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Reader's Respond -- Looking Back on the World's Championship Horse Show



compiled by Bob Funkhouser, Sadie Killian, Leeann Mione and Kelley Colvin

After great response from our poll in last week's paper, Saddle Horse Report decided to extend Magical Memories into this week's edition. We hope you enjoy the insight and reflections of the several owners, breeders and trainers of yesterday and today who have participated in the survey. The World's Championship Horse Show is here, and in it's 100th year, it's time to take part in the memories of tomorrow...

Louise Allen

Owner - Winston-Salem, NC

My My. I loved that mare. She was so thrilling. It was like she floated down the rail. Personally it had to be last year when my granddaughter Ali won a reserve world’s championship. We’ve won blues there before with Johnny [Wellington] and others, but this was very special to me. It meant more than any of the blues.

Lillian Shively

Trainer -- Rockport, IN

My fondest memory of Louisville is being inducted into the Hall of Fame with my husband, Raymond. To walk into the ring, to be greeted by the people who mean the most to me, and to look up into the stands, seeing my family and friends who had traveled so far to see us inducted, was the thrill and the honor of my life. To share that honor with Judy Werner, who means so much to our breed, added so much to that moment...Of course, watching Raymond show his road horses is what I enjoy as much as any of our other horses. On equal footing with the Hall of Fame Award, is watching, coaching and screaming as Todd won the Five-Gaited World's Championship with CH Onion for the Steven Chancellor family.

Raymond Shively

Trainer -- Rockport, IN

My greatest thrill was winning my first Roadster To Bike World Grand Championship with Nonstop in 1982.

Karen Medicus

Assistant Trainer -- Rockport, IN

Winning the gaited stake with Onion was awesome, but nothing beats the feeling I had when Nonstop won the bike stake with Raymond for the first time. And the next three weren't bad either!

Todd Miles

Trainer -- Rockport, IN

The Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship with CH Onion.

Tom Galbreath

Owner/Breeder - Hilton Head Island, SC

One of the first memories for me was seeing Forest Song win the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship as a three-year-old with Garland Bradshaw. Julianne Schmutz had just purchased her and there was so much hype over this mare. Earl Teater came out to the make-up ring with Local Talent and saw what was going on and he just turned around and went back to the stalls. I had wanted to buy Local Talent as a baby and she went on to be a world’s champion in harness as a two, three, and four-year-old before Earl trimmed her so I followed her career with great interest. I went down to the rail for the class and happened to be in the picture when Forest Song made her victory pass.

I also remember being one of the first to stay at the Executive Inn. I couldn’t get in at the Brown Hotel down town so I stayed there at the Executive when all of the horse people were down town.

My greatest personal memories have to be the whole Sultan’s Santana thing of buying him, selling him, buying him back and then putting him back to work to win the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship. Then Craig Kurz won the Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship with his son Santana’s Charm. He was the first stallion to win the amateur stake. And now his son, Sir William Roberts, winning as a two and three-year-old just makes this a really special story. He won the same class (Three-Year-Old Fine Harness World’s Championship) as his grandsire did and pulled the same buggy. To have three generations of stallions win at Louisville is not only a dream, but a blessing. It has been a lot of fun to keep that legacy alive.

Shirley Parkinson

Retired Trainer and Breeder, Decatur, Ill.

The first memory that comes to mind is when Earl Teater was at Dodge Stables and he was showing Socko when the show was at the old fairgrounds. The horse fell and Teater broke his leg and Tom Moore literally stepped over the rail, got on and won the gelding stake.

I’ll also never forget when Rex was inducted into the Road Horse Hall Of Fame. They had told him he had to be part of the presentation for the inductee because he was vice president of the association and he said he couldn’t do it because he had a road horse going in the next class. The whole thing was really a trick to surprise him. He was out in the warm up ring getting ready for his class and one of the grooms came running up and told him he had to come to center ring for the presentation because they couldn’t find anyone else that was supposed to be there. He really didn’t want to do it but they escorted him all the way into center ring. It wasn’t until they started reading the presentation that he realized it was really for him to be inducted. The look on his face was priceless.

I’ll miss seeing Honey Craven and Edward Barham sitting at the Executive looking out over the pool and talking about old times. This would have been Edward Barham’s 75th year at Louisville.

Gib Marcucci

Trainer, Monmouth, Iowa

I think I was the only person who headed a horse that won a world’s championship laying on his back. Ronald Reagan was a really tough horse to head and he flipped over in the lineup right before they called his name as the winner of the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship.

Also, winning the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship with Dun Haven Desiree was a highlight. I had never won it before and we had sold her right before the class. I think any time you win a blue ribbon at Louisville it’s a highlight.

