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Morgan Grand National Kicks Off With A Bang

Sunday Coliseum

Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the Grand National, enthusiasts from shore to shore, Canada and Great Britain were ringside for the time-honored tradition of evaluating the ultimate in Morgan type to open the show. The in hand competition sets the tone for the week as the future stars are presented among the household names of the breed.

For the breeders, trainers, owners, and judges it is a delicate balancing act trying to be open minded to improve the horses that make it to the ring, yet at the same time keep the longstanding characteristics, which separate the Morgan from other show breeds. This year featured a group of yearlings sweeping the Junior World Champion titles and in the end the stallion of stallions turned out to be a product of six World Champion In Hand titles to keep a strong tie to the past. Harold Angell, Woody Henry, and Bernard Parker were charged with determining the 2003 champions.

The first Grand National title of 2003 went to the same trainer that won the first blue last year. Tom Johnson presented the Bourbon Street son, Arboria Gold Coast, to win the Grand National Yearling Gelding title for Arboria Morgans. Reserve among the eight entries went to the Stephen Smith entry Ultras Special Delivery (Ultra's Special Agent x Ultras Body Language).

Numbers were light in the next few classes with New England Grand Champion Gelding RJMF Fortune Teller defeating one other two-year-old to bring a Grand National cooler home for trainer Mark Wahl and proud owners and breeders Robert and Jean Morgan. The well-made son of Nostradamus and Yellow Iris Spring topped an athletic son of Carlyle Upper Caisse named HDP Noble Warrior. Damian Hyde was the handler for Tina Lessnau and Paula Messier.

Producing many champion performers over the past few decades Arbora Morgans added the 2003 Junior World Champion Gelding title to their rich heritage. Tom Johnson stood up Arboria Gold Coast to receive the roses, cooler, and tricolor streamers. Reserve to the yearling RJMF Fortune Teller was crowned Reserve Junior World Champion for the Wahl/Morgan team.

The Junior World Champion Gelding of 2002, Raintree Picasso (Nobility x FCF Lalique) wore the winning ribbon from the Grand National Three-Year-Old Gelding competition. John Hufferd showed Picasso to a unanimous decision for longtime breeder Barb Rudicel. Pierre Loiselle and FRF Rock Steady provided the competition for a reserve finish.

Unfortunately, two entries were all that showed up for the Four-Year-Old Gelding class as well. It wasn't the winner's fault that the class was light so CPM Man Oh Man put on a performance worthy of a Grand National title. Mike Carpenter showed the son of Man About Town LPS and CPM Ariel for Dan and Leslie Kelley just as he did last year when he won the three-year-old title and the Reserve World Champion Gelding honors. The royal blood of HVK Bell Flaire and Schiaparelli flowed through the veins of Reserve Grand National Four-Year-Old Gelding Bellisima who was shown by Judy Whitney Harris and Ernesto Chavolla for Barbara and Arthur Jones.

A strong group of 5 & Over Geldings made it to the coliseum ring for a shot at the Grand National title. Of the 12 entries, the 2002 and 2001 winners were a part of the mix and they ended up first and second. Winning last year for Fire Run Farm, HVK Flash Back (Noble Flaire x Rapidan Jessica) was crowned the champion with Dan Ramsour presenting for Bill and Kathy Papola’s Baccarat Farms. Winner of the title in '01, SMS Imagine That, a son of HRH Image Command and Mandalay, was the reserve champion for Mike Goebig and owner Jessica Smeed.

Just a few minutes later HVK Flash Back was standing in the winner's circle again as the World Champion Senior Gelding. The veteran performer was followed by the four-year-old winner CPM Man Oh Man. Dan Ramsour and Mike Carpenter were the winning trainers.

After a five minute break the best of the junior and senior classes were brought back for one final look. The judges were in total agreement for the results in this round. Taking three classes in a row, Baccarat Farms,’ HVK Flash Back and Dan Ramsour were the unanimous choice for World Champion Gelding honors giving the first of the big three to the west coast. Also unanimous, the New England team of Mike Carpenter and CPM Man Oh Man wore the Reserve World Champion ribbon from the ring for Dan and Leslie Kelley.

