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St. Louis Crowns Finals Champions

LAKE SAINT LOUIS, Mo. - With new leadership from professional show manager Ray Cloninger, the 27th Annual St. Louis National Charity Horse Show was shorter by a day and busy with numerous Finals events. From September 29-October 2, exhibitors from 29 states showed 359 horses and ponies in Lake St. Louis. It was the fifth year for the show at the National Equestrian Center.

A rotated team of four judges kept a fresh panel for each class. Saddlebred and equitation classes were tied by Bret Day, E. H. Matthews, Jim Taylor, and Elizabeth Shatner. This team judged all the show's Finals events as well.

From New Jersey to California, the far North to Texas, exhibitors came and enjoyed the traditional hospitality of the show, including a show-sponsored Exhibitors Party on Friday night and quality vendors of fine equine jewelry, clothing, and gifts.

Saddle & Bridle Magazine has supported their home show generously for many years, sponsoring several Finals events. Editor Chris Thompson commented, "Saddle & Bridle is pleased with the success of all of our classes, Medallion, Western and Hunter. Those disciplines are a huge asset to our breed. The first pleasure medallion final was held in 1979 and was won by Sandy Bernd."

That means that this was the 25th Anniversary of the Pleasure Equitation Medallion Finals, the year's “third leg” of the three national pleasure equitation finals. In the 1980s, William Shatner joined forces with the periodical to initiate the Shatner Western Pleasure and Working Western Pleasure Finals, and the Hunter Finals followed. The Five-Gaited Horsemanship Finals are the most recent addition. The assorted finals drew entries for the show from all four borders of the United States.

Already the winner of the three Junior Pleasure Equitation Finals, Jessica Moctezuma appears bound for Senior Triple Crown glory as well. In only her first year as a senior competitor and fresh from her win of the Senior UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup in Indianapolis two weeks ago, she decisively captured the Senior Medallion Finals at St. Louis by 46 points. Moctezuma is coached by her mother, Nealia McCracken.

The Junior Finals winner was Lindsay Kellner, ahead of reserve champion Eleanor Watkins by only a point.

The Shatner Finals Adult National Champion was Royal Crest's Black Marble, shown by Tracey Ann Wagner Mitchell. A world and national champion in gaited and equitation competition, Lisa McClaren added to her successes by riding Super Rooster to the Shatner Junior Exhibitor Finals Natoinal Championship. The Working Western Champion was Kansas City, for Beth Oliver. Donna Spears showed her Stardusts Ruby Tuesday to the Hunter Classic Championship win. Hardworking Lauren McMichael topped a field of 10 Five-Gaited Horsemanship Finals riders.

SSM St. Joseph Hospital West Glennon Care for Kids is the beneficiary of the show’s two weeks of classes, the Hunter/Jumper Show September 8-12 and the Saddlebred show Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Proceeds benefited the expansion of pediatric services, which currently include a specially trained pediatric staff and four designated treatment rooms for young people, complete with size- and age- appropriate equipment and decor.


Saturday night's championship boasted only five entries, but each fought for the tri-color. Kenny Smith was out to repeat his 2003 victory with Mahvelous Asset for Royal Scot Stables and Gayle Lampe challenged with Callaway's Born to Win; they finished in that order. Mike Roberts and Kent Swalla train for Lampe. Both horses qualified in the ladies class with Lampe finishing ahead of Donna Pettry Smith and Mahvelous Asset.

The open winner was Glendale's Classic Touch for Seven Oaks Farm of Chicago and trainer Virgil Helm. Brenda Benner had Champagne's Special Event in good order for second.

World's Champion Swish was a treat for the audience as Carol Hillenbrand took both the amateur stake and the qualifier from the John Biggins Stable. Executive Dunk and Kerrie Graham were reserve in the stake and Kirk Osburg's fast Kalahari second in the latter class.

There were several Lousville tricolor winners on hand. Carolina Cat and Deborah Butler topped the ladies championship after winning the ladies amateur with two grand shows. New professional Jonelle Chovanec took the red ribbon in the stake aboard Pucker Up, and All Show was second for Abby Reising in the amateur ladies competition.

Continuing another championship season, CH Chandler prevailed in the juvenile stake and that tri-color went home to Illinois with Lisa McClaren and the Arnston's Country Meadow Farm. Cydni Simmons and Five-Gaited Pony World's Grand Champion CH Sammyshine took the blue in the junior exhibitor qualifier but did not show back.

