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ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Other areas of the country may just be getting started showing, but on the Carolina circuit things are already hot! ASAC, Tar Heel, J.D. Massey and more have already seasoned many of the Carolina teams into World's Champion contenders. Add a healthy dose of Kentucky barns and Asheville lives up to its reputation of world class competition and a "must" for many horse show exhibitors.

            Bret Day, Randy Cates and Sam Brannon marked the cards in the performance classes while Nancy Brannon did the honors in a full slate of academy classes.

            Manager Ray Cloninger, secretary Joyce Wilson and entry secretary Barbara Woodlief ran a terrific horse show for the exhibitors and trainers alike. In its 20th year, over 370 horses competed from over 23 states in what has become a must for many on the road to Louisville.

            Asheville is such a friendly southern show with a golf tournament on Thursday morning, coffee and donuts every morning, an exhibitors party complete with a band and barbecue, a beautiful color guard presentation of the flag and a buffet dinner each evening for sky box ticket holders. Cloninger also added his personal touch, asking each exhibitor if there was anything he could do, and even personally gave the invocation on Saturday night.

            The only photographer to have ever shot the show, Doug Shiflet, was honored on Saturday night for his service to the show. Ringmaster Bill Whitley did the honors by taking the photograph of the presentation as announcer Peter Fenton made the most of it.

            There was a hint of sadness to the week after the deaths of the beloved champion Prairie Dancer, owned by Ross and Kathy Berger and trained by Boones Farm, and the former world's champion Dream's Desire, now owned by Susan Harris and trained by Drowning Creek. The Carolina crowd joined together in expressing their condolences over the loss of these two champions.

            With over 370 horses there were several barns that brought over 20 horses, but Delovely Farm definitely walked away with the most loot. Seventeen blue ribbons and thirteen reserves, not to mention the other colors and trophies, made for some heavy trunks on the way home to Indiana.

            Sunrise Stables also had an incredible week as did Cash Lovell Stables. But with barns like Silverbrook, Ruth Gimpel Stables, West Wind Stables, Kalarama, Don Judd Stables, Drowning Creek, Boones Farm, Jo Cornell, Chestnut Lane, Dick Obenauf, Nelson Green, Castle Hills and many more, no ribbon was not hard won.

            The competition was simply . . . well, Asheville quality!

 

Five-Gaited

            An enthusiastic crowd came to its feet to greet the final class of Saturday night, the Five-Gaited Championship. Six top entries wet everyone's appetites for what is sure to be stiff competition come Louisville.

            The match-ups earlier in the week were smaller, but still very competitive. Larry Hodge directed the beautiful mare Adelita to a unanimous victory over Debbie Foley and Undulata's Georgie Girl in the mare class. The two South African horses, SA Mollighy Don't Worry Be Happy and Melinda Moore and SA Studcor Donatello and Lewis Eckard, went head to head with a total of four entries in the stallion and gelding qualifier with Moore and Don't Worry Be Happy earning the victory for Bob Lilley.

            All four of these top horses were back and were joined by Tammy Devore and At The Stroke Of Midnight and Cash Lovell with Lakeview's Rare Lee Seen. Throughout an exciting class, Hodge and the mare just seemed to get better and better. They were crowned with the tri-color honors and a unanimous victory beginning what is sure to be a wonderful season for the David Rudder owned entry.

            Another one of the most exciting horses of the show also came in the gaited division. Boo! and Barbara Goodman Manilow were fabulous together. This team has really come together over the winter, and they took your breath away on Saturday night to earn a unanimous victory in the Ladies Five-Gaited Stake. Vickie Byrd left no room for error with a great performance aboard CH Jaunty Janette to unanimously earn reserve honors.

            The ladies/amateur competition had also been stiff all week. Boo! and Jaunty Janette finished in the same order in the amateur ladies qualifier. Elizabeth Shatner and Swish were a remarkable duo to top the open ladies qualifier. Barbara Goodman Manilow showed Lady Caramist to reserve honors in this class.

            Eleven entries showed back in the Five-Gaited Amateur Stake. It was all out war with each entry giving their all, but when it was over, Johnny Wellington and Belleavanti were honored with the tri-color for Louise Allen's All-Well Farm. The Allen/Wellington families could not have been happier and it was a nice addition to what had been a wonderful week for them. Bill Walsh and Callaway's Where There's A Will earned the reserve honors and a first place tie from Sam Brannon after winning the amateur gentlemen's qualifier earlier in the week. Bryant Beltle and Magic Again earned the reserve honors in this qualifier.

