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Jersey Classic Horse Show Continues To Shine

by Sherrill Ducharme

ALLENTOWN, N.J. - The 23rd annual Jersey Classic Horse Show hosted an enthusiastic group of exhibitors whose zest for competition and fun could not be dampened by the weather. It has been a very soggy June in central New Jersey, where the Horse Park of New Jersey sits on 148 beautiful acres in Allentown. The wonderful amenities at the park include a 150’ x 300’ indoor ring, and this year’s show put it to good use.

Prior to the opening of the show on June 5, the rain came down in buckets at the park, rendering the outdoor rings unsafe for use. Despite the best efforts of the grounds crew, the footing remained deep and swampy throughout the weekend. Although the sun was shining on Saturday and Sunday, officials opted to keep classes running indoors.

John Whalen traveled to the Garden State for judging duties and was assisted in the ring by Steward John Franzreb III, Ringmaster Jeanne Lavelle and Announcer Bob Kleinfelter. Bob Moseder photographed the competitors as they were put through their paces and collected their awards.

Joan Booth, show manager, was pleased to see numbers holding steady from last year, despite the current economic downturn. Pat Johnson and Joanne Bartley provided able support from the office for a turnout of over 100 horses and ponies.

Although American Saddlebreds were the dominant breed on display, spectators also saw impressive performances from a wide range of breeds including, Morgans, Friesians, roadsters, Hackney Ponies, Standardbreds, mini horses and even a Fell Pony.

North Wind Stables brought nearly a quarter of the entries, with 25 horses making the trip south from Blairstown, N.J. Mike and Jessie Richardson trailered in with 15 from Revelation Farms and Jan Lukens arrived straight from Devon with 12 horses in the van.

The academy division showcased a large new talent pool, boding well for growth in the industry. Revelation Farms’s 11 academy participants collected six blue, six red and a rainbow of other ribbons. In Walk and Trot Saddle Seat Equitation, Katherine Ricci picked up her blue ribbon on Daddy-O.

The Ververeli family, who with ASHA of New Jersey hosted Saturday night’s Italian-themed exhibitors’ party, was busy in the winner’s circle. With guidance from Michael and Jessie Richardson, Alex Ververeli made some super quick and stylish trips around the ring to collect the blue and the tricolor with Mastercraft’s Gambler LF in the roadster pony division. Elizabeth Ververeli claimed grand champion and champion in the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Junior Exhibitor group with impressive rides on Unlisted Number. Michael Richardson took the Ververeli-entry Fox Grape’s Forever Yours around the ring and into the middle to pick up the Garden State Park Pleasure Horse Classic trophy.

Also providing good numbers in the academy division, North Wind Stables’s instructor, Anne Butler, met many of her students center ring to be tied with the blue. Adult academy competitors Monica Connolly and Doug Engle, each taking a turn on Starmaker’s Starburst, claimed victories in WTC Adult Equitation and Showmanship and WT Adult Equitation and Showmanship, respectively. Twins Aaron and Jordan Earlywine picked up grand champion and reserve champion in the Walk & Trot Academy 11 & Over Championship, while Erin Gates, aboard Saddlebred Rescue’s Wing Haven, trotted off with the blue in Academy Walk & Trot Showmanship 11-17.

Nealia McCracken and son Jason Molback put a slew of riders in the arena and were repaid with numerous trips to the gazebo to meet their champions. In seven rides, Dr. Geraldine Meanor was called for top honors five times. Itchy Foot Moe earned champion and grand champion ribbons in the Open English Pleasure group. The Smooth Operator brought in the blue in a competitive Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Limit class. CH Steel In Love in her Three-Gaited Amateur class and Prince Of The Day in his Country Pleasure group were picture-perfect and claimed well-deserved tricolors as their reward. Jason Molback took Meanor’s pretty mare Callaway’s Dream Weaver into the ring for the Three-Gaited Park Open Championship and exited with the tricolor as well.

Jessica Moctezuma had six trips to center ring in nine outings with four different partners. Her first photo op came aboard CH Callaway’s Royal Request in the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier. Top Beat bested his group in Adult Show Pleasure and carried Moctezuma to victory in the USEF Adult Equitation Medal class as well. Phoebe Hansen and Moctezuma took on Annika Bruggeworth’s Sue Me and Doreen Weston’s Paragon’s Pure Delight to triumph in the Three-Gaited Park Amateur Championship. Theresa Scott concentrated on equitation and, partnered with The King’s Talent under Nealia McCracken’s direction, swept the division with four great rides. El Empresario posted two wins in the Western Pleasure Owner to Ride classes.

Jan Lukens had a great show with a display of only blue, red and yellow ribbons hanging on her drapes. With wins across nine divisions, Lukens’s entries impressed, charmed and entertained. Charles Jones had winning drives in Show Pleasure with his horse, The Top Shelf; in Country Pleasure piloting Prince In The Park for Joellen Fisher Blount; and in the roadster to bike division with his World Champion Mr’s Bones. Louise DeBlois’s smile lit up the arena as her wonderful ride on Intriguing Masterpiece in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure qualifier earned her the blue. Cajun Martini, with Jan Lukens aboard, was the star of the three-gaited open division. Mary Lehan and Happenchance turned in poised performances to garner champion and grand champion honors in the hunter pleasure division.

Siren Song Stable arrived with seven horses. Under trainer William Greenwell’s direction, the Bruggeworth family had plenty of blues to accent their pink and black stall appointments. Annika’s always impressive Friesian, Gooitzen fan Teakesyl, entertained the crowd with stellar performances. The Fell Pony, Greenholme’s Veronica, looking like a miniature of his well-known stablemate, carried Winter Bruggeworth to victory twice in the Walk & Trot/Jog Hunter or Western section. Scott Bruggeworth, partnered with The Lucky Charm in the Walk & Trot Saddle Seat section, exited the ring with the tricolor.

Gary Guz and Dr. Jennifer Makem brought their five-gaited entries to the show. Riding for Joellen Fisher Blount, Dr. Makem guided SJ Space Buccaneer to victory in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship.

Suzanne Heizer only brought one horse up from southern Virginia, but made the most of her trip with three wins in five classes. Her grey mare, Magnolia Morning, earned top honors in the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure class as well as the Western Pleasure Amateur qualifier and championship. Ben Heizer helped put this winning team in the ring and also shared his musical talents, treating exhibitors to a powerfully sung Star Spangled Banner at the start of each evening session.

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