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UPHA/AHHS Convention A Success in the Bluegrass State

by Leeann Mione and Lynn Morrison
The combined convention of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association and American Hackney Horse Society in Lexington, Ky., Jan. 10-12, had a laid back casual feeling and well attended auctions, meetings and banquets. The weekend was filled with both poignant moments that brought many to tears and entertaining speakers that brought plenty of laughter. In-between there were informative presentations, group meetings and seminars.

Wednesday evening, Chapter 9 held the Bluegrass Futurity Dinner and Stallion Auction. A big crowd was on hand and the bidding was fast and furious.

The first Bluegrass Futurity weanling class will be held in October at The Kentucky Fall Classic Horse Show where the winning weanling could earn approximately $45,000. This program was created to promote the breeding of the American Saddlebred and to give money back to the breeders of these animals. It is felt that the breeders are the backbone of our industry and with a decline in the number of large breeding operations, small breeders need help and incentives to continue to breed quality Saddlebreds. It was with that thought that The Bluegrass Futurity was developed to put money back where it is needed.

Melissa Moore stated, "This program was developed with the input of some extremely smart and talented individuals that I would like to thank; Jerry Hutson, Joan Lurie, Carter Cox, Adam Clauson, Gaynor Shane, Bret Day, Lynn Weatherman and Pat McConnell. Also, I would like to thank The Breeders Guide for their support and for their wonderful publication along with The American Saddlebred Reference Guide. Moore stated she would like this futurity to be known as a futurity for the horseman, both professional and amateur. She also encouraged suggestions and criticism as they are constantly striving to improve this program to benefit all involved.

Eighty-six stallions were offered for 2002 with Callaway's Gold Rush topping the auction bringing a bid of $7,200 from Spencer Mains. Supreme Heir followed with a bid of $5,300 from Misdee Wrigley with Supremacy's High Time going for $4,200. Patricia Misko was the high bidder. Periaptor received a bid of $3,200 from Brad Bacon and the Merchant Prince service was purchased by Liz Thomas for $3,000. In all approximately $87,000 was raised with several stallions still available.

Thursday evening brought the attendees together for the AHHS dinner and fund raising auction. The annual awards were presented as well. The Mr. and Mrs. John Costello Breeder’s Award was given to Darrel and Sandy Kolkman. Rich Campbell accepted the award from presenter Georgia Blevins. The Anna Lee Spires Judd Exhibitors Award was given to Isabel Robson and was accepted on her behalf by Gib Marcucci.

Crystal Harmon was awarded the AHHS Youth Award and was joined by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lester Harmon, and trainer Roy Harris for the presentation. Dinwiddie Lampton, Jr., accepted the Lydia Luhman Pederson Distinguished Service Award from presenter Georgia Blevins. Gib Marcucci returned to the podium to accept the Bill G. Robinson Trainer of the Year Award.

Dr. Carl Hurley was the featured entertainer and his humorous take on life brought laughter from the crowd and was a topic of conversation at banquet tables and in elevators all weekend. The auction offered quite an array of spectacular items with one of the biggest sellers being a likeness of the Kolkman’s chestnut cobtail stallion, Heartland Equality, created as a carousel horse by Tommy Lovell. Other items included “Excitement”, a bronze created by artist Connie Foss. Steve Zindars donated a week’s stay at a villa in Jamaica, and Mary Gaylord McClean donated a resort package at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Col. Janet Crawford Hicks and Jessie Pettie both donated paintings and Embry’s of Lexington donated a fur coat. Walt Robertson served as auctioneer for the event.

The Board of Directors including new AHHS officers for 2002 played a big part in the success of the evening. They are as follows: Vern Houston, president; Steve Golden, vice-president; Christy Weaver, secretary; and Judy Lowry, treasurer. The board also has five new directors for 2002; Matt Shuckert, Josh Greer, Marilyn Macfarlane, Ed Frickey, and Julie Wilson.

The UPHA Convention Saddlebred, Roadster, Hackney and Equitation AHSA Rule Change Forum on Friday brought several rules up for discussion.

The proposed rule changes for the Hackney, roadster, saddle seat equitation and Saddlebred divisions were also discussed by the USA Equestrian Board of Directors on Jan. 13, 2002 at their annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

At Friday's meeting, most of the rules were unanimously agreed upon with the exception of the rule concerning shoeing of the Country Pleasure Horse, which was voted to be left out. Many felt it was an unnecessary rule change.

The roadster division requested a change stating "Any driver, rider, horse or pony in the roadster division exhibiting inappropriate or dangerous behavior or whose actions would in any way threaten the safety of any other exhibitor, their entries or the safety of class officials will be ordered from the ring." All present felt this was an appropriate recommendation.

