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Stakes Are Rising At Morgan Grand National

Friday – Coliseum

As the week gets closer to the climax, the stakes are rising. More Finals and World Champion classes are being held, and the performances just keep getting better and better. It was a day that began with impressive youngsters and finished off by showcasing some of the legends of the breed!

The Four-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure competitors started off the morning in the coliseum. Kathleen Peeples added another victory to her impressive string of 2003 Grand National wins by directing Startrend Mystic Visions to the winner’s circle for owners Chris and Joyce Thoma. They concluded an undefeated season amid a field of 20 top caliber entries. Amy Gatewood Buckle received a rousing round of applause from family and friends for her reserve performance aboard Highover Narcotic, an entry of DanTree Farm.

The classic California battle between Eitan Beth-Halachmy and Dan Ramsour continued in the Gentlemen’s Western Pleasure Finals. With so much respect for one another yet competition between the two; the spectator is the beneficiary as Futurity’s Ultimate Twist and Eitan Beth-Halachmy were crowned the Grand National champion for delighted owner Ellen DiBella. Cabot French Lieutenant also made a strong showing for the Baccarat Farms to be crowned reserve champions.

The Three-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Mares showcased the talents of CHC Blue’s Shining Star, an entry owned by Helen Westphal and shown by Jennifer Lalone. Lyle Wick and HRMF Gemma earned reserve honors with a polished showing for David and Anita Meinert.

Missy Hanover had the fancy bay RJM Roulette primed for victory to best a field of 13 entries in the Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving World Futurity. They were the unanimous victors for owners and breeders, Robert and Jeanenne Morphis. Mike Carpenter and KGA Picasso were pressing hard for an outstanding reserve tricolor finish for proud owner/breeder Maggie Hood.

Belle Hufferd did a terrific job showing off the talents of Orrwood’s Special Edition in the Three-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Stallions and Geldings. Sisters Darlene Orr and Toni Maunder own the talented youngster. Amanda DuPont and Carreg Wen Nocturnal Hawk earned reserve honors with their performance for owners John and Nancy Hendricks.

In his father’s absence, Ryan Arcuri has stepped up to a leadership position at Arcuri Stables, and most fittingly, he has been rewarded with his first personal World Championship. He directed the stunningly handsome Grand Cru Beaujolais to the Four-Year-Old Western Pleasure World Championship. Debra Woolley Lee purchased the full brother to her world champion Treble’s Wild Command as a weanling and her foresight paid off in world championship fashion. Just as he had in the Four-Year-Old Western Pleasure Stallions/Geldings, Eitan Beth-Halachmy directed the reserve winner in Temptation’s Answer. The handy chestnut collected the reserve honors for Fire Run Farm.

In one of the most exciting classes of the morning, the Four-Year-Old English Pleasure World Championship, Stan Bodnar finished off the session with a unanimous performance aboard Futurity’s Miss Munitions. The beautiful bay emerged with the stunning victory for Cindy and Gaeton Lorino’s Cingate Morgans. The talented team also won the Four-Year-Old English Pleasure Mare title earlier in the week. It was a battle of the qualifier winners as the Four-Year-Old English Pleasure Stallion/Gelding Grand National Champion Haute Couture and Missy Hanover settled in for the reserve world championship for owner Priscilla Marconi.

The afternoon session began with another World Champion to be crowned. Plum Haven Minuet and Brittany Davis left no question in anyone’s mind about how much they wanted the title. The beautiful duo was prepared by Forest Nealon as they topped the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Classic Pleasure World Championship with a unanimous performance for Neil and Sally Plumley. Danica Alexander and Troutbrook Tapdancer moved up for the reserve world championship with a strong showing for Deborah and Danica Alexander under the direction of Andy Marlett.

The Three-Year-Old Western Pleasure World Championship showcased 15 talented entries. Dan Ramsour was the winning cowboy once again as the elegant Futurity’s Such A Twist was awarded the top spot for Baccarat Farms to add to a winning week. Garn Walker and Virginia Adams combined their talents for another tricolor winning combination in Star of Midnight, the Reserve World Champion.

Whitney Bodnar continued to add to his winning resume with a victory in the Park Harness Youth Finals. He directed Meet The Press to the winner’s circle for Oak Forest Morgans LTD and trainer David Young. Jennifer Hazen directed her family’s own French Intuition to the reserve finish in this entertaining competition.

The Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 13 & Under World Championship featured a ring full of top performing horses and riders, but there was no beating a pair of the breed’s winningest geldings. The legendary Hyland Acres Command and Merriehill Hooligan both continue to grace the show ring with their talent and style year after year. Both trained by David Rand, these two champions took their young riders to the top of the cards in the Junior Exhibitor 13 and Under English Pleasure World Championship. Adriana Liberty directed Hyland Acres Command and earned the world championship acclaim. Megan Ramsey piloted Merriehill Hooligan around the ring for the reserve victory pass.

