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Santa Barbara National Goes Smoke Free!

by Leeann Mione

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Those who made the trip to Santa Barbara this year for the 90th rendition of the Santa Barbara National Horse Show were able to breathe easy. Literally. Last year, as the beautiful California landscape burned, the ash fell like snow and the power went out. Tensions were high as those at the show waited to see if the fires would be brought under control.

This year, however, was a completely different story. Mother Nature couldn’t have provided better weather. Warm days and cool nights all weekend made for a very enjoyable show and the great competition in many divisions made it even better.

Santa Barbara offers one of California’s most picturesque locations, and the Santa Barbara National has drawn the best from California and surrounding states to enjoy all it offers for 89 years and this year, in its 90th anniversary, enjoyed first-rate competition from the Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Friesians. The schedule also once again included the Paso Finos for Friday and Saturday’s performances.

Competition manager Rae Deane Stone, secretary Harriet Landrum and her assistants Roxanne Hood and Sheri Hurst, along with data entry secretary Ron Hood, kept things running smoothly in the office. Jim Kurtze was the awards coordinator. Qualifier winners received a charming apple-shaped silver candy dish and championship winners received flower garlands in addition to their tricolor ribbons.

Paddock steward David Booth, USEF steward Cecile Hetzel-Dunn, grounds supervisor Rodrigo Campusano, ringmaster Grace Yaglou, organist Jim Trader and photographer Rick Osteen were also on the list of officials who help make the show success each year.

Malcolm Rossell, still going strong at 93 years of age, returned once again as the official announcer. Kelly Carle was the show’s farrier and Robert Saunders was the on-site veterinarian. Take-One Video was in charge of filming the action upon request. Emergency 1 served as on-site EMT service.

Grace Arnold helped make this year’s event even more special. She sponsored Thursday evening’s exhibitors’ party at one of the horse show’s favorite hangouts, Harry’s Bar & Grill. A big crowd gathered at the restaurant to enjoy a nice buffet and the unique atmosphere that makes Harry’s such a popular place. Arnold also sponsored the orchestra that performed in center ring each evening.

Steve Old made the trip from Woodstock, Ga., to judge the Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Friesians and equitation divisions. He had plenty of nice examples of each breed in front of him all week.

Friday evening’s Five-Gaited Stake was arguably one of the best classes of the show. In fact it was perhaps one of Santa Barbara’s best gaited stakes in recent memory. Eleven horses came through the gate to compete in front of Steve Old.

It was an action packed class from start to finish and the mood in the stands was downright jubilant that so many nice horses were taking a shot at the tricolor and flowers. The top contenders made it a fight, but on this night CH Walterway’s Remember Me and Jennifer Dixon just couldn’t be denied. The powerful gelding with the silver mane and tail took top honors as the Five-Gaited Grand Champion for John, Jacque and Katie Jarve. Undulata Prophet and Gail Hooker have made great strides in their career together, and in the stake, she turned things over to trainer Bill Tomin. He piloted Prophet to the reserve title. The Big Unit and Roman Marcos rounded out the top three for owner Kimberly Carson.

Callaway’s Holy Moly usually shows with teammate Kelly Ganci but trainer Michael Craghead was in the irons in the open class Wednesday evening and they exited with the blue ribbon for the Gary Ganci family.

Amateur qualifier winner Undulata’s Confidential and Laura Denenholz faced a nice group in the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake and they turned back all challengers to win the tricolor for owner Judy Denenholz and close out the final session of the show. Christy Mallory rode Desert’s Double Memories to the reserve streamers for owner Teri Yount.

Yount had two more wins in the division when Sydney Shaw teamed Magellan to the wins in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Stake and qualifier. A Lemonade and Robb Wallen kept their good season going with the blue ribbon win in the junior/limit class for Betsy Wallen. J.W. Steenkamp, from Yount Stables, closed out the division with Razin’ Arizona when they claimed the win in the three-year-old class for Cindy Byers.

The Three-Gaited Stake showcased a nice trio and once again this season I’m High ‘N Mighty took the tricolor and blue in the open class for owners Bruce and Jennifer Foster of Crown Valley Farm. Trainer David Blevins rode in both classes.

Tina Sutter and Haven’s Harmonize were directed by Seaview owner and trainer Barbara Beamer to the blue ribbon win in the junior/limit class earlier in the week and she met them at the out gate after they were named the reserve grand champions in the open stake.

