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Pin Oak Ushers in Texas Spring

by Ann Bullard

KATY, Texas – Saddle Horse exhibitors celebrated the first day of spring at the 63rd annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, March 19-22, 2008. Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas barns brought competitive horses and riders to vie for good prize money, crystal trophies and their names being added to the historic perpetual trophies, some of which date back 20-plus years.

Pin Oak always offers challenges and opportunities. It is a major hunter-jumper event, with hunters showing in outdoor rings while Saddle Horses compete in the main arena during the day. Evening start-times are pegged as "no sooner than," depending upon how late afternoon jumper classes in the main arena may run. While this has made some classes begin later than might have been at an all Saddle Horse show, management’s communication keeps everyone aware of the schedule and ample time is allowed to get ready.

On the positive side, Saddle Horses show to larger crowds than at many one-breed events. Exhibitors and guests gathered on Friday night for a buffet held at the sponsors’ club overlooking the arena. Saturday evening, that area is reserved for sponsors, who enjoy a catered dinner while being introduced to Saddle Horses before the $30,000 Grand Prix I.

Week Two features only hunters and jumpers until Saturday night. May and Steve Chadick and Sandra Currier returned to present three champions from the first week to a large crowd of fans. Weaving between jumps set for the final $30,000 Grand Prix, the three trainers brought the Roadster Under Saddle Champion Bunker Buster, Three-Gaited Grand Champion The Paper Boy ERB and Roadster Pony Champion Albert Kaponey to present before the crowd.

Saddle Horse entries fell victim to Easter weekend and the show’s start being pushed back to avoid a Sunday performance. Several normal participants could not get back from spring break trips in time to make their qualifying classes.

Despite the lighter-than-normal numbers, from a competition standpoint the show was a huge success. SGF Winning Ways Farm, Milligan Stables, Marjorie Judd and Bluebonnet Farm brought large numbers and competitive horses and riders for every division. While Jack Magill had no academy or equitation riders, his horses and riders were at or near the top in almost every class they entered. Dan Flowers’s Miracle Farm, while smaller than other area barns in size, contended in several classes. Barbe Smith’s equitation riders starred in both walk and trot and pleasure equitation, while Tommy Benton’s Maranatha Stables clients earned top ribbons for the Louisiana contingent. Randy Cates’s Cross Creek Stables string was limited by many of his riders being on spring break. Michael Beasom’s Victory Lane Farm entries and Paul Cates Stables’s two horses that showed in qualifying classes rounded out the Saddle Horse entries.

Show Manager Glenn Petty expressed appreciation for the barns that included Pin Oak in their schedule. "I am very pleased with the quality of the horses that we had. Next year, we’ll be looking to encourage more from the local and a wider area.

Chris Tresten and Nancy Moreno of Miracle Farm took time away from their volunteering assignments to pick up good ribbons throughout the show.

"We do not need to take Saddle Horses in the show for granted," he cautioned. "I’m not preaching doom and gloom. This is a grand old show and we need to encourage better participation to ensure Saddle Horses stay in the show. There is concern about lack of support in some areas."

Lack of support concerns numbers, not sponsorships or hard-working volunteers. "All our classes are sponsored and we met our sponsorship goals," said Joan Cantrell, exhibitor and a member of the Saddle Horse Committee. "Nancy Moreno and Chris Tresten do a great job at that. We raise our quota or surpass it every year. Our volunteers get the sponsors club gala done, raising the money, setting decorations and the tables. Those remain for the second week hunter-jumper show.

"We are going to try to make things more exhibitor-friendly for the Saddlebred folks," she continued. "Presently we offer a free continental breakfast every morning; fruit, carrots and water are available near the in-gate at no cost. We have a free exhibitors’ party on Friday night."

Jack Magill Stables had a lot to celebrate, including his win in the Five-Gaited Championship aboard Bluebonnet's Challenger.

Open classes lacked numbers, but made up for it in quality and competition. Jack Magill had Bluebonnet’s Challenger in top form to win the Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Elly Berman rode Reedann’s Talked About to the reserve in the stake after Bluebonnet trainer Sandra Currier earned the qualifying reserve.

