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Lucky Number 13 For Raleigh!

by Katherine Hansil

RALEIGH, N.C -- It was lucky 13 for this year's Raleigh Spring Premier as it rang in one of the most successful shows ever for its 13th annual show. Horses and exhibitors came from all around the country to show at this hospitable show that is known for its competitive teams. This year, with a record number of teams showing, was very competitive as new combinations hit the ring along with favorites from 2005. Marking the cards for the Saddlebreds, Roadsters, Hackneys and Equitation was Melinda Moore with Mark Bodnar judging the Morgan divisions. Peyton Hamilton made the trip in to judge the huge Academy division Saturday afternoon.

The show is held at the James B. Hunt Horse Complex that boasts a grand indoor arena and covered warm up along with five permanent barns. During the week coffee and doughnuts were offered along with a welcome party on Thursday and an exhibitors' party on Friday held offsite at the Ramada Inn with music and great food. Saturday evening closed down after the last of the competitive championships with the Tail's End party featuring delicious desserts. The only downside to this year's show was the weather as it turned cold and damp, however, inside the competition was hot!


Bringing the week to an end, three top entries made the gate call competing for the Five-Gaited Championship title. As Came To Party with Midge Hunt, Hollywood Material with Hollie Davidson and Naughty with Lewis Eckard made their passes for judge Melinda Moore the crowd picked out their favorites with each entry having a section cheering loudly. After the gaits and the stripping presentation, the card was handed in and Naughty with Lewis Eckard was called to the winner's circle for owner, Susan Orton. Earlier in the week Susan Orton was aboard Naughty to win the ladies qualifier. Reserve in the class went to the winner of the open qualifier. The flashy Hollywood Material with Hollie Davidson for owner, Jessica Brown, had their share of crowd support graciously accepting the red streamers. The sporty Came To Party and Midge Hunt scored the strong third for Dr. Kim Blackwell. In the open qualifier Harlem's Who's Your Daddy earned the red ribbon with Steve Gassen in the irons for Jean Myers. While Shamrock's Free Step and Janelle D'Amato had a great ride for the reserve in the ladies qualifier for Jansal Saddlebreds.

In the competitive amateur division, Seajay Lewis and Dr. Brian Garrett topped the competition with two strong rides. This team, put together by trainer Greg O'Kelley, effortlessly moved through the gaits to sweep the division. Reserve championship honors went back to Tom Sworm Stables banner with the great go from Callaway's Belle De Mac and Mindy Van Hellemont. In the qualifier the Fairfield South team of Liquid Thunder and Rick Daigle captured the red streamers.

In the junior exhibitor division the competition was just as intense with horses showing for the title that already have titles from Louisville, Lexington and the American Royal behind them. The new team of CH Dusty Beau and Rebekah Cloninger made their first appearance this week under the direction of the team from Drowning Creek. With two solid rides this team emerged to sweep the division. Reserve honors in both went to the hard-riding Sarah Longworth aboard her sporty CH Diamond's Hope. This team shows under the Cash Lovell Stables banner. Two strong thirds went to the Cricket Hill-trained Forty-Second Street Gal and Lauren Pyes.


Rebekah Cloninger was back in the spotlight to win the Five-Gaited Pony qualifier with Little Lord Huntley and Andrea Wolkoff in reserve. In the championship the pairs reversed spots with Little Lord Huntley and Wolkoff taking the tricolor.

Making an appearance for the first time in the gaited division, Latté  took the novice class by storm. Over the winter trainer Steve Gassen decided to rack this mare and strengthen her. It worked, as she got bigger and bolder with each pass winning the novice class for owner Brenda Kelly. Reserve in this class went to Came To Party and Midge Hunt for Dr. Kim Blackwell. In the junior class the two top performers were brothers, both out of the awesome mare CH Mountainview's Starlike Reviews. Winning the class was the Catalyst bred Startalyst shown by Paul Boone for William Cannon, Jr. Reserve honors went to Mountainview's Oh Heavenly Day-bred Mountainview's Starcatcher with Leslie Tickle in the irons for Jones Mountainview Saddlebreds.


For the second year in a row Detached wore the tricolor out the gate for owner Susan Harris. This year again with Lewis Eckard in the irons the newly trimmed Detached captured the win in the Three-Gaited Championship moving up a notch from the reserve finish in the qualifier. Winning the qualifier was the elegant I'm Sky High with Gary Garone for Rick Daigle. In the championship Rick Daigle was aboard to accept the reserve ribbon.

