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Heartland Equality Returns To Freedom Hall

With the 100th edition of the World’s Championship Horse Show now in full swing Wednesday morning featured several classes for young riders and young ponies, however, the highlight was the return of the most unique pony to ever grace the show ring. The absolutely stunning red pony, Heartland Equality came out of retirement and was just as breathtaking as the last time we saw him a few years ago.

The walk and trot division has been broken down to every age group imaginable and one seven-year-old had Freedom Hall to herself to open the morning’s activities. Jessie Weusthofen was that lone rider representing LaFleur Stables.

Three-year-old road ponies were up next and two drivers that have battled many times before were again working to take the top honors among the nine entries. Golden Creek Farms’ new youngster, Dasani sailed down the straightaways on the way to the winner’s circle with Jeff McClean at the whip. Right there with a strong presentation as well, Josh Greer and Heartland Yankee Strutter claimed the reserve prize with Rich Campbell coaching.

A former winner in the three-gaited division, Callaway’s Blue Agate is now a standout in the country pleasure division. Blue Agate and Carol Hillenbrand were the first of three Biggins entries to place in the 46 & over division. They were followed by teammates Cecile with Edythe Dronshek and Turn Of The Century with Charlene Edwards.

Six young riders made it to the ring for the Eight-Year-Old Walk and Trot class and for the third year in a row at Louisville Lindsey Landrum delivered a unanimous ride under the DeLovely banner. Her closest competition was Clover Leaf’s Jessica Northcutt. Kate Lovejoy has been at the top all season long and on this morning she left the ring with the yellow streamers.

For those who missed the Sky Watch like performances of Heartland Equality a few years back they were in for a real treat on this morning. For those who had been a part of his historic Hackney Pony World’s Grand Championship as a three-year-old it was still just as thrilling. Finely chiseled and gifted with motion out of this world, the red stallion marched to another world title with owner/breeder Darrel Kolkman driving the Hackney Pony Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion. He had a good group of challengers including one of the grand campaigners of this era, Heartland Triumphant King who collected the reserve title with Gib Marcucci at the whip. Just coming on the scene, On The Mark made his mark with a third place finish for Larry Ella and Bent Tree Farm.

Coming off the Adult Country Pleasure Championship at Lexington Junior League, Kendra Fisher and Bi Mi Add Lib put a Louisville blue in their trophy case from the 18-30 country pleasure division. Adam Clauson put Kelly Mount and Prince Town BH in the reserve slot.

Returning to Louisville with another year’s worth of experience, reserve world’s grand champion Callie Smith put a blue prize on the Cryst-A-Kell tack room with her ride in the 9-year-old walk and trot competition. Among the seven riders Sarah Emily Flynn captured the reserve world’s championship while riding from the DelTorchio family’s High Tail Acres who were making their first trip to Louisville.

Another young pony class, another Heartland Hackney Farm world’s champion. Darrel Kolkman presented Heartland Just A Beauty to the Three-Year-Old Hackney Pony Stake where they were followed by Matt Schuckert and Black Merlin.

A winner under saddle last year, New York Rebel came back to win the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving class for owner/driver Rachel Shoemaker. The Meadowlake team topped 10 other entries including reserve world’s champions Lakeview’s Yes I Am and Hope Johnson who were showing under the direction of Rick Peel.

Gib Marcucci and Triumphant were at the top of the cards in the Road Pony Stallion/Gelding Stake. This little sports model was crowned the world’s champion for Jane Mueller while Ronnie Graham drove Desert Prince to the reserve title for Pixie Dust and Steel.

There were a good 10 riders in the ring for the 10-Year-Old Walk and Trot Equitation event. When this class was all over it was Jo Cornell’s top young rider, Chelsea Jo Roby smiling from ear to ear. Her world’s champion performance was followed by Hayden Hisey, a student of Randy Cates who was having a great week from the Peggy Richardson Stables.

Supreme Heir sired the top two finishers from the Country Pleasure 31-45 class with the world’s champion being the unstoppable CH The Shadow Knows. Hollow Haven Farm again sent the multi-titled champion to the winner’s circle with Karen Smith in the irons. Beth Bidon and Salt Heir stepped up to a reserve world’s title.

