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Pin Oak Charity - Continuing a Saddlebred Tradition



 

Judges and Officials

Judge: Peter Cowart, Statesville, NC

Manager: Glenn Petty, Rolesville, NC

Show Secretary (American Saddlebreds:) Maryann Meiner, St. Louis, MO

Announcer: Peter Fenton, Paris, KY

Ringmaster: Albert Sabrsula, Houston, Texas

Photographer: Casey McBride, Phoenix, AZ

Organist: Gayle Frazier, Beasley, TX

Videographer: Horse Flix Video

Farrier: Joe Bradshaw Jr., Fairview, TX

Veterinarian: Dr. Andrew Currie, Hempstead, TX

 

by Ann Bullard and Margaret Cordes

 

KATY, Texas - Hospitality. There’s the Southern kind. There’s the Texas kind. When you blend the best of Texas and Southern, the result is the 62nd annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Saddle Horses competed March 21 through 25, with a full hunter and jumper show continuing through April 1.

 

Pin Oak is much more than a horse show. Rather, it is a colorful tapestry woven by Saddlebreds, roadsters, Hackney/harness ponies, colorful Andalusians, tiny Welch ponies, hunters and internationally competitive jumpers. After Saturday night’s five-gaited championship, the jump crew set the course for the first of two $30,000 Grand Prix events. Saddle Horse exhibitors enjoyed a lavish buffet dinner while enjoying the final event of the first week’s show.

 

For decades, Pin Oak was one of Houston’s social events of the year. Spearheaded by the late J.S. Abercrombie, the late Leopold Meyer, other key individuals and the Junior League, the show became the place to be for spectators and exhibitors alike. Held in early June at the Abercrombies’ Pin Oak Stables, it brought world’s champion horses and riders to an event that had all the glitz and glamour that can be associated with the state of Texas. Spectators in the box-seat area were dressed for ‘after five.’ The weather may have been in the 90s, but furs as well as diamonds were the order of the day.

 

Times are less formal now. The Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas serves as the show’s home. While it doesn’t have the beauty, the ambiance of the old Pin Oak Farm, its more-than-adequate stabling, indoor and outdoor show rings make it an ideal show facility.

 

Saddle Horses competed in the main arena. Show Manager Glenn Petty incorporated many of the changes exhibitors had requested, moving the evening Saddle Horse classes before the jumping competition. This worked for both disciplines, allowing Saddle Horse trainers to have a definite schedule and jumpers to compete after sundown.

 

Although Saddle Horses showed the first week, Bluebonnet and SGF Winning Ways Farms treated jumper fans to an exhibition of some of the best from week one before the second week’s Grand Prix.

 

“People bent over backwards for us to bring those horses,” Bluebonnet Farm trainer Sandra Currier said. “Steve and May [Chadick] brought the Pin Oak Park Champion It’s Double O’Deuce and we took Kevin [Berman] and Albert Kaponey, Ellie Berman and CH George Foreman and I rode Reedann’s Talked About.

 

“We opened the show before a wonderful crowd,” she said, adding they had to work around the jumps that already were set for the Grand Prix. “Peter [Fenton] was very cute talking about Kevin and Albert Kaponey, saying ‘He’s not old enough to have a lesson or drive a car, but he can drive that pony all over the country.’”

 

“It was time well spent,” May Chadick said. “It was a great opportunity to show our horses to non-Saddlebred people. We spent the next three hours at the dinner, answering questions about our horse and hearing how wonderful he was.”

 

Texans said goodbye to one of their favorite show ring stars Friday evening, when Dr. Randy McBride’s Danger In The Air (better known as Jaws) retired from competition. Bred by Janie Hamilton of Dark Horse Stables in Mesquite, Texas, this big bay gelding has had but two owners, McBride and Hamilton, and two trainers, Hamilton and Sandra Currier of Bluebonnet Farm. Following a heartwarming retirement ceremony, McBride and Michael Fox hosted an elegant party, complete with dozens of big yellow roses, tables of food and a cake that had to be seen to be believed. (See separate article)

 

Outstanding is the only way to describe the hospitality. Baskets of fresh fruit, pastries, coffee and drinks sat just outside the in-gate for exhibitors, trainers and their staff’s enjoyment. During Friday night’s Saddle Horse performance, the sponsors’ club opened to all exhibitors for a light buffet and drinks. On Saturday night, Saddle Horse exhibitors joined jumping fans for an elegant dinner during the Grand Prix.

