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Another Premiere Event For Chapter 14

by Bob Funkhouser

Most anything done with passion has a great chance of being successful and so went the 28th Annual UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere, held April 21-24 at the Eastern States Exposition Center, W. Springfield, Mass. The men, women and children of Chapter 14, both professional and amateurs, go all out to put on a horse show that is both competitive at a high level and fun. The core group at Chapter 14 has grown with a variety of individuals from the Saddlebred, Morgan and Hackney worlds working together for a polished product.

"We were pleased with the numbers and quality of entries with more than 400 horses showing and over 600 stalls sold," said co-chairperson Bill Beckley who was also honored by the chapter with the Distinguished Service Award. "We had more classes this year that had 10 to 15 horses showing which made winning one of these classes special. Our Pink Ribbon Class Friday night had 18 entries.

"With the wonderful weather and good spectator attendance, this was one of our best shows thanks to all the wonderful Chapter 14 members who share in making this a favorite show. I had a young couple I was talking with on the rail that go to many of the all-breed shows at Eastern States and Northampton. They said the Spring Premiere was their favorite as they get to see and enjoy the best of all breeds. All the breeds that show complement each other and all the trainers and owners appreciate a top horse or rider no matter what the breed."

All breeds working together has been the winning formula for Chapter 14, no matter what project it was working on. There was some added electricity in the air this year as the Chapter as a whole is fired up about hosting the UPHA National Convention in January and felt that this year’s Spring Premiere was a warm up for the "big show" in January.

"I love to bring quality Morgans to the open shows to help highlight our wonderful breed," said trainer David Rand. "UPHA Chapter 14 always makes it such a great show and my clients love the atmosphere of the open shows. There are always a lot of exhibitors and a much larger audience to show to. I think that it is always fun for my people as well. It is a wonderful place to expose other people to the Morgan Horse and get more people to appreciate the diversity of our breed."

Again managed by Kent Moeller, the National UPHA Horse Show Manager Of The Year, and co-chaired by Beckley and Cindy Mugnier, Spring Premiere 2010 stepped up in many areas. In addition to more entries, exhibitors were anxious to see the much-anticipated new footing in the front make up ring. Thankfully it wasn’t tested by rain during the week, but it was better footing in many ways. That made the horsemen happy to start the year off right.

"The 2010 show was such a great tip off to the season. Anytime, you have great weather, wonderful horses and competitive exhibitors coupled with a great social calendar, success is sure to follow," said Beckley’s co-chair Cindy Mugnier. "I am grateful to everyone in Chapter 14 for all they do to insure the success of Spring Premiere."

The social schedule was above and beyond this year, especially being the first show of the New England season, exhibitors weren’t legged up yet. It began with the annual pizza move in party on Tuesday and on the first night of the show Siren Song Stables hosted a tack room gathering serving shrimp, margaritas and Coronas. Owner Annika Bruggeworth and trainers Jerry and Cassidy Hutson had plenty to celebrate as the blue ribbons and tricolors adorned the tack room from day one to the show’s end, including the Saturday night finale, the Five-Gaited Jackpot Championship where last year’s Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Grand Champion Attache’s Crown Royal and Jerry Hutson topped last year’s World’s Champion Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Mare A Dream In Color, ridden this night by trainer Rob Turner. With four other strong contenders this was a nice Five-Gaited Championship for Siren Song Stables.

From the stabling area at Siren Song, exhibitors then went across the street to the hot, new restaurant Lattitude. The owners and management have become friends with some of the local exhibitors and they decided to open their doors to the Spring Premiere serving endless complimentary hors d’erves and deserts to the wee hours and great food it was. It was the perfect way for exhibitors to socialize and catch up with friends they hadn’t seen throughout the long winter. And this was just day one.