Following a nice break it was time for the girls to take over the ring for the afternoon with 11 yearling fillies first on the schedule. The state of Michigan did quite well in this one as Mark and Melissa Wahl showed the first and second place winners. The Grand National title was bestowed upon the blue blooded SPR Music By Starlight. A daughter of Park Saddle World Champion Liberation First Star and World Champion Mare Ultras Formal Request, Music By Starlight was purchased in utero from Stove Prairie Ranch and now wears the title of Grand National Yearling Filly Champion for Wahl and owner Susan Overstreet. The Wahls also presented Reserve Grand National Yearling Filly WWW Virtual Reality for Dale Nielson.

Winner of $50,000 as a yearling at the Circle J Futurity, DreamMaster Anjelica (Chandel Absolut x KVA Empress) topped six others for the Grand National Two-Year-Old Mare honors. It was a unanimous decision for trainer Tim Roesink and the Evans family's JME Morgans. Consistently earning tricolor honors, Aljaks Miss Ladeeda represented her successful sire, Aljaks Double Whammy, as the reserve champion for John Hufferd and owner Wendy Penn.

The yearling filly SPR Music By Starlight came back to wear the roses as World Champion Junior Mare. Again Mark and Melissa Wahl made the winning presentation for Susan Overstreet. They were followed by DreamMaster Anjelica and Tim Roesink, who was assisted by his father Ron, for the reserve world champion presentation.

Having already won New England's Grand Champion Mare title this year, last year's World Champion Mare Queen's Victorian Lady started the afternoon with a win in the Grand National Three-Year-Old Mare competition. David Rand modeled the exquisite daughter of Mizrahi and Queen's Tiffany to a unanimous decision for Queen's River Farm. Damian Hyde presented his second Reserve Grand National Champion of the day as HDP Warrior Princess was second to Queen's Victorian Lady. Warrior Princess was another talented offspring of Carlyle Upper Caisse.

Titles seemed to alternate between the east and west coasts and at the top of the judge's cards in the Four-Year-Old Mare class was Morgan Medallion Grand Champion Mare Long Acres Broadway. A daughter of World Champion Tug Hill Whamunition, Long Acres Broadway was a star with Robert Hughes on the lead for Jeanine and Robert Armada. An elegant winner in the show ring since she was two, City Limits (Man About Town LPS x Salem Kristine) was the Reserve Grand National Champion for Lynn Peeples and the Brown/Klein family.

Now it was time for the East Coast stars to be back in the spotlight as Jaisen von Ballmoos and Annie Anderson presented Connecticut Morgan's Grand Champion Mare, R Noble American Pie, to take a unanimous Grand National 5 & Over Mare title for longtime breeder Raymond Noble. The reserve award was also unanimous and it went to Ms Dinah Might, a daughter of Tug Hill Whamunition and Boston Debutante shown by Yvonne Sekyra for Karen and Richard Rosini.

Robert Hughes and four-year-old champion, Long Acres Broadway were back on center stage wearing the roses of the World Champion Senior Mare. She had gone head to head with last year's champions Queen's Victorian Lady and David Rand. The West Coast won out this year as Hughes and Long Acres Broadway went on to World Champion Mare honors for the Armada family. Queen's Victorian Lady displayed her beauty and style to accept this year’s accolades as Reserve Senior World Champion Mare and Reserve World Champion Mare for Pete and Sandy Hendrick.

The excitement was building as the stallions were about to be presented in the spotlight. Colorado got on the map as Bob Kellert presented the first winner of the evening in Grand National Yearling Colt Champion TRE Master Of Disguise. The Stonecroft Masquerade son was a stunning champion for Ridgewood Farm and Richard Phillips. MSV Shooting Star, a son of Park Saddle World Champion Liberation First Star and Grand National Pleasure Driving Champion Ryan's Pure Silk Lady, was the reserve champion for John Hufferd and Margaret VanMeter.

The crowd sent up a cheer as the lights at the in-gate end of the arena were turned on right before the next event. Town Assets was the first part of a great story which took place during the night. Having been named the Junior Champion Stallion at Connecticut Morgan and New England, the son of Man About Town LPS and Honeytree's Simply Unique (a daughter of Born To Boogie and UVM Unity) was the unanimous Two-Year-Old Stallion Champion for owner/breeder Lynn Peeples. Winner of the Morgan Breeders Sweepstakes as a weanling, Stonecroft Intuition (Stonecroft Masquerade x Century Enjoli) backed up his world champion heritage with a reserve performance for Rick Stevens and Stonecroft Farm.

