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MGM Spring Opens Madison Stretch



by Bob Funkhouser

MADISON, Wis. - The first of the back-to-back shows in Madison, Wis., was held May 15-18 and with the noticeable absence of a few local barns that have been longtime supporters, the MGM Spring Show wasn’t the best edition in its long and storied tenure. With its roots in Milwaukee, the MGM (Milwaukee Goes To Madison) Spring moved to Madison after having continuous problems with the facility in Milwaukee. This year, it seems that a few of the regulars opted for the Great River show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, citing facility concerns at MGM, namely no indoor place to warm up.

MGM Show Manager Cheryl Rangel reported that there was a suggestion at this year’s show that one of the front barns across from the annex show ring be converted to an indoor warm up area and the idea met with great enthusiasm among the trainers present.

"It’s something were going to look into," said Rangel. "We moved the Sunday starting time back so people could get home earlier and made some other changes that trainers had requested but with horses being down I feel like we failed somewhere. It’s been a beautiful weekend and the horses that were here made good shows."

Rangel had Brent Jacobs as her judge, Vicky Holston as her show secretary, Jackie Everson assistant show secretary, John Frye ringmaster, John Owens announcer, Rick Osteen photographer, Jeremiah Sprague farrier and Dr. Hank Clemmons veterinarian.

The annex show ring at Madison does have a drawback or two, namely working/warm up space. But at the same time the facility provides an unique atmosphere in which exhibitors can visit by the picnic stables, watch horses warm up and still take in the show. Since the seating in the annex is limited, it makes it feel like a crowd and when horses are putting on a good show, it can get noisy with fan reaction. The morning hospitality and Saturday night exhibitors’ party on the grounds also go a long way to make this an enjoyable experience for all.


The MBA Equestrian group gathered around Pat McConnell and Five-Gaited Grand Champion Marquis Spirit.

Looking at the show ring competition, Pat McConnell and MBA Equestrians had a good week, including McConnell’s tricolor ride aboard Carole Bart’s Marquis Spirit in the Five-Gaited Championship where Sarah Thordsen and her new project, Sensational Charm, were reserve.

Ladies qualifying winner Kenya Ketch Me and Linda Goodrich topped the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship ahead of Jane Kiel and Liquid Ice. Cat Ballou and Dr. Lisa Nesson went home with the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier.

World’s Champion Of Champions CH Harlem’s Hot Ticket started off winning the Open Five-Gaited class with Neva Van Ess before taking reserve in the junior exhibitor qualifier and then the tricolor streamers in the junior exhibitor championship with Nick Neviaser in the irons. Junior exhibitor qualifying winners Brittany Baird and CF Night At The Castle wound up reserve grand champions.

It was good to see the Minnesota influence from Jay Wood’s West Wood Stables. He presented Lady Leah for Peter and Catherine Radintz to win the Novice Five-Gaited class. Peter Archer and Benelli were tops in the junior class as was Pat McConnell with the homebred MBA’s The Powers That Be in the UPHA Classic.

Dr. Morgan Wolin and Audrey Hepburn had the ring to themselves as the Ladies Three-Gaited Grand Champions from the Ray Krussell Stables. John Willis put Elizabeth Pinkerton and Bubblegum in the winner’s circle of the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship ahead of Nancy Berger and SJ Denmark’s Geronimo.

Top prize in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship went to the Lance Hayes Stables with Kelsey Schanke and Champagne Reve making the victory pass just as they did in the qualifier. Hannah Love and CH Nic Nac Caramac were twice reserve.

Presenting for Willis and Klint, John Willis rode Miracle On Times Square to the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic blue.

One of the stars of championship night, JB’s Hope N Pray turned on the expression and captured the Three-Gaited Park Championship with Lance Hayes riding the open class winner for LaForce and Henemann. Rusty Grundy’s In My Sight trotted out with the reserve championship.


Sara Van Galder catch rode CH Day's Grecian Gray to win the Amateur Park Championship.

Filling in for Michelle Krentz who was covering the Great River Benefit for Saddle Horse Report, Sara Van Galder rode Day’s Grecian Gray to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship and qualifier. Stacy Wessel and Royal Crest’s Rockin The Town were twice reserve.

Open Fine Harness winner Alicia Silverstone marched a big trot all the way to the Fine Harness Championship with Pat McConnell driving the I’m A New Yorker daughter for owner/breeder MBA Equestrians. Amateur winner Oban put on another good show with Samantha Conlin making a sharp drive under the direction of Jay Wood.

McConnell was back in the buggy with MBA’s Royal Shadow Phax, another homebred who took the UPHA Fine Harness Classic. Eric Griedl presented Mojito for reserve honors.


John Willis put Ted Klint and Regal's Lady Bess LF in the winner's circle of the Amateur Road Pony Championship.

Representing the John Willis Stables, Ted Klint and Regal’s Lady Bess LF turned on the speed to be named Amateur Road Pony Grand Champions and qualifying winners. Ryan Vogt and Daddy’s Little Girl came from a reserve in the AHHS Medallion to take reserve honors. They were uncontested in the Road Pony Championship.

Versatile Ashley Baird showed In A Heartbeat to win both the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony class and the Road Pony Under Saddle class. Daddy’s Little Girl and Vogt were reserve in both.