 

Michael Fox outdid himself in setting up the Saturday night buffet. He and two friends from California and Washington, D.C., worked from after the retirement program until 3 a.m. decorating the sponsors’ club. Urns and bowls with 600 magnificent red roses graced buffet and supper tables. Photos of great Saddle Horses, ponies and jumpers, old programs and other memorabilia added to the ambiance.

 

The Pin Oak trophies are a story all their own. Several challenge and perpetual trophies date back to the 1980s, when the show was at its height. Trophies with names  like Splashdown (Mary Lou Gallagher’s champion five-gaited horse,) Glenview Farms, Lorence B. Hubbard, Marjorie Frankel, Harold Adams, Dorothy Dukes Ford and Supreme Acres tell of those early days.

 

Winners of qualifying classes each receive a piece of Waterford crystal. Board member Joan Cantrell is responsible for these.

 

“My daughter, Jennifer, lives in Germany,” Cantrell said, pointing out that she buys the trophies not far from Jennifer’s home. “I make two trips a year. I usually travel with an empty suitcase, so I can bring back 50-pounds of trophies at a time. And I leave Jennifer an empty case as well, so she can transport others when she visits.”

 

Jim Aikman, recipient of the American Saddlebred Horse Association’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, flew into Houston on Friday to visit the show and discuss his latest projects. He has attended many of the most successful and lavish shows of past decades.

 

“I have never seen or attended an event where so many people have worked so hard – obviously night and day – to put on one of the grandest of events,” said the All American Cup founder. “The [Saturday night] buffet, the tables with table cloths, roses and wine, the steamboat round [of beef] were first class. It was more than anyone could ever expect until one realizes the people who are behind it. Then you know why it happened. The retirement of Jaws was exceptional. It showed Randy McBride’s true love. Michael Fox’s work and creativity ware evident every place you looked.”

 

Aikman called the quality of horses “excellent” and the manner in which the show was put on “outstanding. I was saddened, as I am everyplace, to see the small numbers of competitors.”

 

Judge Peter Cowart added to the compliments. “They had a really good horse show. Like others, they’re having a difficult time getting the numbers they would like, but I don’t know of a group in the country that tries to put on a better show than they do. I saw some really good horses that can go anywhere and do well. I expect several will be world’s champions this year.”

 

Those potential world’s champions came from almost every competing barn. Patty Milligan and Lonnie Quarles unveiled a new five-gaited team that was one of the more discussed combinations of the week.

 

Dr. Owen Weaver’s had only ridden Parker Road, Fox Grape Farm’s newest contender, twice before stepping into the irons Thursday night for the Ladies Five-Gaited class. The big chestnut gelding that doesn’t seem to know how to drop an ear was right on the money. That simply was a teaser for Saturday night, when the team turned up the energy to win a competitive Five-Gaited Amateur Stake.

 

Early spring is the time for new team debuts. Trainers introduced several other interesting combinations.

 

Junior exhibitor three-gaited competition in the southwest heated up when Cross Creek Farm trainer Randy Cates selected That’s Chicago for Katie Cunningham during the off-season. Although they were the sole entry in both classes, Cunningham’s ride on the high-powered gelding showed what a formidable team they will be throughout the season.

 

Carolina’s Top Gun has proven a winner for everyone who has shown him. Over the winter, Jack Magill paired Dr. Margaret Tirkes with the seasoned gelding. Tirkes’s rides in the sole-entry Amateur Three-Gaited qualifier and championship left little doubt that they will be serious contenders throughout the season.

 

Selecting the right horse for a rider’s first horse out of academy is a challenge for any trainer. Marjorie Judd Stables’s Marcelle Richard showed up with one of the best, the many-times world champion CH Trapp Mountain. They won the Novice Rider Three-Gaited Show Pleasure title, coming back to tie reserve in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship.

 

Five-Gaited

 

Sandra Currier and Jack Magill headed the group of five trainers who answered the call for Saturday night’s Five-Gaited Championship. Early season bragging rights, roses, crystal and the horse’s name on the Don Roby Memorial, Josephine Abercrombie Perpetual, Jo Ann Bunde Perpetual and the Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Perwien Trophies were on the line.