            The five-gaited amateur qualifier was small with only three entries, but SA Kami Kazi and Hayden Bracknell claimed a unanimous victory over CH The Talk Of Lexington and Brooks Irvin.

            The junior exhibitor competition was also fierce. Eight top entries competed on Saturday night for the bragging rights, but Megan McClure and Breaking News made that thrilling victory pass much to the delight of trainers Kim and Peter Cowart. Dakota Willimon directed Caramac's Big Ticket to the reserve honors for the Silverbrook Stables.

            CH Doubletree's Steel The Show and Alexandra Flynn topped the junior exhibitor qualifier earlier in the week also in a competitive class, but the famous grey horse did not return for the championship competition on Saturday night. Breaking News and McClure earned the reserve tie in the nine entry qualifier.

            Junior competition was interesting as well. Peter Cowart and She's A Red Hot Chili Pepper and Nelson Green and Walterway's Remember Me were after one another pass after pass, but in the end Debbie Foley topped them both with Callaway's Lloyd Stark earning a unanimous victory in the five horse class. Cowart and She's A Red Hot Chili Pepper earned the reserve nod for Lackey and Sanchez.

            It was so inspiring to see Stefanie Sanchez and her family at the show. After a terrible shooting accident, her daughter Rachel was also present and is showing a remarkable recovery. We wish continued miracles  for the family.

            Two nice three-year-olds were on hand for competition. Steve Wheeler showed Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves to the victory for the Wildernest Farm. Melinda Moore showed her own Wrapped In Cashmere to reserve honors.

            Kenny and Ceil Wheeler enjoyed a great week at Asheville. Their entry Summer Sweet and Nelson Green topped the novice class. Ceil Wheeler also won a terrific victory in the walk-trot division aboard Strapless. The novice class featured new daddy Neil Visser in the reserve slot aboard Pocketful Of Magic for James Orr.

            Lewis Eckard was in the winner's circle in the Carolina Owned Five-Gaited Class aboard Hawkcrest, an entry owned by Sandra Mangum. Peter Cowart directed Callaway's WJ Bryan to the reserve honors for Spencer and Billie Jo Mains.

            Ali Judah also enjoyed a great week with great rides every time she entered the ring. She showed her five-gaited pony Champagne In Winter to two unanimous victories under the guidance of Kalarama. Cassi Rath and her Small Packages earned the reserve honors in the stake while Rachael North and CH Champagne Lady earned the reserve tie in the qualifier.

 

   Three-Gaited

            Four top entries competed for the tri-color in the Three-Gaited Championship. Melissa Moore had Royal Messenger in top form to make the victory pass for Bob Lilley. Moore had qualified Royal Messenger in a beautiful solo performance in the junior class, but she was ready for the field on Saturday night.

            Debbie Foley and Callaway's Sugarplum earned the reserve honors in the championship for the David Nierenberg Trust after winning the over 15.2 qualifier unanimously. Dick Obenauf and Another Asset were reserve in the over 15.2 class for the Charles Goodman family.

            Melissa Moore showed Lime Twisted Gin in the under 15.2 qualifier to another victory for Bob Lilley. This time it was Neil Visser and New York's Royal Flush in the reserve spot for James Orr.

            A very competitive Ladies Three-Gaited Stake featured Maria Gilman in the spotlight aboard her own Amber Lager. Brooke Bodenhorst and CH Man On The Run earned the reserve honors after winning the ladies three-gaited qualifier earlier in the week. Victoria Shepherd Bleeden and Page Me were reserve in the ladies qualifier.

            Ceil Wheeler was thrilled to win the Three-Gaited Amateur Stake on Saturday night. A very competitive seven entry class featured top names like City Lady, CH Biras Creek, Vision Heir, Lady Maya and more. It was no small victory! Melody Adler and City Lady earned the reserve honors in the exciting class with CH Biras Creek earning the yellow ribbon with Kristian Taylor.

            Taylor and CH Biras Creek earned the top spot in the amateur qualifier earlier in the week with Dori Zandy and Tipitina taking the red ribbon in this class.

