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The crowd presses in around Marc Of Charm after his World's Grand Championship win. Photo by Julia Shelburne-HittiThe crowd presses in around Marc Of Charm after his World's Grand Championship win. Photo by Julia Shelburne-HittiStory by Allie Layos and Sarah White Thielmeier; Photos by Avis

For all those who missed out on the “glory days” of horse showing, this year’s Stake Night gave a glimpse into how it must have felt, and we have an indomitable stallion named Marc Of Charm to thank for it. Saturday night’s session was one of the most exciting on record, with breathtakingly competitive classes from start to finish, but it was Marc’s win in the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship that clinched it — this one was going down in history as the night that the magic returned to horse showing.

The attempts began in 2011. He won the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class, the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class, the Junior Five-Gaited Championship, and even the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake. But that World’s Grand Championship kept eluding him. In 2011 he placed fifth, but it wasn’t too unusual — he was still young. In 2012 he placed fourth. At least his fans could console themselves with the fact that he had moved up a notch. But in 2013, in the prime of his life and after placing second in the stallion stake, he didn’t even make the workout and was pinned fifth again; to those who loved him, it was a huge shock. In 2014 he returned to win the qualifier, made the workout, but once more finished fifth.

Yet, through all this and despite all the highs and lows suffered by his fans and caretakers, the chestnut stud himself remained unperturbed, returning each year with Vedic calm and entering the ring with the same gusto to try his heart out on the Green Shavings again. And finally this year, in a storybook ending that brought tears of joy to many, after a six-horse work out, he won. It was a story that couldn’t have been invented had one tried.

CH Courageous Lord was retired in a beautiful ceremony evening.CH Courageous Lord was retired in a beautiful ceremony evening.No one was surprised exactly, least of all the crowd. Somehow, through all the near misses, his fans knew that he had it in him; they waited patiently for his day to come, and as soon as he hit the ring on this year’s Stake Night they knew that it had. They held up the hologram posters, they screamed their lungs out with every pass. They chanted “Marc! Of! Charm!” in the line up. And the stallion did not disappoint.

During the pre-victory pass interview, trainer Lionel Ferreira paid homage to these fans, thanking them and Marc’s owner, Carolyn Koch, for their patience and unwavering support. Carolyn, he said, had the patience of Job. When announcer Peter Doubleday asked Lionel to describe Marc’s personality he replied immediately, “He’s a pain in the ass!” and the crowd laughed right along with him, knowing how intricate the stud had been, how much of a challenge it was to get him to his best and keep him there, but how he had been worth it every step of the way.

After the class it seemed half of Freedom Hall’s spectators had arrived back at the Monnington barn aisle, and the stallion stood calmly in the midst of them, still wearing his roses, as his admirers pressed in around him, ten people deep on every side. He posed for pictures, joined in the celebration by drinking champagne from a plastic flute, never budging an inch as people dodged in front and behind him, wanting just to touch him, to be in his presence. In that moment, perhaps even more so than during his victory pass, Marc was connected to the great horses that had stood there before him. Everything good about the Saddlebred industry was displayed in him that night. He had brought back the glory. He had brought back the pageantry. He had brought back the excitement.

Watching the thrill he gave children and adults alike, and the hundreds of excited posts to social media after his win, one thing is clear — our industry needs more Marcs. Not just because of his talent — we have a number of talented horses — but for what he has inspired in people. Marc Of Charm has become larger than life. But, as he stood there quietly taking in the crowd, another thing was readily apparent. That stud is one-of-a-kind. We’ll be waiting a long time to find another one, but, with any luck, what he’s given us will be enough to hold us over until that day comes.

Ali was shocked when she and Memories Of Cabo were called as the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship winners.Ali was shocked when she and Memories Of Cabo were called as the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship winners.

Five-Gaited

While Marc Of Charm earned the World’s Grand Championship win, the rest of the class was exciting as well with six of eleven chosen to go back to the rail and work again. Finishing behind Marc Of Charm were two former World’s Grand Champions. Reserve went to CH Bravo Blue and Elisabeth Goth, winners of the earlier Five-Gaited Ladies Gelding class, trotting and racking with style, and third went to the winners of the earlier Five-Gaited Mare Stake, the powerful team of CH Callaway’s Annabel Allison and Debbie Foley. Fourth was earned by the unanimous winners of the Gelding Stake, Roselane’s Angelo and Matt Shiflet, who always have the crowd behind them. Fifth went to Two Sweet To Kiss and Larry Hodge, who finished in second in the Mare Stake. Rounding out the six called to the workout were the Stallion Stake winners, (SA) Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice and Tammy DeVore, making it the third time this stallion has won the class and with two different trainers for two different owners. Second in that earlier Gelding Stake went to the slick moving I’m A Bluesman and Robert Gardiner.

On Saturday night, Sabotage and Melinda Moore unanimously ruled the competitive Five-Gaited County Fair Championship for new owner Annika Bruggeworth, capping off a magical night for Bruggeworth as the second of her new steeds to win a class that night. The reserve tricolor went to Rhythm & Romance and Gerhardt Roos.

No Tan Lines, by Commander’s Stud Muffin and out of Miss Fiji LGF, rose from a second place finish in the Junior Five-Gaited Mares class to earn the tricolor in the Junior Five-Gaited Championship. That Junior Mares class saw There’s Something About Mary, by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Heirudite, rack to the unanimous win with Bret Day. Tré Lee showed Mountjoy’s Extra Nice, by Mountjoy’s Knight and out of Love Me Tender Sweet Sophie Rose, to the win in the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class in their only appearance. Vanity Blue, by Deep Blue and out of Vanity’s Gypsy Town, finished in second with Lionel Ferreira.

CH My Wonder and Nancy Leigh Fisher with Andy Freseth.CH My Wonder and Nancy Leigh Fisher with Andy Freseth.

By the great I’m Lookin For You, who left us far too early, and out of Callaway’s Fine As Silk, by CH Callaway’s Born To Win from his brief stud career, Walterway’s Born To Be Wild is certainly bred to rack and Merrill Murray showed this exciting mare to the win in the ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Artistic, by Master Class and out of Art Show, finished in second with Smith Lilly.

The I’m First son Be The First, out of a CH Top Spool mare, made a winning show ring debut in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class with Mike Tunstall. The red ribbon went to Undeniably Undulata ERB, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, and James Lowry. By the Callaway’s Blue Norther son Bluesville, The Brightest Blue and Bob Brison topped the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mares class in their second show. The Thundergun daughter Storm Seeker, out of a CH Heir To Champagne mare, finished in second with Roman Marcos. Vegas Moon, by Northern Vegas, remains undefeated in her young career, unanimously winning the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class with Tré Lee. The Catalyst daughter Katniss finished in second with Mike Tunstall.

