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The Mountains Of Asheville Heat Up



by David "Tuffy" Owens

If you’ve never been… Go! Whether it’s to Asheville Lions Club in May or the Blue Ridge Classic in July, having any excuse to visit the Asheville, NC area is a blessing. Roll in to your destination through the Great Smoky Mountains and feel immediately at ease. This entire area, nestled amid rolling, tree-covered hills is absolutely gorgeous, and lends itself well to a relaxed feeling. Asheville itself is known for a fantastic live music scene, as well as any number of eclectic, eccentric, and excellent places to dine and shop. With all of this rest and repose taking place outside the ring, it was a direct departure to walk into the Morris L. "Mac" McGough Arena and see the intense competition of the most competitive show of this young season.

Headed up by show manager Ray Cloninger, a solid roster of officials took care of running a smooth horse show. Jay Wood, Renee Lavery, and Armon Effinger marked the cards in center ring. Peter Fenton called out the results, while partnering with ringmaster Bill Whitley to keep things safe in the show ring. Whitley’s better half, Mary Lynn Whitley, served as the USEF Steward, while Joyce Wilson worked in the slightly cramped horse show office as show secretary. Horse show organist extraordinaire Dale Stone provided the soundtrack to this impressive event, while Doug Shiflet snapped the winning photos, assisted by Shane Shiflet shooting over the rail and Doug’s sons Daniel and Andrew manning the table. This Shiflet Photography team also took the top prize in the golf competition on Thursday morning. When closing in on 700 stalls sold for a single horse show, it helps to have a crew like this to handle the workload.

With so many entries and talent bursting out the seams, Asheville put on two sessions per day, starting at 10 am and 6:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, with just evening sessions the first two days. Each session had over 20 classes and some got to feeling a bit daunting, especially the Thursday night session that didn’t seem to want to end. A few well-placed calls and a crowd of horse show people gathering at their door kept Ruby Tuesday’s open late enough to keep the hungry show-goers from having to resort to a McDonald’s run at midnight. A good measure of a show’s schedule is the afternoon break, when horses can be worked, lunch can be had, or just a quick nap can be caught. Asheville does this quite well, as the Friday afternoon break was about five hours. The Academy session took over on Saturday afternoon, with the future stars putting on top displays.

Currently on the Asheville schedule there are 130 classes (minus the Academy session) spread out over six sessions. That is an average of just under 22 classes per session. This count does not include the classes that were added to the program during the week. Adding a Thursday day session brings the average session down to 18.5 classes per session, a savings of about 40 minutes per session. Whether or not that is feasible is a matter for the schedule makers to decide, but it would certainly make sessions like Thursday night not run into the late night hours.

Even with an extensive schedule, the action in the show ring managed to hold everyone’s attention, because to take home a blue ribbon from Asheville, you had to bring your "A" game and be right on point. Here is a recap of the heated action that took place on the tanbark.

Five-Gaited

The young mare who debuted here just a year ago was back and better than ever, taking all six first place votes in the Five-Gaited Championship and Five-Gaited Mare Stake. Debbie Foley rode the hair off of Callaway’s Annabel Allison to take these honors. The incredibly gifted daughter of Caramac has done a lot over the past year since her first show ring appearance, including two world titles as Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions and Ladies Mare World’s Champion. She served notice with her opening salvo on Wednesday night that she is pumped and ready to make a run at any and all divisions that she takes on. Reserve in the Championship was a newcomer to this division, Jonazell Mighty Spirit. Shown in harness up to this point, Mighty Spirit keeps getting better and better. After a reserve finish in the Stallion/Gelding Stake, Kris Knight rode the entry of Sam and Vicki Reed to an excellent Reserve Championship. Bay and game as the day is long, Mighty Spirit should look mighty interesting as the season and his work at Pleasantview continue. Worthy’s Speechless and Mike Tunstall earned reserve in the Mare Stake for High Hickory Farm. She is by Worthy’s Prodigy and out of an Attache’s Born Believer mare.

Winner of the Stallion/Gelding Stake, Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice was teamed by Larry Hodge for Joan Hamilton. The Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions last year as well as the Amateur Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion, Ultimate Choice was all fired up on Wednesday night to take home the blue. He did not show back in the Championship. It will be interesting to watch what division of the gaited ranks the Ultimate Choice team shows up in as the season progresses. Open or Amateur, they will certainly be top competitors!

The Ladies Five-Gaited Championship saw Alex Wille-Irmiter show the Three Gables entry, Shez So Delightful, to the trophy and tri-color. Another Pleasantview entry, Shez So Delightful is by Simbara’s Rising Son (who is out of the great Denmark’s Radiant Society) and out of the World’s Champion Pleasure Driving mare, CH Amberwood’s Skyfox. Reserve in both Ladies classes here in Asheville, A Different Story continued a successful campaign with Phyllis Brookshire for Don and Phyllis Brookshire. Directed by Matt Shiflet, they were already winners at Raleigh Spring Premier and J.D. Massey. This big, talented horse is primed for good things here in 2010. CH Callaway’s Banner Headline prevailed in the knockdown dragout Ladies qualifier with Janet Kellett aboard under the DeLovely banner. This longtime team looked right on top of their game, winning the blue. They did not show back in the championship.

With a bunch of divisions to choose from and loose guidelines on which divisions you can show back in, Asheville sets up well for a horse to come from one division and take home the Championship in another. Such was the case in the Amateur Ladies ranks, where CH Diamond’s Hope came from the Ladies division to take home the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship with Sarah Longworth aboard for Teri Longworth. This team enters its eighth season together, having come up all the way through the junior exhibitor ranks together. Now in their second year in the adult division, they racked up a tri-color for their collection on Saturday night. Winner in the Amateur Ladies qualifier, Arrowhead’s Dreamcatcher was the Reserve Champion with Deborah Butler up. Showing under the DeLovely banner, this team earned the Amateur Ladies Gelding World’s Championship a year ago. This long-necked Periaptor son has won a class at Louisville every year he has shown. Caitlin Leith and CH What’s The Whoopla are really putting it all together in their first year in the Amateur ranks. They were reserve in the qualifier under the West Wind banner. They were Ladies Champions at Raleigh Spring Premier and J.D. Massey earlier in the year.

