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Show Season In Full Swing at Raleigh Spring Premier

by Katherine Hansil

Raleigh, N.C. - For the 17th year in a row, the Raleigh Spring Premier continues to be one of the strongest shows kicking off a new season. Once again barns from up and down the east coast and Kentucky joined the barns from the Virginias and Carolinas making for a supreme show. Held March 25-27 at the Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex, Raleigh offers a full schedule of classes. Several of the favorite teams from last year were back but what was nice to see was the entrance of new pairs for the season. Even with the state of the economy, Raleigh and its exhibitors shown through bringing a bright beginning to the 2010 season.

Once again Ray Cloninger was at the helm assisted by Joyce Wilson. Bret and Susi Day held the cards while Wyatt Lilly called the classes to order. Don Baker, Bob Moseder, Dale Stone and Peyton Hamilton joined them handling duties as ringmaster, photographer, organist and paddock master. Sue Imbaratto was on hand in the office while Steve Wilson handled the grounds and stabling.

Hospitality is always a highlight and once again every morning exhibitors were greeted with coffee, doughnuts and pastries. On Thursday the Welcome Party was held with a great breakfast served. Saturday afternoon the Youth Pizza Party was held and hospitality closed out with the Tail’s End Dessert Party sponsored by Ingleside. During the show the Silent Auction was held with a variety of items offered and everyone took a break to throw their pigs in the entertaining When Pigs Fly event. A new edition this year was the evening raffles held for a variety of prizes including hotel stays and cash money.

All in all it was another great week. The only grumbling heard in the audience was the length of the sessions. But it is a trade off; the exhibitors want all the classes but it can cause the sessions to seem to never end. Once again on Saturday the morning performance ran almost into the academy session, which ran almost into the evening performance. The weather too had its questions but all in all it held out and only brought in some chill and drizzle instead of the extreme winds and rain that were predicted.


Even though there were only two horses in the Five-Gaited Championship, it was a battle of two of the area’s horsemen as Smith Lilly and Matt Shiflet each had the crowd cheering on their favorite. This week Lilly debuted Pucker Up for Ceil and Kenny Wheeler. With her fine tuned the team racked away with the tricolor. In the qualifier it was Matt Shiflet earning the victory aboard the bold moving Direct Effect for Sandra and Melody Murphy.

The ladies division top spots were all about debuts. On Friday the well-filled class brought the show to a close with Phyllis Brookshire debuting aboard A Different Story. The fine but explosive liver gelding marched down victory lane with Brookshire in their only appearance. This week in another debut, CH What’s The Whoopla and Caitlin Leith easily graduated from the junior exhibitor division into the ladies division. Moving up from their qualifier ribbon, they captured the championship tricolor with an explosive performance. The ever consistent and bright CH And I’m Stickin’ To It put on a great show earning both reserve titles with Susan Orton.

Just a year ago CH Callaway’s Born For This and Allison Combs teamed up in this ring sweeping the amateur division. This year was no different other than they now have a season under them earning a multitude of titles. In top form the team powered through the gaits and into the winner’s circle in both the qualifier and championship. Moving up Fort Chiswell’s The It Girl and Alexis Braswell earned the reserve championship title in the division debut. Always a crowd pleaser, CH Diamond’s Hope and Sarah Longworth carried out the qualifying reserve title.

In the junior exhibitor championship Melissa Swain burst through the gate aboard Liquid Thunder and never looked back. The Fairfield South team topped the championship and earned a qualifying reserve for Rick Daigle. Her Name Is Lola and Jessie McCurry garnered the red ribbon in the championship in their debut. Winning the qualifier in a single appearance was the high headed Suddenly Single with Allie Wellington in the irons.

Lewis Eckard debuted with Rebekah Cloninger’s new partner Annie Duke for the win in the novice class. Reserve honors went to the flashy Imperial Asset with Kim Cowart presenting for Wolf Farms LLC. Winning the junior class was the sporty Thunder’s Fair Lady with Smith Lilly in the irons for owner/breeder Cross Timbers Saddlebreds. Jenny Glennon was aboard Pat Jenkin’s Wish I Could Dance for the reserve honors.

Caroline Rose once again put Billy Jewel in all the right spots sweeping the five-gaited pony division for Clara McCool. Another Family Jewels progeny Jewels For A Lady garnered both reserve titles with Tanner Parham in the irons.


