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Historic Lexington Welcomed ASHAV's Competitors For A Great Weekend



Posted October 9, 2001

by Leeann Mione

LEXINGTON, Va., - As the nation was still reeling from the tragic events of September 11th in New York, several New York barns joined the list of exhibitors that traveled to what can possibly be considered one of the nation's most historic cities for a weekend of competition and camaraderie. Lexington, Va., is truly glorious in the fall as cooler temperatures and changing leaves provide a gorgeous backdrop for the Virginia Horse Center's premier fall event.

Dale Sheets and Ron Saunders invited Jack Noble, Lynn Harvey McNamara, and Sandy Currier to mark the cards with McNamara doing double duty as the judge of the equitation division. A former National Honor Show, ASHAV continued the tradition of showcasing top entries in all divisions including the youngsters that traveled to Lexington for the ASHAV and Old Dominion futurities Sept. 26-29. The Virginia Horse Center is arguably one of the country's finest horse show facilities and those in attendance made the most of it as they worked to add to their season's accomplishments.

It was evident all weekend that the events of September 11 were still on the hearts and minds of many as flags flew on many cars and red, white, and blue ribbons adorned many a riding suit. The management and exhibitors worked hard however to help everyone enjoy themselves. Jones Mountainview Saddlebreds and Piedmontese again sponsored Thursday night's exhibitor's party featuring Piedmontese beef and other delicious selections. On Friday night the first annual progressive barn party was a huge hit. Seven Oaks Stables, Lake Prince Farm, Jenny Ward Stables, Longacre Stables, Meadow Wood Farm, New Hope Stables, Windy Hill Farm, Century Equine Center, Countryside Stables, El-Dorado Farms, Dale Sloat Stables, Mercer Springs Farm, and Saddle Ridge Farm offered everything from fried eel to roasted corn on the cob to fabulous desserts and everything in-between. The junior exhibitors were treated to their own pizza party as well. A sponsor's reception was held on Saturday evening in appreciation of the financial support of many different barns and businesses.

A special tribute was read by Ron Saunders on Saturday night in honor of Sallie Wheeler who passed away last week. Wheeler's Cismont Manor Farm had a memorial service on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Keswick, Va., that any and all were invited to attend. Also on Saturday, manager of the Virginia Horse Center Bob Reel was presented with an Automatic External Defibrillator by ASHAV as part of the Public Address Defibrillation program recently implemented in the U.S.

The traditional 50/50 raffle raised more than $2500 and Diane Ventre was the winner of more than $1200. Holly Gassen won the muck basket filled with prizes for the UPHA Chapter 18 fund raiser. The junior judging contest was also very popular with first through fifth place going to Heather Tobey, Grant Shiflet, Will Crouse, Morgan Oakes, and Tyler Burkett, respectively.

Although entries were down by more than 60 horses, and several classes either had one or two entries or were scratched altogether, numerous classes were well-filled and very competitive. The amateurs, juveniles and the ladies faced especially tough competition as did the exhibitors in the pleasure classes. The Five-Gaited Championship was disappointingly small with three entries, but all three teams had the crowd divided as to who their favorite was. When the panel turned in their cards, S.S. Genuine was named the winner for David Nierenberg for the second year in a row. Merrill Murray was up for the unanimous win.

There were many, many success stories at ASHAV, especially that of the Jones Mountainview offspring sired by the stallions of Jones Mountainview Saddlebreds. The youngsters amassed an amazing number of wins and reserves in virtually every division. Mountainview's Manhattan Beach was the ASHAV Weanling Futurity Champion, a win that was especially meaningful as the weanling is one of the last crop of babies sired by deceased stallion Manhattan Supreme.

ASHAV again drew its loyal following for an altogether great horse show and in the process, through goodwill and southern hospitality showed everyone a good time and a chance to forget, if for only a short time, the troubles our country has recently faced.

For the complete show story see the printed edition of Saddle Horse Report dated October 8, 2001.

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