The Four-Year-Old Park Harness World Championship pitted the Mare and Gelding Grand National title winner Long Acres Broadway and Robert Hughes against the Stallion Grand National champion Stonecroft Trilogy and Rick Stevens. There may have only been five entries, but the competition was as tough as it gets. When it was all said and done, Long Acres Broadway made the coveted victory pass to conclude a phenomenal week in Oklahoma for Jeanine and Robert Armada. John Scheidt and Don Spear are the proud owners of the reserve world champion Stonecroft Trilogy, a product of their Stonecroft breeding program, who was driven to the tricolor by Rick Stevens.

Etosha Moh confidently directed Kiss N Tell to their first world championship together. In her final year of junior exhibitor competition, Moh captured the emotionally charged victory in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 English Pleasure World Championship to the delight of trainers Gerry Rushton and Stacy Hennessy. Moh had earlier won the 16-17 Grand National title, a title she also won last year. Katie Brempelis and True Gold were just that to step up from a reserve in the 14-15 age group to capture the reserve world championship among the more senior riders. True Gold is owned by Chehalem Morgans and trained by Arcuri Stables.

Precious little Madeline Berry was the unanimous winner of the Walk-Trot 9 and Under Western Pleasure Finals aboard Park Place Bonaparte under the direction of Lori Cummings-Blake. Madeline is the daughter of Sean and Linda Berry. Amber Bornt and Kane Creek Kryptonite were the polished reserve champion pairing under the direction of Keith and Sue Friday for Ellen and Molly McQuade.

SMS Imagine That capped off a winning season, with wins at Mid-A, Old Dominion and New England both in-hand and in the pleasure driving division, with a Grand National title. Jessica Smeed and SMS Imagine That captured the Pleasure Driving Youth Finals title under the direction of Broadmoor. Bryan Earehart and Nemours Courageous earned the reserve honors in the class to go along with many triumphs over the years.

The Working Hunter High Point winners were presented in the coliseum next. Kayla Suzanne Reser and PKF Hollywood were recognized as the Low Working Hunter High Point winner with Katie Klooster and EMR Windchester earning the next highest points.

Sister Carrie Klooster and Nanton’s Bossanova capably earned the Working Hunter High Point award with Julie Pickering and Mineral’s Country Playboy earning reserve honors.

The Jumper High Point winner was Hellcat’s Reveille and Elaine Sullins, an entry owned by Stephanie Wells. LR Amie Savoir Faire and Kate Silberman were named the reserve high point winners.

Competition resumed with the Walk-Trot 10-11 Western Pleasure Finals. This time it was Ebony Dan De San and Senea Perkins making the victory pass for owner Toni Beauford. It was Heaven Hendricks earning the reserve honors and seeing her name in lights aboard Genuine Jade to the delight of trainer Cheryl Woosley.

Rounding out the afternoon session were the Amateur Gentlemen’s Finals in the pleasure driving division. Wendell Williams did the honors with Oak Creek Chief of Staff under the direction of Phil Fountain. Gradell’s Wild Reflection and Dr. Jerome Modell earned the reserve grand national title with a bold drive prepared by Luman Wadhams.

An exciting evening session began with a little too much excitement. With a ring full of precious leadline entries, one horse became anxious and unseated his rider. The brave little girl remounted her horse, who had decided he had had enough, so quick thinking allowed the little girl to pick up her blue ribbon sans horse. Each of the 21 proud youngsters picked up a blue ribbon prize and posed for a presentation photo to remember their ride under the lights in Oklahoma.

Things really picked up when the elegant Ladies Pleasure Driving World Championship began. One beautifully turned out entry after another captured the judges’ eyes. But by the end of the class, all eyes were on Stephanie Connor and her many-times champion Festival Calypso. They regained the crown as this year’s unanimous World Champion Ladies Pleasure Driving. The expressive bay added to his amazing list of world titles for owners Tom and Stephanie Connor prepared by Arcuri Stables. It was an Oregon tricolor sweep as Helen Crawford and Smith and Wesson earned reserve honors to begin an exciting night for the Crawfords’ Boston Morgan Farm. The Tug Hill Whamunition son earned the tricolor under Robert Hughes’ instruction in his first year in this division.

