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Louisville 2006 – Online Wrap-up

by Bob Funkhouser

The mystique of Freedom Hall has been created by the generations of legends who have come before us. That building which sits in the middle of the ever changing Kentucky State Fairgrounds was appointed the end all for the show horse industry and the stories and memories which have been created there over the decades seem to escalate with each passing year. “That horse went higher.” “This one went faster.” “No one could drive like so and so.”

In addition to the often mentioned signs which encircle the famed arena bearing the names and possessing the stories of past Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champions, videos of Louisville legends played on the scoreboard throughout the week reminding us all that this single year was just a blip on the screen of more than a century of exceptional show ring competition.

There is comfort in knowing that the road has been paved for us but with that comfort comes a great responsibility to nurture and protect the sport and the breeds themselves. After all, all of the satisfaction and disappointment, hopes and dreams, and joys and heartaches that are realized each August in Louisville, Ky., revolve around some of the most magnificent four-legged creatures that were ever put on the earth. Because of these horses and ponies, everyone from show managers to caretakers, judges to junior exhibitors, trainers to breeders take part in the World’s Championship Horse Show hoping to make a positive difference. However, just like in the real world outside of the walls of Freedom Hall, sometimes those hopes are realized and other times they fall way short.

As with most years, the 103rd edition of the World’s Championship Horse Show was filled with suspense, drama, elation and anguish. At no other time throughout the year, other than the National Finals for equitation riders, is the term, “The thrill of victory and agony of defeat,” so amplified.

From the youngest of equitation riders to the veterans in the open stakes,
Louisville is a test of mind and body. Having everything come together just right all at the same time is no small feat and then you have to have a lot of luck go your way as well.

“Earlier this year when I got my mare, ‘Dianna,’ I was hoping that I would get to go to Louisville,” said 12-year-old Brimfield, Mass., equitation rider Olivia Prentiss who, under the direction of Cricket Hill Farm, showed at Louisville for the first time and won a reserve world’s title. “I had heard that the ring was huge and that there was lots of competition so I knew I was going to be really nervous. I was calmer once I got my first ride in. I was like, ‘I can do this.’ Dianna was good and my nerves went away. My trainer [Kristen Cater] spent a lot of time talking to me and keeping me focused. I knew what I had to do. My horse was gamer here than she usually is.

“I was thrilled with my ride even before they called out the results. I didn’t know my number but when they said my name I thought, ‘This can’t be me, can it?’ I loved showing on the green shavings and I’ve always taken this seriously, but now I think I’m even more focused.”

One of the best things about those dreams of showing on the green shavings is they can turn into even greater reality for anyone who dares to follow them. West Virginia trainer Smith Lilly shared with announcer Peter Doubleday and the stake night audience that he had sat in the upper section and witnessed the legendary dual between CH Sky Watch and CH Imperator back in 1982 and watching that class gave him dreams of one day being in the same situation.

He didn’t have quite the same path to the roses; however, Lilly did realize his dreams as he stood in the winner’s circle of the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship giving the above interview. He thanked his parents, his mentors, his wife, the owners who let him “borrow” He’s The Man for the open division at Louisville and He’s The Man’s breeder and former trainer George Knight for making such a wonderful horse.

Just a couple years removed from winning the UPHA Young Trainer of the Year Award, Lilly did not join the elite fraternity of men and women who’ve won the biggest prize in the show horse industry without a little Louisville drama. His victory with five-year-old He’s The Man (Man On The Town x Perfect) was without a workout, one of the few gaited stakes that have ended that way, and he had some unexpected trouble the first way of the ring. Because of that trouble, many throughout the barns could not believe there wasn’t a workout against defending World’s Grand Champion Five O’Clock.

“It’s not mandatory to have a workout,’ said Show Manager Scarlett Mattson. “Boucheron won it a few years ago without a workout. If the judges felt he had already won it, they weren’t required to have a workout.”

“My horse just got distracted,” said winning trainer Smith Lilly. “With all of the noise and being in front of 10,000 or 12,000 people, he got distracted and confused and couldn’t get on track there for a minute. After we won the gelding stake, a few trainers who had won the gaited stake came by and offered me some advice. Larry Hodge had told me, ‘You can’t imagine how much harder it is to ride your horse on Saturday night. It’s going to be harder than it has ever before.’ After I had that trouble and was getting him back together, I was thinking to myself, ‘Larry was right.’ The noise and the volume of people are overwhelming.