CH Like Sunshine usually does equally well whether Julia Chen is showing or mom Sue Valley Chen is in the irons, and once again this was true. Julia rode for the tricolor win when Old named Sunshine the Amateur Three-Gaited Grand Champion amidst a talented group of four. Sue Valley Chen took the blue ribbon victory pass with the mare in the amateur qualifier. Virtual Adventure and Missy Bennett have been coming on strong this season and they were named the reserve winners in the amateur stake under the direction of Joe Lavery of Jim Bennett Stables.

The new team of Show Material and Emily Chapman proved they didn’t need a lot of time to prepare before hitting the ring together and they took both wins in the junior exhibitor division under the direction of Michelle McVey of Desert Palms. Both classes featured four proven contenders who have a bounty of blue ribbons between them.

A Solar Flare and Shelby Jackson were next in line for a ribbon in the stake class for the Craig Jackson Trust. Directed by Roman and Cayce Marcos, of Emerald Hills, Jackson and her mount are having a great first season together.

Lisa Lesch showed more than one nice young horse at Santa Barbara including the winner of the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class, Shooting Star Of Silver Oaks. Lesch rode for owner Susan Swango.

Love And Luck and Michelle McVey have been having a great season together on behalf of Desert Palms LLC and it didn’t take luck for them to top the Three-Gaited Park Stake and qualifier. They kept their win count on track with both victories. Missy Bennett and her Undulata’s Sophisticated Design claimed the reserve streamers in the park stake, showing from Bennett Stables.

Co-owners Ron Harris and Bobbie Reid went home with the blue after Slam’s Enduring Freedom was named the junior/limit champion in the park division’s biggest class.

Van Cleef & Arpels and Robb Wallen have also teamed up more than once this season to head to the winner’s circle and they took the victory pass in the Junior/Limit Fine Harness class for Chuck O’Donnell to keep their good season going. They came back in the Fine Harness Stake and captured that win as well to make it two for two.

Lesch and Kourageous Kat Of Silver Oaks exited with the reserve streamers in the stake for owner Gary Gustafson. She also drove The Ring Of Roses to the blue in the three-year-old class.

Blevins was in the viceroy for the winning drive in the open class. He drove Miss Savannah Rose for owner Susan Cox. Cox then came back to drive the mare to the blue in the amateur qualifier.

Fair Hill’s Blondie and owner Linda Brittan won the Amateur Fine Harness Stake under the direction of Derek Repp of Fair Hills Farms for Maynard and Linda Brittan. Fusilier and Keith Roberts followed in the ribbon count in the amateur stake.

Smart Charlie and owner Joan Richardson teamed up to win both the Roadster Pony Stake and open class under the direction of Greg Carstens of Seamair Farm, and they were followed in the ribbons by reserve grand champion Forever And A Day with Bill Tomin showing for DeVault Farms LLC.

Richardson went back to the winner’s circle in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier with Seamair Dear Admiral. She showed for owner Scott Hickey. Another Seamair Farm-bred pony, Seamair’s Winterfest, claimed the reserve tricolor with owner Janet Overstreet. David Becker Jr. directed the reserve grand champions.

The five-gaited pleasure horses had two nice classes and they worked hard to impress Steve Old but in the end it was Callaway’s Shotgun named to take both victory passes with owner Lauren Benecke. She rode under the direction of Michelle McVey. Debbie Tomin rode Tip Me Do to the reserve title in the stake from Rockridge Farm.

Joe Lavery and Seaworthy’s Captain Jack continued Bennett Stables’s great weekend with their winning effort in the Park Pleasure Stake. Chance Of Thunder won the open class with Roman Marcos showing for Seahorse Stables LLC.

Linda Bradley and Callaway’s Party Time turned in a strong team effort in the eight-entry Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship and adult qualifier to win both classes under the direction of Bill Tomin. Peanut Butter and owner Carolyn Melka just debuted at Del Mar and they were right there to take reserve in the stake at Santa Barbara. Austin Eversman and Eric Antman directed Melka and Peanut Butter from Majestic Stables.

The junior exhibitors also had two nice classes and it was the Crown Valley-trained team of Foxy Cleopatra and Julianne Rafferty named as the grand champions by Old. CH J. Peterman and Hannah Rahav, from Emerald Hills, put together the reserve grand championship effort.

CH X’s and O’s has been a grand campaigner for many years with Caroline and Allison Cherry and both girls have ridden to the winner’s circle many times under the direction of Jim and Helen Cherry. At Santa Barbara, Caroline Cherry was in the irons to take the blue in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Pleasure qualifier.

The junior/limit class was the largest of the show pleasure division and featured nine hard working entries vying for the blue. Count Fleet and owner Ron Harris topped the class to take the victory pass.

