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Louisville - Thursday Evening

by Leeann Mione

After a short morning session which allowed an extended break Thursday afternoon, the seats for the evening session were full and the first class was even more so. A field of 21 riders came through the gate for their Kentucky State Fair Senior Equitation Championship.

What a class it was. The dedication and hours and hours of practice on the part of horses and riders was evident. They rode hard knowing that only eight would get a ribbon and there was so much depth in the class that the list of ribbon winners read like an equitation division who’s who.

After displaying their horsemanship on the rail, the class lined up and Melissa Moore, Melinda Moore and Rick Wallen conferred to decide who should remain and do the workout. While the class waited, announcer Peter Fenton paid tribute to Jeanie Siemen who celebrated her 90th birthday and was in the audience. Her daughter Vicki Siemen Webb, granddaughter Tami Reiser and great granddaughter Delaney Webb have all been part of the Saddlebred industry for most of their lives.

When the judges sat back down, Fenton announced that 10 riders would stay and five of them would perform the workout. Lila Tatar, Morgan Brison, Jerrah Biggerstaff, Aleia Brown, Tayler Walters, Abby Mutrux, Juliette Dell, Courtney McGinnis, Hunter Chancellor and Kailin Baechle were named as the 10 riders who would have a shot at the ribbons. Of those 10, Brown, Mutrux, McGinnis, Chancellor and Baechle were asked to do the workout.

The knowledgeable crowd watched each rider put their horse through the exercise and return to the lineup. When Fenton announced unanimous results, it was Hunter Chancellor named as the world’s champion of champions for the second year in a row. Her DeLovely teammate Abby Mutrux exited with much applause for her stellar ride. She captured the reserve title. Courtney McGinnis was awarded the yellow streamers which gave DeLovely Farm, who put 5 of the top ten riders in the ring, a one-two-three finish in the class. Baechle was fourth under the direction of Fairfield South and Cape Cod Farm rider Brown was fifth. Biggerstaff, Brison and Dell claimed the remaining ribbons.

The Junior Three-Gaited Championship was host to 13 gorgeous entries. This was a really great class and the top group traded great passes down the rail hoping to take the win but even the time out for a competitor’s thrown shoe couldn’t derail HS Decorum and Lionel Ferreira. They took the time out in stride and in the process headed straight to the top of the ribbon list. Ferreira and the youngster by Sir William Robert and out of A Daydream Believer (BHF) won the sweepstakes class earlier in the week.

My Hail Mary and Todd Miles had a great go and they were the reserve world’s champion of champions for Annika Bruggeworth. My Hail Mary is sired by Revival and out of Crimson Blue and won the junior over 15.2 qualifier. Callaway’s Reality Show, sired by Callaway’s The Gipper and out of Callaway’s I’m A Lady Too, and Mark Hulse captured the yellow ribbon for third for James Orr.

Grace Arnold and Military Secret made it two for two in Freedom Hall when they were named the winners of the Amateur Fine Harness Championship with a powerful performance. Arnold put her big-going entry right where he needed to be for the unanimous win. His victory gave him his eighth win in eight trips to the ring this season under the direction of Jim Cherry. Heir’s Treasure and James Miller had a good class together and they were next in line to be named the reserve world’s champion of champions. Steel The Moment, a Linda and Homer Beltz home-bred entry was third with Linda driving.

The five-gaited ponies and their junior riders had to be at their best to navigate the deep water. A really nice field of 12 put on a great class and the crowd was cheering the ribbon winners all the way down the card. When results were announced it was Mollie Kregor and The Rest Of The Story, winners of the 14-17 class, named to take the world’s champion of champions win for Ann Marie Brickzen. Silvashay and Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes were the reserve grand champions.

The Ladies Roadster To Bike class saw six hard driving, tough-as-nails drivers go all out with their roadsters in the six-entry class. They flew through the turns and at speed they had the crowd screaming for their favorites. In the end it was Lisa McMackin and Talladega Nights named as the champions. Judge Melinda Moore and Talladega Nights had won the class in 2010. Lady Cat was reserve tonight for owner Jon Dabareiner with Whitney Shiflet driving.

The Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare class was full of gorgeous young Saddlebreds and they racked and trotted through traffic like seasoned veterans. Tammy DeVore is one of the hardest riding ladies in the business and she piloted Roseridge’s Chantilly Lace to the winner’s circle for Richard and Virginia Stanley.The win marked their third in three appearances this season for the Roseridge Deputy x Can’t Touch Her daughter.

Faithfull One, sired by Callaway’s The Gipper and out of Slam’s March Lilly, was reserve with Darrell Cruse on board for Dianne Gilbert. Fox Grape’s Mountain Laurel and Steve Wheeler were third for Mary Jane Meanor. Mountain Laurel, sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker was one of two ribbon winners out of the mare Himalaya.

Jenny Taylor rode Stonecroft Hypnotic to fourth for Stonecroft Farm. Sired by I’m First and out of Majestic Jane, the mare was also bred by Stonecroft Farm.

The Roadster To Wagon Championship, with $10,000 in prize money offered a nice chunk of change to the competitors since there were only two. Steve Crabtree Scatman Du joined Judy McNeish and Last Call to put on an exciting class. Crabtree had already had a win earlier in the day in the youth roadster to bike class and tonight he scored his second roadster victory to go two for two on the day.