“I felt like I had the best horse, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was surprised there wasn’t a workout.”

Overwhelmed is not something Lilly let happen to himself the few days before his championship class or coming into Louisville for that matter. Following Lexington he sat down with owners Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Shires and rider Allison Combs to discuss where they were with the five-year-old gelding.

“We didn’t feel like it was coming together as quickly as we had hoped and I didn’t want to put more pressure on Allison or the horse with Louisville coming on,” added Lilly. “We all thought he was enough horse to go for the open division and then that would give us this fall and winter to put them together as a juvenile team.

“I started pointing towards the open division, had a plan and stuck with it. In the gelding stake the horse worked as well as we had hoped he would. He was comfortable with the ring and we just tried to keep it together for a few more days. I didn’t want to change anything I had been doing, I just told myself to have fun, enjoy the atmosphere and give the crowd a show.”

For the second year in a row, a five-year-old was crowned the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion. As trainer Lilly indicated, the neat story behind He’s The Man is he is the only fourth generation Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion. His is sired by the 1989 and ’90 World’s Grand Champion CH Man On The Town, a stallion who was out of World’s Champion Five-Gaited Mare Chantilly Rose. Man On The Town was sired by 1970-72 World’s Grand Champion CH Yorktown who was sired by CH Wing Commander, winner of the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship a record tying six times from 1948-53. Bred by George Knight, He’s The Man’s dam is a Supreme Sultan daughter named Perfect who is out of World’s Champion Five-Gaited Mare The Rose.

He’s The Man had the pedigree behind him and Lilly had the education. In addition to previously working for Fred Sarver at Leatherwood Farm in a breeding farm role, Lilly had worked for Larry Barbee, Mitch Clark and Nelson Green.

“Those three guys taught me a lot about riding a five-gaited Saddle Horse,” reflected Lilly a week after winning the industry’s most prestigious class. “I couldn’t have asked for any better education than what I got from those guys. This was the fulfillment of a dream that I’ve had for a long time. However, I know I still have to work hard and I’m going to have to earn every class. About the only change I’ve seen since winning the gaited stake is I did wash the truck and trailer before we took off for Indiana. We can’t show up in a dirty truck and trailer,” he chuckled.

“My hat’s off to him,” said Todd Miles who rode Five O’Clock to the reserve world’s grand championship. “Smith did a great job showing his horse. I was thinking we would get a chance to go at it in a workout, but that didn’t happen.”

Of the “big three,” only the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship had a new winner. For the second consecutive year, Miles, who was the first one to greet and congratulate Lilly at the gate following the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship, started his evening by winning the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship with a horse he’s poured his heart and soul into, Manila Thrilla. The Theresa Vonderschmitt entry had a couple of prime time contenders to deal with in the seven-horse championship, but did so for the second time.

“He’s the greatest horse I’ve ever sat on,” exclaimed Todd Miles of the two-time world’s grand champion. “Not because of the ribbons he has won, but for what he’s overcome and everything that goes into it. He’s one of a kind. It was really neat that we could win a world’s grand championship and then come back this year and be even better.

“Most stake horses are a little difficult to ride, but not him. He comes out the same every day with his ears on top of his head. I don’t care if you’re jogging or long lining, he looks good. He wears his bridle to perfection.

“We just made sure he got the best of care and that we took care of him to the best of our abilities. I feel blessed to have had him and that his owner shared him with me. I’ll miss him badly,” said Miles of the horse who was moved to trainer Bob Brison along with the other Vonderschmitt horses, following Saturday night’s championship performance.

Stake night was filled with historic moments and CH Callaway’s Copyright occupied one of those special pages. Selected as a youngster by Peter Via of Fox Grape Farms, the son of Supreme Heir and Callaway’s Claudette was crowned the Fine Harness World’s Grand Champion for the sixth consecutive year, earning him the nickname “The King of Fine Harness.” In doing so he surpassed Lady Beautiful, CH Meadow Vanity and CH Colonel Boyle who had each won the championship five times and only Colonel Boyle’s wins had been consecutive. This year it was another classic show down with the always-popular black mare, Along Came A Spider. It was the third consecutive year for the three-time world’s champion mare and trainer George Knight to be reserve world’s grand champions.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Lynn Via of the run Copyright has made. “I used to not even watch fine harness but he has put a lot of excitement back into the division. Thrill-wise as owners, no horse has ever done for us what he has. He’s really special.”

