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Summertime In Syracuse

A change of dates, June 16-19, sent the 37th Annual Syracuse International a week earlier than usual but it still attracted most of its regular exhibitors, which is a cross section of Saddlebreds, Morgans, Hackneys and Friesians from New York, New Jersey, New England, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Again under the management of Naomi Blumenthal and co-chairmanship of Julie Kritzler and Theresia Giardino, Syracuse hosted top entries in all breeds to go with its well-known hospitality.

The hospitality room located in the main barn is as good as it gets with a variety of drinks, snacks, and goodies throughout the day and the week. It was a focal point for morning coffee and donuts, chitchat, afternoon cold drinks and snacks, as well as a pick up spot for the daily horse show programs and other print paraphernalia. With Greg Fisk and his crew hard at work as usual, there was also food galore at the nighttime parties that exhibitors have come to love.

And then there is the annual Hicks Stables Buck-A-Shot party held after the Friday night Exhibitor’s Party. This most unique gathering of horse show enthusiasts gets quite entertaining for both participants and spectators alike and is eagerly anticipated each year. Much like a must visit to the local barbeque institution known as Dinosaur’s, Buck-A-Shot is a big part of the Syracuse experience.

For all of the in-ring entertainment, Chad Cole (ASB, Hackney, Roadster), Dwayne Knowles (Morgan, Equitation) and Patty Kent (Friesian, Equitation, Academy and NSH) held the judge’s cards. Joining them in center ring were ringmaster John Franzreb and photographer Shane Shiflet, while Todd Bedard was in the announcer’s booth and the grand organist Dale Stone, Jr., was keeping the horses and ponies in time with his tunes. Getting them through the gate on time was paddock master Jason Lawrence.

Officials and spectators alike were treated to plenty of nice gaited horses for the 2010 Syracuse International. Open Five-Gaited winner Joe Fabulous topped off a good week of racking and trotting, visiting the tricolor winner’s circle with trainer Jerry Hutson. They were challenged by a grand performance from novice winner Rowdy And Ready, ridden by Michael Richardson. Also pressing the gas pedal was the game mare I’m Bossy with Bob Phillips.

Squiggs Dubuc had to be one of the happiest girls around as Syracuse was the fifth and sixth consecutive victory pass for her bold moving amateur champion Worthy’s World To Know. It was a bittersweet ride for Louise DeBlois as she won the Ladies Five-Gaited class aboard Intriguing Masterpiece. It was their last performance together as he was sold to Charlie Jones. Donned in her icon blue coat, Morgan Billig and the steel gray Heirrison Ford wore both the blue and the tricolor from the junior exhibitor division.

Jerry Hutson was two for two in the open Saddlebred championships winning the walk-trot stake aboard the rising star Follow The Sun. With only a few career classes under his girth, Follow The Sun is making everyone take notice. He qualified with a blue in the ladies class for Annika Bruggeworth. She also swept the amateur division CH Callaway’s Merry Go Round. Back home at Rocking Horse Farm with Aunt Lil [Gilpin], Kaitlyn Alemian rode Three-Gaited Reserve Grand Champion Enchanting Hour.

World’s Champions CH Cagin Martini and Alexandra Percoco have been consistently on the money this year and that streak continued with two more junior exhibitor wins. Their trainer, Jan Lukens, won the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Class aboard Nutty By Nature. Always with a nice young horse, Gary Guz paraded Joellen Fisher Blount’s Flirtatiously down victory lane in the UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic.

It was a very good week for the Romano/Percoco family as Paula Percoco did her part in her debut show with Amateur Park Champion Tchaikovsky. They were two for two, taking the limit class as well. Who’s Your Daddy and Elaine Gregory were victors in the open qualifier, while Margaret Biggs and Last Tango In Paris danced their way past the competition in both amateur events with athletic performances.

Harness entries were the one light spot in the schedule. Hoof Prince, Arrowhead’s Affairs Of The Heart, The Red Storm Rising, and Leatherwood’s Lipstick Jungle did show up for duty.

