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What A Year for J.D. Massey!



by Sadie Killian

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Known as one of the most prestigious horse shows in the Southeast, the J.D. Massey Classic celebrated its 70th birthday on April 16-19 at the T. Ed Garrison arena.

Despite the chilly temperatures, barns from 18 different states came together to partake in hot competition among Saddlebreds, Hackney Ponies, and Road Horses. With more than 350 horses attending the show, there were approximately 715 entries.

Jimmy Robertson, Merrill Murray, and James Nichols came together for the official judging duties as the show kicked off Wednesday evening. Also in center ring, Jamie Donaldson served as the official show photographer for his 29th year. He and his wife and business partner, Shan, were honored for their wonderful service to J.D. Massey later in the week. This year was the last year Donaldson served as photographer as he and Shan are retiring at the conclusion of the 2003 show season. In addition to the judging panel and Donaldson, it takes much effort to keep a show like J.D. Massey running smoothly. Ray Cloninger served as show manager, keeping matters in tact with his more than capable show staff including the following: Judges: Merrill Murray, Jimmy Robertson, James Nichols Academy Judge: Pam Rouse Ringmasters: Ben Phillips, Dan Shirley Announcer: Peter Fenton Organist: Dales Stone AHSA Steward: Mary Lynn Whitley Farrier: Buddy Julian, Allen Julien Veterinarian: Andy Holland Videographer: Horse Videos Photographer: Jamie Donaldson Horse Show Secretary: Joyce Wilson Entry Secretary: Barbara Woodlief MOS Tabulator: Sybil Miller

With a fantastic group of show officials and great barn attendance, J.D. Massey indeed lived up to its reputation as being one of the best shows in the Southeast. "We had one of the finest groups of exhibitors that you can find at a horse show and one of the best panel of judges ever," said Show Manager Ray Cloninger.

There were many moments inside of the T. Ed Garrison Arena that will serve as fine memories for all who attended. The Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship was extremely competitive. When the panel called for a three-horse workout the already enthusiastic crowd went wild as Aaron Stump, Morgan Berger, and Kate Bryan battled it out for the tri-color. Stump, aboard the fabulous mare Undulata's Perfect Gift; Bryan, riding the walk/trot star CH Sportster; and Berger, riding her new and exciting mount Hollywood Scandal; all took their places on the rail and gave it their all. In the end, Robertson and Nichols put CH Sportster and Kate Bryan in the winner's circle. Merrill Murray had Stump on top of his card. The 11-year-old boy's face lit up the sky as the crowd went wild with his exit.

The three-gaited championship wasn't the only exciting and hugely competitive class among junior exhibitor riders at J.D. Massey. The Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship also put spectators on the edges of their seats. Peter and Kim Cowart of West Wind Stables directed the very impressive Breaking News with the talented Megan McClure up for the victory in the qualifier. Ross Berger came back to the championship class knocking on the tri-color door aboard Prairie Dancer. A very intense class left Berger in center ring.

While quality was great in just about every division, numbers were not too shabby either. One example of most outstanding quality and great numbers was the Amateur Roadster Pony Championship on Saturday morning. The class was impressive with world class contenders entering the ring one after another.

Aside from the tough competition among top quality contenders, J.D. Massey is also popular for the many gatherings it offers for exhibitors to kick back and enjoy their time outside the ring. Thursday night's party at Cleveland Park Stables was, as always, a huge hit. Also special on Thursday evening, spectators witnessed the retirement of the well-known western horse, Symbol's Whiz Kid. On Friday evening, exhibitors got together for a fine barbecue and dancing, thanks to the board of directors who worked hard to organize the event.

Five-Gaited

The third class on Wednesday evening's venue featured three entries in the Open Five-Gaited Mares class. Peter Cowart started off a great week for West Wind with a first place finish for Lackey & Sanchez aboard She's A Red Hot Chili Pepper. Now trained by Lewis Eckard, Studcor Donatello finished on top for Anne Judd in the Five-Gaited Stallions and Geldings. The eight-horse ladies gaited class left CH Hank Heiron in the winner's circle with Dr. Wendy Troyer riding under the guidance of Paul and Betsy Boone.The Five-Gaited Championship concluded the show on Saturday night with three impressive entries. The big-moving bay gelding, Studcor Donatello was named champion with Lewis Eckard up. Jeoff and Brooke Bodenhorst's ground covering chestnut, Lakeview's Rare Lee Seen finished reserve with Cash Lovell in control. Making a great ride for third was junior exhibitor standout Dusty Beau and Ashley Walker.