The Audrey Gutredge Award was presented to Barbara Beamer and she was joined by presenter Sally Jo Briney and friends in center ring for the presentation.

The Junior Fine Harness Championship, with seven entries, meant that everyone was going to leave with a ribbon, but from the beginning it was clear that they were going to have to work hard to take the top ribbon away from Trust My Imagination and Beth Harris. The high-stepping mare marched down the rail to cheers from the crowd and they went to the winner’s circle for the second time this week after winning the junior mare class. Sired by Trust Fund and out of Titleist Imagination, the big-going mare won for owner Theresa Vonderschmitt under the Walnut Way farm banner. Costa Nostra and Matt Shiflet were the reserve world’s champion of champions and they put on a great show in their own right for owners Fish N’ Fun Farms after winning the junior stallion and gelding class. Night Tide and Ruth Gimpel headed out with the third place yellow ribbon for Helen Rosburg and Snowman was fourth with Redd Crabtree driving.

The Three-Gaited Pony Championship was another exciting class on the evening’s agenda and nine teams put on a show with parents, friends and families cheering on the junior exhibitors. The 14-17 qualifier had first resulted in a natural three-way tie sending all three back out on the rail. CH Manhattan’s Irish Cream came out on top of that class and in the championship tonight made it two for two. Alexis Landreth rode to the unanimous win under the direction of Tammy DeVore. Last year’s world’s champion of champions CH The Attache Orchid was tonight’s reserve winner with Hunter Chancellor after a great effort. Bravia and Brylie Mays scored the top three in the competitive championship.

The Ladies Fine Harness Championship is always a much-anticipated class and tonight’s had a strong group of seven and their well-dressed lady drivers. An elegant fine harness ladies horse with an impeccably turned out lady driver is perhaps one of the most beautiful combinations in the show horse world and all seven were hoping for that perfect Doug Shiflet or Howie Schatzberg photo. In the end it was 2010 Fine Harness World’s Grand Champion and 2011 Ladies Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions CH Lace’s Last Tango named to take the win again this year. Kim Cowart was gorgeous in navy blue as she put the flashy mare in the winner’s circle for Sharyn Lackey.

Follow The Sun and Annika Bruggeworth were next in line and they were named the reserve world’s champion of champions for Siren Song Stables. Bruggeworth was in an elaborate hot pink dress that looked custom made and drew all eyes to her powerful leg waving black gelding. Janet Kellett’s homebred Alde-Mar’s Crystal Pistol exited to an ovation from the crowd for third with Johanna Kapioltas driving.

Coming down the ramp in Freedom Hall to perform in front of cheering fans and on the famous green shavings can be intimidating to the most accomplished horse and exhibitor teams so when the three-year-old three-gaited horses came into the arena, they were all pretty excited and ready to go. Not long after the gate closed on the 13 teams, one elected to take the gate.

Twelve therefore were left to battle it out and they put on a great class. Rob Byers put Nutter Butter (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Aisling’s Treasure) on the rail and they never looked back on their way to the far end for the blue ribbon presentation. Byers rode the gifted youngster for Sally Groub Gayeski. Neil Visser handled the ride with the Undulata’s Nutcracker sired Nuttin’ But Style for second. Out of the mare Heir Style, Nuttin’ But Style added the reserve to two wins this season for owner Terri Dolan. Jim Lowry teamed Roselane’s Opry Knight to third for Tri Color Ventures and A Passion Flower was fourth with Darrell Cruse for Willowbank Farm.

In the second special presentation of the evening, Ronnie Graham was inducted into the American Road Horse & Pony Association Hall Of Fame just before an exciting roadster event hit the ring.a

The USTA Roadster To Bike Classic is always a crowd favorite and Freedom Hall provides its own unique challenges and the USTA horses provide their own unique dynamic to the class. Blaze Of Sonshine, with well known Morgan and Saddlebred trainer Lumen Wadhams in the bike, took the unanimous win for Ann MacMurray Cox. B52 and Gerhardt Roos were reserve for Walter Chapman and both first and second place horses share the same sire.

The Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class closed out the session and provided a great class as the finale.

Twelve gorgeous three-year-olds battled it out and the crowd got behind their choices early.  The panel of Melissa Moore, Rick Wallen and Gen van der Walt had a tough job trying to pick a winner because there were several contenders for the top spot. In the end, it was Central Perk, sired by A Superb Manhattan and out of CF Hot Night Out, headed down victory lane with Steve Gassen in the irons for Woodlea Farms. He’s Born To Lead was the reserve world’s champion with Bret Day. Day rode the colt sired by He’s Born To Royalty and out of Bueno Chica for Kurz Equine Investment. Lionel Ferreira and Monnington Status Quo (Cloverleaf Master And Commander x (SA) Anvil’s O’Kiss Me Quick) finished in third for Jefferson Business Trust. Jesco White and Jerry Tolliver exited in fourth and they showed for Jennifer Caron and Scott Babinski.

Thursday evening was a great night with the big senior equitation championship, great young horse classes, and young rider championships with their ponies. As the first night of championships it served as a great prelude for the excitement of Friday and Saturday championship sessions.

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