Wallen West was represented twice more in the winner’s circle when Steve Old named New Yorker At Heart the Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion and champion. Brandon Jones drove both times for owner Louise Curran under Robb Wallen’s direction. CH Forever Aptor and Gail Hooker exited with the reserve tricolor in the stake showing from Rockridge Farm.

Unchained and David Becker Jr. were right on the money to turn back all challengers in the Open English Pleasure Stake after having already topped the competitive eight-entry open qualifier. Becker rode for owners Virginia Bergstrom and Janet Overstreet. Owner and trainer Amanda Groce, of Johnny 6 Stables, met Samantha Lyttle at the out gate as she exited with reserve grand champion Fair Hill’s Bold Prince.

The 10 and under riders competed in their OTAB walk and trot pleasure classes and it was the new team of Electra Mustaine and her Friesian Gerrit tapped by Steve Old as the walk and trot pleasure grand champions. Mustaine debuted with Gerrit to take the blue in the qualifier and showed to both wins under the direction of Lance Bennett. Jennifer Dixon directed Allison Freeman and 23-year-old Attache’s Chaminade, another grand campaigner on the California circuit, to the reserve finish in the walk and trot pleasure stake.

Rapid Reward took the victory pass in the Open Pleasure Driving Stake with Bill Tomin to keep Gail Hooker’s good show going. Ronald van de Zuiderwaard and Ron Goldman, of Black Sterling Friesians, captured the reserve title. Leeanne Lloyd and Tys took the blue in the open pleasure driving qualifier for Fred and Jennie De Boer of Royal Friesians.

Julie Streitfeld and Shamrock’s Jessica have been consistently at the top of the country pleasure division in their career together and they topped a great group to win Santa Barbara’s Country Pleasure Stake after winning the qualifier earlier in the week under the direction of Brigitte Scholl. Captain Caper and Shelly Ingram teamed up to take the reserve tricolor for owner Nelle Slack.

Callaway’s Cassandra proved her versatility as she headed down victory lane in the Country Pleasure Driving Stake for owner Jan Darden. The mare has been a winner in the country pleasure under saddle division many times over the years and has had a good season so far in her first year in the driving division. Bridget Rushton drove to the tricolor under the direction of David Becker. Tuffy’s Gunslinger also displayed versatility by successfully moving to the country pleasure driving division. After showing to win the junior exhibitor under saddle class at Del Mar, Gunslinger and Leslie Blevins won the driving qualifier before returning to take reserve in the stake.

The western pleasure division was filled with talent and all five entries in the stake and open class had great resumes to their credit even before competing at Santa Barbara. Grace Arnold stepped up to add some extra special touches at Santa Barbara and in the competitive Western Country Pleasure Stake, Buttoned Down stepped up to make Arnold’s week extra special. Showing under the direction of Jim and Helen Cherry, Buttoned Down turned back all challengers to take the title of Western Country Pleasure Grand Champion with Arnold. The team already had the blue ribbon win in the Saddle & Bridle Western Pleasure class. Doug Glick and CH Fiasco exited as the reserve grand champions and they won the qualifier earlier in the week under the direction of Michael Craghead.

Kay March had a busy and successful weekend in Santa Barbara with several different entries. She and Gold Dust Medallion won the Opportunity Western Pleasure Stake after taking the victory pass in the opportunity qualifier. Kona Cat Man Do, also owned by March, gave her a one-two finish when Steve Old named number 129 the reserve grand champion.

Owner and trainer Nelle Slack and She Be Fine have had a great season so far and they added to their win list with victories in the Hunter Country Pleasure Stake and qualifier. Deborah Schuetz-Jones rode First Light’s Wings Of Gold to the second place finish in the stake.

March was back in the winner’s circle twice more and she rode Geronimo’s Cadillac to the wins in the Parade Horse Stake and open class.

Jelte and Mackenzie Anderson were a big hit with Steve Old and the crowd and they won the Costume Stake and qualifier for owner Cathleen Anderson from Monarch Stables. Deni Hird and Miracle Best Kept Secret picked up the reserve streamers for owner Caroline Owen in the stake.

Victoria Lyons has been having a great season in the equitation division under the direction of Robb Wallen, and she picked up three more wins at Santa Barbara. Lyons rode Chihuly to the Equitation Championship tricolor, the 14-17 blue ribbon and the Good Hands blue ribbon to close out a great week.

Electra Mustaine was met by her parents, Pam and Dave Mustaine, after she rode her Friesian Gerrit to the blue ribbon in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Equitation class to add to her already great weekend. Allison Freeman added the blue to her total when she won the UPHA 10 & Under Walk & Trot Challenge Cup with Attache’s Chaminade under Jennifer Dixon’s direction.