Ava Gardner has come out of the gates smokin’ so far this year, with two wins at River Ridge, and now two more here in Asheville. With Ashley Alden once again in the irons for Alden Farms, Ava Gardner continued her winning ways in that same high style that horse show crowds are becoming accustomed to. Under the direction of Tammy DeVore, this team famously won the Amateur National Championship a year ago, as well as the Amateur Mare World’s Championship. Megan McClure made a spectacular, high-energy performance as the Reserve Champion with her longtime partner, CH Breaking News. Lexington Champions a year ago as well as Reserve World’s Champion of Champions, McClure and Breaking News continue to make a formidable team, year after year. Jo Ann Griffin made an outstanding debut performance with Callaway’s Karla to earn reserve in the qualifier. Long the open teammate of Debbie Foley, Karla was twice the Open Mare Reserve World’s Champion. This big, powerful mare was in top form to earn the red ribbon.

Harold Denton Jr. and the Clouse Stables team were pleased with the outcome of the Amateur Gentlemen’s Five-Gaited class, as CH Colonel Hoss earned the top spot on all three cards. Denton continues to impress with his tenacity, riding in practically back to back gaited classes at both River Ridge and Asheville now. That is not the easiest of tasks for anyone! Josh Wall and Twilight Maxamillion were reserve. Maxamillion is by I’m A New Yorker and out of Musical Gala, by Santana’s Musical Chime.

The Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited classes were entertaining and exciting, with all sorts of action going on in the ring. Hunter Chancellor and CH Platinum’s New Look made their season debut in high style, taking home their second consecutive sweep of the division here at Asheville. Trained by DeLovely, "Tonto" worked in his usual marching style with Hunter, who continues to grow as a rider, working the ring well with this incredibly talented horse. Andrew Slater and Fight Night were the Reserve Champions for Pamela Slater and the Kalarama banner. They were big winners at J.D. Massey and put on two outstanding performances this week as well. This Prize Contender son should come together nicely with Slater as the year progresses. Heir Comes The Man has been a project for the Glenmore Farm team, and it seems to be coming together quite nicely with Faye Wuesthofen in the irons under the DeLovely banner. They were reserve in the qualifier with a first-place vote.

An absolutely thrilled Melody Murphy made her way to the winner’s circle with Direct Effect in the Carolina-Owned Five-Gaited class, winning for Sandra and Melody Murphy and Matt Shiflet Stables. The big, bold chestnut was shown to several Open wins already this year by Shiflet. Debbie Foley and No Fear were reserve for Doris Crumpler.

J. Crew is about as consistent a placer as they come. Take a look at his show record sometime. He is just always right near the top of every class. It is just remarkable. It was his turn to take a trip down victory lane in the Limit Five-Gaited class, as Clark Clouse rode him to the blue for Dr. Tina Mayes. Sporting a new name for 2010, Zombie Stomp was reserve with Tammy DeVore for Lucinda Hartley, earning a nice ovation from the crowd.

One of the few shows around to offer a Denver Junior division along with a Junior division, Asheville provides a little something for everyone. In this class of five, the Jury’s Out, but the cards were in, and all three had Jury’s Out listed in the number one spot with Matt Shiflet riding for Miracle Stables. Clark Clouse and Callaway’s Eight Below were reserve for Bullet Concrete Materials. Eight Below is a Blue Norther / Caramac cross.

The Junior Five-Gaited division provided a large field, and a talented one at that. Tammy DeVore, always one to put on a top show, put this class away at the second way rack. Combine that with a stunning, stellar, stupendous trip into the lineup, and she put away all doubt that Twice The Dice was rolling to the top of each card. Shown as a three-year-old to wins at Shelbyville and the American Royal, Twice The Dice showed here once again under the ownership of Rolfe and Susan Hanna. Bright chestnut and bold, once this one gets to shakin’, there is just no stopping him. He had to be on top of his game to get by reserve finisher Nuttin’ Doing. By Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of a Periaptor mare, Nuttin’ Doing rode to the red with Neil Visser up for Elisabeth Goth. They were the ASR National Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Futurity World’s Champions in 2009. Another out of the grand mare, That’s My Story, The Inside Story rounded out the top three with Debbie Foley. They were ASR Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Sweepstakes winners last season.

Debbie Foley was back once again in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited division, winning it with HS Upperclassman. Huge for a three-year-old at this point in the year, Upperclassman is by Castle Bravo and out of She’s Not Bad, by Attache’s Born Believer. His finish and slick-moving performance served him well here today as the blue ribbon winner for Hagan Saddlebreds. Daniel Lockhart was a well-received reserve with Kalarama’s Delightful for Joan Hamilton and Larry Hodge. This punched up bay star never backed an ear and rocked way back past vertical as he strutted down the rail. He was the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion just a year ago. He left the ring to an appreciative ovation from the crowd.

Mitch Tunstall had it all working in the Five-Gaited Pony Championship, winning it with I See Daylight for Barbara Von Borries. Joined in the winner’s circle by dad Mike Tunstall, Mitch is becoming a crowd favorite with his solid performances. A veteran of this division, Little Lord Huntly was the Reserve Champion with Cagle James. The little bay wonder was the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited Pony World’s Champion in 2009. Sarah Martin and Miss Haviland were the qualifier winners for Jon Walker Stables. This was a debut performance for Martin and Miss Haviland and the first trip into the Pony ranks for the Forty-Third Street daughter. Mutch Tunstall and I See Daylight were reserve in the qualifier.

Three-Gaited

With none of the Under 2 entries showing back, it was the "big boys" that dominated the Three-Gaited Championship. Let’s Talk, still new to this division, was crowned Champion with Dena Lopez up for Alyssa and Dave Lopez. Reserve National Champion in his first show as a freshly shorn walk-trot, Let’s Talk is by Sir William Robert and out of Soft Spoken, by CH The Talk Of The Town. He never backs an ear and always seems to have his head and neck in just that picture perfect place. He was the Over 15.2 qualifier winner as well. Reserve in both of those classes was Kalarama’s Blue Mac. Just a five-year-old, he was the Junior Under 15.2 Reserve World’s Champion last year. Sam Stafford now shows this Kalarama entry. Out of Callaway’s Lady Mac, Blue Mac is by Blue O’Shea, a stud that also brought us Juliette’s Deja Blue. Even more extreme in the qualifier than in the Championship, Blue Mac rocked way back and marched for the crowd, earning a first place vote in the Over 2.

