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Morgan Grand National – Thursday, October 12


Thursday, October 12


Coverage by Diana Davidson, Sadie Fowler, Bob Funkhouser and Christy Parsons




A fine group of 12 fresh youngsters kicked off the brisk Thursday morning session by making their way into the coliseum for the Grand National Walk-Jog Western Pleasure Nine and Under Finals. It was a pleasant way to begin the sixth day of competition at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show. After working at a walk and jog in both directions, judges Rick Davis, Kathryn Schwartz and Glynis Snowden turned their cards in and soon after the well-paired duo from Homer, Mich., Fairhaven Federal Xpress and Sara Heidenreich, emerged from the line up to claim top honors. After having a successful season at shows across the Northeast, Miller Young Fina aboard Marin Royal Command turned in the reserve performance under the guidance of Barbara Irvine.


Grand National Hunter Pleasure Three-Year-Old Mare was next on the Thursday morning schedule with seven entries competing. Rick Davis, Betty Gray and Glynis Snowden evaluated the group of well-behaved youngsters, and after their cards were tallied, Cabot First Confession was named the unanimous champion with Katie Mair in the irons for Lynn and Steve Burch. Representing the state of Montana, Glacier Lily Blue and Jennifer Chowning trotted away with reserve.


Always a tough division in Oklahoma, the Grand National Western Pleasure Gentlemen’s Finals appeared next on center stage in front of judges Schwartz, Gray and Snowden. A lovely performance by the elegant mare Tracemark Tapestry and Andy Martlett landed this duo a unanimous win in the 21-entry class for proud owner Kristie Strom. Dale Rickford presented Maximum Pepper to a strong reserve finish in the deep class to add to an outstanding show for owners Rick and Jan Lindeberg.


With the mares showing just two classes prior, the three-year-old stallions and geldings were ready for their turn in the spotlight. This class of young hunters also featured seven entries and all seven put forth their best efforts for a chance of an early career win in Oklahoma City. The bold-moving SBK Sasha’s Beau bested this fine field of contenders with Kathleen Peeples on board for proud owner/breeders the Brown/Klein family. They were followed in the ribbons by TTA Knight Of Glory and Amanda Dupont competing for owner Andrea Groeff.


Continuing Thursday morning’s theme of young horses and riders, the 10 and 11-year-olds jogged into the coliseum next for the Grand National Walk-Jog Western Pleasure Finals. When the cards were tabulated, Sandy Sessink greeted class winners Merriehill Rythem Nation, owned by Mary Halloway, and Ryenn Johns in the winner’s circle. Redfield Aladdin and Iris Rankin proudly made the reserve victory pass in the competitive 13-entry class for owners Kelley and Jenna Rankin.


The World Champion Western Pleasure Three-Year-Old served as the final class of the Thursday morning session. Judges Davis, Gray and Snowden evaluated each of the 14 entries closely, first on the rail and then in the line up, where saddles were taken off so each entry’s conformation could be further evaluated. When results were tallied, Kane Creek Kamikaze and Carmen Hobson closed out the session as the newly crowned world champions for owners Dan and Jan Unrein. MJD French Quarter and Eitan Beth-Halachmy were rewarded for their smooth performance with reserve honors. They were met in the winner’s circle by owners Jack and Mary Denove.  


The Grand National Pleasure Driving Three-Year-Old Mares got the afternoon session underway in the coliseum Thursday afternoon. Tim Roesink on the lines of HVK Sweet Obsession picked up the first winning ribbon of the afternoon. They put on a bright showing to claim the unanimous victory for proud owner Dr. Barbara Lindauer. FRF Quintessa and Bill Grundmeyer put on a stellar show for the reserve finish representing owners Lauren and Jennifer Lang.


Following the pleasure driving mares, an impressive group of young riders and classic pleasure entries made their way into the ring for their chance at world championship honors. Mirabel’s Dartanyan and Ayssa Wick made every pass count and they exited the ring as the Classic Pleasure Saddle Junior Exhibitor 14-17 World Champions to the delight of their Hardwood Creek fan club. Abracabam continued a great show for the get of Tug Hill Whamunition as Rachael Colley matched up with her smooth performing gelding to trot away with reserve world champion honors.


Judges Pierre Loiselle, Anne Judd and Bernard Parker were in complete agreement that Silverheel’s Synergy and Robert Neimeth should be crowned the champions in the next class, the Grand National Park Harness Amateur Masters Finals. Misty Meadows’ Jaisen van Ballmoos prepared this big-moving chestnut for the show ring victory in the inaugural running of this class. Minion Valentino and Darwin Olson were called out of the line up as the reserve champions performing under the direction of Brian Stewart. Fran Pugh did an admirable job filling in for an ailing Elaine Galatz as she drove Queen’s Guardian to the third place finish directed by Harold Angell.


The Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 & Under World Championship was next on tap to entertain the audience and the judges. Stacia Klein and Outrageous Courageous came through with an across the boards unanimous victory to defend their world championship performance of a year ago. They earned hearty applause and were greeted by the winning Arcuri Stables team. The west coast battle continued as Kiss N Tell and Rachel Miller added the reserve world title to a great career for the expressive bay mare now owned by Dick and Nan Cecchettini.


SpiceOLife Present Tense and Diane Conrady continued their undefeated season when they topped the World Champion Park Harness Four-Year-Old class for David James Walker. In addition to winning their qualifier earlier in the week, this pair’s impressive resume includes a trio of previous world titles. Each of the three impressive youngsters performing earned a first place vote as Boxford’s Bravura and Stacy Hennessy challenged the champions every step of the way and they landed reserve world champion honors for owners Ted and Elaine Olsen.


The largest class of the afternoon was the English Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 14-17 World Championship with 19 entries showing in front of judges Loiselle, Parker and Wilson. It was a memorable final junior exhibitor ride for Zachary Howa as he guided Minion Mademoiselle to the winner’s circle. Proud parents Rick and Lisa Howa and brother JR were ringside to cheer them on to victory as they performed under the direction of Luman Wadhams. The new combination of Ready To Rumble and Hailey Jones were the toast of their hometown fans as they enjoyed their victory pass as the reserve world champions prepared by Ronda Collins.


Bob Kellert was all smiles when daughter Jennifer Kellert and Noteworthy’s Nobel Heir finished on top of the cards in the Pleasure Driving Youth Finals, collecting another top ribbon for The River’s Edge banner. Jimmy Sebring drove Adventure’s Priority like a pro as they collected the reserve streamers. They carried the honors back to the Grove Pointe banner for Copper Beech LLC.


A talented group of 12 four-year-olds and their trainers converged next for their English pleasure world championship. Mike Goebig had the Liberation First Star daughter, Treble’s First Take, looking through the bridle as they completed two undefeated seasons under the Broadmoor banner with the tricolor representing Copper Beech LLC. Merriehill Times Square and Stan Bodnar received a warm round of applause for their strong reserve finish for team Merriehill.


Meet The Press and Laura Locher had everyone’s attention after their commanding performance in the Park Harness Youth Finals. The won the top honors in unanimous fashion repeating their 2004 victory for David and Laurie Young. Vincent LeMaster was on the lines of HR Perfectly Clear and they boldly trotted away as the reserve champions performing for Cricket Coleman under The River’s Edge banner.


The Grand National Pleasure Driving Amateur Gentlemen’s Finals were next on stage Thursday afternoon. A home run performance put Jack Gatewood and his popular bay stallion Tolstoy in the spotlight as they emerged from the line up as the unanimous champions in the classes under the expertise of David Rand. Gerry Rushton assisted MLF Sharper Image and Craig Sommers when they made their second reserve victory pass of the week. 


Moving swiftly along the agenda, World Champion Futurity Park Saddle Three-Year-Old entries showed up next. Jim Lowry and Cabot First Things First (Liberation First Star x Cabot French Pristina), owned by WSS Prestwick Farms, starred as the unanimous world champions in this exciting class after being judged on both performance and conformation.  Judy Whitney Harris had JW Thinketh Blue (CKH Spirited Gift x JW Miracle Miss) in fine fashion as they carried away the reserve honors.


The final class of the session featured 12 contenders vying for the top spot in the Grand National Pleasure Driving Three-Year-Old Stallion and Gelding class. Intrepid Behold stood out of the deep class with quality and expression. The young star followed his blue ribbon debut show at Northampton by claiming the Oklahoma victory with Rick Stevens on the lines for Intrepid Farms. Jim Lowry popped off of one top three-year-old and behind the next as he directed Kriskoft Keynote to the reserve title to add to his saddle win for Kriskroft Farm.


It felt like fall on a very cool Thursday night, however action inside the coliseum certainly had people’s minds on something other than the weather outside. The action inside the ring provided a good variety of classes and it wasn’t hard for spectators to find something to enjoy on the schedule of nine varied events.


The World Champion Carriage Obstacle Driving Single opened the night. Announcer Mark Farrar did an excellent job explaining certain rules and requirements about the class to the audience and his informative narration of the event was appreciated. The New York based team of The Sorceror and Dale Vidler are no strangers to the winner’s circle and they earned the top honors in this class for Gary and Joanne Ward. Reserve world honors went to Fiery Blast and Doug Coursey hailing from New Hampshire.


