Posted August 25, 2001

by Carole Hargett

Horse Sales, barbecue luncheon, petting zoo, exhibit booths, and, oh by the way, a horse show! The first Saturday of the Celebration was jam-packed with events in and around the Celebration grounds. Adorable leadline entries, sporty colts, and polished equitation riders took star billing in the Saturday morning session in the Calsonic Arena.

Looking for the first class on Saturday was Martin, had did the call judge honors. Seven straight-backed young riders displayed the precise form of equitation in the Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Youth Division, Riders 11 Years and Under. Equitation classes are judged on the rider rather than the horse. Riders must show control, form and appropriate attire. According to that criteria, all the youngsters were winners. But only one can carry that distinction home. Riding to the blue at this tender age was Paige Bennett. She carried home the fourth place tie last year. A fellow Kentuckian, Emma Jones, earned the reserve honors. Mattie Reynolds made a good ride for third place.

Mamas, daddies, grandparents, and the crowd awaited the little ones. Proudly accompanied by their handlers, Lead Line Ponies, Riders 6 years and Under arrived in the ring to the clapping and cheers of the enthusiastic fans. All 19 entries answered the gate call. Judging the large and attractive class was difficult.

The tykes wore varying attire; some wore cowboy hats and vests, some wore riding outfits, and some were formally attired. Ponies were parked out as the class came to an end and everyone awaited the decision. After the judges made their inspection, loving pats were given to the ponies by their riders and handlers smiled and squeezed little hands for assurance.

Claiming the victory was Who’s That? Lake Weaver, lead by Amy Warf, posed for the honors. I’m A Dandy, Too, lead by Debbie Gaidos with Mackenzie Gaidos aboard, donned the red ribbon. Tyler Bailey and Ace, lead by Kim Bailey, accepted their yellow ribbon. The top three entries were Tennesseans. “It’s a Small, Small, World” played as entries departed the ring. All entries were presented with participation ribbons.

Seven entries of 11 listed vied for the blue as Carpenter called the next class. The Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Riders 12-14 Years class was underway. The mannered presentation and attention to the fine points of equitation gave the riders a very polished demeanor. This class required the execution of all three gaits. Entries were asked to back their horses and to display control by releasing and then gathering the reins while they kept their focus straight ahead. No easy task, but each entry made it appear as if it was. Riding to the winners circle was a Kentucky entry, Rachel Jernigan. Erica Derickson added a red ribbon to her trophy trove. Derickson was last year’s medal winner. Kentucky again provided another rider, Erika Mann, who made a good ride for third.

Yearling Fillies or Geldings, class 60, filled the ring to near capacity as 28 entries of 42 listed answered the gate call of Hand. The class was one of four preliminary classes leading to the Walking Yearling World Grand Championship to be held in the "big oval". The judges carefully worked their way down the long line of entries as they evaluated the conditioning and conformation of the young horses.

The judges decided to call for a workout and parked in six entries; two other entries asked for and received permission to be excused. Fifteen entries were on the rail and walked for the title and blue. Handlers put forward every bit of effort available to catch the judges’ eye.

In the final analysis, the unanimous decision went to the Harlinsdale Farm entry, A Classic Heart Throb, presented by Roger Richards. A champion all season and reserve in the class was Bewitch’s Lady, owned by Gus King and shown by Bobby Richards. Armed Medusa and Lynn Womack earned third place honors for Glen Oaks Stables.

Attention now focused on another equitation class. The riders in the Auxiliary Equitation, Medal Class, Senior Division, Riders 15-17 correctly entered the ring. Eight of 10 entries chose to compete. Riders showing in the senior division have spent many years perfecting their style. And near perfection it was. The experience and level of expertise was apparent, adding to the judging difficulties.

Accepting the championship award in proper fashion was Jessica Davis of Eldorado, Ark. Another fine ride was made by reserve entry, Becky Brooks of Aliso Viejo, Calif. Brooke Brown took her yellow ribbon home to Missouri.

Two classes to go and then the fun’s not over yet. Class 62, Owner-Amateur Yearlings had 25 of 40 entries vie for the honors. The number of entries showing required a workout, which allowed each yearling to be seen by the judges. Six numbers were addded to the original nine already parked in for a fifteen horse field. It was time to “show your yearlings”.

Upon completing this class, owner-amateurs may may enter their horses in and compete for the world grand champion yearling title. A unanimous decision greeted Your Wish My Command, who picked up a second blue of the show. Stacey Richards was the handler. Coined by Dollar and Allison Lafferty made a good walk for reserve for the Bob McCloy family. Treason and Roger Richards picked up a second Celebration ribbon by tying third. This made four ribbons in one session earned by the Richards family members.

The last class of the morning arrived as many spectators browsed the Trade Fair booths while they viewed the incoming colts. Yearling Colts, of 2000 Foal was called by Tuck. Twenty-four colts entered class 63 of the 33 listed. Participants will qualify for entrance to the yearling world grand champion competition.

Fourteen entries were selected from the workout to compete for the trophy and blue ribbon. The competition was fierce; many ribbon winners returned to show again. The final blue ribbon of the morning session was a repeat unanimous decision for Your Wish My Command and Bobby Richards. Two Blues in back to back classes! With that win the challenge trophy was retired. Captain Hawkeye Pierce gathered up another ribbon with Chris Richards followed by Si Si Senor, who also piced up a second ribbon, this time for third.