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Tuesday At The Morgan Grand National Certainly Had That Special Flaire


The weather remained relatively cool Tuesday morning at the Morgan Grand National Horse Show. However as the week goes on -- like the action in the show ring -- temperatures are expected to heat up. Tuesday’s lineup in the coliseum featured numerous western and hunter classes, while the show arena housed several English and classic pleasure as well as park classes.

The Grand National Western Pleasure Ladies Amateur Gelding 15.1 and Over paired with the relaxing song “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” played by the organist in center ring provided an easy-going start to Tuesday’s coliseum competition. Mark Farrar served as the announcer on this morning and when cards were turned in by John McDonald, Judy Wright and Buck Grass, the Garn Walker-trained DLH Dakota Blues and Julie Chan made the winning ride. Ellen DiBella’s cheering section applauded her reserve ride aboard Futurity’s Ultimate Twist.

A fine group of talented youngsters hit the ring next for the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 11 & Under class. The panel worked the entries at a trot, extended trot, canter and extended canter both ways of the ring and following lineup time, the ground-covering Quaker’s Astrid with Lexi Chruscicki carried out the unanimous victory for Reindance Stables Inc. Kern’s Endeavor is no stranger to top ribbons and this well-behaved chestnut, teamed with Brianna Berg, was the chosen reserve horse for Kelly Kraegel-Bates.

With the geldings competing just a two classes earlier, the mares and their lady amateur riders had their chance to compete in the Grand National coliseum n this class. Garn Walker and his crew will be returning to California with a slew of blue ribbons. For the second time this morning, Garn Walker greeted the winners in the presentation area. This time, Star Of Midnight and Virginia Adams earned the unanimous win while Delaware’s Night Life and Stephanie Shearer jogged away as the reserve champions.

Rotating between western classes and hunter classes, it was next time for the Grand National Hunter Pleasure Junior Exhibitor Riders 12-Years-Old class. This class concluded with another California rider making the victory pass. Festival Arabesque and Rachel Miller performed beautifully to garner this win for Greg & Linda Miller. Cheryl Woosley proudly greeted the reserve champions at the gate, JL's Night Track and Olivia Alexandra Lahr.

Back to the western riders and their elegant mounts, the Grand National Western Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 16 & 17 class followed with a field of 14 competing. First across the boards, Mtn. Laurel Election Day and Caitlin Harrison topped the impressive field with Dwayne Knowles coaching the winning team. Reserve went to CSA Approved By Command with Julianne Young in the saddle for Aline Young.

Moments after the next class entered the ring, the farrier was called in to replace a cast show. Following a brief delay, the class was underway with 14 Grand National Hunter Ladies Mare riders performing for John McDonald, Judy Wright and Joyce Swanson. Following a thorough evaluation, Jax Noble Onyx and Kathryn Schwartz trotted to the winner’s circle to add another top honor for Gayle Singer. VVM Aleesa and Heather Luedtke accepted the reserve honors in the tough class for Ellen and Michael McCook. 

The 14 & 15-year-old riders had waited all morning for their turn to compete in the grand coliseum. All dressed up in their classy western attire, KN French Commandante and Natalie Nelsen cooked up the victory while jogging to the song of “Hey Good Lookin’, Whatcha Got Cookin?” for Debra Woolley Lee. This was the second year in a row for this handsome bay who was ridden to the victory last year by Sarah Lee. Reserve in the class of 14 went to the polished pair of Kane Creek Conspiracy and Karlie Bagan for Carmen Hobson of Kane Creek Morgans.

Twelve 13-year-old riders answered the next gate call for the junior exhibitor hunters, the second to last class of the session. Merriehill The Lion King and Alyssa Rumsey, riding under the guidance of Mary Carlton, continued their winning streak as they were named champions. Penncrest Philosopher King and Stephanie Strasser added to an outstanding season as they made a strong effort for reserve. 

The final class of the morning session followed with 13 entries showing up for the Grand National Western Pleasure Ladies Amateur Gelding Under 15.1 class. Making it three for three for Garn Walker, Corrick and Connie Melendy bested a very talented group of western horses to make their second victory pass of the show. Foxmoor Legend and Carolyn Karasarides turned in a consistent ride for the red ribbon.

Ten classes filled the Tuesday afternoon slate and seven exciting youngsters kicked off the second session of the day in the World Futurity Park Harness Three-Year-Old class. One entry took the gate midway through the class, but Stan Bodnar, Judy Whitney Harris, Bob Hughes, Stacy Hennessy, Diane Conrady and Kurt Hufferd continued to show their sharp entries and compete for the top prize money.

