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UPHA 14 Spring Premiere - Bringing Unity To The Breeds

by Bob Funkhouser


W. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s nothing like working together for a common cause. Over the last few years more and more New England trainers and owners have pulled their resources and manpower together for the benefit of the UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere and what a difference it has made. Attendance at chapter meetings has easily doubled and those attendees have done much more than just show up. The result has been a horse show that could be a model for others to follow.

“I am very proud to be associated with a group of horsemen putting on a show of this caliber,” said Chapter Chairperson Gary Garone. “There is a lot of hard work that goes into this and it’s truly a team effort. With the work that is put into this, I think we produce something that is special for the owners and trainers of New England.”

Under the leadership of Chairpersons Chris and Larry Cassenti, Show Manager Kent Moeller and Chapter Chairman Garone, the always innovative Spring Premiere has continued to impress the equine community on the national level as well as the Saddlebred, Morgan, Hackney and Friesian enthusiasts throughout New England, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The show committee’s task was to make the show which was held at the Eastern States Exposition Show in W. Springfield, Mass., April 19-22, different from the other eight or nine shows which are held at the same facility throughout the year. From an efficient, yet appealing schedule for the members of the different breeds to attention to every detail, the Spring Premiere has become the complete horse show. The schedule includes everything from Open Jackpot Stakes with no qualifying to UPHA Classics for all three breeds to national equitation qualifiers to open pleasure classes for the masses.

Exhibitors responded with a sold out show this year. There was no room at the inn and for the most part class after class was filled with competitive entries. Not only did the show work on getting the entries there, but spectators as well.

The newest twist to the Spring Premiere’s approach was local radio advertising. Through the efforts of Ricky Harris and Cheryl Innis, the airwaves throughout the Springfield area were filled with news of the show and how the general public could come and find out more about owning a show horse. The radio commercial invited the general public to tour the barns and talk to the owners and trainers.

Sure enough, the public responded as even the very first session of the week, which began on Wednesday morning, had enthusiastic bodies in the seats and they weren’t familiar faces. Trainers and exhibitors alike were accommodating when those same spectators made their way to the barns to see the equine stars up close and personal. Saddlebred owner/television star Carson Kressley also did his part to promote the event by holding a live interview with local FM station 102.1 which set up the commercial advertising and brought their traveling station to the horse show on Saturday afternoon. In addition to broadcasting from the show, the station was giving away Red Sox tickets and other prizes such as horse show t-shirts and hats.

Promotion and attention to detail have been big factors in taking the show to another level. Details such as keeping the outdoor work areas in good shape have proved to be challenging at the Eastern States facility, but Show Manager Kent Moeller stayed on top of that task to make it as good as it can be. Other ideas such as “Quiet Time” have been in place for some time. Each day certain hours were devoted to quiet time where no noise makers were allowed so the many children, novice riders and western/hunter horses can prepare in the proper setting.

Members of the Chapter 14 show committee are as committed to exhibitors having as much fun outside of the show ring as they do inside. Somersdream and Hobby Knoll hosted the “Move In Pizza Party, which set the tone for the rest of the week. The annual Exhibitor’s Party again highlighted the week’s social schedule. Unlike most any other horse show party, this standing room only event featured Raye Lynn Funkhouser as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Following a few chapter awards including the induction of the late Todd Mathieson into the UPHA Chapter 14 Hall Fame, exhibitors flooded the dance floor for the rest of the evening. Boston’s top band, Soul Kitchen, has attracted partygoers young and old alike to this perfect setting for a horse show party.

“My customers were thrilled with the party,” said Morgan trainer Larry Bonnell who hadn’t been to the Spring Premiere in a while. “They can’t stop talking about it and are looking forward to it again. I know the Symphony is going to be awesome next year, but my customers are already asking, ‘What about the party?’.”

“The band was incredible,” echoed Saddlebred trainer Elaine Gregory. “I don’t know when I’ve had as much fun at a horse show party.”

Hospitality is paramount at Chapter 14. Northgate Stables took over the morning hospitality area this year from Barbara Irvine who had done a great job for years. Northgate customer Mike Matozzi manned the booth, while Ken Logan and Courtney Cahill again took the traveling coffee and doughnut wagon from barn to barn each morning. Trainers and caretakers could keep working horses while getting their morning snacks.

