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Spring In Texas Means Big D Charity Horse Show

By Becky Taggart

IRVING, Texas – Big D Charity Horse Show has a long history starting out as the Dallas Charity Horse Show in the 1970s. It may not have started as early as some of the others but has stayed strong and consistent for 41 years. The show’s current charity is Texas Scottish Rite Hospital but it has contributed to several other charities over the years. This has been done through hard work and good old Texas hospitality. Manager, Peter Fenton, takes the exhibitors needs to heart and tries to make sure every need is met with his always calm and charming demeanor. Friday and Saturday night a pig toss tested the best of arms as a fund raiser and the Big D exhibitor’s party with fun and fajitas was again a big success on Saturday night. This year, two of the local host barns sponsored it, Mill-Again Stables and Jack Magill Stables. Exhibitors were pleased with the judging of Merrill Murray, always a favorite in center ring; and with competitive classes to judge, he had his work cut out for him.

Nicole Foster of Foster Farms South, sailed through the gate with a new face they have named It’s Only Money Honey, to win the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic for new owner Lisa Palmer. Milo Jones from Lone Star Saddlebred guided Charmed by Chance to another Open Five-Gaited Championship as well as the qualifier, this time for owners Shelby Farm and Stable. The Open Three-Gaited Champion was Miranda Grey owned by Patrice Watson and ridden by Tommy Benton for a repeat of their Pin Oak win.

One of the Big D additions this year was the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup class. Two riders answered the gate call and both did a great job. Sierra Sarmiento (see sidebar) may have come out with the blue ribbon but all who participated and watched this class became winners. Victoria Mattson and So Fizzical came in second. Her father, Paul Mattson, also shows this horse in Academy and says his daughter who is autistic as well as deaf is the strong one. He got her started riding with instructor Koren Mercer of Lone Star Saddlebreds where one of the lesson horses, Billy Kidd, seemed to choose Victoria. Six months later Paul started riding and one year later Victoria was showing Billy at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. When Billy died Victoria was the one who comforted dad telling him everything was going to be alright. Both of these Exceptional riders are hoping to compete at the American Royal finals in November.

In another entertaining addition, Carol Jones gave a demonstration of Pole Bending on Saturday evening and had the crowd cheering. Big D had a Pole Bending class for American Saddlebreds on Sunday and Jones put all three horses in the Pole Bending class and gave a real demonstration of what our Saddlebreds are truly capable of. Jet Jockey with Riley Lipschitz up won, with Sugar Maple and Ginny Beth Norton second and Sultan’s Showstopper and Francis Wilson third.

Jack Magill Stables took home a large share of the blue and tricolor ribbons from their hometown horse show. Ashley Bryce with both CH Ya-Ya and Callaway’s Dream Big had a perfect horse show. CH Ya-Ya and Bryce took home the Open Park class and championship in their usually commanding fashion. Callaway’s Dream Big did not put a hoof out of place to win the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure and came back to best even the adults in the championship. Bryce also had the opportunity to show Roger Gibson’s Black Heiress to win the Three-Gaited Junior Exhibitor class. Stablemate ITunes with Joan Cantrell won both the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class and the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. Eddie Norris switched American Art’s division to Show Pleasure Driving and took on all comers. Norris had an opportunity come his way in the form of I’m Fantabulous to win the Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure for Jan Myers who had other obligations Friday evening. Coe London and CH Mega Star are real stars in the Amateur Three-Gaited division and are undefeated in all four of their horse shows this spring after winning both the qualifier and championship at Big D. London also rides in Amateur Five-Gaited and Without Any Doubt is her latest star. This is London’s first year showing this seven-year-old gelding and, with the way they won the Amateur Five-Gaited class here at Big D, they are well on their way to being a successful team. Jessica Cloud and her World Champion CH Tax Man took home the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship along with the Patty Milligan Memorial Trophy presented for the first time at Big D. Cloud enjoyed the trip to the winner’s circle as well on her new Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited horse, Stonecroft Rumor Has It.

The Mill-Again team of Lonnie Quarles, Ashley Walker and Candee Carlson were running all week with both performance and Academy riders and horses. Mackenzie Hall and CH With Bells On took home the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 13 & Under trophy as well as reserve in the Junior Exhibitor Championship. They also received a memorial in the qualifier to WC CH Harlem’s Moving Man who past away April 25, 2011. Hall showed up in the Amateur Park class and championship on Denmark’s Encore and brought home the championship tricolor. Current Big D president Allison Simpson was all smiles watching Walker ride Hotty Toddy to win the Junior &/or Novice Park Horse class. Simpson said it took them a year and a half to make this ride happen. Candace Kimbrough burst into tears when the announcer called Arizona Poppy and Quarles to win the Junior &/or Novice Park Pleasure class, being so happy to see him back in the ring after being ill. He then came back and won the Park Pleasure Stake as well. CH Mahvalous Guy and Randi Barnes reminded everyone of why they get top ribbons wherever they show. These champions nabbed both the Three-Gaited Country Pleasure class and championship.

Carlson has led the Mill-Again Academy program for many years and it seems to still be going strong. If Big D is any indication, the future is bright for many of her riders as well as Mill-Again’s riding program. Laura Nagy on Wentworth shined in the Academy Maiden/Limit both performance and equitation, winning four out of five classes. Lauren Amos on Highpoint’s Miss Behavior in the Academy Advanced Rider won two and was reserve in two.

Another local barn that made a statement this weekend is Foster Farms. Nicole Foster not only won the UPHA Park Pleasure for Lisa Palmer, but Palmer’s daughter Katie continued to dominate the Walk & Trot Equitation10 & Under as well as the UPHA Challenge Cup 10 & Under Walk & Trot. Riding former World’s Champion Callaway’s Blue Agate, Katie looks to be having a great time whenever they are in the ring. Foster also has quite the thriving Academy program and Loren Raines was its star this weekend. Riding Simply Bella, Raines won three out of four classes in the Academy Performance, Walk/Trot 17 & Under.

Paul Cates Stables wound up the weekend with a bang with Sigh and Cathy Coleman winning the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship after being reserve in the qualifier. Cates himself was back in the saddle winning the Five-Gaited Novice Horse class with Madeira’s Iceman. Sara Bratcher and Undulata’s Waltzing Matilda won the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 in their only appearance. Academy has always been a part of Cates show string with Danka Latorre winning in Academy Walk/Trot Equitation 17 & Under and Gracyn Harrington winning in Academy Walk/Trot Performance 17 & Under both riding Gisselle.

Bluebonnet Farm always turns out to support Texas horse shows, thereby keeping them competitive. Mr. Perwien and Ipod are always a joy to watch in the Country Pleasure Driving and came away with reserve in both classes. Xuxa’s Heir and assistant trainer, Dora Huie, were the Fine Harness Champion and Grand Champion this week. Both of these horses are home grown Bluebonnet Farm horses, but that is not all they do. Grandson Kevin Berman and his road pony Albert Kaponey took the Road Pony to Bike Amateur and trainer Sandy Currier road Tuffy’s Miss Alison to the Park Pleasure Open blue and not for the first time this year.

Top ribbons also flew above the tack rooms of Vantage Point Farms, Beasom Stables, Cross Creek Stables and Oak Run Farms.

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