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Saturday Night Showdowns In Virginia

In its second year under the direction of manager Kent Moeller, the American Saddlebred Horse Association of Virginia had 450 horses/academy riders for its twenty-first annual show which was held September 29 - October 2. Moeller, chairperson Carol Reedy and the ASHAV committee were blessed with a number of quality performance horses to go with the many top weanlings and yearlings that were shown in the Old Dominion and ASHAV Futurities.

Some moaned and groaned that classes early in the week weren’t as strong as some years past, however, at the conclusion of Saturday night’s championship session no one could dare say this wasn’t a highly competitive and entertaining event. Judges Michael Craghead, Jack Nevitt, and Mike Tunstall had some tough decisions to make and did a great job of moving the show along.

Announcer Lawrence Beard said it best on Saturday night. “Ladies and gentlemen this has been as good a Three-Gaited Championship as you will see anywhere.”

That class was probably the best of the best on championship night. Photographer Linda Wollaber had several world class campaigners to shoot among the seven entries. The recently crowned Junior World’s Champion Victoria Lynn closed out her undefeated season with the championship performance for Kenny and Ceil Wheeler. It was an incredible night as the Green/Wheeler team was also responsible for the Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champion Memories Paragon and the Five-Gaited Grand Champion Walterway’s Remember Me. Those two championships were highly competitive as well.

As it has been for years, ASHAV was a good mix of some of Kentucky’s best taking on an array of the finest from Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas. Kentucky barns did take the three open championships as Nelson Green captured the above mentioned two and Melissa Moore won the Fine Harness Championship with Last Tango In Paris.

ASHAV 2004 was bittersweet for longtime supporter Fred Sarver. It marked the end of Jones Mountainview Saddlebreds dominating the ASHAV and Old Dominion Futurities under Sarver’s direction. The farm, owned by C. Norman Jones, will be dispersing and Sarver is moving to Kentucky to again join forces with the Tierney/Smith family’s Leatherwood Farm. One of the pioneers of the American Saddlebred breeding industry in Virginia, Leatherwood Farm is relocating to Paris,Ky.

Leatherwood performance horses enjoyed a great week under the direction of Redd Crabtree. In addition to the amateur horses, Leatherwood featured a big time three-year-old gaited colt. Leatherwood’s Hats Off won the UPHA Classic. Actually, outstanding three-year-olds were presented in all three divisions. Smith Lilly had the top of the line walk-trot champion in Stonecroft’s Front and Center, while Nelson Green and The Licorice Drop Kid topped the harness section in the UPHA Classics program. Lewis Meadows also showed a top colt in UPHA Park Pleasure Classic winner El Dorado's Name That Tune.

That’s the type of week it was. The above high powered campaigners were complemented by some of the strongest junior exhibitor riders anywhere. Gaited, walk-trot, pleasure, it didn’t matter. This was a competitive group of youngsters.

Making it a truly complete show, the officials were as good as the facility and the championship horses, ponies, and riders. Moeller and his paddock announcer Lowell Gobble kept a smooth and efficient flow at the in and out gates. The show office featured one of the best duos in the entire industry in Beth Snider and Scarlett Mattson. The Whitley family (Bill and Mary Lynn) also represented the tops in their fields as ringmaster and steward.


An extremely competitive stake night in Waldron Arena concluded with a mix of veteran, experienced, and up and coming talent when it came to the six professional riders who went all at it. The experience won out when the top two places were called out as Nelson Green headed to the winner's circle with two of the three first place votes aboard the stately Walterway's Remember Me. The 2003 Junior Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion really settled in with two strong shows this week to claim the open class as well for Kenny and Ceil Wheeler.

In both classes the Star Material son was put to the test every step of the way by Wing Admiral. Merrill Murray had his fans as he busted down the straightaways with Tim Atwood's twice reserve champion. Todd Graham was also in the mix with an eye-catching presentation with the handsome gray horse, Callaway's Henry Caulfield, for the yellow streamers. Melissa Moore, Cash Lovell, and Matt Shiflet rounded out the field with their entries.