 

The Perwiens stood in the presentation area when Sandra Currier rode their Reedann’s Talked About for the victory photo. Magill and his new mount, Kim Lafargue’s Night Of A Thousand Stars, picked up the red-dominated tricolor after tying reserve in the open qualifier.

 

Paul Cates topped a group of four to win the Open Five-Gaited Stake aboard Alta Dare Farm’s Parchment Moon.

 

Joan Cantrell and her pair of five-gaited stars put on three outstanding shows. Cantrell and CH Desert’s Favorite Memories racked off with the Amateur Five-Gaited title and then tied reserve to Parker Road in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Magill paired her with the then four-year-old Bluebonnet’s Challenger the end of last season. They earned a reserve in the Ladies Five-Gaited qualifier.

 

Calee Dillon included a reserve world’s championship in Suki Snowlet’s 2006 junior exhibitor five-gaited season. The pair added a tricolor and roses as well as a blue ribbon to Jack Magill Stables’s collection. Chloe Goodwin stepped up to a reserve in the championship, riding Magnificent Scene under the Milligan Stables banner. Marjorie Judd coached Caroline Burglass and My Way’s Just A Dream to reserve in the qualifier.

 

SGF Winning Ways Farm’s Leatherwood’s Colors Up put his stamp on the Five-Gaited Novice class. Steve Chadick rode the big, powerful bay to the blue, with Paul Cates and Madeira’s Deliverance in reserve.

 

‘Back in the day’ Bluebonnet Farm owned a tough, thrilling five-gaited mare named Star Scene. She won a world’s championship mare title with trainer Don Roby and helped teach Elly Berman to ride a gaited horse. In retirement, she became one of the farm’s foundation mares. Her genes as well as those of Luv Ya Blue and Harlem Globemaster produced the junior five-gaited stallion, Global Scene, winner of Pin Oak’s Junior Stake.

 

Three-Gaited

 

Patty Milligan selected the chiseled walk-trot mare, Madeira’s Love, for Fox Grape Farms at the 2006 Oklahoma Centennial. Liz Cortwright rode the mare to Pin Oak’s Three-Gaited Grand Championship and Open Three-Gaited titles in two good classes. Jack Magill stepped up on Pam Singer’s I’m Bewitched to claim reserve in the championship. Rachel Singer rode to reserve in the open class.

 

Owen Weaver and Madeira’s Love earned the right to have their name added to the list of winners of the Ann Mackley O’Shea Challenge Trophy, given in the Ladies Three-Gaited class.

 

Katie Cunningham and That’s Chicago posed for their picture with the George Roberts Memorial Challenge Trophy as winner of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship. Janelle Sylvester and Michael Lowe’s Hokie Pokie Man FSF were reserve for Tommy Benton’s Maranatha Stables. They finished in the same order in the junior exhibitor qualifier.

 

Three-gaited junior/novice and three-year-old classes were light, but with good quality. Benton picked up the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited blue aboard Patrice Watson’s Bewitched In Harlem. Paul Cates showed Limoges to reserve. Sandra Currier rode Margaret Cordes’s lovely black filly, The Voodoo Vixen, to take the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic blue.

 

Three-Gaited Park

 

Steve Chadick had It’s Double O’Deuce in top form for the Three-Gaited Park Open and championship classes. The big, handsome chestnut’s commanding presence and high-stepping trot earned SGF Winning Ways Farm’s stallion the tricolor and blue ribbon honors at Pin Oak as well in the Park Jackpot at San Antonio earlier in the season.

 

Maguire Hall and Catalyst Commander were right on the money when they came through the in-gate for the Amateur Three-Gaited Park qualifier and championship. The Milligan-trained team topped four other good entries in two of the more competitive classes at the show. Patrice Watson O’Brian and You’ve Got Mail stepped up to reserve in the championship, with Becky Taggart and CH She-Bop bringing home the red ribbon in the qualifier.

 

Roadster/Road Ponies

 

SGF Winning Ways Farm’s Bunker Buster was the only road horse to answer the call. Steve Chadick showed the seasoned champion to win the qualifying blue and tricolor.

