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UPHA 14 Spring Premiere Again At Its Best

by Bob Funkhouser

Simply put, the men, women and children of United Professional Horsemen’s Association Chapter 14 have a long-standing tradition of thinking bigger and working more cooperatively than any of its counterparts, especially when it comes to special projects. From things like creating a program to help send its members who needed to fulfill Learner Judge duties, to raising $15,000 for the National UPHA Benevolent Fund, to offering annual scholarships to its members’ children, to putting 4,000 people in the seats in front of a 35-piece orchestra and world class American Saddlebreds, Morgans, Hackneys and Friesians, UPHA Chapter 14 has consistently taken the lead when it comes to thinking outside the box to promote its industry and horsemen and women.

And this year’s project may be the show’s brightest moment.

The Pink Ribbon Class at the UPHA/American Royal National Championship Show last November kicked off a lot of thinking across the country. Before a model was created to continue that great idea, a group from Cater Stables had the wheels turning for UPHA Chapter 14 to have a Ride For The Cure night. Friday night has always been a special night in W. Springfield and by adding Ride For The Cure it was spectacular.

Kristen Cater and her troops put tremendous effort into this evening, by coming up with several different ways to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Selling pink balloons and pins; a silent auction with unique offerings; a raffle for a Churchwell Jewelry pendant; a live auction for a Pink Ribbon Quilt and UPHA 14 Book Of Candids; Chuck A Duck, ice cream donated by Friendly’s; individual donations; and exhibitors giving their Friday night prize money back (and all prize money given back was matched by Muzzy Lane Software); all together raised more than $34,000 for Ride For The Cure. Local breast cancer survivors presented pink ribbons to winners of the Friday night classes and the championship coolers that evening each had a "pink ribbon" sewn into them.

Also part of the Silent Auction, several of the area blacksmiths made items to put in the auction. A little competition was created and a blue ribbon was awarded to Sean Travers for the stunning UPHA 14 table he made from the shoes of the four 2007 Horses Of The Year. Chris Cassenti made the high bid on the table at $2,000.

The work that went into the program by so many was nearly as astonishing as the amount of money raised.

"I can’t believe everyone’s generosity," said organizer Kristen Cater. "We had so many people that worked so hard on this, I’m just really thankful that everyone got into the spirit of it."

Showing their support for the Ride For The Cure night were officials Kent Moeller, Jason Lawrence, Nancy Noble and Bill Beckley.

Coming off last year’s renewed Symphony Of Champions and having new leadership in the chairperson role, there were questions as to what would UPHA Spring Premiere be this year? The Ride For The Cure night and the entire week under the leadership of co-chairs Bill Beckley and Cindy Mugnier, manager Kent Moeller, and technical coordinator Jason Lawrence, proved to be another bright star for the 2007 Chapter 14 Show Of the Year.

The quality of horses was up this year as the numbers were about the same as last year. Maria Gilman (Saddlebred, Hackney, Roadster, Equitation) and John McDonald (Morgan, Open) had several classes with horses that can and will do well on the national level. They were joined in center ring by a top group of officials including ringmaster Billy Whitley, announcer Mark Farrar and photographer Bob Moseder. Nancy Noble visited from Lexington, Ky., as the USEF Steward. Nancy Roberts was again the organist and Jimmy Sebring again provided DJ music for the Friday and Saturday performances, again giving the Spring Premiere a different twist.

Each year Chapter 14 offers High Point Trainer awards in the different divisions and this year the winners were Jan Lukens (Saddlebred), David Rand (Morgan), Rodney Hicks (Hackney) and Kristen and David Cater (Equitation).

Grace Steere and World Champion Park Saddle Horse Lamborghini In Black were stars of the show. Their stirring debut had people from all breeds cheering for them.

Lukens had one of the most talented and exciting Saddlebreds on the grounds in Show Pleasure Driving Grand Champion CH Candle Dan. Rand had the same thing for the Morgans in Lamborghini In Black, the 2007 Park Saddle World Grand Champion who made his amateur debut with owner Grace Steere riding. Hicks’ entries won several pony classes including the Road Pony Jackpot, Pleasure Driving Pony Championship, and Amateur Hackney Pony Championship and Amateur Harness Pony Championship. To earn their High Point Jacket, the Caters had winning riders in the Walk and Trot 9-10 Championship, Pleasure Equitation Championship and AMHA Saddle Seat Medal.

