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Morgan Champions Compete On Top Of The Rockies

by Diana Davidson

DENVER, Colo.- The Circle J Regional Morgan Horse Show hosted its 48th annual edition on July 5-9, 2006, at the National Western Complex. The competition for AMHA Region 9 and Top Of The Rockies Championships featured stables from throughout the Region 9 states of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Utah, as well as those from California, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas and Ohio. The Denver Mounted Patrol was once again the beneficiary of Circle J.

In addition to the show ring activities, Circle J featured numerous parties and special events to entertain exhibitors. The activities started off on Tuesday evening with another wonderful welcome party hosted by owners David and Cindy Vogels and manager Patty Miller at nearby Andover Farm.

Wednesday was centered around the future of our breed as the youth enjoyed a horse bowl, pizza party and youth contest under the direction of Kate Edmonds. Thanks to generous sponsors, Erik Jensen, Frank Kugeler, Michael and Dawn Wade, Maryanne Fox, Martin and Barbara Cockriel, Hartmeyer Saddlery, Dana’s Doodles, Saddle Horse Report, Crazy Horse Tack & Gift Shop, USEF, Wild Horse Feathers, Breyer, Wrangler and The Kentucky Horse Park, along with Judges Monty Kugeler and Joyce Swanson the day was a huge success. The Youth Of The Year Contest featured senior division champion Lisa Wermuth and reserve champion Brianna Schauer, junior division champion Kristen Wade and reserve champion Megan Worley and walk-trot division champion Lauren Wade and reserve champion Cassidy Troup.

World Champion Brief Encounter showed the heart of a true champion as he enjoyed the applause of his fans in his final goodbye on Thursday evening during his official retirement and a party in his honor hosted by Ridgewood Farm at The River’s Edge (see separate online story dated July 18).

Friday night's session was dedicated to the Circle J Yearling Futurity Championship. The evening got underway at the In-Gate Club located above the in-gate where the Circle J Futurity Reception was held. This was followed by the main event, the crowning of the 2006 Circle J Yearling Futurity Champions where $57,000 was awarded (see separate article). Friday night ended with plenty of merrymaking at the memorable 2006 edition of the Circle J Progressive Barn Party. This gave exhibitors the chance to visit while sampling the delicacies offered.

A large group turned out for the AMHA/USEF Rules Forum run by Ellen DiBella and the Circle J annual meeting under the direction of John Aranda on Saturday afternoon. Exhibitors once again gathered following Saturday night's championship session as numerous stables toasted their 2006 Circle J Champions as well as birthday boy Dick Jeffery.

Circle J President and Show Chairman John Aranda and Show Manager Patty Miller remained at the helm of Circle J as they work tirelessly to promote the show and encourage participation throughout and outside the region. Together with a hard-working group of show committee members, volunteers and officials, they banded together to put on a fine horse show that will hopefully work its way into the show schedule of more barns. Show Secretary Kelly McFaul maintained her position to the delight of exhibitors. The remainder of the show officials included Barbara Arkin (steward), Larry Handy (announcer), Del Slaugh (farrier), Pat Thompson (ringmaster), Anne Mears (ribbons and trophies), Bill Amen (stabling), Kendra McConnell (paddock) and Casey McBride (photographer).

Highlighting this year’s judging panel were Bernard Parker (Park Saddle, Park Harness, English Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Classic Pleasure, Futurity In Hand, Stallions and Mares In Hand and Roadster); Jane Morrell (Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Equitation, Carriage, Futurity In Hand, Geldings In Hand and Hunter/Jumper); Scott Thacker (Futurity In Hand); and Suzanne Zimmer (Dressage).

The show ring highlights of the Circle J Regional Championship competition follow. Complete results can be found by clicking SHOW RESULTS.



While the park division continued the trend of small classes, the caliber of the horses competing was grand. Circle J was the site of the highly anticipated debut of Lookaway’s High Roller for owner Deborah Phelan under The River’s Edge banner. The impressive son of Arboria Top Gun and Serenity Kimberly did not disappoint as Mary Cockriel rode him to the Four-Year-Old Park Saddle blue and closed out the show with a bang earning the Top Of The Rockies Park Saddle Championship.

The Real Deal returned to owner Bill and Connie Myers’ home state of Colorado to trot away with the Top Of The Rockies Park Harness Championship as well as the qualifier blue with a pair of dynamic performances, guided by Gerry Rushton. Rushton introduced another bright young star in Song Of The South, a fancy two-year-old, who topped the UPHA Park Harness Classic.

English Pleasure

The Top Of The Rockies English Pleasure Championship saw Sublime Faith and Kate Edmonds continue their victorious season as they added the tricolor to The River’s Edge banner. Following a blue ribbon ride in the stallion/gelding class, RLH Paint The Town Red and Rob Marsh collected the reserve tricolor for Bruce and Jean Beckman.

