Seven new champions were crowned last week during the Saddle & Bridle Finals at this year’s St. Louis National Charity Horse Show.
Hallelujah New York was named Saddle & Bridle’s Shatner Western Pleasure National Champion with Gabrielle Zimmermann; CH Star Spangled Steel was named Saddle & Bridle’s Junior Exhibitor Shatner Western Pleasure National Champion with Gabrielle’s sister Tabitha Zimmermann; Just A Smudge was named Saddle & Bridle’s Working Western Pleasure National Champion with Jenny Paetz; Kaeley Arterburn was named Saddle & Bridle’s Pleasure Equitation Senior Medallion National Champion; Gabbie Gardiner was named Saddle & Bridle’s Pleasure Equitation Junior Medallion National Champion; Sir Don Juan was named Saddle & Bridle’s Hunter Seat Classic National Champion with Marie Gwinn; and Absolute Empress was named Saddle & Bridle’s Working Hunter Classic National Champion with Jean Mutrux.
All seven finals were extremely competitive classes, particularly the Medallion Finals which saw 30 fantastic entries. Both the Junior and Senior Medallion National Champions were instructed by Zubrod Stables.
The Saddle & Bridle Finals began in 1979 with the inception of the Pleasure Equitation Medallion. It was followed by the Shatner Western Pleasure in 1987, Junior Exhibitor Shatner Western Pleasure in 1990, Hunter Seat Classic in 1991, Working Western in 1992 and Working Hunter Classic in 2014. The finals have built a legacy of excellence in all divisions, consistently showcasing the “best of the best” and displaying the versatility of the Saddlebred breed.
While in the past there has been some confusion as to what these winners should be called, Saddle & Bridle publisher Chris Thompson believes that they should be known as “National Champions,” but that Saddle & Bridle’s name should be before the title.
“This is out of respect for the World’s Championship Horse Show and the UPHA American Royal and their respective titles,” Thompson said. “I also believe it will go a long way in minimizing confusion.”