            Morgan Wolin and Audrey Hepburn won the ladies/amateur qualifier with Ceil Wheeler and Strapless earning the reserve spot in the eight entry class.

            Eleven entries were on hand Saturday night for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Stake. Laura Dozer was at the top of her game to earn a unanimous victory aboard Pagan Prince, an entry owned by Diane Sembler. Barrett Clifton and Promise To Dance earned a well deserved reserve ribbon and Kate Bryan and CH Sportster were the third place finishers.

            Bryan and Sportster topped the 15-17 qualifier earlier in the week with a unanimous victory under Cash Lovell's direction. Dozer and Pagan Prince were reserve in the qualifier under the direction of Delovely.

            Ali Judah was in the winner's circle again in the 14 and under competition. She rode CH Radiant Success to the top of the eight entry class. Sarah Wood and Callaway's Dubonnet earned reserve honors in the 14 and under class.

            Paul Boone and Chesney topped the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class for Marie Gwinn. Blair Reynolds and A Heartfelt Change were reserve for the R Farms.

            Todd Miles took a spin on Grace Mullins' Spools Top Star RHF to earn the novice class title. Neil Visser and SA Venngel The Engraver earned the reserve spot in the class for owner Larry Hodge.

            Kim Cowart topped the Carolina Owned Three-Gaited class for Spencer Mains aboard Bayou Belle. Kim Williams and Bernie's Spirit were reserve winners for Carolyn Susan Williams.

            Terrific competition in the three-gaited ponies saw Lauren Stone and Royalty In Black top both classes with the new team of Brittany McGinnis and Simbara's Audacity earning the reserve spot in both classes.

 

   Fine Harness

            Larry Hodge topped the Fine Harness Championship with Fianna, a beautiful entry owned by Bit Hutcheson's Happy Valley Farm. New to the harness division, Fianna also won the open qualifier. Sam Allred, showing the talents of his father Steve, earned the reserve honors in both classes directing Wildbriar's City Slicker for Dr. Carswell Jackson.

            Phyllis Brookshire directed New York Trend to the Amateur Fine Harness Championship for the Lackey and Sanchez families under Kim and Peter Cowart's direction. William Shatner and Call Me Ringo earned the reserve honors in the championship under Sunrise Stables banner after winning the amateur qualifier earlier in the week followed by New York Trend.

            Nelson Green directed the 2002 UPHA Classics Grand Champion Simbara's Sweet Lorraine to the junior victory for Cismont Manor. Cash Lovell earned reserve honors for Susan Garrett Hollowell.

            Joe T. Smith was at the lines of DRA Miss Rare Flare, an entry owned by Paula Barr, to earn the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness victory. Melissa Moore and Day's Grecian Gray earned reserve honors in this class for Belle Reve Farm.

 

Park

            Three-gaited park competition was headlined on Saturday night with a six entry stake class that featured Nic Nac Caramac in the winner's circle with a unanimous win for Rusty Grundy under the Castle Hills banner. Judy Brown-McEver's CSF Supreme Memories earned reserve honors with Bobby Gatlin aboard. The open qualifier saw Maria Gilman in the winner's circle aboard Man In My Life for Barbara Woods followed by Nic Nac Caramac and then CSF Supreme Memories.

            The team of Jennifer Geisler and Over Achiever were hard to beat as they topped both amateur park classes under the direction of Cash Lovell. Coming off wins at Raleigh Spring Premier, this team is starting out the season strong! Cheryl Friedman-Allison and her favorite CH The Billy Bob were in top form on Saturday night to claim the reserve in the championship for the Carowill Farm. The always on top team of Luanne Kilday and CH A Step Of Time were the reserve winners in the amateur qualifier earlier in the week.

            Claire Karst and Man In My Life made two victory passes at Asheville to top the junior exhibitor park competition and post more top ribbons at the Judd Stables. Chelsie Smith and Sanibel earned the reserve honors in the seven entry championship. Taylor Church and Whispers Of Moonlight were the red ribbon winners in the junior exhibitor qualifier.

            Eight young horses competed for the junior park title. Todd Miles added one more blue ribbon to the Delovely banner aboard Lookin' Yonder, an entry owned by Raymond Shively. Debbie Foley and her own Closing Scene were red ribbon winners in the eight entry class.