Amy Hanson of Penny Lane Farm rode her husband Dale's Harlem's Power Ball to the novice rider win. Todd Miles and the much touted Macy Gray won a competitive junior class of eight entries to hang another blue on the DeLovely curtains. Mark Hulse took reserve with James Orr's Champagne Treat. All About Charm wore the blue out of the UPHA Classic for Virgil Helm and owners Bulleigh, Vaughn and Norman, while James Nichols showed Penny Lane Farm's Thunder's Moonlight Serenade to the Three Year Old class win. A novice class win wasn't Out of Reach for the horse of that name and trainer Todd Miles for Allison Burgess of St. Louis.


Not often does the reserve novice rider mount come back to take the big stake, but Heir Calendar Girl did just that, taking the early red ribbon for owner Robin Haynes and the championship for trainer Marilyn Macfarlane. Junior class champion Royal Sweet won the reserve tri-color for owner Michelle Hartman and trainer Missy Hughes of DeLovely.

The handsome and athletic High Heat was the open winner for Mark Hulse and Nancy Bryan. The amateur ladies event was a thriller as Theresa Vonderschmitt made one of her first rides on Manila Thrilla to take a hotly contested blue from Callaway's Halley's Comet and Jessica Curl. Jessica returned to win the amateur championship ahead of amateur winner That's Chicago and Mary Jane Frederickson. Made Ya Look and Beata Lilja were the amateur novice rider winning pair for Equielegance LTD, and Lauren Stone had Time For Glory primed for just that, to win both the junior exhibitor stake and the 14-17 age group. The 13 & under winner, Jama Rose, was second in the stake class for Kathryne Stief. The UPHA Classic blue went all the way to New Jersey with Dr. Geraldine Meanor after Nealia McCracken won with her Callaway's Dream Weaver. In the Three Year Old Three-Gaited class, trainer Kent Swalla had a great ride on the fine-boned bay Our Charming Lady to win for M. W. Sorenson. Rachalle Stezovsky showed Our Red BMW LCC to win the novice event for Jean Graeff.


This division seemed stronger than usual at St. Louis this year. Randi Wightman has a new contender and there were some very nice young harness horses. The long-time harness team of trainer Mike Roberts and M. W. Sorenson continues, and their Tornaado's Tidal Wave made the victory passes in both the open and the championship for Roberts. In the amateur division, Sorenson's daughter, Cindy Sutherland, drove their red bay Ah! What a Night against Wightman's Callaway's Trade WInd, and the Casey Crabtree-trained liver chestnut took the blue. That pair was reserve in the championship.

Roberts' junior class entry showed solo, but got lots of attention; I'm A Lucky Charm is owned by Bridget Parker of Versailles, Ky. Peeper Ranch owns the lovely UPHA Classic winner, Callaway's Queen of Crimson. Virgil Helm drove for the win. Don Bridges had Dunay in for reserve for High Spirits Farm and he also drove the three year old class champion, Rudy Guiliani for Gary Dickherber. Helm also repeated a harness win in the two year old event with Roberta Rassieur's Take A Guess, while Kenny Smith drove Magnolia Hawks for second for Royal Scot.


This Whitney Houston can't sing but she earns cheers nonetheless with her dapple gray color and classy motion. She won the Three-Gaited Park Championship for Robert Stezovsky and owner Janet Leopold. The mare qualified with a reserve in the amateur, with Jamie Bender up. Another Bay and Brenner Baumer won that class and the amateur championship. Going to the Sun and Melinda Young took home the reserve tri-color for Cryst-A-Kell Farm.

The Park Pleasure qualifier and championship saw Robert Gardiner making the victory passes with the long-necked Star Spangled Steel for owner Margo Baird. A Bay Asset dominated the amateur contests for rider Maggie Noonan and owner Cassandra McGuire of New Orleans.

In the junior classes, Max Ciampoli took Treasured Memories to the winner's tri-color for Linda Roos and Todd Miles aboard Piesporter topped the qualifier with Ciampoli reserve. Robin Haynes showed Music Of The Heir to the UPHA Classic blue, and Salty Dog was called out next for Megan Nichole Harrison. Helm Stables owns the colt with Trey Investments.


World's champions Theresa Vonderschmitt and CH Callaways Capitol Reporter are the team to beat this year and few get it done. The DeLovely-trained team topped both Five-Gaited Pleasure classes of 13 and 11 entries each. The stable doubled their fun with Deborah Butler coming in second each time aboard Champagne's Irish Sea. Endolane Music Maker won the novice rider class for owner Linda Goodrich.

Lots of adult show pleasure horses hit the ring in the championship, but the 18-39 class winner, Kristen Pettry, added a second win with My Grande for Royal Scot. Cathy Klasek and Square Dance were reserve in the final contest, while Gloria Heath showed My Special Sultan to the red ribbon in the 18-39. The over-40 blue went to CH Laguardia and Meridyth Munns, with Spirit in Motion and Sharon Vuinovich second for Bonnie Kegley.