The traveling show of Jones and Bones did it again taking the Open Roadster To Bike class and championship. Both times stablemate Beaucourt Boy was challenging with Brad Lukens.

The matriarch of the Romano/Percoco family, Jayne Romano put on a clinic with Free Willy in the very competitive Road Pony Championship and amateur qualifier. The 2009 UPHA Amateur Road Pony Of The Year delivered again. Still green, Prince’s Witch Doctor LF is starting to grow up in a big way and he delivered two reserve open performances with Cheryl Innis in the silks. Gary Guz and Keeping The Faith topped Prince’s Witch Doctor in the open class with a top performance.

Sporting the red and black colors of Victory Lane Stables, Bob Phillips sent Hawkeye’s Seven Eleven to the top of the Novice Road Pony class with the pony’s legs pumping on all corners.

Junior exhibitors ruled the Amateur Road Pony Championship and both champion and reserve were world’s titleholders. Michael and Jessie Richardson greeted Alex Ververeli and the big-motored CH Heartland Victory Maker in the winner’s circle. Pressing with a highly charged performance were reserve world’s champion of champions Heartland River Dance and Joe Harrod. Uncle Rodney Hicks pinned the reserve grand champion streamers on the bridle. Haley Evans rode Heartland Seal Of Quality to the AHHS Youth Medallion Under Saddle class.

After watching son Joe show all last year, Sue Harrod got the itch and joined Joe in the ring. She piloted Unique’s Creation to the Harness Pony Championship and open qualifier. Stablemate, World’s Champion Of Champions Truly Naughty By Nature took both amateur long-tail classes under the direction of Rodney Hicks. The long-tail division was a Hicks sweep as Rodney drove X-Tremely A Dream Girl to the junior/novice blue.

The Spiderman is one to look for in the cob-tail section. Black, talented and finely chiseled, The Spiderman triumphed two more times for Rodney Hicks and Ed Ochsenshlager. For the second consecutive year Faydelle Schott gave Syracuse a world class Amateur Hackney Pony Champion in the Bob Phillips-trained Heartland Fortune Maker. Two years removed from the Junior World’s Champion Of Champions title, this star can drop his belly and march off both ends. Gary and Cathy Houck have been known to bring a top pony or two out at Syracuse and this year Chill Factor was the Junior/Novice Hackney Pony Champion.

New Hackney owner Donna White couldn’t have been happier as her Red Sox Nation won both the Limit Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony class and the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship. Stablemate High Gait Remarkable and Janet Hicks were the victors in the open qualifier where Sharon Francis and Strictly Business put on a big-time show for reserve. The second performance of the week for Francis and Strictly Business resulted in the reserve grand championship returning to Somersdream as well.

Competition in the pleasure divisions was strong across the board beginning with the gaited section where Mike and Jessie Richardson’s Kierson Farm swept the championships. Allyson Ehle and the multi-titled CH Titleist Right Tonight enjoyed two trips down victory lane in the adult division, while stablemates Elizabeth Ververeli and Manhattan Whirlwind stirred it up among the juvenile riders to command the tricolor after a reserve finish to the always busy Enchanted Champagne and Kelsea Flannery in the qualifier.

Luman Wadhams has gotten to really enjoy the Syracuse International as he can bring his champion Morgan string as well as his Saddlebred stars. Gypsy Diamond came from the winner’s circle of the Limit Park Pleasure class to take the Park Pleasure Championship for Wadhams and owner Elaine Gregory. Open winners A Spur Of The Moment and Jessie Richardson were right there for reserve grand champion honors.

Although they were by themselves, Renaissance Rising and Darlene Trento Wright were all kinds of entertaining in the ASB Futurity Of New York Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure class. This homebred son of Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man and Callaway’s Talaria is first class.