Winning the ladies class was the Sue Nifong-owned-and-bred The Attaché Orchid with Leslie Tickle. The elegant three-year-old Lenore's Chardonnay captured the Junior Three-Gaited blue with Smith Lilly in the irons for Bill Beckley and Robin McKenzie Vuillermet. Reserve honors went to Romance In New York and Miriam Hoskins for Amy Merricks.

Sweeping the amateur division was the high-stepping Woulda Coulda Shoulda and Aimee Austin for the Magnolia banner. Reserve honors in both classes went to the proud team of Periaptor's Dancing Star and Dr. Teresa Miller. In a single appearance Tenchi and Kelli Woody won the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 and Under blue.


Royalty In Black was expertly exhibited by Allie Wellington to sweep the three-gaited pony division with Callaway's Viscount and Katherine Randall earning both red ribbons.

Three-Gaited Park

The full sister to the great park mare, Promise To Dance, A Chance To Dance showed her talents just as her sister's in this division by winning the tricolor and blue for owner Marie Gwinn. This is only the second show for this talented mare with trainer Paul Boone in the irons. Reserve in the championship went to Uwharrie's No Dice and Claude Shiflet for Barbara Baker. In the qualifier the red ribbon went to Kalarama Shiraz and Evan Orr for new owner Teri Longworth.  The elegant Trixie Chick and Jenny Glennon earned the victory pass in the Junior Three-Gaited Park for Vonda Goff. Reserve honors went to Queen Lafite and Leslie Tickle for Bill Beckley.

In the amateur division the sweep went to the Cash Lovell Stables-trained team of Town Cat and Brenda Paauwe Navori. Reserve honors in the championship went back to the Johnny Lucas and Sons team of Rowdy Dream and Paula Barr while the Cricket Hill team of Nothing But Class and Ann Jones earned the red ribbon in the qualifier.

In the junior exhibitor championship the new team of New York Entertainer and Jessica MacLeod earned the tricolor with an exceptional performance moving up a notch from the red ribbon in the qualifier. Winning the qualifier was another new team, Kalarama Shiraz and Sarah Longworth, in their only appearance. Reserve in the championship went to the veteran team of the group CH Wing's Main Attraction and Adrienne Fitch.

Fine Harness

Callaway's Whirligig with Sue Spann at the lines moved up a notch from their reserve in the open qualifier to win the championship. Reserve honors went to the winner of the junior qualifier, the parade-stepping The Chocolate Drop Kid with David Barger on the lines for Brenda Brewer. Reserve in the junior class went to Majestic Mayo and Evan Orr for Cash Lovell. Winning the open qualifier in their only appearance was Le Femme Nikita with Bo Lucas for Patience and Tom Ergish.


Sour Grapes with Steve Hanks sped away sweeping the open division with two outstanding performances for Mark Catron. On their heels was Eaton's Guys with Page Champion for Beth Barksdale garnering both red ribbons.

In the competitive under saddle division, Vivacious and Dr. Holly Ackerman were at the top of their game to sweep the division. Lindsey Greenwald and High Velocity earned both reserves under the direction of Boone's Farm and Stables.


The new team of Surprize Surprize and Donna Whatley did more than surprise the competition as they sped away with both wins in the open division under the direction of Mary Lou and Mark Greenwell. Reserve in the open qualifier went to hometown favorite Vivacious EF and Mary Daughtry. Winning the UPHA Road Pony Classic was Hawkeye's Chatterbox and Lewis Eckard for Allie Wellington.

Winning the amateur champion for the fourth year in a row was Cappuccino. This was the third year that owner/driver Brenda Kelly piloted her mighty pony to the winner's circle. The first win was with her daughter, Holly Gassen, on the lines in 2003. Cappuccino and Kelly earned the red ribbon in the qualifier. Winning the amateur qualifier coming off a successful 2005 in the junior division was Lone Star and Jeoff Bodenhorst. This team opted to show back in the open championship to garner the red streamers. In the amateur championship the red ribbon went to Hallelujah! and Brooks Irvin.

Zildjian and Conner Leith would not be denied and stepped it up a notch with an amazing drive to win the junior exhibitor championship after an earlier red in the qualifier. Winning the qualifier was Catch The Spirit and Dustin Lassett for Jean Myers. This Steve Gassen-trained team returned to receive the red ribbon in the championship. 


No one was more thrilled with the win than rider, Anna Hormann, as her number was called out aboard Seamair's King Classic for the win in the under saddle championship. Heartland Contender and Amy Belton scored two reserve finishes to hang back at the Heads Up banner for Calvin Hoover. In the qualifier went to the sporty John Glenn with new rider and owner Courtney Bebber.

