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West Coast Stars Gather At Morgan Medallion

Each year many of the top celebrities on the west coast gather to compete at the Morgan Medallion Regional Championship Horse Show. This year was no different as over 300 of the west coast's finest battled for superiority on August 13-16 at the scenic Earl Warren Showgrounds. The 42nd edition of the AMHA Region 7 Championship show was once again presented by the Morgan Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. A portion of the proceeds from this year's show again benefited the worthwhile charity M.A.R.E. (Mastering Abilities Riding Equines) to whom a special presentation was made on Thursday night. The competition at this year's Medallion was first rate with many past and present World Champions taking part in the competition. Some fantastic young horses and new combinations also took to the ring that will surely be vying for future World Championship honors. Most of the west coast's top stables were in attendance with quality at a premium at this show. Stables who brought their finest to the Medallion included: Arcuri Stables, Baccarat Farms, Cathy Grimes Training Stable, Deer Creek Farm, Destrier, Dragonfire Farm, Figure Horse Farm, Fire Run Farm, Gerry Rushton Stables, Garn Walker Stable, Glyn-Rae Stables, Illahee, Keith Nelsen Stable, Miller Training, Missy Rushton Stables, Rancho Del Mar, Red Fox Morgans, Rickford Stables, Rock Walker Stables, Sterling Hill Training, The River’s Edge, Vegas Valley Morgans, Wolf Creek Ranch, Young Equestrian Services and many more. Exhibitors thoroughly enjoyed their stay in Santa Barbara again this year. Strong sunshine and warmer than normal coastal temperatures were a delight for those who were interested in being tourists as well as attending the show. Although there are three sessions a day, exhibitors always find some time to enjoy the scenic area beaches, fine restaurants, and shopping that Santa Barbara is famous for. The tone of this year's show was a bit more subdued than in some previous years. The absence of Rock Walker following his serious accident earlier in the year was certainly felt. However, the Rock Walker Stables team maintained the winning tradition with another successful week in Santa Barbara. This year's show was dedicated to the memory of two loyal supporters of the Morgan Medallion, James Wigle and Frieda Waer will be greatly missed. This year's show gave exhibitors numerous chances to get together and interact. In addition to several scheduled parties, there were numerous barn aisle parties and birthday celebrations that gave everyone a chance to mingle. Exhibitors were treated to a “Welcome to Santa Barbara” barbecue on Wednesday evening followed by an ice cream social sponsored by Intrepid Farms and Festival Morgans. Thursday evening's festivities featured a birthday celebration for Timeless Beauty hosted by Laurette Walsh at David Young Equestrian Services. Friday evening's grand finale featured a celebration in honor of the Hall Of Fame induction of Park Place Pledge (see separate article). MHBEA President Kristy Wallenbrock thanked everyone for their attendance with a dessert buffet at the show's conclusion on Saturday night. The junior exhibitor riders celebrated the culmination of a great week of competition with Saturday night's High Point Awards. The champions this year were; Samantha Lyttle and Katherine Cota - Saddle Seat, Katie Teevin and Lucy Kagan - Western Seat, and Samantha Schuring and Lucy Kagan - Hunt Seat. Heading the list of officials at this year's Medallion were show chair Penny Lakatos, co-chairs Vicki Clayton and Alice Day-Johnson, and show manager Harriet Landrum. Show secretary Leonora Bedolla was assisted by Sheri Hurst and Diane Novak. Matt Hinton and Hal Lockey served again as announcers along with paddock steward Jim Kurtze. Colorful organist Shay Torrent was back playing the tunes. Adele Maurer did her usual fine job serving as ringmaster, while Cynthia Reid kept order as USAE Steward. Casey McBride served as official show photographer delivering award-winning photos to eager exhibitors. The assignments for selecting this year's champions went to Luman Wadhams (Mares and Stallions In Hand, Park Saddle, Park Harness, English Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Classic Pleasure Driving, Saddle Seat Equitation and Miscellaneous); Richard Sereni (Geldings In Hand, Western Pleasure, Classic Pleasure Saddle, Hunter Pleasure, Carriage Driving, Reining, Stock Seat and Hunt Seat Equitation and Miscellaneous); Judy Wright (Trail and Hunters Over Fences); and Melissa Cresswick (Dressage). Mark Bodnar took his turn in the ring as learner judge. The 2003 Morgan Medallion was an all star gathering of the west coast titans of the Morgan breed. Each and every medallion was hard earned; and many of these fine champions will next vie for a pass under the Oklahoma spotlight.

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