WGC Marc Of Charm also had get who made stellar shows as well and two of them finished in the top three in the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited class. Exclamation Mark and Darell Cruse earned the win while Monnington Remarcable and Lionel Ferreira finished in third. The second place honors went to Manhattan Ice, by A Superb Manhattan, and Bob Brison.

Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lilly and new owner/exhibitor Elisabeth Goth unanimously won the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship as well as winning the earlier Ladies Five-Gaited Mares class; Goth swept the division with her win in Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding class as well with her CH Bravo Blue. That Ladies Five-Gaited Mare class saw CH Lynn Williams and Mary Gaylord McClean make another of their mannerly and bright shows for the red ribbon in their only appearance. I’ll Bet You and Phyllis Brookshire earned the red ribbon in their first go round on the green shavings together.

CH The Daily Lottery and Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes took the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship.CH The Daily Lottery and Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes took the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship.

For the second year in a row, the collected and up headed team of CH My Wonder and Nancy-Leigh Fisher earned the tricolor in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, rising from their second place finish in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Gelding class. That class saw CH Honey Badger and Andrea Athanasuleas rack to the unanimous win to the delight of the crowd. The reserve tricolor in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship went to the unanimous winners of the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship, CH Moonlight Memories and Katherine McGee Bosworth in their first year in the division.

Ali DeGray had a magical night on the second Saturday, and sandwiched in the middle of her three wins in a row was her unanimous win in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship with Memories Of Cabo in their first year together; this exciting pair also won the earlier Amateur Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class. The reserve tricolor went to the consistent team of CH Callaway’s Born To Ride and Laura Dozer Elliot. The red ribbon in the Amateur Stallion/Gelding qualifier went to Finest Hour Spent and Susan Orton, also in their first year together. Callaway’s Sweet Thing and Allison Combs earned their first and last Louisville blue together, topping the Amateur Five-Gaited Mare class and also leading to a sale. The Embezzler and Scott Robinson made a brilliant show to earn the win in the Amateur Gentlemen’s Five-Gaited class.

CH The Daily Lottery earned yet another Louisville tricolor, this time in a new division as Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes earned the unanimous win in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship. The reserve tricolor went to the winners of the qualifier’s second division, the bold bay Wicked In A Winning Way with Rose Marie Wheeler. Second in that division went to Callaway’s Play It Again and Cameron Kay, fresh off their debut at Blue Ridge. The first division saw He’s In Style and Emma Sanchez earn the blue with manners and charisma. He’s Born To Royalty and Catherine Wheeler earned the red ribbon in that division.

The Junior Exhibitor 13 and Under Championship saw CH Callaway’s Lil Abner and Karla Moritz earn the tricolor with a sharp and polished show in their first trip to Louisville as a team, capping off a stellar first full year together. The reserve tricolor and second in the qualifier went to CH Sunken Treasure and Abigail Tabor in their first year together and Tabor’s first showing a five-gaited horse. The qualifier saw Our Favorite Memory and Blake Crim earn the win in their first show together.

The Rest Of The Story and Olivia Schumacher ruled the Five-Gaited Pony division, winning both the Five-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier with bold, yet mannerly, shows. The reserve tricolor went to CH Moon Charmer and Haley Griffin with a terrific show. Little Lord Huntly and Charles Gassen, perennial crowd favorites, finished the qualifier in second.

Three-Gaited

Smith Lilly saluted the crowd aboard Tangos Token Kiss.Smith Lilly saluted the crowd aboard Tangos Token Kiss.Another dream came true in the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship as Scott Hagan showed his perfectly collected and animated HS Daydream’s Heads Up to the roses, only one of a very few amateurs to win those honors, and he did it with a homebred horse. This team also earned the unanimous blue in the Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Stake. The reserve tricolor went to the talented youngster Tango’s Token Kiss and Smith Lilly, unanimous winners of the earlier Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class. The red ribbon in the Over 15.2 class went to Spanky McFarland and John Conatser. Hagan Saddlebreds also bred the winner of the Three-Gaited Under 15.2 class, HS Daydream’s Celebrity and Kenny Smith. Both HS Daydream’s Heads Up and HS Daydream’s Celebrity are out of the Broodmare Hall of Fame member A Daydream Believer. The red ribbon in that Under 15.2 class went to the elegant Don O’Neill and Chris Reiser, last year’s winners.

The Kentucky County Fair Three-Gaited Championship saw Worthy Sir and Johanna Kapioltas cap off their summer campaign with a well deserved win. Manipulating The Star and Clark Clouse earned the red ribbon with their sharp park trot.

Look Of Success, by Designed, dominated the Junior Three-Gaited division, winning the Junior Three-Gaited Championship and the Junior 15.2 and Under qualifier, the latter unanimously. The reserve tricolor went to the handsome bay Carson Nation and Neil Visser, who also won the earlier Junior Over 15.2 class. The second place honors in that Junior Over 15.2 class went to Soquili’s Harvest Moon, by Simbara’s Living Legend, and Mitch Clark. Merrill Murray showed Razzle Dazzle Me, by Roseridge’s All Night Long, to the second place honors in the Junior Three-Gaited 15.2 and Under class, the colt’s first class.

Reagan Campbell rode CH Real Action to the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 Under Championship win.Reagan Campbell rode CH Real Action to the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 Under Championship win.

The small ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Three-Gaited class was full of quality as Undulata’s Optical Illusion ERB, of that superb Undulata’s Nutcracker and CH Crystal Illusion (BHF) cross, repeated his win from the ASR Sweepstakes Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class last year, this time with Tré Lee up. Kalarama’s Studious Girl, by Calif First Night Out, and Kelly Self finished in second.

Second to eventual RWGC Tango’s Token Kiss in the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class was the Nutcracker’s Nirvana daughter Nirvana’s Nevermind in her show ring debut. Rose Arbor’s Moving Out, by Wine Women And Song was also making a show ring debut and earned the win in the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class with John Conatser. Crazysexycool, also by Wine Women And Song, finished in second with Robert Gardiner.

The Joe Fabulous son All Mighty Joe made a unanimous winning show ring debut to earn the blue in the first division of the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited class with Kimberly Hayes. By Undulata’s Nutcracker, Nut This Nut That earned the red ribbon with Darrell Case. Let’s Go Tango, by Tango’s Parting Kiss and out of champion show mare Go Baby Go, made his under saddle debut a winning one, topping the second division of the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited class with Matt Shiflet.

HS Baby Steps and Misdee Wrigley Miller turned in an out-standing show with polish and balance to rise from a second place finish in the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class to earn the unanimous tricolor in the deep Ladies Three-Gaited Championship. The reserve tricolor went to the winners of that earlier qualifier, the animated Nutorious and Peggy Alderman. The thrilling Use Your Illusion and Shawn Stachowski topped the Ladies Three-Gaited 15.2 and Under class in their only appearance. CH The Mighty Mouse and Hannah Houske caught the judges’ eyes for second.