Kay Schroeder and her elegant Cadence Jasmine teamed up for a pair of lovely rides under the direction of Phil Fountain and Sandy Sessink to earn the ladies blue and tricolor. Anne Ebbert matched up with Kristin King’s white trimmed Total Recall for the reserve honors.

Last year’s junior championship team of Queen's Johnny Angel and owner/rider Monty Kugeler moved up to the amateur division this year to earn the blue ribbon and tricolor honors.

Cedar Creek Ungaro and Emily Orthwein made another bold showing to collect the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship for the second year in a row coached by Ronda Collins. It was a tricolor sweep for Collins as the new team of Ready To Rumble and Hailey Jones earned the reserve honors following a blue ribbon debut ride in the 14-17 qualifier.

Kristen Wade and AMHF Double Miss C continued a winning debut season that included a victory pass in the Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 and Under.

Ryenn Johns added to a top winning show as she introduced former roadster champion HVK Stradivarius to a winning team debut in the Walk-Trot English Pleasure under the Peeper Ranch banner.

Former Breeder Sweepstakes Champion Ultras Spirit Of Play continued her winning ways as breeder/owner Stephen Smith rode her to the Junior English Pleasure Championship following a blue ribbon ride in the four-year-old class. AMHF Junes Star collected the reserve honors as well as a trip to the winner’s circle in the limit class with Margaret Thompson in the irons for Catherine Cole.

Pleasure Driving

This year's Top Of The Rockies Pleasure Driving Championship featured Colorado favorite and World Champion TRE Master Of Disguise closing out a great season debut at Circle J as the champion. Bob Kellert guided Deborah Phelan’s Stonecroft Masquerade son to the tricolor following a blue ribbon drive in the four-year-old qualifier. Christopher Rushton stepped up his charismatic Kingsgrove Copyright for the reserve tricolor performance following a winning drive in the junior exhibitor class.

Bob Kellert teamed Monty Kugeler’s handsome Queen’s Johnny Angel to the victory in the Pleasure Driving Stallion/Gelding class in addition to his winning saddle performances. Ultras Spirit Of Play also added a blue ribbon in the Pleasure Driving Mares to her winning rides with Stephen Smith.

Vegas Valley Morgans brought a trio of entertaining pleasure driving stars to Circle J. Elaine Galatz and CPM Man Oh Man teamed up for a pair of stellar drives in the amateur division to earn the blue and tricolor awards. Leesa Galatz matched up with the elegant Medomak Lady Of Fortune to collect the qualifier and championship honors in the ladies division, and gave son Ryan an introduction to the show ring as he accompanied her on the victory pass. Meanwhile, Lady Of Fortune’s son VVM Just The Ticket, sired by HVK Bell Flaire, starred in his debut as the Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Stallion/Gelding winner with Harold Angell on the lines.

RMW Free Rein showed off his dynamic style as Bob Kellert directed the white trimmed Charles and Martine Buller entry to the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship. Grand Champion Gelding PSC Gabriel proved he had the talent to go along with his good looks as Phil Fountain drove the Pamela Curry Siemers entry to the reserve tricolor.

Kingsgrove Dynasty put on a pair of stylish drives to earn the Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving blue over a fine field of five and returned to top the UPHA Pleasure Driving Classic. Gerry Rushton guided the Stonecroft Byzantine son for Dolores Nickel.

Bob Kellert continued with his string of entertaining youngsters as MWR Myskinetics added the Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Championship to a tricolor show for owners Charles and Martine Buller. Gerry Rushton added to his string of grand youngsters for Lorraine Bumb as GLB Amazing Grace followed her dam GLB Perfect Harmony as Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Mare winner and reserve champion in her debut show.

In Hand

The Wednesday evening session got the show underway with all of the in hand divisions taking center stage. The Mares In Hand were first to shine as RWF Over The Rainbow struck a winning pose as she undoubtedly felt right at home on center stage. Bob Kellert was on the lead of the Centerpiece daughter as she posed at the head of the class as Yearling Filly winner, Junior Champion Mare and ultimately Grand Champion Mare for Jay Kleiber and Julie Ouska of Ridgewood Farm along with co-owner Richard Phillips. The Rancho Rio Grande breeding program brought out some promising youngsters including Two-Year-Old Mare winner RRG Ms. Promiscuous who went on to be named Reserve Junior and Reserve Grand Champion Mare with Ralph Stuart III presenting.

The Senior Mare division included some top winning entries as well. It was Legendary Alexa Leigh who posed for the Senior Champion Mare honors as Phil Fountain handled the lead of the three-year-old winner for JD and Sue Symer. Ultras Spirit Of Play started off a winning week with the Four-Year-Old Mare blue and went on to be named Reserve Senior Champion Mare prior to numerous performance wins with Stephen Smith.