With a fantastic performance Lady O’Lydia park trotted victoriously in the Three-Gaited Championship with Matt Shiflet aboard for Don and Phyllis Brookshire. Earlier the team topped the junior/novice qualifier. Reserve honors in the open championship and junior/novice qualifier went to Hollywood Affair and Chris Reiser for Ed Rhoads. Winning the open qualifier in a single performance was the toppy Kalarama’s Personality Plus with Gary Garone.

For the second year in a row Golden Market topped the Ladies Three-Gaited. In 2009 Kristen Cater was aboard and this year Catie McCool expertly presented the elegant chestnut. Reserve honors went to Dance On The Inside and Suzy Shiflet in their first appearance for Uwharrie Hills Farm.

In the amateur championship Whitney Bennett had the bay beauty Leatherwood’s All Smiles looking the part capturing the tricolor for Anne Holmes. Earlier they won the over 15.2 qualifier. Another debut this week was the new team of Simbara’s Bountiful and Krysten Malcolm. With confidence the team earned the 15.2 and under blue ribbon and returned with a great ride for the reserve championship honor under the Mercer Springs banner. Reserve in the under two qualifier went to another new team as Rick Daigle teamed up with Tom Lewis.

Anna Grace Whitworth has a streak going and it’s only her second show of the season. Aboard CH Tantalize Me LCC, Whitworth is now four for four in the junior exhibitor division after wins this week at Raleigh and last week at ASAC under the Boone’s farm banner. Reserve honors in both junior exhibitor classes went the Fairfield South trained team of Callaway’s Born With Style and Molly Codeanne. Codeanne has been working hard this winter after receiving the grand mare at the Fairfield South Holiday Party and it has paid off as they are coming together quickly.

Just like the five-gaited pony, the three-gaited pony titles went back to Cater Stables too with two outstanding performances from Powerful Tango and Dominique Bowlen. Amelia Heir Cat and Catherine Wheeler get better and better and with two strong classes they earned both reserve titles.


In the Park Championship Jazil and Suzy Shiflet had a comeback ride moving up to the top spot for Nick Antich. In the qualifier Kim Cowart presented the beautiful S’More Undulata to blue in a single performance for Patricia Misko. With two solid performances CF A Rare Genius garnered both red ribbons with David Cater in the irons for Catie McCool. Chris Reiser presented the stunning black Apt To Dream to the junior/novice qualifier win for Denise Hurst while Callaway’s Forever Young and Trieste Felder earned the reserve title for Boden and Kathy Lemay.

Sudoku has a headset that never seems to move and with Bambi Childress Bollin aboard the beautiful bay swept the amateur division. Beth Watson debuted aboard Grand Prize and with a comeback ride in the championship carried out the reserve title. In the qualifier, it was the sporty First Asset claiming the red ribbon with Michelle Holbrook in the irons under the direction of team Ingleside.

In only their third show together, Fox Grape’s Forever Yours and Elizabeth Ververeli look like have been together much longer. Ververeli expertly piloted the big going mare sweeping the junior exhibitor division. The new and well-matched team of Cape Grace and Owen Binnie had their time in the spotlight under the direction of David and Kristen Cater earning both reserve title.

Fine Harness

Jan Beardsley-Blanco had quite a week. First she was back in the fine harness division on the lines behind Unclaimed who is no stranger to the division either. Unclaimed paraded down the rail and into the winner’s circle under the watchful eye of the Fairfield South team. Blanco’s newest addition A Magical Melody made her debut under the Fairfield South banner winning the junior qualifier with Gary Garone on the lines. Father McKenzie and Sharyn Lackey moved up a spot earning the open championship reserve while Warhawk’s Roho and Steve Hanks captured the qualifying reserve for Betty Lou Herter.


Charlie Jones is on a roll this season. He is back this season with the amazing Mr’s Bones and Brad Lukens is campaigning Beaucourt Boy. In Tampa a few weeks ago Mr’s Bones and Jones topped the championship and amateur qualifier and Lukens drove Beaucourt Boy to the reserve championship and open qualifier titles. This week was a repeat performance as the two teams proved their skills once again with speed and form racing to three blues and one red ribbon. Reserve in the open qualifier went to the proven Royal Count with Lewis Eckard in the bike for Rebekah Cloninger while Success Soleil and Casey Surface earned the amateur reserve title for Tina Pennington. Run Forrest Run did run with Lauren Riggins in the irons sweeping the under saddle division. Reserve in the qualifier went to Success Soleil and Tabitha Pennington.


