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Another Summer Classic

by Bob Funkhouser

W. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - It’s the calm before the storm. An old fashioned grass roots horse show that brings exhibitors together from stables large and small, public and back yard.

With Louisville looming in the shadows, the 14th annual Connecticut Summer Classic was one of those events that you are truly thankful for. In a very relaxed atmosphere there is plenty of socializing on the calendar which revolves around some very competitive and entertaining classes in the Saddlebred, Hackney and Morgan divisions.

Jim Parks was back as manager and together with founder Millie LeBoff, exhibitors made it through the weekend with smiles on their faces inspite of steady rain on Friday and Saturday and less than desirable conditions in the warm up and show rings at the first of the show. LeBoff and her committee want people to have a good time and that’s what they do.

There was a pizza party on Wednesday night, a Nathan Roden chef special Thursday afternoon following the session and then a cake and coffee party following the session that evening. The famous progressive aisle party again highlighted the Friday night schedule and the popular ice cream sundae social was on Saturday afternoon. You don’t leave this show hungry, nor bored. Besides the regular class schedule there was an extremely entertaining Sit-A-Buck class which was finally decided after the judges had to ask Stephanie Sedlako and Karen Hunter to change horses. This was after cantering figure eights and other patterns. Sedlako was finally the victor. There was also a costume dog class, A Geriatric “Forever Young” class for horses 20 years and older and on Saturday afternoon the ring again filled with stick horse riders. For the smallest tots there is a horse coloring corner on Thursday and Friday.

Officials have as much fun with these special events as do the exhibitors. Besides the above mentioned others in the official family included Rob Wilson, Ben Qua, Kent Moeller, Bob Moseder, Robb Platz, Jason Lawrence, Helen Fenton and Nancy Galusha. While they all had fun with the many events, they were also there with well filled performance classes.

The 14th annual Connecticut Summer Classic ended on a strong note with six highly competitive entries battling it out for the Five-Gaited Championship. Back in April, the reserve world’s champion five-gaited pony team of Kaitlyn Grom and Diamond Flight brought down the house winning UPHA Spring Premiere’s Five-Gaited Championship. They returned to West Springfield fresh off the Five-Gaited Championship at Children’s Benefit to score yet another tricolor under the direction of Terry Stephenson. Todd Mathieson came back with Diane McGrath’s Mahogany Lite to claim the reserve championship title.

In the open class Diamond Flight was on top with Cameo Appearance and Darlene Trento-Wright in reserve.

Amateurs and juveniles showed together this year as the juvenile classes have been so small. Championship honors went home with Sharon Alemian and trainer Lillian Gilpin as Alemian gave her Showcases Dream Machine a winning ride. Sue Ward and Midnight Spice stepped up and put on an absolutely fabulous show to make the reserve victory pass. There were completely different results in the qualifier as Diane McGrath and A Foxy Damsel were called out first, followed by Tim Lydon and the always busy Oz.

John and Elaine Gregory brought a nice group from their Gregory Lane string and it was John and Bright Copper winning the Three-Gaited Championship for Elke Trilla Perkuhn over Theresa Giardino and Sweet Sunsation. The open class featured a much larger field with CH Santana’s Cheer Me On and Jenna Fields making the victory pass ahead of Gary Garone and the up and coming walk-trot star I’m Sky High.

Entries for the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited qualifier had to be split and junior exhibitors took both sections. Kyle Gagnon presented Callaway’s Sunday Edit in high order to claim the title in the first section and they were followed by Mallory Newcomb and Hit The Switch. Round two went to the tried and true Revelation Farm team of Tara Grom and Sultan’s Sundance Kid. Ann Rowland and A Winter’s Tale picked up the red streamers in that section.

Mallory Newcomb and Hit The Switch moved up a notch to take the championship for the amateur/junior exhibitor riders. This tricolor was hung on the L.M. Turner Stables tack room. Sultan’s Sundance Kid and Tara Grom had to settle for reserve this time out.