On Thursday, Careen "Squiggs" Dubuc retired the multi-titled World’s and National Champion CH Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood and threw a party that was on par with anything at the World’s Championship Horse Show. The show’s other great restaurant friends, the Calvanese family at Storrowton, held the party at their famed establishment right outside the side doors to the main barn. Squiggs had beautifully decorated tents put over the patio area at Storrowton with a variety of food, beer and wine, a DJ and a cake with a lifelike photo of Jimmy on it. A large crowd came to honor the celebrated Jimmy Hollywood.

Following Friday night’s shortened performance nearly 500 exhibitors poured into the Carriage House at Storrowton for the annual awards night and party (see separate story) featuring the sounds of Soul Kitchen who will also entertain for the Saturday night awards party at the National Convention in January. The chapter honored its best from 2009 and then danced the night away in anticipation of Saturday’s championships.

Other highlights of the week included the Pink Ribbon Night and the presentation of a $5,000 check to a local research organization (see side-bar in this issue). New chapter chairperson Kristen Cater again did double duty and put the silent auction together for the young trainers with the proceeds going to the Convention Fund. A variety of nice items were offered for the good cause and exhibitors responded with strong bids.

Pooling a vast variety of experience and ideas, another special touch the Spring Premiere provides is the morning hospitality highlighted by the mobile coffee cart. John Lampropoulos mans the breakfast area with coffee and donuts while Courtney Cahill and Ken Logan load up the golf cart with goodies going aisle to aisle, barn to barn.

"They [the trainers and caretakers] really appreciate this," exclaimed Cahill. "It has been a good idea"

Another good idea has been the addition of the Winter Tournament Championships on Saturday morning. Organized by Sarah Lettre, the extremely successful Winter Tournament program is spotlighted at the Spring Premiere with championships for all of their divisions, allowing the Academy riders and their families a chance to experience a big horse show. Following their championship session a Pizza Party was held and essay winners were honored.

There was something for everyone at Spring Premiere and the officials enjoy this show as much as the trainers and exhibitors. Billy Whitley, Mark Farrar and Bob Moseder were all back in center ring in their respective roles. Moeller’s right hand man Jason Lawrence took care of just about anything that could come up. Stacey Wright was back as the USEF Steward, while Tim Keller (farrier) and Dr. J.G. Merriam (vet) and Linda Burke (secretary) all served another year in their official capacities. Stacey Beam was a real find as organist, entertaining throughout the week.

Determining the 2010 champions were Terry Jones Brennan in the Morgan and Friesian divisions and Scott Matton in the Saddlebred, pony and equitation classes. Both had plenty of top stock from which to choose.

As Bill Beckley mentioned earlier it is the all breed format that makes this show so strong and that the trainers and exhibitors appreciate and applaud a nice performance of any type. One such horse that has broken down barriers for the past few years at the Spring Premiere; first with David Rand in the Symphony Of Horses and then with Dr. Grace Steere in the Amateur Morgan Park Saddle ranks. This year with his new partner, Hannah Kelley, the coal black world champion paraded around the Eastern States Coliseum with a wave of applause following them from every box seat and every person lining the rail. What a sight it was in the Open Park Saddle class and championship, highlighting a parade of Rand champions for the week.

The crowds got behind the top Saddle Horses and Morgans that filled class after class and they also had a showcase of Hackney talent to cheer for, although like many shows, the pony classes struggled to fill. The best of all the pony classes had to be the Road Pony Jackpot Championship were National UPHA Amateur Road Pony Of The Year CH Free Willy and Jayne Romano topped Junior Exhibitor Road Pony 14-17 Reserve World’s Champion Of Champions Heartland River Dance and Joe Harrod.

If you like speed, UPHA Spring Premiere was the place to be as twice Amateur Roadster To Bike Triple Crown Champion Mr.’s Bone thrilled the audience with his power and expression sweeping the division with Charlie Jones at the whip under the direction of Jan Lukens. Jones’ other roadster star, Beaucourt Boy, was twice reserve with Brad Lukens.

"I’m glad people appreciate Bones," said Jones. "I think he’s bringing some interest to the division."