Shelia Lail was on the lines for Drowning Creek Farm to capture both wins in the Harness Pony with Fitz's Mademoiselle. Both red ribbons went to High Horizon's Gold Dust and Charles Leonard for Bill Weavil. In the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving division Wait And See's Postmaster and Alexandra Foster earned back-to-back wins for her proud parents Jennifer and Vernon Foster.


With a comeback ride the tricolor went home with the flashy Turn On The Heat and Nancy Churchill. Reserve honors in both classes went to the solid performer Callaway's Arthur Hyde and Rhonda Boone under the direction of David Barger. Winning the qualifier in their only appearance was the exceptional John Elway and Ann Cannon.  On the junior exhibitor side of things, Callaway's Maelstrom and Caitlin Leith turned in two superb rides to sweep the division under the Ingleside banner. In the championship reserve honors went to the Mercer Springs team of Summit Up and Allison Combs with Callaway's No Problem and Dustin Lassett earning the reserve in the qualifier.

With 23 entries, the adult three-gaited show pleasure division was so large management decided to split the division in two. In their first appearance together Callaway's Northern Fling and Melody Murphy captured the blue in Division A under the direction of Krista Dent with She's Stupendous and Miriam Hoskins receiving the red ribbon for Pam Allen. In the championship Chesney and Marie Gwinn moved up several notches to win the tricolor with Daddy O and Delores Barker in for the championship reserve title for the Fairfield South banner.


In Division B My Mountain Heirs took control to sweep the division. In the qualifier Jeanne Frazer was aboard for a super catch ride and on Saturday owner, Denise Outen, was in the irons to complete the sweep. Reserve championship honors went to CH Riva Diva and Catie Hawley aboard for Donna and Jack Finch with Partagus and Kate Matthews earning the red ribbon in the Division B qualifier for Dr. Kim Blackwell.

The fancy Irish Charisma moved up a notch to garner the tricolor in the 14-17 championship with Madison Bissette under the watchful eye of Mary Ann Harris. The high-headed CH Harlem's Moon Shadow and Jesse Lynch came back to earn the reserve championship title for the Longacre Stables banner. In the qualifier the blue went back to Cricket Hill with the new team of CH Bonnie Buck and Andrew DeGrace.


In the 13 and under division the well-matched team of CH It's Yabba Dabba Doo Time and Allie Wellington made a awesome show to win the championship after a reserve in the qualifier in their first outing together. Winning the qualifier was The Bess Yet and Lizzie Edgar in their only appearance with Lunenburg's Irish Storm and Haley Covert capturing reserve championship honors with an outstanding ride.

Winning the novice rider class was Kalarama Amber and Katie Young with It's The Rage and Elaine Conklin in for reserve. In the amateur owned and trained class Qui Moi and Jessica Simmons took the blue with The Irish Wildman and Dana Harris in for reserve.

The Chesapeake Bay and Austin Hazelwood turned in two great rides to sweep the 12 and under walk and trot division under the direction of Lori and Gordon Ingram. Reserve championship honors went to the veteran performer CH Empress In Black and Rachel Tankersley. In the qualifier Rock The Night and Allison Womack captured the red ribbon and returned for a strong third in the championship.

Really Worth It and Anita Simpson returned with a comeback drive to garner the tricolor under the direction of Danny Keziah at Edgewood. The new team of Sultan's Savannah Anna and Jan Beardsley-Blanco made their entrance into the division winning the qualifier and returning for the reserve championship title. In the qualifier the red ribbon went to CH Harlem's Babe Ruth and Susan Whittington. Winning the ASHAF Youth Show Pleasure Driving Challenge was the well-matched team of Worthy's Just Once and Alexandra Foster.

CH Dr. Deker and Mary Orr had a comeback ride to capture the Three-Gaited Park Pleasure Championship for Margaret and Todd Poovey. Reserve honors went to Beaujolais Nouveau and Brent Jacobs for Liz and Randy Thomas. In the qualifier the young star Memories Of Memphis earned the blue with David Cater for Caroline Rose. Caroline Rose was in the irons to garner a strong third in the junior class in her first appearance with this smart chestnut. Maximilian's Court and Leslie Tickle received the red ribbon in the open qualifier for Platinum Stock Farm. Winning the junior class was the high-headed Man What A Dream with Brooke Jacobs catch riding for Phyllis and Don Brookshire. Reserve went to Thomas Edison and Leslie Tickle for new owner Stephanie Miller. She's Extra Charming and Heather Boodey topped the Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure for Carol Love with Harlem's Sure Thing and Bill Shiflet garnered the red for Anne Holmes.

