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Texas State Fair

by Ann Bullard

DALLAS, Texas- Saddle and Walking Horse owners and trainers barely had time for more than a deep breath before plunging into preparations for the Texas State Fair Horse Show. Held less than three weeks after the end of the World’s Championship Horse Show and two after the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, the show draws exhibitors from Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Patty Milligan and Nancy Braesicke of
Lindale, Texas have spearheaded this show for 27 of its more than 50 years. Braesicke, a top equitation and performance rider with Milligan Stables as a child and young adult, professionally manages a number of shows, with this being the only Saddle Horse show in that group.

The State Fair is one of the few remaining shows that features both Saddle Horses and Tennessee Walking Horses. The two groups work well together, cheering on those from the other breed as well as in supporting the shows financially and as volunteers.

The absence of two major barns led to entries being exceptionally light this year. Jack Magill was hospitalized during the show, while Paul Cates and his clients still were recuperating from a Kentucky summer and the World’s Championship Horse Show. Those who came showed their best before Judge Keith Harger of Shelbyville, Ky.

Future stars, showing in the American Saddle Horse Breeders Futurity of Texas, brought oohs and ahs from the audience. Oceanfront Chat (Oceanfront x Chatter Chatter) showed off beautiful conformation and lovely motion in winning the Weanling Stallion and Weanling Grand Championship. Milligan Stables trainer Lonnie Quarles led the youngster for owner Ray Eastwood of Lexington, Texas.

A year ago, friends of the late Sam Riley, who trained just north of Dallas and brought along many of today’s Texas riders and trainers, established a memorial trophy for the ASB Texas Futurity Limited Breeders’ Weanling Stake class. Paradise Farms’ Paradise Punch was the first name engraved on the trophy. Bluebonnet Farm’s Sudoku (Harlem Globemaster x Xuxa) earned the blue this year, with trainer Sandy Currier and John Smuts on the lead.

Ed and Ada Perwien’s Bluebonnet Farm youngsters represented their breeding program well in hand and under saddle. Bill and Sandy Marple stepped up to show Sudoku in the Amateur Weanling class, besting a field of four other entries. Cheeten Lady (The Cheetah x Undulata’s Penelope) trotted off with the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness and In-Hand blues, while Currier rode Diablo Blue (CH Shoobop Shoobop x Indigo Blue) to win the Two-Year-Old Under Saddle title.

Louise Gilliland brought a passel of Winsdown Farm youngsters and took home lots of silk and silver. Winsdown Code Talker (A Fameous Design x Lil Smith by Harlem Globetrotter) caught the eyes of the audience as well as the judge. James Vantrease led the brown and white pinto stallion to win the top of the Yearling Stallion competition, only to tie reserve to Winsdown Edgecliff (Winsdown Hi Octane x Holiday Dazzle) in the Yearling Championship. All in all, Winsdown brought home the yearling filly, weanling filly and amateur yearling, and took the top three places in the Yearling Championship.

Texas also offers a Natural Futurity open to amateur-owned horses not in professional training. They show barefoot and may show with natural rather than trimmed manes. Mary Maxwell showed Have Faith to win the two-entry yearling class, with Talina Pittman leading Dee Schauer’s Winsdown Day By Day in the weanling class.

Milligan Stables brought the largest number of performance and academy entries, with ribbons to match. Rachel Shupp and Attaché’s Heart Of Gold led their performance stars, winning both the Amateur Five-Gaited qualifier and championship. Carol Winters and CH Like An Admiral continued their blue-ribbon performances, winning both the amateur park blue and grand championship tricolor. Liz Cortwright headed Avery Bul for her winning photo and victory pass after winning the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Katie Kirkland won the qualifier, the UPHA Challenge Cup and Pleasure Equitation Medallion under Milligan, Cortwright and instructor Candee Carlson’s watchful eyes. Milligan’s long-time client Stephanie Ritter has stepped in for Maguire Hall aboard Catalyst Commander several times this season. She piloted the gelding to the winner’s circle in the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and qualifying blue.

