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Record Setting 15th Anniversary at Raleigh Spring Premier!

RALEIGH, N.C. - The 15th annual Raleigh Spring Premier was held at the Governor James B. Hunt Horse Complex, March 27–29. It seems each year this shows draws barns from up and down the East Coast in droves and this year was no exception. According to Show Manager Ray Cloninger, this year was a record year with 901 entries making for top-notch competition. New teams and favorites from last year battled during the full schedule proving why the Carolina circuit is one of the toughest in the country. The only downside to such large numbers is that the sessions ran long, especially on Saturday when exhibitors and trainers had to sandwich the academy session in between two performance sessions.

Even with the challenges of huge numbers, Cloninger was aided in the office by Assistant Show Manager Joyce Wilson and Secretaries Sue Imbaratto and Barbara Woodlief, in the paddock by Dan Shirley and on the grounds by Steve Wilson. They all did a great job in seeing that the exhibitors’ needs were met and the show ran smoothly.

Saddlebred, Hackney, roadster, equitation and academy judge Patty Kent and Morgan judge Tim Roesink marked the cards and were assisted in center ring by veteran ringmaster William Whitley. Wyatt Lilly announced the classes while Dale Stone set everything to music and Bob Moseder captured the memories on film.

Hospitality is always first-rate at Raleigh Spring Premier. Each morning everyone was greeted with coffee, doughnuts and pastries. On Thursday, the welcome party was held. On Friday, there was an added bonus as the state of the art NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine opened their doors at 3:30 for a tour. During the evening session they followed up with a delicious barbecue dinner. Saturday afternoon the youth pizza party was held. The hospitality closed out with the Tail’s End Dessert Party after Saturday evening’s session.

During the show, the silent auction was held with items from publication subscriptions to tickets to the upcoming Charlotte Jumper Classic. During the evening sessions, everyone took a break to throw their pigs in the entertaining When Pigs Fly event.

Matt Shiflet, Margaret Bailey and Gina Lail were thrilled with Red Hot And Bothered's winning performance in the Five-Gaited Championship for the Heads Up banner.

Two of the horses vying for the Five-Gaited Championship in the last show of 2007 in this arena during the NC State Fair were back for a repeat performance to close out Raleigh Spring Premier. Fog with Lewis Eckard and Red Hot And Bothered with Matt Shiflet were back with the addition of the 2008 junior star Tornaado Man with Suzy Shiflet. Last year Fog took home the coveted tricolor but this night the spotlight belonged to Red Hot And Bothered.

Earlier this season Myra Williams and Peggy Bailey purchased this talented mare to campaign under the Heads Up Academy banner. Matt Shiflet returned for a superb catch ride for their first time presenting in the open division. Reserve honors went to the flashy Fog with Tornaado Man rounding out the top three. Earlier in the schedule Fog won the open qualifier for owner Becky Rankin. Reserve honors went to the sporty Tobey McGuire and Harrison Shiflet for Anna Drew Kirk in their only performance.

Luanne Kilday had a great catchride aboard Roseridge's All My Heart to win the Amateur Five-Gaited class.

The multi-titled Spirit Of New York PSF made his first appearance with his new partner, Brittany Kale, this week. This team had two magnificent performances winning the amateur championship and ladies qualifier. Reserve in the amateur championship and qualifier went to another new team Champagne’s Irish Sea and Delores Barker for the Fairfield South banner. Winning the amateur qualifier was the Roseridge Heir son Roseridge’s All My Heart. Under the direction of Paul Joyner, Luanne Kilday turned in a great catch ride for Sandy Johnson. Reserve in the ladies qualifier went to Jack and Donna Finch’s newest star Callaway’s Ball Of Fire with Mary Marcum Orr presenting.

Fresh off wins at Tampa Charity, What’s The Whoopla and Caitlin Leith turned in two amazing shows to sweep the junior exhibitor division. Andrea Wolkoff was in the irons earning both reserve ribbons aboard Callaway’s Four Leaf Clover for Karen Thornhill and under the direction of Leslie Tickle.