Another unanimous decision was scored by the undefeated charismatic chestnut SpiceOLife Present Tense. Diane Conrady guided him to the winner’s circle for David James Walker. By Arboria Noble Victor and out of SpiceOLife Allura B, this fine youngster earned $2130. Judy Whitney Harris drove the expressive reserve champion Cedar Creek Arabella (HVK Bell Flaire x Cedar Creek Jasmine) for Cedar Creek Farm, picking up $1003.

Entries in the Grand National Road Hack Saddle Seat Finals covered a lot of ground as they performed the various elements included in a road hack class, including a road trot and a hand-gallop, among other tasks. Whispering On The Rocks and Kelli-Ann Monroe emerged from the line up as the champions while VVM Litigator and Beau Rash earned the reserve tricolor for the Rancho Del Mar team.

Western remained one of Tuesday’s themes as the four-year-old mares jogged their way into the ring for the third class of the afternoon. The mild-mannered and eye-catching palomino Morgan BPM Estralita De Oro with Jordy Johns aboard for Allen and Kristen Breyer earned the well-deserved blue. Briar Oaks Pep In My Step and Jennifer McFall followed the champions in the ribbon contest for Sandra Nelson of Madison Avenue Morgans.

The Grand National Classic Pleasure Driving Junior Exhibitor 13 & Under class featured two talented young men vying for the title. While both put forth fantastic efforts, All Hail To The Chief and Tyler Hufferd had a flawless drive for the victory. Like Hufferd, J.T. Brannon had a nice cheering section to applaud his reserve finish behind the lines of HVK Top Drawer.

                                                       He's Simply Marvelous

The Grand National Western Pleasure Ladies Gelding class was the largest class of the day thus far with 19 competitors performing at their best. The well-matched pair of He’s Simply Marvelous and Virginia Adams added another winning dimension for the Garn Walker team. Owner, rider and trainer Sammi Hazen had Bear Brook Supreme Bar looking good for the reserve finish while Movado and Jennifer McFall rounded out the top three in the deep class for Sandra Nelson of Madison Avenue Morgans.

The Grand National Road Hack Hunter Seat Finals hosted a great group of 14 riders and their versatile Morgan mounts. After a careful analysis by the judges, Final Analysis and Jackie Rodosalewicz trotted away with the cooler and tricolor for owner Christina Clay. River Riders Sky and Virginia Norris carried the reserve ribbon back to Texas for Rita Lewis.

You know it’s going to be a good class when the trainers flood to the in-gate to see who’ll be the next champion. The Grand National Park Saddle Mare and Gelding class was one of those classes and, while light in numbers, quality prevailed as Mike Goebig and CN’s Stylish Debut Cindy Nord’s charismatic performer topped the field. Mantic Diva claimed reserve honors with an animated showing with Phil Fountain up for Peeper Ranch.

Following the park class, the Grand National Classic Pleasure Driving Ladies Mares class showed and the numbers in this class proved the strength of the division. JW Enjoyabelle and Marilyn Hackett won the class after topping judge Price’s and judge Eckard’s cards. Reserve went to the elegant chestnut Bri-B Guinevere with Linda Stewart on the lines. RDF Hi Voltage and Deborah Stevenson turned in a flashy drive for the third place ribbon in this deep field.

The Grand National Hunter Pleasure Youth Finals took the prize for the largest class of the session as 21 riders showed off their happy-to-perform hunters. A cool and consistent ride put Ha-Ho Windstar in the winner’s circle of the big class with a delighted Bre Schultz riding. Katie Mair coached the winners to victory. FCF Valmont and Jenna Domanico put in a polished ride to earn a victory pass as the reserve champions for Debra Spencer Conklin. BlkOrchid Ace Commander continued his successful week as he rounded out the top three with Laura Pecherski in the saddle for Pam and Jordan Cusumano.

                                                          Natalie Nelsen

The AMHA Western Seat Gold Medal Finals closed out the afternoon’s extensive session. After the entries performed rail work, all 12 riders who were selected to come back from the preliminary round earlier in the show executed a pattern that had been posted prior to the class. Talented horsewoman Natalie Nelsen demanded the judges’ attention as she nailed the workout, which included straight line work and a figure eight, among other elements. Natalie Nelsen is the daughter of Keith Nelsen who was himself the very first winner of the AMHA Stock Seat Gold Medal Finals at the first Grand National held in Detroit in 1973. A poised and polished Ellen McQuade turned in a stunning ride as well as she garnered the reserve gold medal title, under the direction of Keith Friday and Rolling Oaks Stable. The remaining group of talented top ten finishers also featured Kali Erin Hutchinson, Jenna Britt, Scott Nevers, Brittany Clark, Logan Nicole Mather, Michael Coughlin, Sondra Leigh Edwards and Laura Conway.

