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Twin State American Saddlebred Association’s O C T O B E R F E S T

by Bob Funkhouser


W. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Fall is a great time of year in New England, particularly this third week of October. The Red Sox just finished a tremendous comeback against the Cleveland Indians to earn the right to host Game 1 of the 2007 World Series. Bill Belicheck and his New England Patriots are undefeated and drawing comparisons to some of the greatest teams in the history of the NFL. The Boston Celtics completely overhauled the franchise and have just started the preseason with the likes of all-stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the court at the same time. And to top it all off, Boston College is the second ranked NCAA football team in the land.


Perhaps at no time since the Red Coats returned to England has it been so good to be a New Englander. Oh yes, and then there’s the foliage. The serene drive through miles of bursting colors to and from the Twin State Octoberfest Horse Show was another reason to enjoy life in New England.


Save for a miserably wet Friday evening, it was a glorious fall weekend and everyone’s good mood carried over to a fun-filled show. As tradition has dictated, the Halloween tack room decorations transformed the barns into large fun houses that made the perfect backdrop for the costumed trick or treaters on Saturday. These exhibitors are as competitive about their annual costume class and trick or treating as they are their Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans and Friesians. While it is a fun and relaxed atmosphere you better come prepared for either venue.


RMD Stables was well represented

in the Costume class.


Cater Stables sported the ever-popular

New England Patriots jerseys for

their Costume class entry.


A familiar and welcomed sight in New England, Kent Moeller headed up the management team that included secretary Mary Wahl. Also back at his posts was the ever-efficient stabling manager and paddock master Jason Lawrence.


In center ring, Ralph Ames and Barry Caisse assisted judges Tammie Conatser and Missy Hanover, while Terry Young, assisted by Courtney Church on the outside of the ring, shot the winning photos. David “Tuffy” Owens brought a great voice and the gift of gab to the announcer’s booth in center ring.


Owens called champions to the winner’s circle in the usual performance divisions in addition to many open and academy classes. The academy classes were well filled with quality beginners, as they were championship classes with the riders having to have previously qualified at other New England shows.


From beginners in their academy vests to professionals with campaigners that compete at the highest on the national level, Octoberfest does truly offer something for everyone.


In the five-gaited division the open championship was the best class as gaited horses were light in most sections. With a big fan base and all the attributes to deserve such fans, Our Secret Weapon was rackin’ and trottin’ up a storm to be Judge Conatser’s choice in the Five-Gaited Championship and the open qualifier. Capping off a great week for Cater Stables, David Cater rode the grand champion for Nick Grewal. The always-busy Collector Series was twice reserve champion with Denise Vespa, placing ahead of Morgan McGrath and A Foxy Damsel.


Montgomery Burns, Platinum’s What A Rush, Naughty and Perfectly Designed also won classes in the gaited division with Sally Kropp, Marissa Gillispie, Alexis Pearson and Jan Lukens as their respective riders.


Cater Stables won two of the three open Saddlebred championships as Kristen Cater piloted My California Girl to the winner’s circle of the Three-Gaited Championship for Sally Gallagher who had qualified the newcomer with a win in the amateur class. Open winner and Eastern States Three-Gaited Grand Champion Coco Royale marched out as the reserve grand champion with Robin McGahey again riding for Elaine Gregory.


There was another exciting class in the walk-trot division as Sightline and Holli Esposito were the classic look of a ladies team to win that blue for the L.M. Turner Stables. New to the New England circuit at the halfway point this year, the talented Sue Me was reserve with Annika Bruggeworth. The Jan Lukens trained Sue Me came back to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship.


Besides winning with Coco Royale, Robin McGahey directed Giovanna Leone and Heir’s Sparkling Star down victory lane twice in the junior exhibitor walk-trot section. The junior exhibitor division was more than competitive as Diamonds I Am and Ashley Bradbury were second twice, followed both times in third by I’m Out To Impress and Anne Kennedy.