The young trainers section of UPHA Chapter 14 has added a tremendous boost to the chapter’s enthusiasm and attendance. Again, with Saddlebred, Morgan and Hackney professionals working side by side, the young trainers raised more than $7,000 with their Silent Auction and several hundred more with “Chuck A Duck.” Borrowed from the River Ridge show, Chuck A Duck involved exhibitors purchasing small, squeaky, plastic ducks from the young trainers and each night a small “duck pond” was placed in center ring. In between selected classes, exhibitors and officials threw their ducks into the ring hoping to land in the center of the duck pond. Those who did won half of the money that was collected for the sale of the ducks.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” chuckled horse show Announcer Bill Carrington.

Carrington was also around to be the Master of Ceremonies when Marsha Shepherd and UPHA Chapter 14 introduced the first Symphony of Horses in 1986. Chapter 14’s Symphony Of Horses created the model that has been used at equine events across the nation to attract the general public. To celebrate the 25th edition of the Spring Premiere in 2007, the show committee is bringing back the Symphony event. Chairperson Larry Cassenti held a meeting during the show and there was great response from the exhibitors. More than half of the 20 spots have been sold.

“This year’s show was certainly a wow,” said Co-Chairperson Chris Cassenti. “We were sold out on stalls with a waiting list. Entries in all divisions were up again and the addition of the open classes permitted each and every breed at our show to have an additional class to compete in. One class had 18 entries of quality horses.

“With the addition of the radio broadcasting and Carson Kressley participating in a live call-in, we had many more spectators at the show for the entire week. The party is always a great time and is enjoyed by all. The ‘Chuck A Duck’ competition was also a great addition to each session.

“Yes, plans are underway for celebrating our 25th Anniversary Horse Show in 2007. The Symphony Of Horses event will be held on Friday evening, April 20, 2007. It should again be a sold out performance so those wanting to participate and attend should get their tickets early.”

Although there were many aspects of the week that were popular, the bottom line was the show ring competition. From the beaming smile of Nicki Percoco’s beaming smile while making her victory pass in the first class, the UPHA 8 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup, to the explosive open performances of the Morgan Park Harness Grand Champion Queen Starfire and Five-Gaited Jackpot Grand Champion Cameo’s Appearance, it was a week to remember.

In the performance divisions $500 Added Jackpot Stakes were offered in the open five-gaited, road pony and Morgan English pleasure divisions. This year’s Five-Gaited Jackpot Stake was light compared to entries in the majority of classes. Two amateurs took on two professionals and the professionals had the upper hand. A star on the New England circuit for the past few seasons, Cameo Appearance captured the jackpot stake with Darlene Trento-Wright aboard for Jodie Goff. Winner of the open class as well, this white-legged campaigner has a motor that doesn’t stall. For the second consecutive year, Jan Lukens rode the reserve grand champion for Louise DeBlois. Grand Marq was their 2006 entry.


Another repeat team came in the form of Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champions and qualifying winners Kate Harvey Codeanne and Yes I Have. They sailed through both classes last year and came back to open the season even stronger for the family’s Cedarledge Farm. They had solid competition from reserve grand champions CH Rastafarian and Mika Ryan. A dedicated horse show mom for several years for daughters Kate and Megan, Ryan is taking her turn in the saddle this year and she debuted with a victory pass in the ladies class. Erin McCracken and Bare Assets followed the Gary Guz-trained combination in the ladies class.


The large numbers switched from the amateur classes to the junior exhibitor division at this show. Representing Phoenix Stables, Anne Kennedy and Callaway’s Rhapsody In Blue turned back six challengers in the qualifier and then went on to wear the tricolor as well. Another winning member from the Ryan family, Megan rode CH LA Wing Victory to the reserve championship, followed by the hard riding Geralyn Dexter and Hawkcrest. Jessica Moctezuma and All Show had powered their way to reserve in the qualifier.


Year after year Jan Lukens brings out a host of new, young horses and puts them on top. She rode Bobbi Brown to the Junior/Novice Five-Gaited title for Joellen Fisher Blount. Jason Molback and Bare Assets accepted the red prize. Also in the young horse category, Twist and Twirl was the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Champion for Darlene Trento-Wright’s Wrighthall Stable.