The lead line classes showcased future show ring stars and offered a 10 & Under Walk & Trot Equitation Lead Line class, which was won by Katelyn Englebrecht, and a six and under class. Englebrecht rode Keimpe to the blue for owner Koreen Greenberg.

It was a family affair Saturday morning as the Seamair group gathered to watch Mrs. John Pritzlaff’s great granddaughters Molly Morgan and Annabel Symington win blue ribbons in the six and under class. They were both so good that Steve Old couldn’t pick one over the other and they both left the ring with a blue ribbon.

The Friesian division offered a wide variety of classes to entertain the crowd and several different barns came away with multiple wins. Friesian Focus, under the direction of trainer Lance Bennett, was one of those barns. Bennett rode to the win in the Friesian Saddle Seat Park Stake with Otto after winning the qualifier earlier in the week for Joan Fernandez. He was also in the winner’s circle with Wodan when Steve Old named them the Friesian Saddle Seat Pleasure Grand Champions and open champions. Harem and Victoria Servin added the reserve streamers from the stake to Greenberg’s total.

Black Sterling Friesians had a very successful week as well with their multiple entries. Janna Goldman and Marko teamed up to take the title in the Friesian Amateur Saddle Seat Pleasure Stake. Greenberg rode Keimpe to the blue in the amateur qualifier before returning to take the reserve tricolor in the amateur stake, showing from Rancho de Servin.

Harem switched gears and picked up two wins, but this time in the driving division. Laurie Servin drove to the Show Pleasure Driving Stake and qualifier wins for Greenberg. Daen and Joan Fernandez were right there for the reserve grand championship.

Chopard and Janna Goldman took their turn in the winner’s circle when they were named the Friesian Walk & Trot Pleasure Grand Champions. Julia Goldman had ridden to the win with Chopard in the open class Wednesday morning. Julia picked up three more wins for Black Sterling and rode two different mounts to do it. She teamed Marko to the Friesian Amateur Walk & Trot Stake and qualifier wins and rode Majestic to the tricolor in the Friesian Country Pleasure Stake.

Nichole Fernandez and Alie teamed up to take the reserve in the Amateur Walk & Trot Pleasure Stake for Friesian Focus and Janny H. was reserve with Hugo Ortiz in the Country Pleasure Stake. Ortiz rode for owner Gayle Acselrod and they won the country pleasure qualifier earlier in the week.

Itse, with Lance Bennett, and Neo, with Julia Goldman, battled it out in the Friesian Hunter Pleasure Stake and the crowd got behind both of them as they hand galloped both directions. In the end, it was Itse and Bennett selected as the grand champions with Neo and Goldman taking reserve. Royal Friesians was represented in the winner’s circle by the team of Anne and Leeanne Lloyd as the Friesian Open Hunter Pleasure qualifier.

Black Sterling, namesake of Black Sterling Friesians, picked up two more wins in the Friesian western pleasure division to add to his win list and Julia Goldman rode to the tricolor in the western pleasure stake. Janna Goldman was up for his win in the open class. Jelte was reserve in the stake with owner Cathleen Anderson up from Monarch Stables. Ate and Janna Goldman won the Friesian English Show Hack Stake and open class and they also swept the Friesian dressage hack division to go four for four.

Nicole Chastain brought the Friesians from Nicole Chastain Training Stables and they ended up with wins and top ribbons for the group. Beake fan Boppe de Slus and Chastain were the dressage hack reserve grand champions for owner Deni Bator.

Majestic and Janna Goldman won the Friesian Dressage Suitability Stake and qualifier to add two more victories to the Black Sterling Friesians total. Chastain teamed Zenobia to the reserve tricolor effort for Charles and Christine Law.

Joan Fernandez and Cathleen Anderson traded places in the winner’s circle in the period costume division. Anderson and Jelte took the tricolor victory and Daen won the open class with Fernandez before claiming the reserve streamers in the stake.

The Friesians also showed in hand at Santa Barbara and Allard, Cabernet, Beake and Zenobia each picked up blue ribbons. Allard, shown by owner Anita Klinger, won the in hand stallion class and also took the title in the in hand class for baroque stallions. Christine Law showed Cabernet to the win in the mare class. Beake and Brandon Jones won the baroque gelding class and Jones showed Zenobia to the win in the baroque mare class.

Santa Barbara National ushered in the Fourth of July in fine fashion with a final day of competition to close out a great week. Gorgeous weather and gorgeous horses and ponies combined to make the 90th anniversary a good one.

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