Copyright WHR 2006

by Sara Engel


SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The third session of the 38th annual National Trainers’ Show began on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. with a larger number of spectators filling the arena ready to see another night of top competition. Anticipation was high and spectators were not disappointed with an evening full of excellent horses.

The mother/son team of Laurie Toone and Hunter Morgan took on the job of displaying the American and the Trainers’ Association flag. Hunter entered the ring carrying the WHTA flag aboard Princess Speed. Within moments, mother Laurie Toone burst forth with old glory flying behind Red Sunday’s Best. The two displayed the flags and made their way to center ring for the invocation and singing the national anthem. Trainer Herbert Derickson gave the invocation, which was followed by a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, sung this evening by Wayne Parker. At the conclusion of the national anthem, both riders took to the rail together and made a mother/son pass.

The crowd was entertained in the middle of the class schedule by an exhibition by none other than multi-world and world grand champion Maisie McSwain and The American General. 2005 marked the second year in a row that Maisie swept the A and B divisions of the Youth 11 and Under Geldings World Championship classes.  Also in 2005, Maisie then went on with The American General to claim the top honor and walk under the Celebration spotlight in the Youth 11 and Under Mares and Geldings World Grand Champion class. Tonight she made a flawless performance which drew great applause. She then went to the center and stood for a presentation.

Three more presentations were made Friday. These were for the Walking Horse Report Year In The Walking Horse, presented to those whom the book has been dedicated. On the schedule for Friday evening was the juvenile dedication, the pleasure dedication and the stallion dedication. It could not be found fitting to include one and not the other, so for the 2005 juvenile dedication Erica and Maria Derickson were both honored. The recipient of the pleasure horse dedication was World Grand Champion Amateur Park Pleasure Jazz All Night. Bob Lawrence and trainer Doug Barnes proudly accepted the award. Sweepstakes claimed the stallion dedication for owners Dr. and Mrs. Pat Rigual.  Sweepstakes stands at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tenn.

                Friday night’s competition began with the Walking Horse Auxiliary Equitation Youth class. Six young ladies entered the ring displaying their equestrian skills to the best of their ability. All of the riders parked in on the east rail and were called one-by-one to perform the assigned pattern. In a repeat performance of last year’s same class, the judges selected the team of Alex Bumpus from Murfreesboro, Tenn., this time aboard Dangerously Unique. Faye Lynn Coffey instructs Bumpus. Reserve went to another fine equestrian, Niki Leggett and equestrian mount Star’s red Twister.

Two young competitors entered the ring to vie for the Walking Horse Auxiliary 11 and Under Equitation class. Directing her mount to victory lane was none other than reigning world champion Lindsey Landrum aboard Santana’s Coin.  Second place was awarded to Rachel Barker of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  Her equitation partner was Babes Genius Two.

This class was followed by the show’s first halter class, the Open Yearling Fillies. Chris Richards began his Trainers’ Show halter division domination by leading Desperate Housewife to the blue for Harlinsdale Farm of Franklin, Tenn. Nathan Mills and Gen’s Pure Luck claimed the reserve spot. Mills was sporting his usual green pants, which are a family tradition began by grandfather Hoyte Eakes when he showed colts. This is another fine example of our youth following in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps in the walking horse world.

The industry’s youth were once again highlighted. In the TWHBEA Youth Medallion, 17 and Under class, Samantha Green directed Magical Colors to the winner’s circle for owner Judy Shapiro of Ashland, Mass., and Shelbyville, Tenn. In her first ever medallion class, Samantha showed she was going to be someone to watch for. Grandy’s Rhythm Lady and Hali Stokes graciously accepted the red streamer for the second year in a row. Grandy’s Rhythm Lady is owned by the Tim Stokes family of Franklin, Tenn.

Next appearing on the scene were 10 top entries in the James Corlew Chevrolet WHTA Riders' Cup Two-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. The audience had their eyes glued on these youngsters hoping to get a peek at a possible 2005 world champion. Jackie McConnell and his mount, Lady Wesson, captured the attention of all five judges and walked to the winner’s circle with a unanimous decision. Lady Wesson is owned by Beverly Sherman of Dallas, Texas.  Receiving the reserve honor was Here Comes Tootsie with Joel Weaver in the irons for Ridgemont Farms of Blacksburg, Va.

Seven talented youths were next up in the ring vying for the Youth Mares and Geldings 11 and Under Specialty title. Bradley Moran expertly guided A Private Benjamin to the blue ribbon. This is the first time that Bradley has ridden A Private Benjamin, owned by Mitch and Wendy Moran of Carthage, Miss., in competition. Major Limits carried Stratton Weaver to the reserve position, which also warranted a beautiful victory pass at the Trainers’ Show.  Davis Haygood of McComb, Miss., is the owner of Major Limits.