The Morgan English Pleasure Jackpot Stake attracted a large number of top shelf contenders vying for the added money. Nicki Rae Woodworth delivered the winning ride taking the Futurity French Command son Think About It MEM to the tricolor title. Although it wasn’t required, they qualified with a victory pass in the ladies class for owner Alexandra Frangiosa.

Pondview E-Z Spirit returned to the show ring in a big way with Ann Anderson. They won the open class before taking reserve grand champion honors. AMHF Absolute Grandeur was second in the open class for trainer David Rand.

Rand also trained the Morgan Amateur English Pleasure Grand Champions, Monnington Wish and Amanda Poirier. They stepped up with a championship caliber performance to defeat among others, reserve ladies winners Loek Neimeth and Trebles Legal Tender. It was a deep championship with amateur qualifying winners Queen’s Loverboy and Sandy Hendrick giving Rand two of the top three placings.


Rand continued his winning ways in the pleasure division with Adrianna Liberty and Ultra’s Proclamation setting the example for all to follow. It was their second trip down victory lane and in both classes Liberation Madison Square and Abby Raucher followed in reserve for Fox Meadow Farm. In the Morgan Junior English Pleasure competition, Anne Benson rode Heidi Kunkel’s homebred No Kidding to the winner’s circle. The Stonegate Farm-trained team was called out ahead of reserve champion Donaldsonville, an entry ridden by Ann Anderson for Saralin Farm. Nikki Rae Woodworth had a great week also winning with KGA Odyssey in the novice class for Maggie Hood. Reserve honors in the large class went to Monnington Wish and David Rand.

Road ponies carried the division for the Hackneys and their open championship was chosen by the committee to be a $500 Added Jackpot Stake. Five entries showed up for the battle, but none could outdo open class winner Regal’s Rebel LF. Never turning an ear and always charging down the rail, this Skip Shenker-trained speedster was presented by Diana Kressley-Billig for her brother Carson Kressley. Showing for Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Roden, Rodney Hicks presented the UPHA Classic Reserve Champion, Michigan’s Habanero, to the Road Pony Jackpot Reserve Grand Championship. Jon Douglas and Charnita had picked up the reserve ribbon in the open qualifier.

Representing Fairfield South, Heartland Yankee Strutter was the name to remember in the Amateur Road Pony Championship and qualifier. Owned and driven by Rusty Morrison, Yankee Strutter was impressive in both outings and was followed by the sporty team of Alex Ververeli and Mastercraft’s Gambler. The new combination of Don Spann and UPHA Chapter 14 Pony Of The Year Dun-Haven Highly Impressive debuted to take third in both good classes.

Sweeping the pony UPHA Classics, Maureen Lyndon presented Mr. Lucky Man to take the road pony section for Rudy and Sharon Lewis. Michigan’s Habanero and Rodney Hicks were reserve.

Hackney pleasure driving ponies are strong in most areas and the Northeast is one of them. However, it was an out-of-area pony taking the tricolor title as Devon Garone was the catch driver for grand champion Bear Creek’s Beloved. Maureen Lydon and Rich Campbell directed them to the wins in both the championship and qualifier for Joshua Crietien and Eve Ennis. Kyle Gagnon was the catch driver for the Daigle family’s Matchmaker to garner reserve grand champion honors. They came from the winner’s circle of the junior exhibitor class. Reserve in the qualifier, the multi-titled Miss Excellence finished third in the championship with owner Janet Crawford Hicks at the whip.

Garone also had a winning catch drive with UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic Champion Fortune Cookie. Fortune Cookie was owned and presented by Majestic Oaks of Simpsonville, Ky.

Helping Rodney Hicks earn another High Point Hackney Trainer Award, Joyanna and Ann Hailey scored the top drives from the Harness Pony Championship and open qualifier. This talented, young mare defeated Twin Willow’s Kaitlyn for championship honors. In the first round it was Woodwinds Blackout and Maureen Lydon in reserve. The Hicks/Hailey team also came out on top in the Amateur Harness Pony Championship. Hailey drove BRS The Phantom down victory lane, followed by the leg-waving qualifying winner, Sir Galahad. Well known on the New England circuit, Sir Galahad was driven by Janine LaSalle for David and Janine LaSalle.

Maureen Lydon was back in the winner’s circle as she debuted Sky Hawk to win the UPHA Harness Pony Classic title. Rudy and Sharon Lewis’ Majestic Oaks owned this homebred son of world’s champion Mr. Hawkeye. Misty Hills Farm enjoyed reserve honors with Justa Summer Breeze and Ryan Fornango.

