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Sunshine or Rain: Lawrenceburg was a Success

by Ann Bullard

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. – The rains came, and so did the horses; some from just down the road while others traveled more than 980 miles from Texas. Despite several sessions being challenged by everything from sprinkles to downpours, the 136th annual Lawrenceburg Fair and Horse Show went into the win column for Saddle Horse exhibitors.

Lawrenceburg provided one of the last opportunities for park and pleasure horses to earn points required to show at Louisville. Couple that with trainers wanting a last tune-up before Lexington Junior League and you have the makings of an outstanding show. Two other county fairs held shows on the weekend, but most of Kentucky’s big guns came to the historic arena.

“The first night was one of the greatest shows ever seen at Lawrenceburg,” said a long-time Lawrenceburg exhibitor and trainer Dudley Abbott. “They tapered off later in the week due to the rain all around us.”

The 133 horses going through the gate on Wednesday night gave fans a preview of Lexington contenders. Before the week ended, 381 teams (with a limited number of repeat entries) came through the gate. Saturday’s academy show was lighter than expected, as several barns chose not to show in muddy conditions. The total of 85 competitors included numerous repeat riders and teams.

Muddy legs and dirt-splashed jods marked the contenders in the Five-Gaited Championship as 10 teams splashed through the in-gate for Saturday night’s final class. Until then, horses had thrown few shoes; this changed as the soupy conditions pulled off several, with three entries taking the gate.

Clark Clouse and Barbara Gaynor’s Battle Rattle showed they were ready for the big time. Clouse followed his River Ridge and Rock Creek wins with a tricolor ride at Lawrenceburg. Appropriately named, The Big Storm and Mike Spencer brought home reserve honors for Minna Hankins Mintz.

Clouse had a good week with his five-gaited horses. He rode Lenore’s War Chant, the last offspring of John and Dorothy Lenore’s CH War Whoop Two, to a blue ribbon her first time in the ring. Only a three-year-old, the filly showed she will be one to contend with in UPHA competition as she bested the older horses. Rob Byers, aboard Al and Edna Dix’s four-year-old daughter out of CH My Front Page Lady and by Top Spool, tied reserve.

Kristen Bagdasarian and Diamond View Farm’s Packin’ A Pistol swept past 10 other competitors to win the Ladies Five-Gaited class. Johanna Kapioltas repeated her reserve ride from the Shelby County Fair, bringing the red ribbon back to owner Jack Fair.

Amateurs and junior exhibitors turned out in good numbers for Lawrenceburg’s five-gaited division. Maurice Matson and Rebel Rooster brought their game to the rainy arena, racking and trotting off with the Saturday night Amateur Five-Gaited tricolor. The appropriately-named Thunderstorm Warning and Lauren Pope made the American Legion arena their own Thursday night. While storms skirted this class, Pope caught the crowd and judge’s approval in a winning ride. Mallory Greaves wasn’t quite as fortunate as her DeVore Stables’s teammate. The heavens let loose on Greaves and Out Go The Ladies during the junior exhibitor class. DeVore sloshed through the puddles to head the champions. Zoe Brannon rode off with the blue aboard Kate Spade under the Sam Brannon Stables banner.

A trio of nice walk-trot horses braved the sloppy conditions for Saturday night’s Three-Gaited Open Championship. After just placing reserve in Midwest’s over 15.2 class, Poser Farm’s Callaway’s Emancipation took on Lawrenceburg. Melissa Moore rode the chestnut gelding to a Lawrenceburg tricolor.

Elizabeth Shatner and Boston Legal started their 2008 season with a blue-ribbon ride in Lawrenceburg’s Amateur Three-Gaited Championship. Suzanne Hubbard posted one of her two Lawrenceburg wins aboard Keith and Kim Jones’ Worthy Fox in the ladies stake.

Friday night might have been called Alyssa Lopez Night at Lawrenceburg. She rode her Callaway’s Kiss & Tell to win the Three-Gaited Pony blue, following that with a blue-ribbon ride aboard I’m A Sunbeam in the Pleasure Pony Stake.

The combination of a final tune-up and Louisville qualification attracted 11 entries for the first of two Three-Gaited Park Open classes. Alexa Noble and Breathe caught the audience and judge’s eye in a beautiful performance to win the first of the two competitions.

A different group of horses returned for Saturday night’s added Park Open class. Steve Chadick and SGF Winning Ways Farm’s stallion It’s Double O’Deuce added this blue to the one he earned at Shelby County the week before and Germantown blue and tricolor.

John Conatser brought only a few horses from his farm in nearby Nicholasville. Greenwell judged Conatser and Fritz and Candice Meili’s CoCo Loco the best of the six Fine Harness Open Championship entries. Kathy Capsuto Walker and Sister Sally put on a good performance as the sole entry in the Amateur Fine Harness class.

This part of Kentucky is road horse country. However, this year, entries were light. David Crockett-owned horses won a pair of blues and a reserve. Crockett led the way, teaming his world’s champion Matt-T-Tup to win the amateur stake. Merrill Murray and Ty Thomas teamed up to win the Roadster Open and Road Wagon titles with Stylish Stepper.

The Roadster Under Saddle class featured two reserve world’s champions: Barbara Watts’ Despite It All with Suzanne Hubbard and SGF Winning Ways Farm’s Bunker Buster and May Chadick. Hubbard left with the blue ribbon flying from her horse’s bridle.

A total of nine road ponies competed for blues and the tricolor in the open division. Randy Harper and Karen Frickey’s Extremely Rare drove out with the tricolor. Maureen Lydon topped the 48-inch and under class with Kentucky Hot Brown while Jerry Hunley drove Memory Maker to the 50-inch and over title. Just two classes earlier, Lydon and Creek Ridge LLC’s Heartland Wonderful Mist won the ladies stake.