 

Three nice roadster ponies dashed through the in gate for the Roadster Pony Championship. Kevin Berman and his always-competitive Albert Kaponey dashed off with the tricolor. Steve Chadick had Heartland’s Talent Star on the money for the reserve grand championship. Ginny Beth Norton donned the silks for a catch-drive with Patty Milligan’s She’s A Ticket in the first class Friday night. They won the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony title with Berman and Albert Kaponey in reserve.

 

Hackney/Harness Ponies

 

Ron Mahle joined in the Bluebonnet Farm ribbon hunt, driving Party Spirit to win the sole-entry Hackney/Harness Pleasure Driving Pony qualifier and stake.

 

Pleasure

 

Jan Myers and CH Mariachi have been gracing winner’s circles since Jack Magill paired them together late in the 2002 season. Last year’s Pin Oak Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Champion repeated that win, racking and trotting with style and speed. Michelle Boze made the trip from Louisiana to show Jan Henderson’s Highpoint’s Royal Flame in one class. Morris and Adin Caffery coached the team to the Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure qualifying blue. Chris Tresten was reserve in both classes with the Dan Flowers-directed Life’s A Dance ERB.

 

Scooter Scheurich of Cascade Stables had the opportunity to ride Slicker’s Society Man as part of the Invitational Five-Gaited Equitation team at the TASHA Holiday Horse Show. His mother, Barbe Smith, liked the combination so well she purchased the gelding for Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure competition. Although only two showed, both Scheurich and Karmen Robles on her new mount, the Jack Magill-trained Northbound, had great rides. Scheurich won the championship after tying reserve in the qualifier.

 

Randy McBride might have retired Danger In The Air, but he has another interesting youngster on the horizon. Sandra Currier showed his four-year-old Unlisted Number to win the Park Pleasure Stake. This is a horse McBride drove to a fine harness win at the Texas State Fair. What division may be his choice still remains to be seen.

 

The Park Pleasure Open qualifier proved to be an interesting one, with Randy Cates and Barbe Smith getting their two new 10 and under walk and trot equitation horses into the ring. Christy Bennett had a great catch-ride aboard the well-seasoned CH Petra’s Beyond Belief to bring the blue to Cross Creek Stables and preparing the gelding for Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes’s out-of-academy debut. Smith teamed James and Holly Nichols’s 2006 Three-Gaited Park Horse Champion Vuarnet to reserve in preparation for Holly Nichols’s son, William Nalty, to step up out of academy.

 

The UPHA Park Pleasure class competition was all Bluebonnet Farm. Currier rode the Perwiens’ Diablo Blue to pick up the blue ribbon and Waterford trophy, with Alonna Cole and Cheeten Lady in reserve. Assistant trainer John Smuts and Galanos Farms’s Spooky Pete rounded out the competition.

 

When he is good, he is very, very good. That describes CH George Foreman’s two shows in Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure. Elly Berman rode the big, black Harlem Globemaster son to the blue and tricolor, adding to the Bluebonnet Farm colorful ribbon collection. Jan Myers and Matrix earned reserve in both classes for Jack Magill Stables.

 

Marjorie Judd brought a nice group of horses from Baton Rouge, La., for this early spring show. She headed Paige Pennington and Americana’s Wings after their convincing win in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship. Marcelle Richard added the reserve championship tricolor to Judd’s tack room, after winning the four-entry novice rider title in their debut together.

 

Kelly Cooke earned the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure qualifying blue aboard Fame’s Preferential Treatment for Cross Creek Farm. Lauren Greenwald made her second show ring ride on the bold-moving, sharp-eared Out Go The Lights for reserve.

 

The Southwest circuit boasts three of the top show pleasure driving teams in the country in Nancy Lassiter’s Callaway’s Head Over Heels, Mary Lynn McMains’s I’m An Early Riser and Ed Perwien’s Xuxa. Lassiter being sidelined in Dallas meant only two of these teams met at Pin Oak. Marjorie Judd had I’m An Early Riser, the eight-year-old Uhlen Branch son, and McMains in mid-season form to drive off with both the qualifying blue, tricolor, roses, crystal and silver. Xuxa was a solid reserve in both classes.

 

The Country Pleasure Championship had fans wondering how the match-up between the junior exhibitor and adult winners would end. Emily Burglass and the multi-titled Callaway’s Blue Agate had trotted off with the junior exhibitor title. The adult title holders, Beth Jones aboard the bay and white One Hot Cookie were convincing in their victory. Both were on the money for the championship.