Todd and Diane Mathieson had a great week and part of their success was with Good For You, winner of the Three-Gaited Park Stake with Diane McGrath in the irons. Revelation’s Amazing Grace, the gifted spotted horse and winner of the open class, was reserve grand champion with Audrey Pade.

The Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship was divided into two sections with Sally Lindabury’s Reindance Stables claiming the first section. Wild Wasabi was all show horse to earn a championship victory pass for Jennifer Baskinger. Caitlyn Nugent and Inid’s Encore turned in the reserve performance.

Winners at UPHA 14 and Devon, Paula Percoco and Cagin Martini added another championship title to their great season with a Connecticut Summer Classic victory pass. Jan Lukens had this combination in high order for the tricolor. Revelation Farm was at the top all week long and Kaitlyn Grom and Worthy Wish had the reserve championship in this one.

Currency was the name called out in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park qualifier. The winner was ridden by Kristie Cutting. Joining the family in the ring, Kim Grom rode Ollie Co-Ed to the red ribbon.

The team of Kristen Fields and Blue Ridge Miles has been a force over the past two seasons in the junior exhibitor park division and this week was no exception. They made the victory pass ahead of Kaitlyn Grom and Worthy Wish.

There’s always some nice young horses presented in the A-1 Three-Year-Old Park Sweepstakes and this year Star Of The Millennium and Darlene Trento-Wright were the stars for owner Alan Lanoue. Sue Gethicker presented the expressive Croupier for Ricky Harris to receive the reserve money.

Todd Mathieson and Shamrock’s Irishman were two for two in the Fine Harness Championship and open class for owner Elizabeth McCracken. Their closest competition both times out was Bright Idea KF, an entry owned and shown by Nancy Reed under the direction of High Tail Acres.

With legs a churning, Twin Willows Solomon out trotted the competition in the Road Pony Championship with Sheri Lampropoulos making the winning drive for Tyler Lampropoulos. They knocked off qualifying winner Whims and Wishes, who has won numerous titles with Revelation Farm’s Chelsea Simon at the whip.

Dr. Alan Nath and Dun-Haven Highly Impressive were just that to win the Amateur Road Pony Championship and qualifier. The impressive team was coached by Rodney Hicks. Wallace “Pop” Holbrook was twice reserve with A Step Ahead.

The five-entry Hackney Pony Championship was as good as it gets outside the “big-time” horse shows and it was pretty close to some of them. Nathan Roden and the extremely athletic Totally Excellent marched to the championship and open class honors. Also sired by Mark Of Excellence, Model Of Excellence was the reserve grand champion for Dawn DelTorchio. Marjorie Kenney and Romeo’s Warrior L.F. were reserve in the first round.

Janine and David LaSalle always improve the pony division when they arrive at a New England show and their Sir Galahad won both the Harness Pony Championship and qualifier with Janine at the whip. Twice the red ribbon went to Sheri Lampropoulos and Crescendo’s Spellbound, an entry owned by Irene York.

Speaking of New England’s greatest Hackney enthusiast, Irene York again teamed up with her multi-titled champion Megabucks to stroll down victory lane in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship. The Lampropoulos trained team defeated six other entries including reserve grand champions Lincolnshire’s Royal Cavalier. Third place in the championship went to Lilly Birch and Oh Happy Day, winners of the adult qualifier. Birch and Oh Happy Day did win the AHHS Youth Pleasure Driving Medallion. There were four junior exhibitors competing. Brittany Logan gave Sky Image a good drive to take reserve honors for Courtney Cahill.

Bud and Janet Laivo are mainstays in the Hackney division in New England and it was Bud who won the New England Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony class with Spark Of Gold. Tammy Holbrook and Classic Edition stepped up for reserve.