To make it a sweep, Lydon also drove C Hawk for the Lewis family to capture the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic honors. In that round they defeated Rodney Hicks and The Marksman. The Marjorie Kenney entry came back to win the Hackney Pony Championship with a strong performance. They had to be on the money to defeat open class winner Megabucks. The highly decorated reserve grand champion was driven by John Lampropoulos for Irene York.

Giving her full support of the division, Ann Hailey’s Skymark took the blue and tricolor prizes in the amateur cob-tail qualifier and championship. Nathen Roden was the catch driver for trainer Rodney Hicks.

Moving back to the Saddlebred division, the dynamic I’m Sky High followed up wins at Raleigh Spring with the Three-Gaited Grand Championship and open class blue at Spring Premiere. The patience of trainer Gary Guz and owner Rick Daigle has paid off as Garone made two solid performances with the bay gelding. Also having two strong rides, Holli Esposito did a great job of jockeying the go forward Mild Emotion to reserve finishes in both events.

Riding her own entry, Esposito captured both the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier. The 2005 Amateur Three-Gaited Reserve National Champion and UPHA Chapter 14 Saddlebred Of The Year, Sightline was again an all-star to begin the ’06 campaign for the L.M. Turner Stables. This year Sightline and Esposito had some topnotch competition as Margaret Biggs was aboard her young star, Hawkwing, to take reserve honors in both classes.

After topping the ladies class with a sharp ride, Careen DuBuc finished third in the amateur championship aboard the black mare Broadway’s Mamma Mia. Paulette Brim and Extreme Rites were right there for reserve in the ladies class and also followed Broadway’s Mamma Mia in the amateur championship.

Michael Murphy had Maura Fratus and Callaway’s Born A Star tuned just right. They put on two convincing shows to take top honors in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Giovanna Leone and Tony Leone debuted with two reserve titles under the direction of RMD Stables.

Jan Lukens presented another nice entry for Joellen Fisher-Blount. Lukens showed Cocktail Ring to win the Junior/Novice Three-Gaited class ahead of Robin McGahey and Tony Leone.

In the Three-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier the tricolor and blue went to the Wentz Stables team of Kirby Tapper and Sultan’s Crescendo. Both times out, Brighton Barousse and My Gisele followed them.

The park division seems to get stronger every year and there was plenty of quality to go around at Spring Premiere. The beautiful four-year-old Snorkel topped both the junior/novice class and the Three-Gaited Park Championship. Kristen Spann was in the irons for Marybeth Alosa. Diane Tambussi and Mystery Guest stepped up with a big time performance to take reserve grand champion honors back to the L.M. Turner Stables tack room. Of the nine championship entries, Diamonds I Am finished third with Deidre Henry in the irons. The sporty What’s Kentucky Rose and Miriam Hirshon rode up for the reserve prize in the junior/novice class.

It was a different set of winners in the Open Three-Gaited Park class. John Gregory and My Witching Hour led the way for Misty Hills Farm. Chemistry In Motion and Sally Kropp followed them.

Right at home in the winner’s circle at UPHA 14, World’s Champion CH Desert’s Supreme Lady went two for two in the amateur park division. Rick Daigle and The Big Dance proved to be the reserve grand champion competition, while Callaway’s Prime Rate and Diana Kressley-Billig commanded reserve honors in the qualifier and third in the championship.

Junior exhibitors also had their turn in the park division. Uwharries Street Legal swept both the qualifier and championship with Robin McGahey directing Lauren Sopel to the titles. Jewels Image and Alyssa Strock were twice reserve winners.

There were a couple of new faces to the circuit for the fine harness division this year and they both came out on top. World’s Champion My Special Dream was as charismatic as ever to win the Fine Harness Championship and open class. Jon Douglas made the winning drives for owner Judith Heinbach. A many times champion on the New England circuit, Kendall Jackson was twice reserve with Daryl Carlow driving under the direction of David Arnold.

Nicholas Villa sent the new team of Kathy Osnoe and Harlem’s Beau Dandy to the winner’s circle twice in the amateur section. Judge Craghead had them at the top of his card ahead of the winning combination of Sue Spann and Callaway’s Whirligig. Also in the harness division, Anna Commanda was the UPHA Fine Harness Classic Champion for trainer Jerome Parker and owner Holly Turner.