Equitation has played a big role in the Spring Premiere over the years and like the performance sections, there was world-class competition under the top hats as well. For example Cater Stables’ 2009 Walk and Trot Triple Crown Champion Clara McCool entering her first year in walk, trot and canter, came out as the NECH Medal winner and the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion, followed by her sister Maggie McCool, herself a former UPHA Walk and Trot National Champion and winner of two other classes at this year’s UPHA Spring Premiere.

Chapter 14 has seen an increase in Friesian participation and a largely filled Pleasure Saddle Jackpot Championship had the current UPHA Chapter 14 Friesian Of The Year going against former horses of the year and other challengers. The many times champion Jorritt topped this competitive championship just as he did in the qualifier with Ethel Nye riding for Delia and Lou Fox.

Looking at some division highlights, not only did Siren song win the Five-Gaited Jackpot Stake, they swept the open gaited and open walk-trot sections as Jerry Hutson guided the expressive stallion Joe Fabulous to the Open Five-Gaited blue. His stars from the walk-trot ranks included Finally A Prince in the open class and the impressive Follow The Sun in the Three-Gaited Jackpot Championship where world’s champion Devote was the reserve grand champion with Maggie Cramer in the irons.

The Garone’s Fairfield South had a good week. In addition to Devote, they claimed Captain Roseridge the Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champion ridden by Julia Warren. Stablemate Champagne’s Irish Sea was the reserve grand champion with Julie Barker and yet another stablemate, Battle’s Radar put on a heck of a show with owner Rick Daigle to exit with the blue in the amateur qualifier.

In the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship Fairfield South struck again as Melissa Swain rode Rick Daigle’s Liquid Thunder to tricolor honors, followed by the qualifying winners, Ghostly Blue and Melina LaBonte.

A large and competitive novice gaited class featured Jason Molback and So About Last Night in the winner’s circle for Dr. Geraldine Meanor.

Annika Bruggeworth had badly injured a hand before the show but that didn’t stop her piloting several of the Siren Song champions to the winner’s circle. Her newest star, world’s champion CH Callaway’s Merry-Go-Round, triumphed in both the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Also teamed with a new partner, Rick Daigle rode Tom Lewis to garner two reserves.

World’s champions were competing in division after division and there were a few current title holders going at it for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship but on this day it was Alexandra Percoco and CH Cagin Martini turning in a perfect performance to take the tricolor back to the Jan Lukens tack room. Reserve World’s Champion Of Champions Three-Gaited Pony Powerful Tango was Spring Premiere’s Junior Exhibitor Reserve Grand Champion with Dominique Bowlen after winning the qualifier.

Holli Esposito added to her winning week with a Ladies Three-Gaited blue aboard Bugatti’s Pinata, while Cassidy Hutson added another blue to the Siren song tack room with Junior/Novice Three-Gaited winner Unforgettable Kiss.

Paula Percoco has a new horse and boy was he a star! Jan Lukens rode four-year-old Tchaikovsky to win both the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited Park blue and the Three-Gaited Championship giving New England, yet another heralded star. Open winner Who’s Your Daddy claimed the reserve grand championship with Luman Wadhams riding for Elaine Gregory.

Reggie’s Indigo Jim was two for two in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship and qualifier and they had a strong group of challengers including twice reserve champion Sue Me, ridden by Annika Bruggeworth.

T.J. Santaferra led the junior exhibitor park riders, making the victory pass in both classes aboard Kelly Carrick’s Potpourri’s Design. Brittany Cloutier moved up a notch to command reserve grand champion honors in the second round.

Returning to his original division, I’m Sky High paraded down the coliseum straightaways as the Fine Harness Grand Champion and open class winner for Gary Garone and Rick Daigle. Jerry Hutson drove Siren Song’s newest entry, Hoof Prince, to the reserve grand championship. Fairfield South also ruled the amateur division with Jan Beardsley Blanco and her former show pleasure driving star, Unclaimed, returning to his original division as well.

Lil Gilpin’s Rocking Horse Farm enjoy a great week, including Courtney Cahill and AG Houdini taking the Amateur Road Pony Championship over Joe Harrod and Heartland River Dance.

