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New England Youth Compete for Top Honors

The 65th annual New England Regional Horse Show got off to a rousing start with 36 young Morgan enthusiasts competing for the coveted title of New England Regional Youth Of The Year. Under the direction of 2001 Grand National Youth of The Year winner, Sarah Miner, 16 individuals competed in the senior division, and 20 competed in the junior division. Contest coordinator Erin Van Steenburgh was in labor while the contest was being held, and Sarah Miner along with Karen Shanley stepped in and made sure that all 36 contestants were gathered and ready to compete on Sunday, July 25th. “I was really excited to help out with the contest,” Miner said. After winning the Grand National Title in 2001, Miner chose to take her trip to Australia and help promote the Morgan breed. The added bonus of having a former winner and competitor running the program is the personal experience she can give competitors. Youth Of The Year participants were tested first mentally with a grueling written test with questions ranging from conformation and bone structure to current and past world champions. The entrants were then asked to perform individual patterns with their horses to test their horsemanship skills with Kass Booth in charge of the actual judging. After the mental and physical testing, the young riders were then asked to give a speech about the Morgan horse. The senior age group was given the topic: The Morgan horse is known for it's versatility - How, at a time when people feel so individualized, do we make the Morgan world feel united. The Junior competitors were given the topic: What was your most memorable ride on your Morgan and what lesson did that ride teach you. The most subjective portion of the competition was held last. Farms from all over the fairgrounds donated horses for the 2004 judging contest. Thanks to Broadfields, CPM Stables, UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Chrislar Farm, Bellewether, Christine Nava, Meadowmere, and Meadowaire Farms the 36 contestants had a great field of horses to adjudicate in the judging contest. At the end of the day the New England Horse Show sponsored a barbecue for all of the competitors which gave them time to relax and reflect on the hectic day that had just ended. When all of the scores had been tabulated, Margo Cullen, competing in her first year, was named the 2004 New England Regional Senior Youth of The Year. She along with reserve champions Stephanie Gilbody and Kara Fidler will be eligible to represent their youth club at the 2004 Grand National Youth Of The Year contest. The Junior winner Madison Wiles Haffner had won the Junior title at Connecticut, Vermont, and Granite State before being announced the New England Regional Junior Winner. Her cousin Hillary Wiles Lafayette was also announced the reserve winner in the Junior competition. The 2004 winners were presented with coolers and trophies donated by the New England Morgan Horse Show, and the reserve winners were given monogrammed jackets from the official New England merchandise booth. Good Luck to all 2004 Grand National competitors and congratulations on a job well done!

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