There were ones straight across the board for Junior World Champion Stallion TRE Master Of Disguise giving yearlings a sweep of the Junior World Champion titles. Bob Kellert and John McDonald again made the winning presentation for Ridgewood Farm and Richard Phillips. Twos were straight across the board next to the name of Reserve Junior World Champion Stallion Town Assets. Owner/breeder/trainer Lynn Peeples continues to give the Morgan breed some of its best breeding and show stock.

One such example came in the very next class. Beautiful, black, and talented, LPS The Boogie Man had the crowd cheering as he was called out the Grand National Three-Year-Old Stallion Champion for David Rand and owners Michael and Nancy Ramsey. A son of former World Champion Stallion Man About Town LPS, LPS The Boogie Man had a world of expression and animation for the unanimous decision. There was plenty of strong competition as SLB Da Vinci, a son of World Champion HVK Bell Flaire and World Champion Dancity Gracious Remark was the unanimous reserve winner for Bob Hughes and Sherry Bartolucci’s SLB Farms.

Always popular with the crowd, the multi-titled Key Biscane (Nobility x Nanton's Marsha A) topped the Four-Year-Old Stallion competition with Ernesto Chavolla and Judy Whitney Harris showing for Ron and Lori Skover. Another top son of Man About Town LPS, Out On The Town was called out in reserve for Mark Mason and owners Maria and Richard Bernard.

The crowd warmly greeted the return of World Champion Continental Vision (War and Peace x Pompp and Pazazz) to the in hand division as he topped the Grand National Five & Over Stallion class. Scott Thacker again showed the popular champion for Amy Wilson Scott’s Tall Tails Farm LLC. Far West Grand Champion Carlyle Upper Caisse turned in a bright showing for the reserve title presented by Keith Nelsen for Jan and Willis VanDusen.

It could have been billed as the "Up And Coming versus the Established." The gates opened for the World Champion Senior Stallion class and the judges Angell, Henry, and Parker had their work cut out for them. It came down to the outstanding three-year-old against the 1998 World Champion Stallion. It was also no accident that the three-year-old brought so many great attributes to the ring as he was by 1997 World Champion Stallion Man About Town LPS out of a daughter of 1996, '99, '02 World Champion Stallion Born To Boogie and 1993, and '96 World Champion Mare UVM Unity.

When the decision came down it was the stunning LPS The Boogie Man taking the title with David Rand and Missy Hanover dressed in black to present the newly crowned black World Champion Senior Stallion. A great ambassador for the Morgan breed, Continental Vision also received a great ovation for his reserve tie for the Thacker/Scott team.

A few minutes later these two joined the junior champion and reserve champion for a shot at the World Champion Stallion title. As they were all lined up at the in-gate end of the arena announcer Bill Carrington acknowledged the history being made as two full brothers (Town Assets and LPS The Boogie Man) were competing for the World Champion Stallion honors. Fans were delighted with the presentation being made by the four handlers and in the end it was a unanimous decision for World Champion Stallion LPS The Boogie Man. This win gave David Rand the World Champion Stallion and Reserve World Champion Mare. Continental Vision was a grand competitor to receive the Reserve World Champion Stallion honors to close out the evening.

Following this exciting class exhibitors toured the eight different barns for the Progressive Barn Party. Day one was now in the history books and the breed could be proud of its newest champions.

Sunday - Show Arena 6

While the breeders and trainers were displaying their wares in the coliseum, the young riders from across the country were showing their horsemanship skills across the lane in the show arena. It was an emotion packed arena with a mix of riders making their first rides in front of an Oklahoma panel and those with one last shot at fame before aging out of the division.

A strong group of senior riders opened the morning for the 16 and 17 Year Old Saddle Seat Equitation riders. It was the last go around for champion Susie Sessink and reserve champion LIndsey Gama. Sessink was teamed with her upfronted new partner this season, AFF The Stalker, to take the meaningful title back to her family and friends at Old Orchard. Gama and her longtime mount Royal Crown Cavalier, who teamed up in 2002 for the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Championship represented Cricket Hill Farm.

Cathy Grimes greeted Catherine Hendrickson in the winner's circle for the Grand National Saddle Seat Equitation 14-15 class. Hendrickson was paired with Tug Hill Gunns And Roses, her mount for the 2002 Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle World Championship. Local favorite Cressi Bryant and Prior Knowledge followed up with a polished performance for reserve.