The amateur gaited division saw top quality entries as well, leaving a challenging job for Robertson, Murray, and Nichols. Vickie Byrd capably rode CH Jaunty Janette to the Amateur Five-Gaited Mares victory for Margaret Bryd. This team is trained by Cash Lovell. Putting up a great performance for reserve -- the pair came together even better in the championship -- was Belleavanti and Johnny Wellington for Louise Allen. The Amateur Five-Gaited Stallions and Geldings class was won by CF Night At The Castle, who was expertly ridden to victory by Julie Garlington for Dodie Stockton. Vickie Reed and SA Olympic Fire proudly took home the reserve ribbon to Pleasantview tack room.

Twelve teams battled it out in the amateur gaited stake. Making every pass count, CH Jaunty Janette and Vickie Byrd were on the money for the win, and CH Hank Heiron and Dr. Wendy Troyer received a great applause for their reserve finish.

Under the guidance of Peter and Kim Cowart, Breaking News and Megan McClure did not hold back for a second in the Junior Exhibitor 17 and Under Five-Gaited class. Making a great show, the pair finished up to the blue. Second in the qualifier, Ross Berger and Prairie Dancer were up for the challenge Saturday night and left Clemson as the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Champions...a great night for the Bergers!

Sue Nifong's top notch entry, Resplendence, had a wonderful show at Raleigh this spring and J.D. Massey was no different. This bold and expressive stallion finished with the blue in the Junior Five-Gaited Class. Mercer Spring's Smith Lilly was up for the winning ride. Callaway's W.J. Bryan finished reserve for Spencer and Billie Jo Mains. Smith Lilly was also on board for a victorious ride in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Lilly impressed the panel this time with the his own gelding, Seajay Lewis. Peter Cowart again finished behind Lilly with Gypsy Stewart.

Morgan Feimster and Moons Heir garnered the blue in the Five-Gaited Pony class, as well as the qualifier.

Six teams made the call for the Novice Five-Gaited class. The up and coming Red Hot and Bothered was on top of the cards. Darrell Cruse was up for Frank Jones. James Hale's flashy chestnut, Longshadow Reveille, finished up with the red ribbon.

Several top Carolina trainers competed in the Carolina Owned Five-Gaited class. Kim Cowart stood out for the win with Susan Mim's entry In Heaven's Name. Phyllis Brookshire rode Worthy's Southern Tradition to reserve honors for Carol and Heck Newton.

Three-Gaited

Held Wednesday evening, the Open Three-Gaited class was somewhat light in number, however the walk/trot competition picked up in other classes, leaving for a great stake on Saturday night. Bill Schoeman took the blue ribbon home in the open class with Found Treasure for John Bagley and Bill Schoeman. Absolute Gem and Greg O'Kelley garnered the red ribbon for Susan Ivester.

CH Man On The Run and Brooke Bodenhorst...what a sight to see in the Ladies Three-Gaited class. This crowd pleasing pair took home the blue ribbon under the direction of Cash Lovell. The red ribbon proudly went back to the Mercer Springs banner with Barby Thornton riding the fancy mare Lucrative Lady.

Smith Lilly decided to show Lucrative Lady back in the open championship where three other solid entries would join him. One of those entries was The Harlem Bay with Lewis Eckard, who had captured the novice class earlier. This bright and expressive bay fit the part as a trimmed horse and came out as the Three-Gaited Grand Champion. Eckard, now having won both the gaited and the walk/trot stake, had a lot to be proud of at J.D. Massey. Barby Thornton and the rest of the Mercer Springs crew cheered Smith Lilly on as he took home the reserve ribbon with Lucrative Lady.