There was also a showdown in the ladies section with the top two finishers in the qualifier trading places in the championship. The tricolor was flowing from the bridle of the deep bay entertainer Kami Kazi. Directed by Matt and Kristen Shiflet, Kami Kazi and Hayden Bracknell secured two of the three top votes to earn championship honors following their reserve finish in the qualifier. Recently crowned ladies mare reserve world's champion Have You Ever was again a powerhouse to take the ladies qualifier. Representing Crabtree Farms, Barclay de Wet and Have You Ever finished the week as the reserve grand champions.

Just like the ladies championship, results turned around in the amateur finale. Giving the Nelson Green Stables a three for three count for Saturday night, Ceil Wheeler and Memories Paragon never missed a beat on the way to the unanimous Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. It was another world class performance for ASHAV spectators. Also unanimous, Nick de Wet and Wild Wonderful were more than formidable as the reserve grand champions. They had topped the grand champions in the qualifier.

One thing that was consistent throughout the gaited division was the drive of the exhibitors. This group wanted to take advantage of the spacious arena and often sent their mounts into overdrive when it was called for.

Not losing anything to their older counterparts, the junior exhibitor riders didn't let any moss grow under their mount's hooves. This was one hotly contested championship but in the end the top three separated themselves with unanimous decisions. Going two for two was Diamond's Hope with Sarah Longworth in the irons. Longworth picked her spots and set sail. Also grinding it out, versatile Sarah Sessoms rode Assets and Attitude to reserve grand champion honors, their second reserve of the week. Shannon Harris and Visa Gold also deserve mention for their third place finish in the championship. This crowd pleasing team goes all out each and every time you see them.

There was a stockpile of talent in the Junior Five-Gaited Stake. Nelson Green and the always entertaining young stallion, I'm First, gave another athletic performance to win the class for Stonecroft Farm. New to the scene, Lakeview's Rare Lady gained many fans with her beautiful reserve performance. Merrill Murray had her setting on go for John Chapman. The World's Champion Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding of 2003, Freaky Links was back with a good show to take third for Matt Shiflet.

In just his second class ever, Leatherwood's Hats Off was the big time winner of the UPHA Classic. A son of reserve world's champion Leatherwood's Starlight and reserve world's champion She's A Scandal, this home-bred youngster had all the makings of a top one with master horseman Redd Crabtree in the saddle for Leatherwood Farm. Walterway's Headline Material never missed a beat on his way to the reserve finish. Steve Wheeler was aboard for J.C. Pierce.

The blue ribbon in the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake stayed in Virginia as Karin Folkers presented Red Handed for Windy Hill Farm. Darrell Good and Conduct Unbecoming took second. West Virginia claimed the blue in the novice class as Todd Graham showed the talented young stallion Callaway's Guy Park for Platinum Stock Farm. Rounding out the gaited division, Cash Lovell and Lakeview's Rare Lee Seen made the victory pass in the seven horse Virginia owned class while stablemate Champagne In Winter was uncontested in both gaited pony classes with new owner/rider Rebecca Deutsch in the irons.


As previously mentioned, this year’s Three-Gaited Championship was as fancy a walk-trot stake as any you would find outside the walls of Freedom Hall and certainly comparable to some years there.

Since she emerged on the national scene last year as the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal with Tom Scott, Victoria Lynn has done nothing but mature and get stronger under the guidance of Nelson Green. He purchased her at Kansas City and then put owner Ceil Wheeler on her to win the Junior Three-Gaited Championships at Lexington and Louisville. From Glyndle and Randy Tabor’s successful breeding program, Victoria Lynn was also ASHAV’s Junior Three-Gaited Champion with Wheeler.

On Saturday night the exquisite mare came trotting through the gate with Green in the irons and she again found her way to the winner’s circle, this time as the unanimous Three-Gaited Grand Champion. An explosive winner at Lexington in the Junior Over 15.2 Stake, Pinekrest Man In Black was the reserve grand champion with Todd Graham applying the pressure. The Pinekrest Farm entry was also reserve in the junior class.

