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The Sunshine State Welcomes Morgan Friends For Farm Tour And More

by Diana Davidson
Posted February 6, 2002
FLORIDA - A visit to Florida's horse country has become a winter tradition for Morgan enthusiasts from throughout the United States and around the world. A large and enthusiastic crowd took part in the annual Florida Morgan Barn Tour on January 18 - 20, 2002. The weather was just what the chamber of commerce had ordered with mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures greeting many visitors hailing from wintry locales.

The well planned gathering kicked off the new year in grand style with everyone ready to socialize and see many of the Morgan champions that are born, bred and trained in the equine mecca of Marion County Florida. Over 200 guests from such far away locations as Canada, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, Oregon and Washington mingled with their Floridian Morgan friends. It seems that each year many new people turn out for this enjoyable event and some even end up staying in Florida as was evidenced by the expanding farm tour.

The expanded schedule of three days of activities started with a trip to Graywood South in its new home of Ocala. Katrina and Kenton Wood purchased the lovely farm over a year ago and have enjoyed making a number of stunning additions and renovations to the property. Graywood South officially opened in late 2001 with Greg Ferguson making the long trip from his native Canada to accept the training assignment.

Graywood South compliments the Woods well established program Graywood Stables located in Greenville, New York. The Woods along with Greg Ferguson welcomed visitors to start off the weekend on Friday afternoon. Following a tour of the facility and a lovely buffet, Katrina Wood welcomed everyone to the farm and thanked her trainers and friends from near and far. Following a moment of silence to honor America, Conky Price took over the microphone for the presentation that followed.

She offered some background on Graywood Stables and their many outstanding champions who have graced the show ring including Corrick, On Center Stage, Salem Command and UVM Columbine. Accompanied by musical selections, an impressive group of five horses were then presented by Greg Ferguson assisted by Mark Mason and Jennifer Lalone, Lynn and Kathleen Peeples, and Judy Nason.

Spiceolife Right Answer had the right answer for the anticipatory crowd as he began the presentation with his charismatic presence in harness. The four-year-old Issues N' Answers son is the up and coming stallion for Graywood as he proved with his presentation. He was followed by the handsome three-year-old colt Graywoods Corin (Man About Town LPS x Salem Showgirl) who enjoyed his time in front of the crowd as he posed and trotted around the ring to the cheers of the crowd.

The Graywood breeding program features early British and Gaelic names in honor of Kenton Wood's ancestry. A pair of promising two-year-olds, Graywoods Arthur (RJM Pardon My French x On Center Stage) and Graywoods Morgase (Simply Maserati x Salem Showgirl), enjoyed their time showing off for the crowd. Greg Ferguson then brought out the spectacular HBF Dynasty Flaire (HVK Courageous Flaire x Rum Brook Athena) to the cheers and whistles of the audience. The young park saddle champion is owned by the Babuik family and seems to be enjoying his move to Florida with Ferguson from Canada. Just as he had opened the presentation, Spiceolife Right Answer made an encore showing of his good looks and talent in hand to close the well received presentation.

Saturday mornings festivities opened with more sunny skies and warm temperatures, quite a contrast to the previous year's record-breaking low temperatures. The first stop of the day was at the newly completed home of Spice O Life Morgans. Don and Mary Geisler relocated their breeding operation from Colorado to Ocala at then end of 2000, but the horses just moved into their new barn in September 2001. The Geisler's son Scott took on the project of building the barn and house in February 2001.

While guests mingled and admired the horses as well as the new barn and house, Mary Geisler took over the microphone and introduced herself to the audience. Geisler spoke about her breeding program and about the new farm. She then introduced Richard Boulé and Larry Bonnell of Summerfields who presented five well bred youngsters for the audience.

A pair of two-year-old geldings opened the presentation as they posed and were turned loose. The Spiceolife Alleged sons Spiceolife Baritone B (out of Serendipity Song B) and Spiceolife Night Cadence (out of Tarryall Electra) have grown up quite a bit since their farm tour debut a year ago. They were followed by the handsome yearling colt Spiceolife Signature B (High-Y Black Tie x Serendipity Song B) who enjoyed his time in front of the crowd and remained out in his pasture showing off throughout the rest of the proceedings.

A pair of elegant three-year-old mares rounded out the presentation. Spiceolife White Diamonds (Spiceolife Alleged x Tarryall Electra) is a royally bred mare with two crosses to Waseeka's In Command and Applevale Cadence. Spiceolife Flirtacious (Relentless Flaire x Spiceolife Cherish B) showed off her attitude and ability for the appreciative audience to close out the presentation.