Of all the strong performances it was Lamborghini In Black and Grace Steere giving everyone goose bumps. When he came through the gate in the qualifier people began cheering and didn’t stop until he left the ring.

"To have people of all breeds standing and cheering for Lamborghini and Grace was something to see," said Cheryl Innis. "He’s a great horse no matter what kind of horse you like."

When members of UPHA 14 weren’t raising money or competing head to head they were having a good time. Topping off Friday night’s Ride For The Cure was the annual exhibitor’s party. Promoted as "The Best Exhibitor’s Party You’ll Ever Attend," it again lived up to its reputation.

Right across the parking lot from the main barn at Storrowton’s Carriage House, the party hosted a full house for wonderful food and drink. Raye Lynn Funkhouser opened the ceremonies with the presentation of the 2007 chapter awards before turning it over to Soul Kitchen who had people filling the dance floor well into the evening/morning.

"Chapter 14 is very fortunate to have such an active, vibrant group of exhibitors, trainers, sponsors, and workers. It is so exciting to go to the first show of the season and see old friends and new horse and rider combinations," said co-chairperson Bill Beckley. "How much more exciting does it get than to see the current World Champion Park Horse Lamborghini In Black debut at our show for the first time with amateur owner Dr. Grace Steere in the irons? It just can’t get anymore exciting that this.

Horse Show co-chairs Bill Beckley and Cindy Mugnier joined part of the Cater Stables group who organized the Ride For The Cure night. Kristen Cater (with flowers) was recognized in center ring moments before this picture.

"Our first ever Ride For The Cure Night was a huge success thanks to the efforts of Kristen Cater and her team. That also proves our show to be one of the most progressive and innovative in the country. Cindy [Mugnier] and I applaud and thank all who made this show such a success."

Local radio advertising, which invited the general public to come out and enjoy the show up close and personal by walking through the barns meeting the exhibitors and horses, proved to be successful. On a beautiful weekend, several non-familiar faces were seen in the stands and walking the aisles asking question and petting horses and ponies. It was just another way UPHA 14 goes above and beyond to promote the industry.

The 26th edition of the UPHA Spring Premiere came to a close with an entertaining five-horse Five-Gaited Jackpot. All five of these riders were on horses that could cover some ground and all five were having fun zipping around the coliseum ring. When the dust had settled, judge Gilman put Gary Guz and Beautiful Stranger OCF in the winner’s circle for owner Dr. Jennifer Makem. Open class winner Cameo Appearance was the reserve grand champion with Darlene Trento-Wright aboard for Jodie Goff.

What a great night it was on Friday as Kate Codeanne and her new mare A Dream In Color captured the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship to bring the Ride For The Cure night to a close. The winning team included Rick and Lynn McNamara along with Kate, Molly and Patrick Codeanne.

New England was light on amateur gaited horses last season, but the division had a different look to kick off the ’08 campaign. Debuting a mare with the complete package – ability, attitude and color – Kate Codeanne once again ruled the amateur division. Her new Cedarledge Farm partner is Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champion and qualifying winner A Dream In Color.

The audience had plenty to cheer about in the amateur championship as A Dream In Color was challenged by most worthy contenders Callaway’s Blue Streak and Champagne’s Irish Sea. They also place in that order in the qualifier with owners Amanda Murchison and Delores Barker up. It’s going to be a good year to spectate if these three keep meeting.

In her debut show as Verrill Stables, Jess Verrill directed Alexis Taylor Pearson and Naughty to the top of the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier with two impressive performances. Platinum’s What A Rush (Marissa Gillispie) and The Power Play (Allyson Ehle) traded reserve ribbons with Gillispie taking the later.

One of several big-time horses presented at the UPHA 14 Spring Premiere, Charmed By Charm, a look alike stallion son of Santana’s Charm, debuted to win the Junior Novice Five-Gaited blue with Rob Turner riding for Parker View Farm. Denise Vespa had the reserve entry in Mercer County Man.

After making a big stir to win the American Royal’s Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake last fall, Jan Lukens and Perfectly Designed were tops again, this time in a solo performance in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic.

There was a wealth of talent for the Three-Gaited Jackpot Stake as Gary Garone and Callaway’s Buttons and Bows were cranking as the tri-color winners for Cedarledge Farm. Multi-titled CH Sightline was marching again as the reserve grand champion for owner Holli Esposito. Kyle Gagnon presented Callaway’s Born A Star to win the open class.

Dr. Meanor and CH Steel In Love were crowd pleasers in the amateur three-gaited division. She won the qualifier and finished as reserve grand champion.