The top two in the 12 and 13 year old class already had Grand National titles to their credit. Sandy Sessink had her second winner of the morning as Emily Hoernschemeyer was called to the winner's circle matched with Plum Haven Gunrunner. Representing Anne Speck and the West Coast, Ariana Corrigan claimed the red streamers with the indomitable Park Place Pledge.

An Oklahoma blue is always memorable but it was even more special for Caroline Gaker who won the Saddle Seat Equitation 11 & Under title. Last year her brother Nelson won the class and they were both riding the Cape Cod trained Wind Blu Supreme Fantasy. In their first year together, Sarah Shimmer and Minion Absolut did Mary Carlton proud with their reserve finish.

The top prize in the Saddle Seat Classic Equitation 13 & Under class returned to New England with John and Sheri Lampropoulos. Their student Tricia Morrison turned back all challengers riding Intrepid Sovereign. The reserve champion Brooke Yule hailed from California as she rode Cedar Pond Bay’s Command under the direction of Frank and Ann Miller.

Anne Speck instructed the champion of the Saddle Seat Classic Equitation 14-17 competition. Eric Antman was that rider, and he demonstrated his polished style aboard Coalition X-Static, who was also the winning mount of this class a year ago for Kara Hose. New England's Leigh Fitzgerald rode away with the reserve ribbon paired with Bono In Command under the direction of Cindy Mugnier.

Right after lunch 23 riders competed in two sections for the AMHA West Seat Gold Medal Preliminary. Turned out to perfection these young riders performed rail work and then patterns for a chance to return for the finals round. In numerical order the following riders were invited back: Lucy Anne Kagan, Bryan Wisdom, Julie Brempelis, Lindsey Rank, Stephanie Boda, Kati Anderson, Ellen McQuade, Djamie Soejoto, Lindsay Perry, Lorinda Hays, Morgan Glenn, Kimberly Forster, and Megan Evans.

Already having had an equitation winner this morning, Cathy Grimes came back to win the Grand National Carriage Driving Working Single class with PAF Cajun Moon. They were followed in the ribbons by Elk Creek Aurora B.

Two teams competed for the Carriage Driving Working Multiple and it was the four-in-hand of Bethesda Nickelodeon/Greentree Zeus/Fortunes Aquila/Stonelock Maestro, shown by Bill Lower for Victoria Bennett, in the winner's circle. Reserve honors went to My Diamond In The Rough/N’Sync and Anita Meinert.

Later that evening 22 riders filled the ring for the Hunt Seat Equitation 16-17. Jennifer Frisbie coached Kati Wood to the title aboard RBC Callie. Her winning ride was followed by Katie Klooster who was instructed by Jennifer McFall to the reserve tie with EMR Windchester.

It was a unanimous decision for Alyssa Rumsey as she won the Hunt Seat Equitation 11 & Under title. Rumsey and Merriehill The Lion King were greeted in the winner’s circle by instructor Mary Carlton. Her closest competitor was the Jennifer McFall instructed Samantha Schuring paired with Precious M Fleet Command.

John and Sheri Lampropoulos won their second class of the day and it was also the second win for the Morrison family. This time it was Nicole Morrison in the winner's circle as she rode Beta B Gallalee to the blue in the Hunt Seat Equitation 14-15 class. Also showing top skills, hometown favorite Krystle Pennington rode as the reserve champion in the 18 rider field aboard Blue Flag Whimsey.

Riders came out in full force for the Hunt Seat Equitation 12-13 Year Old as it had to be split into two sections. In the first round Yvonne Sekyra sent Emily Rosini and Whitmorr Magnitude to the top beating out a good group of contenders including reserve champion Merin Maggi and Futurity’s Roman Torch directed by Cathy Grimes.

Jennifer Chowning was proud of Briana Schauer as she rode her way to the top of section two with Morningside Defiance. The reserve rider in that round was Lindsey Greenfelder paired with Hawkwood High Command.

Sunday - Show Arena 9

Also on Sunday morning, the always exciting reining division got underway with the Reining 1st Year Green class in which Heartquest Rachel and Mark Wilcher had all the right moves for Leroy and Sandra Stockton-Heartquest. Virginia Norris had the reserve ride aboard Shallow Creeks Evangeline for Hunter Jones.

LSI Hollywood Helkat and Meredith Rosier-Cooke were solo in the Reining 2nd Year Green class right before Karen Myers and More Apples slid in for top honors in the Reining Non-Pro Adult title over Jon Rivers and River Riders Romeo.

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