By Sadie Fowler

The Celebration grounds felt alive and well with horse show activities Saturday morning, Aug. 25, as families, spectators, exhibitors, horses and dogs came together for the first official weekend day of the 80thCelebration. With children out of school and the morning session featuring several classes for youth competitors, it was evident that “kids” were indeed the theme of the day. Again, with it being a weekend and many local folks off from work, the grounds came to life with people popping by to grab donuts, a breakfast sandwich, walk the grounds to check out horse show set ups, or simply watch a bit of the show. Several halter classes scrutinized the horses’ confirmation, and on the flip side, riders were judged on their horsemanship skills in the equitation classes that were offered.

Six entries emerged for the first class on the morning’s agenda, the Owner-Amateur Weanlings class, which concluded with a unanimous decision by the veteran judging panel; Sam Sorrell, Leigh Stuart, Ross Campbell, David Sisk and Mike Hilley. Summa Cum Laude and Kelly Richards got the morning off to a great start by claiming the unanimous blue with I’m Royal Vengeance and Jaron Dotson walking away as reserve champions. 

It was no boys allowed as only the young ladies showed up for the Owner-Amateur Youth 12-17 Western Country Pleasure class, which had a dozen talented young riders in the Calsonic for the second class of the day. Diamond At The Ritz and Mackenzie Lawrence were the fancy team to walk away as champs with José All I Have To Say and Sadie Rader making a respectable performance as the reserve champions. 

Kick Start Jazz and Amanda Manis made a poised and polished performance to land the blue in the Amateur Owned and Trained Lite-Shod class with Flip A Deal and Debbie Wells wearing a smile out of the ring as well as the red streamers.

Oh Susannah is no stranger to the winner’s circle and come Saturday morning she added one more blue to her incredible resume in unanimous style with handler Lynn Womack in the Yearling Fillies or Geldings class. Like Womack, Robert Nelms has put many notable horses in the ring, during this Celebration and shows that preceded it. On Saturday morning, he led I’m The Ninth Caller to the reserve ribbon in this quality-filled in hand class.

The young and spry youth riders were in the spotlight once again in the next class, the Youth 6-11 Western Country Pleasure with Talkin’ Dirty To Me and Harper Grider continuing their undefeated season by claiming the blue and Bustline and Claire Vaughn, who won this class last year, on the winners’ heels for the reserve championship in the big group of 16.

The Yearling Colts followed in the agenda and it was two-for-two blues for Summa Cum Laude, who also won the first class of the morning, with Roger Richards handling the win with Jazzed Up On Gin and Robert Nelms accepting reserve out of eight entries for LaRue McWaters.

Next up, the young riders again entertained fans and friends who cheered riders on in the Youth 12-17 Western Trail Pleasure class. I’m King Bee and Counti Green rode like royals to capture this awesome win as Dark Picture Show and Alexa Compton moved up a notch from their third-place finish last year to walk away as this year’s reserve champions. 

After an incredible morning Friday, Suiza and Allison Thorson were back to make yet another memory in the English Trail Pleasure class, which featured 11 entries. Yesterday, it was announced they had made Celebration history and today they increased their blue-ribbon tally by one more, now having earned a whopping 25 Celebration wins. Thorson’s smile said it all as she enjoyed sweet victory on a horse she trains herself. Showing her love for the horse, the industry as well as the sport of riding, Thorson stayed busy well into the close of the morning supporting other fine riders on their quest for equitation achievement as well.
The English Trail Pleasure class that Suiza won was deep in terms of quality, including Ferdinand and Maggie Moore, who received great approval from spectators for their great efforts as reserve champions. 

The Youth 6-11 Trail Pleasure class featured eight talented teams and it was American Hustle and Addie Harris to rise into the top position with Fuego and Grace Wilhelm earning the crowd’s approval as the reserve champions among a talented line up. 

Twelve made the gate call for the Youth 6-11 on English Country Pleasure class, which culminated with an impressive performance by The Black Out L.D. and Jayden Jackson to capture the victory ahead of Front Nine, who maintained the same reserve finish they earned last year, with Makena Dempsey in the saddle. 
She’s Jazz Station 109 and Chelsey Harvey earned their first Celebration blue in the Youth 12-17 on English Trail Pleasure class with last year’s winners, GiGi’s Lunch Money and Claire Hankins, settling for reserve among the field of six.

The young men were in the spotlight for the top two positions in the Youth 6-17 on Park Performance class. The Crimson Coach and Gabe Humiston made a big performance to capture this great win in the field of seven while Dulcinea and Colton Trimble put on a very respectable show for the reserve finish. 

The second to last class of the morning featured the Auxiliary Equitation Medal 6-11, where riders got to show off their horsemanship skills. Four skilled riders performed to the best of their abilities but no one topped the poised and polished Addie Harris who made her Celebration comeback and emerged victorious in doing so, ahead of another impressive rider, Corbin Parker who earned reserve in the good class.

The equitation medal class for riders 12-14 followed with three excellent equestrians giving it their all with both rail work, which included cantering, as well as individual patterns. After finishing reserve in her equitation class last year, Jessica Lawwell was on point to top the competitive crop of three riders this time around, with Morgan Norris closely following for reserve honors. 

The final class of the morning was also an equitation medal class where three riders completed thorough work on the rail as well as individual workouts to further test their skills. For the past five years, Claire Hankins has left the Celebration with at least one equitation blue ribbon as a result of her good horsemanship. This year, she again demonstrated both style and grace as she earned the top prize in the medal class for her age group, followed by the elegant Brooklyn Fuss who closed out the morning with a strong reserve finish.