The Morgan Grand National Horse Show opened the Tuesday evening performance with a great class to get the crowd warmed up for an excellent line up of classes. Mike Goebig has enjoyed a dominant season in the park saddle division, and this class was no different. Tonight, he rode the charismatic bay stud CN The Master’s Flyte to a unanimous Grand National Four-Year-Old Stallion victory for Cindy Nord. Stacy Hennessy kept up just fine with the champions as she presented Stonecroft Notorious to the reserve ribbon for Greg and Linda Miller.

Twelve juvenile riders took over the coliseum next for the Grand National Classic Pleasure Junior Exhibitor 14 & 15 show down. After retiring at the in gate end of the ring, Peter Fenton invited Mirabel’s Dartanyan and Alyssa Wick, who picked up two firsts and a second from the panel, to come forth as the champions for Hardwood Creek Farm. Cingate Nick of Time and Danielle Wich turned in a fine performance as well to earn the reserve tie for Eastwich Morgans.

                                                    JW That Special Flaire

While the crowd had certainly been attentive up to this point in the show, the atmosphere of the entire show changed in an instant as JW That Special Flaire made his Oklahoma entrance. Owner, breeder and presenter Judy Whitney Harris and the animated JW That Special Flaire (HVK Bell Flaire x Noble Airess) wildly captured the approval of the crowd as they starred in the World Champion Two-Year-Old Park Harness Futurity. This mature and flashy chestnut stallion stole the show as he nailed the victory with a large group of trainers meeting him at the out-gate to see who would be his next owner...stay tuned! Stonecroft Neoclassic (Stonecroft Masquerade x Century Enjolie) and Dianna Rannells were named the reserve world champions with a solid performance in the six-horse class for John Scheidt and Don Spear.

Toning it down a notch or two, the Grand National Western Pleasure Ladies Mare contenders set foot on center stage next. She’s trained champion after champion in the western division and on Tuesday night, Judy Nason carved the perfect path to victory aboard the stunning ECP The Seventh Stone for Marion Bengtson. Always a force to be reckoned with Kathleen Peeples directed HL My-Way to the reserve finish for Holly Seavitt. 

The pace was back on high in the next class as four jockeys flew into the ring for the Grand National Roadster Under Saddle Finals. Judy Whitney Harris did a terrific job of warming up the crowd two classes before and the cheers continued as the audience picked out their favorites and let the judges know who they felt should win the exciting class. Morgan enthusiasts love a pretty horse and when you factor in speed -- along with four quality performers -- you’re going to hear some noise. The stands erupted when Fenton called the speedy chestnut MEM No Inhibitions with Rick Lane up to be the unanimous champions for George Schott of Maine Event Morgans. Nouveau Riche and Andy Marlett made their cheering section happy when they made their victory pass as the reserve champions for Shannon Robins and QB, LLC.

                                           Take My Breath Away

Another World Futurity class followed as nine vibrant three-year-olds impressed the Grand National crowd. Mike Goebig continued to enjoy a big night as he directed the Liberation First Star daughter Treble’s First Take, out of Take My Breath Away, to the victory for Copper Beech LLC in unanimous fashion. With a quick change, Kathleen Peeples was aboard Motivated MS (Man In Motion x Summerbird Ms Command) motivating the crowd to applaud her reserve finish for Alex and Deborah Cojocar. Representing Great Britain in the international competition, Mike Carpenter presented Vivian Lee to the third place streamers for Claire Guggenheim.


A swift-moving night continued as a large crop of stallions and geldings represented the traditional Morgan style to perfection in the classic pleasure driving qualifier. Mari Sanderson maneuvered the busy ring to perfection as she drove Airegantlee to a stellar win to the delight of the Gerry Rushton Stables team. Gordel’s Paramount Command and George Campbell continued their Oklahoma successes with the reserve finish directed by Forest Nealon.