The new rule for the roadster to bike division has been a disservice to the New England area and other parts of the country where the road horse participation is small and usually relies on Morgans and Standardbred/Saddlebred entries showing together to make even a small class. The Open Roadster To Bike class at Spring Premiere had been dropped with no Standardbred/Saddlebred interest over the past few years and a Morgan roadster to bike division was added.

David Rand has come out with the champion the past two years and this time around JW Rare Review made his debut to rave reviews. Pumping his legs and moving down the rail, Rare Review was the grand champion and qualifying winner for David Rand and owner Dr. Grace Steere. Also ensuring the division stays alive, Jennifer Roberts and her champion Dial Wild crossed the finish line in reserve.

Rand had another entry with boundless energy and talent, the Morgan Park Harness Grand Champion and open class winner. When Queen’s Starfire came out of a turn and headed down the rail, she thrilled spectators of every breed as she was all show horse. Rocky and Diana Schliefer were the proud owners of this star of the show. Twice Larry Bonnell and the flashy JWS Sporting Victory commanded reserve honors ahead of Harry Sebring and Something Wicked.

Bonnell did come out on top in the Morgan Junior/Novice Park Harness class. He was driving Quabbin Obsession for Donald Girroir. Sebring and WS Commanding Spirit picked up the red prize in that competition. Bonnell did all he could to support the park harness division. B Sharp Major was another entry he drove, this one to the UPHA Park Harness Classic title.

Steven Handy and RRF Stars N Stripes have graduated to the amateur harness division and, unfortunately, there was no competition for them this year. That didn’t stop the Hobby Knoll team from entertaining the crowd with two strong drives.

Just as the Morgan Park Harness Championship was larger than in the past few years, so was the Morgan Park Saddle Championship. It was good to see some top competition come together this early in the season. Part of the reason David Rand was the Morgan High Point Trainer for the second consecutive year was the performance of Twin Peak Limitless. Rand rode the Dr. Grace Steere entry to tricolor honors after warming up with a victory pass in the junior/novice class. Bold and athletic, he marched off both ends to defeat open class winner CBMF Great Balls Of Fire and Amy Neifert, among others.

Coming back with a tricolor performance, 2005 Reserve World Champion Fox Glen Hail To Divinity moved up a notch from the qualifier to win the Morgan Amateur Park Saddle Grand Championship. They were greeted in the winner’s circle by Hobby Knoll trainer Ann Anderson. Qualifying winners Sandy Hendrick and the homebred Queen’s Victorian Lady made the reserve champion victory pass. Adding to the depth of the good class, Robert Neimeth and Silverheels Synergy made some impressive passes to take third place honors.

While they might not get as much national ink as some of the Kentucky and Midwest instructors, the women and men teaching the art of saddle seat equitation on the New England circuit have the credentials backed up by a long list of world and national champions in both the Saddlebred and Morgan worlds. Combine the riders from both breeds and you’ve got a division filled with quality horsemanship.

Two such riders had a great early season test. In the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship, Judge Craghead asked all five riders to perform the individual workout. Following that, he sent Kyle Gagnon and Jessica Moctezuma back to the rail for even more work. There was an enthusiastic, good-sized crowd on hand and these two seasoned veterans were more than up to the task.

It was a great way to kick off the Saturday night schedule as Announcer Bill Carrington invited Jessica Moctezuma to the winner’s circle to receive the tricolor. The 14-17 age group/UPHA 14-17 Challenge Cup/USEF Medal Champion was greeted by her mother/instructor Nealia McCracken. Winner of the NHS Good Hands, Gagnon represented Gary and Marsha Garone’s Fairfield South. Reserve riders in those qualifiers included Brynne Cummings, Laura McGee, Alexandria Simpson, Marissa Gillespie, and Brooke Gove.

World Champion Brooke Gove also qualified for the big dance in October with the UPHA Morgan Challenge Cup blue. Cricket Hill stablemate Olivia Prentiss won the UPHA 13 and Under Challenge Cup and 12-13 age group. They were just warm ups to her winning ride in the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship in which Nena Martin was reserve grand champion. Meghann Wright and Sarah Brow took home reserve ribbons in the Morgan and Junior Challenge Cups, while Mary Mitkish was second among the 12-13 year old riders.