The exquisitely beautiful son of Santana’s Charm with the ears that fairly touch at the tips, A Silver Charm was back and as good as ever to win the Three-Gaited Under 15.2 qualifier. Peter Cowart showed this two-time World’s Champion for registered owner, Pidgeon Roost Farm. A Silver Charm is out of the World’s Champion mare, R.R. Silver Lady. Also a World’s Champion, Callaway’s Flying Blue was reserve for Larry Hodge and Luci Nouwens. Flying Blue is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of a full sister to CH Will’s Bulletin. Her World’s Championship came in the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited ranks.

Another Pidgeon Roost Farm entry, The Norseman was the Ladies Three-Gaited Champion for Anne Neil. Opening the season with two wins with Phillipa Sledge aboard, The Norseman stepped into the Ladies ranks here with Anne Neil. The Norseman is by Phi Slama Jama and out of Nordic Radiance, a full sister to CH Mr. Snuffleupagus. His second dam is the great Sultan’s Radiance, a full sister to Radiant Sultan. Elegant as ever in the irons, Andrea Perry Block was reserve in both Ladies classes with Ro & Me’s Lady Godiva. Junior Over 2 World’s Champion last year, Lady Godiva is by Trust Fund and out of a Catalyst mare. Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Hollywood Agent was the Ladies qualifier winner with the superb Ali Judah up for Judah Saddlebreds. Entering their third season together, they have three RWC titles in four trips into Freedom Hall. Perhaps this will be their breakthrough year.

It was a comeback ride that sent CH Juliette’s Deja Blue down victory lane with the tri-color in tow in the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited division. Disappointed with her qualifier performance, Andrea Athanasuleas was back with a vengeance in the Championship, riding Deja Blue in that high, primping, prancing style that has become their hallmark… the same style that took this amazing mare, bred and owned by Chris Athanasuleas, to the winner’s circle in Freedom Hall last year. Amateur Champions here a year ago and winners of three Reserve World’s Championships in the last two years, Size Me Up and Deborah Visser were Reserve Champions here, after winning the qualifier for James Orr. When was the last time an Amateur class of this caliber had homebred stars going one-two? Size Me Up is by Tornaado (SA) and out of Annie Up, by Deborah’s longtime gaited star, CH Heir To Champagne. Ali DeGray put together an excellent performance to take reserve in the qualifier with Wee Pee’s Storm. They were reserve in the Open Over 2 class here last year.

Remember that question we asked a paragraph ago about the homebred champions? Yeah well, it happened two nights in a row, as Hillcroft Claret and Kent Brockman went first and second in the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship. Claret is by Kalarama Cabernet and out of Clairissa Co-Ed, a daughter of Harlem Globetrotter and the Broodmare Hall of Famer, Co-Ed’s Leading Lady. Bred and owned by Hillcroft Farm, Claret carried Misdee Wrigley Miller to the tri-color, taking it back to the Kalarama banner. Kent Brockman is owned and bred by Catherine Carter McNeese. He is a big, strapping son of Jon Bugatti out of Harlem’s Main Attraction. The youngest of the four sons of this mare that are named after characters from "The Simpsons," Kent Brockman is trained by Grey Ridge Farm and shown by Bridget McNeese. He earned the Reserve Championship.

In this competitive division, a totally different duo topped the qualifier, as Leatherwood’s All Smiles and Whitney Bennett earned the Amateur blue for Anne Holmes. Champion at J.D. Massey and Raleigh Spring Premier, All Smiles is by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man. Ali Judah made a couple stellar catch rides aboard Gossip Girl, earning reserve in the qualifier for Dr. Meg Knowles and the Visser Stables team.

Another of the Chancellor Champions, I’m McDreamy and Hunter Chancellor were the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Three-Gaited Champions. They also came away with the blue in the qualifier for Steven Chancellor and Team DeLovely. In 12 trips to the ring together, they have come home with 11 blues. They earned all six first place votes here this week with two absolutely top notch performances. A Reserve World’s Champion last year as well as the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Reserve National Champion, Prom Dress was off to a Reserve Championship here for Allie Wellington. Making their debut show together under the direction of Lewis Eckard, Allie and Prom Dress put on a great display. Making their season debut, Faye Wuesthofen and CH Heir To A Star were reserve in the qualifier. They earned Reserve World’s Championships in both of their Louisville appearances in 2009, yet another horse with three RWCs in the last two years.

The top two spots remained the same in both 13-and-Under Three-Gaited classes, as Heired Up and Callaway’s Born With Style earned those spots. Kaitlyn Creekmore piloted Heired Up for both victory passes, riding under the direction of Hollow Haven for Thomas R. Brock Jr. Four for four on the year, they look poised to build on last year’s successful season. Putting it all together under the Fairfield South banner, Molly Codeanne and Callaway’s Born With Style are having a great first year together. Owned by Cedarledge Farm, Born With Style has been a star, as has been Molly’s formal, which is an absolute sight!

Matt Shiflet was at the helm to take Lady O’Lydia to the Carolina-Owned Three-Gaited win for Don and Phyllis Brookshire. Zensation and Nelson Green continued to impress, as they were Novice Three-Gaited Champions after debuting to a Junior Three-Gaited blue at River Ridge. Owned by Mount Saddlebreds, Zensation looks to be an absolutely picture perfect ladies horse as her career progresses. She is out of the great Callaway’s Zerelda, the dam of CH Callaway’s Banner Headline. Neil Visser and Buck Be A Lady picked up reserve for Elisabeth Goth LLC. By CF First Night Out, Buck Be A Lady is out of a CH Buck Rogers mare. She was the Junior Fine Harness Mare Reserve World’s Champion in 2008.