Rodney Hicks drove the Nichols family’s Crystal Creek Celebration to win the UPHA Road Pony Classic over Chris Carrick and Holly Holy.

There was lots of talent in the long-tail and cob-tail classes; there just weren’t enough of them. Champions included Truly Naughty By Nature, T/O Royal Shamrock and Exhilarating. The pleasure driving division did have four entries and Dom Scarpa and High Gait Remarkable led those two classes. Mariah Comeau made her pony debut with junior exhibitor winner Truly A Sport.

Moving to the Saddlebred pleasure divisions, Louise DeBlois and Intriguing Masterpiece were on the money to sweep the gaited division, which featured nine entries including twice reserve champion Unbreakable Heart, ridden by Jessica Moctezuma.

My Twisted Sister was two for two in the Open Park Pleasure Championship and qualifier with Cassidy Hutson riding for Siren Song. One of the young horse stars of the show, A Rift In Time was most impressive as the Junior Park Pleasure Grand Champion and qualifying winner for Kevin Tomasko. Rob Turner delivered a blue to Bridget Parker with charm’s Dream Come True in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic.

Turner also directed Holli Esposito and her many times walk-trot champion CH Sightline to victory in their new division, Adult Show Pleasure. The 17-horse championship belonged to them as well as the adult qualifier. Stablemate Celebrity Son was the reserve grand champion with Erica Faulkner.

What a week it was for Tyler Lampropoulos. After receiving the Tim Lydon Sportsmanship Award at the Friday night awards party, he turned around Saturday afternoon and won the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 Championship for the second consecutive year aboard Val-Hallelujah from his parent’s Northgate Stables. "This one was for Timmy [Lydon]." exclaimed Lampropoulos as he exited the ring with the grand champion. Kaylee My had the reserve grand champion Birchwood’s Grand Finale, while Audra Arel and Chit Chat Past Midnight scored the blue in the qualifier.

The 13 & under pleasure division featured Stephanie Shoubash and world’s champion CH New York Entertainer in the winner’s circle twice. Phoenix Stables teammate Smita Boesh Dining rode Winsdown New Kensington to the reserve grand championship.

Lil Gilpin’s Bonnie Bulens won the novice rider class with Birchwood’s Grand Finale, while Betty Ann Bilton rode Worthy’s Keep Coming to the novice pleasure horse blue.

World’s champion CH Candle Dan was surprisingly solo this year in the pleasure driving division with Jayne Romano.

Coming from the winner’s circle of the Novice Country Pleasure class, CH Sagaman and Annika Bruggeworth topped the Adult Country Pleasure Championship where adult qualifying winners CH Power Source and Marjorie Newman were reserve grand champions.

North Wind Stables’ beloved star, CH Callaway’s Royal Request was crowned the champion of the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure division with Valerianne Nuno making the tricolor ride. Caroline Rose and VHF York’s Coppertone had topped the qualifier while owner Olivia Chassman had won the novice rider class.

Wrighthall Stables claimed both country pleasure driving class as Pam Arruda and Bocephus The Bluesman turned back all challengers, including twice reserve champions Kris Swanson and Heads Will Turn.

Neilia McCracken guided Jessica Moctezuma and I’m Goin Out Tonight to win the Country Western Pleasure Championship and qualifier ahead of Barbara Adams Grasso and Memories Of Forty Second Street, the winner of the Shatner class.

Saddlebred Country Hunter Pleasure titles went the way of Fizz Royale and Jessica St. Andre as they topped Hunter Seat Classic winners Tasha Belle and Nicole McLaine.

In the equitation division, accomplished performance rider Alexis Pearson has turned her attention to the equitation division and has proven to be just as successful there. Under the direction of Jessica Verrill, Pearson rode as the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion, USEF Medal, NHS Good Hands and UPHA Challenge Cup Champion. Also a top performance rider, Melissa Swain was the Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Grand Champion.