Barbara Goodman Manilow rode Im Still Dreamin to take the Amateur Three-Gaited Worlds Champion of Champion honors. This pair also won the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2 Under class earlier in the week.Barbara Goodman Manilow rode Im Still Dreamin to take the Amateur Three-Gaited Worlds Champion of Champion honors. This pair also won the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2 Under class earlier in the week.

Misdee Wrigley Miller earned another unanimous tricolor in the division as she showed her Moonbeams And Dreams to the wins in the Ladies Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and Ladies Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2 and Under qualifier. The reserve tricolor went to last year’s Three-Gaited World Grand Champion, Macadamia, who also unanimously won the Ladies Amateur Over 15.2 qualifier in his first year with Mary Jane Glasscock up. The red ribbon in that qualifier went to Soquili’s Georgia Kracker, catch ridden by Deborah Orr. Undulata’s Just Perfect and Dr. Nancy Chauvin turned in a solid show for second in the Ladies Amateur 15.2 and Under class.

The brand new team of I’m Still Dreamin’ and Barbara Goodman Manilow swept the Amateur Three-Gaited division in their second horse show together, winning the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship and Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2 and Under class, the latter unanimously. Undulata’s Simbara and Erin Eichenbaum, unanimous winners of the Amateur Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class, earned the reserve tricolor. The red ribbon in that Over 15.2 class went to the expressive chestnut Kalarama’s Blue Mac and Candi Covino Aversenti. Mesmerizing and Vicki Reed finished the Amateur 15.2 and Under class in second. Scott Robinson won another Amateur Gentlemen’s class as he showed Northern Asset to the win in the Amateur Gentlemen’s Three-Gaited class. Roselane’s First In Line and Gabe Deknatel earned the red ribbon in their division debut and second class together.

Steve Wheeler and Nuttin Innocent were the ASR Futurity Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Park winners.Steve Wheeler and Nuttin Innocent were the ASR Futurity Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Park winners.Alex Rudder swept her new age group with her new horse this year as she showed Soquili’s Curious George to the wins in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 Championship and the first division of the qualifier, repeating her past success in the younger age group with CH The Proof Is In The Heir. Their tricolor win was unanimous. The reserve honors in both classes went to the well matched pair of She’s Born To Sparkle and Alexandra Gendron. The second division of the qualifier saw Buckles Boots N Spurs and Madeleine Wood earn their first Louisville blue. Callaway’s Reality Show and Chris Hawley finished in second in that second division in their first year together.

Another past Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion in a new division, CH Real Action and Reagan Campbell earned two blues as well, both unanimously, topping the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13 and Under Championship and the second division of the qualifier. The reserve tricolor and reserve in the first division of the qualifier went to another pair in their first year together, My Hail Mary and Clayton Stinnett. That first division saw Prince Of Prowlin’ and Ava Stachowski make the strong winning show. The red ribbon in the second division was earned by Real Steel and Natalee Hagy.

Nuttin’ But Style and Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes were another pair that swept their division, unanimously winning both the Three-Gaited Pony Championship and qualifier for the second year in a row with two busy and bright shows. Thunder Gone Wild and Maelee Dudan moved up from a third place finish in the qualifier to earn the reserve tricolor in their second year together. The second place ribbon in the qualifier went to My Minnie Mouse, full sister to CH The Mighty Mouse, and Sallie Mason Wheeler.

Fine Harness

CH Our Brilliant Belle and Mary Gise topped both the Ladies Fine Harness qualifier and championship.CH Our Brilliant Belle and Mary Gise topped both the Ladies Fine Harness qualifier and championship.Lady Mandolin MS made a grand debut for both the year and in her new division, winning the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship after a four horse workout and unanimously winning the earlier Junior Fine Harness Mares class; this was the second year in a row for James Stachowski to be at the whip of the Fine Harness World’s Grand Champion. The reserve tricolor went to previous World’s Grand Champion CH Wild Carrissima and Bret Day, who also finished in second in the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding Stake. Included in the workout were We Must Be Nuts and Smith Lilly, who finished in third and won the earlier Stallion/Gelding Stake, and Trust My Imagination and Daniel Lockhart, who finished in fourth. Misdee Wrigley Miller was at the lines of the mare earlier in the week and showed her to the win in the Fine Harness Mare Stake, which the mare won the previous year as well. Samuri Lady and Peter Palmer finished in second for elated new owner Annika Bruggeworth. This pair came out on top earlier in the week in the Kentucky County Fair Fine Harness Championship. True Fortune and Jimmy Robertson turned in an eye-catching show for second.

Futurette, by Wine Women And Song, showed perfect collection and a big rounded stride to earn the unanimous wins in the Junior Fine Harness Championship and the ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Fine Harness class with Larry Hodge. The reserve honors in both classes went to Diamond Bezel, by First Watch, and Pedro Martinez. The Undulata’s Nutcracker son Rose Arbor Destiny unanimously topped the Junior Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class. Call Me Cabernet, by CH Call Me Ringo, echoed his sire in his presence and motion to earn the red ribbon with Emily Abbott West. Reserve to Lady Mandolin MS in the Junior Fine Harness Mares class went to Our Lady Godiva, by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man, and Bob Phillips.

Diamond District, by Simbara’s Living Legend, earned the unanimous win in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class with Andre van Schalkwyk in the colt’s second class ever. Full sibling to Futurette, Arrowhead’s Unlike Any Other made a successful show ring debut to earn the red ribbon with Gene van der Walt. The Gypsy Santana daughter Amelie remains undefeated for the year as Kim Cowart drove her to the win in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mares class. Money Penny, by County Treasure, earned the red ribbon with Bret Day in her first class of the year. The elegantly made Katharine The Great, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, remains undefeated for the year as well as Nelson Green drove her to the unanimous blue in the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Fine Harness class. Sir Graham Cracker, by Sir William Robert, finished in second with Kathy Capsuto Walker.

Costa Nostra and Phyllis Brookshire were the Amateur Ladies Fine Harness Worlds Champions and Amateur Fine Harness Worlds Champion of Champions.Costa Nostra and Phyllis Brookshire were the Amateur Ladies Fine Harness Worlds Champions and Amateur Fine Harness Worlds Champion of Champions.

Undulata’s Nutcracker was the sire of three of the winners of the four classes offered for two-year-old fine harness entries: HS Hot Wired, unanimous winner of the first division of the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class with Debbie Foley; Public Menace, unanimous winner of the second division of the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class with George Knight; and Grey Ridge Wildcat, winner of the ASR Kentucky Futurity Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Finals with Bret Day. Reserve honors in those three classes went to, in order, Sir C Thomas, by Sir William Robert with Darrell Case; Rain And Thunder, by Bobese with Dena Lopez; and MBA’s Just About Thyme, by MBA’s Manhattan’s Shooting Star with Emily Lee. Wine Women And Song sired the top two entries in the other two-year-old class offered in the division, the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Mares class with Goddess Of War and Gene van der Walt in first and La Barracha Belle and TJ Santaferra in second.