As elegant, yet bold moving as they come, Pearl Buck’s Leading Lady closed out a great season for trainer David Arnold and owner Gail Dearth as the Three-Gaited Park Grand Champions and open class winners. Junior/novice winner Hawking was the reserve grand champion with Jan Lukens in the irons for Margaret Biggs.


Dianne Tambussi and Mystery Guest made themselves welcomed in the winner’s circle of the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. The recently married Careen Dubuc celebrated with her reserve championship aboard the always-entertaining He Is The Heir. Amateur qualifying winner A Design To Remember OCF was in the thick of the battle with a third place finish in the championship.


Many really talented horses find their way to the junior exhibitor divisions and such was the case in the park section. Caroline Rose catch rode Snorkle for MaryBeth Alosa and what a sight that was winning both junior exhibitor classes. In her first show aboard her mom’s game champion, CH Cagin Martini, Ali Percoco stepped up with a big time ride to garner the reserve championship. T.J. Santaferra had the reserve ride in the qualifier with Fantasy Castle.


Allie Percoco aboard CH Cagin Martini,

with mother, Paula Percoco

and grandmother Jayne Romano


The A-1 Park Sweepstakes (for three-year-olds) is always a popular class among New England horsemen and spectators. This year’s class was a two-horse race with both entries from the L.M. Turner Stables. Rob Turner had his work cut out for him as assistant trainer Jessica Verrill had a great ride to push the issue every step of the way. What it came down to were two nice colts for the audience to appreciate. Charmed By Charm was the champion for Parker View Farm and Reggie’s Indigo Jim was reserve for Turner/Esposito.


Bob Funkhouser had the honor of catch driving the multi-titled World’s Champion My Special Dream in the Fine Harness Championship. Trainer Jon Douglas and the 14-year-old star made the blue ribbon presentation in the open class for owner Judith Heinbach.


Bob Funkhouser and My Special Dream

(Photo by Terry Young)


Another exhibition came in the roadster to bike division with Killian and Nancy Locke. With the track to themselves they went at it wide open.


Wide open was what Heartland Double Trouble was in the Road Pony Championship. Winner of the open class, he came back with a strong performance to win the championship with Raye Lynn Funkhouser in the red and black silks of Miscoe Meadow. Among the six contenders, the many times champion and impressive winner of the amateur class, Dun-Haven Highly Impressive and Don Spann made the reserve grand champion victory pass. Another highly regarded veteran team, Dream Boy’s Magic and Frank Hester, were third.


No stranger to New England winner’s circles, the high going Twin Willows Dimitri was crowned the Harness Pony Grand Champion and open class winner with Ryan Fornango at the whip for Misty Hills Farm. With a great gesture, Fornango turned over the lines to Frank Hester for the victory pass in the championship. Hester was in the ring to present the trophy and was surprised when he was honored by the show as the first Octoberfest Hall of Fame inductee. At that point he took the lines and made the victory pass.


(Left) Cheryl Innis presented Frank Hester

as the first Octoberfest Hall of Fame honoree.

(Right) Twin Willow’s Dimitri with Hester on

the lines.  Photos by Terry Young


Winning drives is a family affair for the Spanns of Cater Stables as Sue Spann was looking right at home with a few shows now under her belt with Skymark. They won both the Hackney Pony Championship and open class. Nancy Locke’s Hyde Locke Charles R wore the reserve grand champion streamers.


Another of those great champions still showing into his teens Atta Boy and Model Of Excellence traded ribbons with Atta Boy and Donald Pasquariello proudly taking the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship for Kevin Gibbons. Qualifying winner Model Of Excellence trotted out as the reserve grand champion. The reserve grand champion pony also introduced Nicole McLaine to the driving scene as the winner of the AHHSF Adult Driving Challenge.


Cater Stables had a strong hold on a good portion of the pleasure division. Caroline Deshaies and CH Berry Garcia represented the Caters as the Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champions, placing ahead of qualifying winners Lauren Sopel and Slams Steel Magnolia. Third place honors went to the always charging Don’t Ask Why WRF and Sharon Stoltz.


David Cater and CF A Rare Genius were the first names called out in the Junior Park Pleasure Championship. Leslie Bovenzi and All Charmed Up were the reserve grand champions while stablemate Roseridge Get Ready won the qualifier with Rob Turner riding.


