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Spring Warm-Up Show Opens The Season In Style

by Claire Panke

CLOVERDALE, Ind. - Exploding onto the show scene in 2009, the Spring Warm-Up debuted last season to rave reviews from exhibitors and spectators alike. Could this new show score a hit in its second edition?

Indeed it could. Expanding to three days in 2010, as well as adding Hackney and roadster divisions, the show returned this year stronger than ever, attracting 50 more horses than last year’s show and drawing stables from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. Held at the Crossroads Arena & Expo in Cloverdale, Ind., the Spring Warm-Up is a joint production of the Indiana American Saddlebred Horse Association and the UPHA Chapter 11 Academy Club. The show, conveniently located only 30 minutes west of Indianapolis, is very fortunate in having Crossroads for a home – the venue offers a large arena, excellent stabling, full-size make-up ring and seating and vendor areas all under one roof. It is also a heated facility, but that amenity proved unnecessary as the first official weekend of spring arrived mild and mostly sunny.

Besides the fine facilities, the Spring Warm-Up’s other main calling card is the opportunity it provides for exhibitors to "test drive" horses ahead of the main show season without having to ship hundreds of miles away from home. Whether debuting new horse and rider/driver combos or presenting established teams, trainers can do so in a safe environment with three-four weeks before the next major competition on the circuit in which to fine tune their charges.

Show management pulled out all the stops to make sure everything ran like clockwork once exhibitors arrived. "It’s a beautiful facility and a great show," said Kim and Fran Crumpler, who made the trip for the first time from their Simpsonville, Ky., base. Kathy Stieler of Santiago Stables concurred, "It’s a fabulous show – the facility, the vendors, the footing, the parties - we had so much fun!"

Adding immeasurably to that fun factor was a generous dose of Hoosier hospitality: ringside tables adorned with tablecloths, flowers and snacks, receptions for the academy riders, their parents and instructors, and a gala exhibitors’ party on Saturday night featuring a concert by local recording artist Cari Ray, sponsored by Debbie and Hal Ecksten. Her soulful acoustic set proved a big hit with exhibitors. The Spring Warm-Up was also dressed for success with its show arena festooned with white bunting and red, white and blue flags and the center ring sporting urns full of spring flowers.

Overseeing all the details of the show were chairpersons Linda Beltz and Claire Panke, assisted by Caroline Boyer as treasurer and Academy Chairperson. Judy McManama was show secretary, while Michele Carvind served as ring clerk and awards coordinator. Ringmaster duties were shared by Bill Whitinger and John Hale, with Mark Coovert as paddock master and Joann Twining on the in-gate. Seehorse Video returned as videographers, as did farrier Greg Mominee. Steve Moody joined the center ring group as organist while Claire Panke returned as announcer. Organizing the ringside tables was hospitality chairperson Dee McNealy, who also took charge of the exhibitors’ party. Bill and Diana Whitinger managed the considerable task of decorating the arena and center ring. Nancy Becker of Nicholasville, Ky., judged all divisions of the show.

Quality if not quantity reigned in the five-gaited division. Dr. Jane Keil’s slick racking Benelli, ably teamed by Sarah Keil, returned from a good reserve in the amateur class with a strong performance to take the open stake tricolor back to Northern Tradition Farm. The gorgeous Double Platinum and Kyle Peel were reserve for Equine Investements. John Biggins was aboard the sharp and colorful Zippers & Snaps to claim the limit/junior event in fine fashion for Jean and Chris Nalley. Mike McIntosh rode his A Mighty Wind to a well-deserved second.

Bill Marple had another top contender for the amateur division in Bourbon Sky. They flew around the ring to capture the blue in a strong amateur qualifier. Under the guidance of Mike Roberts, Opinionated and Sherry Morrow lit up the ring take claim the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Gayle Lampe debuted the captivating Aussie to bring home the top prize in the ladies class.

Although headed to the ladies three-gaited division, More Than Enough made an auspicious debut for new owner Linda Johnson with trainer Mike McIntosh aboard to carry off the tricolor in the Open Three-Gaited Stake. Well known for top stock in the Morgan ranks, Copper Beach LLC had the exciting winner of the limit/junior class in Won For The Gipper, with Jim Lowry in the irons. Simply Sophie and Bobby McIvor were up for the reserve for Kelle Grimm.

It was good to see Jason Gershman back in the show ring, especially aboard the exciting CH Highland Cavalier as they made two bold rides to take the amateur qualifier and the championship. Corey Coovert and her new mount Megavolt claimed reserve in these classes. The sporty Miss Believin and Christine Orser were rode away with the junior exhibitor and championship classes.

