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National Guard Member wins NYSMHS Raffle Filly



To help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the New York State Morgan Horse Society Breeders Futurity, the Futurity Committee created a raffle with the proceeds earmarked for the prize money awarded in future Futurity Alumni classes. William Haines of Ledyard Farms in King Ferry, NY, donated a chestnut yearling filly as the winning prize in this benefit raffle. The filly he donated was LFS Forever Sophisticated (LSF Fortunate Son (by Forevermore) x Seaway Showgirl (by Hillock Showson)).

The winning raffle ticket was drawn during the Friday evening session of the New York Regional Morgan Horse Show. Judge Cindy Mugnier had the honor of pulling the winning ticket.

The lucky winner was Maureen Smith, a 25-year-old active member of the Army National Guard, stationed at the Connecticut St. Armory in Buffalo, NY. ‘Sophie’ will be stabled at Maureen’s aunt, Sue Gramse’s Bramblebush Morgans in Angola, NY.

Maureen started riding with her Aunt Sue when she was about two years of age. For many years, Maureen showed Delaware’s Kylee under her aunt’s direction. The two were unseparable as they matured. The mare died in 2005, and Maureen was busy with her career, proudly serving her country, and her family, raising a young son, Bailey. Therefore, she didn’t have much time to go to her aunt’s barn.

When Bailey started enjoying the horses at Bramblebush Morgans, learning to ride and showing, Maureen realized how much she missed it all. "Recently, after coming back from Basic training and my job training from the Army, I realized how much I missed horses," Maureen said. "I had never truly had my ‘own’ horse and had always wanted one. Three weeks ago, at the New York State Fair, I told my aunt I wanted to lease a horse in order to show again. 

"At State Fair, I saw a poster and someone had talked about this raffle to win a Morgan horse, but I didn’t think anything of it other than seeing my aunt buy raffle tickets," Maureen continued. "My mother also bought two raffle tickets and put my name on them, as she never wins anything." Needless to say, when the horse show announcer called out Maureen’s name as the winner of the filly, there was lots of screaming and many tears.

"My aunt brought Sophie home from the show, and it was like we were meant to be," Maureen said. "Sophie will help create a stronger bond between my son and me! She is everything any horse owner could want and more. Funny thing is, I'm a redhead and so is she. We get along great! She really filled a void in my heart that I don't think I realized was there until she was given to me. My goal is to be the best owner Sophie deserves."

To add one more chapter to this story, Ledyard Farms Equine Manager Sarah Ruby showed Sophie in the NYSMHS Yearling Futurity division, where she was pinned Reserve Yearling Futurity Champion. A great start to a very promising future for this young Morgan filly.

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