World’s Champion Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited last August, Blue Train was Syracuse’s Junior Park Pleasure Champion with Bob Phillips riding for Faydelle Schott. The had to step up with a big performance because Junior Park Pleasure qualifying winner Whole Lotta Verve was most impressive in reserve. Mike Richardson had the bay colt looking the part for Kathleen Ververeli. Luman Wadhams was back on top with UPHA Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Classic Champion Lady Sultanna.

Adding yet another blue ribbon and tricolor to the grey curtains of the Jan Lukens tack room, Margaret Biggs and (SA) Sultan’s Zorba were twice winners in the Adult Show Pleasure Championship and qualifier where Jessica Moctezuma and The Smooth Operator were twice reserve. There were several nice pleasure horses on hand as Cadillac Vizon looked like a fancy ride with Louis Novak taking both novice rider classes under the direction of Bob Phillips. Nancy Ehle and Out Go The Lights pushed them both times.

The top two entries in the 15-17 show pleasure division switched places from the qualifier to the championship. Loewe Kasprenski and CH Sea Blue wore the blue in the first round, while In Due Time and Krystal Murphy stepped it up to take the tricolor at the end of the weekend. CH Nothin’ But Spice and Libby Wicker topped the 14 and under classes. He was also the limit winner with Kelly Self.

World’s Champion CH Candle Dan and Jayne Romano both look like they get younger each year and there two Show Pleasure Driving performances were rated #1 by judge Cole. Stablemates Midtown Magic and Claudia Fletcher heard their names second both times out.

Roy Harris was new to the Syracuse line up and he brought Limit Show Pleasure Driving Champion Magna Carta with him. Cheryl Innis provided the winning drive for John Melville. Shana Gascon and Inside Edition made both victory passes in the junior exhibitor driving classes.

A couple of veterans traded places at the top in the adult country pleasure competition where CH Sagaman and Annika Bruggeworth made the last pass in the second round. Sir Winston C and Allyson Ehle had the blue ribbon look in the qualifier. Results stayed the same in the junior exhibitor section with Mary’s Immeasurable Asset on top with Alexandra Fraccoia. Cascade’s Cappuccino, Palie O’Malley, and Bluebonnet’s Great Scott also scored country pleasure wins with their respective riders, Nancy Benson, Gianna DeSimone and Jessica Moctezuma.

The new team of Kris Swanson and Heads Will Turn are putting quite a record together and added two more Country Pleasure Driving titles at Syracuse. The same could be said for Jessica Moctezuma and I’m Goin Out Tonight in the Western division. High Focus and Piney Flats jogged their way to blues as well.

Nicholas Villa had Nicole Lesniewski and Midnight Eclipse on the money as they twice turned back the competition in the Country Hunter Pleasure section. Wild Bruce and Paige Lilly triumphed in the Hunter Seat Classic.

The patience and hard work has paid off for Nicole Percoco as she became the fourth member of the Romano/Percoco family to win at Syracuse this year. After a 13 & Under Saddle Seat Equitation blue she came to win the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Championship with Mary Mitkish, the USEF Medal Champion, as the reserve grand champion.

Fairfield South students Olivia Prentiss, Kailin Elizabeth Baechle and Gavin Gagnon all went home with equitation wins. Olivia’s came in the 14-17 age group and the 14-17 Challenge Cup; Kailin qualified for Kansas City in the 13 & Under Challenge Cup; and Gavin in the NHS Good Hands Event.

The future of equitation in the Northeast looks bright as Joanna Ricci, Scott Bruggeworth, and Sarah Hect topped their respective walk and trot age groups in most impressive fashion. Audra Lee got the "bluest blue" in the Leadline class.

When it came to Pleasure Equitation, Cassidy Doyle was the name to remember in both the 17 & under class and championship, while Hannah Carr displayed her always-in-the-top skills as the twice reserve champion.

The Morgan division at Syracuse holds its own with an array of regional and Oklahoma caliber entries spanning the divisions. George Schott’s MEM Star Power wore the winning streamers in the Park Saddle Championship and qualifier with Holly Santaferra riding.