CH Our Brilliant Belle topped the Ladies Fine Harness Championship for the second year in a row, this time with Mary Gise, and also earned the win in the earlier Ladies qualifier as well; both wins were unanimous. The reserve tricolor went to the refined pair of St. Nick EGF and Patrice Watson O’Brien in the gelding’s first year in the division. Happy Boy and Tammy DeVore stood out in the Ladies qualifier for the red ribbon with balanced motion and manners to spare.

Costa Nostra and Phyllis Brookshire had a successful first Louisville together as they won both the Amateur Fine Harness Championship and the earlier Amateur Ladies class, the latter unanimously. The reserve honors went to last year’s winners, CH Caraway’s New York Minute and Janet Sterba, who only made one other trip to a horse show this year. The regally bred Renaissance Man’s Medici unanimously won the Amateur Gentlemen’s Fine Harness class with Chad Graham catch driving. Kalarama’s Superman, with Kenny Wheeler catch driving, earned the red ribbon.

Three-Gaited Park/Park Pleasure

Trainer Mary Orr showed CH Lets Talk for McGee Bosworth and brought home the roses in the Three-Gaited Park Championship.Trainer Mary Orr showed CH Lets Talk for McGee Bosworth and brought home the roses in the Three-Gaited Park Championship.CH Let’s Talk was turned over to Mary Marcum Orr to show at Louisville this year, and they rose from a second place finish in the Three-Gaited Park Stallion/Gelding class to earn the Three-Gaited Park Championship. The pretty yet powerful Callaway’s Aperitif and Melissa Moore, winners of the Three-Gaited Park Mares class, earned the reserve tricolor. The Stallion/Gelding class saw Kalarama’s Out Of The Ordinary and Andy Freseth earn the win, leaving them undefeated at that point. Anna Wintour made an elegant show to finish in second in the Three-Gaited Park Mares class with Bill Waller; Allie Wellington Nunley showed her to the red ribbon in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Mares class.

Double Dog Dare, by Dellview Dare Time, rose from a third place finish in the Junior Three-Gaited Park qualifier to win the Junior Three-Gaited Park Championship. I’m A Holiday, by Callaway’s Home For The Holidays, earned the reserve tricolor with Kenny Smith, and this pair won the earlier qualifier unanimously. Crackin’ Up, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, earned the red ribbon in the qualifier with Tré Lee.

Cherished King added a Louisville tricolor in a second division as Alexis Pearson showed him to the win in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Championship. Cloverleaf Freedom Writer and Alexandra Percoco, winners of the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Stallions/Geldings class, earned the reserve tricolor. The second place honors in that qualifier went to the up headed Seven Spanish Angels and Deborah Orr. Belle Reve’s Lady Madonna earned her first Louisville blue as Jacque Nance showed her to the win in the Amateur Three-Gaited Park Mares class.

Swing An Singin' and Catherine Wheeler prepare for their victory pass. This pair won both the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Div 1 class and the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Championship.Swing An Singin' and Catherine Wheeler prepare for their victory pass. This pair won both the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Div 1 class and the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Championship.CH Swing An Singin and Catherine Wheeler won Louisville blues in a new division as they unanimously topped the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park Championship and the first division of the qualifier. The reserve tricolor went to the unanimous winners of the second division of the qualifier, It’s Aerosmith and Skylar Rueff. The strong team of CH High Heat and Blake Crim showed a true park trot to earn the red ribbon in the first division of the qualifier. The red ribbon in the second division went to Simon Cowell and Amy Cedrone. Nuttin Innocent, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, remains undefeated for the year as Steve Wheeler showed him to the win in the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Park class. Also by Undulata’s Nutcracker, Magic City finished in second with James Lowry.

By Tango’s Parting Kiss, Rango Tango and James Stachowski, who won the Junior Park Pleasure class at Rock Creek in their only other appearance together, tempered motion with manners to unanimously win both the Junior Park Pleasure Championship and the second division of the earlier qualifier. Stonecroft Royal Reflection, by I’m First, earned the reserve tricolor with Jennifer Dixon, and this pair also won the first division of the qualifier. Second in that first division went to the Santana’s Charm daughter I’m Strapless Too and James Lowry. The red ribbon in the second division went to Lullaby Kiss, by Callaway’s Northern Kiss, and Lionel Ferreira.

You’ve Been Thunderstruck, by Thundergun, topped the ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Park Pleasure class with Chuck Herbert. Cash Out, by CF First Night Out, finished in second with Tina Sutter. The WGC Marc Of Charm son Riverdreams’ Remarcable made the outstanding winning show to earn the blue in the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure class. Fox Grape’s Love Bug, by Deep Blue, earned the red ribbon with Steve Wheeler.

Show Pleasure

Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Div 2 winners Warrior's Carumba and Laura Dozer Eliot.Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Div 2 winners Warrior's Carumba and Laura Dozer Eliot.The grand star CH Take A Guess made a triumphant last show ring appearance with his stellar attitude and true gaits as Michelle Krentz Partridge piloted him to the unanimous win in the Adult Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship after a second place finish in the second division of the qualifier. The reserve tricolor went to the unanimous winners of that qualifier, CH Break On Through and Laura Dozer Elliott. The first division saw So Swank and Drew Taylor Hewitt make the winning show. Pass With Care and Jennie Garlington racked and trotted to the red ribbon.

Madeleine Wood earned two more Louisville blues as she swept the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Show Pleasure division with Take It From The Top, winning the first division of the qualifier unanimously and the championship with two mannerly, yet exciting, shows. The reserve tricolor went to Agent Cool Blue and Clayton Stinnett who handled the traffic like pros. Crowd favorites CH Heirrison Ford and Ethan DeVore racked away with the second place honors in that first division of the qualifier. The second division saw Open First and Catherine Street earn the blue in their first green shavings show together. Lucky You Lucky Me and Tea Snider earned the red ribbon in that class.

Ocean Eleven and Deborah Orr had only shown in one class this year prior to Louisville, but the results were the same as she topped both the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship and the first division of the qualifier, the latter unanimously. The reserve tricolor went to the unanimous winners of the third division, CH Spread The Word and Amanda Murchison. Mister French and Debbie Tomin earned the red ribbon in that first division while CF A Rare Genius and Debra Hurst earned the red ribbon in the third. The second division saw Warrior’s Carumba and Laura Dozer Elliott make the unanimous victory pass. The Winter Rose and Abigail Mutrux finished that division in second.

CH Irresistible Design and Elizabeth James Lipscomb had a winning drive in the Adult Show Pleasure Driving Div 1 class.CH Irresistible Design and Elizabeth James Lipscomb had a winning drive in the Adult Show Pleasure Driving Div 1 class.

Mystery Magic and Macey Joan Miles rose from a second place finish in the second division of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 qualifier to top the championship with style and grace. The reserve tricolor went to the winners of that qualifier, the consistently strong team of CH Redesigned and Rose Marie Wheeler. Kalarama’s Prospero and Alex Rudder made the winning show in the first division in their first show together. HS First Day and Scotty Brooks Bruggeworth made a poised show to earn the red ribbon.

The Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 13 and Under division saw Callaway’s Nachelle and Ava Stachowski make it two for two in their first year together as they won the championship and the first division of the qualifier. Cuttin’ Up and Nicole Jackson finished the large championship in second and also earned the second place honors in division two. That division saw CH De La Hoya and Alex Jeppesen earn the unanimous win. Second in the first division went to CH Carameaprize and Grace Cutting.

Graceful Surprise and Priscilla Marconi made a winning Louisville debut, unanimously winning the second division of the Adult Show Pleasure Driving qualifier and earning the tricolor in the Adult Show Pleasure Driving Championship, leaving this pair undefeated in the mare’s first year showing. CH Who and Cathy Rogers Holmes lit up the ring to finish the championship and the first division of the qualifier in second. That first division saw CH Irresistible Design and Elizabeth James Lipscomb drive to the win with a ground covering flat walk and bright trot. The new team of Emmy Night and Brenda Pulis turned in a mannerly and bright show for the red ribbon in their first turn on the green shavings together.

CH First Class Heir and Zach Meyer topped the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving Championship, making it the third win in the championship for the horse and second for the driver. This impressive pair also won the earlier qualifier. The reserve honors in both classes went to another top team, Double Or Nuttin’ and Hannah Kelley.

Country Pleasure

CH Callaways Cumulus and Susan Aschenbrenner successfully defended their Country Pleasure Driving Worlds Champion of Champions title.CH Callaways Cumulus and Susan Aschenbrenner successfully defended their Country Pleasure Driving Worlds Champion of Champions title.It’s been a long time since Mary Gaylord McClean showed in the pleasure divisions, but she didn’t forget anything as she catch rode Ginger Magnolia to the wins in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship and the unanimous win in the second division of the qualifier. The perennial star CH Callaway’s Winning Number earned the reserve tricolor with Marjorie Townsend after earning another unanimous World’s Champion title to her illustrious career by winning the first division. The red ribbon in that qualifier went to CH Reedann’s Rare Mystery and Juliette Dell in their first year in the adult ranks. CH Fine By Me and Alicia Sacotte finished the second division in reserve.

CH Jessie Cole and Gretchen Halloran ruled their division as well, earning the blues in both the Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure 14-17 Championship and the second division of the qualifier, capping off a year of all red and blue ribbons. The Code Cracker and Mia Clementi showed smooth gaits and ring savvy to earn the reserve honors in both classes. The first division saw Coventry’s Too Fast Too Furious and Gianna DeSimone earn their first Louisville blue in their first class of the year together. Monnington Status Quo and Malika Keglowitsch stood out from the crowd to earn the red ribbon.

CH Stonecroft Ring Leader and Brianna Cloutier rose from a second place finish in the first division of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Country Pleasure 13 and Under class to unanimously capture the tricolor and roses in the championship. The reserve tricolor went to Radiant Joy and Camille Talkington in their best show to date. The first division was won by the young Nuttin’ But Fancy SS and Kate Smith in their first year together. The second division saw Shagadelic and Libby Bowen ride to the win. My Adriana and Payton Nicole Shiflet finished that class in second.

CH Callaway’s Cumulus and Susan Aschenbrenner were another pair that swept their division as they topped the Country Pleasure Driving Championship and Division I. The reserve tricolor went to the winners of Division II, the always on point CH Callaway’s Halley’s Comet and Christine Broder; both qualifiers were won unanimously. Second in the first division went to Attache’s Chocolate Thunder and Lynda St. Andre. The charismatic team of CH Sapphire On Ice and Sally Grieme earned the red ribbon in the deep second division.

Western

CH Blushing Bull and Lindsay Sowell returned to win the Western Pleasure qualifier and championship for the second year in a row.CH Blushing Bull and Lindsay Sowell returned to win the Western Pleasure qualifier and championship for the second year in a row.Fay Lowry knew Suzanne Bradshaw had a good eye for a horse, but she still didn’t expect CH Blushing Bull to reach the incredible heights that he has. This year’s Louisville saw a repeat win for the bay gelding when he was named both the World’s Champion and World’s Champion of Champions in the Western Country Pleasure division with Lindsay Sowell out of a field of over 20 horses.

Fay heads up the training of this incredible horse, and all the western horses at Lowry Stables. Both she and her husband, Jim, got their start in the Morgan world, so she has significant experience with, and a particular fondness for, the western division. However, she may like training a western Saddlebred even more.

“It’s different because with the Saddlebreds you want their heads up and with Morgans you want them dropped over, and any little tiny bobble is counted against you,” Fay said. “Personally I enjoy working the Saddlebreds way more — they have their heads up and are looking like a show horse.”

When Suzanne Bradshaw told Fay that she wanted to send a western horse to her for training, Fay knew it would most likely be a good one. When she saw the horse she became even more certain.

“I knew because of his size, prettiness, color and length of neck that if we got it together we’d have a good horse,” Fay said.

She took stock of the animal she had and came up with a plan to bring out the best in him.

“More than anything, because he’s older, the goal is not letting him get bored with it and finding ways to keep him fresh and interested in it,” Fay said.

In keeping with this aim, she drills him on his gaits the day before she shows him, but trail rides him around the show grounds to let him relax the day of the actual class. Her method has worked; besides his wins at Louisville, Bull and Lindsay were also named Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure World’s Champion in 2014, an honor he first won with Lindsay’s sister, Malissa Welke in 2013.

One of the most challenging parts about horse training is preparing the horse for an amateur to show — even good-riding amateurs like Lindsay and Malissa — but Fay seems to have mastered this. When asked what it felt like to watch him win on the Green Shavings, Fay refers to this fact.

“I actually take more pride in it because it isn’t me on him, and getting a horse ready for an amateur is such a big accomplishment,” she said. “And the fact that I’ve had both sisters win on him is even better.”

One day Fay would like to start and bring along a western prospect that no one has ever seen. But for now she will continue to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime horse that has been entrusted to her care, and see just how far this road will take them all.

Road Horses and Ponies

Alex Rudder and Cocked N Ready were the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Under Saddle Championship.Alex Rudder and Cocked N Ready were the Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Under Saddle Championship.For the sixth year in a row, Emerson and Raymond Shively were the epitome of the Roadster division, winning the Roadster to Bike World’s Grand Championship after an earlier second place finish in the Roadster to Bike Stallion/Gelding Stake. The reserve tricolor was won by the slick and speedy team of B52 and Debbie Foley; this pair were also the winners of that Stallion/Gelding Stake. Belle Starr and Janelle D’Amato topped the Roadster to Bike Mare Stake for the second time in three years. The Morgan entry Flairetation and Peggy Alderman finished in second. Street Legal GRS and Gerhardt Roos were the outstanding entry to win the Kentucky County Fair Roadster to Bike Championship. Chanteur PV and Martin Teater earned the reserve tricolor.