Real Action continued his undefeated career, winning the Junior Three-Gaited class with Kim Cowart aboard for Plunkett and McKenzie. By Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of Callaway’s Worth Waiting For, Real Action has been a stunner all his life. He continued that trend with a scintillating blue ribbon performance here. Larry Hodge and Callaway’s Undercover Blues were reserve in this one. This is another Blue Norther / Caramac cross with all sorts of upside. Larry Hodge owns this young mare. Quintus Vander Spuy and Double Dipped made a nice solo performance to win the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class for Brooke and Quintus Vander Spuy.

Hunter Chancellor was back once again, this time rockin’ out her bright pink formal with CH The Attache Orchid. They earned their 13th and 14th consecutive victories in the Three-Gaited Pony qualifier and Championship. Owned by Steven Chancellor, The Attache Orchid just continues to impress with win after win. She is just a power-packed little dynamo and looks like an absolute blast to ride. The 14-17 Three-Gaited Pony World’s Champion a year ago, Manhattan’s Irish Cream was the Reserve Champion with Dylan Hines up for Yvonne and Rick Hines. Trained by Tammy DeVore, Irish Cream has been a star in this division for what seems like an eternity, but was really 2005 when he made his pony debut. Making her first full campaign as a walk-trot pony, CH Audrey Hepburn was reserve in the qualifier with Stella McAuley riding for Helen Laughery under the direction of Cash Lovell Stables.

Park

You want to know the division that top to bottom brought it all to the table in every class? Well here it is. This entire division was astonishingly loaded with talent, from the Open, to the Amateur, the Junior Exhibitor, and even the Junior Horse class. In the Open ranks, it was the same two horses finishing first and second, swapping positions from qualifier to Championship. Romance In New York has returned to the Park division where she won her World’s Championship, now showing with Matt Shiflet aboard for Royal Scot Stables. She was in top form and had to be to take home the tri-color. She was reserve in the qualifier. A star in harness a year ago, With Style And Grace has returned to her roots as an under saddle horse, debuting here with Tara Grom for Robert and Kim Grom. Showing out of DeLovely, Tara made an absolutely smashing first show with this incredibly gifted mare, winning the qualifier and returning for the Reserve Championship. Both of these gifted mares are out of Periaptor daughters, and, interestingly enough, both were shown by Robert Gardiner as young horses.

The top three Amateur Park horses flip-flopped in their placings but never missed a beat in the show ring. Tara Grom was back again with the other half of a dynamic one-two Park punch, winning it all with CH Perfect Vengeance. Her combination of "Ace" and "Grace" is an enviable one, as both emerged with blue ribbons in tow here in Asheville. The bold-moving liver chestnut was the tri-color winner in an action-packed class of some of the very best in the business. Reserve in both Amateur Park classes, Cumberland Crescent and Candy Covino Aversenti have enjoyed their move to the Park division, making great strides over the past year. Two top three finishes in Freedom Hall last year have them hungry for even better prizes this year, and they have been consistently brilliant so far in that quest. This team is directed by Kris and Bill Knight. It was an Electra-fying win for Hollywood Electra and Kristian Taylor White in the Amateur qualifier, as they picked up their first Park win together and did in bigtime style. It’s never a bad thing to break through at one of the best horse shows in the country.

The first ever Junior Exhibitor Park World’s Champion of Champions was back at it, winning for the 10th and 11th straight times. This was, of course, CH Justa Rascal with Camille Cowart aboard. Talk about a horse who has been getting it done in the Park division for a long and storied career, this is the horse. He has been a crowd favorite since 2003, and he shows no signs of letting up. Callie Smith has a new teammate in Brookhill’s Passion Punch. Directed by DeLovely, Passion Punch is every bit a Park horse, with that big build and animated way of going. He picked up reserve in both classes here. To give you an idea of the talent that hit the ring in this division, these horses also received ribbons in the Championship: First Class Heir, Show Baby Show, CH Callaway’s Forty-Niner, and CH Kalarama Shiraz.

A spectacular group hit the ring for the Junior Three-Gaited Park class, with Perfection Me taking the blue prize for Mike Tunstall and Glasscock Financial Services. A full brother to CH New York’s Perfect Gift, this lone daughter of the I’m A New Yorker x CH Undulata’s Perfect Gift ERB cross made her family proud. She is a more punched up version of her walk-trot star brother, taking on that aspect of her dam’s side. She was a sight to behold here in Asheville and left the crowd in high spirits. She has two three-year-old brothers, one of which was described by no less than three individuals in the know as "a freak." It will be interesting to see how these late three-year-olds (one was born in September, the other in November) come along. Nutcracker Ballerina and Clark Clouse were reserve for Bullet Concrete Materials. Obviously by Undulata’s Nutcracker, Ballerina is out of Callaway’s Spirited Gal. After bursting onto the national scene last year at the American Royal, Ballerina picked up two wins at River Ridge as well. This was the first time in her young career to leave without the blue streamers. Evan Orr had one to watch for in Undulata’s Susan McGee. Owned by Jack and Donna Finch, Susan McGee hit the ring with all sorts of fire and verve, winding up third in this excellent class. Luckily we will get to see these horses all square off again in Freedom Hall… Wait no, this division hasn’t quite made it there yet.

Simon Cowell and Peter Cowart were Three-Year-Old Park winners for Bill Beckley. They were Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Reserve World’s Champions in 2009. Brookhill’s Who’s Your Daddy and Sarah Taylor were reserve for Frank and Iris James.

Fine Harness

Joe Friday picked up two more wins to add to his resume here in Asheville, winning the Fine Harness Championship with Ruth Gimpel at the lines for Helen Rosburg. Big and bold as always, the bright chestnut star was also the Amateur Fine Harness winner with Helen Rosburg driving. Asheville has always been a good venue for Joe, as he has won here every year since 2007. Magical Promises and Pedro Martinez were reserve in both Open classes for the MSK Trust. By Mountain Promises and out of a CF Rare Night Out daughter, Magical Promises was the ASR Four-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes Reserve Champion in 2009. Booger made a fantastic return to the show ring, winning the Open qualifier with Bret Day for Catherine Carter McNeese. The long road back looks like it has been well worth it.