Lewis Eckard was back to the winner’s circle in the novice class with Beverly Kaczwara’s Dreamin’ Blue. Another entry from Karen Thornhill, Roseridge’s Moment earned the reserve with Leslie Tickle. Harrison Shiflet presented Roseridge Many Tears to the blue in the junior class for Rhonda Boone.

The five-gaited pony division got the crowd to their feet as two new teams debuted. Billy Jewel with new partner Allison Combs had two thrilling performances to sweep the division. Tanner Parham changed out of his silks to present Jewels For A Lady to both reserve ribbons.

The top three-gaited prize went back to Johnny Lucas & Sons Stables with the winning performance from MJB High Fire and Bo Lucas for Heck and Carol Newton. Reserve honors went to the petite Lady T-Heir-A and Suzy Shiflet for Riley Shiflet. Earlier this bright chestnut earned the reserve in the ladies qualifier. Winning the open qualifier was the knee-popping Callaway’s Born A Star with Kyle Gagnon in the irons for Gary Garone with Doubletrees Aqua Blue and Mary Orr capturing reserve for Tom and Mickey Kangur. Winning the ladies qualifier in their only appearance was CH She’s An Asset with Cydney Rae Cutchall catch riding under the direction of John Whalen for Denese and Branson Patch. Robert Jones presented Dash For Cash to the win in the junior/novice class for Jansal Saddlebreds.

Capturing the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship was I’m Sky High with Rick Daigle. Earlier this team earned the reserve in the qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to Periaptor’s Dancing Star and Monique Hall for Dr. Teresa Miller. In the qualifier the blue went to Lady Avalon and Phyllis Brookshire in their debut and single performance.

The junior exhibitor section was well filled. Jenna Norton and Callaway’s Paisano have put together great package over the winter under the direction of Harrison and Beverly Shiflet. Coming off wins at ASAC, they continued their success sweeping the division this week. Garnering both reserve titles was the young star Milady A La Lucie with Holly Wilson presenting. In the qualifier Golden Market and Margaret McCool made their debut together, earning a strong third in their only performance appearance.

The junior exhibitors were back to campaign their three-gaited ponies. With two outstanding rides, CH Royalty In Black and Stephanie Miller swept the section under the direction of Leslie Tickle. Garnering both reserve titles were Cameo’s Carte Blanche and Caroline Anderson for her proud grandmother, Sharon Anderson.

Three-Gaited Park
Cydney Rae Cutchall was back in the spotlight to earn the championship title in the open section with the bold moving Cybertown, moving up a notch from their qualifying reserve. Capturing the reserve championship honor was The Stradivarius with Brent Jacobs in the irons for Liz and Randy Thomas. Winning the qualifier in their only performance was the magnificent Juliette’s Deja Blue with Matt Shiflet presenting for Chris and Andrea Athanasuleas. In the junior qualifier Lewis Eckard presented High Time’s Northern Storm to the win for Susan Orton.

In the amateur section Broadway’s Mamma Mia and Krysten Malcolm debuted under the Mercer Springs banner. This bright mare made her performance debut with Smith Lilly and now she has returned with Malcolm. The striking mare marched down the rail for Malcolm, capturing titles in both the championship and qualifier. Reserve honors went to another debut. Making A Move earned both reserve honors for new owner Bredin Rush with Ginger Reagan in the irons for the Heads Up Academy banner.

Proud grandmother Sammye Lucas and Matthew Lucas were busy on the rail cheering on the winning teams from Johnny Lucas and Sons Stables.

Katie’s Dream and Britt Mitchell picked up right where they left off as they swept the junior exhibitor division under the direction of Robbie Lucas. Madison Bissette was in the irons to capture both reserve titles with Woulda Coulda Shoulda for Brenda and Dan Austin while daughter Aimee was busy at a science convention.

Fine Harness
Matt Shiflet was on the lines to win the Fine Harness Championship and qualifier with I’m Fantabulous. No stranger to the winner’s circle this flashy chestnut made the switch easily from the five-gaited division to the harness division for owner Beth Ann Rhoads. Reserve honors in both classes went to the Prize Contender son, Grand Prize, with Steve Gassen presenting for Debbie Jordan.

