by Debbie Graham

VERONA, Miss. - The 28th annual Gum Tree Classic Horse Show was held on October 27, 2007, at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona, Miss. The event was sponsored by the Altrusa International of Tupelo, Miss., Inc. Proceeds benefit the charities and other community undertakings of the Altrusa International. Walking enthusiasts traveled to the Agri-Center for the second time this season to enjoy another evening of fun and entertainment. The Loraine Wesson Faith Haven show was held in the spring at the popular indoor facility and the Gum Tree Classic is one of the last shows on the fall circuit as the show season draws to a close. Perry Thomas served as master of ceremonies. John Puckett judged the 34 walking and racking classes. Mike Farley performed the duties of ringmaster. Charles Ritchie entertained the crowd with his popular horse show organ music. Sid Abernathy was the official show photographer. Mr. Pushlite, the property of Lizzie Umberger, presented our nation’s colors with Edgar Abernathy directing.

Link Webb traveled from Middle Tennessee to attend both the fall and spring shows. Hydrostatic and Webb claimed the tricolor in the Walking Horse Stake class at both the Faith Haven Show and the Gum Tree Classic for owner Jim Richmond. Both of these wins were WHTA Riders’ Cup classes. Webb Stables also claimed three additional Gum Tree Classic titles. Sanman and Benjamin Bowen made the familiar ride to the winner’s circle in the Youth 11 and Under division for Larry Russell. Aunt Willie Mae and Link Webb won the Open Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding title for Jim and Linda Newby. Webb returned to direct Jose’s Picasso to victory in the Riders’ Cup Open Three-Year-Old Stallion division for James and Peggy Vernon.

Abernathy Stables led the blue ribbon tally with five Gum Tree Classic titles. Entries from the show string of the Darren Jones family were awarded three of these titles. The first honor came in the Riders’ Cup Two-Year-Old Stallion class with I’m Bon Jovi earning blue ribbon recognition with Edgar Abernathy in the irons. I’m A Special Lady and Vicki Jones claimed top honors in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class for Jones and Yates. Forrest Fox and Darren Jones captured the Park Pleasure title. I’m Bold and Beautiful and Ryan Yates were in top form to claim the Park Performance title for Claudia Gribble. The Sky Marshall and Landon Phillips were in the spotlight in the Amateur Four-Year-Old Stallion class.

Two halter classes were on the agenda at the show. Jeazibel’s Black Gen and David Smith continued their successful campaign in the Yearling division with a Gum Tree Classic title. Dawn’s Gem Stone and Nicholas Hughes were crowned Weanling Halter champions for John and Mary Anne Hughes.

Entries from Woods Stables received three Gum Tree Classic blues. I’m In Like Flynn and Kay Thompson were victorious in the Amateur Show Pleasure class for Tony Thompson. Rebel’s Black Star and Joel Stewart made the victory pass in the Open Amateur division for Joel and Linda Stewart. Not Gold But Bold and Bill Williams were champions in the Amateur Three-Year-Old Stallion class for Great Oaks Farm.

Summer Crest Farms also had three Gum Tree Classic champions. The first victory came in the Lead Line class as A Natural Clutch and Parker Jones claimed their second title in fall competition with Michelle Walker at the lead for Kristi Tapp. Olympic’s Godfather and Stephanie Carter collected another blue ribbon with an impressive performance in the Ladies Amateur class for Barry Carter. Spellbound Generator and Michelle Walker added another win to their list of accomplishments this season in the Youth 12-17 division.

Stanfill Stables received dual blues at the show. No stranger to the winner’s circle, The Major Flair gained blue ribbon recognition in the Amateur Owned and Trained class with Ronnie Stanfill directing for Jerrod and Stephanie Cagle. My Magical Rhythm and Stephen Stanfill were winners in the Amateur Walking division for Sammy and Gayle Cagle.

Swingin’ Gates Stables had dual wins also with entries owned by Ron Carney and Ben Moss claiming both titles. Ben Moss directed He’s All American to victory in the Amateur-Two-Year-Old Stallion class. Moss returned to win the 15.2 and Under Amateur Specialty title with the popular contender Arm’s Dealer.

Double D’s Golden Girl was in the limelight in the Plantation Pleasure Lite-Shod class with Joy Smith riding for Curtis Green and Caroline Williams. Double D’s Golden Girl also claimed top honors in the Country Pleasure class with Morgan McClure riding.

Poison’s Investment Watch and Jackie Crowson celebrated the victory in the Amateur Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding division for Larry and Pat Doyle. Showtime All Over and Derrick Brown received the blue in the Riders’ Cup Two-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class for Hayward Leake.

Cody’s Fancy Lady and Andrea Zahnd led the Amateur Four-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class for Katie Barham. Magnolia Stables prepares this contender for competition.

Benjamin Bowen claimed a second Gum Tree Classic title with his Spotted Saddle Horse contender, Silver And Ice under the direction of Britt Huffstatler.

An exhibitors’ party was held following the show as walking horse enthusiasts prepared for the journey home.

Complete results follow and may be viewed at