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TASHA Holiday Horse Show

by Ann Bullard

KATY, Texas– Near-freezing temperatures greeted exhibitors as they gathered for the Texas American Saddle Horse Association’s annual Holiday Horse Show on Dec. 2 and 3. Held at the covered, but open-sided
Great Southwest Equestrian Center, the show challenged everyone’s good humor. Riders, parents, owners, trainers and horses responded well.

The beautiful center ring, designed and donated by Sandy Reed of Chardonnay Farms, barn decorations and a Sunday afternoon visit by Santa’s elves and a reindeer added to the holiday spirit.

TASHA 2006 featured one added highlight: an international invitational Saddle Seat equitation competition. Members of South Africa’s Junior World Cup team contacted UPHA Chapter 6 and 7 through Bluebonnet Farm’s Sandy Currier in the fall, asking if there was a way they could visit Texas while in the U.S. Currier and May (Klein) Chadick undertook to put together an invitational competition between the visitors and riders from Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. Almost every major Saddlebred barn in the tri-state area pitched in to ensure its success. The competition brought several groups who normally skip the season-ending show as their riders and horses competed.

The show offered a full complement of academy classes. TASHA changed its academy rules in the fall, dividing classes by achievement level as well as by age. This opened the door for new riders, as well as more experienced ones, to take home coveted blue ribbons.

While some barns had already let down their top show horses, others took the opportunity to get riders as well as young horses in the ring one more time. Jack Magill and his customers had been out of the show ring since Louisville, as Magill was recuperating from surgery. He brought many of his ‘first string’ to TASHA, helping his clients end the season on a high note. Joan Cantrell, Calee Dillon, Rachel Singer and Becky Taggart decorated Magill’s black and red tack room with seven blue and tricolor ribbons.

Bluebonnet Farm took the opportunity to team Elly Berman with Currier’s 2006 stake horse, Reedann’s Talked About. They racked and trotted off with the Amateur Five-Gaited blue. Currier and her assistant, John Smuts, took the opportunity to give several promising youngsters additional show ring experience. The Perwiens’ Diablo Blue, the exciting black two-year-old Shoobop Shoobop son, and Dr. Randy McBride’s Unlisted Number both had the knowledgeable crowd standing at ringside to watch their blue-ribbon performances. Bluebonnet mainstays Xuxa and George Foreman topped both Show Pleasure Driving and three-gaited show pleasure classes, with Ed Perwien making another winning drive and Berman in the saddle on the multi-titled gelding.

Kevin Berman drove his popular Albert Kaponey to a reserve placing in the AHHS Roadster Pony Youth Medallion 13 & Under Championship at the American Royal. He treated fans to an outstanding performance to win the junior exhibitor class at TASHA. Ginny Beth Norton stepped into the bike to win the amateur title. On the academy side, Michael Fox, who pitched in as a key volunteer in transporting the South African riders, won a pair of adult rider performance classes.

SGF Winning Ways Farm brought a few performance horses and a good complement of academy riders. Steve Chadick introduced It’s Double O’Deuce to the three-gaited park division. The chestnut stallion’s beauty, presence and talent brought screams of approval from the audience. Farm owner Sherry Frankel and The King’s Champagne have graced winner’s circles for several seasons. They added both the Adult Country Pleasure blue and tricolor to the farm collection. TASHA was designed to be the place for academy debuts. May Chadick brought several first-timers as well as more experienced competitors. Tristin Ramirez, Sydney Young and Sophie Zuniga each earned their first blue ribbons at the December show.

Paul Cates’s customers huddled around a propane heater near his tack room for much of the show. They made it to the ring to watch petite Bo Ashlyn Cates team Limoges to win the Three-Gaited Amateur class, one of three performance blues won by the stables. Cates’s riders added seven academy blues and tricolors to their colorful tack room.

Patty Milligan stayed busy between working with her riders and helping with the World Cup. Riders coached by Milligan and assistant trainer Liz Cortwright brought home five academy blues. Katie Kirkland added the Saddle Seat Equitation title while Alexa Morton won the Pleasure Equitation and Equitation Pattern Championships.

TASHA President Koren Mercer and Milo Jones of Lone Star Saddlebreds continued to put good academy teams in the ring with Sarah Bratcher, Given Fessler and Erin Fore winning academy titles. Corinne Stith and her multi-titled Callaway’s Better Than Ever ended the season with a blue and a red-dominated tricolor in County Pleasure Driving competition.

Providence Farm brought a small number of horses but returned home with a trio of blue wins, including the Fine Harness Open and championship.

Tommy Benton, Morris and Adin Caffery, Marjorie Judd and Dr. Fraser Mackenzie made the drive from Louisiana to compete at TASHA. All left with good ribbons.

Paige Pennington rode off with the blue and tricolor silk in the competitive Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Junior Exhibitor qualifier and 13-entry championship aboard Americana’s Wings. Mary Lynn McMains drove Judd’s multi-titled and versatile CH Mr. Cruise to win the Country Pleasure Driving Championship.

Benton brought only one academy rider and one performance horse: Patrice Watson’s three-year-old Bewitched In Harlem. They stepped into under saddle competition, winning the Junior Three-Gaited Park class. Mary Katherine Powell earned a blue in the Academy Walk, Trot and Canter Limit Performance class for riders 17 and under.

This summarizes the highlights of the TASHA Holiday Horse Show. Complete may be seen and searched by clicking here.

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