The Three-Year-Old Park Saddle Futurity World Championship was a special moment for Debi Jeppesen. After a tough year of dealing with Rock Walker’s accident and subsequent recovery, it was wonderful to see her earn her first personal world championship. She directed WSG Shady Lady (HVK Man About Town x Napaley’s Obsession) to the futurity title for Dragonsmeade. It was obvious that the only person more proud than Jeppesen was fellow trainer Robert Hughes. Reserve in the good class went to Wendy Sogoloff aboard the brilliant GDT Al Capone (HRH Legend Command x Maple Ridge Juliette), an entry owned by Greg and Dawn Tatro.

As the Parade Horse Finals entered the ring, many in the audience were thinking of perennial parade standout Art Perry. Perry suffered a serious health challenge just prior to the show and was unable to attend. However, Bill Grundmeyer was not about to let Perry down. Grundmeyer donned the suit and hat and led Sunny Acres Ebony Nite to a unanimous victory in the Parade class for the Intrepid Farms directed by Tom Tornatore. Announcer Bill Carrington read a touching letter from Perry, reminding everyone that he would see them at next year’s Grand National. The crowd showed their love and appreciation for Perry and their respect for Grundmeyer with a terrific show of support. Deborah Davies and Canalta Squire King had a hard act to follow, but they did a lovely job of turning out a special entry in the parade class to earn the reserve title for K-Lyn Stable from Canada.

Another moment in Grand National history came in the Ladies Park Harness World Championship. HVK Ancient Cry and HVK Constntinoble, twin embryos foaled in 1995 out of embryos taken from Nobelle, sired by HVK Make Em Cry, finished in first and second respectively, as they had the year before. Despite the historic implications, it was a beautiful class with both HVK Ancient Cry and Helen Crawford and HVK Constantinoble and Stephanie Connor turning in award winning performances, each receiving a unanimous vote of the judges for their placings. Robert Hughes and Debi Jeppesen met Crawford in the winner’s circle while the Arcuri Stables directs the reserve world champion.

GPM Genesis B continues as a legend whose star continues to rise. Deeply loved by Melissa and Garn Walker, tonight was Garn Walker’s turn to direct the talented mount to the Gentlemen’s Hunter Pleasure Finals. The reserve award in the finals was earned by the many time champion WH Zimbabwe, an entry ridden by Dan Ramsour and owned by Valencia Creek Morgans.

With several more years still to compete in junior exhibitor ranks, Catherine Hendrickson continued to dominate the junior exhibitor park saddle division. Earlier in the week she won the 15 and Under Grand National title aboard Tug Hill Gunns and Roses and tonight she was crowned for the second year in a row as the Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle World Champion. Tug Hill Gunns and Roses is owned by Lucinda Manley and trained by Cathy Grimes. Rick Stevens guided Kristen LaCava through an excellent show aboard Moreover to earn the reserve world championship for owner Maureen Cartelli and Fathers and Sons.

The final regular class of the evening’s program was the Amateur Roadster To Bike Finals. There were no holds barred as Paul Calandra enjoyed a unanimous decision driving Arboria Victorious to the winner’s circle. Trainer Lynn Peeples also won with the powerful speedster in the Open Roadster Stallion and Gelding class earlier in the week. Last year’s amateur champion, Oak Creek Doubletake and Alison Bendele earned reserve honors under the capable direction of Mary Cockriel and Bob Kellert and the applause of their fan club.

The audience kept their seat for what they had anticipated all night long, the presentation of the World Champion Legends of 2003. Ten horses entered the ring individually through smoke and fireworks to delight the crowd with their show ring prowess despite some of the legends’ ages. Pondview Portrait, Thunderbay, Fletcher Music Lee, Arboria Landmark, Nobility, TVM I Promise, Fletcher Banjo John, Greentree Mary Jane, Tug Hill Whamunition and Christmas Hymn each delighted the crowd by once again gracing the coliseum at the Grand National. The crowd gave a standing ovation to Nobility and Judy Whitney. They returned to their feet for Tug Hill Whamunition. But each entry received rousing support and applause from the crowd, whether it was for a 30-year-old Greentree Mary Jane, or one of the other somewhat younger legends. Mona Skager was the coordinator of the event, and she deserves a big thank you for her efforts to add something so special to the World Championship Horse Show.

Friday - Show Arena 6

Two world champion classes for the hunt seat riders highlighted the competition in ring 6 on Friday. Both classes were so full, they had to be worked in two sections with riders returning immediately thereafter to determine the world champions.

In the Junior Hunt Seat Equitation World Championship, 25 riders were broken into two groups. There were 13 riders in the first group and eight of these were asked to return. Twelve riders competed in the second group with only four returning. The final group of 12 riders each performed a challenging individual pattern which showcased the talents of the top riders. Alyssa Rumsey was delighted to be selected the World Champion aboard Merriehill The Lion King and to take the honors back to Crystal Farms. Lauren Cook was honored as the reserve world champion with a precise ride under the direction of Cheryl Woosley.