Raymond Shively was also at the lines of the winner of the USTA Roadster to Bike Classic with Track Star. My Casey and Mike Felty finished in second.

Nothing Else Matters and Judy McNeish sped to the win in the Ladies Roadster to Bike class. Cookie Monster and Tammy DeVore turned in a fast and square show for second. McNeish was also at the lines of the unanimous winner of the Ladies Amateur Roadster to Bike class, the versatile Thunderbolt. Miss Daisy and Ali DeGray finished that class in second.

Thunderbolt won two more Louisville titles as Stevie Bagdasarian rode him to the unanimous win in the Roadster Under Saddle Championship and the win in the Amateur Roadster Under Saddle qualifier. The reserve tricolor went to the winners of the Open Roadster Under Saddle class, Show Me The Money and Dr. Brian Garrett; this was the third year in a row that the pair won the Open class. Garrett was also aboard the second place finisher in the Amateur class, Where Are We Now. Second to Garrett in the Open class went to Street Legal GRS and Cydni Simmons.

The always exciting Iamnotacow and Martin Schaffel dominated the Amateur Roadster to Bike division, winning both the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship and qualifier. Ring Of Fire and James Miller were second in both classes with thrilling shows as well.

Thunder Up and Caroline Rainbolt-Forbes jogged away with the blue in the Youth Roadster to Bike class. The Dutch Harness Horse Fireball finished in second with Gabrielle Zimmerman.

Steve Crabtree and Scatman Du made two winning drives to top the Roadster to Wagon Championship and the Open Roadster to Wagon Stake, the former unanimously. The reserve tricolor went to Ice Man and James Nichols while More To Come and Raymond Shively finished the qualifier in second.

Ali DeGray’s magical Saturday night started with her World’s Grand Championship winning drive with Twin Willow’s McDreamy, the third in a row for the exquisite pony and first for an elated DeGray who expertly drove him to the win in the 50” and Under Stake as well, leaving this pair undefeated for the year. The reserve tricolor went to the unanimous winners of the 50” to 52” Stake, Regal’s Night Shadow LF and Abel Vega. CH Stat finished that class in second while Moment Of Excellence and Larry Ella finished the 50” and Under in second. The Lone Ranger and Tom Lowry made the unanimous winning show in the Kentucky County Fair Road Pony Championship with Romeo’s Highlander LF and Kayla Kring in second.

Giselle won the Harness Pony Mare Stake.Giselle won the Harness Pony Mare Stake.

Game and Allie Wellington Nunley improved on their second place finish in the Four-Year-Old Road Pony class to earn the win in the Junior Road Pony Championship. Prime Time’s Choice LF and Tom Lowry, winners of that Four-Year-Old class, earned the reserve tricolor. Heartland Well Spoken and Maureen Campbell came out on top unanimously in the Three-Year-Old Road Pony class. Heartland Late For Dinner and Jared Ratzloff finished in second.

Toni Nastali was blessed with two fine entries in the Amateur Road Pony division, showing her Hopkins to the wins in the Amateur Road Pony Championship and the Amateur 50” and Under qualifier. She showed her Regal’s Rime Rate LF to the win in the Amateur Road pony Over 50” to 52” qualifier and Danny Bugg showed him back to the reserve tricolor in the Amateur Road Pony Championship. Second in that Over 50” to 52” quali-fier went to Carolina Dreaming and Donna Whatley. Second in the 50” and Under class went to Dun-Haven Awesome Attraction and Meredithe Steinhauer.

Stat Tistic and Kirstie Buerkley rose from their second place finish in the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony 14 to 17 qualifier to capture the tricolor in the championship. The reserve tricolor went to Jackie O and Danny Hicks. The qualifier saw A Promise Honored and Rose Marie Wheeler drive to the unanimous win. Wheeler’s cousin Sallie Mason swept the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony 13 and Under division, driving Sirfistication to the win in both the qualifier and cham-pionship. Seamair Strutter and Nick Schubert earned the reserve tricolor with a fast and animated show. The red ribbon in the qualifier went to Dimitri and Faith Sturm.

Alex Rudder earned yet another World’s Championship title as she rode Cocked N Ready to the unanimous win in the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Under Saddle Championship after a strong second place finish in the first division of the qualifier. The reserve tricolor and blue in that qualifier went to A Dazzling Diva and Sallie Mason Wheeler. The blue in the second division of the qualifier went unanimously to Heartland Party Time and Madison Pope. Hightower and Makenzie Moore earned the red ribbon.

Hackney/Harness Ponies

Ali DeGray’s magical Saturday night concluded with the Hackney Pony World’s Grand Championship, the third class in a row she showed in and the third that she won as she drove Craycroft Matador to the win, making history. This pair also won the earlier Hackney Pony Stake unanimously. Heartland Majestic and Holli Hayes earned the reserve honors in both classes. Ali also swept the Amateur division, topping the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship and Amateur Ladies class with Heartland High Tech, the latter unanimously. The reserve Amateur tricolor went to the unanimous winners of the Amateur Gentlemen’s class, Heartland Road Show and Jeff McClean. Second in the Amateur Ladies class went to Heartland Rough And Ready and Kathleen Ververeli, and second in the Amateur Gentlemen’s class went to CH Heartland Globe Trotter and John Wrather.

The Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Championship saw Seamair Simply Awesome and Maureen Campbell top the class unanimously. Senator and Tom Lowry earned the second place honors.

Linda Fischer and CH Crystal Creeks Commander with their support team.Linda Fischer and CH Crystal Creeks Commander with their support team.

The Junior Hackney Pony Championship and Four-Year-Old Hackney Pony classes saw Heartland Infinity and Maureen Campbell make the unanimous winning drives. Finishing the championship in second, Justa Rascal and Lambert Jr. Schut came from the Three-Year-Old class. The red ribbon in the Four-Year-Old class went to Crystal Creek’s Dr. Hill and Eduardo Lopez. The Three-Year-Old Hackney Pony class saw Heartland Night Music and Alicia Schuckert make the victory pass with Crazy Good and Chris Gantley in second.

This year there was a new winner in the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship as CH Heartland Expectation and Karen Frickey rose to the top for the second time during the week as they had already won the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding Stake. The reserve tricolor went to the past WGC Giselle with Larry Ella, who won the Harness Pony Mare Stake for the fifth year in a row. Second in the Mare Stake went to the bright chestnut Heartland Queen Of The Road and Susan Olcott while second in the Stallion/Gelding Stake went to Handsome Harry and Jeff McClean. The Kentucky County Fair Harness Pony Championship saw Go Daddy and Mary Gaylord McClean march to the win. Michigan’s Striking Image and Randy Harper finished in second.