The top two in the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship could have been the top two at anybody’s show in the country, they just needed a bigger supporting cast. I’m Sky High was right on the money with Rick Daigle riding the many times champion from Fairfield South. Making the reserve grand champion with a top performance themselves was the team of CH Steel In Love and Dr. Geraldine Meanor. Nealia McCracken had them in top order as she did in the deep qualifier where they captured the blue ahead of Sightline, I’m Sky High, and Sue Me.

Diamonds I Am and Ashley Bradbury were two for two to start the season off right. Rob Turner met them in the winner’s circle. Phoenix Stables’ I’m Out To Impress and Margaret Anne Kennedy were right there in reserve.

Adding another blue to the Fairfield South collection was Gypsy Stella in the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class. Melissa Swain turned in the winning ride and was followed in reserve by Kristen Cater aboard My California Girl. Swain and Gypsy Stella also scored a reserve in the UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup. The Rob Turner/Holli Esposito team produced UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Champion Bugatti’s Pinata.

Gary Guz and owner Dr. Jennifer Makem couldn't have been happier with Beautiful Stranger OCF's winning performance in the Five-Gaited Jackpot Championship.

Gary Guz has been bringing top stock to UPHA 14 for many years. In addition to winning the Five-Gaited Jackpot this year, he also rode Titleist Patrick to win the winner’s circle in the Three-Gaited Park Championship and open class for Mika Ryan. He had good competition in each round as Junior Park Champions Callaway’s Cellular and Paula Percoco were the reserve grand champions, while David Cater and CF A Rare Genius wore the red streamers in the qualifier. Robin McGahey and No Time To Worry were reserve to Percoco and Callaway’s Cellular in their debut performance as the junior/novice champions.

Ridden by UPHA Chapter 14’s Saddlebred Amateur Of The year in 2007, Careen DuBuc, He Is The Heir represented Phoenix Stables as the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Grand Champions. Reserve grand champion CH Desert’s Supreme Lady had won the amateur qualifier with her longtime owner Margaret Biggs in the saddle.

It was a winning week for the Romano/Percoco family as Nikki and Paula Percoco were pictured with Jayne Romano and Allie Percoco. CH Candle Dan, Mahvalous Guy, CH Cagin Martini and Callaway's Cellular were their winning entries.

What a week it was for the Romano/Percoco family. Third generation horsewoman Allie Percoco rode the leg waving CH Cagin Martini to win a well-filled Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Championship. Reserve in both the championship and qualifier went to Elizabeth Verveli and Kansai. Thomas Santaferra had a blue ribbon ride with Too Attached to make the qualifying victory pass.

There were a couple of new faces on hand for the fine harness division. Driving for Misty Hills LLC, Ryan Fornango guided Northern Ice to the Fine Harness Championship and open class win. Jon Douglas and Gaits Of Glory WF followed the champions for Laurie McGuire.

A star no matter what division he shows in, Hawking was pulling a four-wheel buggy this time and finished the week with the Amateur Fine Harness Championship and qualifying blue for owner Margaret Biggs. Their titles added to trainer Jan Lukens winning the Highpoint Saddlebred Trainer award. Nicholas Villa was the trainer of twice reserve champion Harlem’s Beau Dandy, driven by owner Kathy Osnoe.

Over a month ago Charlie Jones and Mr’s Bones took Tampa by storm and returned to the northeast with two titles. At UPHA they were back at it, winning the Roadster To Bike Championship and open class with crowd-pleasing performances. The qualifier was particularly interesting as Jason Molback’s bike came apart but thankfully everything was okay in the end. He came back to take reserve grand champion honors with the Saddlebred Rescue Standardbred, Detonator.

A great supporter of the UPHA Spring Premiere, David Rand brings his best and as usual they had fans of all breeds appreciating them. Grace Steere and 2007 Park Saddle World Grand Champion Lamborghini In Black simply stole the show this week in their team debut. Amy Neifert and NDT French Impressionist weren’t slouches as the reserve champions for Copper Beech LLC.

"It was wonderful watching Grace and Lamborghini perform!" said trainer David Rand. "He is such an amazing horse and Grace’s smile said it all.

"It was actually more difficult to show him myself last year," added Rand referring to which was harder, showing him or putting him in the ring? "Now that I know him so well I had complete confidence putting he and Grace into the ring."