Michael Beasom of Victory Lane Farm in Boerne, Texas brought a limited number of horses and left with several impressive wins. The grandson of Beulah and the late Elton Cates, Beasom trains from the farm his grandfather established in the early 1980s. He started the week by winning the Three-Gaited Park Junior/Novice Horse title aboard Tip Of The Ice, and earned another blue with Jo Anna and Myron Been’s Jazzman’s Jaguar in the Junior/Novice Park Pleasure class. Beasom’s mother, Judy Jordan, convincingly swept both Five-Gaited Pleasure classes aboard Ice Angel, while Stace Rust and Mountainview’s Good Day Sunshine won a pair of blues in the comparatively small but competitive Adult Country Pleasure class and grand championship.

SGF Winning Ways Farm made their presence known throughout the week. Trainer Steve Chadick started the ribbon parade aboard Leatherwood’s Colors Up. The five-year-old bay gelding won the Five-Gaited Novice class, coming back to a strong reserve finish in the grand championship. Out Go The Lights came home from Louisville aboard the Winning Ways van after Sherry Frankel purchased the toppy bay for her daughter, Lauren Greenwald, as a show pleasure mount. Trainer May Klein introduced the horse to Texas competition, winning the Park Pleasure Open title. Greenwald came back against an otherwise all-professional class to tie reserve in the championship.

Randy Cates’s Cross Creek Farm made the trip down from Oklahoma and brought back a number of blues. Becky Opp and Hayden Hisey shared rides aboard Five Will Get You Ten, with Opp winning the Amateur Three-Gaited qualifier and Hisey stepping up on the gelding to bring home the amateur championship tricolor. Hisey and Cassini added to the Cross Creek blue ribbon collection by winning the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class for riders 13 and under. Sisters Rebekah and Melissa Davis teamed up with Callaway’s Caleb, with Rebekah winning both 10 and Under Walk and Trot Equitation classes and Melissa topping the four-entry Junior Exhibitor Country English Pleasure class.

Debbie Graves, a long-time Dallas exhibitor and trainer at Shenandoah Stables, dramatically cut back her program after an accident in May. She did bring a pair of nice horses, including the Country Western Pleasure Champion Ruther J., owned and ridden by Chelsea Quimby, who won the Western Trail and Shatner classes as well as the Country Western Pleasure qualifier and grand championship.

Callaway’s Better Than Ever and owner Corinne Stith have remained in the top two places in Texas and Arizona shows since Stith purchased the gelding. Koren Mercer and Milo Jones had them in top form as they gave a pair of exhibition drives in the Country Pleasure Driving qualifier and championship.

Philip Debruyn recently assumed training duties at Chardonnay Farm. He stepped up on the three-year-old Chardonnay's Phrangelica to win the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic.

As anticipated, the State Fair had strong academy competition with ribbons spread among all the barns.

Candee Carlson has directed the Milligan Academy program for years. Her riders enjoyed an exceptional show. Katie Bozeman won a trio of classes, including the highly-competitive, 11-entry Academy Performance 14 and Over class in which the top six ribbons went to Milligan riders. She added the championship tricolor and Academy Equitation 14-17 blue to her collection. Kourtney Kern, Nicole Marzik and Lauren Watkins also represented Carlson’s program in the winner’s circle.

Fay Stephens made her final academy show, winning the Academy Equitation 14 and Over Championship. She will be seen next aboard her Eagle’s Point Harry Potter. She, Sara Bratcher, Kaitlyn Crain and Shalynn Randel posted blue ribbons at the Lone Star Saddlebreds tack room.

Casey Custer, riding for SGF Winning Ways Farm, Nadia Males of Cross Creek Farm and Andrea Yanez, riding from Shenandoah Stables also won academy blues.

This concludes highlights of the Texas State Fair Horse Show. Complete results can be seen and searched by clicking here.

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