 

Pleasure

            Judy Werner continues to turn out great stock at Redwing Farm. Mark Turner directed I'm Simply A Sport to the Junior Park Pleasure title for Redwing Farm. Euchee Matthews directed A Lil Wild to the reserve honors for owner Lark Henry.

            Judy Werner herself was in the winner's circle with her own I'm Simply Radiant. The adult show pleasure division was so large, that both the championship and the qualifier had to be split into two classes. Werner and Radiant topped division I in both the qualifier and the championship with outstanding rides. Morgan Wolin and Rex Harrison earned reserve honors in the division I split of the championship. Paula Frenette and Absolutely Exquisite wore the red ribbon in the division I qualifier for owner Elsa Hackett.

            Division II featured another Delovely rider winning both classes. The talented team of Mary Jane Fredrickson and Fame's Preferential Treatment won both classes. Helen Rosburg and her Boutonniere earned reserve honors in the championship split while Barbara Goodman Manilow and Another Heir earned the reserve spot in the division II qualifier.

            Stephanie Hahn had all her signals perfect to direct her own Mixed Signals to the winner's circle in the Junior Exhibitor 15-17 Show Pleasure Championship as well as the 15-17 qualifier. Alex Boecher and Elmo were reserve in the championship. Jessica Anderson and Paragon's Veto Power earned reserve honors in the qualifier.

            The 14 & Under Show Pleasure Championship was a tough class with 11 entries competing for the judges' attention. Ali Judah won every time she stepped into the ring at Asheville and CH Riva Diva was at the top of her game. Under the direction of Jo Cornell, this team  won both the 14 & under qualifier as well as the championship unanimously. Jordan Hardison and City Gypsy earned reserve honors in both classes under Delovely's banner.

            Cindy Waggoner and Eastern Pacific picked up the novice rider honors in the show pleasure division. Eastern Pacific is owned by Dodie Stockton and is trained by Bobby Gatlin. Lindsay Haupt and Wizard's Icon were reserve in the six entry class.

            Lois Vartanian keeps everything in perspective, but she was most pleased with her "grit" when CH Callaway's True Grit and she won the Show Pleasure Driving Stake under Judd Stables direction. This team finished in reserve in the qualifier behind Harlem's Strong Will and Terri Dolan. With places being reversed in the qualifier, both of these teams will be tough to beat come Louisville.

            Melody Murphy got to enjoy a great ride thanks to Nancy Churchill. Churchill asked Murphy to ride her Turn On The Heat in the 12-entry Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Stake and Murphy took advantage of every step. The team emerged victorious under Debbie Foley's direction. Luanne Kilday wasn't leaving any room for mistakes aboard Callaway's Crown Jewel and left with reserve honors to her credit.

            Theresa Vonderschmitt and Callaway's Capitol Reporter are a beautiful new team. Together they unanimously topped the 13-entry five-gaited show pleasure qualifier under Delovely's banner. Elizabeth Shatner was another great catch rider in the division with two great rides aboard Cats Don't Dance to earn reserve honors in the five-gaited show pleasure qualifier behind Capitol Reporter. Shatner and Cats Don't Dance were directed by Melissa Moore.

            Ali DeGray and Dakota Willimon were the only two riders in the junior exhibitor show pleasure division, but both girls gave it their all and each were rewarded with a victory pass for their efforts. DeGray and Token Favorite won the stake class while Willimon and SS Lady Genuine won the qualifier for the David Nierenberg Trust.

            Marion Bryan and her daughter Kate both enjoyed a great show at Asheville. Marion directed Lady Mysterious to two victory passes to claim the adult country pleasure division under Cash Lovell's direction. Amy Roberts and her CH Java Sea were reserve in the championship under John Whalen's instruction for Amy and Shirley Hunt after winning the novice rider class. Ann Cannon and Americana's Jubilee earned the reserve honors in the seven entry adult country pleasure qualifier. Hurricane In New York and Allison Finley were reserve in the novice class.

            Ali DeGray was back in the winner's circle with her non-stop talent I'm Good To Go. DeGray topped both junior exhibitor country pleasure classes under Ruth Gimpel's direction. Sierra Moon and her Brooklyn Beau are another beautiful team and they earned reserve honors in both classes under Cash Lovell's direction.