Sha Boom was back to the winner’s circle for the second year in a row in the Road Pony Championship. Lewis Eckard was on the lines for the win for Karl Bridgeman. Earlier Gina Lail presented the sporty pony to the qualifying reserve. Winning the qualifier was the young Seamair Premiere with Karen Voerg. Reserve championship honors went to the four-year-old Dun-Haven Phenomenal progeny Crystal Creek’s Night Aire with Brooke Jacobs in the bike. This team also captured the novice qualifier title with an outstanding drive. Reserve in the novice class went to Regal’s Citation LF and Harry Daughtry.

In their first show of the season Boxford On The Mark and Shawn Frazer swept the amateur division with two explosive drives. Karen Voerg was back to the show ring earning both reserve titles with Rant N Rave KV CH.

The junior exhibitor road pony division also had sweep with the well-matched team of Sweet Impression and Audrey Sigmon carrying away the titles. Heartland Victory Maker and Alex Ververeli moved up for the championship reserve title while Wait & See’s Bright Flame and Hailey Chestnut claimed the AHHS Medallion qualifying reserve.

Moving up for their qualifying reserve Seamair’s Nobility and Tanner Parham captured the under saddle championship. Returning for the championship reserve title, Power Of Attorney and Drew Love raced away with the qualifying blue.

Hawkeye’s Chatter Box powerfully swept the pleasure driving division with Allie Wellington on the lines. The bright and toppy Heartland Parade Time captured both reserves with Megan McClure in the championship and Stefanie Sanchez in the qualifier.

Smackdown debuted in a new division and with Betty Cloninger’s show ring debut the pony topped the Open Harness Pony qualifier. Rebekah Cloninger was in the viceroy for the championship top honor.

Show Pleasure

CH Titleist Right Tonight earned his CH status this week with two standout performances with Allyson Ehle as they bested the field in the adult five-gaited show pleasure championship and qualifier. Melody Murphy had a nice catch ride aboard Pepper Man for the championship reserve while Jenna Norton piloted Desert Supreme Kid to the qualifying reserve. It is finally all coming together for Megan Bush Barrett. A new horse and knee surgery in 2009 and now a winter’s worth of hard work with Mojo, the team swept the junior exhibitor five-gaited show pleasure division under the West Wind banner. CH Where There’s A Will and Dominique Bowlen had two solid performances for a pair of reserve titles.

Matt Shiflet presented the high-headed Tornaado’s Temptress in the park pleasure division for Sandra Murphy. The bright five-year-old swept the division. Last year’s winner CH Recoup was back with Brooke Jacobs and with two consistent rides captured both reserve titles. David Cater was aboard the sporty Irresistibly Charming for the junior class win for Spann Equine while Grant Shiflet carried out the red streamers aboard Yes By Golly for Joan Sonnabend. In the three-year-old class, Matt Lightner presented Grand Kid to the win for owner/breeder Muff Clark Purvis. Reserve honors went to Mischief And Mayhem and Midge Hunt for Myra Williams.

In the 30-and-Over Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship, Melody Murphy was all smiles when her number was called to the winner’s circle aboard CH Callaway’s Northern Fling, moving up a notch from their qualifying reserve. Talkin’ To You and Donna Finch had a comeback ride for the reserve championship honor. Winner of the qualifier was Ms. Betty Grable with Kris Berger catch riding for Nancy Hawley under the Cash Lovell banner. Allyson Ehle continued her winning ways as she swept another division, this time the 18-29 show pleasure. Ehle presented Out Go The Lights who will be paired up this season with her proud mom, Nancy. Brooke Jacobs was back in the ring aboard her longtime partner CH My Southern Charm for both reserve titles.

Bailey Bennett was thrilled with her ride aboard A Dramatic Man as they moved up a spot claiming the 14-17 championship for the Heads Up banner. Under the direction of Suzy Shiflet, Allie Wellington catch rode Irene’s Goodnight Kiss to the reserve championship honor for Nick and Carol Antich. In the qualifier the blue went to the striking team of Unlisted Number and Elizabeth Ververeli. Claiming the tricolor in the 13-and-under championship was Stir It Up and Emily Ball. Hailey Mercurio debuted this week in her first canter appearance capturing the reserve in the championship aboard CH Lakeside Lulu. Allison Womack piloted Aerial View to the top spot in the qualifier under the Longacre Stables banner.

For the second year in a row Tony Miller was aboard the well-mannered star Thomas Edison for the win the novice rider championship under the direction of Leslie Tickle. Winning the qualifier was Kalarama’s Aristocratic Lady and Emily Murphy in their cantering debut. This team returned for the championship reserve under the Summerlea banner. Reserve in the qualifier went to Toby Keith and Amanda Pongratz.