There were a lot of really special horses at this year’s show. According to Manager Scarlett Mattson a total of 2,230 horses and ponies made their way to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds, some 100 over last year’s total. This collection of horses and ponies represented the finest from coast to coast as more often than not, horses that left the ring without a ribbon owned winning records from throughout the season. There were very few filler entries, even among the young horse classes.

Sixteen of the additional entries can be accredited to the first-ever Western Country Pleasure Invitational. Through a point system, 16 horses were invited to perform on the green shavings and all 16 obliged. Suzanne Bradshaw and The American Flag were the first Western Country Pleasure team to win in Freedom Hall, while Douglas Glick and CH Fiasco were the first tricolor winners from the division.

“I really enjoyed the western classes,” Mattson commented. “It was a nice diversion to the schedule, they were all turned out great and it was a good group of horses. It was pretty reminiscent of a quiet parade class. The western horses have earned their spot at this horse show.”

“We were all thrilled to be a part of the first western division at Louisville and especially thrilled to win,” said CH Fiasco’s trainer Michael Craghead, a California trainer who has successfully worked Saddlebred western pleasure horses for 17 years in addition to performance horses and instructing top equitation riders. “The classes were beautiful and seemed to be well-received by the crowd.

“I’m really proud of both my horse and rider. Fiasco is a show horse with excellent Saddlebred type and impeccable manners, exactly what the western division calls for. Doug gave him two perfect rides. I couldn’t have been happier with their performances.”

While the western division was a big success, the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Uncut Tail class did not have the same reception. After all of the meeting time, discussion and dissension over the addition of this class to the World’s Championship Horse Show at the request of the ASHA, only five entries showed. And since the five were shown by veteran farms, it seems that the class did nothing to attract new people or smaller barns that didn’t want to go to the expense of setting a tail until they knew the horse was going to make a show horse. Louisville management gave the class two years to make it, but with the first year reception, it would seem a long stretch for it to be on the agenda again for 2007.

Instead of uncut tails, Louisville was the place for superstar performers and performances. It was not the place for a beginner, although each year a relatively new face emerges with a great show. It took not only a talented horse or pony, but also a flawless ride or drive to pull off a win in most classes.

There were plenty of superstar special moments and perhaps none as special as CH Callaway’s Forecaster going out on top in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, the last class of his storied career. Owner/rider Nancy Leigh Fisher had decided going into Louisville that these were going to be his last two classes. He had a third place finish in the amateur stallion/gelding class, but again rose to the occasion, as did his rider, to put the finishing touches on a great career which began in 1996 as the Junior Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion with Larry Hodge and the Via family. Not only did he win the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, but it was against several big time performers including Have You Ever, Swish, I’m A Treat, CH Amusing and Lakeview’s Rare-A-Phi.

“I don’t know if there was anything but total bliss and disbelief,” said Nancy Leigh Fisher when describing her feelings as number 1533 was called out as the winner of the amateur championship. “I’ve always thought he was a grand horse, even though everyone didn’t always agree. We’ve always heard, ‘If he only used his ears.’

“I’ve been realistic, but nowhere in the rule book does it say they have to use their ears. This horse has been misunderstood because all he ever wants to do is please you. He listens to you and he is so intense about his work. If you’ve ever noticed, when he walks or when we strip him he always uses his ears. He doesn’t have to be intense doing those things.

“I’m happy he could go out on top. I’ve always felt blessed to be a part of him. It’s been sheer joy.”

Although she would never try to stand in it, Fisher shares the spotlight with Callaway’s Forecaster as one of the industry’s superstars. She is the only person to have ever won the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, Ladies Five-Gaited Championship, and Open Five-Gaited Championship at the World’s Championship Horse Show. She has twice won the amateur championship (1971 with Wing’s Fair Lady and 2006 with Callaway’s Forecaster); once taken the ladies stake (1995 with Unattached); and in 2003 Callaway’s Forecaster wore the roses as Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion. It would be hard to decide which moment was greater.

“In 2003 our goal was to make the workout so when we did, I was so grateful and considered that a win if nothing else good happened. This year when I turned around and the crowd was standing for him it was the greatest feeling. I can’t thank the people enough for sending him out that way.”