There were plenty of talented adult pleasure teams as Sheana Kerwin and Charm’s Top Cat captured the tricolor ahead of novice rider winners Daddy O and Julie Barker, among others. In the opening round Annika Bruggeworth and Sultan’s Zorba were unstoppable.


Julie Barker and Daddy O
with Devon Garone


Fresh off their second consecutive world’s champion title, Jessica McLeod and CH New York Entertainer swept the 15-17 show pleasure division. They had to work for it as Spirited Edition and Christie Milbury were twice reserve.


With her game face on, Caroline Rose had CH Memories Of Memphis ready for all comers in the 14 & Under Show Pleasure Championship and qualifier. The closest to them were Corporate Focus and Melina LaBonte.


Nicholas Villa greeted Kathy Osnoe and Harlem’s Beau Dandy in the winner’s circle of the Show Pleasure Driving Championship following their tricolor performance. Making just one appearance, current reserve world’s champion Unclaimed was right on the money with Jan Beardsley Blanco to claim the qualifier. Four-year-old Callback was twice reserve with Bob Funkhouser.


Competition was fierce in the walk and trot pleasure division. From the Larson/Harvey legacy of horsewomen, Molly Codeanne teamed Captain Planet to the tricolor honors after also making the victory pass in the 8 and under qualifier. Alexa Bik and Westenfeld Band Leader were a sight winning the 9-10 qualifier over Classic Star and Stephanie Shoubash, the eventual reserve grand champions.


Molly Codeanne


When Holli Esposito and Co Ed’s Impressive Lady are good they’re really good and such was the case in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Mary Coon’s Stonewall’s Night Of Pandemonium triumphed as the reserve grand champion, a spot Roberta Hirshon and Platinum Asset held in the qualifier.


Cimarron’s Firewater and Jill Mojave moved up a notch over Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure qualifying winners Sports Bar and T.J. Santaferra to take the junior exhibitor championship home for the winter.  Edie Shipley rode Co Stars Irish Blend to the Novice Rider Country Pleasure blue for Libby and Hight.


There were several sweeps in the country pleasure sections with Jayne Romano and Mahvalous Guy in Country Pleasure Driving; Maverick’s Miracle Mike and Ray Ann Merrill in Country Western Pleasure; and Amanda Boutet with Specially Designed in Country Hunter Pleasure all taking both classes.


Fresh off the NEHC Medal Finals at Eastern States, Fairfield South’s Olivia Prentiss delivered again as the Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion and qualifying winner. Qualifying for next year’s NEHC Medal Finals with a win in their qualifying class, Michaela Gillispie was the Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Grand Champion for Darlene Trento Wright.


Octoberfest’s walk and trot equitation division is as strong as it gets anywhere. Winner of the NEHC Walk and Trot Finals at Big E, Margaret McCool scored both the 9-10 title and the championship for Cater Stables. Stablemate and recently crowned Grand National Champion in the Morgan world, Kasey Saccocia was the 8 and under champion and reserve grand champion. Wright Way Stables’s Holly Hacskaylo was a good third in the championship, following her two reserves, one being to Clara McCool, winner of the UPHA 10 & Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup.


Melissa Swain put it all together to ride out as the Pleasure Equitation Grand Champion. Taryn Marshall claimed reserve grand champion honors. Brittany Ford and Danielle Jones had won the qualifiers.


Moving to the Morgan division, Darlene Trento Wright and Medomak French Expression finished a great season for owner Sherrie Essig as the Morgan English Pleasure Grand Champions. Essig provided the winning ride in the open qualifier. The championship round was filled with talent as KGA Center Stage and David Arnold were reserve grand champions. Winner of the amateur class and reserve in the open qualifier, Kandle’s Emerson was third in the championship with Marie Vandermark in the irons. Also owned by Vandermark, Kandle’s Myriah was the lone park saddle Morgan with Samantha Hoag.