Tiny Callie Smith, in a smashing lavender coat, made her performance debut at the show aboard her brother's Wind Cruzer and after a third in the 13 & under qualifier, she made the championship victory pass for Cryst-A-Kell Farm. Eden Michael trains the liver chestnut. CH Trapp Mountain was reserve each time for Anglea Darrow; Jessica Moctzuma won the 13 & Under aboard The King's Talent. The 14-17 blue went to Callaway's Newscaster and Brittany Cortina.

The novice rider class was huge with 16 horses, and Square Dance won it for instructor Jonelle Chovanec. Rachel Shupp rode Begin The Times to second in that event and in the 14-17. The Pleasure Walk-Trot had five tiny entries and Abigal Schafter won with Mercantile Exchange. The veteran campaigner Roy Rogers came in second for Frances Neunuebel, who rides with Anna Lisa Hall of Peeper Ranch.

Show Pleasure Driving has been a strong division this year and several World's Champions hit the ring at St. Louis. Winning the championship and qualifier, Harlem's Strong WIll was first catch-driven by Randy Felkey and then by owner Terri Dolan for DeLovely. Karen Coup drove her daughter Betts' sporty Callaway's Carnegie Hall to reserve in each class for Mike Roberts Stable.


A large group of 19 horses entered the ring last on Saturday night for the Shatner Western Pleasure Finals. And it was another handsome black Saddlebred, Royal Crest's Black Marble, making the judges watch most closely. They named him the Shatner Western Pleasure National Champion for 2004. Tracey Ann Wagner Mitchell showed him. The 2003 winner, The American Flag, was reserve champion for Suzanne Bradshaw.

The Country Pleasure Championship and men's class trophies went to The Rustler and Paul Scott; CH Revelwoods Jacks Are Wild was second. Royal Crest's Black Marble also made victory passes in the 18-49 Country Western Pleasure class and the ladies 18-49. The American Flag and Bradshaw captured the over-50 class and Rhonda Sue Dickerson and Galahad's Main Attraction won the ladies over-50 event.

Jan Henderson rode The Night We Met to the Junior Western Pleasure blue. CH Revelwood's Jacks Are WIld and Kristine Maloney won the qualifying class for 2005; William Woods University owns the former Shatner-owned champion. Ardie Kennedy was the successful Amateur Owner/Rider/Trainer of Tiggeriffic for the blue in that class.

The Shatner Junior Exhibitor Finals was won by a happy Lisa McClaren and her Super Rooster for Country Meadow Farm. The pair also won the regular Western Pleasure class for Under 18 riders. Alesia Spears was reserve in the Finals with Stardusts Ruby Tuesday.

Kansas City and his rider Beth Oliver made the victory pass in the Working Western Finals for 2004. CH Impressive Ruler qualified for the 2005 Finals by winning for Mary Strohfus of Hastings, Mn. Stardusts Ruby Tuesday and Alesia Spears were reserve in each class. Susan Webster and Shadows In The Sky negotiated the Trail Class most successfully to take the blue.

The Hunter Classic Finals National Championship belonged to Stardusts Ruby Tuesday and Donna Spears, showing their versatility and staying power. Kansas City and Beth Oliver came in reserve. Beth Oliver made the victory pass in the Country Hunter Pleasure class, this time aboard Hoodoo Guru. Mary Strohfus and CH Impressive Ruler qualified for the 2005 championship, and Kansas City was reserve.

The English Country Pleasure horses didn't have big championships but performed long and hard for the judges. Lindsay Sowell, daughter of Suzanne Bradshow, was happy to be reserve in the adult qualifier but the family was ecstatic when she won the championship with the pretty black horse, Connected. Carol Hillenbrand won the first class with Callaway's Blue Agate, and was reserve on Saturday. Luanne Kilday showed Harlem's Knight At The Apollo for the win the the Amateur Owner/Trainer/Rider class, and Janet Thompson came in second with Paint By Numbers. In the junior exhibitor division, Just Another Red Head continued her winning ways for Morgan Shindler by taking both classes. Molly O'Connor was reserve each time with Fanning the Flame.

The Country Pleasure Driving Championship had Town Favorite winning the tricolor for driver Danielle Koch of St. Louis, and Gold Commission was reserve for Neil Thorpe in both classes. Fanning the Flame won the qualifier for O'Connor.


Judy McNeish has had an Invincible Summer for sure, and she continued her successful year with her road horse by that name by winning the championship for DeLovely. James Nichols was again in hot pursuit with Penny Lane Farm's Royal Count after meeting the challenge in and winning the open class. Deborah Butler drove Dirt Devil to take the amateur and Jonelle Chovanec rode the pants off Dick Francis to win the Under Saddle class, with Butler right behind for second.