With the great number of 12-and-under pleasure teams, management decided to split the class. Moving up a notch and winning section A’s championship was the well-matched team of Heir’s Intoxication and Carver Semans. Caroline Staples came back aboard Manhattan Tee Time for the championship reserve. The qualifying blue belonged to Buckwiser and Jordan Parham. In the second section, it was the awesome CH Radiant Success with Sallie-Mason Wheeler moving up from their qualifying reserve capturing the tricolor. Returning for the championship reserve after a blue in the qualifier was the sporty Daddy-O and Joanna Ricci.

In a well-filled pleasure pony division, Simbara’s Stars And Stripes marched down victory lane in the championship with Kaitlin Morrison aboard for the Morgan family. Reserve championship honors went to the qualifier winner Color Me Fox and Austin Hazelwood. Reserve in the qualifier went to The King’s Firestorm and Alexandra Rapadas in their division debut.

The local pleasure horses were abundant. On their game in the championship, Midds Hilton and Rebecca McCann claimed the tricolor for Leigh Zalzneck. In the qualifier the blue went to Heather Boodey’s Tip Rogers and Chandler Gray. The returned for the championship reserve. Carrying out the qualifying red ribbon was Callaway’s Cover Page and Emma Carol Lewis.

In their division debut, Sassy Dawn swept the show pleasure driving division with Brenda Pulis while Stevie Nicks and Pat Yeatts garnered both reserve titles.

Country Pleasure

A Midnight Kiss and Erin Obenauf had a comeback ride for the Adult Country Pleasure Championship win for Cheryl Friedman. Also moving up CH A Promise To Dance and Marie Gwinn garnered the championship reserve. Winning the qualifier was the ever consistent CH Riva Diva with Donna Finch while CH Sir Winston C. captured the qualifying reserve with Allyson Ehle.

Man Of Hour Dreams and Alex Ennis are now four for four after Tampa and Raleigh. This week the team swept the 14-17 division with two pleasure perfect rides. Mystic Affair and Tess Sullivan were top form for both reserve titles under the Boone’s Farm banner. Stablemate Miraculous Odds and Alex Cedrone moved up a notch for the 13-and-under championship title while High Caliber trained CH Uwharrie’s Patriot Sage and Laura Plant won the qualifier and returned for the championship reserve.

Toree Hefner was aboard Highpoint’s Fancy Cat for the amateur owned and trained win with Stand And Watch and Rebecca Barbour in for reserve. Earning a pair of wins in the country pleasure driving division was CH Dr. Deker and Debbie Marcum.

Sweeping the adult walk-and-trot division was Mountainview’s Elegant Day and Bonnie Hudgins with Turn On The Heat and Sharon Wilson earning the reserve. In the junior exhibitor division I’m Good To Go and Jamie Bo Lucas moved up for the championship win while Magic Mahogany and Libby Bowen took the qualifying blue ribbon home. Reserve in both classes went to CH Holy Fruit Salad and Cashlyn Lovell.

Hannah Medico debuted aboard the cute Spark’s Flame for the novice rider division sweep under the Cater Stables banner. Melanie Bennett and The Sterling Connection claimed both reserve titles.

Marie Gwinn had a successful week in the western division sweeping the championship and qualifier aboard Monsignor and winning the Saddle & Bridle Shatner Western Pleasure aboard VHF Bay All Day. Luanne Kilday claimed the championship reserve aboard O Ain’t I Somethin’ while Noir Amie and Synnova Hayes earned the qualifying reserve. Reserve in the Shatner class belonged to Shamrock’s Versace and Anna Hudson. This team also captured the limit class blue ribbon for Rebecca Tobey.

In the hunter division the flashy Cosmic Sunfire moved up a spot for the championship win with Judith Gandarillas while Symbol’s Supreme Eclipse and Holly Henson were the winners in the qualifier.


Maggie McCool was polished and confident aboard Undulata’s Time To Shine for the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship title. Earlier in the week she also topped the USEF Medal Class with stablemate Caroline Rose earning the reserve title. Clara McCool has graduated from the walk-and-trot ranks with ease winning the junior qualifier and the reserve in the UPHA Challenge Cup. Ellie Kangur was on top of her game winning the UPHA Challenge Cup and earning the reserve in the junior qualifier.

Under the direction of Kathryn Rodosky, Sarah Martin topped the UPHA Pleasure Equitation Challenge Cup. Winning the Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion was Caroline Brown under the direction of Liz McBride Jones. High Caliber instructed Meredith Macy earned the reserve in the Challenge Cup and also the Medallion.