Jean DeGutis directed Marlo Franco to the Limit Saddle Seat Equitation blue and Brittany Schilling to the AMHA Saddle Seat Medal. Kimberly Meserve was second in the large limit class, while Brynne Cummings picked up another reserve in the Medal.

Peter Axtel coached Danielle Benson to the top prize in the NEHC Medal competition. Marissa Gillespie was second among the six riders.

Adult riders had their chance in the spotlight as well. Margaret Biggs added to a winning week by making the victory pass in the UPHA Adult Challenge Cup. Erin McCracken was the reserve rider.

Getting as many cheers as any class of the show, the Trainer’s Equitation class closed out the Friday evening session. It was a strong battle with Equitation High Point Trainer Kristen Spann backing up her teaching with a championship ride. Robin McGahey was right behind for reserve champion honors. Also in the mix were Elaine Gregory, Tara Wentz, and Deborah Black.

What a week it was for third generation horsewomen Ali and Nicki Percoco. Ali won the Saddle Seat Equitation 11 and Under title over Jessica Ribeiro, while younger sister Nicki made the victory pass in the UPHA 8 and Under Walk and Trot class before winning the Walk and Trot Pleasure 11 and Under qualifier and championship. Grandmother Jayne Romano and mother Paula Percoco were leading the cheering squad.

In the 8 and Under Walk and Trot Challenge Cup, Lukens Stables’ Savannah Pike was the reserve winner. Wright Hall’s Michaela Gillespie moved from the reserve winner of the 9-10 Walk and Trot Challenge Cup to the Walk and Trot Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champion (Sec. A). Fairfield South’s young star, Gavin Gagnon, was reserve grand champion in Section A after winning the UPHA 9-10 Walk and Trot Challenge Cup. Third in the extremely competitive championship belonged to High Tail Acres’ Alice Rowland who had topped Kate Kielceski in the Walk and Trot 11 and Under Equitation class.

High Tail Acres’ Deidre Henry and Darla DelTorchio also sent Maggie McCool to the winner’s circle of the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship Section B. The smooth-riding young lady made her second victory pass of the week in that championship. Alicia Fraser instructed reserve grand champion Kate Kielceski.

The youngest of the walk and trotters, Molly Codeanne topped nine other riders for the Lead Line Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Her mother and former Equitation Triple Crown winner Kate Harvey Codeanne led the champion. Ariella Silber was all smiles as she exited the ring with the reserve title and a great start to her career. Montanna Lambrecht was the sole contestant for the Hunter-Western Lead Line class.

In specialty equitation competition, Elizabeth Wylie was the best of the Morgan classic equitation riders, while Stevie Meder was on top in the hunt seat equitation section.

Adding to the Cricket Hill Farm totals, Kahla Buthlay led all contenders in the Pleasure Equitation Championship. That happened to be her third victory pass as she qualified with wins in the 17 and Under Pleasure Equitation class and the UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup. Equitation Unlimited’s Marlo Franco was reserve grand champion. Brittany Schilling and Kimberlee Meserve were reserve in the qualifiers.

There wasn’t a weak spot on the schedule this year and Saddlebred pleasure was a good example. World’s Champion Liquid Thunder swept the large gaited pleasure section winning the championship and qualifier. Rick Daigle was in the saddle again to garner the wins for Fairfield South. New to the Spring Premiere, Dartmoor was twice reserve under the direction of Skip Shenker. Cheryl Innis rode in the qualifier and Diana Kressley-Billig did the honors in the championship. A host of champions were behind them.

Gary Garone made the right call when he selected equitation champion Sultan’s Savannah Anna for Jan Beardsley-Blanco’s new pleasure driving horse. This was the second show of the year for which they were named grand champions and qualifying winners. Representing Misty Hills Farm, Herb Headwell and Mi American Gigilo stepped up for the reserve championship performance. Tiana Tapper and CH Lover’s Heir were reserve in the qualifier.

They came 15 strong for the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and everywhere you looked someone was making a good pass. When it was all over, Delores Barker and Spirited Edition were called from the line up as the 2006 grand champion. It was the second time Gary Garone had greeted them in the winner’s circle. Coming from a reserve in the large novice class, Nothin’ But Spice and Ann Jones brought home the reserve grand championship to Cricket Hill Farm.

