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“Oscar Night” at Louisville - CH High Expectations Retires


Editor’s note: The following presentation was made at the World’s Championship Horse Show on Thursday night.

Peter Fenton:   We come now to a very special time of the evening—a time when we will celebrate the career of a horse whose star has shown over the American Saddlebred show ring with extraordinary brilliance.  Tonight is Oscar Night!


Music:  Twentieth Century Fox opening


Peter Fenton:  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome CH High Expectations and Deveau Zubrod.


Music: Academy Award theme, “Hooray For Hollywood”


Peter Fenton:   Champion High Expectations was foaled in 1985. Named Stonewall’s Commanding Heir by breeder John Pauley, he was started in his career by trainer Bobby Murphy. Then in 1990, he was sold to Butch and Katie Myers—and it was then that he received two names that would stick with him for life. Envisioning his career with their daughter Kristen, Katie Myers renamed him High Expectations. And around the barn, in honor of his connection to the Myers family, he became known as “Oscar.”


Over the following 15 years, Oscar had several partners—and remarkably, for each, he won at least a World’s Championship or Reserve, and for most there were other titles as well, national championships and top awards at major shows across the country.


With Kristen Myers, he won in Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure. With Carol Hillenbrand, the venue was Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure. With Donna and Kristen Pettry, he won in Amateur Three-Gaited Over 15.2, and for Kristen and Tom D. Pettry, there were trophies in Saddle Seat Equitation. With Deveau and Renee Zubrod, there were even more Equitation triumphs, and finally, at the close of his career, he won in Saddle Seat with Olivia Weber and Alexia Stumler—an amazing total of 11 World’s Championships with seven Reserves, along with national championships and prestigious titles such as National Horse Show Good Hands champion, Equitation Grand Champion at the American Royal, and winner in a variety of events at the Lexington Junior League Show.  He was also named Three-Gaited Pleasure Horse of the Decade by Horse World Magazine.


Oscar was 20 years old last year when he was entered for the final time here in Freedom Hall.  It’s rare that a horse of that age is competitive at the World’s Championships, but in the twilight of his career, his story was the success that it always has been:  with Alexia Stumler, he was reserve in the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship, and with Deveau Zubrod, he won the World’s Championship in Adult Equitation.


You might say that “High Expectations” proved to be a good name, because throughout his life, whenever Oscar’s owners dreamed a dream, he delivered.


Now, for more background from some of the people in Oscar’s life, please direct your attention to the monitor overhead.



Deveau Zubrod & Oscar watch the video

Rob Byers:
  An equitation horse, I believe, has to be a great show horse with a great mind. They have to be able to put up with a lot, because what other horse in the show ring has to go into the ring and look like a World’s Champion Three-Gaited horse, and then come down and do figure work?


Oscar was really funny. He had a wonderful personality to work with; he remembered from day to day what you taught him, and that’s what I liked best about him.


I have a funny story about Oscar that I’d like to tell now. We were at the Tampa Charity Horse Show one year, and that year they happened to have the horse show at a stable in Venice, Florida, a farm that was full of Grand Prix dressage horses. I was riding Oscar one day, working him in the morning before the show started the next day, up and down a sandy lane. It was a lot of fun to ride him there. He was looking around, snorting, and on the side was a guy working one of these high level Grand Prix horses. And Oscar was doing the prettiest passage you’ve ever seen in your life, squatting down in his rear end, getting his front legs up as high as he could, fully collected. Then the guy started doing a piaffe, so I reined him back (I’d never done a piaffe before), and Oscar did it! He stood there and trotted in place as pretty as you please. The guy stopped and he was very impressed with him. He said, “That was really pretty; I didn’t think those horses would have the mind to do that.”


Carol Hillenbrand:  By far my fondest memory of Oscar is the day I tried him out at Rob and Sara Byers’. I remember Rob giving me a leg up on him, and I took three steps and I turned to Rob and said, “I’ll buy him.” And Rob said, “Don’t you want to trot him?” I said, “I don’t have to.” His neck came back into my lap, and I was so excited to be on him. I said, “Okay, I’ll trot him.” So I trotted him around, and then I said, “I’ll still buy him.” And Rob said, “Well, you should canter him too.” And so I cantered him, and I said, “Now I’ll really buy him, and I’m not even going to vet him.” And I’ve never been sorry, since he’s by far my most favorite horse I’ve ever owned.


Cindy Boel:  Last year at the Kentucky State Fair, Oscar won a National Championship after a three-horse workout at the age of 20. At that point, I decided his next trip to Freedom Hall would be for his retirement ceremony. I wish everyone here tonight could get to know Oscar as we do. He is truly a great example of the American Saddlebred, with tremendous intelligence and a huge heart.


(Video ends)

Peter Fenton: As the photographers take their pictures, let me introduce those who are here in center ring with Oscar and Deveau tonight. Please welcome Cindy Zubrod Boel, Oscar’s trainer for the past eight years, and her husband, Klaus … Bonnie Zubrod … Art, Leah and Renee Zubrod … Mike Kreitzer, Deveau’s finance … Butch, Katie and Kristen Myers … Carol Hillenbrand … Marjorie Ferguson … Donna Pettry Smith …  Kristen Pettry …Olivia Weber and Alexia Stumler. 


Please welcome also many of Oscar’s trainers from over the years:  Bobby Murphy … Rob and Sara Byers … John and Renee Biggins … Kim and Fran Crumpler … and of course—Oscar’s loyal caretaker of the past five years, Jeff Repinske.


Ladies and gentlemen, so special is CH High Expectations that Cindy Boel recently purchased him for the sole purpose of seeing that he lived out his life in comfort and with the respect he deserves.  From here, he will be going to Zubrod Stables in Prospect, Kentucky, to enjoy a life of leisure.


And so – tonight is Oscar Night. Tonight, truly, we recognize CH High Expectations with a special award:  the one for Lifetime Achievement.  For one last time in Freedom Hall, please let him know what a real star he is!



Zubrod Stables hosted a  retirement party for Oscar and all his many friends and fans after the last class on Thursday night.



It was truly Oscar Night!


Oscar and two of his best friends - Deveau and Renee Zubrod

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