Phil Fountain was right back on the tricolor lead of the Grand Champion Gelding as PSC Gabriel strutted his stuff following the three and four-year-old blue for Pamela Curry Siemers. Judith Caldwell's Rancho Rio Grande breeding program saw the son of Astronomicallee and Irresistiblee, RRG Shiraz collect the Two and Under Geldings blue as well as Reserve Grand Champion Gelding honors with Ralph Stuart.

The stallions closed out the session in grand fashion. A pair of impressive yearling colts started things off. It was RWF Noble Peace who showed the influence of his sire Centerpiece as he topped the yearling class and went on to be named Junior Champion Stallion and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. Bob Kellert handled the lead for Charles and Martine Buller’s Fortress Crest Morgans. Irresistiblee produced another young star for Judith Caldwell as RRG MacNamara was named Reserve Junior Champion Stallion with Ralph Stuart guiding the Stonecroft Byzantine son.

Circle J was the site of the season debut of World Champion TRE Master Of Disguise. The regal Stonecroft Masquerade son showed off his good looks and show ring presence to sweep the Four-Year-Old, Senior and Grand Champion Stallion honors as owner Deborah Phelan cheered on her impressive youngster to the honors under the direction of The River's Edge. Kingsgrove Dynasty continued a tricolor night for the get of Stonecroft Byzantine as Gerry Rushton led the three-year-old winner to the Reserve Senior Champion Stallion honors for Dolores Nickel.

Classic Pleasure

AMHF Absolut Mystery was a popular winner for Debra Hurst Walters as the Classic Pleasure Saddle Champion after Allison Bendele loaned her riding talents in a winning catch-ride in the qualifier. All About Eve has made a tricolor show ring return for Lauren Fischer as they completed a tricolor sweep for The River’s Edge.

Amabayus and Bailey Bartley enjoyed a stellar season debut in Bailey’s first show cantering. They collected the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle blue and tricolor to add to their collection of top honors at Peeper Ranch.

RRG C-Quin made one final victory pass for Judith Caldwell, as the mare was purchased during the show by the Lindeberg family of The Cottonwoods. Lynn Begalla was on the lines of the Nicoria daughter for the Classic Pleasure Driving Mares win.

Western Pleasure

Maximum Pepper enjoyed a return trip to the summit as the Top Of The Rockies Western Pleasure Champion, a title he first won in 2004. Teri Rickford was aboard for a pair of tricolor rides as they also topped the ladies championship as well as the stallion/gelding qualifier for the Lindeberg family. Kelly Kraegel introduced Jean Louise Finch to the show ring at Circle J where they won the limit class and went on to collect the Open Western Pleasure Reserve Championship for Kristin Safanie.

Under the direction of Kelly Kraegel, Christina Willer and JMF Sugar Bear jogged away with the Ladies Western Pleasure Reserve Championship. Joyce Swanson and her sleek black Split Mt Melody collected a matching pair of blue ribbons in the ladies and mares classes. Chris Rickford continued the blue ribbon streak for Rickford Stables as he guided Barbara and Anton Nesse’s Be My Prince William to the gentlemen’s blue over a competitive field of six entries.

Evil Knievel was a frequent visitor to the winner's circle again this year with the mother and daughter team of Gina and Lauren Little sharing the riding honors. Gina and the polished chestnut earned the amateur blue and tricolor while Lauren finished out the show with the junior exhibitor tricolor following the 13 and under win. John Aranda enjoyed a smooth and steady ride aboard Mai Wisdom’s copper chestnut Canabar Kokopelli to earn the Amateur Western Pleasure Reserve Championship. It was a tricolor sweep for the chestnuts in the amateur and junior exhibitor ranks as Katie O’Meara paired up with Bold Eden to earn the junior exhibitor 14-17 blue and the reserve tricolor.

Ryenn Johns and Merriehill Rhythm Nation were picture perfect in their Walk-Jog Western Pleasure win for Mary Holloway.

The get of Stonecroft Byzantine continued a tricolor show of versatility as Briar Oaks Frisky Byzness and Kelly Kraegel jogged away with the Junior Western Pleasure Championship as well as the four-year-old blue for Toni and Denny Maunder. Dale Rickford and RRG Ignite fired up for the reserve tricolor for Dean and Valerie Francis in the large and competitive field.

Jerry and Donna O’Neil added a bright new star to their list of western pleasure winners as former Circle J Yearling Futurity Reserve Champion AMHF Fidelio returned to the winner’s circle in the Three-Year-Old Western Pleasure guided by Jennifer Chowning.

