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WOW! A Fitting Description for NTASHA

IRVING, Texas – Whatever might go wrong – didn’t! That may be a slight exaggeration, but the weekend of Oct. 8-10 was as close to perfect for Saddle Horse people as a show can be. Beautiful fall weather. Good horses and competition. Fair judging. Certainly there is some tweaking to be done, but this step up to include both Saddlebred and Tennessee Walking Horse Futurities and UPHA Classes taken by the North Texas American Saddle Horse Association could be called nothing less than a rousing success.

Take a look at the numbers. A total of 140 American Saddlebreds showed in everything from weanling futurities to Academy and performance championships, a 122-percent percent increase from last year. The show’s being a week before Alabama Charity and the same time as the World Cup kept a few regulars away. Still, Texas and Oklahoma barns came out en masse to support the event, making it the most successful in the club’s 15-year history.

The credit goes to a dedicated club, headed by show managers Brent and Betsy Cowan. These amateur-owner-trainers have a small operation, and have supported every Texas show for years.

"Brent did a super job," said Bluebonnet Farm’s Sandy Currier. "Every time I turned around, he was walking around doing something. He wasn’t a ‘sit in the office,’ but a ‘feet on the pavement’ kind of manager."

Getting two full breed shows, with futurities, into three days was something of a challenge. Friday and Saturday daytime events ended early enough so trainers and exhibitors could enjoy lunch, a nap or simply visiting. On Sunday, Becky Taggart organized what Betsy Cowan calls "the crowning glory of the show," a good, old-fashioned fried chicken picnic lunch. Not only was it a treat for exhibitors and staff, but it enabled them to have good food without leaving the show grounds.

Trainers had similar comments about Judge David Cater, of Dunbarton, N.H., who marked the cards in all Saddlebred and Academy classes. "He did a good job," Currier said. "I’d rather he take too long than not enough."

The show paid tribute to the late Patty Milligan’s determination to have a top-notch fall show in North Texas. She and the UPHA approached NTASHA about combining the events during the 2009 State Fair of Texas Horse Show. When the club agreed, exhibitors throughout the three states worked together to make this show a success.

"I think part of the reason we came together as we did this summer is because of Patty," Betsy Cowan said. "We had one common cause. She so wanted to have young people to fall in love with what she fell in love with – the horse, travel, history and the show culture."

It worked. From classes with the youngest weanling to equine and human seniors, people supported and cheered for one another – regardless of the breed or barn represented.

One of the divisions that NTASHA took on this year is the American Saddle Horse Breeders Futurity of Texas and it certainly seemed that this was a win for the horse show as well as the Futurity.

Trainers and amateurs presented outstanding youngsters in the Saddlebred Futurities. Pocket Rockets, owned by SGF Winning Ways Farm, posted three wins in the Two-Year-Old Sections. May Chadick showed the It’s Double O’Deuce son out of Chase The Wind to win the in-hand title, while her nephew, Brandon Urad, led the colt to win the Amateur title with Sherry Frankel assisting. ‘Nate,’ as he is known at home, made his under-saddle debut with Steve Chadick in the irons, winning his third title in three trips through the gate. Double O’Deuce offspring stayed in top ribbons, with Deuce Coup tying reserve in the tough Yearling division, and Who Dat Deuce (foaled the night of the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl win) in Weanling competition.

The Vantage Point team fielded two other top ribbons winners in the Weanling Division. Alicia Kendall’s Mowgli (Sultan’s Royalty x Commodore’s Country Blues, and C&C Horse Interests Who Zac Starkey (CH Call Me Ringo x Attilla The Honey) each brought home red silk.

