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Jersey Classic Provides Fun at the Park

By Sherrill Ducharme

ALLENTOWN, N.J. - This has been a roller coaster year for the ASHA of New Jersey. On the upside, the club was named Charter Club of the Year (sharing the honors with Wisconsin) and was awarded two Grand National classes for its annual show, the Jersey Classic Horse Show, now in its 24th year. Following those two pieces of good news, however, came word of calendar resets by USEF and various venues, which resulted in the Jersey Classic being squeezed by Devon and Syracuse and consequently losing a number of regularly exhibiting stables. The club scrambled to make the best of a difficult situation. With input from club members and participating barns, Show Manager and ASHA of NJ President Joan Booth elected to drop the USEF rating for the show this year, also forfeiting the Grand National classes. She opted instead for revamping the show to emphasize youth and family participation and subtitled the show "Fun at the Park", with a nod to the venue, the beautiful Horse Park of New Jersey. The plan came off without a hitch and exhibitors and trainers alike pronounced the show, held June 11-13, a success.

Lisa C. Waller made the trip from Heiskell, Tenn., to mark the cards for the event. Bob Moseder captured the excitement in pictures, while Ringmaster Jeanne Lavelle kept things running smoothly with help from Announcer John Owens.

Besides the slate of traditional classes at the show, there were a number of fun classes added. One of the most popular of these was the School Horse Equitation class. Seven riders took part in this rail-work only class which was open to non-academy riders in suits using horses that were entered in the academy division at the show. Theresa Scott took top honors in the class aboard Johnny Quest, a Saddlebred Rescue horse from North Wind Stables. The Stick Horse class was another favorite for exhibitors, their families and spectators. Eight young equestriennes brought an assortment of "mounts" into the arena for Judge Lisa Waller’s consideration. A variety of disciplines were represented: hunt seat, saddle seat, western, roadster under saddle, trail rider and unicorn wrangler. Courtney Kramlick aboard Kierson Farm’s "Mouse" topped the class.

With Father’s Day on the horizon, the show offered a Father’s Day Lead Line opportunity. Only two fathers braved the show ring, but Jeff Ferrier, led by daughter Jordan, and Julie Kalajian with her father, Gerry Kalajian, in tow, made the most of their outing to the delight of spectators. Brian Campbell and the versatile Heart Flame took a blue for their controlled performance in the Musical Pattern Ride class. Between sessions on Saturday, Julianne Butler was named the first recipient of ASHA of New Jersey’s new $1,000 scholarship, to be given annually to a college-bound student judged to have met the criteria for the award.

The excitement and fun didn’t stop at ringside either, as the show and its supporters provided a number of diversions after classes ended. Coffee and doughnuts were provided by Dr. Geraldine Meanor each morning. On Friday night, exhibitors and guests were treated to an Ice Cream Social sponsored by Brenda Helt and the Ferrier family. The Saturday night exhibitors' party featured pizza and soft drinks courtesy of Trish Malcolm. A very lively square dance session followed. Professional caller Wes Thielke taught the crowd some basic steps and participants laughed and gamely put themselves through the paces, sporting brightly-colored bandannas.

For two little girls in attendance, the end of the show brought big surprises. The Kierson Farm stabling area was crowded with smiling families and friends as Sarah Hecht literally turned the reins of the stately CH Empress In Black over to fellow Kierson equestrienne Grace Allison. Then Joanna Ricci presented her wonderfully expressive Daddy-O to a disbelieving Olivia Schumacher. Each girl took an inaugural ride on their new mount. Allison will debut with Empress In Black in the Walk & Trot Academy division at the Children’s Benefit Horse Show in July and Schumacher will step up from academy to the Walk/Trot Pleasure ranks with Daddy-O at the show.

Peter Axtell traveled down from Binghamton, N.Y., with five successful teams. First into the winner’s circle were Kelsea Flannery and bright-eyed Enchanted Champagne for the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure division, where they returned on Sunday to pick up their championship. Flannery made a third trip to center ring with her park horse, A Design To Remember OCF, in the qualifier. Stablemate Theresa Kamp-Peters took her turn next aboard the wildly colorful High Focus in the Western Country Pleasure Limit Horse/Rider class. Finally it was Chris Rossiter’s turn in Country Pleasure Driving, where he took both the blue and the tricolor home by Lynn Schweikert’s Sipping Champagne.

Creekside Farm had a short trip from Pittstown, N.J., and brought home winners with Life Of The Party in the Morgan Open English Pleasure qualifier and championship, while Brenda Helt topped her Open English Pleasure qualifier aboard Honey’s Vanilla Fudge for Stacy Ferrier.

Gary Guz and Mika Ryan came with the stunning bay Titleist Patrick and swept the Show Pleasure Driving division.