SGF Winning Ways Farm and May Chadick had a lot to celebrate. Chadick and The Paper Boy ERB came back to win the Three-Gaited Championship after a reserve placing to Madiera’s Love and Jenn Holdren in the qualifier. She and her husband, Steve, squared off in the Roadster Under Saddle class, presenting Bunker Buster and High Velocity to an appreciative audience. The lady earned the top spot in both classes.

Only one entry answered the bugle call for the Fine Harness Championship and it was a good one. Milligan Stables trainer Lonnie Quarles drove Mary Sally Aylward’s Gone Platinum to win the championship and qualifying blue. Quarles also was up on Tony Ricker’s Heir’s Treasure for the Three-Gaited Park Championship. Paul Cates rode Madiera’s Will to the qualifying blue, but did not show back.

Southwest circuit horses and riders always are competitive, no matter where they show. The Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure qualifier and Show Pleasure Championship featured five horses, all of which have won at Louisville. Taylor Lafargue and Harlem’s Moving Man earned a world’s championship in the 13 and under show pleasure division at Louisville last year. The Jack Magill-trained team started 2008 in the same way, topping both the junior exhibitor and then the all-age Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. Lauren Greenwald put in an outstanding ride on Out Go The Lights for reserve in the qualifier while Paige Pennington and Americana’s Wings stepped up a spot for reserve in the championship.

Jack Magill’s horses and riders had a banner week, led by the trainer’s Five-Gaited Championship and open wins aboard J&J Horse Interests’s Bluebonnet’s Challenger. Joan Cantrell and Jan Myers, owners of J&J Horse Interests, added to the blue ribbon and tricolor collection on Magill’s red and black tack room, with Cantrell winning the Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and qualifier aboard CH Desert’s Favorite Memories. Myers and Thunder Beauty added a reserve in the Amateur Five-Gaited qualifier while she and Matrix teamed up to earn the blue in the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class.

Five-gaited show pleasure turned into a win-win situation for the Magill contingent. Karmen Robles turned in a stellar ride aboard Northbound to win the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure class. This year, the adults and junior exhibitors showed against one another in the championship. Magill stayed busy on the rail coaching both Robles and Cantrell. He congratulated Robles on her reserve championship when he headed Cantrell for the victory photo.

Becky Taggart had CH She Bop looking every bit a champion when they rode off with the Amateur Park blue and tricolor. Sarah Singer and I’m Bewitched started their 2008 season in winning form, earning both the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited blue and Amateur Three-Gaited tricolor.

Bluebonnet Farm’s tack room was well-decorated with tricolor sashes and blues by the week’s end. Kevin Berman and his mother, Elly, led the farm’s victory parade, with Kevin driving to Albert Kaponey to win the AHHS Road Pony title and the Road Pony Grand Championship. He picked up the lines behind Xuxa to win the AHSA Show Pleasure Driving Youth Challenge blue. Elly enjoyed good rides all week, capped off with the Park Pleasure Championship aboard the sporty, stocking-legged Uncut Jewel.

The Perwiens’ young horses kept the farm’s name on announcer Peter Fenton’s lips. Trainer Sandra Currier picked up a pair of blues in the UPHA Classics, winning the fine harness title with IPOD and the Park Pleasure Classic with Bebop Lady. Kalarama’s Star Bright and Currier added the Junior/Novice Fine Harness blue to the farm’s collection.

Janie Hamilton has been best known in recent years as a horse show manager, show secretary and good friend. Those most recent occupations left her little opportunity to show her skills as an exhibitor. Currier tapped her to show Select Fire in the Ladies Five-Gaited class and amateur championship. She added the ladies blue and amateur reserve championship ribbons to Bluebonnet’s collection. Hamilton also drove Cheri Newberry’s Hillcrest Sultans Rainbow to a pair of Country Pleasure Driving blues.

Ada Perwien and Michael Fox of Bluebonnet Farm enjoyed the Saturday night sponsors' dinner.

Bluebonnet runs a small, but successful academy program. Michael Fox, kept busy most of the week with planning and setting up Friday night’s Neartown Animal Clinic party as well as the exhibitors’ party and sponsors’ club, found time to show Harlem’s Black Pearl. He numbered the Adult Academy Equitation Walk-Trot-Canter blue among the three good ribbons he brought home.