Stepping into the amateur competition, it was no surprise to see Harlem's Town Scandal and Kelly Mount taking the victory pass in the open class. Under the direction of Adam and Desiree Clausen of Cardinal Farm, this pair has really become a team to beat in their division. Five Will Get You Ten and Rene Mize Kilburn finished with the red. Coming off a big win in the ladies class, CH Man On The Run and Brooke Bodenhorst finished out their week as the Amateur Three-Gaited Champions. Mercer Springs' Hayden Fox and Robin McKenzie Vuillermet had a nice go for reserve.

Starting off the lively competition for the young walk/trot riders, the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 and Under class finished up with Undulata's Perfect Gift and Aaron Stump making a picture perfect victory for the Clover Leaf team. The Jordan Heir and Morgan Feimster were reserve. In the 14-17 class, CH Sportster and Kate Bryan put on a winning show for the blue, cheered on by the Cash Lovell crew. Hollywood Scandal and Morgan Berger made a clean debut for reserve.

A three-horse workout in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship between Hollywood Scandal, CH Sportster and Undulata's Perfect Gift left the crowd cheering for more and more and more. One of the most exciting classes of the show, the three-judge system put the successful team of CH Sportster and Kate Bryan in the winner's circle. Undulata's Perfect Gift received a more than warm applause for their reserve finish.

Yet another blue for Lewis Eckard in the Junior Three-Gaited class. Eckard showed Susan Whittington's fresh entry, Toy Boy. Bill Shoeman rode Daytime Commander to the red ribbon for Judy Sanders. Marie Gwinn's fancy up-headed chestnut, Chesney came out on top in the three-year-old class. Paul Boone was up for the victory pass. Mandala Remembered and Jenny Styskal settled in for the red.

Making a perfect match, Too Legit To Quit and Allie Wellington showed up for the Three-Gaited Pony class in winning fashion. The pair was on top of their game to capture the tri-color as well. This talented young lady was cheered on by the Drowning Creek team. Reserve to Wellington in the qualifier was CH Callaway's Career Girl with Suzanne Kinzler riding. Callaway's Viscount moved up a notch for a reserve grand championship with Cameron Garrison up.

Endolane Symphony and Stephanie O'Kelley were crowned champions in the Carolina Owned Three-Gaited class where Tap Town and Juliet Cromer exited as the reserve team.

Similar to many shows, the park division was exceptional in numbers and quality at J.D. Massey. The well-filled Open Park class finished with Bob Gatlin and CSF Supreme Memories in the spotlight. Renaissance Lady and Bill Waller took home a well deserved second place ride for Carole Worthington. Making a comeback, Smith Lilly had Leatherwood's Almost Heaven in prime shape for victory in the open stake where James Hale catch rode Iced Tea for Greenbriar Stables to reserve.

Luanne Kilday was a dominant force at J.D. Massey. One of several top ribbons came after a strong performance in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park class. Riding CH A Step In Time, Kilday received two first place votes to put the pair in the winner's circle. This pair also took top honors in the championship Saturday evening. Reserve both times out was the handsome chestnut, also a top contender in the park division, CH The Billy Bob. Cheryl Friedman Allison was up for both reserve rides.

The Junior Exhibitor Park class was also one which was well-filled. Sanibel and Chelsie Smith proudly exited as winners in the qualifier. Having another nice ride, the pair stepped down to reserve in the championship where Tomorrow's Future and Sally Pyles stepped up to top spot and finished as champions.

Kim Cowart and Cindy Lou Who are off to a great start this season. Claiming top ribbons at Raleigh, the fresh and pretty mare added another blue to her resume in the Three-Gaited Park Pleasure Four and Under class. Antonio Banderas and Brian Reimer were next in line for reserve. Antonio Banderas is owned by the Songer family.

Fine Harness

After claiming top honors in the open class, Kim Cowart and New York Trend were joined by some fierce competition in the Fine Harness Championship on Saturday evening. One strong competitor was Ann Cannon with her fine mare, CH Devoted To The Cause. After claiming first in the amateur qualifier, this pair finished up their week as reserve champions in the Fine Harness Championship. Cowart and New York Trend held their own for the tri-color victory for Lackey & Sanchez.

Cash Lovell drove Catalytic to the Junior Fine Harness victory for Susan Garrett Hollowell. Also in the action, Johnny Lucas was behind the lines of MJB High Fire for the reserve. Heck Newton owns MJB High Fire.