One of the most competitive divisions of the entire show, the amateur park division was split for the stallion/gelding section. The Texas team of Phi’s Phortune Teller and Karen Fricke Nalle topped 13 contenders for the world’s title in section one. Multi-titled world’s champion CH A Step Of Time and Luanne Kilday emerged with the red streamers on this morning just ahead of Cheryl Friedman and CH The Billy Bob. Section two featured a host of champions from across the country vying for the prestigious Freedom Hall winner’s circle. When the dust had settled world’s grand champion Ninety-Eight Degrees had put on a unanimous performance for Chris Nalley and the Nelson Green Stables. Lexington’s champion, Breathe was crowned the reserve world’s champion for Alexa Loudon. They were followed by stars such as Ramses, Callaway’s Smart Angle, Cagin Martini, and Shady Creek’s Genius.

The Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving division just gets tougher and tougher each year. Returning to defend their world titles from last year Seamair Dear Sir and Max Kaplan were picture perfect to start the week in the winner’s circle. Also no strangers to top prizes, Alyssa Lopez and Goin’ My Way were pressing the winners every step of the way and they were followed by stars such as Cowboy Magic and Rumor Has It.

Patty Milligan put Susan Olcott and CH She’s The Bess on top in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Mares competition in which 13 entries competed. Their competition came from reserve world’s champions Cindy Sherman and Carrigan’s Magic as well as Vicki Gillenwater and Manhattan Day.

Over the past few years there hasn’t been a juvenile country pleasure horse with near as many titles as CH Midtown Man has collected for a couple of different riders. Kendyl Tracy and Midtown Man returned to Freedom Hall and successfully defended their 2002 title with a victory pass in the 13 & under class. Ali DeGray and I’m Good To Go were right there with a reserve performance.

Taking the second of three possible three-year-old titles this morning, Darrel Kolkman drove the stretchy Heartland King Of Kings to the world’s championship in the harness pony division while the leg waving BRS The Phantom was the reserve world’s champion for Rodney Hicks and V. Ann Hailey.

The best of the Ladies’ Amateur Road Horses were on hand to spray the green shavings from Freedom Hall. Liz Shatner and All Glory let it all out to win a world’s title for the second consecutive year. Winner of section A in 2002 Dirt Devil and Deborah Butler commanded the reserve honors ahead of Carol Hall and Krewzyn Over and six other entries.

Two of the remaining three classes had to be split with Tom Sworm sending Shana Jo Brown and Cloverleaf’s Pocketful Of Miracles to the winner’s circle in division one. The proven team of Margaret Lawrence and What’s My Line landed in reserve among the 17 entries.

Another 17 battled for section two which went to the Lewis Meadow’s trained team of Kerri McDaniel and Harlem’s Half Moon. Devon Garone provided the catch ride for Callaway’s C.H. Hardin to take the reserve title.

The Ruth Gimpel Stables continued its good week with Ali DeGray and Free Willy turning back all challengers in the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony 13 & Under division for the second consecutive year. Winners of section one this year, they were followed by the winning team of Sweet Impression and Marli Dabareiner who were prepared by Fish N Fun Farm’s Lisa Lucas.

Section two went to another top combination in Kari Jackson and Coachlight’s Shock Wave. Although this was a different division, Ali Wellington won her second reserve world’s title in as many years. Boot Scootin Boogie was her entry this year.

Eighteen babies filled the ring for the $10,000 Yearling Breeder’s Stake and defeating some of the top handlers in the country, Gary Altizer presented Holly Wood’s Virginia Gentleman (Harlem Globetrotter x Sultan’s Gossip) to the top prize. Reserve money went to the CF First Night Out son, Night Sight, presented by Sam Stafford for Blythewood Farm.

Wednesday night’s session started out in classic Louisville style with the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. Of the 11 entries a couple of veteran teams matched up with a newcomer to make for a most exciting class. Winner of the ladies gelding class for the past two years, Title Bound and Elisabeth Goth made it three in row with another ground covering performance. The elegance of Swish and Melissa Moore was a beautiful picture for reserve honors. New to the mix Gayle Lampe and the former stallion Callaway’s Born To Win caught everyone’s attention as the third place finishers.

That class set the tone for a very competitive night which included the Amateur Ladies’ Harness Pony Stake. Of the eight stars in that class Mary Gaylord McClean and Joan Jett were chosen to make the victory pass over the heralded stallion Vindicator, driven by Karen Waldron.