Catch riding for Gregory Lane Stables, Kaitlyn Alemian gave Tova’s Priceless Gem a smart ride to take the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship for owner Scott Murray. Qualifying winners Dr. Geraldine Meanor and Va Bene exited with the reserve championship for North Wind Farm.

It was great to see Daryl Carlow back in the show ring driving Kendall Jackson to the Show Pleasure Driving Championship. Trainer David Arnold put Cheryl Innis in the bike to qualify the grand champion with a blue ribbon performance as well. Jennifer Baskinger and Just George-ous were twice reserve for Reindance Stables.

Moving up five places from the qualifier, Lily Of The Mohawk and Darlene Trento-Wright moved down victory lane as the Park Pleasure Grand Champions. Their winning performance topped Karly Wilkins and Bittersweet Symphony, among others. Sightline and Holli Ciardiello made a great show to impressively win the qualifier, their only performance of the weekend. Deidre Henry and Champagne Barbara took home the reserve money from that class.

Judge Wilson switched the results in the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. With 10 entries in the qualifier, Traci Van Horn and Art In Motion were right on the money every step of the way to emerge victorious from the line-up. The Somersdream team had strong competition from a number of challengers including Sultan’s Starfish and Amanda Wright the reserve winners who came back to take grand champion honors back to Wrighthall Stables. Art In Motion and Van Horn made the reserve grand champion victory pass.

Nealia McCracken’s North Wind Stables won several classes, among them was the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship. Daughter Jessica Moctezuma guided My Dakota to the winner’s circle for Gail Wirtz-Costello. Chelsea Simon rode Endolane Firecracker to the reserve championship. Stablemate Revelation Top Hat scored the blue prize from the qualifier with Kaitlyn Grom in the irons.

Jayne Romano won her first blue ribbon with Shobhana in their debut eight years ago and she won her last blue ribbon on her last ride with the grand mare. They won the NEHC English Pleasure class to defeat eight other entries including the sporty reserve champions Worths A Lot Of Sense and Donna Tragethon.

It was celebration time for Lexi Chruscicki following her win with Quakers Astrid in he Beginner’s Pleasure 9-10 Championship. Qualifying winners Oak Crest Centennial Miss and Melina Labonte landed the reserve championship. Worthy First Lady and Michelle Gregory earned the red prize in the qualifier.

Always working hard, Andrew Guillemette and Rangers Golden Casper took home the tricolor ribbon from the Beginners’ Pleasure 8 and Under Walk and Trot Championship in which Sue Allen and Prindles Debutante were reserve. Qualifying winner Ali Percoco was the third and youngest member of her family to win at the Connecticut Summer Classic. The Red Dragon was her winning entry in the 8 and under qualifier.

Millie LeBoff and Blue Right Through sailed through the Country Pleasure Driving division uncontested. Showing under the Cedarledge banner, Erin Kilray and Champagne Fizz Town were two for two in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Corrina Arruda and Stonewalls Night Of Pandemonium trotted away with the reserve championship, while Elise Hagenow and Worthy Of The Name were reserve winners in the first round.

Mark McCracken is starting to look quite comfortable in the show ring, especially when he’s making a victory pass. He took B.F. Magic O’Lee down victory lane in the Country Western Pleasure Championship after moving up a notch from the qualifier, which was won by stablemate Lady Whitney and ridden by Jason Molback. Marge Brown and Heir to Lakota earned the reserve victory pass in the championship.

The sisters at Revelation Farm enjoyed tremendous success in a number of divisions, including equitation. In the final round it was Tara Grom occupying the winner’s circle as the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion. Wright Way Stables’ Brittany Philbrook commanded the reserve streamers and these two riders placed the same in the seven-rider NHS Good Hands class.

Devon Garone and Caylah Wright were first and second respectively in the eight-rider equitation qualifier. Kaitlyn Grom and Jessica Moctezuma were first and second respectively in the 10-rider NEHC Medal. Alexandra Simpson qualified for the national finals with her winning ride in the UPHA Challenge Cup defeating such contenders as reserve champion Caylah Wright.