In the pleasure pony championship Scotty's Lace and Emily Garrity moved up a notch to win the tricolor. In the qualifier the blue went to the flashy combination of Sunkissed Supreme and Megan Barrett. This team returned to earn the reserve championship title. Albelarm Anchor Man and Bronwyn Frank earned the blue in the local pleasure horse class in their move into the three-gaited pleasure division. Finn Maccumhail and Margaret Williams earned reserve.

Country Pleasure

After winning the qualifier VHF Bay All Day and Marie Gwinn returned to top the large Adult Country Pleasure Championship. Moving up several notches the well-motioned Lady Mysterious and Marion Bryan earned the reserve championship title. In the qualifier the red ribbon went to the CH Spike Leigh and Jacqueline Manzo. Winning the amateur owned and trained class was Expectations and Mary Higgs while Commet’s Second Chance and Ashlin Bryan took reserve. In the novice rider the Cricket Hill team of Wicked Whispers and Joseph Webb earned the blue with Valley's Santana Shamrock and Kendall Banks in for reserve for the Tom Sworm banner.

Kaitlin Whatley continued the family winning ways sweeping the 14-17 country pleasure division with her solid performances with Carolina Clay under the direction of Mary Lou and Mark Greenwell. Reserve honors went to the perfectly matched CH Santana's Night Moves and Jane Garrity. In the 13 and under division All I Do Is Dream and Cara Wolf swept the division under the direction of Midge Hunt. Moving out of walk and trot pleasure Kim Mueller scored to reserve titles with Kingwood's On The Heir.

Brenda Kelly was on the lines for Rheanne Greene to sweep the country pleasure driving division with Ro-Day-O under the direction of Carol Addison. 

Marie Gwinn continued her domination in the country pleasure division as she won the Western Country Pleasure Championship with the beautiful Monsignor after an earlier win in the qualifier. The Faithful sisters battled it out for the reserve titles as Sky Lite City and Fahlon Faithful earned the reserve in the championship with Liquid Trust and Tatum Faithful taking home the reserve in the qualifier. LH RAH Roaring Revue and Judith Gandarillas won the Saddle & Bridle's Shatner Western Pleasure with Sky Lite City and Fahlon Faithful earning reserve for Jenny Lovin.  Symbol's Supreme Eclipse won the Hunter Country Pleasure with Holly Henson with LH RAH Roaring Revue and Judith Gandarillas returning for the red ribbon.


Anna Hormann was polished to win three-for-three. Riding Jabez, Hormann executed perfect rail and pattern work to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship as well as the UPHA Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup and Saddle & Bridle's Pleasure Equitation Medallion under the direction of Shadow Run. Emma Nichols aboard CH Worth A Scene was solid to earn the reserve championship title and the UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup title under the direction of Liz McBride-Jones.


Another rider under the direction of Liz McBride-Jones, Allison Gann, proved her skills as she earned the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation and UPHA Walk and Trot Equitation titles aboard Betcha Can. Cagle James earned the red in the UPHA class while newcomer Abby Bailey aboard Leatherwood's Fanfare earned the red in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation class.


Kahla Buthlay earned two reserve titles in the Pleasure Medallion and UPHA Pleasure Equitation in her Cricket Hill-coached debut. Brooke Jacobs was perfect to win the USEF Adult Saddle Seat Medal and the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup aboard her new mount Callaway's Show Me When. Laura Byrd earned the reserve in the USEF Medal under the direction of Liz McBride-Jones.


The Morgan competition featured the season debut for some proven show ring winners, but the major focus of the division was exciting debuts for new teams and young horses. There was no one more excited on the show grounds than Krista Headley as she thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to debut her grand new stallion Tara's Firewalker under saddle. Her smile said it all as she rode the charismatic four-year-old to the Park Saddle Stake victory. Trainer Ken Swanson had previously driven him to a crowd-pleasing win in the Park Harness Stake. Diana Swanson added to the winning Tara Farm banner as she guided the dynamic Med-E-Oka Nobel Prize to the Ladies English Pleasure win.

Krista Dent brings out some wonderful horses at Raleigh each year and this year was no different. CN A Touch Better was quite a site in his show ring return as Dent guided him to the Open English Pleasure blue and tricolor. Owner Sally Lawing was justifiably proud of the bold bay's performances. Sam Garwood and HPS Cool Commotion rode away with the reserve tricolor streamers in the championship.