With just a short drive or walk down the road, visitors were welcomed to the next stop at Treble's Morgan Manor, the first Morgan breeding farm to call Ocala home. Carol Hudson along with husband Chuck and Lisa Nyberg welcomed guests to Treble's Morgan Manor where innumerable world champions have been born. Guests walked around the barn and throughout the property visiting with the beautiful broodmares and youngsters who were eager to meet their visitors. The theme of great food and horses continued with yet another buffet offered to guests.

As the presentation of horses began, everyone gathered around the large grassy paddock. Carol Hudson narrated the presentation while Luman Wadhams and Deanna Nance presented the six outstanding Treble's bred youngsters who were each accompanied by a musical selection. Team Treble's also included Morgan friends from near and far who had all the horses turned out to perfection.

Treble's Take Me On (Mtn Laurel Maximilian x Take My Breath Away) was the first to captivate the audience for the second year in a row. The elegant three-year-old filly is a maternal sibling to 2000 English Pleasure Reserve World Champion Treble's Heartbreaker. The stunning chestnut yearling colt Treble's On The Mark (Tug Hill Commando x Saddleback Sharade) was next to show off for the crowd. He just loved all of the attention, and by the time the day was over he was the first horse of the weekend to be sold. The Chauncey Felker family is the proud new owner of this grand youngster who will be under the direction of Mary Jo Schmidt when his training days come.

Treble's Tainted Love (Tug Hill Celebrity x Tedwin Titlesong) is a two-year-old bay filly who not only carries much of the same blood as World Champion Raehurst Bonnielass, but also bears a stunning resemblance. Treble's Tampa Bay (Nobility x LCS Simply Sensational) is a two-year-old bay gelding who gained a strong following with his flashy good looks and silver trimming. Treble's Love Song (Mtn Laurel Maximilian x MO Justa Wild Melody) is a two-year-old filly who had the crowd cheering and whistling over her beauty and attitude as she looked like a World Champion Mare in the making. The finale of the presentation was saved for a young stallion who represents five generations and 30 years of the Treble's Morgan Manor breeding program. The name Treble's Commando (Tug Hill Commando x Treble's Margarita) was saved for this two-year-old bay colt who has the Morgan looks, type and personality that the Treble's Morgan Manor breeding program is famous for.

The Morgan caravan then headed up I-75 for the final stop of the day at Cheri Barber Stables in Reddick, Fla. Cheri and her capable staff welcomed everyone to the farm which houses a large group of show horses, youngsters, broodmares and breeding stallions. Visitors walked around the farm enjoying the horses and the company on a beautiful Florida afternoon. Guests were greeted with a ringside Chinese buffet prepared by the one and only Mr. Han. As the time neared for the presentation, guests angled for seats or a place to stand railside around the large ring for a chance to see some of the Morgan world's breeding legends.

Conky Price was back at her perch on the microphone to welcome everyone and give greetings and special thanks to everyone involved in the event's success. Following a spirited rendition of "Grand Ole Flag", Price gave a lively description of the 11 horses that were presented accompanied by musical selections for each horse. The horses that were featured in this year's presentation were four impressive breeding stallions who have become household names in the Morgan world under the direction of Cheri Barber. The stallions were each preceded by some of their impressive get.

Cheri Barber was assisted by Earleen Kenyon as the horses were posed then given the chance to strut their stuff turned loose. The exquisite black yearling filly Grand Cru Black Pearl (out of Gradell's Jewel-E) was the first of a trio of Three Wishes offspring to be presented. Lee Alexander, Jewel-E's former owner, is the proud new owner of Black Pearl. Gradell's Dresden Doll (out of Gradell's Afternoon Delight) was the next Three Wished daughter to strut her stuff. Owners Jerome and Shirley Modell were on hand to view their two-year-old filly's presentation. The talented three-year-old mare Grand Cru Virginia Dare (out of Nemour's Her Majesty) was the perfect lead in for her sire Three Wishes.

Three Wishes (Noble Flaire x Double M Temptation) is the sire of the 1999 and 2000 Breeder Sweepstakes Champions. In addition to all of his success as a sire, nine-year-old Three Wishes returned to the show ring in 2001 to be named Connecticut Morgan Grand Champion Stallion directed by his breeder and owner Cheri Barber.

Another in hand champion son of Double M Temptation, Chase Manhattan (sired by Tug Hill Commando) was represented by one of his first offspring in Bel Cavallo Prima Donna (out of Pine Lyne Tia Maria). This elegant yearling filly is a double Tug Hill Commando granddaughter who represented her heritage well for owners Doris and Peter Bazzini. Six-year-old Chase Manhattan followed his daughter into the ring with gusto as he performed for his owners The Chase Group.