Hunter Pleasure

The Hunter Pleasure division featured some of the largest and most competitive classes of the week. A jubilant Mallory Mignot rode away with the Top Of The Rockies Hunter Pleasure Championship as Grand National Champion HVK Proud Nobility earned the honors for Anne Mears following a pair of blue ribbon rides in the stallion/gelding and ladies classes as well as the ladies reserve championship. SPR Patriot and Kathy Shorten stepped up from a winning performance in the four-year-old class to challenge the open division where they came away with the reserve tricolor for Stove Prairie Ranch.

The Hunter Pleasure Mares blue also went back to the Mears Morgans banner as Crown B Special and Mallory Mignot made the victory pass for Brian Peterson. Celia Maerten did the honors for Mears Morgans in the Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship as LR Ami Sultan bested the field after they teamed up for the 18-28 qualifier blue. Bold Allante and Donna O’Neill picked up the reserve amateur championship but did one better in the ladies division where they earned the championship honors. Monty Kugeler and her smooth striding Nothin But Class earned a trip down victory lane as they earned the amateur 29 and over win.


Abigail Rogers and RBC Callie started off a great Saturday afternoon by earning the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Championship over an outstanding field of entries. Last year’s tricolor team of Delaware's Shadow Dancer and Alana Little earned the reserve tricolor followed by twin sister Lauren Little with Whistler’s Endeavor. The qualifiers saw RBC Callie top the 14-17 with Delaware's Shadow Dancer besting the 13 and under class.

Ryenn Johns and Merriehill Rhythm Nation showed off their versatile style earning the top honors in the Walk-Trot Hunter Pleasure coached by Sandy Sessink.

It took talent as well as a bit of luck for Lucky Strike to earn the Junior Hunter Pleasure Championship as well as the UPHA Hunter Pleasure Classic as Kelly Kraegel guided the Dragonsmeade Farm entry who is trained by Peeper Ranch. Twin Peak Checkmate and Stephanie Flutie made the right moves to earn the reserve junior tricolor as well as the novice blue for Linda Huston. Flintwood Starlet added to a blue ribbon banner at Mears Morgans earning matching blues in the three-year-old and novice classes with Mallory Mignot piloting.


Sisters Kristen and Lauren Wade displayed their winning riding skills in front of their fan club in
Denver. Kristen paired up with AMHF Double Miss C to earn the Saddle Seat Equitation honors. Lauren showed poise and ring mastership to top a field of five in the Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation matched with Intrepid Sir Pepper.

Bailey Bartley had a large group of supporters on hand as she performed her first-ever individual workout to earn the Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Championship as well as the qualifier blue with Amabayus.

World Champion Lauren Little was unbeatable in equitation as well as pleasure matched with Evil Knievel. Kelly Kraegel greeted them in the winner's circle following the Western Seat Equitation Championship and the 13 and under qualifier as part of Lauren’s share of the High Point Junior Exhibitor Award. They were followed in both by Samantha Winsett, who jogged away with the AMHA Western Seat Medal. Katie O'Meara added to a winning show aboard Bold Eden as she picked up the 14-17 blue coached by Joyce Swanson.

Ryenn Johns and Merriehill Rhythm Nation showed off their style and versatility earning matching blues in the Walk-Trot Hunt and Western Seat classes as part of Ryenn’s share of the High Point Junior Exhibitor Award.

Abigail Rogers finished off a memorable Saturday afternoon by riding RBC Callie to the Hunt Seat Equitation Championship over a competitive field of seven riders. They also earned the victory pass in the 14-17 qualifier. Brianna Schauer collected the reserve tricolor following an impressive win in the AMHA Hunt Seat Medal. Alana Little added the Hunt Seat Equitation 13 and Under blue to a fine show.

Sunday’s AMHA Dressage Medal saw Kevin Schauer earn the top score. Jessica Shaffer struck a winning pose in the Showmanship class.


The versatility of the Morgan breed was on display at Circle J. Alison Bendele fulfilled her need for speed as she guided RRG Margarita across the finish line to the Roadster To Bike Championship as well as the amateur blue with a pair of crowd-pleasing performances.

Mallory Mignot and LR Ami Sultan enjoyed a fun-filled ride for top honors in the Road Hack class for Anne Mears. Be My Magic Moment and Barbara Nesse made a clean sweep of the Carriage Driving division. KAM Flash Fire and Margaret McNulty leapt for a trio of blues on the way to the High Point Hunter Award. The Jumper division featured Mallory Mignot and LR Amie Savior Faire earning the High Point Award as well as a trio of blues for Anne Mears.

The dressage classes were held on Sunday with the High Point Dressage Awards presented to Training Level Champion Grayfair's Epic NChanter and First Level Champion River Song Crescendo. Other top scoring dressage entries included; TJR Destiny’s Tiara, Swan’s Diamond Rio, Maestro’s Sonata, JJF Point In Time, Fortune’s Nightingale and Devictor Windsor Cruz.

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