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Lexington Jr. League - Friday Morning

Friday Morning

Friday morning was devoted for the most part to the equitation riders, both junior exhibitor and adult, and their pleasure or trimmed mounts. Overcast skies threatened rain but Mother Nature provided an empty threat as all six classes were completed without the impending rainstorm ever materializing.

The morning's short session began with four of the country's top equitation riders competing in their USEF Saddle Seat Medal class. After working hard on the rail, all four riders performed the workout in front of Ellen Beard Arnold, Kim Crumpler and Michael Craghead. When the cards were turned in, it was reigning Saddle Seat Equitation World's Grand Champion and 2004 UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Champion Kyle Gagnon taking the victory pass on the Red Mile track under the direction of Fairfield South. Shana Jo Brown from Memory Lane Farm, Emma Nichols from Forever Farm and Olivia Weber, from Premier Stables, claimed the remaining ribbons in that order.

Six riders answered the gate call for the 11 and Under UPHA Challenge Cup. The younger riders performed like true veterans on the track and after working hard to display their skills on the rail, all six riders were asked to perform the workout for the panel. The world-class group did a great job of handling the unique pressures that showing at Lexington presents and turned in six strong efforts.

When the panel made their decision, the result was a three-way tie. Callie Smith from Cryst-A-Kell Farm, Nathan Stein from Premier and Abby Mutrux from DeLovely all went back out on the rail.  The trio once again turned in solid efforts in both directions but when the cards were turned in, it was Callie Smith taking the victory pass with a big smile. Stein was named the reserve champion and was followed in the ribbons by Mutrux, Kelsey McDonald, Melissa Swain and Micaela Evans.

Switching gears from the equitation division to the pleasure pony division, the third class on the morning's roster was the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic. Hoping to qualify for Kansas City, four sporty young ponies hit the long straightaway to entertain the small but enthusiastic crowd.

Even the Jumbotron at the in-gate end of the ring didn't rattle these young ponies or their veteran drivers and they put on a nice class. The panel was in complete agreement, after watching all four ponies closely, that Reedannland's entry Truly Marked was the unanimous champion. Ed Frickey handled the winning drive for Dr. Alan Raun. Heartland Exceptionallee and Darrell Kolkman finished with the red streamers for Heartland Hackney Farm.

It was back to equitation but this time, the pleasure riders were ready to try their hand at earning the nod from the panel. A strong group of six for the 13 and Under Pleasure Equitation class answered the call and they came in riding hard. All six were in top form for the rail portion of the class and all six were asked to perform the workout.

After solid team efforts across the board, the panel made the decision that Eleanor Watkins was the 13 and Under Pleasure Equitation Grand Champion. Cindy Zubrod Boel joined Watkins in center ring for her tricolor presentation. Deanna Lanigan, from Knollwood wore the reserve tricolor and Lauren Lagasse brought the yellow ribbon back to the Cricket Hill tack room wall.

The 14-17 riders faced off next for their Pleasure Equitation Championship. Nine poised and polished riders worked hard to impress the panel during the rail work portion of the class and after lining up, six were called to perform the workout.

Handling the required workout with ease, 2004 USEF Saddle Seat Medal National Champion Kelsey Nicole Smith earned the 14-17 Pleasure Equitation Grand Championship title for the second year in a row under the direction of Knollwood Farm and did it in unanimous fashion. Blair Barrett, from Premier, was named the reserve grand champion and Joel Dorignac, from Infinity Stables landed in the top three.

The USEF Adult Amateur Medal National Championship completed the list of classes for the morning but it was definitely a case of "last, but not least." The deep class, with 10 entries, was the largest of the morning and it was a stellar group of adult riders who met the challenge.

Tim Lockard joined Michael Craghead and Kim Crumpler as the three-judge panel assigned with naming the ribbon winners. The panel watched all 10 teams turn in solid efforts and at the lineup, named all 10 to perform the workout.

Everybody seemed to handle the workout well after a good class on the rail and each rider definitely had their share of crowd support. To add to the suspense, when results were announced, they were called out in reverse order. Tenth place went to Natacha Lesburgueres; Katie Bartlett claimed ninth; Deann Dinelli was eighth; Kristy Wallace was seventh; Melinda Young finished in sixth; Christina Sloan was fifth and Kevin Ingram was fourth.

Brooke Jacobs added to an already impressive list of career accomplishments when she was named top-three rider in the championship class with Bright Lights RWF under the direction of her father Brent Jacobs.

The two remaining riders, Sarah Taylor of Cape Cod Farm and Tasha Rose Sandler of Shadow Run, shook hands and acknowledged two great rides to each other before the remaining results were announced.

When number 89 was called for the reserve national championship, Sarah Taylor knew she had won the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Adult National Championship with her mount Undulata's Time To Shine. Taylor was met by Kathy and Erin Boggs for her presentation. Tasha Rose Sandler and Lotto America took the reserve victory pass. The group followed them and Taylor in a group victory pass for the appreciative crowd.

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