Walk-Trot 10-11 Saddle Seat Equitation Finals featured another top rider from Cape Cod Farm. Chelsea Inlow had a masterful class under Erin Boggs’ direction to earn her second Grand National title in as many years. Maggie Cramer earned the reserve honors riding Rhythm Of My Heart with instruction from Jean DeGutis.

The Senior Hunt Seat Equitation World Championship brought 27 riders to Oklahoma to compete. Of the 14 riders in section A, seven riders were asked to return. Five of the 13 section B riders also were asked to return. After each performed the demanding workout, Kati Wood achieved the enviable position as the unanimous winner of the world championship with RBC Callie under the direction of Jennifer Frisbie. Northgate Stables and the Morrison family had reason to celebrate once again as Nicole Morrison earned the strong reserve finish aboard Beta B Gallalee.

Walk-trot competition in the classic saddle seat for 10-11 year old riders was highlighted by Devon Delay, who despite being on a different horse, easily won the class. Delay rode Successive Endeavors NKS under the direction of Jeff Kidd to the winner’s circle. Samantha Jansen was honored with the reserve title riding Grant Boy Beauty.

Four precious little riders competed for the 9 and Under Walk-Trot Saddle Seat Equitation Finals. Spencer Alderman proved his talent and confidence as he stepped up on an unfamiliar mount when the horse he was supposed to ride became ill. Kristen Spann and Lisa Jensen of Cricket Hill Farm matched Alderman with CO Perfect Timing, and it was perfect timing indeed as they earned the Grand National victory pass cheered on by proud parents Phil and Peggy Alderman. Alexandra Meyer showed her skill and experience as she teamed Cedar Creek Ungaro to the reserve pass instructed by Mary Cockriel and Bob Kellert.

Six riders then closed out the morning session in the 9 and Under Walk-Trot Classic Saddle Seat Equitation Finals. Amber Brown won her first Grand National title in the class riding many-titled Twin Peak Princess K coached by Coby Clark. Emma Fedorchak took the reserve ribbon back to the Indian Creek tackroom for her outstanding effort ride on the veteran champion Gradell’s Wild Sunrise.

In the evening session, the World Champion in Western Seat Equitation 14-17 was named. In a tricolor reversal from the AMHA Western Seat Medal, it was Lindsay Perry claiming the top prize aboard Winsation’s Bojangles for proud instructor Coby Clark. Morgan Glenn and Vega Santa Fe turned in a precise ride to claim the resesrve world championship prepared by Mary Carlton.

UPHA Challenge Cup competition was then held for both the junior and the senior riders. Phase I of the competition consisted of rail work followed by individual workouts. These were evaluated by Raymond Shively, Lisa Waller and Gayle Lampe. Results were later posted for 12 riders to return to phase II senior competition. There were only seven riders in the junior section, so all riders returned to phase II competition. The phase II would complete the class on Saturday afternoon with riders and instructors eager to complete this important final.

Friday - Show Arena 9

The Working Hunter classes for amateurs and junior exhibitors were worked concurrently, but amateurs and junior exhibitors were evaluated separately and each were awarded their own set of ribbons and titles. Amie Van Dorn and Misty Green Hennessey were the hometown favorites and won the amateur section followed by Bethanne Ridgeway riding Radiance in Harmony. Katie Klooster was back in the winner’s circle with her EMR Windchester, this time in the junior exhibitor section of the working hunters. Andrew Knott and Rum Brook Rhapsody were honored as the reserve winners of the junior exhibitor section.

The Hunt Seat Over Fences Equitation Finals are always highly anticipated with competitors from across the country. The Grand National champion did not have far to go to get home, however. Kayla Suzanne Reser and her PKF Hollywood took the honors home to Norman, Oklahoma. Katie Klooster was back in the ring in top form to earn reserve in this division with her EMR Windchester.

Closing out the session in this ring was the Trail World Championship. Grace Jacobus and her I Love Lucy were the winners followed by multi-titled JMF Sansoucci an d Jennifer Ott. Sansoucci is owned by Joyce Loewen.

Carriage competition resumed in the evening. The Obstacle Driving Singles World Championship featured last year’s winner Lora Dunlap and UVM Windfall back in the winner’s circle again. TFM Joan D’Arc and Jon May who settled for the reserve championship challenged them

The Obstacle Driving for Multiples World Championship once again featured Victoria Bennett’s four in hand team directed by Bill Lower in the winner’s circle. Anita Meinert and her lovely pair were the reserve world champions.

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