Dick Durant

Trainer, Lockport, Ill,

I was always impressed with Garland Bradshaw’s horses. He really had a nice string of horses back then. I’ll never forget watching him ride Lady Carrigan out of the ring after she won the gaited stake. She really thrilled me. He rode out with his left hand and held that big trophy over his head with his right hand and the spotlight followed him. It was really something.

Lynn Morrison Hutchinson

Horse World Representative

The whole experience of having Vanity’s Showcase and watching her win is something I’ll never forget. It was a really special time in my life. We had started her as a four-year-old and she was undefeated going into Louisville. Donna Moore had judged her early in the year and really wanted to buy her. Don Harris was a big supporter of her and he kept telling us to take advantage of what might be our only opportunity to win a world title with her so we didn’t sell her before Louisville. Nobody really knew which class we would enter her in at Louisville. Most of them expected her to go in the junior class but we decided to put her in the mare class because we really thought she could win it even though Bold Flamette had been undefeated for several years. I stood on the rail with tears streaming down my face watching her and the man next to me finally grew concerned and leaned over and asked me if I was alright!

Don Harris headed her for us and he kept telling Bobby in the lineup ‘Take her out again’. Every time she’d come out the crowd would go wild. Bill Carrington was really great and he let that go on for a while. I’ll never forget his words. He said ‘Now if you all will be quiet and let me say what I want to say, I’ll tell you . . . the winner is Vanity’s Showcase.’

It was a time I’ll never forget.

Muffy Sweeney Ernster

Lifelong Exhibitor, Monroe, Wis.

Winning the Juvenile Five-Gaited Stake with Bo Jangles is, of course, a fond memory. He was always my favorite. We just clicked. It was very special to watch my sister [Diane Sweeney] win the same class with him a few years later while I was expecting my first child.

Rick Wallen

Trainer, Marshall, Wis.

I’ve watched a lot of great horses over the years. Belle Elegant and My My who could raise the hair off the back of my neck. The greatest class I ever saw was when Imperator and Skywatch had their first dual. I was sitting in the stands with some of my customers and I finally told them I had to get up and walk around. I couldn’t stay in my seat it was so exciting. I cheered for both of them. It was true showmanship and the greatest class I’ve ever seen.

When I beat Mary [Gaylord] and Cherry’s Dream Boy with Mark’s Caballero in the stallion and gelding class was a big thrill. We had battled it out all year and it was my first personal blue ribbon at Louisville.

I have really special memories from every time my dad or one of my brothers showed and did well at Louisville.

Pres Oder

Trainer, Macomb, Ill.

Memories of the great road horses that I’ve had - Hurricane Donna won the mare class and the Roadster to Wagon World’s Championship in 1964 and then won both classes again in 1968. That same year, I showed Worthy Demon and we won the open bike class and the Roadster to Bike World’s Grand Championship.

Rusty Russ was another great one, Footlights won the wagon championship three times in a row.

Jimmy Miller

Trainer, Wentzville, Mo.

Heartland Supremacy won 12 world titles by the time we sold him to the Harmon’s. That’s one of my favorite memories. Also when I was judging Louisville and we put Cherry’s Dream Boy with Mary [Gaylord] and Revelation with Anita Brock back on the rail in the open class. Revelation won it and then Dream Boy came back and won the stake.

Watching all the people watch Vanity’s Showcase and Marlys Goodstein. I’ll never forget that.

Anna Marie Knipp

Long-time Exhibitor, Wentzville, Mo.

I have a lot of really great memories of Louisville over the years. I remember the first time I showed Heartland Supremacy at Louisville. Darrel [Kolkman] showed him in the Three-Year-Old Futurity and I showed him back. We had an Amish cart and the they were spray painting it red in the warmup ring right before we went in for our class.

The first time I went to Louisville and actually had seats. They were way up high in Freedom Hall but in those days you were just really proud if you had seats at all. I think that every time you go it’s like you’ve never been before.

I don’t have any pictures from the first few years I showed at Louisville because I thought that if Sarge didn’t bring you pictures then you just didn’t get any. I didn’t know you could go look at the proofs. He always delivered pictures to people like Sallie Wheeler so I thought he had to deliver your pictures to you.

Jimmy has told me for years that he never knew how great the really great horses were until he stood in center ring to judge them and actually got close to them. He says, ‘You don’t know what quality is until you’ve stood next to it.’ He’s judged Louisville four times.

Everybody thinks that when the judges are watching a class in Freedom Hall, they are saying to themselves ‘That’s so and so on that horse’ but I’ve gone out to dinner with the judges and Jimmy when he’s judged and I’ve listened to them talk. They never refer to a person when they talk about a class. They only think in terms of back numbers. They really aren’t looking at the person during the class. I was really surprised to learn that.

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