            Ron Cook posted two more blue ribbons on Cash Lovell's stable banner. He directed CH He's Real Bad to the Country Pleasure Driving Championship as well as the qualifier. Patricia Bonati and SS Success earned reserve honors in the championship. Grace Ann Walker and Highpoint's High Adventure earned the red ribbon honors in the qualifier.

            Queen of the western horse, Luanne Kilday and Rum Tum Tigger unanimously topped the Country Western Pleasure Stake as well as winning the seven entry qualifier, followed by Marie Gwinn and CF Star At First Sight in both classes.

            Mary McElveen and Best Impression topped the hunter country pleasure class followed by Marie Gwinn again earning reserve honors, this time aboard Hurricane Swamp Fox.

            Precious little Bree Zandy road CH Ivy League to the winner's circle to collect 12 & Under Walk & Trot Pleasure Championship honors for Zandyland Farm. Lauren Henderson and CH Empress In Black made a beautiful team to earn the reserve honors in the championship after winning the qualifying class. Rebekah Ethridge and Santana's Going Public earned reserve honors in the qualifier for Freddy and Amy Gregg.

            Sarah Beth Longworth and her Fox's Dancing Fire won both english pleasure pony classes. Alissa Phillips and Wishes Fulfilled were reserve in both classes.

 

Roadster

            With 28 road horses on the grounds, all of the road horse classes were well filled and competitive. Quill and Jon Walker went all out to win the Roadster Horse Championship on Saturday night with a drive that almost forced you to shut your eyes in the turns. Debbie Foley wasn't leaving him any room with Wrapped in Glory to take the reserve honors in both open classes for owner Bill Hemminger.

            Michael Gordon and Westgate Villain had the largest cheering section when he unanimously won the Amateur Road Horse Championship under the Boones Farm banner. William Shatner and Spill The Ink earned reserve honors in the championship after winning the amateur qualifier under the Sunrise Stables banner.

            Dakota Willimon directed another Sunrise Stables entry, The Secret's Out, to the Youth Roadster title. Ashley Moore and Roe Junction took home the reserve honors to Morristown, Tenn.,  for Bridle Path Farm.

            Sour Grapes topped the Novice Roadster Horse class with David Cunningham directing his own entry. Sam Stafford had his Shawnee primed to earn second place honors in the six entry class.

            Howard and Bobbye Six's talented roadster Ashland looked great behind the wagon to unanimously win the Roadster To Wagon class with Mike Barlow. This talented team also won the wagon class at Pro Am earlier this year. Mark Turner directed Judy McNeish's Free Agent to the reserve honors for the Delovely Farm.

            Nine entries in the Roadster Under Saddle class made for a great show. Melissa Moore and All Glory came out on top on all three cards for Belle Reve with Ashley Walker directing Quill to the reserve honors for Jon Walker.

            Back in the winner's circle again, Dun Haven Grandiose and Lewis Eckard won the Roadster Pony Championship and open qualifier. This talented team has already won classes at ASAC, Tar Heel and J.D. Massey. Expect many more great things as the season unfolds.

            Gerald Moores held his reserve ribbon high in the air after a great drive and a strong round of applause for Desert Prince in the Roadster Pony Championship. Sam Stafford and Heartland Wonderful Miss earned reserve honors in the open qualifier for the Creek Ridge Farms, LLC.

            Susan Harris deserved  her two wins in the amateur roadster pony division. Harris had been disheartened by the loss of her new saddlebred Dream's Desire earlier in the week.  She took all of that emotion and poured it into her performances with Seize The Moment and aptly claimed both the Roadster Pony Amateur Championship and the amateur qualifier. Jeoff Bodenhorst and CH Ferocia, always a top team, earned the reserve honors in the championship. Morgan Wolin and The Cajun Cat looked great to earn reserve honors in the amateur qualifier.

            Louise Allen and her sister Jean Myers each had grandchildren competing in the junior exhibitor roadster pony championship and they were rewarded with a first and second place winner! Allie Wellington and her Boot, Scoot and Boogie claimed top honors in the championship as well as in the junior exhibitor qualifier. Dustin Lassett did a handsome job as well and followed his cousin in the ribbons to earn the reserve championship with Catch The Spirit. Andres Herrera and Twin Willows Mainstreet earned reserve honors in the junior exhibitor qualifier.