Friday’s associate members meeting, led by president Sally Jackson, featured a panel consisting of Ed Bennett, Mary Gaylord McClean, Donna Pettry Smith, Dena Lopez, and Kayce Bell. Former president Tom Pettry and Sally Jackson moderated the discussion of horse shows and how owners and exhibitors decide what horse shows they want to attend. In other words, “What makes a good horse show?”

At the UPHA general membership meeting Russ Walther spoke about the “MASCUP ASB Rider” program that he is working to implement in the Saddlebred industry this year. The program, which would award points to riders in open three-gaited, five-gaited, fine harness, and roadster classes is designed to increase the number of entries in open competition and would offer the incentive of prize money up for grabs at the end of the year. Walther explained that horse shows, specifically USA Equestrian-rated shows, would be able to apply to be MASCUP shows. MASCUP classes must offer prize money between $500 and $10,000. Riders are ranked throughout the year and at the end of the year would compete at the MASCUP Championship designated show for a large amount of prize money. The program has proven to be quite successful in the hunter/jumper industry and the crowd at the convention seemed receptive to the program.

A high point of the discussions during the meeting was the fact that for the first time in the history of the UPHA there are now two members, Larry Bacon and Brent Jacobs, present on the USA Equestrian Hearings Committee.

Crystle Martin, from the Saddlebred Museum, always works hard to make their museum luncheon a success, but this year she expanded her role to include entertainer as well. Accompanied by Dave Beaudin on the piano, Martin sang and danced with Dave Morrison and Charlie Reaves to present a "Broadway Revue" in honor of the 2001 world's grand champions; CH Wild Eyed & Wicked, Yes It's True, and Callaway's Copyright.

The UPHA open meeting featured guest speaker Lee Jinight from Dulworth, Breeding, and Karns accounting firm who explained why the $1 million dollars the UPHA currently has in a foundation cannot be used by the UPHA. Laws prohibit the money from being used in a self-beneficial way by the UPHA. The UPHA also announced that the Dewey Henderson Benevolent Fund is up and running with a goal of $100,000 to be raised by year's end. Four year's ago a goal of $32,000 was set for the fund. Now in its first year the fund currently has $52,000.

Friday afternoon the equitation forum was held with a panel consisting of Scott Matton, Nancy Becker, Fran Crumpler, Sarah Byers and Lynda Freseth. Becker gave a report on the World Cup and felt all was going well with this event.

Two new equitation guides were introduced with one being the UPHA Saddle Seat Equitation Judges' Guide and the other including various workouts for the equitation division. The Exceptional Equitation Class was discussed and agreed upon that this has been a tremendous success. Also the UPHA Challenge Cup Scholarship Program brochure was introduced. The SEN judging system was discussed including some of the problems that occurred this season and the fact that work is already underway to improve and correct the system. The system was approved for use this coming show season. Scott Matton's term as head of the equitation committee has ended. Sarah Byers is now head of the committee.

Friday night's annual dinner, live and silent auction, and presentation of awards featured poignant moments and ended with great music from the Billy Becker band. In-between, the live auction raised approximately $36,000, the silent auction raised approximately $7000, and "The Weakest Link" pitted Marilyn Macfarlane, Dick Williams, Lynda Freseth, Smith Lilly, Nealia McCracken, and Lonnie Lavery in a battle modeled after the television show that had the crowd laughing as they were eliminated one by one. Nealia McCracken and Smith Lilly were the final two participants with McCracken eventually claiming the win.

The presentation of the Helen K. Crabtree Instructor of the Year Award was the first of the night. Kim Crumpler took the stage to speak about the recipient Jo Cornell and a video was shown of Jo and her brother Phil as children racing bareback down the lane at Whitney Stables. Randy and Denessa Harper presented the Sallie Wheeler Distinguished Service Award to Ed and Karen Frickey. Karen Frickey has just come off the board of the AHHS and Ed Frickey is one of the five new directors on the board. The speech read by the Harper's appears elsewhere in this issue.

Awards were also presented to the chapter horse persons of the year and to the chapter honor shows. A complete list of those winners is included elsewhere in this issue. Susan Reimer continued the special awards presentations with her speech and presentation of the first Shirley Parkinson Achievement to Clara Flor. Reimer's speech appears elsewhere in this issue. Jimmy Robertson presented the Hall of Fame Award to Bob Ruxer who was stunned speechless. Robertson's speech appears elsewhere in this issue.

The Shelbyville Horse Show, managed by R.H. Bennet, was the National Saddlebred/Hackney/roadster Honor Show for 2001. The Morgan Jubilee Horse Show, managed by Lenard Davenport was the Morgan National Honor Show for 2001.