Owned by Nunley Saddlebreds, Last Tango In Paris picked up the blue in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Classic. John Warner was behind the lines of this sharp stallion. Making quite a name for himself, The Stradivarius left with the red ribbon. Smith Lilly was behind the lines for Randy and Elizabeth Thomas.

Roadsters

The loud participation from the crowd proved the Road Horse Championship to be one of great excitement. Andy Allgood was the chosen champion, behind the lines of the fast moving Pistol Pete. Absolute Bedlam and Steve Deutcsh brought reserve back to the Cash Lovell banner.

Norwell Dancer stepped up to the plate for a big win in the amateur championship. Under the direction of Steve Hanks, Mark Catron was the proud driver and owner of this fine entry. After winning the amateur qualifier, Westgate Villain and Michael Gorden finished up with the reserve.

Impressing the panel once again, Norwell Dancer and Mark Catron were also crowned winners in the Roadster Horse To Wagon class.

No strangers to victory, Martell and Beth Pittman won the Roadster Horse Under Saddle class. Luanne Kilday rode I Would If I Could to a strong reserve finish for Steve Hanks.

The Road Ponies were a sight to see in Clemson last week. After a great go in the qualifier, Dun-Haven Grandiose and Lewis Eckard came out on top in the Roadster Pony Championship. The Cloninger family proudly cheered Lewis on to this win. Reserve went to the dynamic pony, Spirit's Masterpiece and Sharon Chrisman.

The amateur road pony qualifier was intense as it was, but there was nothing like the Amateur Road Pony Championship. The ring was filled with world class contenders including qualifier winners Seize The Moment and Susan Harris, Late Nite's Magic Moment and Kathryn Nichols, Mankato and Christy Weaver, and Ferocia and Jeoff Bodenhorst to name a few. As everyone in the stands picked out their favorite, roars and cheers could be heard loud and clear throughout the T. Ed Garrison Arena. After careful calculations, the MOS system put Kathryn Nichol's and Late Nite's Magic Moment on top. Bill and Lisa Waller greeted the happy pair in center ring. Reserve went to ManKato and Christy Weaver.

Six entries answered the call for the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Championship. An elated Scott Songer drove So Irresistible down victory lane after a great performance. This pair now shows under the direction of Brian Reimer Stables. Anna Stoddard was on the cards for reserve. Maneuvering the ring to near perfection, she drove Velvet Reward to the reserve for Harry Daughtry.

The Hackney and Harness Pony classes were rather small, but there is hope for the future of the pony divisions as many feel the lack of entries recently seen by the industry is simply a cycle that will be overcome. In order to gain interest in the ponies, it's important to have top quality ponies in the classes that are held at shows. Keeping this concept in mind, Winding Creek brought the beautiful Nacho Mama to the ring with Christy Weaver behind the lines and they finished up with a tri-color victory in the Harness Pony Championship.

Winding Creek also dominated the cob-tail classes, finishing up the week with the Hackney Pony Championship. Here, with owner Chris Gantly directing her rail side, Weaver drove Kilbro's Pit Boss to the championship win.

Four teams made their way through the gate for the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship. Rita Camp's hot pony Heartland Hightime left as champion with Mystic King and John (Jeb) Boyd finishing as reserve.

Pleasure

Fourteen pairs showed back for the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship on Saturday night. Making her mark in this division too, Luanne Kilday took home a big win with Callaway's Crown Jewel. Steve Hanks greeted the pair for this win, as well as their win earlier in the week. Making a beautiful combination, Dreams Desire and Susan Harris moved up a couple notches to finish their week as the reserve champions.

A super star in this division, CH My Korbel and Victoria Woodruff were at the top of the card for the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship and qualifier. Heather Boodey trains this pair. Reserve to the champions both times out was CH Grady Lane and Kate Bryan.

No stranger to victory, Lib Jones was behind the lines of her bold going gelding, CH Harlem Heat. Susan Whittington drove Harlem's Babe Ruth to the reserve finish.