Rebekah Cloninger debuted with At Full Throttle to win the Roadster Under Saddle.

Flying to the winner’s circle in the Open Roadster To Bike Championship was the green and black silks of Sean Lassett as he expertly piloted The Dreamer. Earlier trainer Steve Hanks had the opportunity to present The Dreamer to the qualifying blue for Jean Myers. Reserve in the championship went to the amateur qualifying winner Blue Sky with Richard Harris. Reserve in the open qualifier went to P.J. Shawnee and Rick Felder for Dr. Brian Garrett with Royal Count and Rebekah Cloninger flying away with the red streamers in the amateur qualifier. Cloninger was back in the under saddle section to win the blue with her new teammate At Full Throttle. Reserve honors went to Run Forrest Run and Lauren Riggins for the Cash Lovell Stables banner.

Dr. Robert Pugh had a great week with his gang of road ponies. Acquired after his win in Freedom Hall in 2007, Pugh drove Razz-Ma-Tazz to victory in the Road Pony Championship moving up a notch from their reserve in the qualifier. This team also took a turn at the wagon, earning another reserve title. Pugh continued to dominate when he swept the amateur division with Stat. His newest pony, Regal’s Viking LF, captured the reserve title in the Novice Road Pony with trainer Danny Troutman. Devone Garone presented the junior star Heartland Summer Heat to the novice win for Caroline Morrison. Winning the wagon title was Sugar Daddy and Eddie Case. They also garnered the amateur qualifying reserve title.

Cash Lovell had a chance on the lines with Lindsay Jones’s Heartland Curtain Call to win the open qualifier before turning the lines over to Jones. In Jones’s first appearance with her new pony, she captured the reserve in the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony. The team returned in the junior exhibitor championship to garner the tricolor. Earning the AHHS qualifier and championship reserve was the multi-titled Zildjian with Caitlin Leith. Jake Butts presented Perfect Offering to a pair of wins in the under saddle section with two outstanding performances. Reserve in the championship went to the talented Casey Morgan Tibolet aboard Regal’s Rebel LF for Carson Kressley. Tanner Parham in his trademark yellow and black silks was aboard Seamair’s Nobility for the qualifying reserve.

Becky Rankin presented her new partner, Heartland Elegant Dancer, to the win the Hackney Pony Championship. Earlier Lewis Eckard was in the sulky to win the qualifier. Heather Boodey garnered the qualifying red streamers for Paul Otto with the young star Heartland Invincible. Two junior exhibitor teams earned the top spots in the pleasure driving section. Wait & See’s Postmaster and Alexandra Foster earned back-to-back wins for the Cash Lovell Stables banner. Hawkeye’s Chatterbox and Allie Wellington debuted in the division this week, earning both reserves with two solid performances.

Show Pleasure
CH Social Worth continued his dominance in the five-gaited show pleasure division, sweeping the adult section with Beth Watson in the irons for the Austin family. Pepper Man and Courtney Maness had a comeback ride to earn the reserve championship honor under the direction of Suzy Shiflet. Reserve in the qualifier went to Ventura’s Gold Card and Judy Megelich. In the junior exhibitor section, Sunken Treasure moved up to capture the tricolor with Drew Taylor Hewitt. In the qualifier, the blue went to CH MMMBop and Allie Wellington. Earning both reserve titles were CH Summit Up and Allison Combs.

In the Park Pleasure Championship, Recoup and Brooke Jacobs had a flawless ride to garner the tricolor for Werk Way Stables. In the open qualifier the blue went to the flashy spotted Tony Leone and Jamie Mullins for Tanya and Haley Kesner. Earning both reserves were An Heir Of Grace and Bill Shiflet for Anne Holmes. Smith Lilly presented King’s Lovebird to the junior win for Dr. Nancy Trent. Bill Shiflet was back to accept the reserve with Johnny Sea for Riley Shiflet. Topping the three-year-old class were Blue Attitude and Stephanie Overman with Oh Heavenly Moment and Trey Prasse earning reserve.