All the Pony class entries were light but the quality was great. Jimmy Miller drove Perfect Creation to the winner's circle in both the Hackney Championship and open classes. Fancy Ribbons settled for second for Randi Wightman in both events. Wightman made her own victory pass in the amateur with Heartland Ringmaster.

High Spirits Farm prevailed again in the Hackney Pleasure Pony division; Anna Marie Knipp drove recently crowned world's grand champion One More TIme two times to the blue. Will Mayo drove Motown to win the AHHS Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving Medallion. Knipp also won both the Harness Pony Championship and qualifier with Tina Turner.

Luanne Kilday and Heartlands Painted Creation enjoyed wins in the Roadster Pony Championship and open while Cindy Cram and her Zeus took home the blues in the amateur classes. Tyler Miles drove Stingray, Jr. for Beth Anne Arrick to win the AHHS Road Pony to Bike - Junior Exhibitor Medallion for DeLovely, and the Road Pony Junior Exhibitor Stake blue went home with Cory Vetter, who drove Twin Willow's Broadway Joe for Marilyn Macfarlane. Cute Marjorie Townsend rode the socks off Daydream Dancer, her brother Edward's road pony, in the AHHS Under Saddle Medallion. Margaret Cowgill at Ever Glades Farm is trainer.


Twenty-five years ago, the first Pleasure Medallion Final took place at St. Louis at Queeny Park, and since then the other two Finals have been established by the UPHA at Indianapolis and at the Pleasure Horse Show in Milwaukee, creating a Triple Crown for Pleasure Equitation riders like that for equitation riders on trimmed mounts. Only one rider, Katie Coup, has won all three classes and that was in 1996-97.

A few years ago numbers were getting so strong that the junior riders were separated into their own Finals. This year at St. Louis, numbers were down slightly and there was some confusion with announced workouts, but nothing could overshadow Jessica Moctezuma's perfect dominance of the Senior Finals. In only her first year as a senior rider, after winning the three Junior Pleasure Equitation Finals in past years, she was the Senior Finals Champion by 46 points. She is coached by her mom, Nealia McCracken. Stepping up with a strong ride herself, Anna Horman claimed the reserve national finals for Shadow Run Stables.

The Junior Finals was a much closer event, with the top three riders only three points apart. Having blue ribbon rides all season long, Lindsay Kellner was the champion from Knollwood Farm. Zubrod Stables added another national title to its credit with reserve national champion Eleanor Watkins. Jourdan Schaye represented Northern Tradition with her third place finish.

Lauren McMichael rode in a lot of finals as a junior exhibitor, working as long and hard as anyone, and things never quite came together for her. That changed this year at St. Louis, when she topped a field of ten accomplished riders to win the Five-Gaited Horsemanship Finals. The toughest workout most of the ten had seen for that class had all ten riding really hard, but McMichael prevailed to the delight of William Woods College instructor Gayle Lampe, who called in Lauren's long-time home instructor Barbe Smith to share the center ring joy. McMichael's winning mount was Mondial. Her fellow Woods rider Jessica Savinelli was reserve aboard the popular mount Swatchwatch.

The Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Stake boasted a tough workout and Lisa McClaren's family let everyone know how thrilled they were when her number was announced first. She rides at Country Meadow Farm. Jordan Underwood was reserve for instructor Renee Biggins; she won the 14-17 age group.

Amber Lynn Lowry, instructed by Bill and Nancy Becker, was the Junior Saddle Seat Champion and DeLovely's Ellen Medley Wright was reserve. The two switched spots in the 11-13 age group. Callie Smith made the victory pass in the 10 & Under, and Caroline Skinner was reserve.

Brittany Ann McGinnis qualified for the Good Hands Finals with her win at St. Louis; Kristen Koenig was second for Shadow Run. Kristen won the USEF Medal class. Andy Nicole Bowers won the UPHA Challenge Cup class and the Pleasure Cup as well for DeLovely. Ginny Beth Norton qualified for the 2005 Senior Pleasure Medallion Finals and Lauren Woodruff for the Junior 2005 Finals. Abby Mutrux was home-trained by her mother, former equitation rider Jean Phelps, until late this summer when she became a DeLovely student. She added two wins in Walk-Trot 10 & Under at St. Louis to her Louisville wins.

In the Academy division, Megan Hulse drove well to win the Pleasure Driving, and Shelby Nail won the Western Walk-trot class. The Exceptional Challenge Cup class blue went to Danielle Giufrida and Sophia Freise was reserve. The Lead Line class had three entries: Macey Miles, Carson Berry, and Madeline Dawson.

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