It was good to see eight entries in the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class in which John T. Jones and World’s Grand Champion Callaway’s Copyright again ruled for Fox Grape Farms. Stepping up with a big-time performance Michael Hylton and Romanov drove off with the reserve world’s championship.

Tate Bennett enjoyed a winning catch ride in the Junior Exhibitor 14-15 Stake taking Sally Wood’s Longshadow Two To Tango to the title for DeLovely Farm. Caitlyn Spring and CH Sergeant Royalty were reserve among the 18 entries, while Maguire Hall and Chaka Zulu went home with the yellow streamers.

Melissa Moore did what few other trainers have done in the history of the World’s Championship Horse Show. After her winning ride with Royal Messenger in the 11-entry Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Stake she now had blue ribbons from both open qualifiers hanging on her Sunrise Stables tack room. Neil. Visser and Callaway’s Merry-Go-Round received a good round of applause for their reserve world’s champion performance which was followed by world title holders Callaway’s Sugar Plum and Debbie Foley as well as the crowd pleasing newcomers Gary Garone and I’m Sky High.

Marilyn Macfarlane and Braveheart keep adding the world’s championships to their storied career. With tonight’s victory pass they won the Ladies Roadster To Bike class for the third time. Melinda Moore and Rompaway sped to the reserve title for Lanny Judd in memory of the recently deceased Lawrence Carss.

What a treat it was for Mrs. Alan R. Robson to listen on the phone as her home-bred Albelarm Radiant Lady captured the 15-horse Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake. Jenny Taylor provided the winning ride and long-time friend Carol Hillenbrand provided the play by play over the phone. It was a strong class with last year’s two-year-old harness world’s champion I’m A Hot Ticket taking reserve with Jackie Tanner aboard for Joan Macfarlane. Larry Hodge was also in the hunt riding Misdee Wrigley’s Callaway’s Halley’s Comet.

Glenn T. Werry and Hazard County continue to make a case for the one the greatest juvenile road pony teams of all times. They added yet another world title with the win in the 14-17 class placing ahead of 11 other teams including reserve world’s champions Abby Jones and Heartland's Wonderful Miss.

Dena Lopez and Sass With Class won their second title of the week for New Millennium Equine Endeavor, this time it was the Fine Harness Mare Stake. Also making a beautiful show was reserve world’s champion Dances On Air, driven by Danette Musselman for Misty Hills Farm.

Earlier in the evening Elisabeth Goth won the ladies gelding stake and now she had both qualifiers. Goth rode the blonde mane and tail My New Year’s Eve to the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Stake. Reserve among the 12 entries went to Deborah Visser and Pocketful Of Magic. There were also strong shows from Ceil Wheeler and Summer Sweet as well as Linda Fischer and Spode.

It was three in a row for Fancy Ribbons except this year it was with a new driver. Kenny Wheeler drove the World’s Champion Hackney Pony Mare under the direction of John Shea. Karen Waldron and world’s champion Heartland Ooh! La La had to settle for the reserve placing this time out.

Former world’s champion CH The Showstopper returned to the top with 13 teams competing for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 16-17 class. Liz Holmes jumped from her seat as daughter Jessica was called out the winner in the big class. Paul Boone put the winning combination together. Holmes and The Showstopper had defeated last year’s world’s champions Kerry Honkamp and Made Ya Look as well as a host of top champions including New York Cheesecake, Wrapped In Roses, Pagan Prince, American Wine, A Taste Of Champagne, and Viola Madden.

The evening closed with 14 entries in the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. It was a mix of many different types of horses and riders, but none had the power and presence of Callaway’s Forecaster and Nancy Leigh Fisher. The amateur rider was cool and collected as she put her powerful entry in the right spots time and time again. The crowd was more than delighted when their number was called to the winner’s circle where Andy and Lynda Freseth greeted them. Pushing every step of the way Debbie Foley and Harrodsburg’s champion It’s More Than Likely were the reserve world’s champions placing ahead of the popular Jewel’s Teton, ridden by Tammy DeVore.

This closed out another night of championship performances and in every year past this was the time all trainers, exhibitors and officials were looking forward to as there were no day classes on Thursday. This too has changed as a handful of classes were on tap for the following morning.

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