There was another superstar in Freedom Hall on Saturday night and that was as Peter Doubleday called him, “The King of Speed.” For as long as anyone can remember Raymond Shively has occupied the winner’s circle of the Roadster To Bike World’s Grand Championship, the Roadster To Wagon World’s Grand Championship, or both. In fact, he has won the bike stake for the last seven consecutive years and 14 of the past 25.

This, his 14th grand championship, broke the all-time record for which he had been tied with the legends R.C. “Doc” Flannery and Lloyd Teater. Winner of the Roadster To Bike World’s Grand Championship in 2005 also, Big Red was Shively’s record breaking entry, going down in history with the King Of Speed alongside his other titles holders: Non Stop (four times), The Natural (three times), When & Where (once), Power Ranger (two times) and Invincible Summer (two times). To put icing on the cake, this year Shively also drove Power Ranger to the wagon grand championship for the second straight year; put Judy McNeish and Invincible Summer in the winner’s circle of the amateur wagon class for the second consecutive year; and directed Deborah Butler and Dirt Devil to the Amateur Ladies Roadster To Bike title for the third straight year.

Titles kept adding up for another superstar, the park horse known as “Snorty.” CH A Step Of Time won one of the top two most competitive classes of the week, the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. To earn his 10th world title, CH A Step Of Time and owner/rider Luanne Kilday had to be simply awesome as this championship had an all-star cast like no other we’ve seen.

“I had no idea this was his 10th title. That was a lot of fun tonight,” Luanne Kilday exclaimed following his championship performance.

Right up there with the Amateur Park Championship was the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding class. Year in and year out this is one of the top classes at Louisville and 2006’s edition was prime time from start to finish as was the ladies championship. The elated winner of both rounds was none other than Ceil Wheeler repeating both classes with last year’s World’s Champion of Champions CH Walterway’s Remember Me. Their unanimous performances were as smooth as it gets and darn well had to be as (SA) Carlswald Prince’s Dominoe, My Chanel, CH Callaway’s Born To Win and Take Me Away were making their best bids in the championship round.

When thinking of Louisville highlights, a few different riders come to mind. Wow, is the only thing that could be said for Barbara Goodman Manilow and trainer Dick Obenauf in what was their second consecutive sensational year. Manilow led all riders with eight wins and two reserves. She had a hard time deciding what was greater, the back-to-back years of roses for her mounts Boo!, Callaway’s Sugarplum and Marching Orders; the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship with the homebred Lady Cinnamon (CF First Night Out x CH Lady’s Favorite Event); or the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure 13 and Under Championship won by her daughter Maya aboard CF First Light Of Dawn.

“I’ve caught myself stopping and thinking, ‘Wow,’” said Manilow. “I don’t know what else to say. It was an amazing week.”

There were two riders that won four classes each, Deborah Visser was the queen of the walk-trot division, winning two classes with Ostentatiously, one with Sheba’s Charm and then a gaited pleasure class with Champagne Treat. Also with four wins this year, young Ali DeGray broke the 20 mark for her career, enjoying success this year with CH Tigerlee, Seize The Moment and Kalarama’s High Roller.

Then there was the owner/rider who had an incredible week with both horses and ponies. Mary Gaylord McClean, along with husband Jeff, had a blast from their Golden Creek Farms. They had 12 different horses and ponies that won either first or second. Among that group was Amateur Harness Pony World’s Champion of Champions Shake Don’t Stir, Road Pony Reserve World’s Grand Champion Beaulah Jean, Hackney Pony Reserve World’s Grand Champion Regal’s Trademark and the sensational Junior Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion According To Lynn, which McClean showed herself to become the first amateur to win the junior gaited championship.

“That was the best time I’ve ever had in Freedom Hall,” said Gaylord McClean. “I’ve never ridden so hard in my life. Showing against all the trainers made it a lot different. She made such a good show in the mare class I didn’t know whether to come back or not. I didn’t want to screw up.

“So many people were so nice with their comments about her. It’s hard to believe she was born right here on the farm.”

According To Lynn was one of many, many outstanding young horses at the 2006 World’s Championship Horse Show. She was one of 39 junior gaited horses shown. There has been much worry over the decrease in the number of foals registered each year, and rightfully so, however, it’s hard to see any shortage of top young horses. In fact, the young horse division is probably stronger than it ever has been as far as the number of nice young horses and they are coming from trainers and breeding programs all across the country.