            David Cunningham directed the winning junior roadster pony, China Princess, a talented youngster owned by Sherri Cobble. Journey My Way and Peter Cowart earned reserve honors for Mark and P.J. Wilson.

            Britt Gentry celebrated her birthday at Asheville and a great present came in a blue ribbon way! She and K&J's The Harley Sportster won the Roadster Pony Under Saddle class and even Sportster got to enjoy the birthday cake when it was over! Dustin Deaton and Regal Dreams earned the reserve honors in the class for owner Susan Phillips.

 

Hackney/Harness Ponies

            Also celebrating her birthday during the show was Rita Camp, who got a blue ribbon present as well. Camp and Heartland Hightime won both Hackney Pleasure Driving classes amid the support of family and friends at Boones Farm. Mike Barlow had Ali looking great for Gwen Stableford to earn the reserve ribbon in the championship. Gabriella Flynn and Cowboy Magic earned the red ribbon in the six entry qualifier for the Florida Pain Institute.

            Hackney and harness pony competition was light. the Open Hackney Pony classes were cancelled, but Heartland Heiress and Helen Rosburg did treat the audience to a beautiful display as the solo entry in the Harness Pony Championship  and open class. Charlotte Carter and her Knight's Impeccable King were beautiful solo entries in the amateur long-tail competition.

 

Equitation

            Equitation classes may not have been huge in number, but they were huge in quality. Betty Cox was crowned the Saddle Seat Equitation Champion on Saturday night with a flawless performance. She also earned the USAE Saddle Seat Medal making her already triple qualified for the year. Cox rides under the direction of Lillian Shively.

            Another talented Delovely rider, Alexandra Flynn earned the reserve honors in the equitation championship as well as winning UPHA Senior Challenge Cup. Sister Gabriella Flynn won the 11-13 year-old equitation class with another lovely Delovely ride. Caitlin Cooper was reserve behind Flynn in the 11-13 class, also for Delovely.

            Aimee Austin had three excellent rides to earn the 14-17 equitation title, the reserve UPHA Senior Challenge Cup title, and third in the equitation championship for the Magnolia Farms.

            Chelsea Jo Roby won a competitive Walk and Trot 10 and Under class under Jo Cornell's direction. Roby also made a nice solo presentation in the UPHA 9 & 10- Year-Old Challenge Cup class.

            Kate Lovejoy and The New York Lady won the 8 & Under UPHA Challenge Cup title as well as earning a well-deserved reserve in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot class under the Chestnut Lane banner. Caroline Walker was reserve in the 8 & Under Challenge Cup.

            Brittany McGinnis has made the transition to canter classes as smoothly as it gets. She won the 11 & Under Challenge Cup aboard Worth The Trip under Lillian Shively's direction. Jennifer Roberts and Carboness were a beautiful team to earn reserve honors in the class.

            Lindsay Haupt topped the Pleasure Equitation class followed by Ellen Wright.

            Morgan Berger was certainly saddened by the sudden loss of Prairie Dancer on the first day of the Asheville show. However, she did show Carboness, an entry owned by Shirley Hunt and Amy Hunt Roberts, in the NHS Good Hands and made a beautiful presentation to win the class. Brittany McGinnis stepped up to be in a class with the big kids and earned a red ribbon with her loyal and trusted friend Worth The Trip.

            Morgan Wolin and Dori Zandy, both of Castle Hills Farm, competed in the USAE Adult Saddle Seat Medal. Wolin earned the victory pass with Zandy receiving reserve honors, and they certainly picked up their friendship as the gate as both lovely ladies were thrilled for one another.

            Another friendly gesture in the show was Melinda Moore and Melissa Moore each riding one of Annika Moriarity's Friesians in the two Friesian Under Saddle classes. Melinda Moore and Rommert topped both classes as Melissa Moore rode Ysbran to the reserve honors. Moriarity was thrilled to see both of her horses competing.

            This concludes the class by class coverage of the Asheville show. Complete results and judges cards are included in this issue of Saddle Horse Report. For searchable results and contenders in the top divisions from this show and other 2003 shows, check out the new www.saddlehorsereport.com.

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