Mark and Rose Chambers are comparative newcomers in the Saddlebred world. Their small, select breeding program produced this year’s Weanling Colt Open, Grand and Amateur Champion, Chambers Wild Commander (Dorian’s Wild Temper x Simbara’s Sweet Bess.) Rose Chambers smile was something to behold, as she left the ring after achieving her dream of breeding and showing a champion foal. Last year’s weanling filly champion, The Nutty Society, CC (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Simbara’s Sweet Bess) and Pure Texas Charm (Charmed and Bewitched x Passion and Purity) earned good ribbons.

The Sound of Thunder (Thundergun x Longshadow Wind Chimes) strutted off with the Yearling Colt titles and Yearling Championship, a repeat of his 2009 Weanling Performance. It was the second year the Sunset A Trust brought youngsters from their training farm with Herbert Medley in Kentucky to their home state. James and Lillian Monkemeier’s breeding farm is headquartered in Tomball, Texas.

Pete Galanos first began showing futurity colts 40 years ago. He brought several homebred youngsters, and took home the Texas Yearling Filly blue with A Bay To Remember (King of Bling x Beau’s Grand Dame.) Galanos’ Bella Del Oro, won the Texas Futurity Weanling Filly blue.

The Edmund Perwien’s Bluebonnet Farm, always a strong competitor in the Texas Futurity, won the ASHBA Limited Breeders Stake with Star Light Star Bright. Uncommon Jewel (Unlisted x Blue Sapphire) and Gorgonio Duenaz drove off with the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness title.

UPHA Classic classes were light, but featured some nice youngsters. Cindy Vance’s Fox Grape’s Patent Pending won the five-gaited title with Steve Chadick in the irons. Michael Beasom drove James and Tina Pembroke’s Sky Bravo to the Fine Harness and Kimbrough Equine Holdings LLC’s Arizona Poppy for the Park Pleasure blues.

As much as Futurity numbers swelled the entries, performance horses also increased in numbers and quality. Jack Magill Stables showed up in force this year and led the victory parade. On Sunday afternoon, Magill put a final exclamation point on the show by riding Jan Myers’ I’m Fantabulous to the Five-Gaited Open tri-color. Earlier in the week, he piloted Roger Gibson’s lovely, black three-gaited mare, Black Heiress, to the Open Three-Gaited blue in their only performance. The mare’s breeder, Kathy O’Brien, sent a second black star-to-be to the Arlington, Texas, trainer; The Fabulous Truth left Las Colinas with the Junior/Novice Park Pleasure title. Magill added to his wins by teaming Ashley Bryce’s Callaway’s Dream Big to the Junior/Novice Five-Gaited title and Kay Marschal’s High Times American Child to win in a new division, Junior/Novice Park Pleasure.

Magill and instructor Debbie Graves’ amateurs and junior exhibitors picked up their share of top honors. Karmen Robles sold her horse when she entered college, but has proven to be an outstanding catch rider. This week, she stepped up on Kay Marschal’s multi-titled CH My Grande to win both the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure qualifier and championship. Ashley Bryce and WC CH Ya-Ya added another blue and tri-color to their growing collection. Jessica Cloud teamed her fabulous WC CH Tax Man to the blue in the Junior Exhibitor Three Gaited Show Pleasure and picked up a blue on Happy Again in Junior Exhibitor Five Gaited competition.

Mill-Again Stables kept the pressure up in both performance and academy competition., with trainers Lonnie Quarles and Ashley Walker, instructor Candee Carlson heading clients on numerous victory passes. One of the shows most poignant moments: Carlson’s presenting the inaugural Patty Milligan Memorial Trophy to Mackenzie Hall and With Bells On in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship, one of the best classes in the show. Carlson, Hall and many friends wiped tears as the team left the arena.

Randi Barnes and CH Mahvelous Guy dominated the Country Pleasure division, winning the Junior Exhibitor qualifier and Grand Championship. Laura Lassiter aboard The Mask stepped up to win the Amateur Park Pleasure Championship with qualifying winner Brenna Hurst and Apt To Dream in reserve. Carlson’s academy riders kept hanging top ribbons on the tack room, with Lauren Amos, Eric Bennett, Laura Currey and Laura Nagy bringing home blues.