You had to be a smooth operator to be seen in the Novice Show Pleasure class in which 16 teams competed. Cheryl Innis picked her spots and made each pass count to win the deep class for Somersdream. Ann Jones and Nothin’ But Class exited with the red streamers for Ann Jones.

Marjorie Newman added to the Cricket Hill totals with two winning rides in the Novice Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Cathy Rogers-Holmes and Michelotti LLC were the second names called out in each event.

With 10 entries going head to head in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure 14-17 Championship, My Dakota and Jessica Moctezuma earned their second trip down victory lane. The new team of New York’s Time Square and Lauren Lagasse followed the Gail Costello entry. They traded places with reserve qualifying winners Jessica MacLeod and New York Entertainer.

Cricket Hill trainer David Cater put Memories Of Memphis and Caroline Rose on top in the 13 and under pleasure division. There were challenges from a number of entries most notably twice reserve champions CH Callaway’s Publicist and Elizabeth Ververeli.

Numbers were so large in the walk and trot saddle seat pleasure division the class had to be split. Aboard CH Sargent Royalty, Nicki Percoco won the first section after also taking the qualifier. Judge Craghead was consistent in his decision making as Brittany Pothier and Menomin Independent Yankee were twice reserve and Katie Hill aboard Cashmere and Swede were twice third.

Section two found Conundrum and Gabrielle Blakeman wearing the tricolor home to Equitation Unlimited while Jeremie Robbins and Bo’s Rhythm and Blues made the reserve victory pass. The absolutely adorable team of Max Liberty and Gradell’s Wild Reflection sailed to victory in the qualifier. This grand horse had the tough task of replacing the legendary Hyland Acres Command.

Nicholas Roberts was not to be denied in both the Walk-Trot Hunt and Western Seat Equitation Championship and qualifier. His closest competition came in the form of Miller Young Fina.

From young riders to young horses, Rob Turner-trained entries ruled the two classes offered. Erica Rae Faulkner’s expressive youngster Charm’s Choice was on top in the Junior Park Pleasure Prospect class in which Jan Lukens took second aboard Macdonald Dixon.

Turner also coached his assistant, Jessica Savinelli, to the winner’s circle in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. She was aboard the bold moving Charm’s Top Cat. Kevin Tomasko turned in the reserve performance with the athletic He Is The Heir.

The quality did not fall off in the country pleasure division, as current Reserve World’s Champion The Petite Princess looked every bit a world’s champion with her performances in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Kate Codeanne was again riding for the family’s Cedarledge Farm. No stranger to the winner’s circle, Itchy Foot Moe trotted away with the red ribbon and reserve tricolor for Dr. Geraldine Meanor.

Catch riding for Pam Prentiss, Sarah Flynn made each pass count aboard Endear in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure Championship. This was yet another tricolor for Cricket Hill. This winter’s hard work paid off for Libby Green as she rode Elizabeth McCracken’s Midnight Eclipse to reserve grand champion honors. This followed up their reserve in the qualifier, which was won by Jessica Moctezuma and Callaway’s Will To Win.

Jo Hight and Natalie Libby led the cheering section for Holly Tumiel and their Co-Star’s Irish Blend after they won the Novice Rider Country Pleasure Championship and qualifier. Leslie Hagenow and CH Touch The Fire moved up a notch from the qualifying round to win the reserve championship. Julie Barker had ridden Sue English’s Mapleridge Rare Event to reserve in the qualifier. Orion’s Star was the first name called out in the Limit Country Pleasure class. Margory Blair Brown was the winning owner/rider.

Western superstar CH A Magic Surprise won all three western classes offered and each class had eight entries. Owner Pat Johnson was the winning rider. Orion’s Star and Margory Blair Brown were reserve grand champions, while Heir To Lakota and Fame’s Favour were reserve in the two qualifiers for Wentz Stables.

Rounding out the Morgan competition, Melissa Morrell put a stamp on her winning week with the victory pass from Saturday night’s Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship. It was the second time she visited the winner’s circle with Can’t You See MEM for owner Phyllis Frechette. The Copper Beech entry of Adventure’s Priority was reserve for the second time with Harry Sebring driving. Stablemate CBMF Solitaire was third with Rodney Hicks.