Toni Nastali was at the lines of another winning pony as she showed Heartland Copper Illusion to the wins in the Junior Harness Pony Championship and the earlier Four-Year-Old Harness Pony class, the latter unanimously. Mississippi Queen and Holli Hayes finished the championship in second while Heartland Sing My Song and Andy Freseth finished the Four-Year-Old class in second. Heartland Dixie Dancer and Darrel Kolkman made the unanimous winning drive in the Three-Year-Old Harness Pony class with Heartland Pure Dynamite and Juan Rios in second; it was only the second class of both colts’ careers.

Maureen Quackenbush was overcome with joy after her Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving win with CB Party Girl.Maureen Quackenbush was overcome with joy after her Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving win with CB Party Girl.

Heartland Demonstrator and Mary Gaylord McClean swept the Amateur Harness Pony division for the second year in a row, repeating their wins in the Amateur Harness Pony Championship and the earlier Amateur Ladies class. Reserve honors in both classes went to CH Crystal Creek’s Commander, catch driven by Linda Fischer. The animated leg waver The Remington and John Wrather topped the Amateur Gentlemen’s Harness Pony class. Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan and Jeff McClean finished in second.

CB Party Girl and Maureen Quackenbuch rose from a second place finish in the second division of the Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony qualifier to earn the win in the Adult Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship. Beautiful Lady and Linda Fischer finished the championship in second and won the first division of that qualifier. Second in that first division went to I Am Legend and Kay Marschel, who also won the second division with her Bvlgari. Marschel drove a third entry to wins in the division as she topped the Adult Amateur Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship and qualifier with Sight Unseen. Four Point O and Cheryl Innis finished both classes in second.

For the third time in five years, Nashville Cat and Rose Marie Wheeler captured both blues in the Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony division, topping the championship and qualifier, the former unanimously. The Perfectionist and Danny Hicks finished both classes in second.

Equitation

Aleia Brown wasn’t nervous. It didn’t matter that she had won the Good Hands Finals and USEF Medal Finals last fall. It didn’t matter that this Senior Equitation Championship was going to be her final class in Freedom Hall with her partner Madeira’s Fame, or “Thomas.” She was emotional, but calm and ready for this last trip onto the Green Shavings with her horse of a lifetime.

Senior Equitation Worlds Champion of Champions Aleia Brown hugs Madeiras FameSenior Equitation Worlds Champion of Champions Aleia Brown hugs Madeiras Fame“I was told before the class to go in, take a minute, and enjoy the ride,” Aleia said.

Cape Cod trainer Erin Richey had a few other bits of advice as well.

“I told her ‘be you.’ Because she is who everybody’s fallen in love with,” Erin said.

There were 19 entries in the class, an amazing group of talent from all across the country. Ten riders per-formed the pattern, which read as follows: Beginning on the rail to your left, trot to the 2/3 point. Halt. Canter a circle to the right on the right lead and continue cantering on a diagonal line to the center of the far turn. Halt. Pivot right and drop your irons. Trot to the 1/3 point on the opposite rail on the left diagonal. Continue trotting a circle to the right. Change to the right diagonal and trot to the end of the straightaway. Halt, pick up your irons and return to line.

Aleia followed her normal routine leading up to the class, walking the pattern with Erin and reading it to Thomas as well. The preparations worked, as Aleia and Thomas put in a flawless pattern, their points and pivots sharp and Aleia’s form so fluid and legs so steady that an observer would never even notice that she was trotting a circle without her irons. The pair won the class, just as they had won the 17 Years Old Equitation qualifier earlier in the week, and Aleia was overcome by emotion.

“I’m in shock still that after the long road this is how I get to end,” she said through her tears.

When photographers tried to take a picture of her with her roses and ribbons, she urged them to follow her to Thomas’s stall.

“This wasn’t just me,” she said, pointing toward the team effort that had gotten her to this point — the efforts of Reese and Erin Richey, Thomas’s groom Oscar and Thomas himself.

The Senior Equitation Worlds Championship line up.The Senior Equitation Worlds Championship line up.

“He’s literally my dream horse,” Aleia said. “I would not be where I am without him. He’s helped me accomp-lish everything we’ve dreamed of.”

Her relationship with Erin was a large part of her accomplishments as well; it extends beyond a normal instructor and student relationship, and it has helped Aleia reach great heights and carry on through the hard times, from trotting her victory laps to sitting on the floor of the tack room eating cinnamon rolls in consolation after a blown pattern.

“I’ve been with Erin from the very beginning,” Aleia said. “She’s literally taught me everything I know. We’ve cried ten times today leading up to this.”

Now this “dream team” will return home and continue working hard to prepare for the UPHA Challenge Cup National Championship at the UPHA American Royal — the only equitation final standing in the way of Aleia becoming a Triple Crown winner. But regardless of what happens there, Aleia has already secured her place in history, and, more importantly, in the hearts of friends, family and fans alike.

“It is the most amazing moment of my career so far,” Erin said. “It was like watching my first born achieve every dream she’s ever had. She’s worked so hard for it and we’ve ridden every step of the way together — the good or the bad together.”

Scotty Bruggeworth won an equitaiton Worlds Championship his first time out aboard his new mount Harlems Wild And Wonderful.Scotty Bruggeworth won an equitaiton Worlds Championship his first time out aboard his new mount Harlems Wild And Wonderful.Kaeley Aterburn displayed perfect form to win the 16 Years Old Equitation class under the direction of Zubrod Stables, with Macey Miles taking the blue in the 15 Years Old qualifier aboard CH-EQ Lemon Shake Up WRF. Macey’s fellow DeLovely rider Scotty Bruggeworth returned to his equitation roots taking the blue in the 14 Years Old class aboard a brand new horse, Harlem’s Wild And Wonderful, or “Thor.” He had only ridden the horse once before entering the ring with him in the qualifier, and was surprised to be called for first — his first time being named a World’s Champion in equitation beyond the walk and trot division. Scotty went on to become the youngest rider to make Top Ten in the Senior Equitation Championship later that week.

The junior riders were equally impressive, with 22 riders vying for the blue in the Junior Equitation Championship, but it was Isabella Privitera, riding under the Everglades Farm banner, who topped them all. She had won the 12 & 13 Years Old Equitation class earlier in the week, and returned full force in the championship to perform a perfect pattern, which read as follows: Beginning on the rail to your left, canter on the right lead the to 3/4 point of the rail and stop. Pivot right. Trot on the right diagonal to the center point of the ring and stop. Canter a circle to the left on the left lead and stop. Trot on the left diagonal to the rail and stop. Reverse. Trot on the left diagonal to the center point of the ring. Continue trotting a circle to the right and continue trotting to the rail. Stop. Turn left and trot back to the line up showing two changes of diagonal, beginning on the right diagonal.

Everglades trainer Missy Smith was thrilled but not surprised that Isabella performed the pattern so well. She has instructed Isabella for about four years and says Isabella has always had the perfect approach to equitation.