World Champion Carriage Obstacle Driving Multiple contenders followed the single obstacle class. Cum Laude Juhl and Cum Laude Kapstreiter paired up for this tricolor as part of a memorable first trip to Oklahoma with Al Celecki on the lines. Fenwick’s Angelina and JPSJG Duces Daisey also put forth a strong effort and they garnered reserve honors with Gene Brown driving for DD Steele.


With the footing in the coliseum improving from earlier in the week and the full lights on in the coliseum, a wonderful group of World Champion Ladies Pleasure Driving entries made their way through the gate. Thursday night really felt like a world championship show. With both horse and driver looking stunning, Festival Calypso and Stephanie Connor earned the world championship for the fourth time in their star-studded career to add to a winning week for Arcuri Stables. New England’s tricolor performer MEM Twisted Sister received a warm round of applause from the crowd with Sandy Sessink driving Lynn Begalla’s elegant mare to the reserve world championship.


Nine top caliber entries made their way down the chute next for the World Champion Park Saddle Junior Exhibitor class. Tug Hill Gunns And Roses and Catherine Hendrickson geared up for the win in this highly competitive class. This marked the third time the Tug Hill Whamunition son has worn the roses in this class under the direction of trainer Cathy Grimes. Also boasting a world title in this class from earlier in their career, HVK Noble Flame and Blanche Bauer added the reserve world champion honors to the Bobbin Hollow banner.


World Champion Pleasure Driving Amateur Masters was next on the Thursday evening agenda. Mantic Excalibur and Kris Johnson made a big come back from earlier in the week, collecting tricolor honors in this first time for this event competing for Joan and Rolland Bowers. RJM Roulette and Janet Morgan also moved up in the ranks. After finishing third in their Grand National qualifier, they paired up on Thursday evening for a strong reserve world championship finish to add to their tricolor record under the colors of Broadmoor.


Entries in the next class had the spectators’ attention as soon as they came through the gate. The Grand National Parade Horse Finals had some beautiful entries dressed up for their special occasion.  All of the pomp and circumstance of the division were in full bloom. When the cards were turned in, Mark Farrar announced that the judges were unanimous in all five places. Steven DeBolt thoroughly enjoyed showing the synchronized white-legged HVK Pavarotti as much as spectators enjoyed watching this beautiful horse make his star-studded victory pass for Herbert V. Kohler. Mr. Rose Bowl himself, Art Perry presented Festival Rock N Roll to perfection and he was happy to accept reserve honors and the support of his cheering section for George and Joan Arnold.


The exciting parade class certainly had spectators warmed up for the next class, the Grand National Roadster To Bike Amateur Finals. Stamina, speed and style paid off in this intense class for winning entry HVK Baymarch and Geoffrey Longnecker, who won unanimously. They matched up for their first Oklahoma team performance with their supportive family, friends and the Blackridge team cheering them on to victory.  Primary Investment GP and Frank Gibbard gave the winners a run for their money and they were called out as the reserve champions with an exciting drive under the colors of Grove Pointe Stables.


Slowing things down just a little, the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Gentlemen’s Finals appeared next. Representing the West Coast in winning fashion, RJH Reality and Earl McFall bested the 12-horse field for Katherine Smith to make victory a reality. Will Vidler had Kelly Simpson’s pretty mare, SPR Valarie’s Finale in good form for reserve honors in this competitive event under the Arboria Morgans banner.


The Park Harness Ladies World Championship served as the grand finale for Thursday night. The defending world championship team of HVK Ancient Cry and Helen Crawford wrapped up their undefeated season and received a huge round of applause in doing so when they were again named world champions. Robert Hughes directed the exceptional team to victory pass for Boston Morgan Farm. Judy Whitney Harris and 2004 world champion Sheza Bell made a great show as well as they collected a first place vote on the way to the reserve finish to add to a great show for Barbara and Arthur Jones and top sire HVK Bell Flaire.


Show Arena 6


Six entries started off the first of six classes schedule for Ring 6 on Thursday morning. Lauren Lang and Rum Brook Immortal Mystic continued their winning ways posting their second of three unanimous victories in the Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Classic Equitation 10-11 Finals. Olivia Richvalsky enjoyed a tricolor Oklahoma debut as she matched up with Con-Sider Me Special for the reserve performance guided by Ann Slomkowski.