New York based Reindance Stables enjoyed several trips to the winner’s circle, highlighted by Jennifer Lake and GLP Leader Of The Band taking the English Pleasure Championship ahead of open winners AFF Nor Easter and Travis Neidlinger, among others. Third in the championship, Lindsay Perry and Without A Doubt took home the ladies blue.

FCF Immortal Affair and Patricia Casler reigned supreme as the Amateur English Pleasure Grand Champions and qualifying winners. The youth blue went to Carolann Smith aboard her Season’s Supreme Challenge, the eventual Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Reserve Grand Champion.

Reindance delivered another one with Daisy Beisler and Graywood’s Arthur turning back a large group of seasoned contenders for the Morgan Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure Championship. That was after they were picture perfect in the qualifier.

Without A Doubt (with Lindsay Perry) and MPA Legacy Lives On (with Nicholas Villa) enjoyed Syracuse victory passes from the Morgan English Pleasure division.

Showing the versatility the Morgan is known for, GLB Leader Of The Band also found his way to the winner’s circle in the Morgan Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship. It was the always-smiling Mary Chruscicki in the cart. From the Luman Wadhams Stables, Tomeri Tango and Julie Rohrer glided down the straightaways with style to win the amateur driving qualifier on their way to the reserve grand championship.

In a most competitive Classic Pleasure Saddle division Slam Dunk and Tayler Nichols emerged with the championship loot. It was their third trip down victory lane having already garnered the junior exhibitor qualifier and novice rider class blues. Reuben Ide Celebrates took the open blue with Jessica Moctezuma. Daisy Beisler had a lot to put in her Syracuse scrapbook, as she added the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship with Syncopation to the pages.

The Classic Pleasure Driving battles came down to veterans of championship titles: Oak Creek Chief Of Staff and Sardes Manistique. Margaret Brown and Chief Of Staff took control of the first round, however, Manistique and Julie Rohrer came back to deliver the goods in round two.

Getting by Sunny Acres The Wizard and Nancy Vidler for the Morgan Western Pleasure Championship was reserve open winner Jimmy Houston, ridden by Cindy Stanton. The Wizard also tallied a blue in the limit class. H Vee Hawk’s Centair and Randall Zimmerman went home with the amateur championship and qualifier as Brieanna Teti and Liberation Madison Square did in the junior exhibitor division.

No stranger to the winner’s circle, Equinox Adagio gave Molly Kern a winning performance in the Hunter Pleasure Championship. Suzanne Haberek keeps them in tiptop order. Alicia Fraser had the winning ride in the open class with Reuben Ide Back Bay.

Moving up a notch from the amateur qualifier, PLK Shamrock Spirit and Lynn Lesperence bested a large group of challengers for the Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship. Dazzling Light and Jillian Zick were the first choice in that qualifier.

Carter Loftus and Kandle’s Legenda ruled the junior exhibitor classes where youth winner Hearthmeadow By Request and Francesca Fields were the reserve grand champions.

There was a nice turnout of riders in the Morgan equitation division, especially in the Morgan Saddle Seat Equitation Championship where Heather Mallette was all that and more. It was a repeat from the 17 & under class. Trinity Farm’s Michaela Gillispie qualified for Oklahoma with the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal.

Eleven and under walk and trot equitation featured Jenna Nordberg at the top of the judge’s card in both classes.

A Western Seat tricolor was awarded to Julie Strier while the top Hunt Seat streamers went to Molly Kern.

Friesian competition featured some well-known names in the winner’s circle in both saddle and driving events. Charmane Delisle had the winning number with Frans Fan E Hurrdravers Dyk in the driving division. Mark Fan Nijskou and Hattie traded places from the Amateur English Pleasure qualifier and championship. Audra Arel and Hattie made the last pass in the qualifier before Sheila Nadeau took Mark Fan Nijskou to the top of the tricolor round. Gooitzen Fan Teakesyl was Winter Bruggeworth’s winning mount in the Walk/Trot English Pleasure 11 & Under class.

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