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Louisville - Thursday Evening



Formal wear was the official dress code for the first class Thursday night at the World’s Championship Horse Show. The Senior Equitation Championship lured 18 top riders from all over the country but after the rail work only 10 were invited to stay for a workout. The top riders included Emily Abbott, Jacqueline Beck, Eleanor Watkins, Lindsay Haupt, Kyle Gagnon, Victoria McHenry, Ali Judah, Faye Wuesthofen, Brittany McGinnis and Ellen Medley Wright. Ali Judah kept the momentum through her perfect pattern, keeping her transitions fluid and flawless. She was confident and quiet but communicated clearly with her teammate. It was a performance that earned her the title of 2007 Senior Equitation World’s Champion of Champions. Jacqueline Beck and her Pinstripe Dancer were strong in their performance and elegant in their presentation earning the reserve ribbon. In her first year in the senior division, Ellen Medley Wright delivered a Louisville-caliber performance for third. Emily Abbot and Brittany McGinnis rounded out the top five for the senior championship, followed by Kyle Gagnon, Eleanor Watkins, and Lindsay Haupt.


The formal attire continued on into the next class welcoming a disappointing three Junior Three-Gaited contenders returning for the championship. Disappointment was in the number of entries that returned, not the quality. Once again Heavenly Thunder and Darrell Case brought out a thunderous applause and a unanimous vote from the judges as the team continued their sporty, highly energetic performance for owner Nancy Leigh Fisher. Always aboard a nice youngster, Jackie Tanner presented the sporty Punch Baby for a reserve championship ribbon.


Nancy Leigh Fisher joined Joan Lurie

to celebrate Heavenly Thunder's win in

the Junior Three-Gaited Championship.


The next victory pass brought tears to many eyes and a little confusion for five-time World’s Champion CH Sammyshine. Used to wearing the roses and racking out of Freedom Hall, CH Sammyshine knew the ropes but this time had the ring to himself. His friends, family and former trainers were all waiting in center ring as part of his official retirement ceremony. Sammy and Cyd Simmons entered the ring and went to work, entertaining and performing as in the past, but this time was their last. The five-time World’s Champion of Champions, five-time World’s Champion, eight-time UPHA horse of the year is now retired. He will leave fond memories of the energy and excitement he brought to center ring year after year Thursday night in Freedom Hall.


CH Sammyshine received a kiss from

his caretaker before he and Cydni Simmons

made their last trip into Freedom Hall

together for his retirement.


The appreciative audience welcomed a new World’s Champion of Champions to the Amateur Fine Harness division. Misdee Wrigley is now enjoying two new world’s champion victories with her five-year-old Castledream returning to the winner’s circle after a win and new title in the amateur ladies division. The reserve ribbon went to Joan Adler’s Gothic Revival, who also finished reserve the amateur ladies division.


This next class may have been a look into the future, filled with our future trainers and future top exhibitors. Thirteen five-gaited ponies filled Freedom Hall, all now vying for a title owned year after year by CH Sammyshine. Eight of the exhibitors were children of top trainers but one of them took the show ring by the reins, entertaining and schooling his mount during a long time-out. “He’s a showman,” commented Don Harris, who admits the young Tyler Miles caught his eye as he turned it on with teammate Moon Charmer. The decision was unanimous and a surprise to the young Miles who still remembered to take off his hat and acknowledge the crowd. A first World’s Champion of Champions title for a young competitor who was already pleased with a reserve earlier in the week.


Tyler Miles and Moon Charmer


“This means so much to us,” said Lillian Shively, “not the World Champion title but how much this horse has meant to Tyler and for him to work so hard and do so well.” Shively remembers last year she asked Tyler, who had even experienced a ride on Five O’clock, who his favorite was. His response, she says was without hesitation, “Mickey,” the horse now titled World Champion of Champions Moon Charmer. The victory passes in this division were shared with Alexa McWilliams who earned her world’s champion title with Callaway’s Exception To The Rule earlier in the week and a Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title Thursday night.


Ladies Roadster To Bike brought five entries charging in to the ring. Melinda Moore and PTO were out to defend the 2006 Ladies Roadster To Bike title and they did with power and precision. GrCh Ashland, with Kathy Barlow, finished in reserve after earning the blue in the Roadster To Bike Mare stake earlier in the week with Kathy’s husband, Mike Barlow, sharing the driving duties.