The husband-wife team of James and Misdee Miller topped the Ladies and Amateur ranks, as Hillcroft Crown Jewel and Misdee Wrigley Miller made a fabulous solo performance in the Ladies division. Crown Jewel won her Sweepstakes divisions the past two years as well as finishing as the Reserve World’s Champion in both of her harness mare classes. The Amateur Gentlemen’s Fine Harness World’s Champion from a year ago, Heir’s Treasure was the Amateur Champion here for James Miller. Also showing under the Kalarama banner, this team earned the Reserve National Championship a year ago. Unclaimed has made a successful return to pulling a four-wheeled cart, as he was the Reserve Champion here for Jan Beardsley Blanco. Directed by Fairfield South, they earned double blues at both Raleigh Spring Premier and UPHA 14 Spring Premiere. The ASHA Youth Fine Harness Driving Challenge was a very nice exhibition by She’s Gone and Alexa McWilliams for Tri-Color Saddlebreds. Colored much like another Tri-Color Saddlebreds entry, Gothic Revival, She’s Gone is in fact by Molligny Don’t Worry Be Happy (SA).

Bungalow Eight already has a World’s Championship performance under his belt in his young career. He was a Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion with Pedro Martinez. Anne Neil was at the lines here in the Junior Fine Harness class to take the blue. This bay son of A Superb Manhattan is out of the CF First Night Out daughter, CF Hot Night Out. She is out of the Broodmare Hall of Fame mare, Callaway’s Coronet, making her a full sister to CH Yes It’s True. Platinum Moon, a Reserve World’s Champion as a two-year-old, was reserve here as well, with Daniel Lockhart driving for Joan Hamilton. By Periaptor and out of Harlem’s Moondance, he is a full brother to CH Gone Platinum.

Sir Scandalous made his debut in harness to take the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness class with Dena Lopez at the whip for Susan Whittington. By Sir William Robert, he is out of Tango With Me LCC, by Arborlane Tangos Wee Pee. Tango With Me is half sister to CH Trapp Mountain. A winner at the Royal last year and UPHA Classic winner at River Ridge, World Turning was reserve with Bret Day. By The Mac Attack, she is out of Starheart’s Whisper, by Fox Creek.

Roadster

The top two from the Limit Roadster to Bike class finished top two in the Roadster to Bike Championship, only in reverse order. Raising The Bar has split time between the bike and wagon divisions over the past few seasons, winning a Roadster to Wagon World’s Championship last year. Mark Turner was once again at the helm, this time wearing silks instead of a suit to take the tri-color for DeLovely Farm. Undefeated up until this point, Belle Starr has star power to burn in this division. She was the Reserve Champion for Melinda Moore, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday night. Melinda and Belle Starr took home the blue in the Limit class. Beaucourt Boy and Brad Lukens topped the Open qualifier for Charlie Jones. This is his fifth show of the season under the Lukens Stables banner, and he continues to improve. Longtime partner of Debra Clark, Where’s Reuben was reserve with Jon Walker at the lines. They were double winners at J.D. Massey at the end of last month.

The Amateur Roadster to Bike class might have been the deepest field of amateur horses to hit the ring. Every one of them had talent and speed to burn. Misdee Wrigley Miller debuted with Trio Bolero G at the Royal last year, finishing reserve in the Amateur qualifier to Mr’s Bones and Charlie Jones. They came back to earn the Open National Championship later in the week. This time, that loss was avenged, as Trio Bolero G sped to the winner’s circle in both classes. The last time Mr’s Bones didn’t leave with the blue in an amateur class? Lexington 2008… He showed at 13 shows in 2009. Like we said, this was a heck of a class. Trio Bolero won it as the choice of all three judges. This is definitely a case of two different styles competing against each other. Trio Bolero is smaller, with that quick, compact stride that sends him flying down the rail, reaching top speed in no time. Mr’s Bones is bigger, with a longer stride that doesn’t give him that same burst of acceleration. They are both about as good as they come in the Roadster division.

Royal Count and Rebekah Cloninger were tops in the Youth Roadster to Bike qualifier. They were Amateur Reserve National Champions last season. Roar Of Thunder and Ali DeGray put on a display of speed in a solo Championship run. They were Youth World’s Champions just last year, as well as in 2008.

Dancin’ For Dollars and Andrew Mirabole went for the doctor as the Roadster to Wagon winners. Big N Rich and Matt Shiflet cranked it up to 11 in the Roadster Under Saddle division, speeding off with the blue and tri-color in a heated competition for William Chapman. They were World’s Champions in this division in 2009. The Amateur World’s Champion and Open World’s Champion of Champions, Where Are We Now, was reserve in both events for Dr. Brian Garrett, who rode his tail off to vie for the top prize. It was one of the most fun and exciting classes of the show.

Ponies

The Road Pony Championship had only one entry, but it was a great one, as CH Stat strutted his stuff for the appreciative audience, taking the tri-color for Dr. Chip Pugh. Stat was also the qualifier winner. He is the reigning 50-52" Road Pony World’s Champion as well as the Reserve World’s Grand Champion. Romeo’s Kristy Lee LF, the 50"-and-Under World’s Champion, was reserve in the qualifier for Andy Freseth and Priscilla Gise.

Surprize Surprize took two top prizes back to the Majestic Oaks stalls with Donna Whatley driving to a sweep of the Amateur Road Pony division. Whatley’s black and red silks were a blue as she sped down victory lane. Luanna Kilday and her longtime partner Heartland Painted Creation were reserve in both classes. Kilday’s son, Jeb Boyd, was this pony’s partner prior to her taking over at the lines.

CH Cappuccino certainly needs no introduction in the Carolinas, and after the campaign he put together last year, Charles Gassen doesn’t need any introduction anywhere in the road pony world! They continued their winning ways here into 2010, topping the AHHS Road Pony Medallion class and the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Championship. They were 13-and-Under World’s Champion of Champions just a year ago and look primed for more in 2010. Cappuccino is owned by grandma Brenda Kelly. Sweet Impression and Audrey Sigmon were reserve in both classes for Joe W. Cook. They were fresh off wins at J.D. Massey, Raleigh Invitational, and Raleigh Spring Premier.

All Sugarland wanted to do was headed to the winner’s circle and did just that in the Novice Road Pony class. Maureen Campbell was at the whip for Toni Nastali. Heartland Pursuit was in hot pursuit in reserve with Ronnie Graham driving for Helen Rosburg.