Brooke Jacobs continued her success with a pair of wins in the 18-29 three-gaited show pleasure division with CH My Southern Charm. The Mary Ann Harris trained Fire Number One and Catherine Hill captured both reserves. Mary Dunker and Heavy Hitter returned in the 30 and over championship with a magnificent ride for the win. In the qualifier, Sometimes Gold and Jill White captured the blue under the Drowning Creek Farm banner. Earning both reserves were Power Source and Marjorie Newman from Cater Stables.

New York Entertainer and Jessica MacLeod had flawless ride winning the 14-17 show pleasure class.

Allie Wellington made her first appearance in the 14-17 division with CH It’s Yabba Dabba Doo Time and, with a comeback ride in the championship, they earned their first victory pass in the older age group. CH New York Entertainer and Jessica MacLeod had a phenomenal ride capturing the qualifying blue. They returned for the championship reserve. Irish Cappuccino and Amy Rawlins garnered the red streamers in the qualifier under the direction of Randy Cole and Becky Teater.

Also having a comeback ride, The Chesapeake Bay and Austin Hazelwood topped the 13 and under championship. Albelarm Anchor Man and Bronwyn Frank had a flawless ride to move up to capture the championship reserve. In the qualifier, Big Show and Shelby Graves debuted for the win with Borrowed Love and Jessica Hudnall earning the reserve.

CH Much More Radiant and Stephanie Brackett were perfectly pleasurable, sweeping the 12 and under walk and trot section. Qualifying reserve honors went to their stablemates CH Empress In Black and Allie Poovey. In their debut Lady Gabriella and Emma Sanchez earned the championship reserve for the Longacre banner.

Laugh Outloud and Kimberly Crist bested 13 entries in the novice rider championship, moving up a notch from their qualifying reserve. No stranger to the show ring, CH Carrie Blue, with Elizabeth Wall, had a comeback ride to earn the reserve championship title. Winning the qualifier were Diamond’s First Lady and Lynn Garwood.

Alex Ennis was aboard the cute Santana’s Flaming Dawn to sweep the pleasure pony division with Bay Of Fizz and Morghan Alley earning both reserve titles.

In the large show pleasure driving division Unclaimed and Jan Beardsley Blanco captured the championship and qualifying victory passes for the Fairfield South banner. Selvaggio and Bonnie Koch had two solid drives to garner both reserve titles.

Country Pleasure
Twelve teams returned for the Adult Country Pleasure Championship out of the 15 from the qualifier. As in the qualifier, the championship honor belonged to CH Riva Diva and Donna Finch who had two fabulous performances. Earning the reserves in both classes was the flashy gray mare Heir’s Intoxication with Joy Bowman in the irons.

In the 14-17 championship, Heather Hege was more than thrilled when her number was called to winner’s circle with Silver River. It has been a long road for Hege, now in her final junior exhibitor year, and this horse who battled eye problems which finally are now healed. Reserve championship honors went to Royal Illusion with Andrea Wolkoff showing for the Tickle/Gordon partnership. Star Of The Millennium and Katie Morrison topped the qualifier for Chris and Heather Brown with Croupier and Caroline Rose earning the reserve for Catherine McCool.

Fresh off wins in Tampa, Man Of Hour Dreams and Alex Ennis moved up to capture the 13 and under championship. Reserve championship honors went to the qualifying winner, Curly Day, with Anna Hudson in the irons for Pamela McCulloch. Reserve in the qualifier went to the solid performer CH Santana’s Night Moves and Meredith Macy.

In the AOT Country Pleasure, Toree Hefner was thrilled with her win aboard Highpoint’s Fancy Cat. Marie Gwinn showed the bright and flashy VHF Bay All Day to the reserve.

In the large Novice Rider Country Pleasure Championship, top honors went to Midd’s Hilton with Rebecca McCane in the irons for Leigh Zalzneck. Earlier this team also captured the qualifying blue. Reserve championship honors went to Maximum Mischief and Lisa McKenzie with Young Winston and Dominquie Bowlen receiving the qualifying reserve.

CH Dr. Deker and Debbie Marcum turned in two flawless drives to sweep the country pleasure driving division. Ro-Day-O and Annette Greene returned to move up a notch for the reserve tricolor. In the qualifier, the pleasure perfect Really Worth It and Anita Simpson garnered the red streamers.