Thirteen three-year-old five-gaited mares and their trainers competed for the world’s champion title including Callaway’s Cassis and Rob Tanner. It was a blue ribbon debut for the mare on her first trip off the farm. Callaway’s Cassis remained sleek and composed even after a losing shoe. Tre Lee presented a black beauty named Just Heavenly to earn a reserve world’s champion title after a blue ribbon gaited debut at the Kentucky Spring Premier in the UPHA Classic. Bob Brison brought in a top three vote for the elegant Ylang Ylang after a five-gaited Classic win at Midwest.


It was three years in a row for Roadster To Wagon Grand Champion Power Ranger driven this year by DeLovely’s Mark Turner. The fast and solid roadster contender has taken home a world’s champion title in either the Roadster to Bike or Roadster to Wagon division each year since 2002. In reserve, was the four-time Amateur Roadster to Bike World’s Champion Invincible Summer with Judy McNeish. Invincible Summer started his world’s champion tour in 2002 in the Roadster To Bike division with Raymond Shively.


It may have looked like Rick Cook was starting a new trend in his victory pass Thursday night with Junior Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions Callaway’s Clemency as he carried one flowing ribbon his hand. It was a special tribute he explained to Don Harris’s wife Judy who was there watching Thursday night as she recovers from a stroke.


“Judy always carries the blue ribbon around her finger when she drives,” explains Don talking about Judy’s many world champion Morgans. It was an exciting night for owners Bruce and Ann Williams and Frank and Rhonda Cook who own the young mare. “She felt like a world’s champion,” explained Rick Cook as he talked about their entrance into Freedom Hall. “When he turned around, they owned the ring,” commented Don Harris. Kathy Capsuto and her Sister Sally earned the reserve world’s champion of champions title after two top reserves at Lexington and Shelbyville this summer.


Next into the ring, and welcomed by the crowd approval, were Manhattan’s Irish Cream and Grant Shiflet. With the crowd cheering them on throughout the class the young Shiflet and his teammate earned the title with a unanimous vote from the judging panel. There were 14 contenders in this Three-Gaited Pony Championship. The Attaché Orchid also earned crowd approval and reserve honors after tons of hugs, pats and kisses from teammate Hunter Chancellor.


Matt Shiflet could not have been prouder

of his little brother, Grant, after winning

with Manhattan's Irish Cream.


A brief break in the evening’s schedule brought trainers Debbie Foley and Bob Jenkins to center ring to be inducted into the American Road Horse and Pony Association Hall of Fame. Both trainers inherited their love and passion for horses from their fathers. Debbie’s father Ira was in the Shetland pony business, and Bob’s father is also a member of the Hall Of Fame.


Back to the rail and calling on the Ladies Fine Harness contenders brought Lady Vol back to Freedom Hall for a second strong performance. A unanimous vote put Chris Kaplan and the black mare in the winner’s circle to take her world’s champion of champions victory pass after earning a ladies title Monday night. The reserve title belonged to Sandra Lilly and Mother Mary after an elegant performance.


Chris Kaplan showed off her blanket of flowers

after winning the World's Champion of Champions

Ladies Fine Harness title with Lady Vol.


The judges were looking for the same talent again as they tied the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited division with a unanimous vote. Cute, sporty, bright eyed, sharp-eared, just about every quality was brought out in the performance by World’s Champion I’m McDreamy and Kim Cowart. The team brought thunderous approval from the crowd which also welcomed and cheered on the reserve world’s champion team of More Than Enough and Todd Miles. I’m McDreamy is owned by Jacqueline Ware. More Than Enough is owned by Lynda Norman.


Another DeLovely team stormed into the ring for the next call. Thunderbolt and Raymond Shively were strong and powerful from the get-go. Athletic and built for speed this new Roadster To Bike champion is settling into his new role and new title as World’s Champion in the USTA Roadster To Bike Classic division. This division is limited to Standardbreds that have not shown in any roadster class prior to August 26th, 2006. Merrill Murray kept his contender square and up in the corners to earn the reserve title with Sundon’s Peak N.


The final class Thursday night brought 18 contenders for the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding division. It was a class crowded with talent and energy. When the cards came back, the trip all the way from California was well worth it for trainer David Blevins and Jennifer Sandifur’s Busting Out. They had many throughout Freedom Hall asking, “Who’s that?” following their victory pass. That was a question that won’t be heard again. In reserve were Mike Tunstall and Roseridge Do So Much for Melvin Blankenship. Also finishing in the top three was another world’s grand champion CH Garland’s Dream offspring, Fox Grape’s Dauntless, by Fox Grape Farm stallion SA Dorian Wild Temper.


Busting Out and David Blevins closed out the show

winning the World's Champion Three-Year-Old

Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding.



Complete results from Thursday night’s action can be found by clicking here.

Click here for Thursday's judges cards.

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