In the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Championship and UPHA Challenge Cup the top spot went to the new team of Joanna Ricci aboard CH Callaway’s Coraleen under the Kierson banner. Madison Hunt made her division debut aboard CH Future Treasure for both reserve titles. In the 8 and under division, Cashlyn Lovell confidently triumphed aboard CH Aces And Eights. Another Kierson debut was Sarah Madison Hecht aboard Amandari. The cute team captured both reserve titles.

Sara Roberson proved her skills winning the USEF Adult Medal class with Karen Vick earning the reserve.


Winning the Park Saddle Jackpot Championship was the sporty Singapore with Nathan Brachear in the irons for Kelly Gordon Aguilar.

Sweeping the English pleasure division was hometown favorite Coalition Party Lane with Jim Paden presenting for Sue Stroud. Laura Whitney Austin debuted with AMHF Double Miss C for a pair of wins in the amateur division under the Tara Farm banner. Stablemate Comiskey Park and Leah Ling debuted as well triumphing in both junior exhibitor classes. The consistent performer Graywood’s Lenox topped both the Open Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier with Harry Daughtry on the lines for Mary Daughtry. In the amateur pleasure driving division, it was TSL Starcraft and Jason Harrell for the sweep under the direction of Krista Dent. The fancy three-year-old Tara’s Fire When Ready proudly wore out the ribbons in the Junior Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier with Ken Swanson on the lines for Frances Pugh.

The debuts continued for Tara Farm as Holly Pugh Johnson piloted the beautiful Prada to the winner’s circle in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship and qualifier. Reserve championship honors went to Claridge Freedom’s Spirit and Natalie Tetterton while Hollybrook Walk In Tall and June Davis were reserve in the qualifier. Jason Harrell was back in the winner’s circle this time with CN A Touch Better. The team swept the classic pleasure driving division. Hollybrook Independence and Cathy Minard had a nice drive for the championship reserve while BW Shrek and Betsy Buchanan earned the qualifying reserve.

Mary Ann Harris had her time in the spotlight aboard the sporty GVF Radiant Command. They swept the western division for the Hoffman/Boyd partnership. Futurity Frontier Justice and Anna Beeber earned both reserves for Anne Ebbert.

Cingate Lucky Strike was in great form earning a pair of wins in the open hunter pleasure division with Rachel Hamlin. Anna Beeber was back aboard Futurity Frontier Justice for the championship reserve while DEF Queen Anne’s Revenge and Lee Ann Pace were reserve in the qualifier. In the amateur division it was Glorious Answer and Natalie Tetterton earning the top honor in both the championship and qualifier. And once again Futurity Frontier Justice was back with Anna Beeber this time earning both amateur reserve titles.

The cute team of Rowenda Razzmatazz and Alexandra Bowlen swept the 12-and-under walk-and-trot division under the Cater Stables banner in their debut. Dana Weiner earned the championship reserve aboard the proven Futurity Frontier Justice while Cingate Lucky Strike carried Jessica Lambert to the qualifying reserve.


Capturing the crowd’s attention was the majestic Gouke sweeping the Friesian division with Rob Marsh presenting for Annette Rose.


Saturday afternoon was a long one with a full schedule of academy classes for the industry’s next set of performance and equitation exhibitors. Winning top ribbons in their classes were: Rachel Sanchez, Mickey Kangur, Judy Matthews, Heather Bowen, Becca Hart, Julie Forhand, Ashley Rock, Alexander Fitton, Rachel Whitt, Kathy Hall, Emily Stokes, Macy Blake, Margaret Bassett, Carolyn Parker Eanes, Dee Kegley, Sue Rutz, Shelley Bradley, Dakota Palassio, Oliva Helvey, Amy Cedrone, Lorraine Schumacher, Sarah Adams, Shelley Bradley, Isabel Wood, Terra Johns, Elizabeth Stewart, Victoria Simos, Joshua Gowl, Emily Stokes, Savannah Jones, Kaila Webb, Alyssa Medico, Felicia Elliott, Autumn Basnett, Sydney Beason, Gracyn Mansfield, Merrick Semans, Maddison Hatfield, Mallory Mansfield, Sadie Mcauley, Oliva Horan, Payton Nicole Shiflet, Adrianna Peacock, Elizabeth Marshall, Avery Rose McCutcheon, Hadley Bassett, Jozy Unal, Bella Weise and Parker Todd.

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