Longtime supporters of the pony division in Wisconsin, Riverview Stables had Tommy Hilfiger winning the Hackney Pony Championship, open and amateur class with Bob Richards at the whip. Richards also drove Final Answer to the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship and qualifying blue. Marilou Wilschke and Wonmore Diamond Legacy held reserve honors in the pleasure division.

The tanbark did fly in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship as My Peeper Ann and Brittany Baird burned up the ring for Toni Nastali. Winner of the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure class over My Pepper Ann and three others, Liz Schultz and The Evangelist returned to La Fleur Stables with the reserve grand championship.


Liz Schultz and The Evangelist were among the winners in the gaited pleasure division.

Keeping the winning ribbons on the MBA tack room, Dr. Kyla Tremper and Reedann’s Top Notch topped the Adult Five-Gaited Pleasure class as Ally Kopf rode The Evangelist for Liz Schultz to take home the reserve prize.

Megan Schultz and Hollywood Electra were two for two in the park pleasure division as Scott Matton rode Steel In A Dream to take the Junior Park Pleasure class. Top money in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic went to Sharon Worzalla aboard Deep Impact.

Ray Krussell had the first of two good weeks for his stock. Ms Betty Grable and Dr. Morgan Wolin were in command of the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 39 & Over Championship just as they had been in the qualifier. Miss Showboat and Barbara Erdmann were reserve grand champions.

The tricolor from the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 18-39 Championship went home with Royal Crest Farms as Stacy Wessel and Royal Crest’s Stone Design turned in the winning performance. The Tyler Rose and Emily Doll won the first round and Jennifer Corcoran’s Rock The Casbah were twice reserve.


Alicia Sacotte and CH Fine By Me were on the money as the 14-17 Show Pleasure Grand Champions.

A tried and true champion on the Midwest circuit, CH Fine By Me was at it again, winning the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 Championship and qualifier for owner/rider Alicia Sacotte. The Baird sisters (Brittany and Ashley) respectively finished second and third in the championship aboard Molly O’Donnell and CH Star Spangled Steel.


Nick Neviaser and CH Harlem's Hot Ticket were a hot number in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship.

The best of the best in the 13 & under show pleasure division was the Kris Martalock trained CH Laguardia with Eva Heniges aboard. They started with the novice rider blue. Winners of the 11-13 qualifier, The Mystery Machine and Nick Neviaser were reserve grand champions. Sarah Gilbertson and Hometown Commander saw blue in the 10 & under class, while Samantha Schaefer and CH Simbara’s Samba Jamba rode down victory lane in the Walk & Trot Pleasure class.

Other three-gaited show pleasure action found Gretchen Bentz and Turn Up The Heir ahead in the Wisconsin owned class; Sarah Heil and Perazzi on top in the novice class; and Demi’s Dark Design in the winner’s circle of the junior class.

Debuting this year with a set of harness and a pleasure driving cart behind him, Gigolo Joe looked right at home as the Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion and reserve qualifying winner for owner/driver Toni Nastali. The Pat McConnell trained champion was the best of a good class which included qualifying winners Terra Herale and My Tahiti Sweetheart as the reserve grand champions, among others. Jean Wood and Breve Latte had the place to themselves as the Junior Pleasure Driving winners.


Beth Krueger and Pierre Cardin turned back all challengers in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship.

Beth Krueger and Shelagh Roell traded places in the Country Pleasure Championship and 39 & over qualifier. From La Fleur Stables, Krueger and Pierre Cardin made the tricolor victory pass while Roell and Highpoint’s Gentleman Dandy wore the blue prize to begin the weekend. Stephanie Chatham was aboard CH Callaway’s Don’t Panic to win the 18-38 qualifier and novice rider blue.


Lindsay Kellner was busy showing in several divisions including country pleasure with junior exhibitor grand champion Crimson's Dance Card.

Judge Jacobs liked Lindsay Kellner and Crimson’s Dance Card in both the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Brittany Baird and Crimson Blue were his second choice in both appearances. Baird also had a winning ride with Future Vision in the Novice Country Pleasure class as did Narin Avci and Matisse in the Wisconsin owned event.

Catch driver Mike Bletsoe guided CH Hard Day’s Night TS to the Country Pleasure Driving Championship for Tillman Stables. Saddle & Bridle’s Brendan Heintz provided the winning catch drive in the qualifier. Judith Manning and Kourageous Genius Supreme moved up a notch for reserve grand champion honors.

Tracey Mitchell and CH Royal Crest’s Black Marble scored twice to take the Country Western Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Toni Nastali and Harlem’s Mojo jogged off with the reserve grand championship. Sue Honkamp and In The Zone saw blue in the Shatner competition while Barbara Southgate and Champagne’s Treasure were on top in the junior/novice western class.

A Country Hunter Pleasure blue went the way of Magic’s Royal Gift and April Cuthbertson.

Equitation numbers really suffered this week. Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion Meaghan MacQueen was among the saddle seat winners who also included Samantha Schaefer, Loretta Mulberry, Dr. Morgan Wolin and Sue Leonard.

Pleasure equitation was a little better for participation. La Fleur Stables’s Gretchen Bentz was the grand champion and 14-17 winner. Reserve grand champion Alison Schuh also won the 13 & under class. Rounding out the MGM Spring Show competition, Alicia Sacotte and Corie Allen also won pleasure equitation blues.


Todd Valentine and Sammy Jo Galica sparred between classes.

A few people went home, a few stayed and the grounds transformed in anticipation of next week’s Madison Classic which would be held in the Alliant Energy Coliseum right down the hill.

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