The crowd then got the chance to see another son of Tug Hill Commando in the chestnut yearling colt Gradell's Sensation (out of Double M Blue Velvet). This impeccably bred youngster is yet another fine representative of Drs. Jerome and Shirley Modell's Gradell Farm. It was then time for the legend himself, Tug Hill Commando (Waseeka's In Command x Fiddler's Majesta) to take center stage. The 20-year-old breeding legend who has topped all of the Morgan sire ratings numerous times. He is proudly owned by Treble's Morgan Manor and Gradell Farm.

Treble's Willy Wild was the horse who started it all for Cheri Barber in the Morgan breed. Two young offspring of the remarkable 25-year-old stallion preceded his arrival. Gradell Farm's yearling filly Gradell's Shining Star (out of Gradell's Cupid) and Cheri Barber's two-year-old colt Grand Cru Dom Perignon (out of Sizzle) represented their sire in stunning fashion.

It was then time for the appearance of the one of a kind Treble's Willy Wild (Windy Hill Willie x Junehill Fascination). It was a touching presentation as Carol Hudson led the grand stallion in front of his adoring fans. In a special grand finale accompanied by "The Circle Of Life", Willy Wild was joined by his grandsons Three Wishes and Chase Manhattan for a well deserved certain-closing act.

Following a great day of Morgan horses and Morgan friends, many of the tour's attendees headed to the tour's headquarters, the Ocala Holiday Inn. Everyone got to do some more socializing and eating in the ballroom along with the main attraction of the evening, a special appearance by Morgandom's own "Harry and the Lashwhips". Groupies from near and far as well as some new fans enjoyed listening and dancing to the tunes provided by the breed's own Harry Sebring, Jim Lowry, Ken Swanson and Chris Kinnick. The evening was marked by another special grand finale as Ashley Swanson and Jessica and Sara Sebring joined the band as back-up singers for a much applauded performance.

A return to I-75 heading south brought everyone to the final stop on the tour with a visit to Summerfields in Summerfield, Fla. Richard Boulé and Larry Bonnell welcomed everyone to the well appointed training and breeding facility. Repeat visitors find improvements and expansions to the facility each year as Summerfields keeps pace with the demand for training and breeding in Florida.

Guests wandered through the three barns as the sun peaked out from behind the clouds on another warm winter day in Florida. A ringside tent featured a lovely buffet lunch complete with tables and chairs as music played. Conky Price was back on the microphone to welcome everyone and inform them about the day's presentation. The focus of the presentation was the horses included in the dispersal of Accel Morgans, Ltd. Price explained that FCF Rhythm Nation would be retained but his offspring along with broodmares owned by Accel Morgans, Ltd. would all be sold. The farm would continue to train, breed and show horses for their many clients.

2000 World Champion Stallion FCF Rhythm Nation opened the presentation as he burst through the curtain into center ring to the cheers of the excited crowd. Richard Boulé was on the lead of Rhythm Nation as the exotic seven-year-old black stallion entertained his visitors. He was followed by eight of his impressive young offspring who are all part of the Accel Morgans, Ltd. dispersal.

Boulé and Bonnell modeled and turned loose a black yearling filly out of FCF Enchantment, the two-year-old bay yearling filly Accel Enchanting Rythmn (out of Cingate Wild Laurel), a yearling bay filly out of RRB Hearts Are Wild, the two-year-old chestnut colt Accel Rythmn Dancer (out of Pure Honey), a yearling bay colt out of Cingate Wild Laurel, the three-year-old bay mare Accel Sweet Rythmn's Eve (out of Only Forever), the three-year-old chestnut mare Accel Fascinating Rythmn (out of Orcland Tinaline), along with the three-year-old bay gelding Accel King Of Hearts (Man About Town LPS x RRB Hearts Are Wild).

The grand finale came with the presentation of Accel Night Rythmn (out of FCF Enchantment) who was the 2001 New England Regional Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Champion. Larry Bonnell had the brown three-year-old gelding wearing the bridle and trotting around the large ring as he rode him to the applause of the crowd.

Morgan enthusiasts from near and far thanked their hosts for a weekend filled with good times, great food and drink, and wonderful Morgans. The success of the farm tour was further insured with a number of horse sales in the works and breeding contracts signed. Many new friendships were also made as real estate agents have more new Morgan clients on the lookout in Florida. The Sunshine State is becoming home to more Morgans all the time.

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