The undefeated reigning Three-Year-Old World’s Champion, Entitlement, was the Junior Road Pony winner here for Maureen Campbell and Tom Caisse. Brooke Jacobs drove Crystal Creek’s Night Aire to reserve. Night Aire is by Dun-Haven Phenomenal.

Holli McDowell Hayes was sporting her suit and hat aboard the pony-sized road wagon to win the Road Pony to Wagon class with Boogity Boogity for Ashlyn Farms. The reigning World’s Champions, Bud Light and Ronnie Graham, were reserve for James and Helen Rosburg.

Drew Taylor Hewitt doesn’t need reins to stop Wait & See’s Postmaster, she could just put her feet down like Fred Flintstone. The long and tall jockey was rockin’ and rollin’ to pick up double wins in the Road Pony Under Saddle division. Tyler DeVore rode Aragorn to the Reserve Championship for Bent Tree Farm.

Starting the year out as they did a year ago, Lynda Freseth and Heartland Expectation teamed up for the first couple shows of the year. After two wins at Bonnie Blue, this beautiful mare took two more here in Asheville, winning both Open Harness Pony classes. Teamed with Mary Gise for Priscilla Gise, Expectation brought home the Amateur World’s Champion of Champions title a year ago. Expecations are high once again! The two long-tail entries of the Wrather family duked it out in reserve, with Charlotte Wrather and Oliver Twist taking the Reserve Championship. Oliver Twist earned the Amateur National Championship last November and just continues to keep on truckin’. Seamair Sensation and John Wrather were reserve in the Open qualifier for Charlotte Wrather. They were Open Reserve National Champions last year as well as Amateur Gentlemen’s Reserve World’s Champions. Crystal Creek’s Commander looked like a star in winning the Amateur Harness Pony class for Kathryn Nichols and the Majestic Oaks team. This homebred product is by Dun-Haven Center Attraction. Oliver Twist finished reserve in this one as well.

It feels like we’ve written "Seamair Simply Awesome was just that" at least 10 times in various write-ups and recaps. But well… the name just fits! Simply Awesome was simply the Open Hackney Pony Champion and qualifier winner for John and Charlotte Wrather, with John at the whip and Janet Crampton heading up in the lineup. They are the two-time defending Amateur World’s Champion of Champions. Heartland Twice As Nice and Katherine Whitlow were reserve in both Open classes. Heartland High Tech and Helen Rosburg continued their undefeated career together, though they were the lone entry in the Amateur Hackney Pony class. The reigning World’s Grand Champion has settled into his role as an Amateur partner quite nicely and looks ready to take on all comers.

Boxford Courageous Spirit made the switch to the Hackney Pleasure Driving division last year at Southeastern, with our very own Katherine Hansil driving to the tri-color. Owner Charlotte Wrather was back at the lines here in Asheville, as she drove to the tri-color as well. Qualifier winner Heartland Breaking News finished as the Reserve Champion with Kay Marschel driving under the direction of Dena Lopez. They were Section One World’s Champions in 2009. Another convert from the road pony ranks, CH Zildjian and Caitlin Leith were reserve in the qualifier. This longtime favorite Carolina pair have been crowd pleasers together since 2007, when they won their first World’s Championship together. Brother Conner had been at the lines for the 2006 World’s Championship drive.

Pleasure

It was a round of early season showdowns in the Five-Gaited Pleasure division, as both the Adult and Junior Exhibitor classes featured duels between some of the very best in the business. The Adult ranks saw two horses square off that had both made impressive season debuts the last weekend of April. Take A Guess and Michelle Krentz made their winning debut at River Ridge, while CH Stonewall’s Stargate and Stefanie Sanchez made theirs at J.D. Massey. Take A Guess showed no ill effects from throwing a shoe twice during the week of River Ridge and got to rolling here at Asheville, taking both the Championship and qualifier with the unanimous choice of the judges. Michelle Krentz was once again in the irons under the direction of Grey Ridge Farm for Mary Krentz. Stefanie Sanchez and Stonewall’s Stargate, the reigning World’s Champions, were reserve for West Wind Farm.

In the Junior Exhibitor division, it was a showdown between last year’s Triple Crown winner, CH Sunken Treasure, and the big early season winner, Mojo. Sunken Treasure is now teamed with Stephanie Brackett under the High Caliber banner, and they put it all together this week to take both classes. Mary Orr was ecstatic in her praise and encouragement down on the rail as Brackett finished her second way canter, making a mistake-free ride in the Championship. Mojo and Megan Bush Barrett, undefeated at Raleigh Spring Premier and J.D. Massey, were reserve in both under the direction of the Cowart’s West Wind Stables.

The young lady who rode Mojo to a big win at Lexington last year, Kelsey Olson, rode Blue Highway to the Novice Five-Gaited Pleasure blue, this one directed by Judd Stables. Joellen Fisher Blount and SJ Space Buccaneer were reserve in this one.

It was a one-two combination for Tornaado in the Park Pleasure division, as two of his offspring topped both classes. Mighty Thor is a striking five-year-old son of Tornaado out of Heir’s Folly, another mare out of the James Orr breeding program by CH Heir To Champagne. Neil Visser had him all punched up and collected for the win for Terri Dolan. Owned and bred by Sandra Murphy, Tornaado’s Temptress was reserve in both events for Matt Shiflet. Also by Tornaado, Temptress is out of Melody Murphy’s former teammate, Ella Fitzgerald, by Harlem Globemaster.

Winner of close to $30,000 in prize money last season, Mirror Me was back in the division he loved so much last year, Park Pleasure, to take the Junior class with Janet Kellett aboard. By CH Harlem Town, he is out of the grand mare, CH Times Mirrored ERB. A cross of Sir William Robert, a favorite of the Hagan Saddlebreds breeding program, and She’s Not Bad resulted in the reserve winner, HS Fixation. Debbie Foley did the honors here for Hagan Saddlebreds.

Cococabana and Bret Day showed to their first win, as the Call Me Ringo product won the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for A.E. Nelson. He is out of Lady Of The Realm, by Catalyst. Reserve in this one was Brookhill’s Dancing With Daisy, with Sarah Taylor up for Cindy Maloney. By Periaptor, Dancing With Daisy is out of the top walk-trot mare, She Be Jammin’, a favorite of the O’Brien family back in the mid-90s.