The Rand trained BKC Valiant Star returned to the tack room with the Amateur Park Saddle Championship. Casey McDonald Douglass was once again aboard the 2007 Amateur Park Saddle World Champion. Coming from the winner’s circle of the Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle class, KD Hot To Trot traded places with Valiant Star to take the reserve grand championship.

Monique Dube was the first name called in the Junior/Novice Park Saddle class. She was riding FRF Outerlimits for Richard Dube. Ann Anderson and Legacy’s Atlantis were reserve.

Mr. Park Harness himself, Harry Sebring won yet another UPHA Spring Premiere Park Harness Championship. This won belonged to Patricia Lloyd’s Whitemud Dixie Dance King. It was their second victory pass of the week. Daniel Doucet and Twin Peak Limitless were twice reserve.

Loek and Bob Neimeth had plenty to smile about as their Misty Meadow entries did quite well under the direction of new trainer Scott Neidlinger.

The Liberty family was out in full force, showing their champions from Rand Stables. George Liberty and JW Rare Review were part of the week’s success, taking the Morgan Amateur Park Harness Championship and qualifying blue with two strong performances. Each time Bob Neimeth and Stonecroft Sudden Impact commanded the reserve title.

Riding for Elizabeth Poirier, David Rand also captured the Morgan English Pleasure Jackpot Championship. In their only performance of the week, AWS Icon was Rand’s tricolor champion in the pleasure saddle division. From the winner’s circle of the open class, Sea Vu Justified was the reserve jackpot champion with Richard Boule in the irons for the Gove family.

From open to ladies to amateur to junior exhibitor, the Morgan pleasure saddle division was strong in every section. Topping a group of grand ladies contenders, Kristin Johnson and C’Est La Vie made the last pass for Adam Lewis. Amy Neifert rode the reserve champion, CBMF Strike Zone, to the reserve title for Patricia Lloyd.

When all the top players came back for the Amateur English Pleasure Championship, Sandy Hendrick and Queen’s Proud Mary put it all out there to receive the approval of judge John McDonald. Under the Janbark Farm banner, Think About It MEM and Rosalie Leary captured the reserve championship for Alexandra Frangiosa, all the while being turned out perfectly for the Ride For The Cure night. They started the week by winning the amateur qualifier. Ladies winner C’est La View was third in the deep championship.

HVK Hot Ember and Gaetana D Alesio hung tricolor streamers on the Chrislar Stables tack room of Chris Cassenti. Their championship performance came in the junior exhibitor pleasure division, which was a repeat of the junior exhibitor qualifier. Moniqua Dube and Lookaway’s Hot Ticket exited as the reserve grand champions, while Max Liberty and Gradell’s Wild Reflection were reserve to Hot Ember in the qualifier.

In novice competition, Bilzone’s Go Material topped the novice rider class with Maggie O’Toole aboard. Ann Anderson presented Grand Cru Tattinger to take the novice horse blue.

Rounding out the saddle division, David Rand made yet another victory pass with junior pleasure champion Queen’s No Mercy, owned by Steve and Jill Tassinari. Showing several nice young horses during the week for the Neimeth’s Misty Meadows, Scott Neidlinger had the reserve winner in MEM Attaché.

The Taylor River team had FRF Seattle Reign in top order to sweep the Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship and open qualifier. Both classes had quality entries as Harry Sebring and CBMF Infatuation were twice reserve for owner/breeder Copper Beech LLC.

With Scott Neidlinger at the helm, Bob Neimeth drove the typey Whispering Masquerade to win the Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifying round. Jack Gatewood presented Dantree Night Call to two reserve titles. Josie Desgranges and HVK Bold Commander were solo in the ladies pleasure driving class.

A reserve grand champion under saddle, Lookaway’s Hot Ticket sported blue streamers from the Junior Exhibitor Morgan Pleasure Driving class.

Scott Neidlinger and MCS Bandini were looking Oklahoma bound on this weekend. Bandini was the impressive winner of the Junior/Novice Pleasure Driving Championship after qualifying with a reserve in the UPHA Morgan Pleasure Driving Classic for Misty Meadows. Tim Morrell drove Salvador to the reserve championship just as they did in the junior/novice qualifier that was won by AWS Icon and David Rand. Rodney Hicks won the top prize money in the UPHA Classic driving CBMF Restless for Ann Hailey’s Copper Beech LLC.

The water ran deep in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship as many top contenders opened the season at UPHA Spring Premiere. Announcer Mark Farrar called Erin Kelley and IGF Coeur Et Ame to the winner’s circle just as he did in the open qualifier. Chalk another one up for Rand. Showing under the Northgate Stables banner, Whispering Rhythm N Blues commanded reserve grand champion honors with Deborah Kenney. They had been reserve in the ladies class to qualify.

