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Ten Years Ago at the Trainer’s Show

On March 24-27, 1993, the Walking Horse Trainer’s Association celebrated the Silver Anniversary of their show with one of the largest and most successful events in their history. A record 1,674 entries competed for early season acclaim at the Calsonic Arena, the show’s permanent home since 1990. Once again the show served as a benefit for Feed The Children, and ticket sales for nightly yearling giveaways raised over $11,000 for hungry children across our nation. One highlight of the Saturday evening performance was a ceremony honoring the past presidents of the WHTA for their leadership and service to the organization.

Horses from Bill Cantrell Stables earned six blues, leading the ribbon count in the performance division. Cantrell and Ultra Copy stepped up into the aged division with a powerful victory in the Championship Stake. The reigning Junior World Grand Champion impressed all three judges to score a unanimous decision in a class filled with talented competition.

In the pleasure division, Bruce Long Stables of Novel, Pennsylvania took home the most top honors. Multi-World Champion Thunder’s Lavish Lady accounted for five of their seven wins. The mother/daughter team of Karen and Ginele Giambi shared these victory passes in both amateur and juvenile lite-shod classes. Capturing the Plantation Pleasure Grand Championship was the outstanding performance of Royal’s Good Times. Mickey McCormick was in the irons for long-time owner Kathy Jamison.

Although the show featured many outstanding horses, the competition amongst the three-year-olds was second to none. The Three-Year-Old Classic brought out two of the previous year’s top names. Recently purchased by William B. and Sandra Johnson, Two-Year-Old World Grand Champion JFK rewarded his new owners with a championship performance in the classic. Following him with a strong reserve performance was the Two-Year-Old Amateur World Grand Champion Bart Star.

Earlier in the week, the extraordinary mare, Sunrise Que Sera Sera, began her year with a victory in the Three-Year-Old Mare and Gelding class. She and trainer Vicki Self went on to claim the first of her many world titles later that year. In the Three-Year-Old Stallion class, The Royal Majesty and Bill Bobo found themselves in the winner’s circle.

Not to be outdone by the professionals, the three-year-old amateur ranks were exciting as well. Both the class for stallions and for mares and geldings was split due to the large number of entries. In the stallion division, Final Keeper and Ed Breedlove took control of the A division while Bart Star and Bob Parks made another winning ride in the B division. Pusher’s Early Dawn and Linda Garnes earned the title in the A division of the Three-Year-Old Amateur Mares and Geldings, and in the B division, Carrie Benedict directed her newest mount, Heart’s Affire to blue ribbon acclaim.

In other amateur competition, Benedict returned with Ebony’s Money Market to wear the roses in the Amateur Show Pleasure Championship. Yankee’s Threat and Dr. Michael Coleman followed up their preliminary win with the Amateur Specialty Grand Championship while Dru Magee and the talented Good Advice captured the Amateur Grand Championship for the second consecutive year.

Backward S Ranch and their string of champions took five blue ribbons home to Texas. One of their most recent acquisitions, This Is It, carried Kelly Sherman to the Ladies Amateur Gelding title and Beverly Sherman to the honors in the Frances C. Gentry Ladies Amateur Specialty Championship. Beverly also had successful rides on A Mark For Me in Amateur 50 And Over competition and P. J.’s Main Event in the Amateur Specialty Mare class. The fifth Backward S title was also awarded to the beloved P. J.’s Main Event. This time it was trainer Jackie McConnell that directed her to the Over 15.2 Aged Mare blue.

Windward Manor Farm also enjoyed an extremely successful show. The multi-talented Heapin’ Spoonful walked away with a total of four wins and six reserves including the Lite-Shod Championship with Victoria Martocci. Two other Martocci horses took the opportunity to show off their world grand championship form. Pusher’s Benny Boy took top honors in the Amateur Plantation Two-Gait class, and My Promises Promises captured another Juvenile 15-17 title.

The other juvenile classes were filled with world class talent as well. The 11 And Under Gelding class was a victorious season debut for the unstoppable team of Hometown Favorite and Rachel Gamble. In the mare division, Stephanie Rose rode Dark Spirit’s Lou into the winner’s circle. The lovely pair of Whitney Gilliam and Jenny’s Jezebel easily made the transition from the 11 and under ranks by winning the Juvenile 12-14 class, and in their final year of juvenile competition, Royal Silk and Ashley Smith got off to a big start by wearing the roses in the Juvenile Grand Championship.

Courtney Griffith and Pride’s Grand Finale also started off their season with a win at the Trainer’s show. They took the Walking Pony 17 and Under crown with a unanimous decision by the judges. Another former World Grand Champion, Charcoal’s Delight topped the Walking Pony 11 and Under class with Amanda Huneycutt making the winning ride.

One of the highlights of the early show season was the debut of the new crop of two-year-olds, and a couple of these impressive youngsters claimed dual blues in their first outings. Jubilee’s Image took the honors for Two-Year-Old Stallions with Winky Groover and the Amateur Two-Year-Old Stallion title with Newton Parks aboard. In the mares and geldings division, Gen’s Etched In Gold won the open class with trainer Wink Groover and the amateur class with new owner Elizabeth Miller.

Also directed by Wink Groover was Aged Gelding champion, Royal Enchanter. Other notable performers that took home accolades in open competition over the weekend were Royal Label with Bill Bobo in the 15.2 and Under Stallion class and Pride’s Flashy Girl with Bill Cantrell in the 15.2 and Under Mares and Geldings section. In amateur competition What A Sunrise, Majestic Madonna, Chill Factor and I Told You Twice all earned top prizes to kick off another successful season.

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