton, a star in this division since she began in 10 and under, captured the grand championship plus the UPHA Challenge Cup to become triple qualified for the finals. Hallie Sansbury turned in a good ride to be reserve champion after being the red ribbon recipient in the NHS event. Another good riding Hoosier, Taylor Boyer, captured the 17 & Under class. Poised and confident, Aleia Brown made a smooth work of the NHS class and proved once again she is a major threat in the middle age group. Jennica O’Reilly is having her best year thus far in the division, visiting the winner’s circle in the pleasure equitation age group over Kristina Ressler. Petite Camryn Silverton captured the Walk & Trot 10 & Under Championship and age group. Nicole Mathews was the enthusiastic lead line winner to the delight of proud grandmother Diana Whitinger.

Top honors in the Morgan English Pleasure Championship and amateur were earned by Elizabeth Burick and her Enthusiastic; sure to be the first of many blue ribbons this season for this good duo. Zach Roe and Lookaway’s Fortune were in good form for reserve. DBS Cavalier and Mike Rogers drove away with the tricolor in the Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship after being reserve in their qualifying class. Cedar Creek Zephyr and Elaine Rosier got the judge’s nod for the blue in the amateur and pleasure driving open.

Reese Richey has the key to the handsome champion RBF Russian Roulette, taking both the open and Morgan Western Championship for owner Conner Chaffin Farley. Young Mr. Conner was aboard this nice horse to win the walk-trot pleasure in the open to all breeds division. Erin Wilber and Cherrydale Scarlett O’Hara jogged up for reserve honors in both western events. For the Morgan hunter division Hylee’s Marquesa and Lora Lyons headed to the winner’s circle in the open and stake.

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