 

When Fenton called the numbers, Marjorie Judd sprinted into the arena to head the reigning 13 and under World’s Champion Callaway’s Blue Agate. Jones also received warm applause for her reserve win aboard the amateur-trained mare. Sherry Frankel and SGF Winning Ways Farm’s seasoned The King’s Champagne tied reserve in the adult class, with Taylor Lafargue and Tut’s Gold reserve in the junior exhibitor class for Jack Magill.

 

Frankel and Red Oaks Citation made the move into Country Pleasure Driving the beginning of the year. It seems a good fit for the big chestnut gelding as he and Frankel left Pin Oak with the Country Pleasure tricolor and blue. May and Steve Chadick train the team.

 

Ginny Beth Norton has proven she can compete in almost any division. She and Patty Milligan’s Commanche Kid are formidable competitors in both western and English country pleasure. They jogged off with the Western Pleasure tricolor and the Shatner title. Kay Marschel and Snow Shadows ended the week as reserve champions after winning the Country Western Pleasure qualifier. They are trained by Jack Magill.

 

Equitation

 

Katie Cunningham and Heir To The Throne posed with memorial trophies for the late Sue Roby and the late Harold Adams after the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Randy Cates’s Cross Creek tack room also sported Cunningham’s blue from the equitation qualifier.

 

While Cunningham was the sole competitor in the Saddle Seat equitation classes, three nice riders challenged her for UPHA Challenge Cup honors. She again brought home the blue with Lauren Greenwald of SGF Winning Ways Farm earning the reserve title.

 

The 10 and Under Walk and Trot competition featured several new teams. William Nalty made his debut on Vuarnet, winning both the four-rider walk and trot class and the UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup. Barbe Smith coached Nalty and the two-time reserve champion Blayken Doyle.  

 

Victoria McHenry continued her winning tradition in pleasure equitation at southwest circuit shows, topping the Pleasure Equitation Championship for the fourth consecutive year. Teamed with the experienced Credit Worthy, McHenry also rode off with the Pleasure Equitation Medallion. Barbe Smith of Cascade Stables has trained McHenry throughout her career.

 

Milligan Stables riders claimed the Pleasure Equitation 17 and Under blue and reserve, with Katie Kirkland winning the blue and Alexa Morton the red ribbon. Kirkland picked up the red ribbon in the Pleasure Equitation Championship.

 

Academy

 

Academy wins were well-divided, with Milligan Stables, SGF Winning Ways Farm, Bluebonnet Farm, Paul Cates Stables and Lone Star Saddlebreds picking up blues and reserves.

 

Megan McLellan and Harlem’s Black Pearl represented Bluebonnet Farm in winning the Academy Equitation Walk, Trot, Canter Adult Championship. She and Nancy Kanive, aboard Lone Star Saddlebreds’s Billy Kidd swapped top spots in the adult equitation championship and qualifier. Kanive and Billy Kidd added to their academy performance resume by winning both the qualifier and championship with McLellan in reserve.

 

Wylie Bul stepped up to win the Academy Maiden/Limit Equitation Walk, Trot, Canter Championship aboard Milligan Stables’s Jack The Knife. She also won the Maiden Equitation title. Danielle Rauch of SGF Winning Ways Farm tied reserve in the maiden/limit championship after winning the Academy Limit Equitation blue. Katie Bozeman stepped up on Jack B Dandy to win the Academy Walk, Trot, Canter Advanced Equitation and Performance qualifier and championship titles for riders 17 and under.

 

Tristin Ramirez and Shamrock’s Phi Guy added another blue ribbon to the youngster’s collection by winning the Academy Equitation Walk and Trot class for riders 10 and Under. They ride under the direction of May and Steve Chadick at SGF Winning Ways Farm. Caroline Rainbolt-Forbes of Randy Cates’s Cross Creek Stables earned the red ribbon. Laura Currey followed her good SASHA performances by winning the Academy Equitation 11-17 Walk and Trot class. Raymond Thompson represented Paul Cates Stable with reserve.

 

Paul Cates jogged in to head Maxine Walker after she won the Academy Equitation Maiden/Limit Performance Championship aboard Executive Order. She and Milligan Stables’s Wylie Bul swapped first and second places in this division.

These are the highlights of the 62nd annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Results may be seen, searched and downloaded at by clicking here.

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