The largest crowd of the show thus far witnessed a most exciting finale to Tuesday night’s agenda as five Grand National Park Saddle Stallion contenders put on their game faces. On this night the long-shot crossed the finish line first as Analyze That, teamed with Melissa Ann Cribley-Wahl, wore the blue streamers out of the ring for Clayhill Farm with two first place votes from judges Price and Lavery. With a first place vote from judge Eckard and great support from the knowledgeable crowd, Stand And Deliver emerged as the reserve champion with Mike Goebig in the irons for Tara Lindeen. Following a championship harness career, Stonecroft Trilogy made many new fans in just his second show under saddle to collect the yellow ribbon with Dianna Rannells up for John Scheidt and Don Spear's Stonecroft Farm.


The Tuesday morning session in Show Arena 6 featured an impressive slate of classes. The day opened with a most entertaining class – Grand National Pleasure Driving Four-Year-Old Gelding. As Dick Brown announced that the judging panel of Euchee Matthews, Phil Price, and Lewis Eckard was in complete agreement across the board… not only first, but all five places… a murmur went through the crowd.  Winning with oodles of expression was last year’s three-year-old world champion FRF Seattle Reign with Richard Boule' on the lines for Jeffrey Gove. Earning reserve in grand style was… CN Grand Style in his first trip to the Grand National. Jim Taylor was on the lines for Karen Strickland and Anne Maile.

Next up were the 16 and 17 year olds on their classic pleasure saddle horses.  Rising to the top of twelve quality entries was the judges’ unanimous choice of local favorites Prior Knowledge and Cressi Bryant of Eclipse Stables. Proudly accepting the reserve streamers was Kim Hayes aboard Mikaela’s Pocket Rocket for owners and trainers Craig and Kathi Hummel of Vantage Point Stables, adding to a reserve in harness from earlier in the week.

                                                Orrwood's Pro Command

Twelve ladies took their turn with their classic pleasure driving geldings. The toppy Orrwood’s Pro Command and Toni Maunder trotted to the winner’s circle to the delight of their cheering section under the direction of Brian Hadley. Reserve were owner/driver Michelle Aulson and Whispering Rhythm N Blues showing under the Northgate Stables banner.

Five animated entries showed for an enthusiastic audience in Grand National Park Saddle Youth Finals. The tricolors were a repeat of last year as Something Wicked again garnered top honors with Kristin Johnson in the irons for Grace Steere. This expressive team was the unanimous selection of the panel. Taking the reserve victory pass were King Lehr’s Bob A Loo and Lauren Cojocar who turned in a bold ride directed by Lynn Peeples.

The classic pleasure driving mares were next on deck. Stoneledge Step Aside and Bob Neimeth were judged to be the best of the eight-entry class. This typy mare is under the direction of Jaisen von Ballmoos. Cedar Creek Vizcaya and Jack Gatewood won reserve honors for DanTree Farm under David Rand’s watchful eye. 

                                                 Patchwork Simply Amazin

A small but exciting group of Four-Year-Old Park Saddle Mares and Gelding next entertained the appreciative crowd. Winning the judges’ unanimous approval, as well as the crowd’s, was the coal black mare Patchwork Simply Amazin with Jenny Taylor up for brand new owner Donna Zimmerman. Snorting and blowing as she prepared for her victory pass, this expressive mare unquestionably lived up to her name while extending her unbroken string of blues in 2005. In reserve was LGH Destiny’s Treasure with Ryan Arcuri up for Stephanie and Thomas Connor. This lightly shown mare gave more than a hint of a promising future.

Ten four-year-old pleasure driving mares filled the ring. In winning style, MEM Exotica earned a unanimous vote from the panel in only her third show. Kurt Hufferd was on the lines of this gifted youngster for A. Russell and Jeanette Quilhot. Reserve was the refined, toppy chestnut Paradigm Tokyo Rose with Steve DeBolt driving for John and Judith Kemper.


The Grand National Junior Classic Pleasure Saddle Finals was next on tap. The top two performances were turned by two California horses who have managed to miss head-to-head competition most of the year. The winner, Abracabam, is no stranger to the Oklahoma City winner’s circle having won the three-year-old classic pleasure driving futurity last year with Boston Morgans co-owner Helen Crawford. It was Leslie Hurst’s turn in the winner’s circle this year as they earned the tricolor honors directed by Carolyn Dillon. Valerosa Immortal Dancer and Caprice Zoumaras added to an already successful show season as the reserve champions for Valerosa Morgans.