A Limit Saddle Seat Equitation blue went to Hannah Carr, while Sarah Nerz won the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup.

Walk and Trot Equitation competition was fierce as current reserve world’s champion Scott Bruggeworth came back this year with a new teammate to take tricolor honors as well as the UPHA 9-10 Walk and Trot Challenge Cup under the direction of Cassidy Hutson. Reserve Grand Champion streamers were awarded the highly acclaimed Kasey Saccocia who had won the Walk and Trot Saddle Seat Equitation 11 & Under class. Also scoring a walk and trot blue, Carly Lettre topped the UPHA 8 & Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup.

Leadline Equitation is always extremely competitive in New England and this year was no exception with Jenna Blocher showcasing her skills as the champion and Abigail Elizabeth Tate continuing the family tradition in reserve.

Leading the way among the Pleasure Equitation riders was Taryn Marshall who took both the Pleasure Equitation Championship and the 17 & under qualifier with David Wise riding as the reserve grand champion and Valerliane Nuno topping the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup.

The Morgan division was not without its equitation stars either. Last year’s New England Regional Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion Alexandra Frangiosa represented Jean DeGutis in tricolor fashion winning this year’s Morgan Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Championship as well as the Morgan UPHA Challenge Cup and the AMHA Medal. Suzanne Haberek’s top, young star Alexa Bik rode as the Morgan Equitation Reserve Grand Champion.

Also riding to Morgan equitation blues were Siara Clemmey (Classic Saddle Seat Equitation) and Sara Pizzuto (AMHA Hunt Seat Medal).

Despite losing two Morgan barns due to a death in the family and injury to a trainer, the Morgan division was filled with Regional and Grand National stars in many sections.

In addition to having Lamborghini In Black bringing down the house as the Park Saddle Grand Champion, David Rand also had the one-two combination in the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle Championship. Junior exhibitor winner FRF Outerlimits made the championship victory pass with UPHA 14 Morgan Junior Exhibitor Of The Year Moniqua Dube in the irons. Stablemates KD Hot To Trot and Sarah Adams, winners of the amateur class, were reserve grand champions. Luman Wadhams delivered the Junior/Novice Park Saddle blue aboard Street Smart for Maile/McLellan.

UPHA 14’s "Mr. Park Harness" and Distinguished Service Award winner Harry Sebring directed Patricia Lloyd and WS Commanding Spirit to the Morgan Park Harness Championship and open class blue. Joanna Meyers had two winning drives with Masterclass to take the amateur titles.

Last year’s Grand National Four-Year-Old English Pleasure Stallion/Gelding Champion and Reserve World Champion English Pleasure, Cherished Assets began his 2010 campaign back in the winner’s circle with a most impressive performance in the Morgan English Pleasure Jackpot Championship. David Rand was again aboard for Dan and Leslie Kelley. Winner of a very competitive Morgan Open English Pleasure qualifier, WTS Simply Outrageous was simply on the money again to take reserve grand champion honors for Alicia Fraser and Lory Kielceski.

There was a great turnout for the English Pleasure Amateur Championship but none of the top contenders could topple qualifying winners Justanotha Well Worth It and Shannon Fielder. The strongest challenger this time out was TTMF French Enchantress and Sandy Hendrick, reserve winners in the ladies class to Bling Bling and Alisia Ouellette.

Displaying her versatility as a horsewoman, Alexandra Frangiosa not only won the Morgan Saddle Seat Equitation Championship, she also took the English Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Championship and qualifier with Think About It MEM. Again she was escorted down victory lane by Jean DeGutis. Hard riding Max Liberty moved up a spot to finish the week as reserve grand champion with Gamepiece. George Liberty guided Gamepiece to a blue prize in the Morgan Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving class.

Rand went home with three other wins in the English pleasure division: Novice Rider (CN Grand Style and Emily Tassinari), Novice Horse (Treble’s Starburst and David Rand) and Junior Horse (VVM By Design and David Rand).