“She’s very natural on a horse and she is really smart and thinks a lot,” Missy said. “She has the mindset of wanting to learn the intricacies of it. I think she likes the challenge. She seems to love all parts of it.”

It was Missy who found her mount CH Heir’s Halo three years ago on a trip to Hollow Haven, and the mare they call “Angel” has been the perfect partner for Isabella. They were successful right from the start, being named the Saddle Seat Equitation Walk/Trot 9-10 Years Old Reserve World’s Champions in 2013 and the Saddle Seat Equitation 11 & Under Reserve World’s Champions in 2014. This year they had wins at Bridlespur MHSA Kick-Off, UPHA Chapter V, Midwest and Central States before arriving at Louisville.

Isabella Privitera won the Saddle Seat Equitation 13 13 Years Old qualifier and then went on to take the Junior Equitation Worlds Champion of Champion honorsIsabella Privitera won the Saddle Seat Equitation 13 13 Years Old qualifier and then went on to take the Junior Equitation Worlds Champion of Champion honors

Isabella has been riding four days a week and working on pattern work and transitions, and Missy feels that it has all paid off.

“She’s had a great season and I’ve really seen a great confidence boost this year,” she said. “She is feeling more confident in the patterns and workouts.”

According to her mother Mary, Isabella doesn’t get nervous before her classes, and going into Louisville, Missy told her just to do her best and enjoy her horse. Isabella had another personal goal though.

“I wanted to do a little better at the walk,” she said. “We are working really hard on walking transitions.”

Isabella did just that, and rode away with the 12 & 13 Years Old Equitation honors as well as the Junior Equitation Championship. She was surprised when she won, and there were a lot of tears.

“We are so proud of her because she’s come so far,” Missy said.

Her next stop is the MHSA Medallion finals at St. Louis, and then it is on to the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Championship at the American Royal.

Abigail Tate rode hard and put it all on the line to win the very competitive 11 & Under Equitation qualifier under the Fairview Stable banner, and Maisie Benfield returned again this year to win the Kentucky Rider 17 & Under Equitation class for the fifth year in a row for Zubrod Stables.

“I wanted to approach it the same, but there is a little bit more pressure at this point,” Maisie said.

However, she has been riding with Zubrod Stables for seven years and her instructors Cindy and Renae Zubrod tell her to have fun and worry not about winning, but just about doing her best.

Maisie works a lot on her form, specifically her legs and upper body. Recently she has been riding about five times a week and taking a lot of lunge lessons to prepare for Louisville. She loves equitation dearly, and believes it teaches a person the proper way to ride.

“People say it’s all about the rider but it’s about horsemanship and the relationship between the horse and rider,” she said.

She does a lot of catch-riding as well, and that helped her prepare for her spot on the 2014 World Cup Team.

“Doing what I do at Zubrod helped prepare me for that,” she said. “I was on the five-gaited team and have never owned a five-gaited horse, but have shown them for other people.”

In fact, she will be doing more catch-riding this fall, showing a horse for Jacqueline Beck at the Morgan Grand Nationals in October.

Bill Waller pins the ribbon on WalkTrot Equitation 9 10 Years Old Worlds Champion of Champions Molly CrimBill Waller pins the ribbon on WalkTrot Equitation 9 10 Years Old Worlds Champion of Champions Molly Crim

The walk and trot division is always impressive; children of such a young age guiding thousand-pound animals around a show ring is remarkable in its own right, but the young riders at Louisville do more than that — they do it with great form and style.

Last year’s 8 & Under Championship winner, Molly Crim returned this year to win the Walk/Trot 9 Years Old qualifier and the combined 9 & 10 Years Old Championship. The good-riding Thea Post took the Walk/Trot 10 Years Old class, with Gracelyn Jordan taking the blue in the Walk/Trot 8 & Under qualifier.

Ava Bertagnolli stepped up from reserve in the 8 & Under qualifier to win the championship out of ten riders, under the direction of Sugar Knoll Farm. Ava’s parents are trainers and they train her horse, Amber Lager or “Sam,” at home in Pennsylvania. However, they thought she would benefit from riding under someone else’s direction going into Louisville, so they sent Sam to Shelley Fisher at Sugar Knoll right before Lexington.

“She was already a good rider,” Shelley said of Ava. “She is a very good little kid and a very gutsy rider. Her mom taught her how to do all that. What I’ve been working on is the polish and detail, making the kid and horse work together strongly.”

Ava took third in the Walk/Trot Equitation 10 & Under Section A Championship at Lexington, and then went on to win both her classes at Ohio State Fair before heading to Louisville.

“She is all about riding her horse,” Shelley said. “She’s one of the most laid back kids I’ve ever worked with. She’s also very gutsy, so she’s a lot of fun. She follows directions really well, too. I can tell her something one time and she does it.”

Ava knew she had a good ride in the championship at Louisville but was still surprised when she won. When her number was called for first, she screamed “thank you so much!” and gave Shelley a big hug. It was a huge accomplishment, but the win changed nothing in Ava’s world. Back in his stall after the class she crawled onto Sam’s back bareback — her usual post-show routine — and there will probably be some blue push pops in his future as well, as they are his favorite treat.

“He’ll let her do anything,” Shelley said. “They’re best friends.”

In Hand

Stopher Walk.Stopher Walk.Far Away Thomas Jefferson, by Tomcat (SA), topped the ASB Weanling Breeders class with Andre van Schalkwyk. Dippity Boo, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, earned the red ribbon with Darrell Case. Awesome At This, by At Night, posed and trotted to the unanimous blue ribbon in the ASB Yearling Breeders class with Ramon Gomez. Castleton, by HS Castle Vision, finished in second with Gerhardt Roos.

The ASR Futurity of Kentucky Weanlings class is always full of quality, and this year it was Nutoriously Innocent, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, who had the conformation, presence, and motion to earn the win with Darrell Case. Walterway’s Crack Me Up, also by Undulata’s Nutcracker and the first colt out of the fine five-Gaited mare Walterway’s What About Me, was awarded second with Smith Lilly and also earned the win in the ASR Amateur Kentucky Futurity Weanlings class with Kenny Wheeler. I’m GQ, by Tango’s Parting Kiss, earned the red ribbon in that Amateur Weanlings class with Wes Hall.

Ridgefield’s Black Velvet, by Ridgefield’s Signature, earned the win in the ASR Futurity of Kentucky Yearlings class with Mitch Clark. Awesome At This and Ramon Gomez finished this class in second. The Exalted Effect son Whassup and Kenny Wheeler repeated their success from last year as they unanimously topped the ASR Amateur Kentucky Futurity Yearlings class. Dance Lady, by Undulata’s Nutcracker, finished in second with Alyssa Bultman.

Kathy Capsuto Walker owned and showed both of the top two entries in the ASR Amateur Kentucky Futurity Two-Year-Old In Hand class as her Sir William Robert daughter Lady Biscotti earned the unanimous blue and her Wine Women And Song daughter La Barracha Belle earned the red ribbon.

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