Scooter Scheurich elected to enter the equitation division as well as five-gaited performance ranks this season. He won the Pleasure Equitation Championship and UPHA Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup.

Barbe Smith of New Orleans’s Cascade Stables and her equitation riders had a lot to cheer about. Her two walk and trot stars, Bleykhn Doyle and William Nalty, swapped first and second places in the 10 and under division. Smith’s son, Scooter Scheurich, stepped into the pleasure equitation ranks, riding Irish’s Earth, Wind And Fire to win the Pleasure Equitation 17 and Under qualifier and championship and a reserve in the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion.

Heather Burglass was loaded down with her daughter's coat, derby, roses and assorted awards following Caroline's win with My Teddy Bheir in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship.

The Burglass sisters owned the junior exhibitor five-gaited and junior exhibitor country pleasure divisions. Trained by Marjorie Judd, Caroline and My Teddy Bheir have notched win after win, including Pin Oak’s qualifier and Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championships. Emily Burglass and Callaway’s Blue Agate rode off with the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure blue. Mary Lynn McMains and Reserve World’s Champion I’m An Early Riser added the Show Pleasure Driving tricolor and crystal and qualifying blue to their already impressive collection of ribbons and trophies.

Catherine Helm came all the way from Louisiana to pick up four first place ties in the academy division under Judd’s direction. Riding Mountainview’s The King’s Review, she won both the Academy Limit Performance and Equitation qualifiers and Academy Performance and Equitation Walk-Trot-Canter Championships.

Dr. Owen Weaver started the season in blue ribbon form, winning the Amateur Five-Gaited qualifier and championship aboard Parker Road.

Patty Milligan always is a strong Pin Oak supporter and this year was no exception. Milligan was very much in evidence, coaching from the rail and heading the farm’s winning riders. Reserve World’s Champion Parker Road and Owen Weaver started their season in winning fashion, riding off with the Amateur Five-Gaited blue and tricolor in two of the better classes of the horse show. Alexandra Sowell’s light blue coat and black horse caught Judge Jones’s eye in both junior exhibitor country pleasure classes. Sowell rode her grandmother, Suzanne Bradshaw’s, America’s Lass to a reserve in the qualifier and the Country Pleasure Championship. Milligan teamed Stephanie West with the seasoned Commanche Kid last season. This week the two brought home three blues in the country western pleasure division, including the Shatner qualifier and the championship.

Katie Kirkland continued her outstanding pleasure equitation career, winning the Saddle and Bridle Pleasure Medallion and 17 and under class with reserves in the UPHA Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup and championship.

Patrice Watson O’Brien took a back seat to her young son, Trey Watson, at Pin Oak. She watched from the rail as Tommy Benton coached Watson in his first canter competition, and celebrated his blue ribbon ride. Benton showed Barbara Grannon’s Leatherwood’s Wind Charm, bringing the Park Pleasure Open blue back to his Maranatha Stables’s tack room.

Chris Tresten and Nancy Moreno of Miracle Farm did more than work tirelessly for the horse show. Moreno and her Jigsaw Johnny put in two excellent performances in the very competitive Three-Gaited Park Amateur qualifier and championship. Tresten and her Life’s A Dance ERB picked up the red silk in the Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure class.

Trainer Dan Flowers stayed busy in the ring himself, winning the Junior/Novice Five-Gaited title with Tony Diamond’s It’s Wing Ka Hammer and the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class aboard his Dexter Diamond.

Victory Lane Farm’s heavy responsibilities at the San Antonio Charity Horse Show two weeks earlier and some of his stock still recovering from that show caused Michael Beasom to bring an uncharacteristically small group of horses. Stace Rust continued to carry the Adult Country Pleasure banner, winning that qualifier aboard Mountainview’s Good Day Sunshine before earning the reserve in the combined adult/junior exhibitor championship.

Winning Ways Farm’s academy riders added several blues and multi-color sashes to the burgundy and gray tack room. Cassiday Kelly won her first blue ribbon, topping a four-rider Academy Walk and Trot class. Tristin Ramirez came back to win the Academy Walk and Trot Championship with Winning Way’s teammate Shelby Monroe in reserve. Danielle Rauch stepped up to the adult division this season, winning the Academy Adult Walk, Trot and Canter blue and a reserve in the championship.

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