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Lexington Junior League - Friday Morning

Friday morning’s session is full of every brand of equitation class you could ever dream of. There was a USEF Saddle Seat Medal qualifier, both Pleasure Equitation Championships, and the USEF Adult Saddle Seat Medal National Finals. Thrown into that mix at random is the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic, which turned out to be one of the deepest and most competitive pony classes of the entire week.

This day would feature a three-way true tie as well as a near miss on a second one, but overall, it belonged to the Mutrux ladies. Abigail Mutrux (pronounced mew –troe, not mutt-rux) is the girl who in 2004 rode to two 8 and Under Walk-and-Trot World’s Championships on the promise from her mother that she would receive a roll of cookie dough to eat. Children are easily motivated at times. She would come back in 2005 to win again in Freedom Hall, taking the 10 and Under Equitation World’s Championships. She made the move to Pleasure Equitation last year and has taken off. Winner of this very same 13 and Under Pleasure Equitation Championship just a year ago, Abby rode down victory lane today by a unanimous vote of the judges. The reigning UPHA Junior Pleasure Challenge Cup and Saddle & Bridle’s Junior Pleasure Medallion National Champion, she will have a say in the outcome if she steps up to take on the older age group kids. In her first year back in the Equitation ranks, Sarah Martin has enjoyed great success from J.D. Massey to Roanoke and now here on The Red Mile. Sarah was up for the Reserve Championship aboard CH Hayden Fox under the direction of Cash Lovell Stables.

Not to be outdone by daughter Abby, Jean Mutrux, who qualified in the special qualifying class added this year to the Junior League schedule, took home a National Championship of her own for the DeLovely banner, winning the USEF Adult Saddle Seat Medal National Finals to cap off the day’s performance. As the numbers were called off in reverse order, it came down to Jean Mutrux and longtime Adult Equitation star, Dr. Morgan Wolin. When Morgan’s number was called off as the Reserve National Champion, it was time to celebrate for the Mutrux girls, winners of three National Championships between them in the last year. Morgan Wolin, who had only shown in one adult equitation class this year, winning a talent-packed class at Indianapolis Charity, brought the reserve tri-color back for Cedarwood Farm. Rounding out the top five were Emma Nichols and Rachel Kelley, who also qualified in the specially added class, and Constance MacQueen.

A significantly deep and talented class on this short Friday morning schedule, the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic featured six remarkably well-matched ponies. A case could have been made for tying just about any one of them when they hit the ring! Veteran of many a pleasure pony battle, Kelsey Herbert seemed to get better and better with each and every pass at the lines of Heartland Showboat. Elevating and pushing up in the bridle, he seemed to glide effortlessly down the track. Showboat is from the same family as World’s Grand Champion Heartland Rain Song on his bottom line. He is by Heartland Code Of Honor. This win further pads his resume that already included a Classic win at Midwest and two wins against the aged ponies at Indianapolis Charity. Another young star is Heartland Smooth Operator, whose transition from Road Pony to Pleasure Driving has gone seamlessly for Donna Zimmerman and Jim and Jenny Taylor. A Three-Year-Old Road Pony World’s Champion last year, he is by Heartland Equality and out of a Sky King mare. Maybe and Karen Frickey made a strong show in third, while Romeo’s Exclamation Mark LF and Stephany Monteleone also made passes that looked capable of taking the top spot in fourth. Heartland Breakin’ The Code and Darrel Kolkman, breeder of the top two ponies in the class, were fifth, while David Estis and Leather And Lace finished sixth in this top-notch class.

The day started out with a near-miss of a three-way true tie in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal qualifier. Angela Darrow and Tango Till Dawn were declared the victors in this one, while Nick Maupin and Coco Mojo were reserve to round out the top two sweep by Knollwood Farm. Third in the class was Jordyn Broten, showing under the direction Cindy Boel. It took a second to realize just how close this class was, as the top three riders tied 1-2-2, 1-2-3, 1-3-3.

The Pleasure Equitation 14-17 Championship riders would not be so lucky, though the crowd got to enjoy a three-horse workout. With a 1-2-3 for each of them after the initial railwork and pattern, Sarah Lawson, Deanna Lanigan, and Cori O’Brien were sent back to the rail to settle the score. Three different riders on three different horses. There was Deanna Lanigan and her chestnut Oh What A Feeling, pouring it on in their go-for-broke style. Feng Shui, the dark chestnut veteran of many a bigtime Equitation Championship round was in there working hard for the ever-elegant Sarah Lawson. Cori O’Brien had her bay General Steel gelding, Steel’n A Memory, in high style, as she displayed perfect form in her pretty tan suit, accentuated by the bright sunshine of this July Junior League morning. It was O’Brien who did the convincing in this one, as she swayed two more first place votes her way, finishing as the unanimous champion in a thrilling breakthrough performance. Deanna Lanigan, who had won this class all three years she had shown in it, finished as the Reserve Champion today, completing yet another Knollwood sweep. Sarah Lawson, Reserve National Champion in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup National Finals last year, was third.

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