Harley Rally looks like he is all set to settle into his new division, as he and Elisabeth Goth trotted to the winner’s circle in the 36-and-Over Show Pleasure Championship. Directed by Visser Stables, Harley Rally looked right at home with his newly grown mane. Last year’s World’s Champion rider, Peggy Councilman, was back with her mount, Quinlan. With the Kalarama team backing her, Councilman rode to reserve in both the Championship and qualifier. Teamed since the beginning of 2004, Barbara Woods and CH Sweet Virginia enter their seventh season together. Coming off a World’s Championship performance in 2009, they started the season strong already this year with wins at Tampa and Pro Am. They were qualifier winners here.

Ashley Wilson’s return to the show ring has produced success on top of success, and it was no surprise that she headed to the winner’s circle once again with Imagine My Surprise. Under the direction of DeLovely, last year’s Lexington Champion was in high form once again for Steven Chancellor, winning both events in the 18-35 Show Pleasure division. Kaitlin Whatley was the Reserve Champion with CH The Last Straw. She was twice a winner at Pro Am earlier this season. Both of these horses were Reserve World’s Champions in their Louisville qualifiers in 2009.

Last year’s 13-and-Under Show Pleasure Champion stepped up an age group but found the same result. This was CH Brookhill’s King Of Kool who took the 14-17 Championship this year, once again with Jessica Wuesthofen up for Glenn A Werry Jr. A full brother to CH She’s My Desire BH, another World’s Champion performer for Jessie in 2009, King Of Kool was the 13-and-Under World’s Champion Of Champions last season. Veteran campaigner CSF Supreme Memories was the Reserve Champion with Leslie Mechling riding for Judy Brown. This son of Classic Memories just keeps rolling up solid performances as the years go on. Mitchell Tunstall had the reserve winner in the qualifier, as he rode Speak For Yourself to the red streamers for Mike and Barrie Tunstall. By Designed, Speak For Yourself is out of a CH Great Day’s Came The Son mare.

How about a half brother to the 14-17 champion winning the 13-and-Under titles. That is just what happened, as Brookhill’s Kool As Ice emerged from both classes with the top prize and Ellie Kangur aboard. Trained by High Caliber Stables, Kool As Ice is also out of CH It’s A Beautiful Day but by Periaptor instead of CH Harlem Town. The World’s Champion Pleasure mare has produced some great ones, that is for certain. Talent begets talent. Channing McWilliams was reserve both times out with Stone Captive for Cynthia McWilliams. Entering their second full season together, this team is trained by Clark Clouse.

Deborah (not Debbie) Foley was the big winner in the Novice Rider Show Pleasure class, as she piloted Callaway’s Spending Spree to the blue. By CH Callaway’s Gold Rush, Spending Spree is out of CH Lilly Black, an excellent Show Pleasure horse in her own right. Jennifer Katko was reserve here with CH Mo Rhythm, a longtime winner all over the Southeast.

The ever-smiling Carver Semans brought the Cash Lovell Stables cheering section to life as the winner of the 12-and-Under Walk-and-Trot Pleasure Championship and qualifier with Heir’s Intoxication. The grand gray horse has teamed with Carver for win after win over the past two seasons. Libby Bowen had Stephanie Brackett’s former mount, CH Much More Radiant, looking just that as the Reserve Champion for Steve and Peggy Brackett. In the qualifier, it was Lady Gabriella and Emma Sanchez that took the red streamers. Emma and Gabriella are entering their third season as a top team.

Attache Allure and Anna Grace Whitworth took to a new division here at Asheville, winning the English Pleasure Pony Championship for Tammy and Anna Grace Whitworth. Allure is a full sister to CH The Attache Orchid, by Attache’s Thunderbolt and out of The Irish Orchid. Allie Poovey made the winning ride in the qualifier with Sunkissed Supreme. This veteran of many a Pleasure Pony showdown returned for the Reserve Championship for Todd and Margaret Poovey. The Admiral’s Genie and Ashley Stewart finished up in reserve in the qualifier for John and Kim Stewart.

In their third season as a dynamic duo, Finest Material and James Rosburg took home the tri-color in the Show Pleasure Driving Championship for James and Helen Rosburg and trainer Ruth Gimpel. By Star Material and out of a CH Captive Spirit mare, Finest Material has been a winner all over the Southeastern circuit. Royal Crest’s Rhine Stone Cowboy took the qualifier blue back to DeLovely for Joellen Fisher Blount. By Seaheart, the Buck Rogers stud at the heart of the Royal Crest breeding program in Wisconsin, Rhine Stone Cowboy returned to earn the Reserve Championship. Reserve in the qualifier went to I’m Southern and Susan Harris, a winning walk-trot team in 2009.

Anna Drew Jackson drove Wee Pee’s Meadows to a nice solo blue in the ASHA Youth Pleasure Driving Challenge for Susan Hollowell.

It was a repeat winner with a different rider in the Country Pleasure Championship. Last year, it was Andrea Athansuleas’ final ride with Jessie Cole to take the tri-color. This year, Amanda Dellinger was in the irons for James R. Dellinger Jr. and the Hollow Haven team, earning both the tri-color and qualifier blue. This gray mare is the current Reserve National Champion in the division and continues to improve with Dellinger. Ali DeGray was back once again with the entry of James and Helen Rosburg, Careless Fortune. They were the Reserve Champions here after posting two nice wins at Pro Am earlier this year. A Junior Exhibitor World’s Champion in 2008, Highpoint’s Grandee teamed with Dori Zandy to finish reserve in the qualifier for Lisa Austin. Coached by Steve and Julia Joyce, Zandy and Grandee made a two strong shows here in Asheville.

It was a very competitive Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure division that saw Callaway’s Letter To The Editor and Erin Ohning ride off with the tri-color. This team has really come into its own here in the fourth season of their partnership. This was the sixth trip down victory lane for them in the young season. In their first year out of walk-and-trot, Alexandria Cedrone and Miraculous Odds have been consistent as always, winning the 13-and-Under Championship at Raleigh Spring Premier and finishing as the Reserve Champions here at Asheville. It was a totally different crew atop the qualifier, as that blue went CH Uwharrie’s Patriot Sage. A qualifier World’s Champion in the 13-and-Under ranks last year, Laura Plant was once again aboard, still showing in the younger age bracket. They have won all three of their qualifying classes so far this year. Lillian Young and High Time’s Bayruma made their debut together for Maria Gilman, taking reserve in the qualifier.