She's Exquisite and Nicholas de Wet caught the eyes of the panel and crowd as they were named winners in both the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 18-35 Championship and the 18-35 year-old qualifier. King's Keepsake Jake and Katie Wilson returned to Greenville, S.C. as the reserve champions. Making their own statement, CH Absolutely A Lady and Diane Lawing finished up with the blue ribbon the the show pleasure qualifier for riders 36 and older. Callaway's No Problem and Marie Gwinn did not go unnoticed in this championship as they came back, under the direction of Boone's Farm and Stable, to take the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 36 and Older Championship.

Several well-known horses with impressive records were seen in the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure 13 and Under Championship. Strider's Modern Bay went undefeated at J.D. Massey by capturing the 13 and under championship after winning the qualifier earlier in the week. All's Clear and Aaron Stump were crowned the reserve champions.

The big and flashy chestnut CH It's Yabba Dabba Doo TIme is starting the year off right, with top rides so far in Raleigh, Tampa, and now Clemson. With Sydney Carter up, the pair came back from a second place qualifier to take the tri-color in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 Championship. Miss Got Rocks and Caitlin Pumpelly brought the reserve back to Brian Reimer Stables.

Adding to a great collection of ribbons at the Cash Lovell Stables, Ron Cook and CH He's Real Bad were named the Country Pleasure Driving Grand Champions after taking the blue in the qualifier. Callaway's Wish Me Blue and Ashley Sargent settled into reserve both times out.

The well-filled Amateur Country Pleasure class was taken by the gorgeous up and coming gelding Prince Town BH. With Kelly Mount up for David Mount, this season will surely be bright for this nice pair. Jamablue and Luanne Kilday made every pass count and finished with the tri-color in the Country Pleasure Championship where Terri Preiser and her big-trotting fancy chestnut CSF Priceless Special finished reserve.

Attache's Irish Wine and Rebekah Cloninger started off the year in tri-color style after a great performance in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure 13 and Under Championship. This exciting new pair was cheered on by the Drowning Creek group. Step Into My Office and Rebecca Acuff were the dynamic duo chosen for reserve.

Sierra Moon and Brooklyn Beau topped off a fantastic week at J.D. Massey with a tri-color finish in the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure 14-17 Championship. Ch Belle Of The Abbey and Cameron Garrison were on top of their game for reserve.

The Western Country Pleasure divisions usually make for a nice change of pace at horse shows. Mary McElveen's elegant horse, Best Impression, certainly impressed the panel in the Western Country Pleasure Championship as this lovely pair exited with the tri-color. Rum Tum Tigger and Luanne Kilday finished off a great week together as the reserve champions.

Equitation (by Catie Hawley)

Along with the many exceptional performance teams, the J.D. Massey show displayed a talented division for the poised equitation combinations. Event though the USAE Medal class was small in number, it was high in quality with the elegant Jessica Saft aboard Highpoints Take Notice riding for the blue. The talented Morgan Berger trotted away with the reserve honors. Berger, catch riding the well-known Carboness PHF, earned the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship top honors later in the week with Jessica Saft taking reserve.

The UPHA Challenge Cup 17 & Under found Jessica Saft and Highpoints Take Notice once again in the winner's circle with the seasoned Laura Byrd and her new mount Denmark's Royal Gigi taking reserve honors. Laura also demonstrated her talents and poise to be awarded the Saddle Seat Equitation 17 & Under title.

The younger equitation riders were not to be forgotten. The sweet and always animated Rachel Machamer aboard A Touch Of Pizzazz earned the Saddle Seat Equitation WTC 13 & Under honors and barn mate Jessica Northcutt, riding My Gabrielle, took top honors in the UPHA 10 & Under Walk & Trot. Kate Lovejoy and The New York Lady garnered reserve honors in the 10 & under competition. Jessica and Kate also claimed champion and reserve champion honors, respectively, in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Equitation competition class earlier in the week.

The Saddle & Bridle Pleasure Equitation Medallion class found four talented riders showing to the best of their ability. Victoria Woodruff and her mount Song Material were in top form and were called to the winner's circle. Danielle Butler aboard Key's Midnight Dancer impressed the judges to earn the reserve title.

All in all, the J.D. Massey Horse Classic lived up to its reputation in more ways than one. It's a show filled with excitement, fun and great people. The above highlights this year's show. Complete results follow and can be seen, searched and printed at www.saddlehorsereport.com.

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