The crew at Kierson Farm had plenty to celebrate with wins throughout the large academy division and the walk and trot group. Ally McHugh claimed victory in the Academy W/T/C Showmanship and Equitation Championships as well as the qualifier for 11 & Under Equitation. Hallie Ricci had good rides for the blue and tricolor in the Academy W/T 8-10 Equitation qualifier and the 10 & Under Championship, while Gillian Kramlick bested her group in the Academy W/T 8-10 Showmanship qualifier. Emily Vicari topped large classes in the Academy W/T 7 & Under Equitation and Showmanship qualifiers and snagged a nice reserve in the 10 & Under Equitation Championship. Olivia Schumacher started with a red ribbon in the Academy W/T 7 & Under Equitation qualifier and came back in the 10 & Under Showmanship Championship to garner the tricolors. Joanna Ricci and Daddy-O made the most of their last rides together, triumphing across the entire Walk & Trot division, in both pleasure and equitation. Kierson teammates Jordyn Vallorosi and Sarah Hecht took turns on CH Empress In Black to claim reserves in the Walk & Trot Equitation and Pleasure Championships, respectively.

North Wind Stables brought 21 horses down from Blairstown, N.J., to fill an assortment of classes with quality competition. A number of North Wind teams made their marks in the pleasure ranks. Dr. Geraldine Meanor and Prince Of The Day won the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier with Taylor Bisanzio and The Talk Of Savannah taking second. Joan Booth and Steel A Secret TS were tied with the blue in the Country Pleasure Limit Horse/Rider, while Hailey Parker, riding McCracken’s Starmaker’s Starburst, picked up the red streamers in the qualifier as well as the reserve in the championship. Julianne Butler topped them all with blue and tricolor rides in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure qualifier and the Country Pleasure Championship aboard another McCracken entry, Some Kind Of Magic. Showing for Pat Johnson and Nealia McCracken, Jessica Moctezuma swept the Adult Show Pleasure qualifier and championship with Bluebonnet’s Great Scott.

North Wind entries dominated the Western Country Pleasure ranks. Dr. Nancy Trent made her trip up from Union, Ky., worthwhile with four wins in the division aboard her elegant mare, Ultimate Fire. The pair took top honors in Western Pleasure Amateur, Saddle and Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure and the Western Pleasure Owner to Ride qualifier and championship. Jessica Moctezuma took the reins for Margory Brown and McCracken to guide I’m Goin’ Out Tonight to the blue and tricolor in the Western Pleasure Ladies and the Western Pleasure Championship, respectively. Another Brown/McCracken entry, El Empresario took reserve in the championship with Pat Johnson in control. North Wind also had winners in the performance divisions with Dr. Geraldine Meanor and the stunning CH Steel In Love sweeping the Three-Gaited Amateur ranks. Meanor partnered with Tornaado’s Tempest for victory in the Five-Gaited Amateur class, but gave North Wind assistant trainer Jason Molback ring time aboard impressive All Mighty for a win in the Five-Gaited Open qualifier and a reserve in the championship. Molback also took Meanor’s park horse, Callaway’s Dream Weaver for winning rides in the Open Park qualifier and Park Championship. In the equitation section, Theresa Scott was the standout aboard McCracken’s The King’s Talent to sweep 17 & Under Equitation.

Under the direction of Anne Butler, North Wind’s academy riders did their share of winning, too. Kaitlin Sheehy claimed the top spot in W/T/C 12 & Over Equitation and Showmanship and the reserve in the Showmanship Championship. Macey Getkin won her W/T/C 11 & Under Showmanship class and claimed reserve in the equitation qualifier and championship. Michelle Firtek received blue ribbons for both of her qualifying rides in the W/T 15 & Over group. Erin Gates had a perfect show, winning all four classes in her Academy W/T 11-14 division. Stablemate Brianne Hromnak was reserve in both championships of the division. Natalie Parker matched older sister Hailey’s take of two reserves with second place in the Academy W/T 8-10 Showmanship qualifier and championship.

Royal Crest Farm’s Martin Waldman showed Maureen Bentley’s Lover’s Sweet Sensation to the win in the Open Western class. Bentley scored a reserve in the Country Pleasure Driving Championship with the mare.

Scussell Farm kept Rebecca Beets busy with winning rides on Equinox Aristotle for Morgan Classic Pleasure; Sunny Acres Dark Shadows for Morgan Western Pleasure; and a reserve title for Sunny Acres Skywalker in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship.

Smoke Hollow had a nice collection of ribbons on their drapes at the end of the weekend. Emily Hammond, riding Doreen Weston’s Paragon’s Pure Delight, contributed a red ribbon from the Three-Gaited Open Park class. Weston and Right On Target added another red as well as a blue for their work in the Adult Show Pleasure and Show Pleasure Limit Horse/Rider classes. Tale Of The Cat found the red streamers for Weston in the Five-Gaited Open qualifier, but came home with the tricolor in the championship.

Amateur owner and trainer Bethany Shirkey arrived from New York with her talented mare, Portrait Of A Lady to dominate the Hunter Country Pleasure division with the top prize in the qualifier and the championship. Shirkey and "Juliette" also paired successfully for a top three finish in both the Saddle and Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure class as well as the Western Pleasure Owner to ride qualifier.

Waterford Farm, Inc. sent a worthy representative in Deanna Folckemer, who partnered with Indian Creek Final Touch to win both the Morgan Pleasure Hunter Open and Championship classes.

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