The yellow streamers in the championship went home with Liberation Yankee Spirit and Joanne Kieger, the reserve winners in the open class. Deer Creek Bahama Mama and Laurin Johnson had to settle for a fourth place finish in the championship after having won the ladies class. Rounding out the top five was Trebles Legal Tender and Loek Neimeth.

John and Sheri Lampropoulos put another member of the Kenney family in the winner’s circle. World Champion Med E Oka French Morocco did it again to win the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship with Maxine Kenney aboard. Blue ribbon winner in the qualifier, Versailles trotted out with the reserve grand championship for owner rider Hayley Porter. Under the direction of Nikki Rae Woodworth, Rachel Menard and Noble Viking’s Echo collected the red prize in the qualifier.

Jennifer Ehrlich and Colors Of War represented the best of the Novice Rider Classic Pleasure Saddle class, while LSF Nevermoretal and Beth Ann Grella came out on top in the junior/novice competition.

Once again proving to be the team to beat, Nicoria and Jack Gatewood turned back all challengers for the Morgan Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. It was their second trip down victory lane for the week. Winners of the novice driver class, the Ann Anderson trained Susan Huettner and LIV Star Witness were pushing hard as the reserve grand champions. Bob Neimeth and MEM Indecent Proposal wore red from the open class.

Judy Nason and tricolor streamers go hand in hand when it comes to Morgan Western Pleasure Championships and FCF Montego Bay has been there for her many times. The Joanne Kieger entry won the open and championship with Nason aboard and the amateur qualifier and amateur reserve grand championship with Kieger. Junior exhibitor winner MCA Seawind Serenade and Anna Tassanari jogged to the amateur reserve grand championship. Morgan Western Pleasure Junior/Novice winner Honor Hill Wind Song and Amy Gatewood Gendjar also scored reserves in both the amateur qualifier and the open grand championship, while Christine Nava and Bogalusa received the reserve nod in the open class. Versatile George Liberty took Briar Oak’s Pep In My Step to a second place finish in the junior exhibitor class before finishing third in the amateur/junior exhibitor championship.

Melissa Morrell sent MEM Virtual Reality and Anna Weeks down victory lane in the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship. After winning the amateur qualifier, the reserve amateur championship and a reserve in the open class, Virtual Reality came through with a ground covering championship performance. The best of a large group in the junior exhibitor class, Under Fire and Natalie Nordstrom rode away with the reserve grand championship.

Grand Cru Valentino was tuned up by Melissa Lambrecht to win the Open Morgan Hunter Pleasure class before Chelsey Abate guided the multi-titled star to the Junior Exhibitor Hunter Pleasure Championship. Taylor River’s Katelyn Merrill and Sight Unseen were twice reserve.

Another title returned to Taylor River with KSB Suite Topic, winner of the Morgan Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship with Alex Najjar. They also scored blue in the junior/novice class.

Michelle Quinlinke and Manchester In Demand went two for two in the Morgan Walk/Trot Hunt/Western Pleasure 11 & Under Championship and qualifier. Instructed by Christine Nava, they defeated UVM Allegro and Montanna Lambrecht in the championship and Angelina Ditta with The Lion King in the qualifier. Ditta rode away with the Morgan Walk/Trot Hunt/Western 11 & Under Equitation Championship and qualifier. Montanna Lambrecht was the reserve grand champion to polish off a good week.

UPHA Chapter 14 is blessed with a well-rounded representation of breeds. The Hackney has long been a part of New England’s heritage and Rodney Hicks continues to add to that heritage. The High Point Hackney Trainer for the several years, Hicks won the Road Pony Jackpot Championship with his new four-year-old, Kilbro’s Be Impressive, the reserve winner in the UPHA Classic. Reserve grand champion honors went to open class winner Heartland Double Trouble, the 2007 UPHA Chapter 14 Hackney Of The Year with Raye Lynn Funkhouser. Sebastian Hebert and CH Totally Awesome (CAN) trotted out with the red prize in the open class.

Owning the amateur division in New England for some time now, Don Spann and Dun-Haven Highly Impressive did it again for Cater Stables. They were particularly ready in the amateur championship round where they scored the second victory pass of the week. Lillian Gilpin had Courtney Cahill and AG Houdini primed and ready for their debut as they crossed the finish line in second both times.