With a unanimous decision under their girth from the open class, Lime Twisted Gin and Clark Clouse gave it a strong shot for third, while reserve open champions Rob Turner and Sightline had to settle for fourth on this night in this battle of champions. Matt Shiflet made you take notice as he paraded down the straightaway with the gifted black mare reserve novice champion She’s Poison. Adding to the depth of the great class, ladies champions Boxster and Mary Orr rounded out the ribbon winners.

Extremely familiar with the ASHAV Amateur Three-Gaited Championship winner’s circle, CH SJ Like A Champ was picture perfect with Margot Harwood turning in a tricolor ride. It was the second such victory pass of the week for the John Champagne trained combination. Another winning combination, Hayden Fox and Robin McKenzie Vuillermet, stepped up for reserve grand champion honors. Carolyn Banks and In The Game held the reserve spot in the qualifier.

Outstanding quality and performance didn’t end with the junior class when it came to youngsters. Stonecroft Front and Center was the class act of the UPHA Three-Year-Old Classic. He has been a consistent winner this year for trainer Smith Lilly and owner Leslie Bovenzi. In the early stages of her young career, I’m Real was reserve for Steve Wheeler and the Cismont Manor Associates.

Bill Shiflet had a nice week with young horses including his win in the Two-Year-Old class with Daute & Debonheir, an entry owned by Mike and Leslie Knick. Leslie Tickle rode Mountainview’s Virginia Beach for reserve.

Rob Turner has been fortunate to have two walk-trot stars this year. Coming into her own with another top flight performance, Mild Emotion was the Novice Three-Gaited Champion for Turner and owners Joe and Sandra Provanzano. Another blue in the three-gaited division was awarded to Peri’s Wild Whisper and Sarah Miller.

There was no drop off of talent from the open and amateur sections to the junior exhibitor ranks. Coming back with a look of determination in her eye, Kate Bryan rode CH Sportster for all he was worth to move up two notches and win the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship. With a season of blue ribbons to their credit the world class team of Just Special and Allison Combs left the ring as the reserve grand champions following a decisive victory pass in the qualifier. Attache’s Spirit Commander and Erin Casey moved to third after their reserve performance in the qualifier.

Gary Guz made a few trips to the winner’s circle and one was to greet Three-Gaited Pony Grand Champions CH Santana’s Cheer Me On and Rebecca Materniak. They overcame a reserve finish in the qualifier to eventual reserve grand champions Callaway’s Viscount and Katherine Randall.

Representing Fish N Fun Farm, Lisa Lucas had the winning ride aboard the gifted Fosse in the Three-Gaited Park Championship. Bobby Burgess and Callaway’s Hot Ice were their competition. Karin Folkers and Keeper Of The Stars had been the winners of the open class before losing a shoe and taking the gate in the championship round.

The seasoned team of Bambi Childress and The Foxy Prince led the way in a most competitive Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. The Foxy Prince pumped his legs all the way to the winner’s circle for Evergreen Farm. They traded places with Melissa Flint and The Royal Lady, winners of the amateur qualifier. Both classes had double digit entries.

With junior exhibitors riding park horses for their championship, Leandra Cogan and Deerhaven’s Stay Tuned were called from the line up as the winners for the second time during the week. Danny and Nancy Troutman directed their winning shows. Kate Bryan and The Flamethrower came the closest in the championship, while Maureen Mokreckzi and Undulata’s Diamond Jim were second in the qualifier.

Nunley Saddlebreds owned the sporty winner of the Junior Three-Gaited Park Stake. Melissa Moore and Callaway’s Northern Fling occupied the winner’s circle ahead of reserve champions Bill Shiflet and Shamrock’s Fire Starter and seven other entries.