Seven youngsters along with several veteran drivers made the Three-Year-Old Roadster Pony Stake one of the better ones of the show. David Buchanan and Heartland Smooth Operator sped off with the blue, followed by Josh Greer with Heartland Top Notch in reserve. Greer returned later in the week to win the junior 50-inches and under stake with his Regal’s Lightning Strike.

When amateurs and junior exhibitors take the reins behind their road ponies, you can expect excitement. Jerry Cummins almost always has a good one, and proved his point by winning the amateur 50-inches and under title with Heartland Flurry. Lauren Greenwald and Regal’s Special Effort came all the way from Texas to speed off with the AHHS Youth Medallion in a good class of six.

Fast-posting youngsters brought seven road ponies through the gate for their two under saddle classes. Mitch Tunstall rode his father, Mike’s, Miss Fuente to win the Thursday night class. Samantha Johnson, riding for Holli McDowell, braved the mud to win the Saturday night four-pony championship.

Deborah Koenig was almost hidden by rain-gear as she drove David Crockett’s Black Merlin to win Saturday night’s Hackney Pony Championship. Betty Featherston drove her cob-tail, Heartland Summer, to win the Thursday evening class.

Beautifully-turned out harness ponies graced the ring in two different classes. Frickey Farms’s Regal’s Pride LF picked up his second win of the season with trainer Randy Harper on the lines in the seven-pony Harness Pony class.

Beth Bushnell and Power Of Attorney drove off with the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving tricolor after winning the five-pony open class earlier in the week.

Temple Riley put in a good ride on Dudley and Sharon Abbott’s Mario to capture the AHHS Youth Medallion for Hackney Pleasure Ponies showing under saddle.

Pleasure horses helped put Lawrenceburg ‘over the top.’ A number of teams attempted to get some last minute points to qualify for the world’s championships. This made for some large and quality-filled classes.

The show initially scheduled two Five-Gaited Pleasure classes, both open to all age groups. They added another on Saturday night.

A dozen entries answered the gate call for the Thursday night competition, with each competitor riding hard for the blue. When it all settled down, Justin Cowley, who graduated from junior exhibitor into the amateur ranks this season, headed for the winner’s circle. He picked up the blue aboard Richlon Farm’s Sharp Believer. Melissa Moore had Sally Jackson and her Cats Don’t Dance on go to earn the reserve title.

Friday night brought 14 teams back to the Lawrenceburg arena. Greenwell studied the entries carefully before giving Debbie Owens and Callaway’s Another Winner a blue-ribbon nod. Ali Judah teamed Devine Renaissance to reserve for Judah Saddlebreds.

The rain and footing kept a number of teams in the barn for Saturday night’s finale. The muddy conditions didn’t deter Callaway’s Jack Frost and Sherry Frankel who put in an outstanding show to win the blue. Frankel’s daughter, Lindsey Greenwald, challenged her mother, finishing reserve in the class.

Junior park pleasure horses seemed to come from every corner of the show grounds. Mystic Starlight, with Joe Brown up for owner Cece Hagan, posed for the victory photo, with TrÈ Lee and I’m The One With The Roses in reserve.

The Deknatel’s High Hickory Farm and Proof Perfect followed their win in Wednesday night’s 22-entry Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class for adult amateurs with a tricolor ride on Saturday night. Deborah Visser and Samantha Jones made a beautiful team as they won the 14-entry adult class on Friday night. Katheryn Sterba and My Stiletto tied reserve in the Wednesday and Thursday night qualifiers. Chihuly and Ashley Hallock earned the red-dominated tricolor in the championship.

Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure classes featured 14 teams in the qualifier and nine in the Saturday night championship. Jordan Mattingly and CH Sports Night hit their stride at Lawrenceburg, trotting off with the blue and tricolor. Caroline Walker tied reserve in the championship, with Mary Ruth Callaway and Callaway’s Winston Churchill picking up the red ribbon on Wednesday night.

Charlotte Kurz had a good catch-drive with Fritz and Candice Meili’s Last Cat Standing to win the Show Pleasure Driving blue.

Double-digit entries greeted Judge Greenwell in the Country Pleasure, Riders 18 and Over classes. Erin Obenauf put in a pair of sparkling rides to win both the qualifier and championship aboard Luanne Wendland’s Winter Pearl. Alexa Noble and her striking paint, Geneve, tied reserve in both the 12-entry championship and 21-team qualifier.

The junior exhibitor class was ‘comparatively light,’ with 10 entries vying for the blue. Caroline Skinner rode off with the blue aboard Callaway’s Maverick, while Olivia Strano earned the red ribbon.

Melinda Moore headed Debby Cowan and Tart’s High Heels for their victory photo and victory pass in the sole Country Pleasure Driving class. Linda Fischer Wheeler represented Grey Ridge Farm in driving Jane Mueller’s Supreme Platinum to reserve in the 10-team class.

Moore coached Marcy Lafferty King and her Mad About You to a good win in the Western Country Pleasure class. Chelsea Ruxer rode her home-raised Samuel Charles to tie reserve under Jackie Tanner’s watchful eye.

Tristen Ramirez represented SGF Winning Ways Farm in the Pleasure Pony Walk and Trot class for riders 11 and Under. She picked up the blue aboard the seasoned Santana On Broadway.

Caroline Skinner won her first blue of the week aboard CH Royal Messenger in the UPHA Challenge Cup. Toria Heck rode Touch Of Pizzaz to win the Pleasure Equitation title while Peyton Miller earned the UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup blue.

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