The Amateur English Pleasure competition saw Debbie Hemingway debut with her fancy WS Our Celebrity Belle to become the victorious celebrities with a blue ribbon along with a tricolor. Captivation Of Foxridge and Beth Kelly carried home the reserve honors in both classes to Martha Perry.

Leah Ling enjoyed a tricolor debut with her new partner Arboria Invictus as they carried the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship back to Tara Farm and proud dad David Ling. 


Krista Dent brought a pair of impressive youngsters for the English pleasure division as well. Claridge Freedom's Spirit earned quite a following as the blaze faced son of War And Peace trotted away with the Junior English Pleasure blue and tricolor for owner/breeders Jim and Bea Tomasello. Legendary & Noble looked just as his name would imply as Dent guided him to the blue ribbon honors in the limit class for Woody Creek Farms Inc.

Ray and Cathy Minard's 21st Century Morgans and trainer Jason Harrell were the toast of the pleasure driving competition. Harrell was on the lines of the always-entertaining JAJ Bel Shashar for a pair of commanding performance to earn the Open Pleasure Driving blue and tricolor. Meanwhile, Leslie Minard enjoyed two great drives with the perky bay John Weslee to earn the Amateur Pleasure Driving top honors.

Mary Daughtry and her sporty Hollybrook Indian Brave collected a trio of reserves to begin the new season including the Amateur Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship. Dan Redman guided Face The Nation to a polished drive to earn the Open Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship honors.

FRF Center Stage and Beth Kelly spent quite a bit of time on center stage as they made a clean sweep of the open and amateur hunter pleasure competition with two blues and two tricolors for Pat Wyatt. WH Masai and Patricia West earned the reserve honors in the open division, while Elizabeth Abernathy rode QM Poseidon to the reserve titles in the amateur competition.

Anika Frank and Battier tipped off their career together with a pair of blue ribbon rides in the Morgan Walk-Trot Pleasure and Equitation competition to the delight of their cheering section.

Gloria Howell enjoyed a winning show ring return as she guided Vicki and Mary Cannon's Bright Leaf’s Cannon Heir to the Open and Amateur Western Pleasure Championships as well as blues in the amateur and junior/limit qualifiers. Fox Hall Mercedes and Patsy Hester teamed up for the Amateur Western Pleasure Reserve Championship along with blues in the amateur/owner and ladies qualifiers. Hollybrook Sudden Impact and Beth Kelly rounded out the division with the open blue for Mary Daughtry.

June Davis and Coalition Royal Billing started off the new season just where they left off as they made a clean sweep of the Classic Pleasure Saddle and Driving competition earning a pair of blues and tricolors. Laura Austin and RAM Wham Bam Precision had a strong cheering section as they earned the reserve ties in the classic saddle qualifier and championship. It was the sporty Hollybrook Independence and Cathy Minard who drove away with the Classic Pleasure Driving Reserve Championship.

Julia Haggerty and MLF Glory Bound earned a trip down victory lane as the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Champions with a winning assist from trainer Ken Swanson. RGR Goldfinger and Madison Pleasant collected the qualifier blue along with the reserve tricolor honors.


Saturday afternoon belonged to the Academy riders with a large and strong group of competitors from riding programs all over the Carolinas and Virginias. Winning top ribbons in their divisions were: Judy Matthews, Kari Lawson, Alexis Daigneault, Sandy Johnson, Chris Wisdom, Nikki Krings, Emily Peele, Ruth Major, Brandi Crouch, Katie Owen, Tiffany Hager, Kinsey Broome, Lauren MacPhearson, Kaitlin Wakefield, Monique Hall, Ara Pearson, London Dixon, Abby Tomlin, Tina Johnson, Aimee Taylor, Carly Maynard, Raven Green, Alex Gerber, Taylor Bernstein, Elizabeth Harris, Cashlyn Coburn, Emily Oyler, Caitlin Anderson, Kayla Wilson, Jamie Bo Lucas, Lauren Allen, Monica Walsh, Bridget Hannigan, Kelsey Warhover, Rachel Payne, Jazmine Jones, Jessica Jones, Abigail Hamilton, Stephanie Brackett, Taylor Cooley, Megan Garrison, Lissie Vining, Alex Powell, Camile Russell, Bethany Outen, Kelly Wooten, Kayla Wilson, Caitlin Anderson, Madison Hunt, Rylie McCabe and Jade Schweickert.

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