Heading a strong contingent from Perry and Sally Grieme was the gifted Escriva, who paraded away with a pair of victories in a good amateur division. Sally Grieme was on the lines for both classes. Making a great debut to take reserve in both these events was Steel The Moment, with Linda Beltz driving for Linda and Skip Beltz.

The beautiful stallion I’m A Lucky Charm was picture perfect to wear the tricolor in the Open Fine Harness Stake for Mike Roberts and owners Middendorf Farms. For the limit/junior class, Koos van den Berg had Kalarama’s Margarita marching a trot to capture the blue for Luci Nouwens over Callaway’s Little Boy Blue and Jose Rodriguez for Ashlynn Farm LLC.

The three-gaited park division boasted some of the most exciting and competitive classes of the entire show. The championship event was a repeat for 2009’s victor when It’s Z Prince and Carla Ritzie turned in a brilliant performance to win the tricolor for Carl Holden. CH The Foxy Prince and Christine Harman rode hard but had to settle for the reserve title.

The open class was dominated by a scintillating new star, former junior park champion The Black Horse, with trainer Jim Lowry in the irons for Bonus Time Farm. The handsome R & R Farms entry, Kalarama’s Much Superior, was guided by Kim Crumpler to the red ribbon. In the amateur qualifier it was the lofty going Kalarama’s Twister and Cindy Carcione who were extra sharp to claim the blue ribbon over CH The Foxy Prince and Christine Harman for Bob Griffin.

The park pleasure division was loaded with talent. A new face on the scene making an impressive debut for owner/rider Sally Pavel was the bay high-stepper Cascada. They accounted for the limit class and the championship. Mike McIntosh rode Bill and Sandy Marple’s Indiana Sky to the limit reserve. McIntosh also teamed the sharp-eared Glamour Star to the open blue plus the reserve championship for Katie Lindamood. Vertical Horizon and Tom Thorpe were a good second in the open qualifier.

Kyle Peel had the nice WS Silver Co-Star just right to prevail in a large Junior Park Pleasure class for Liz Connor and Kay Meadows. Big, black and flashy, The Perfect Man and Jennifer Townsend claimed the red ribbon for Marilyn Moores. Cam Boyer drove Roselane Farm’s handsome My Domain to the blue ribbon in the park pleasure driving.

This was the first year for the Spring Warm-Up to be a part of the Equine Services Roadster Cup series, and the arena’s wide turns and uncluttered straight-aways were ideal for this division. The road horse classes were a showcase for the speedy PTO and Perry Grieme who took the amateur blue and the open stake tricolor back to the Crumpler Stables stalls.

The Roadster Pony Championship was a face-off between the top two from the amateur division, the elegant My Travelin’ Man and Kayce Bell and the bold Murray Dickson and Perry Grieme. Completely different types of ponies, yet each exciting in its own way. When the dust settled it was the entertaining Murray Dickson and Perry Grieme wearing the tricolor with the sharp My Travelin’ Man and Kayce Bell settling for reserve. These two were reversed in the qualifier. The open class provided a good victory for Regal’s Special Effort LF, with Holly Hayes driving for SGF Winning Ways Farm. Little Big Man and Ken Malek were up for reserve. Taylor Boyer made her divisional debut in the pony division and sped away with the blue ribbon in the under saddle class aboard Craycroft Marksman.

Donna Zimmerman and the elegant Dun Haven Truly Impressive claimed the Open Harness Pony class in fine style over Image Of Sophistication and Sally Grieme. Dixie Malek and Senor drove to the blue in the amateur section. In the cob tail class, Heartland News Leader and Maureen Campbell took the blue for Mr. and Mrs. Darrel Kolkman.

Perry Grieme was back on the lines of Romeo’s Miss Mariah LF as they marched away with the blue and the tricolor in the pleasure driving division.

The show pleasure division at the Spring Warm-Up was packed with nice horses and memorable debuts. Linda Beltz made her first show with the sharp-eared Top Recruit one to remember as this exciting new team captured the five-gaited pleasure class and the championship under the direction of John and Renee Biggins. Kristen Thorin and the multi-titled CH Summit Up were the good reserve champions. It was good to see Kathy Stieler back in the show ring as she guided High Times No Time For Lovin’ to the red ribbon in the qualifier.

The Beltz family enjoyed another pair of terrific wins in the pleasure division as daughter Nicolle Beltz Tolliver teamed their home-raised Steel The Dance to the adult and adult championship honors. CH Sports Night and Kim Mattingly were a deserving reserve in the championship, while Carla Ritize and I’m The Prince Of Peace took the red ribbon in the qualifier. Claudia Schultheis and her up fronted gelding CH Detached had it all their own way in the novice class, with the new team of Deal Or No Deal and Sue Jensky carried out the red ribbon.