The World Championship Junior Hunt Seat Equitation was split into two sections. The first section featured 11 riders who performed rail work and then followed up with a pattern to test their individual abilities. The second section featured 9 riders who also each performed on the rail and the workout. The judges selected a toal of 12 riders to come back into the ring for the work off. It was a long hard ride for all the exhibitors but when it was over, Chelsey Abate had a huge applause from her delighted family and friends for a winning ride. Alana Little had her own fan club to celebrate her reserve world championship performance.


The Senior Hunt Seat Equitation World Championship also had to be worked in two sections - the first with 15 riders and the second with 14 riders. All riders competed on the rail and then performed the individual workouts before the top twelve were asked to return to the ring to compete on the rail for a work off. Eleven entries actually answered the final gate call, and the ultimate World Champion was a beaming Stevie Meder. She earned the distinction of the rose-adorned victory pass to the delight of her proud family and the Taylor River team. Lauren Cook added to her tricolor career as she carried the reserve honors back to the Triumph Stables banner.


The final class of the morning session in ring 6 was the Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Classic Equitation 9 & Under Finals. Cameron Kay added to the Crystal Farms banner as she matched up with FCF Limoges for the winning ride. Maci Crowder enjoyed her time in the spotlight as she matched up with Hylee’s Moon Phantom for the reserve tricolor coached by Cheryl Manahan.


The afternoon session in Ring 6 featured the Carriage Obstacle Driving competition. First the timed cones single class featured a huge group of entries, but the winning time went to Lora Dunlap and I’m Irish. Cathy Grimes and Samac’s Black Tie Affair had the second best time in the very competitive class.


The two multiple entries, went head to head again, and this time Fenwick’s Angelina and JPSJG Duces Daisey came out on top. Gene Brown directed them through the obstacles in record time for the class. Cum Laude Juhl and Cum Laude Kapstreiter earned the reserve ribbon in this class to add to their many titles from this show.


The World Championships for Trail competition also took place in ring 6 this afternoon. The accomplished team of Lendol Diehl and Elkland Oaks Connie earned the Western Trail World Championship. Wintergreen Treasure and Ann Taylor were crowned Reserve World Champions.


The English Trail World Championship showcased multi-titled champion UVM Windfall with another World Championship. Lora Dunlap owns this talented entry who is shown in open competition by Valarie Siemer, and who directed for the World Championship. Wayward Windemere and Grace Jacobus earned reserve honors in the English Trail World Championship.


The phase I round of the UPHA Challenge Cup, both junior and senior, occupied Ring 6 for much of Thursday evening, but there was just enough time to crown World Champions in Western Seat Equitation for both the Juniors and Seniors.


Brianna Berg, hailing from nearby Edmond, Oklahoma, claimed a very competitive Western Seat Junior Equitation World Championship aboard Kern’s Endeavor coached by Christina Stewart-Mitchell. Last year’s tricolor team of Lauren Little and Evil Knievil added the reserve title to a great show for the twin sisters Lauren and Alana Little who compete under the direction of Kelly Kraegel.


The Senior Western Seat Equitation World Championship featured an outstanding victory for Kali Erin Hutchinson. It was the first of two different seats in which this versatile student of Crystal Farms excelled on the week. This title came aboard Hylee’s Fanflaire. Alyssa Rumsey and Merriehill The Lion King added the reserve title to a nearly flawless season under the Triumph Stables banner.


Ring 9


On a crisp, cold morning, Ring 9 opened on Thursday with reining competition. The 1st Year Green competitors quickly heated up the action with Disco Fever and Josette Conti claiming the top score in the class for owner Cindy Nord. Joseph Kathrein’s HVR Hidden Gold and Mark Luis were reserve in the competitive eight entry class.


The 2nd Year Green competitors were up next with Clinton Schiell directing W Nugget’s Rebels Are We to the winner’s circle for owners Lou Ellen Williams and Thomas Filipek. Mark Wilcher and Atakapa Billy’s Bad Boy earned reserve honors in the class for Odom Farms.


Reining competition continued Thursday evening with the Non-Pro Adult competition starting off the evening session with eight entries performing. Atakapa Waushau and Damon Odom bested those receiving qualifying scores to claim this Grand National title. Sherry Rivers and River Riders Romeo earned the reserve honors in the class.


The Non-Pro Youth class featured the Gallagher boys dueling for top scores. Shawn Gallagher won the class with Paint Rock’s Sky Hawk followed by James Gallagher and Challie’s Firethorn in reserve.


Seven competitors in the Reining Open class made for an interesting class. Heath Herndon and two-time World Champion MorganQuest Native Sun bested the competitive field for owners Shirley, Duane and Tane Burris. Josette Conti and Concert Danaka slid into the reserve finish for owner Kathy Gutting.

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