Starting the year with a victory pass in Raleigh, Heartland Summer Heat and Devon Garone took home the top money in the UPHA Road Pony Classic for Caroline Morrison. Six competed for the honors including reserve champion Kilbro’s Be Impressive.

The LaSalle family has been a part of the Hackney lore in New England for as long as anyone can remember. They started another season with Janine LaSalle driving T/O Royal Shamrock to the Harness Pony Championship. Open class winner High Mark finished as the reserve grand champion for trainer Darlene Trento Wright and owner Maureen Quackenbush.

Starting their second season together, Truly Naughty By Nature and Kathy Comeau began with the Amateur Harness Pony Championship. Marissa Marks provided the catch drive in the qualifier. Misty Hills Farm continues to support the Hackney division. One of their Spring Premiere entries was Twin Willow’s Triumphant, the UPHA Harness Pony Classic winner.

In their only performance, John Lampropoulos had Megabucks marching as the Open Hackney Pony Champion for Irene York.

Under the direction of Rodney Hicks, The Marksman has matured into a consistent champion. Marjorie Kenney had two great drives to win the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship and qualifier with the gifted cob-tail. Sue Spann and Skymark were twice reserve champions to start the year.

Adding to the Rodney Hicks point total for High Point Hackney Trainer, Joyanna marched down the rail as the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Grand Champion with Terri Jones in the buggy for Copper Beech LLC just as she was on the victory pass in the adult qualifier. John Surprenant made his introduction into the pony world a memorable one as he turned in two solid drives in his debut with Kytha. Trained by John and Sheri Lampropoulos, Kytha and Surprenant were twice reserve.

Northgate Stables' William Surprenant drove Extremely Unique to the Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Reserve Grand Championship. It was a debut show for the Surprenant family in the pony division where William's dad, John Surprenant was reserve grand champion with Kytha in the Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving Championship.

Really impressive was the face that there were five junior exhibitors showing pleasure driving ponies. Winners changed from qualifier to championship and making that last pass as the grand champion was the sporty Marked By Rhythm, driven by Thomas Headwell for Misty Hills Farm LLC. Trainer Ryan Fornango greeted them in the winner’s circle. Reserve grand champion honors went the way of Extremely Unique and William Surprenant with a good showing to place just ahead of stablemates Twin Willows Solomon and Tyler Lampropoulos.

Thomas Headwell was happy with his winning drive in the Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship with Marked By Rhythm. They represented Misty Hills Farm.

In the first round, the veteran team of Oh Happy Day and Lilly Birch made the victory pass and Headwell was reserve with Marked By Rhythm.

Rounding out the pony division, High Society Precious Memory and Janine LaSalle took the top paycheck home from the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Classic. Reserve money went the way of Herb Headwell and Twin Willow’s Wild Elegance.

As is the way with many shows today, the pleasure division is consistently the strongest and UPHA Spring Premiere’s pleasure classes were loaded with numbers and talent in every section.

Representing Fairfield South, Rick Daigle and Gavin Gagnon took part in Friday evenings Ride For The Cure championships with Daigle winning the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship with I'm Sky High and Gagnon winning the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship aboard Callaway's One In A Million.

It started with the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship and qualifier where the top ribbon went to different entries. In the championship round Rick Daigle and Liquid Thunder put the hammer down and delivered a tricolor performance for Fairfield South. Earlier in the week Daigle had been reserve to the new team of Louise DeBlois and Intriguing Masterpiece who ended up being reserve grand champions. What a job Jan Lukens has done putting this picture perfect team together. Third in the hard-fought championship belonged to Sharon Stoltz and Don’t Ask Why WRF.

The Park Pleasure division has grown in popularity, as there was a strong turnout for the championship, open and junior classes. Rob Turner had the final say in the Park Pleasure Championship riding Sheena Kerwin’s Charm’s Top Cat. For Tate Construction, Darla Wright put She’s Just Enough in the reserve grand champion ribbons. UPHA Chapter 14 Saddlebred Of The Year in 2007, Pearl Buck’s Leading Lady led the way in the open class with David Arnold making the winning ride for Gail Dearth. Turner and Charm’s Top Cat were reserve in that one.

Mary Smith, Annika Bruggeworth, Kim Deola and Roger Kearney congratulated Jan Lukens on her Saddlebred High Point Trainer award.

Riding for Annika Bruggeworth, Roger Kearney took the expressive Madeira And Bourbon to the Junior Park Pleasure Championship just ahead of qualifying winners Roseridge Get Ready and Rob Turner who was riding for Caton/Collins.