Pleasure equitation was strong with several riders on hand. Among the winners were Jessica Moctezuma and Kira Race.

Walk and Trot Equitation is big all over New England and this show was no exception. After winning the UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup and the 9-10 qualifier, Sarah Flynn exited the Big E Expo Center with the Walk and Trot Equitation 9-10 Championship. Instructed by the DelTorchio family, Flynn was followed by Nicole Newell in the championship and Sierra Gamble in the 9-10 qualifier and Alexis Pearson in the Challenge Cup.

Competition was also stiff for the 8 and under riders. Danielle Jones turned out to be the grand champion after a blue ribbon ride in the qualifier. Alayna Mala was the reserve champion, while Andrew Guillemette took reserve in the qualifying round.

Lillian Gilpin presented the top two riders from the Saddle Seat Lead Rein competition which was tense. Kaitlyn Powers was her winning rider, followed by stablemate Kacey Saccocia.

In the Morgan division Timothy Lydon and The Silver Brook Surprise put it all together and came away with the championship victory pass in the Morgan Park Saddle division. The athletic mare defeated open class winners Reuben-Ide Celebration and Cliff Rowe along with two others. Jana Caffrey and Millbrook Oak Summit were reserve in the qualifier.

No strangers to the winner’s circle, Sue Allen and Fury’s Irish Rebel captured the Morgan English Pleasure Championship, topping open class winners JDM Weather Watch and Jerome Parker. Karita Kack and UC Top This were reserve to Weather Watch in the qualifier.

With seven entries in the hunt for championship honors, Ruthless Endeavor and Jennifer McCarthy, winners of the novice rider class, came through with a sharp tricolor performance. Jenilee Shippee and A Regal Barbie Doll, winners of the amateur qualifier, rode away with reserve grand champion honors.

Just like the open and amateur championships, the results were switched for the Junior Exhibitor Morgan English Pleasure Championship. Reserve qualifying winners Kate LaRose and Carlyle Markedly moved up a place to occupy the championship winner’s circle. Winners of that qualifier, Echee Baun and Tiffany Lang had to settle for the reserve championship ribbon.

MTS Montebello and Tessara Shetty were the best of the Morgan Pleasure Driving contenders in their championship round. It was actually their second victory pass as they won the qualifier as well. Cliff Rowe’s Black Ice was reserve both times out.

In fact, Montebello swept the entire pleasure driving division, winning both amateur classes in addition to their open titles. Courtney Jacobs and Comoshun’s Mr. Mister commanded the reserve prizes.

Portrait In Red had a great weekend knocking off nine entries in the Morgan Classic Pleasure Championship and 11 entries in the qualifier with owner Brynne Cummings in the irons. Kirschfield Clound Nine climbed four places to take the reserve championship home. Swanbrook Time Marches On was reserve in the qualifier for Roxanne Haber.

Sharon Konia and Tierra’s Prince picked up a Summer Classic blue with their performance in the Novice Rider Classic Pleasure class.

Roger Brown presented Minion Checkmate to tricolor results in the Morgan Western Pleasure Championship. Patti Brightman Arrud was the winning owner. BBH Adante was twice a reserve champion for Jennifer Baskinger, while William Vidler and Scotch On The Rocks were the judge’s choice in the qualifier.

Rounding out the competition for the 2003 Connecticut Summer Classic, Julie DiDonato and Ridgeley’s Breezy Dance were named Morgan Hunter Pleasure Grand Champions. Sun Up Javelin and Sue Mortensen picked up their second reserve in the championship. Stella Blue was a two-time winner taking Karen Bobbi to the open class blue and Melissa Curtis to the novice win. Quakers Astrid was also a blue ribbon winner in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure division with Jennifer Baskinger taking the amateur class aboard the Reindance Stables entry.

Complete results follow and may also be found on our web site at

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