Fine Harness

There isn’t a division in which Melissa Moore hasn’t excelled and recently she has had a great touch with harness horses. Junior Fine Harness Champion Last Tango In Paris never looked better marching down victory lane with the unanimous Fine Harness Championship. Moore made both winning drives for Robert Lilley. Reserve grand champions Pinekrest Delta Force and Todd Graham were also reserve to Last Tango In Paris in the junior class for the Greer family’s Pinekrest Farm. Third in the championship, Broadway Carousel and Dale Sloat were solo in the open class.

After Billy Maddy stepped in with a winning catch drive in the amateur qualifier, owner Susan Hollowell made it to Lexington for the winning drive in the amateur championship. It was a unanimous performance for the Cash Lovell Stables team. Also unanimous as reserve grand champions, Karin Banks and CH Unforgiven were making a strong case for top honors while representing Danny and Nancy Troutman’s Meadow Wood Farm.

Another world title holder on hand, The Licorice Drop Kid continued to represent his sire, It’s Hammertime, with the winning performance from the UPHA Three-Year-Old Classic. Nelson Green again drove for Tom Lee. John Champagne had the reserve winner with Margot Harwood’s entry, Kiri.

Also coming off a reserve world’s championship, His Supreme Reflection topped the two-year-old class with Melissa Moore driving for owners Sandra Corney and Hallston Manor. This team has produced several world class youngsters. Tom Lee drove to reserve with Essence of Love.

Roadster Horse/Pony

Road horse drivers absolutely love the ring at Lexington, Va., because there is so much of it and the Roadster To Bike Championship attracted four drivers gunning for the tricolor. One of the mainstays in the roadster business, Merrill Murray presented a new campaigner with loads of presence. Main Man could wear the bridle and trot on and that combination earned three first place votes. It was the second victory pass of the week for the Murray owned and trained entry. Pretty slick with a road horse himself, Jimmy Robertson drove The Intimidator to the reserve grand championship for Laranbo Farm. This was their second reserve finish.

Defending his title from last year, Kentucky Wildcat led the fast break in the Amateur Roadster To Bike Championship. Once again Jon Dabareiner delivered the winning drive under the direction of Lisa Lucas. Qualifying winner Rompaway was the reserve grand champion with Hunter Maddy at the helm while representing Cash Lovell Stables. Jon Douglas had a good week with the Laranbo Farm entries. One them was Evil Knieval, winner of the Novice Roadster To Bike class over Freedom To Fly and Page Champion.

The smaller speedsters were entertaining each time they hit the ring. Nine entries vied for the Road Pony Championship but it was the new team of Desert Fox and Billie Rae Wilkes moving up three places from the open qualifier to take the tricolor. Jackie Von Baillou was the winning owner. Ronnie Graham and Wait & See’s Bright Flame had made the victory pass in the open class and then trotted away with the reserve championship for Janet Sterba and Seven Oaks Farm.

Roger Meade has done a great job keeping Coachlight’s Shock Wave in prime time order. Teamed with owner Cindy Jackson, Shock Wave trotted across the finish line in first place for the Amateur Road Pony Championship. Taking two of the three first place votes in the championship, Shock Wave started the week on top in the amateur qualifier. Laranbo Farm’s Lori Boyd Van Gordon and Charnita were twice reserve champions among the eight championship contenders and nine qualifying entries.

The Boyd family’s Laranbo Farm was also the owner of Novice Road Pony Champion Dreaming & Scheming, an entry driven by Jon Douglas. Gary Altizer had the winning drive with Black Jack among the Junior Road Pony entries.

As mentioned earlier, the junior exhibitors were extremely competitive at ASHAV and that extended to the road pony division. Molly Ryan turned in a picture perfect drive from the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Championship with veteran Mastercraft’s Gambler. The Gary Guz trained combination exited with red streamers in the AHHS Road Pony Medallion. Another veteran of victory passes, Fast Eddie, had to settle for the reserve championship after taking the blue in the Medallion with Mark Whittington at the whip.

When prizes were passed out in the AHHS Road Pony Under Saddle Medallion Sarah Sessoms and Rowdy Yank were first in line. Their blue ribbon performance was directed by Matt Shiflet. Shauna Prasse rode Brass Buttons to the reserve finish in the Medallion Under Saddle competition.