O Ain’t I Somethin’ and Luanne Kilday were a force in the western division, winning three for three. Together they topped the championship, qualifier and the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure class. Callaway’s Son Of Son and Alicia Patrick moved up to earn the reserve in the championship. In the qualifier and Shatner class, Monsignor and Marie Gwinn captured both reserves in their only two appearances. Gwinn also received the reserve in the limit qualifier with VHF Bay All Day. Winning the limit qualifier was the golden Cosmic Sunfire with Judith Gandarillas. This team showed their versatility by also winning both reserves in the hunter division. Sweeping the hunter division were Symbol’s Supreme Eclipse and Holly Henson.

The polished Casey Morgan Tibolet was in top form this week to win four classes. She began her week by earning the UPHA Challenge Cup and continued her success in the USEF Medal and NHS Good Hands. She closed out the week by returning on Saturday evening to win the championship under the direction of her proud mother, Lisa Paxton. Stablemate Shelby Graves proved her skills by winning the 13 and under qualifier and reserve in the USEF Medal. Reserve in the 13 and under went to the 2007 UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot National Champion Margaret McCool aboard her new mount, Golden Market.

Clara McCool has picked up where her sister left off, proving her own talents under the direction of Kristen and David Cater. Aboard CH Evening Dazzle, she won the UPHA 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation and the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation. Reserve honors in the UPHA class went to the rising star Hailey Mercurio, under the direction of Heather Boodey. Ellie Kangur aboard her new mount, Doubletrees Aqua Blue, earned the reserve in the 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation.

Brooke Jacobs proved her skills by winning the USEF Adult Medal aboard CH My Southern Charm with Cynthia Fawcett in for reserve.

Cater Stables was back in the spotlight with Elizabeth Dirth putting it together with great rail work and pattern work to win the UPHA Pleasure Equitation. She returned later in the week to earn the reserve in the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion. Earning the Medallion and the reserve in the UPHA class was Kim Mueller from Ingleside Farm.

Fire Pink’s Cozzette proved her versatility by winning not only the Park Saddle Stake but also the Park Harness Stake with Sonja Duke piloting her both times for Fire Pink Morgans.

Claridge's Freedom Spirit and Midge Hunt were crowned the Morgan English Pleasure Grand Champions.

A few weeks ago Krista Dent was injured in an accident and is now recuperating. While she has been out, many have come to her aid, especially Midge Hunt who took over the show ring duties this week. Aboard Claridge Freedom’s Spirit, she swept the open English pleasure division for James Tomasello. Reserve in the championship went to GDT Boucheron with Grant Shiflet. Earlier in the week this sporty stallion captured the junior/limit qualifier for owner Debbie Mentler. Reserve in the junior/limit went to Flintlock’s Testarosa and Rob Marsh for Pete and Gael Jaeger. Christy Jaeger Clark also presented Flintlock’s Testarosa to the win in the ladies qualifier.

In their first appearance together, CN A Touch Better and Jason Harrell swept the amateur English pleasure division under the direction of Krista Dent. Capturing both reserves were BW Shrek and Besty Buchanan for Pinnacle Holdings. Leah Ling had two great rides aboard Arboria Invictus, winning the junior exhibitor championship and qualifier. Earning both reserves were False Pretense and Casey Morgan Tibolet for Kelli and Steve Gardner. Susannah Sykes was in the spotlight aboard JAJ Caprioles Sir Walter to win the 12 and Under Walk and Trot Pleasure.

The fancy LBJ Uptown Girl topped the Pleasure Driving Championship with Ken Swanson on the lines for Frances Pugh. Earlier in the week they topped the junior qualifier. Winning the open qualifier and returning for the championship reserve were Graywood’s Lennox and Harry Daughtry for Mary Daughtry in their debut. BW Shrek and Rob Marsh earned the reserve in the qualifier. CBMF Ruling Class was magnificent for Holly Johnson when Johnson piloted her way to the winner’s circle in both the Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to TSL Starcraft and Jason Harrell with Hollybrook Walk In Tall and June Davis earning the qualifying reserve.