Case in point, Morgan trainer Jim Lowry has dabbled in American Saddlebreds for a number of years. In fact, he was the person who started Revival. While still having a majority of top Morgans in his barn, Lowry’s Saddlebred string has grown and this year he made early season shows such as UPHA Chapter 5 and Midwest Charity. Some of his performances made some strong impressions, particularly the three-year-old gaited mare known as Catalyst’s Work Of Art who had been purchased by Priscilla Marconi the year before after winning a reserve world’s championship in harness with fellow Morgan trainer Phil Price.

Lowry and his wife/co-trainer Fay knew the water would be much deeper in Freedom Hall but were still hopeful that something from their small string would emerge on top. Not only did Catalyst’s Work Of Art light up Freedom Hall to win the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare Stake, Lowry also rode Major Buck and Gloria Vanderbilt to win their sections of the Two-Year-Old and Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stakes, respectively.

“We were speechless,” recalled Lowry a week after Louisville and only a day after returning home with nearly 20 head from the Jubilee Morgan Show. “You always sure hope they will do well and think, ‘Wouldn’t it be great?’ but that doesn’t happen often. I came to Louisville hoping to get one [World’s Champion] hat and we went home with three. Everyone was so nice and so happy for us. It took us forever to get back to the stalls after that three-year-old mare won.

“It’s something to experience that much fanfare. It was a big deal, but they make everything a big deal there.”

Incredible young stock was definitely a part of Louisville ’06. Callaway’s Born For This in the Three-Year-Old National Futurity; New York’s Perfect Gift in the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2; Grande Gil in the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 and junior championship; Heartland Look At Me in the Junior Harness Pony Championship; Mastercraft’s Promoter LF in the Junior Road Pony Championship; Can You Hear Me Now; Hallelujah Chorus; Honky Tonk Man; Keep Me Posted; Platinum’s New Look; Regal’s Trademark; Silver And Blue; Roseridge’s All Mine; Kalarama’s Globetrotting Lady; Brookhill’s The Lady Commands; A Travelin’ Man; Got No Shame; Radiant Renaissance; Glenview’s Excelalante!, A Whole Different Story; Stonecroft Serengetti; Our Axel Rose; Radiant Renaissance; Anamaria; Stonecroft Sincerity; and Joe Friday all had great shows. These were horses and ponies that lit up Freedom Hall amidst a great group of talent.

In the junior fine harness division the celebrated stars Castledream and Night Sight had an incredible show down, with Night Sight coming out the winner of the Junior Fine Harness Championship with an abundance of power and presence.

The breeding programs represented were state of the art. The deceased Supreme Heir again led the way with 12 winners. He was followed closely by Blythewood Farm’s CF First Night Out with nine winners.

Owner Frank Jones made history in the young horse division by having the first and second place entries in a very good Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake. Darrell Cruise rode Out In Dixie to the blue, with Clark Clouse aboard Legacy’s Super Idol for reserve.

Still commanding an edge like no others, the breeding program of Callaway Hills had another phenomenal record. CH Callaway’s Forecaster was the Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champion; CH Callaway’s Copyright was the Fine Harness Grand Champion; CH Callaway’s Sugarplum was the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions; Callaway’s Buttons And Bows was the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 and Under World’s Champion of Champions; CH Callaway’s Pretty Penny was the four-time Country Pleasure Driving World’s Champion of Champions; in addition to Callaway’s Sunday Edit, CH Callaway’s Merry Go Round, Callaway’s Head Over Heels and Callaway’s Blue Agate winning classes. For Callaway Hills themselves, Burt Honaker and Callaway’s Born For This won a huge ASR Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited National Futurity, which lasted nearly an hour between thrown shoes and a workout.

“Burt Honaker’s win with Born For This was the happiest moment I’ve experienced during what has been a couple of the most difficult years of my life,” said Tony Weldon. “In addition to pure joy, I also felt affirmation…the very young, relatively unknown trainer I chose to lead Callaway Hills, proved me right and himself worthy.

“All the credit for the great success Callaway Hills-bred horses had at Louisville this year goes to their owners, trainers, riders and my mother’s dream. My only regret is that she was not there to enjoy it all, particularly Born For This...a great mare with a very fitting name.”

