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Monday morning blues at Calsonic



By Sadie Fowler

There was nothing mundane about Monday morning in the Calsonic Arena as the last slate of day classes, eight in all, provided plenty of entertainment and emotionally-driven rides that will serve as lasting memories for years to come. The morning classes kicked off at 9 a.m. Monday and rolled swiftly over two hours, with equitation serving as the coveted highlight of the day where one talented rider retired a memorial trophy after winning the class three years in a row.

“Equitation teaches riders so many things, including discipline,” said equitation instructor Alice Klein of Shelbyville who coached several riders in the equitation division during the Celebration. “I love the pattern work education requires. I love teaching equitation, regardless of the breed … I think in general equitation is increasing in terms of entries at the Celebration and I hope that trend will continue … My only suggestion … I think it would be great for the Celebration to bring in one person whose expertise is only equitation to judge just the equitation classes versus having the panel.” 

The Amateur Youth Riders 12-17 kicked off the morning session with Cinco De Mayo and Counti Green showing their skill and style as the winners of the six-horse class ahead of In A Danger Zone and Svanah Martin who captured reserve.

The first equitation class of the day was the second class on the morning’s agenda, the Equitation Riders 18 and Over (Canter) and three impressive riders challenged the judges in their tough decision. In the end, Allison Thorson, representing ThorSport, won the class for the fifth consecutive year with Sarah Huffman Caudill, hailing from Colorado, making her Celebration debut for the reserve. Interestingly, Caudill’s daughter Marley Doyle has also made her Celebration debut this week in the equitation division, having shown Saturday as well as this morning under the banner of Nicole Carswell Tolle. 

The Amateur Novice Riders on Novice Lite Shod horses was next in the line-up and it ended with Mr. Jose Walks and Kim Parker enjoying their first Celebration blue with Teed Off Santana and Jamie Clark turning in the reserve ride in the six-horse class.

Always a crowd favorite, the babies were back in the next class of the day, the Weanling Colts class, with seven fine entries demonstrating just how optimistic the industry’s future is looking. Rythmic Night with handler Jackson Latham had just the right walk for the win for Bruce Vaughn while Jurist, with Robert Nelms handling, earned the reserve ribbon for Jack Heffington.

Thirteen riders converged for the Amateur Novice Riders on Novice English Trail Pleasure class. I’m Thunderstruck NDR and Jackie Dean strutted their stuff for their first Celebration blue for Peggy Fraley and Jackie Dean. A Gun Show and Freda Dean put on a show of their own and happily accepted reserve in this good class. 

Repeating his victory from last year, Boston Bay proved he knows what it takes to earn a Celebration blue by again winning the Western Park Pleasure class for Jeff Gillespie, who rode the horse to last year’s victory. This year, Jeff Laughlin enjoyed the trip down victory lane while the horse’s owner cheered on. Moving up a notch from last year, Overpass and Patti Pollack cruised ahead and accepted reserve honors.

Amanda Wright has had an incredible show so far this week with the babies she’s presented in several in-hand classes. On Monday morning, Wright directed the pretty baby I’m Unforgettable to the Weanling Fillies win for The G Russell Wright Family after previously winning at the National Futurity earlier this week. She Is Who She Is and Robert Nelms garnered reserve honors for Lamar and Doris Penick.

Many exciting victories took place throughout the morning, but perhaps none more bitter-sweet than Claire Hankins, who retired the Alice Eve Klein Equitation Challenge trophy after winning the Auxiliary Equitation Youth Medal Championship for the third year in a row. Morgan Norris finished reserve in this fabulous class that featured many of the industry’s best riders performing both rail and pattern work. 

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