In her first show as Verrill Stables, Jessica Verrill scored the win in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. Verrill was aboard Leslie Bovenzi’s Sacred Son. David Cater had the reserve ride with My Charming Christina, an entry owned by Amanda Murchison.

The ring was overflowing with the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and there was quality to match the quantity. From Phoenix Stables it was the world’s champion combination of Careen DuBuc and CH Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood making another championship performance following their qualifying blue. Marjorie Newman and Power Source stepped up with a reserve grand champion caliber performance for Cater Stables. Winners of the large novice pleasure class, Twizzler and Tamara Dlugos took home the yellow streamers to Somersdream. In the qualifier it was Undulata’s Jimmy Hollywood’s stablemate, Spirited Edition claiming reserve honors with Christie Milbury.

Sea Blue and Allyson Ehle proved to be the best of the best in the Junior Exhibitor 14-17 Show Pleasure Championship. Tara Wentz greeted the winning team in the winner’s circle just as she did in the qualifier. Both times Caroline Rose and CH Memories Of Memphis were pushing hard as the reserve champions.

Riding for MaryBeth Alosa, Katharine McCaughey guided Snorkle to the 13 & Under Show Pleasure Championship. Their performance was just as impressive in the qualifier. Crystal Doyle came through with a great ride aboard Midnight’s Memory Maker to command reserve grand champion honors for Emily Cummin. Kate Owen and Elusive Love Affheir were second in the first round.

Another pleasure blue went the way of Paladin’s Potentate and Josie Desgranges in the novice class in which Amber One Up and Hannah Medico were reserve.

Walk and Trot Pleasure competition attracted exhibitors from both the Saddlebred and Morgan worlds. Under the direction of Jean DeGutis, Pacific Rim Take Aim and Chloe Deeb triumphed for the second time winning the Walk and Trot Pleasure Championship. With Suzanne Haberek as coach, Alexa Bik and Westenfeld Band Leader were right on the money to take the reserve championship streamers.

One of the deepest divisions of the entire week was show pleasure driving and making a strong bid as the best Saddlebred of the week was CH Candle Dan with his new owner/driver Jayne Romano. They debuted winning both classes at Tampa Charity and UPHA Spring Premiere was simply outstanding. Directed by Jan Lukens they swept both show pleasure driving classes. Their closest competition came in the form of the reserve world’s champion team from Fairfield South, Unclaimed and Jan Beardsley Blanco.

The top two stayed the same in both classes, however, in the championship round Claudia Fletcher and Midtown Magic stepped up for third, followed by the new combination of Anne Tasch and Drop Dead Gorgeous who had been third in the qualifier.

No strangers to the winner’s circle, Holli Esposito and Co-Ed’s Impressive Lady triumphed as the Adult Country Pleasure Grand Champions for Mrs. Paul Rice. Qualifying winners Mr. Rockefeller and Patricia Bartsch had another good outing to command reserve grand champion honors just ahead of Middle March and Alex Battista, reserve winners of the novice class.

Winner of that novice class was Croupier, an entry catch ridden by Caroline Rose for Catherine McCool. Croupier and Rose went on to win the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship. Reunited with Nicholas Villa, Bella Dahl was the junior exhibitor reserve grand champion for Elena Vail. Taylor Bisanzio and El Patron were blue ribbon winners in the junior exhibitor qualifier in which Valerie Nuno and Strictly Adventure were second. El Patron was also second to Starmaker’s Starburst and Julianne Butler in the novice rider class.

It was a week to remember for Jayne Romano. She had already won twice with Candle Dan, her daughter Paula Percoco had won with Callaway’s Cellular and her granddaughter Allie Percoco had won with Cagin Martini. That wasn’t enough for Romano as she also swept the Country Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier with Mahvalous Guy. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to Harlem’s Last Call and Sharon Stoltz, while reserve qualifying winners, Callback and Raye Lynn Funkhouser, finished third in the championship.

Northwind Stables had winners in several divisions including the expected Western Pleasure section. Nealia McCracken directed Pat Johnson and El Empressario to the tricolor honors following their Shatner Western Pleasure blue. Marissa Gillispie and He’s Baack were the reserve grand champions. Kathleen Ververeli scored the blue in the Country Western Pleasure qualifier over CH A Magic Surprise and Jessica Moctezuma, among others.