While Uwharrie’s Patriot Sage was a former partner of Tara Grom’s, so too was CH Callaway’s Torch Bearer. Torch Bearer is still under the ownership of Bob and Kim Grom, and Kim made a fantastic debut performance under the DeLovely banner to win the Novice Rider Country Pleasure class with daughter Tara coaching and cheering from the rail. Endolane Symphony and Tammy Whitworth were reserve. They were winners of this class at J.D. Massey.

In a class you don’t see every day, Cheetah’s Admiral emerged as the Walk-and-Trot Country Pleasure Champion with Raegan Morrison. They were also the Junior Exhibitor qualifier winners. You’re Looking Swell Dolly was reserve in both of those classes for Claire Badgley.

Typically known for their skills in the saddle, the Lawson girls have shown He’s A Royal Pepper with great success in Show Pleasure over the past few years. This year, the switch was made to Country Pleasure Driving, and Alex Lawson has taken to the pleasure driving cart with excellent results. They started out with a qualifier win at Kentucky Spring Premier and were tri-color champions here in Asheville. They also finished reserve in the qualifier. Qualifier winners Periaptus Infinitus and Kay Marschel were the Reserve Champions under the watchful eye of Dena Lopez. This big bay son of Periaptor was spot on and pleasure perfect in both classes.

Marie Gwinn had her partner of six years, CH Monsignor, were the Western Country Pleasure Champions for 2010, as well as the four years prior! It was a fifth consecutive victory in this Championship round for this team that never seems to step out of that perfect western frame. CH Royal Crest’s Dancing On Stones and Susan Hoskins repeated their finish from 2008 as the Reserve Champions in this one. Willie Angel and cowboy Dave Lopez were the qualifier winners. This team took home the tri-color at the UPHA/American Royal National Championship just last fall. This was also a repeat finish from last year, as they brought the qualifier blue back to the Double D Ranch stalls in 2009 as well. In Limit Western Country Pleasure, the winning team was Nation’s Chief and Kay Marschel. Also directed by Dena Lopez, this relatively new team is entering its first full season together.

Equitation

A newcomer to the Equitation division, Brittany McGinnis earned the tri-color in the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship with Soli Deo Glori. We jest of course, as you would have to look a long, long time to find a more decorated Equitation rider in the history of the sport, and even then, you might not be successful in that quest. Now three years removed from her magical Triple Crown season in 2007, Brittany is still a junior exhibitor! She won all of those National Finals as a 14 year old rider. If that wasn’t impressive enough, she has taken on the challenge of a new mount, building a partnership with Soli Deo Glori over the past few years. The only thing missing from her resume is the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation World’s Championship. Now in her 17 year old year, she looks poised to leap that last hurdle. Ashlyn Hamilton was the Reserve Champion after finishing reserve in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal. This is Hamilton’s first year back in the Equitation ranks after showing numerous Performance divisions over the past few seasons.

Last year’s 10-and-Under Equitation Reserve World’s Champion Kaitlyn Creekmore was the 13-and-Under winner here as well as the UPHA 11-and-Under Challenge Cup champ. Her equitation success has transferred to her performances with her walk-trot partner, Heired Up, as well. Ellie Kangur is now in her 12-year-old season showing out of High Caliber Stables. She was reserve in the 13-and-Under class.

Courtney McGinnis was the winner of both the USEF Saddle Seat Medal and UPHA 13-and-Under Challenge Cup with her new mount, Kiss Of The Zodiac. She looks ready to take the next step with this new teammate. Hunter Chancellor topped the 14-17 Challenge Cup and the NHS Good Hands Event for Team DeLovely. She was two times a Reserve World’s Champion in her 13-year-old campaign last year. Jessie Wuesthofen made a return to the Equitation ranks, her first appearance since 2006. She finished reserve in both the 14-17 Challenge Cup and the NHS Good Hands Event.

In Pleasure Equitation action, Alexandra Lawson captured the qualifying credentials in the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup, with Macey Joan Miles in reserve. Macey was the blue ribbon winner in the Pleasure Equitation class. Sarah Martin was reserve in that one. Cashlyn Lovell and Aces And Eights topped a tough and competitive group of walk-and-trotters to win the 10-and-Under Walk-and-Trot Equitation class. This is Cashlyn’s second season out of Academy, and she has picked five blue ribbons already in 2010. She was reserve in the UPHA Walk-and-Trot Challenge Cup. Reserve in the Walk-and-Trot class went to Ashley Creekmore. A winner at Bonnie Blue just a week earlier, Ashley Creekmore shows out of Hollow Haven. Another young rider picking up her fifth win of the year, Payton Walker was the winner of the UPHA Walk-and-Trot Challenge Cup. She has double wins at Pro Am and River Ridge on her resume already this year. She was an 8-and-Under World’s Champion just a year ago.

Academy

Saturday afternoon was reserved a strong Academy session, with the future stars shining bright on the Asheville stage. Renee Lavery served as the judge for this session, awarding blue ribbons to Mickey Kangur, Heather Bowen, Sarah Tate, Dee Kegley, Laura Cedrone, Sue Rutz, Amy Cedrone, Hadley Bassett, Jozy Unal, Amy Immonen, Avery Rose McCutcheon, Ainsley Ruley, Abigail Tabor, Elizabeth Stewart, Rachel Sanchez, Maren Hodgins, Rachel Whitt, Sydney Beason, and Ali Fitton.

As Callaway’s Annabel Allison hit the outgate to close out Asheville 2010 and Peter Fenton made his closing remarks, the curtain fell on what has to be one of the top five shows in the country. It is very comparable to the quality and numbers we will see in just a few short weeks at Midwest Charity. In fact, there will be many of the same combinations in attendance there. No matter if you can be in attendance or not, we will bring you the most complete and up to date coverage of that one, just like we have here.

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