Thursday August 6, at 7 p.m. Eastern, the joint leadership council, comprised of members from AHHS, AMHA, ARHPA, ASHA and UPHA, held a Zoom meeting to discuss the upcoming World’s Championship Horse Show with those from the Kentucky State Fair in charge of making decisions for the event.
Five minutes before the United States Equestrian Federation Saddle Seat Medal Finals, two horses stood in the warm up ring waiting for a single rider: CH-EQ Mooi Mooi, or “Nelson,” the big bay who had been Michael Arquilla’s partner since his walk and trot days, and My Sudden Surprise, or “Spike,” the chestnut gelding with whom Michael had seen barn mate Ellie Grosspietsch compete countless times, but had only ridden once for a few laps around the day before.
As the clock ticked down the remaining minutes, Michael and his trainers grappled with their decision. Finally, it was Spike who Michael mounted ... and Spike who Michael would ride through his eventual victory pass.
Heir Highness and Renna Russo were having a fantastic 2019 World’s Championship Horse Show. The pair had taken third place in the Three-Gaited Pony Div. 1 qualifier on Sunday evening – their highest Louisville placing yet. Everyone at Scottfield Stables was excited for the pair to show back on Friday evening.
But sophomore Renna, who also plays high school tennis, had made third singles on the varsity tennis team, and there were a number of matches starting that same week. Since there were four full days between the classes, she and her mother, Ashley, thought it should be no big deal to fly home, get some rest, play some tennis and then fly back in plenty of time for Renna’s championship class. When their Thursday flight back to Louisville was cancelled, they were worried, but rebooked for Friday morning and went to bed hopeful. By the time that Friday flight was cancelled as well, it was too late to start driving. Renna would not be able to show “Princess” back in their championship. But Scottfield trainer Alicia Owens thought someone still could.
There's something special about breeding and raising your own winner, and Matt and Whitney Shiflet know that better than most. Through the years they have had incredible success with their stallion, Tango's Parting Kiss, and on Friday morning at the World's Championship Horse Show, they had even more when Matt rode the filly Too Hot To Tango to the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Div. 1 World's Championship title – a filly they bred, raised and trained at their Matt Shiflet Stables in Asheboro, N.C.
Shelley Fisher’s Sugar Knoll Farm has had many good days, but it would be hard to beat Monday, August 19, at the World’s Championship Horse Show. During the morning session, junior exhibitor rider Isabelle Fischer showed three times, and was victorious two of those times. Then, during the evening session, adult amateur rider Piper Bordegon showed twice, and won both her classes.