Vantage Point and May and Steve Chadick brought not only winning babies but had performance and academy wins as well. May Chadick introduced Cindy Kohlmeier’s Spend The Night to area audiences. This elegant young mare is really making an impression in this division. Becky Taggart took time from her volunteer and picture-taking duties to ride Cross Timbers Saddlebreds Beauty Is to the Five-Gaited Pleasure blue and tricolor. The King Champagne again proved to be ‘the king of country’ with his win in the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier. And young Sydney Monroe piloted the big, black Moore Than Likely to win the Academy Walk and Trot Performance Championship.

Welcome back Keaton! The gelding made his return to the show ring after spending more than a year recovering from colic surgery. Trainer Michael Beasom of Victory Lane Farm had Stacy Rust and her mount primed to win a nice, six-entry, Five-Gaited Amateur class. Beasom won the Three-Gaited Open Championship and Park Championship with Rust’s Stonecroft All That Jazz and Jerry and Stephanie Street’s The Twelfth Night.

Cathy Coleman and Helen Dunn, along with Academy riders Katie Kasparian and Kenna Korfanta led Paul Cates’ victory parade. Coleman rode Madeira’s Blue Norther to win the Amateur Three-Gaited blue and teamed Sigh to the Five-Gaited Amateur tri-color. Cates put Madeira's Mystical Moment in the Amateur Fine Harness and Fine Harness Championship. Harness horses are as rare as hen's teeth in Texas and it was wonderful to see such a great job done by Helen Dunn with her daughter’s former walk-trot star.

 UPHA Chapter Co-Chair, Randy Cates, has been a regular at NTASHA. His Cross Creek Farm brought a limited number of entries this year, but went home with the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited blue and Amateur tri-color. Kelly Cook had two excellent rides for the wins on Buckles, Boots ’n Spurs. Rhonda Hooper and the always-entertaining CH The Champagne Tiger were reserve in the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure qualifier and championship for owner Claire Talley.

Lone Star Saddlebreds and trainers Milo Jones and Koren Mercer are always showing up with something new. The latest: Hannah Houske’s new junior exhibitor walk-trot horse, The Mighty Mouse. They brought home an excellent reserve in their show ring debut. Karla Moritz had her trainers and mother, Sharon, smiling all weekend with her second-place tie in Academy maiden equitation and blue and big trophy-winning rides in Academy Maiden Performance.

Bluebonnet Farm traditionally has brought a large number of performance horses to the Texas fall shows. This year they concentrated on the futurity, however; Sandra Currier and Tuffy’s Miss Alison continued their outstanding season by winning the Park Pleasure championship.

 Great performance horses can become outstanding equitation horses. Nicole Foster proved that when coaching the many-times world’s champion CH Callaway’s Blue Agate and Katie Palmer to the Walk and Trot Equitation blue and championship. She and assistant Stephanie Corbin kept busy with their Academy riders, with Elizabeth Gersch, Lisa Palmer and Sierra Sarmiento winning blues. Foster coached Bill Marple and American Sky on their Hunter Pleasure blue ribbon ride.

 Everyone was excited to see Dan Flowers at his second horse show since the disastrous trailer fire last summer. The loss of Chris Tresten’s Life’s A Dance ERB and Nancy Moreno’s western pleasure star Likely Suspect remain difficult to overcome. In addition, Moreno has retired her long-time champion Jigsaw Johnny. Miracle Farm is rebuilding … and Moreno’s reserve tie aboard her new Three-Gaited Show Pleasure gelding, Romantic Renaissance, testifies to the trainer’s and owners’ resilience. As we all shared in their losses, we celebrate their comeback.

Certainly, everyone termed this show a success. However, NTASHA isn’t resting on its laurels but already has had a ‘show recap’ meeting and begun plans for a bigger and better event next year.

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