Hackney/Harness Pony

The Waldron family’s Bent Tree Farm again carried the pony division with their string of world class performers. Heading the list was Harness Pony Grand Champion and open class winner Vindicator. Bent Tree trainer Lee Hudson presented the twice reserve champion Night Editor.

While there were three entries each in the long-tail division, Bagheira was the lone cob-tail. Lee Hudson made two presentations for Bent Tree Farm.

Making a clean sweep of the pony division, Karen Waldron was at the whip when Cover Story was called out as the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Grand Champion with two of the three first place votes for Wireless Valley Farm. They defeated five other entries in both the championship and qualifier. Dave Glover’s Quickly Done was the two-time reserve winner.

Show Pleasure

Two of three first place votes was fairly common throughout the show pleasure and country pleasure divisions. That was the case for Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion CH Rose To The Occasion. Twice trainer Gary Altizer headed the athletic mare and her owner/driver Kendall Fields in the winner’s circle. Jimmy Nixon was the catch driver for Shamanic Dream to command the red streamers in both driving classes.

As it is nearly everywhere, the gaited pleasure division was loaded with numbers and talent. CH Harlem’s Hot Scoop was the second Fish N Fun Farm entry to repeat their 2003 championship win. Trainer Lisa Lucas directed the titles in both years with owner Lisa Dabareiner in the irons. And yes, they too had first place votes from two of the three judges.

Earning the other top vote, L.A. Wing Victory and Kate Ryan were pushing hard both ways of the ring to finish in reserve both times out. They are consistently at the top for trainer Gary Guz. Also making a good bid for tricolor honors, The Cunningham and Reneaux Collins were third among the 14 bidding for the championship. They had qualified with a victory pass in the novice class in which Callaway’s Editor’s Note and Elizabeth Noble scored the red ribbon.

There was a little less traffic in the junior exhibitor section of the gaited pleasure division but it was tough going nonetheless. These junior riders were all go forward but none quite like unanimous grand champion CH Peppermint Sonburst. With Sarah Sessoms in the irons the busy mare racked a hole in the ground to win both classes under the direction of Matt and Kristen Shiflet.

An absolutely beautiful specimen of the American Saddlebred, CH Rastafarian was a good second in both junior exhibitor gaited pleasure classes. Mika Ryan completes the priceless picture. Also giving it a strong shot, Grant Shiflet represented the family well with two third place ties aboard Berry Garcia.

The customers of New Hampshire trainer Rob Turner love the Virginia Horse Center and make the trip twice a year to show here. Show they did as Kristen Fields piloted the big doing Spool’s Lady Boyle to make the championship victory pass in the adult show pleasure division. They were one of three teams to receive first place votes in the championship. Also a beneficiary of a top vote was reserve grand champion My Southern Charm. It was the second reserve for Karen Waldron’s young mount. Coming from the winner’s circle of the Virginia owned class, Force Majeure and Julie Simmons were third in the championship with a first place vote. Frankie Trull and Unanimous Consent stepped up for the second place finish in the Virginia owned class.

Eight entries answered the gate call for the eight-entry UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. A nice group of youngsters were presented, however, two of the three judges selected Lewis Meadows and El Dorado’s Name That Tune as the champions. Janet Sterba and Horace Taft commanded the other top vote to place reserve.

What a turnaround it was for Ain’t She Something To Talk About and Brittany Kale in the 14-17 pleasure championship, and they did it with a unanimous decision. Winner of the qualifier, Shadow Mountain’s Sport came back with another good performance but had to settle with reserve for Paige Kauffelt. Jessica Craighead’s Heavenly Whisper was second among the qualifying teams.

There was also some shuffling in the results of the 13 & under championship versus the qualifier. In the first round Sports Night and Holly Wilson represented Mercer Springs Farm with the victory pass. It would be their only performance of the show. Irish Jasmin and Tyler Burkett were the reserve winners just as they would be in the championship. Moving up to take home the silver was Radiant’s Town & Country, an entry ridden by Kaitlyn Morrison.