                                                   Tommy Bolt PGA

Closing out the morning session were Four-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Stallions. Tommy Bolt PGA is an imposing bay with a commanding presence. Stan Bodnar drove this star to a convincing win for owners Jim and Shula Dodson and Becky Dodson Krupp. CVH Celtic Challenger turned in a stylish drive for reserve with Bernard Parker on the lines for Catherine Haynes.

The afternoon commenced with the Hunter Hack Finals as TRS Longfellow Saranade and Ali Denzel teamed up to earn the Grand National cooler for Julie Pickering. The 13 entry class saw Three D Renegade and Hillary Wiles-Lafayette bring reserve honors back to Bittersweet Farm.

After a fabulous season in New England, Samantha Franks enjoyed an unforgettable moment in the Oklahoma winner's circle in the 16 rider Walk-Trot Hunt Seat Equitation 9 & Under Finals. The adorable winner was mounted on TLR Treasure Chest and coached by Sarah Gove of Taylor River Farm. Sara Heidenreich started off a tricolor show with the reserve finish mounted on Fair Haven Federal Xpress and instructed under the Crystal Farms banner.

A field of 14 competed for the Walk-Trot Hunt Seat Equitation 10-11 Finals with the top honors going back to New England once again. Here, Eliza Hine earned a trip to the presentation area with a tricolor ride aboard BriarLane Sparkling Sheri under the Bittersweet Farm banner. Continuing the domination by the Northeastern riders, Cailey White matched up with the handsome Cabot Custom Order for the reserve streamers to the delight of the Cabot Morgans cheering section.

The Carriage Driving Gamblers Choice competition closed out the afternoon session with Juneacres Tandy and Anita Meinert maneuvering to victory in the 10 horse singles field. Samac's Black Tie Affair and Cathy Grimes continued an outstanding show for Alton Page with the second place finish. Meanwhile, Denbury Regal Justice and Denbury Irish Justice continued to impress as James Brown guided them to the multiples win.


Hunter/jumper competition filled the morning schedule in Show Arena 9. With dressage events completed, there were a few familiar faces cross-entering into the jumping arena as well as new ones. Wintergreen Don Diego and Susan Garmier was one of those versatile teams winning the day’s first event – Low Working Hunters II - for owner Ann L. Taylor. Melendy Cash Mare and Kelsey Robinson earned a good reserve for Laurel Olson Robinson and Melendy Farm in the sixteen-deep class.

The Wintergreen Don Diego/Susan Garmier team added yet another blue ribbon to their growing cache in Working Hunter I. Reserve was the team of PKF Hollywood and owner/rider Kayla Suzanne Reser.

In Jumper II, to top two pairs repeated their finishes from the day before. That’s My Nick and Amanda DuPont-Pauli finished first for Kathy Pierce, while Wintergreen Commando and owner/rider Geneva Milliken took reserve in the class of seven.

The first AMHA Gold Medal of the show was awarded in the Hunter Seat Over Fences Medal Finals as Kelsey Robinson notched her second victory of the week aboard Melendy Cash Bonus, earlier tying first in her equitation on the flat class. Ali Denzel was the reserve champion aboard TRS Longfellow Saranade coached by Julie Pickering.

Show Arena 9 saw yet another change of pace on Tuesday afternoon with a full slate of trail classes. First up was English Trail Open with six entries. The top finishing team was UVM Windfall, a versatile competitor, and Valarie Siemer for Lora Dunlap. The second place finishers were Canabar Kokopelli and Bryan Wisdom representing Mai Wisdom. This horse could easily serve as poster boy for the Morgan breed, actively competing in western pleasure, English and western trail, and dressage driving.

For the fourth year in a row, the veteran team of I Love Lucy and owner/rider Grace Jacobus won the English Trail Amateur class. In reserve were Wintergreen Marquis and owner/rider Lisa Reif.

Both horses and riders made a quick change to go right back into the Western Trail Open class and traded places in the results column. Wintergreen Marquis and Lisa Reif were first. In reserve were I Love Lucy and Grace Jacabus. They topped a total field of ten horses.

The top finish in Western Trail Amateur was once again the familiar faces of Wintergreen Marquis and Lisa Reif. While reserve went to the team of Northern Exposure and owner/rider Kathy Padgham who had previously competed successfully in dressage.

The final class of the afternoon featured the junior exhibitors in their trail competition. RG Regency Chester and Hance Grunden won the class of nine entries. What a first trip to OKC for this new team! In reserve were SMS Annalark and owner/rider Jessica Geissinger. This multi-faceted team also competes in western pleasure, showmanship, and dressage.

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