In addition to the great young horses, it was a week to celebrate the Garland Bradshaw legend. His boys and girl did very well as Larry Hodge’s Kalarama Farm was the leading stable with number of wins. Nancy Leigh Fisher who rode with Bradshaw won the amateur gaited stake, Smith Lilly who trained under Bradshaw’s grandson Mitch Clark won the Five-Gaited Championship and Jim Koller and Carter Cox, both students of the Bradshaw school, were inducted into the World’s Championship Hall of Fame.

Other industry standouts were honored during the week. Winner of the Adult Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship with the popular CH Sprinkles, Michele Macfarlane also received the Audrey Gutridge Award.

Longtime participants Dr. Jerry and Georgia Blevins were inducted into the AHHS Hall of Fame for all of their support of the pony division and the association itself. Their sensational week got even better on Saturday night as Georgia piloted Free Willy to the Road Pony World’s Grand Championship under the direction of Rich Campbell and Maureen Lydon.

Besides a week of great horses, ponies and leaders, the equitation division was again a highlight. The individual age groups were filled much better than they have been and the competition was solid from the youngest to the oldest.

Lillian Shively is to equitation as her Hall of Fame husband Raymond is to the roadster division. DeLovely Farm was home to both the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation World’s Champion of Champions Alexandra Flynn and the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation World’s Champion of Champions repeat winner Brittany McGinnis. Ellen Medley Wright was in top form to again win the Kentucky Equitation Riders 13 and Under Championship. On top of that, Shively and Missy Hughes put Courtney McGinnis and Macey Miles on top in both sections of the 8 and under walk and trot riders with McGinnis going on to win the championship. Also part of the winning DeLovely contingent, Hunter Chancellor was reserve in the 9-10 walk and trot qualifier.

The equitation division wasn’t totally dominated by DeLovely as Zubrod Stables represented 9-10 Walk and Trot World’s Champion of Champions Alexia Stumler and Cape Cod Farm was home for UPHA Adult Equitation National Champion Sarah Taylor.

Show Manager Scarlett Mattson again had an enormous undertaking to keep the 103rd World’s Championship Horse Show running like a well-oiled machine. With as many horses, people, golf carts and photographers occupying Freedom Hall and the surrounding stabling area, it isn’t a job for the faint hearted.

“We have an extremely professional staff and they work hard at keeping everyone as happy as possible,” said Mattson. “I really appreciate the trainers working with us on the stabling situation. Some gave up tack stalls and anything else they could give back to make this work.”

Besides stabling, split classes and thrown shoes are two of the biggest headaches for Mattson. Seventeen classes were split this year in addition to the many pleasure classes, which were already split into sections at the close of entries. Trainers did seem to be more responsible in letting the office know about their scratches so a split class wasn’t left in an embarrassing situation with low numbers.

An age-old problem which seems to come and go is lost shoes in the ring. This year there were 45 timeouts to replace thrown shoes. There were even two lost shoes in a country pleasure class one morning. These timeouts obviously kill the momentum of a class and the show itself but no one seems to have an answer for it.

Interview 10 different trainers and blacksmiths and you will get 10 different opinions as to why so many shoes were lost this year. The opinions range from the ring is too hard, to the horse needed reset before they got to Louisville, to the exhibitors are over riding and driving trying to get that little extra from their mounts. Whatever the case, it is a hindrance to exhibitors, officials and spectators alike.

Charged with crowning the 2006 World’s Champions were Steve Crabtree, Tom Ferrebee, Don Judd and Jimmy Miller. Maria Gilman was the call judge in all equitation events. Doug Shiflet, assisted outside the ring by Sandra Hall, and Howie Schatzberg, assisted by Jason Molback, were again on hand to capture all the excitement with great photos. Also part of the all-star cast, Bill Whitley, Kent Moeller and John Frye kept order in the ring and were right on the spot for the few spills that occurred. Peter Doubleday and Peter Fenton were again the voices of Louisville with Buddy Waggoner and Cathy Stumpf handling the barn calls in the make up ring.

These were some of the highlights from a week that brought many positives to the industry. As always, not everything was perfect, but when it was all said and done if you went home with a good ribbon that was something to be very proud of. If you left the Kentucky State Fairgrounds with winning ribbons, you were part of history, a history everyone associated with the Saddlebred, Hackney, roadster and equitation worlds can be proud of.

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