The Virginias and Carolinas have long been known for strong pleasure pony competition and ASHAV was no exception. All three judges were in agreement that Worthy’s Heirloom and Joelle Bennett had been worthy of the tricolor just as they had won the blue in the first round. Will’s Princess moved up a notch to take reserve in the champion for Kendell Stuart. Drew Hewitt carried the red streamers from the qualifier aboard Fox’s Dancing Fire.

Country Pleasure

There was a complete turn about in the Country Pleasure Driving Championship. Sharon Stoltz and Harlem’s Last Call went from last in the qualifier to winning the championship with two of the three first place votes. Qualifying winner My Chesapeake Bay went from first in the qualifier to last in the championship with Becky Rankin and Johnny Cash taking reserve in both classes.

Moving up two places from the adult qualifier, Monsignor and Annika Bruggeworth made the last pass in the adult championship. This was a championship in two different breeds for Bruggeworth. Melissa Moore directed the championship team which had scored two of the three first place votes among the 14 entries. Following a blue ribbon showing in the large qualifier, Marion Bryan and Lady Mysterious returned to the Cash Lovell Stables with the reserve grand championship ribbon. It had been a good week for Bryan and her daughter Kate.

Third in the large adult championship was Debbie Palmer’s Bonnie Santana. They had already won the Virginia owned class and placed reserve reserve to Lady Mysterious in the qualifier.

There was also double digit entries in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Country Pleasure section. Both the qualifier and championship were taken by the grand mare Harlem’s Half Moon. She goes to the ring with authority time and time again for rider Kerri McDaniel and trainer Lewis Meadows. Danny and Nancy Troutman claimed the twice reserve champions Curly Day and Katie Scott.

Not quite as large in number as their older counterparts, the 13 & under country pleasure riders were still extremely competitive. The top two finishers from the seven-horse qualifier traded places in the finale. Rebecca Deutsch and CH The Excelsior overcame a reserve start to take grand champion honors with two firsts and a second in the vote count. The card beside number 586 read 1-2-2. That number belonged to reserve grand champion and qualifying winners Leatherwood’s Fanfare and Stephanie Miller.

William Heizer’s entries had a good week starting with Western Country Pleasure Grand Champion and open class winner I’m Going Out Tonight. Ben Heizer was the winning cowboy. From the six entries, Pat Yeatts and Beaux Radiant Empire were next in line in both rounds.


Equitation has not been ASHAV’s forte for the past few years and that pattern continued with the 2004 edition. A few riders did test their skills before judge Michael Craghead. A dapper Thomas Santaferra, Jr., made the tricolor victory pass. He was also the winner of the 13 & under class. Reserve grand champion honors went to Trey Prasse, winner of the UPHA Chapter 18 Challenge Cup Championship. Olga Ramsay scored the victory in the 14-17 class over Prasse.

The competition was a little deeper in the walk and trot section. Barbour Childress greeted Gianna Covelli in the winner’s circle for the presentation of the blue ribbon to the 10 & Under Walk and Trot Equitation Championship. Directed by Stephanie Lilly, Taylor Deer was reserve among the four riders. The tables turned in the UPHA Walk and Trot event with Deer riding out with the tricolor ahead of Covelli.


Spectators in Waldron Arena enjoyed the performances of the big, black horses. The judging panel enjoyed the performances of Ate Van de Wittiwyek the most and the personable giant won three classes. Owner Annika Bruggeworth was aboard for the amateur under saddle and Friesian Under Saddle Championship. Trainer Melissa Moore enjoyed the winning ride in the open class. Nancy Troutman rode Tyler to reserves in both the open and championship while Tjipke and Terry Graham were second in the amateur class.

Karen Waldron had a good time driving Iedse and Earl to the Carriage Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifying blue. Jane Singleton presented Indian Cove’s Confederate to a second place tie in the open class.

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