Copper Beech LLC was again represented at the top as Ann Hailey drove Contagious to garner the Morgan Amateur Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier. Judge Mark Bodnar had Sarde’s Up In Smoke and Kathy Shubitowski as the reserve grand champions. Kathy Ranzinger and OH Inspiration held down that spot in the qualifier. Adriana Liberty and Ultra’s Proclamation started their year off right with a stroll down victory lane in the junior exhibitor driving class. Emily Mosher and MLF Storm Warning followed.

Moreland Farm put another championship in the books as Melissa Morrell drove RJMF Barrymore to take the Junior Morgan Pleasure Driving Championship. They started with a win in the UPHA Morgan Pleasure Driving Classic in which LSG She’s Come Undone and Alicia Fraser were reserve. In the junior championship it was junior qualifying winner Jellico Colors and Honors marching a strong trot to command the reserve grand championship for Taylor River Farm. Jean DeGutis and SKB Isabella followed Jellico Colors and Honors in the qualifier.

There was no room for error in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship and its qualifiers. With 14 entries, many of them household names, competing in the championship it was extremely gratifying for Molly O’Brien to be called from the line up as the winning owner/rider aboard Divine Comedy. They had been reserve in the ladies class. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to an entry with a long list of wins, Rumor Has It. Elizabeth Young Fina again rode the reserve grand champion for owner/trainer Barbara Irvine. Med-E-Oka French Morocco’s 403 was the first number called in both the ladies and open saddle competition. Lauren Johnson made the winning rides for Dr. Grace Steere.

A Junior/Novice Classic Pleasure Saddle blue was awarded to Rowenda Razzmatazz with Melissa Gawrys aboard for Bonnie and Angie Bettencourt Gawrys.

Kehle Trussell and The Lion King had to be happy with their performances in the Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle Championship and qualifier. With double-digit entries, wins in both were sweet. Two reserve titles went home with GQ Bilzone Material and Kehle Trussell.

The homebred stock of Ann Hailey did well at Spring Premiere. She guided CBMF Mozambique to another tricolor title with their performance in the Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. From Misty Meadows Farm, Robert Neimeth drove Stoneledge Step Aside to the reserve championship following their win in the open class. Equinox Toy Soldier had won the junior/novice class with Terri Travers over CBMF Mozambique.

Futurity’s On Your Mark left a lasting impression in the Morgan western pleasure division. Owned and ridden by Donna Evans and trained at Moreland Farm, he swept the amateur and open divisions winning both championships and qualifiers. Sawmill Montego Bay and Brenda Martin were four time reserve winners. Ruthless Endeavor and Melissa Lambrecht got the blue prize in the junior/novice class.

Ann Anderson and Peter Wheeler had Laura Reed and SMS Moredelay tuned to perfection to win the Morgan Hunter Pleasure Championship. Their week started with a victory pass in the 15-entry junior/novice class. Reserve grand champion honors went to Elizabeth James aboard Apostrophe. They had also been reserve in the Morgan Amateur Hunter Pleasure Championship and qualifier.

From John and Sheri Lampropoulos’ Northgate Stables, Tori Matozzi and Bradvue’s Sudden Impact were unstoppable in both amateur classes. Besides being her number one cheerleader, Matozzi’s dad, Mike Matozzi, was the man doing a great job behind the counter each morning at the Hospitality Room. Kate La Rose and Carlyle Markedly were the first choice from the junior exhibitor class, however, in the championship round it was Raintree Val Jean standing in the winner’s circle with Stevie Meder. Morgan Zielinski and Dubonett W/A Twist earned their second reserve of the week.

Last but not least among the Morgan competitors, a great group of youngsters rode for the Walk-Trot Hunter and Western Pleasure Championship and qualifier. From Fox Meadow Farm, Nicholas Roberts made his mom, Jennifer, extremely proud with both his victory passes aboard TJB Opinionated. Following the family tradition, Miller Young Fina rode Marin Royal Command to reserve. Eliza Hine was second in the qualifier with Briarlane Sparkling Sheri.

As mentioned earlier, the open classes and Friesian competition added greatly to the show. Ten Friesians were in the ring at one time for their under saddle class. David Arnold rode Lou and Deliah Fox’s ever-popular entry Jorritt to both wins in the large division. Open pleasure class after open pleasure class was filled to capacity, adding yet another dimension to an already competitive week.

With another show in the books, Chapter 14 was already looking ahead to next year’s Symphony Of Horses and the 25th UPHA Spring Premiere. Complete results can be found at Show Results.


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