Stonecroft I’m Radiant and Rebecca Boorstein made their show ring debut at the 2009 Spring Warm-Up, and showed this year again why they are one of the top three-gaited show pleasure junior exhibitor teams in the nation, capturing their qualifier and championship. The outstanding The Grand Master and Mary McWilliams were reserve in both of these classes.

A Cinderella Story and Karrie Graham were pleasure perfect as they aced the pleasure driving and pleasure driving championship. In Charm’s Way with Sally Grieme on the lines trotted away with the reserves in both these classes.

Callaway’s Big Deal and Linda Johnson came back in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship with a bold and splendid ride that earned them the tricolor. Mad Night Out and Andrea Bittker enjoyed a grand performance to claim the qualifier blue. South Street and Nicolle Beltz Tolliver were a good reserve in both these classes. The pretty and talented Kalarama’s Flo Jo made one of her best shows for owner Diana Whitinger to capture the novice class over Stonewall’s Call To Duty and Joan Hammond. The well-filled amateur-owner-trainer class was a big win for Lexi Ross and Win Your Heart.

Rebecca Boorstein proved she is a double-barreled threat with the much anticipated debut of CH Teuschers in the junior exhibitor country pleasure division. The pair didn’t disappoint as they took top honors in their classes. Lexis Schue and She’s Exquisite were the reserve champions, while Lindsey Redifer and My Christmas Eve got the nod for reserve in the qualifier.

Enzo has been a grand horse in many divisions, but truly seems to have found a special niche in the driving division. Sally Grieme gave him two assured drives to capture the qualifier and championship. Proving their versatility, She’s Exquisite and Lexi Ross drove away with the red ribbons in both classes.

Debbie Chylek was on a roll at the Warm-Up as she and Delightful Fascination grabbed a hat trick of the western championship, western qualifier and Shatner classes. Nites Up In Smoke earned the reserve tricolor in the championship for Cassandra Schramm and Huntoon Stables, with Tubac and Jan Canine capturing a pair of reserves in the western and Shatner events. The appealing performer Crowned Prince and Raima Cunnigham topped the Western Pleasure Prospect class over Delightful Fascination.

Terry Meade had a great ride on the handsome Too Wong Foo as they captured the Hunter Championship for Paul Price. This duo had earlier accounted for the blue in the Hunter Pleasure Prospect class. Corey Coovert and Staffordshire were just right to capture the reserve championship for Cam and Caroline Boyer. Many times champion Emily Grey returned to the show ring for owner Joan Todd. They claimed top honors in the qualifier and the Saddle & Bridle Hunter Classic.

Under the direction of Shelly Fischer, Taylor Newton displayed her notable elegance and precision to capture two important qualifiers: the NHS Good Hands and the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. Jennica O’Reilly looked better than ever as she claimed the Pleasure Equitation class and a reserve in the NHS. Carolyn Gaker, guided by Renee Biggins, made two strong and winning rides to take home the UPHA Challenge Cup and the Morgan Saddle Seat Equitation. Audrey Lowry was sharp and confident as she rode away with the blue in the Saddle & Bridle Medallion qualifier. Kelly Bangs was runner-up in the UPHA Challenge Cup and Medallion.

Adorable Jordyn Isgrigg made her debut under the Infinity Stables banner a winning one as she captured the 10 & Under Walk-Trot class and Walk & Trot Championship. Kaelen Rice showed promise of good things to come as she claimed second in both classes.

PlayMor Farm returned this year with another nice group of Morgan horses, while top entries from Indian Creek Farm added spice to the competition.

HVK Primary Light and Jackie McGeary rode off with the English Pleasure Championship after garnering the red ribbon in the qualifier. MEM Attache and Shelby Lamm claimed top honors in the amateur division. For the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship it was the elegant Narragansett Spirit and Donna Zimmerman taking the tricolor over Med E Oka French Morocco and Megan Buckley for Indian Creek Farm. The qualifier saw a smooth ride from Megan Buckley on Med E Oka French Morocco, earning them the blue ribbon over Narragansett Spirit.

The Western Championship was a face-off between the winners of the open class, Wildcard’s Satin Rose and Donna Zimmerman, and the amateur champs, AMHF Bal Du Masque and John Huse. Loping away with the tricolor was Wildcard’s Satin Rose with AMHF Bal Du Masque in reserve.

Indian Creek Quantico and Emma Fedorcak were letter perfect as they prevailed in the Hunter Pleasure Open and Championship for Indian Creek Farm. Let’s Get Byzy and Jasmine Stephens earned a good blue ribbon in the amateur and were reserve champions for owner Diana Gaines Lahr. Jackie McGeary teamed Stone Pine Sebastian to a red ribbon in the open.

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