MEM Let’s Go Girls and Chloe Malvezzi made marked improvement over their performance in the Morgan Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure qualifier to win the competitive championship. Kylie Whiles and Hollycroft Bandmaster also stepped it up considerably to command reserve grand champion honors. Kandle’s Legenda and Carter Loftus had won the qualifier.


Janet Yager and Absolute Zoom marched down victory lane as the Morgan Pleasure Driving Grand Champions. This was a repeat performance from the qualifier. Manistee Blaze O Glory was twice reserve for Elizabeth Tylawski.


Several Morgan entries came back with better championship shows as results from the qualifiers changed on a few occasions, one being the Morgan Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship. After winning the qualifier, Manistee Blaze O Glory and Elizabeth Tylawski had to settle for the reserve championship as Jackuelyn Chase and Cherrydale Monterey Bay moved from fifth to first. Monterey Bay also earned a blue prize in the junior exhibitor class.


Jimmy Houston was a two-time champion. Michael Chase jogged him to the Morgan Western Pleasure Championship and qualifying blue for Cindy Stanton. Diana Zahradnik and River’s Edge received reserve honors in both outings.


Anna Smith had the lucky numbers in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship. Jennifer Lober rode her Smithfield’s Forever Mine to the tricolor awards and they were followed by Smith aboard reserve grand champion Smithfield’s Forever Yours. Fit To Be Tied GSF made the victory pass in the open qualifier.


Susan Casper was a busy lady as she brought several Morgan champions to Octoberfest. Among them was Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Grand Champion and qualifying winner Hygreet Dashing Spirit, ridden by Bethea Phelan. Nicole Tibbets went home with the reserve championship aboard Charlestown Firestorm.


Fresh from a Friesian Junior Pleasure World Championship and In Hand World Championship, the multi-titled Gooitzen Fan Teakesyl was a standout at Octoberfest. Owned by Annika Bruggeworth, Gooitzen was ridden by Jan Lukens to win the Friesian English Pleasure Championship and by Bruggeworth to win the Junior English Pleasure Championship. Jeff Ramey was also part of the team, leading Gooitzen to the Friesian In Hand blue. Winner of the Friesian Open Pleasure qualifier, the many times champion Jorritt was crowned the reserve grand champion with David Arnold in the saddle for Lou and Delia Fox.


Arnold also rode Jort to the Friesian Walk and Trot Championship for owner Brandon Marvel. The qualifier belonged to them as well. Amanda Bruno and Dowe were twice reserve. Arnold had the hot hand as he guided Hattie to the Friesian Pleasure Driving Championship for Rosemary Saccocia. Reserve grand champion Hindrick B had won the qualifier with Cindy Flaherty.


Shelly Crawford aboard Hidde van de Kortmanshoeve won the popular Friesian Costume class. Denise McCabe’s Teake S was reserve after making the victory pass in the NEHC English Pleasure class.


A host of open pleasure classes were also offered with Saddlebreds, Friesians and Morgans competing against one another and all three breeds coming out on top in various classes.


With 321 horses, a great atmosphere and lots of happy people, the 2007 Twin State Octoberfest Horse Show was a weekend success for sure. Complete results may be seen and searched by clicking here.


Also seen at Octoberfest:


Gary Garone and Devon Garone (far right) had a
 winning group of Fairfield South equitation riders:
Olivia Prentiss, Laura McGee and Melissa Swain.


Darlene DeBlois (third from left) had five riders
in one class including the champion, Dominique
 Bowlen (right of DeBlois). The Dar-Col group included
Krystal Moore, Shelby McKenney, DeBlois, Bowlen,
Joy Ruma, Jessica Marquis and Gina Pucillo.


From Wright Way Stables, Lexie Lettre
was one of many talented, young riders
getting in their last classes of the year.


Darla Wright and Deidre Henry (far left and
right) had their High Tail Acres riders in
prime order. They are pictured with
Francesca Amato, Sydney Noyes, Michael
Tilley, Abigail Tate and Owen Binnie.


Susan Caper brought several winning
combinations for the Morgan division.


Kellie Saccocia showed her winning
form as the Leadline champion.

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