Scarlett Mattson, manager of the World's Championship Horse Show which many felt was bigger, better and much improved in 2001, was named the Herman Miles Horse Show Manager of the Year. Lonnie Lavery read the speech and presented the award to Mattson. Lavery's speech appears elsewhere in this issue. Sarah Byers presented the final award of the evening, the second Sallie B. Wheeler Distinguished Service Award, to Mary Gaylord McClean. Byers' speech appears elsewhere in this issue.

Saturday morning's American Hackney Horse Society general meeting drew a large crowd and the agenda of topics to be covered was full. In addition to fund raising, awards, sweepstakes, nominations and the Limited Breeders Weanling Stakes, the discussions also addressed the upcoming Saturday afternoon auction. It was also announced that the American Saddlebred Museum had donated 14 of their 109 trophies from the historic Dodge Stables to the Hackney society. The trophies date from 1942 to 1961 and were won by the Dodge's string of Hackney ponies.

The five new directors on the board were introduced at the meeting and Steve Golden closed the proceedings by telling the group how much he had enjoyed his term as president of the AHHS. Vern Houston has now assumed that position.

Also on Saturday morning, Connie Huy and Trina Smith conducted a workshop on web sites and marketing of horses and horse farms. The UPHA's web site was also introduced.

The Morgan membership luncheon was held Saturday. Not many attended but those that didn't put it on their agenda missed a fun and informative time. After the meal the group gathered around and in an informal way decided to request that the UPHA Morgan Classic Championships and the Morgan equitation finals be held at the American Royal along with the other classic championships.

The AHHS Limited Breeders' Weanling Stakes Stallion Service Auction followed their luncheon and silent auction and raised more than $20, 000. Brad Lowe was the highest bidder of the afternoon for the service by Mr. Hawkeye, owned by Sharon Lewis. Twenty-five stallions were offered and auctioneer Walt Robertson kept the bidding active.

The silent auction featured an array of great items up for bid but it was a tiny, two inch high bronze by artist Connie Foss that started a bidding war between Marilyn Macfarlane and Christy Weaver. The bronze was finally purchased by Macfarlane for $950.00.

Saturday's CPR class drew nearly 40 participants and was led by Beverly Ford, EMT-Paramedic with STATCARE in Louisville, Ky. and Laurel Scott, the regional coordinator of the American Heart Association. Class participants were able to learn cardiopulmonaryrescuscitation techniques as well as how to aid a choking victim in a truly "hands-on" class.

Saturday evening brought the UPHA Awards Gala and dinner. The junior exhibitors also had their own awards banquet and a talent show. Coverage of their events appears elsewhere in this issue. The McConnell McRiders had the crowd on their feet as they started things off with their patriotic costumes of red, white, and blue and the presentation of the American flag. Billy Becker was on hand to sing the national anthem. Peter Doubleday emceed the event and kept things running smoothly. Trophies were presented to the UPHA Classics winners for 2001, as well as the UPHA Challenge Cup National Champions and reserve champions.

When Melissa Moore and Melinda Moore took the stage to pay tribute to their father, Tom Moore, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Melissa read some of the numerous cards and letters that the family received from people all over the country. Some knew Tom Moore personally and shared memories and anecdotes, and some never knew him at all but spoke of their admiration of him.

After the tribute to Tom Moore, Larry Bacon took the stage to present the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame Award to Dudley Abbott. Bacon did not read a speech about Abbott, instead the audience saw a video highlighting Abbott's life and award-winning career in the show horse industry. Abbott was surrounded by family as he took the stage to accept the award and a reception was held in his honor after the banquet was over.

Elisabeth Goth took the podium to introduce the UPHA Richard E. Lavery Horseman Of The Year Award recipient Larry Hodge. Hodge, the only living trainer of all three world's grand champions, was also surrounded by family to accept his award. A reception was held after the gala in his honor. Goth's speech appears elsewhere in this issue.

The UPHA Horse and Pony of the Year Awards, always eagerly anticipated by the crowd, had many on the edge of their seats to see if their horse or pony was a winner. Brooke Jacobs and Matthew Williams, Shirley Parkinson and Lonnie Lavery, Dick Williams and Sarah Byers, Jim and Jenny Taylor, Rick Schotthoffer and Denessa Harper, and Melissa Moore with husband Jerry Hutson, were all called upon to present the awards. A complete list of the winners appears elsewhere in this issue.

This highlights the events of the 2001 UPHA/AHHS combined convention in Lexington, Ky. Speeches and award winners follow elsewhere in this issue.

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