Topping the Classic Saddle Championship was the sporty Stonecroft Antidote with Jason Harrell in the irons for Ben Walstrom, moving them up a spot from their qualifying reserve. After earning the qualifying blue, RAM Wham Bam Precision and Laura Austin took home the reserve tricolor. Kristen King swept the junior exhibitor section with nice performances aboard Total Recall. They also earned the reserve in the Classic Pleasure Driving. Also in the driving division, Hollybrook Independence took up right where he left off in 2007 at the NC State Fair, winning both the championship and qualifier. This week however Cathy and Leslie Minard shared the driving duties with Cathy winning the qualifier and Leslie winning the championship.

Ryan’s Starbeam was a star for owner Kristen King this week, winning four for four. With Rob Marsh, Ryan’s Starbeam won the Open Western qualifier and then returned with King to win the Amateur Western Championship, Amateur Western qualifier and Ladies Western qualifier. Coulee Ben Immortality and Margie Blaik earned the reserve in the ladies and amateur qualifiers. King was back in the spotlight with JJF The Big Easy in the hunter division, winning the open championship and open and amateur qualifiers. Both open reserve ribbons went to FRF Center Stage and Emory Sykes. Sykes returned in the amateur section to win the championship after a reserve in the qualifier with JAJ Caprioles Sir Walter. Amateur reserve championship honors went to Rambling Brook Fantasia and Merri Lee.

The Friesian Junior Exhibitor Walk and Trot belonged to the Hirschhorn girls. All three showed their majestic Friesians with Haley winning the class aboard Watse. Hannah captured the reserve with Axcel with sister Heather rounding out the top three with Steffen B.

Laura Plant and Carver Semans are two of the new stars from Cash Lovell Stables. They both showed in the newly added Junior Exhibitor Walk and Trot Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier.

This year at Raleigh, a new class debuted. With the success of the 12 and under walk and trot show pleasure division, management had been asked to add the same class for country pleasure. Under the all breed section, management not only added it for the junior exhibitors but also for the adults. The adult class was light, however, the junior exhibitor class boasted eight entries. Winning the adult section was Kalarama’s Diamond Tip with Patty Hylton for Tracy Jo Hylton. In the junior exhibitor section, Laura Plant debuted aboard Jennifer Foster’s Worthy’s Just Once to win the championship and qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to Hannah Hirschhorn aboard Floris Van Nienke while sister Haley earned the qualifying reserve with Watse.

The popular local pleasure horse division had both a championship and qualifier this year. Winning the championship was the beautiful CH Harlem’s Black Magic with his long-time partner Beth Watson back in the irons. This team earned the qualifying reserve. Winning the qualifier and returning for the championship reserve were Finn Maccumhail and Margaret Williams.

Saturday afternoon belonged to a very large group of academy riders from programs all over the Carolinas and Virginias. Winning top ribbons in their classes were: McKenzie Bryant, Taylor Henderson, Diana Raynor, Tammy Whitworth, Ashley Stewart, Harley Campbell, Heidi Sibert, Erin Breslin, Dana Matix, Aly Adams, Donna Bush, Katie Koller, Shelley Bradley, Judy Matthews, Joanne Fair, Kirsten Morris, Melissa Chatto, Bridget Hannigan, Taylor Bernstein, Katie Weppler, Summer Blackwelder, Olivia McCraw, Sydney Rowell, Brittany Varney, Elizabeth Harris, America Stewart Taylor, Alex Cedrone, Allison Blanchard, Olivia Knox, Sarah Adams, Alexander Fitton, Elaina Bullard, Taylor Gusler, Caroline Staples, Christopher Bowman, Amy Cedrone, Alexandra Bowlen, Tatum Tucker, Meg Raynor, Cally Bebber, Cashlyn Lovell, Rhett Parham, MacKenzie Todd, Jade Schweickert, Geoffrey Allen, Tiffany Knox, Kelly Wooten, Chris Hawley, Lora Thornhill, Rena Frazier, Payton Nicole Shiflet, Max Michalek, Lillain Boyd and Samantha Fox.

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