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Windy Weather Keeps Keystone Classic Lively

by Sherrill Ducharme

QUENTIN, Pa. - Just before the 9 a.m. start of the show, the rain stopped and the sun came out to welcome competitors to the 15th edition of the Keystone Classic Horse Show, held May 8 and 9 at the venerable Quentin Riding Club in Quentin, Pa. Lush green lawns and pastures, beautiful old shade trees, spacious rings bordered by crisp white fencing and an old-fashioned grandstand contribute to the charm of any show staged here.

Members of the Pennsylvania Saddlebred Horse Association worked hard to ensure a smooth-running and enjoyable show for the riders and their families even though the cool temperatures and brisk wind made it seem more like March than May. Show Treasurer and PSHA President Curt Melick emphasized, "We want the Keystone Classic to be a ‘warm and fuzzy’ show; budget friendly, low-key and low-pressure. The show was conceived and put together 15 years ago by Phil and Bobbi Jo Beck to provide an affordable and fun show opportunity for local folks."

This year’s show, like last year’s, was dedicated to Bobbi Jo Beck, who passed away in 2008. "All subsequent shows will be dedicated to Bobbi Jo, as she and Phil are the heart and soul of the Keystone Classic," added Melick.

Old traditions continued with the complimentary exhibitors’ Spaghetti Dinner, this year moved from Friday evening pre-show to Saturday between the afternoon and evening sessions. A popular new addition to the schedule was the Mother’s Lead Line class which boasted 12 entries. All the equestrian moms were deemed winners and each received a carnation when they were called forward from the line-up.

Jennifer Baskinger, Lake of Sauquoit, N.Y., marked the cards and found lively competition in the newer Saddlebred divisions. The hunter and western divisions shared honors with the academy group as the most populous classes held. Amateur owner-trainer Donali Livinghouse Moyer dominated the Country Pleasure Hunter division with tall and elegant Centerfold’s Ring Of Fire sweeping the division. Another AOT, Paige Lilly and her versatile Wild Bruce claimed the red streamers in the Saddle & Bridle Hunter Seat Classic, while Stephanie Bonner, under the direction of Brooke Sweigart, guided Crosswind’s Ray Of Gold to the reserve champion honors in the stake.

The western division filled the ring with eight entries in the qualifier and seven showing back for the championship. Theresa Scott was the last to leave the ring both times as she rode Nealia McCracken and Marjory Brown’s entry, I’m Goin’ Out Tonight, to top honors. CH A Magic Surprise, with Patricia Malcolm up for Pat Johnson, was reserve in the qualifier, while Jessica Moctezuma claimed reserve in the championship with another McCracken/Brown entry, El Empresario.

Wentz Stables brought several champions to the show. In the five-gaited pleasure division, A Real Jewel literally sparkled with charm and bright expression for owner and rider Holly Weeks, who left the ring with the win. Another star for Tara Wentz shined in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure division and combined stake as Loewe Kasprenski and CH Sea Blue marched down the rail to collect first the blue streamers and then the tricolors along with the Idolize Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Twin sisters Regen and Rachel Zimmerman shared the country pleasure mount CH Heir Tight. It was Regen’s turn at Keystone, and in their first show out of academy, returned the reserve champion streamers to the Wentz drapes.

Sally Eichlin’s Creekside Farm had plenty of blue decorating the tack room through the efforts of John Lindenau and Sally. John Lindenau piloted George Clooney to wins in the Country Pleasure Junior Exhibitor qualifier as well as the Country Pleasure Stake. Eichlin brought Dirty Martini to center ring twice to pick up her honors in the Open Park division, where the youngster went head to head against the seasoned campaigner Galahad’s Fancy That with Chris Rupnow in the irons under the direction of Linda Coffin-Roman.

J & L Farms brought entries for a number of other divisions as well and dominated the academy competition. Shanaya Desai and Sugar On Your Face claimed victory in the Academy Walk/Trot qualifier and championship while Lauren Miller triumphed in the Academy Walk/Trot/Canter championship. Kelly Wagner showed Game Of Superiority to success with a win in the Adult Show Pleasure qualifier and a reserve placing in the stake class.

Brooke Sweigart-Reed kept busy putting Morgans, Hackney ponies, Saddlebreds and even a Friesian in the ring for numerous classes. Emma Romig on Unforgetable garnered a blue in the Academy Walk/Trot Junior Exhibitor Equitation class and a reserve in the Academy Walk/Trot Junior Championship. Diane Collins accepted blue ribbons riding Sweigart-Reed’s Black Tuxedo Isaac in the Morgan Hunter division as well as the Open Hunter Stake. Kelli Kauffman swept the Morgan Classic Pleasure division with Futurity’s Gallant Son.

Smoke Hollow came with entries for several divisions. Sarah Rolands, in her first non-academy outing, was thrilled with wins in the Open English Pleasure Junior Exhibitor qualifier and the Open English Pleasure championship aboard Chautaqua‘s Beaver King.

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