With increased participation by the Friesian exhibitors, UPHA 14 Spring Premiere added a Friesian Pleasure Saddle Jackpot Stake, which attracted six strong entries. With Saddlebred High Point Trainer Jan Lukens in the saddle, the highly decorated Gooitzen fan Teaksyl captured the first ever Jackpot Stake for Annika Bruggeworth. Bruggeworth also presented Gooitzen fan Teaksyl to the amateur reserve championship and amateur qualifying reserve both times behind the airy going Misty Meadows team of Harem and Mary Ellen Holcomb.

Back to the Jackpot Stake, UPHA Chapter 14 Friesian Of The Year Jorritt was the reserve grand champion with David Arnold again riding for Lou and Delia Fox. They had also been reserve in the open class to Wilco P and Misty Meadows assistant Danielle Paufve.

Each year the Spring Premiere is well-rounded as the equitation division is usually extremely competitive. There is also great parity as three different instructors won the Senior Saddle Seat Championship, the Junior Saddle Seat Championship and the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship.

Under the direction of her mother, Nealia McCracken, Jessica Moctezuma opened her last year of equitation with the senior championship aboard her newly trimmed Top Beat. The world and national champion also had blue ribbon rides in the USEF Medal and the UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup. Fairfield South’s Olivia Prentiss rode away with the reserve grand championship. Her week also included a winning ride in the NHS Good Hands to go with a reserve in the USEF Medal.

Another winner from Fairfield South, Laura McGee emerged from the 14-17 class with the blue prize ahead of Alexis Taylor Pearson from Verrill Stables.

Alicia Fraser directed Kate Kielceski to the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve Grand Championship.

The young men rode to the top of their divisions with extreme style. Representing the Garone family, Gavin Gagnon appeared to have a great winter as he was in top form to win the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. That tricolor ride was a follow up of his 11-13 win. Riding from the winner’s circle of the UPHA 13 & Under Challenge Cup, Kate Kielceski made the reserve grand champion victory pass for Alicia Fraser. Wrighthall Stables’ Michaela Gillispie earned he reserve streamers in the 11-13 class.

Winners of the High Point Trainer Equitation award for the second consecutive year, Cater Stables directed the Walk and Trot Equitation 9-11 Grand Champion Owen Binne. In fact, Kristen and David Cater instructed the first three riders in the 9-11 championship. Binne was followed by stablemates reserve grand champion Kasey Saccocia and third place finisher Clara McCool. Winner of the 11 & Under Walk and Trot qualifier, Saccocia was UPHA Chapter 14’s Morgan Junior Exhibitor Of The Year for 2007. McCool had her time in the spotlight as well, winning the UPHA 9-10 Walk and Trot Challenge Cup.

The McNamara/Codeanne family enjoyed a great week at the Spring Premiere. Part of their pride was with Molly Codeanne and her winning ride in the Walk and Trot 8 & Under Championship. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to Nicole Kaufman who was reserve in the qualifier to Charlotte Smith.

From beginners to veterans, the Spring Premiere also offered adult classes for equitation riders. Christie Millbury captured the Adult Saddle Seat Equitation class that featured Marlo Franco in reserve. Margaret Biggs had the winning form in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup.

Yet another winning equitation star for Cater Stables, Elizabeth Dirth shined as the Pleasure Equitation Grand Champion. Trinity Farm’s Kristin Chandler made a strong run of it with the reserve championship. She was also reserve to Dirth in the 17 & under qualifier.

Representing Sarah and Jon Lettre, Meghann Wright delivered the winning presentation in the highly competitive Morgan UPHA Challenge Cup. Reserve to Wright was Cater Stables’ Brynne Cummings who had defeated Wright and several others in the NEHC Medal and AMHA Saddle Seat Medal.

The top rider among Morgan Classic Equitation entries was Heather Mallette. Hayley Porter was also on top of her game as the reserve rider.

There was also great interest in the Hunter Seat Equitation Championship where Morgan Zielinski accepted the tricolor streamers and championship cooler. Alexandria Warner pressed hard as the reserve grand champion.

The Northeast Hackney Association treated exhibitors to a great breakfast one morning. Serving were members Ken Logan, the just turned 40 Janet Hicks, Dawn DelTorchio, Caroline Morrison, John Lampropoulos, the about to turn 40 Courtney Cahill, and Janet Lavio.

Those were the highlights from the 26th UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere and once again it was a show celebrating the varied breeds of the chapter and their talented trainers and exhibitors. And when it was all said and done, a glorious week of weather made all the good seem even better.

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