The amateurs carried the load in the Morgan Pleasure Driving section. Julie Rohrer and Tomeri Tango had a smooth and stylish performance to take the tricolor back to the Luman Wadhams tack room. The Rand team of Cherrydale Acappella and Hannah Kelley, winners of the novice driver class, followed them. In the amateurs qualifying round, Moreland Farm’s Can’t You See MEM and Phyllis Frechette turned back all challengers.

Wadhams also had a good week with Graycliff Diamond Jim, winner of the novice class and junior/novice championship. Junior winner CBMF Victory Pass returned for a solo performance in the Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship with Rodney Hicks at the helm for Copper Beech LLC.

As he did in several classes, David Rand had the one-two punch in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship. Ladies winner Nicoria, with Amy Gatewood Gendiar, triumphed as the grand champion only to be followed by open class winners and stablemates Leslie Kelley and IGC Coeur Et Ame. Both entries have been decorated on the Oklahoma stage. The Classic Pleasure Championship was filled with Oklahoma stars as Maxine Kenny and Whispering Rhythm N Blues, reserve winners in the open class, were third in well-filled championship.

Coming from the winner’s circle of the junior/novice class, Maggie O’Toole and CBMF No Exceptions would not be denied in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship. Junior exhibitor qualifying winners Bilzone’s Go Material and Siara Clemmey were named reserve grand champions among a large field of talented contenders. Hannah Kelley picked up yet another winning ribbon as her SBS Power Play topped the novice rider competition.

Taylor River enjoyed a good week including Terri Travers and MEM Just Alike scoring the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship after blue ribbon performances in both the ladies and open classes. Reserve to them in the ladies and championship was the winning combination of Julie Rohrer and Sarde’s Manistique. TES Infinity gave Julie Steele a memorable week with a blue ribbon drive in the junior/novice class.

UVM Opportunity and Curtis Childers took this opportunity to showcase their talents in the Morgan Western Pleasure Championship just as they did in the open class. Reserve grand champion streamers went to Tolstoy and Amy Gatewood Gendiar, winners of the amateur qualifier. Junior/novice winner, JW Sporting Victory was third in the championship with Melissa Morrell tall in the saddle for Equus Novus LLC.

Tuned to perfection for this week, Briar Oaks Pep In My Step and George Liberty made it look easy to win the Junior Exhibitor/Amateur Western Pleasure Championship and junior exhibitor qualifier. Sara Sebring and reserve junior exhibitor winner Millbrook Spellcaster made the reserve grand champion victory pass.

The largest division of the show was Morgan Hunter Pleasure and it was filled with stars. No strangers to the winner’s circle, Grand Cru Valentino and Chelsey Abate made the last pass in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship and open class as well as the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Championship. Jennifer Lake rode Heartmeadow By Request as the reserve grand champion. Sporty, young horseman Nicholas Roberts was the junior exhibitor reserve grand champion aboard TJB Opinionated.

Barbara Irvine had Elizabeth Young Fina and Rumor Has It on the money to command both the Hunter Pleasure Amateur qualifier and championship. Amateur reserve grand champion honors went to Jillian Marks and Andrea’s Radiance.

Merriehill Major League and Sarah Gove hit it out of the park to take both junior/novice classes for Katie Merrill, while Montana Lambrecht and Hylee’s The Devil I M topped the novice rider event.

As mentioned earlier, the Friesian exhibitors also came out in good numbers and in addition to Jorritt taking the championship and open qualifier, UPHA Chapter 14 Friesian Of The Year Teake S captured the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Saddle Championship with Kristin DeGroot in the irons for Top Hat Stables. Charmane Delisle and Frans Fan E Hurrdravers Dyk were reserve grand champions in addition to winning the Driving Championship. Nicole Byers and Hamil also took home a driving blue.

UPHA Spring Premiere also offers a large Open Pleasure section with classes for riding and driving. The highlight of that division was the Ladies English Pleasure Class on Friday night. Designated as the Pink Ribbon Class, this 18-horse competition went the way of It’s Something Sweet and Elaine Gregory.

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