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Ike or No Ike: Texas State Fair shines

By Ann Bullard

DALLAS, TX - With one eye on the Weather Channel and the other in the show ring, Saddle Horse and Walking Horse exhibitors gathered at the Texas State Fair Grounds for the annual State Fair of Texas Horse Show. Sponsored by UPHA Chapters Six and Seven, the event was the first USEF Regional Show for the area.

Held September 11 – 14, 2008, the show’s proximity to the World’s Championship Horse Show and the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration always cuts into entries. Add Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, and it’s not surprising that the numbers were far less than anticipated. SGF Winning Ways Farm left the Houston area before the storm hit. Trainer Steve Chadick headed home Thursday night to take care of the farm and family, while May and Mason Chadick, owner Sherry Frankel and clients took refuge in their horses and Dallas’ relative calm. Jack Magill hosted the horses and trainers Sunday and Monday nights before they headed back to their no-power barn and home. Sandra Currier showed Bluebonnet Farm stock on Thursday, heading home on Friday to secure the barn before returning for the Sunday finale.

As always, competitors gave little quarter in the ring. Outside, trainers Patty Milligan, Lonny Quarles and Magill helped prepare others’ teams. When the chips are down, Saddle and Walking Horse people are there for one another.

Tom Scott from Bois D’Arc, Mo., marked cards in Saddle Horse performance classes. Joann Crockett, most of whose professional life has centered on the Arabian world, handled Saddle Seat Equitation and all Academy judging. The experienced State Fair management team headed by Nancy Braesicke and Janie Hamilton ensured everything ran as smoothly as possible with the number of canceled and/or one horse classes.

Jack Magill may never have had Night Of A Thousand Stars looking any better than he did on Sunday afternoon. The powerful bay gelding used everything he had to best Sandra Currier and the Edmund Perwein’s Select Fire to earn the Three-Gaited Jackpot win and Regional Champion sash.

World’s Champion Madiera’s Love and Milligan trainer Jenn Holdren showed why the mare is one to beat on any level. Although there were no challengers in the Three-Gaited Jackpot, Holdren put together a textbook ride, claiming and tricolor and sash indicative of being the Regional Champion. The William Woods University graduate picked up the Park Pleasure blue with Fox Grape Farm’s Fox Grape’s Forever Yours with Milligan co-trainer Michael Buchanan and Apt To Dream in reserve.

Holdren took Denise Hurst’s Roseridge’s Night and Day to the gelding’s final winner’s circle appearance, winning the Three-Gaited Park Stake after winning the Junior/Novice Stake. Hurst was up o her bay gelding to take the Amateur Park title. Not to be outdone, Patty Milligan drove Mary Sally Aylward’s Gone Platinum to top the two-entry Fine Harness Jackpot.

Not unexpectedly, the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure division produced some of the show’s toughest competition. Sunday afternoon’s championship featured three world’s champion horses and skilled riders. When they lined up, CH She-Bop and Becky Taggart stood in the winner’s circle with Jack Magill heading them for their victory photo in this and the Adult qualifier. Taylor LaFargue and CH Harlem’s Moving Man tied reserve to their stablemate. Lauren Greenwald flew in from William Woods University to win the Junior Exhibitor qualifier aboard Out Go The Lights, picking up the yellow ribbon in the championship.

The State Fair is home to the Texas Futurities including the Limited Breeders Weanling Stake. This year’s top prize went to a complete unknown team, with Kelly Carr of Gainesville, Texas, presenting her Winsdown House of Blues (Winsdown Westinghouse x Skyrim’s Lyric Aire) to top honors. Carr, who rode with Cheryl Manahan’s Wichita Riding Academy, works as barn manager of North Central College in the small Texas city. She’s Out Shopping (Oscar de la Renta x She’s Out And About) earned reserve for owner/trainer Sandra Currier and Ron Mehle.

Another unknown stepped up to win the Texas Weanling Futurity Championship and Colts class. Born Contender’s Four Star Man (Born Contender x Four-Star Lady) posed as if he’d been showing all his short life to win the title for handler Frances Navarro Huvai and owner James Martin.

It’s Double O’Duece-sired weanlings stepped up to tie reserve and third in the Weanling Futurity Championship for Sherry Frankel’s SGF Winning Ways Farm. Jack Magill joined May Chadick in showing the white-trimmed chestnut Pocket Rockets (out of Chase The Wind) and the bay All In (out of Magpie) to the red and yellow ribbons. Lauren Greenwald and Brandon Urad (from the Walking Horse world) teamed up to earn the top and reserve ties in the Amateur Weanling Futurity, with Pocket Rockets taking top honors and All In tying reserve.

Winsdown Farm fillies – Winsdown Kathryn Kennedy (Winsdown Westinghouse x Tonya’s Sport) and Winsdown Caprice (Winsdown Westinghouse x Champagne’s Blazing Beauty) – earned top ribbons in their weanling qualifier with James Vantrease and Carr respectively on the lead.

Dr. Randy McBride showed Until Next Time to win the Texas Yearling Futurity Championship as well as the colts’ qualifier and Amateur Yearling titles. By Unlisted and out of She’ll Bop You, the big bay colt showed the quality and presence of a much more seasoned campaigner. He is a full brother to McBride’s Unlisted Number, both part of a carefully-studied breeding program under the guidance of Bluebonnet Farm and trainer Sandra Currier.

Two-year-olds took the Futurity spotlight showing in-hand and under saddle. Currier and Chadick managed to get the under-saddle class behind them before taking off to prepare for the hurricane. Currier rode Bluebonnet Farm’s Reserve World’s Champion Sudoku to win the title with Chadick and Sir William Telle (Sir William Robert x Sky Telle) in reserve. Bluebonnet entries topped both the In-Hand and Fine Harness classes, with Sapphire’s Chosen One (The Sky King x Blue Sapphire) and Gorgonio Duenaz taking the in-hand blue while Bluebonnet’s Madeline (CH Shoobop Shoobop) and Duenaz drove off with the Fine Harness title.

Junior Exhibitor and Amateur riders brought lots of silks and trophies to Magill’s black and red tack room. Karmen Robles debuted aboard Titleist Supreme in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class, bringing home the red ribbon. On Sunday afternoon, the pair looked as if they’d been together for months, rather than for five previous rides, handily winning the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Sarah Singer and I’m Bewitched did just that to the judge and audience, topping both the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited class and Amateur Championship. Eddie Norris topped the Novice Rider Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class aboard Bluebonnet’s Set The Standard. Magill rode Coe and Bill London’s Major Starbuck to win the Novice Five-Gaited title.

Winning Ways Farm brought a limited number of horses, with some riders missing the show because of the storm. In addition to winning the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure qualifier, Lauren Greenwald drove Remember This Day to win the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving Challenge and a reserve in the championship jackpot. Sherry Frankel and The King’s Champagne, contenders on every circuit, earned a pair of reserves in the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier and championship. The Monroe sisters celebrated a great Academy show, with older sister Shelby riding Shamrock’s Phi Guy to win the Walk and Trot 12 and Under Performance qualifier and championship and the corresponding Equitation qualifier and reserve championship. Sydney Monroe rode Calypso King to reserve in the Walk and Trot 12 and Under Equitation class.

Randy Cates’ Cross Creek Stables represented the Sooner State in performance and academy. Before Claire Talley returned home on Friday night, she rode Indigo Joe to the blue in the tough Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited qualifier. Rebekah Davis earned the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure blue while stablemates Amanda Hill, Amanda Hollar, Bailey Jordan and Brittany Rucker each brought home Academy blues.

Milligan Stables riders kept that blue and white tackroom well-decorated with multi-colored silks. Stephanie West and The Commanche Kid kept up their winning record, topping the Country Western Pleasure qualifier. Candi Carlson heads Milligan’s most successful Academy program. Lauren Amos, Randi Barnes, Eric Bennett, McKenzie Hall and Tiffany Price added blue and championship ribbons to the Milligan collection.

Michael Beasom brought a limited number of horses from Boerne, Texas. Stace Rust and Mountainview’s Good Day Sunshine continued their blue-ribbon parade, topping the Adult Country Pleasure and Country Pleasure Championship, earning the Regional Championship sash.

Chris Shaw Tresten and Nancy Moreno not only won their Five-Gaited Pleasure and Country Western Pleasure championships aboard Life’s A Dance ERB and Likely Suspect, they earned their respective Regional Championships as well. Miracle Farm trainer Dan Flowers picked up a trio of blues on young horses owned by Tresten, Tony Diamond and Florence Grant.

Bill Marple rode and led the white-trimmed American Sky to the top of the American Saddlebred Model, Country Hunter Pleasure and Hunter Seat Classic Classes. Philip de Bruyn directs the team.

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