The Ladies Amateur Specialty is always a competitive with top caliber horses wherever you look. Off to an undefeated season so far, the team of Sarah Keenan and Express’s Frosty Girl topped the eight-entry field to add to their already impressive resume. Robert Keenan of Franklin, Tenn., owns this great mare. Hot on her heels were the team of Tex’s Dinero and Kelly Sherman of Dallas, Texas, who also made an excellent show and walked away with the second place honor.

The team of Jazzed And Steppin and Chris Richards debuted to the blue in the 12-entry Yearling Colt division for Angie Bumpus of Murfreesboro, Tenn. This win continued Chris Richards charge in the halter class. The reserve winners were Giovanni Casanova and Carlisle Johnson were awarded with the reserve award for Dr. Roger Richards of Hendersonville, Tenn.

The panel chose the current world championship team of Maisie McSwain and Armed To Show to wear the blue in the seven-entry Youth Mares and Geldings 12-14 Specialty class for the Dan McSwain family of Alpharetta, Ga. This is going to be Maisie’s last year in 11 and under classes. Amy Nesius and her newly acquired mount, FDR wore the red streamer from the ring for Shannon Nesius of Chapel Hill, Tenn.

Up next on the long agenda of the evening was the Waterfall Farms WHTA Riders' Cup Three-Year-Old Mares and Geldings class. Sixteen top competitors filled the arena to compete for all five judge’s attention. Starting their season out right, Joel Weaver expertly directed Cash’s Lalique to victory lane for Kevin Parton of Arlington, Va. Knox Blackburn and reigning world champion Jazz’s Jewel In Dixie claimed the reserve spot for Lisa Johnson of Metairie, La. The highly talked about team of Webby Burch and I’ll Be Good had the crowd going wild as they exited the ring with their ribbon.

                An amazing feat occurred in the Trail Pleasure Juvenile Specialty class. The brother and sister combo of Hunter and Mackenzie Morgan swept the top two spots.  Hunter stepped from the lineup and walked to the winner’s circle aboard current world champion Princess Speed.  Following right behind him was younger sister Mackenzie aboard multi-world champion Royal Sparkling Gen.  In 2005 Hunter directed Royal Sparkling Gen to two world championship wins.  After the last ribbon was given out in the class, the winner’s decided to shake things up a little and made a side-by-side victory pass together.

Reigning reserve world champions Michelle Walker and Spellbound Generator were the winners in the Youth 15-17 Mares and Geldings Specialty class. Walker and Spellbound Generator have already built up a nice show record this season. In this season’s debut performance, Color Blind and Kaitlin Koszuta claimed reserve for owner Claude Koszuta of Ocala, Fla.

Once again handler Chris Richards found himself in the winner’s circle. This time he led Open Weanling champion Silver Dollar Crystal to the blue ribbon.  Three classes later Danielle Inman led her down victory lane once more in the Amateur Weanling division. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley of Wartrace, Tenn., own the champion. Walking away second in the nine-entry open field was Hold That Line and Ronald Morton for Mitzi Butler of Andalusia, Ala. Hold That Line claimed the second place position in the amateur class, this time directed by Jesse Nelms.

The Tapes and Technical Solutions WHTA Riders' Cup Four-Year-Old Mares and Geldings blue was awarded to Santa Monica and Jackie McConnell for the Richmond Family of Crockett, Texas. Jackie captured the top honor in this same class last year aboard Foolish Dollar. Reserve went to Hey Hey Ole and Jimmy McConnell for Bob and Mary Medina of Skillman, N.J. This is the second reserve award for Hey Hey Ole at this year’s Trainers’ Show.

The juveniles were on display again, this time in the Show Pleasure 17 and Under Specialty class.  Claiming the prestigious honor with a unanimous decision from the judging panel was Music In The Sky and WhitLei Green of Shelbyville, Tenn.  The reserve award went to Emily Prentice and Time To Strut for the Doug Prentice family of White House, Tenn.

Ten competitors made the gate call for the Waterfall Farms WHTA Three-Year-Old Stallions class.  The crowd roared in excitement as He’s A Weekend Warrior and Sam Martin were called from the lineup to claim their prizes in the winner’s circle.  At last years show, this same pair dominated the WHTA Two-Year-Old Stallions class.  Jones and McLaughlin of Dillon and Florence, S.C., own He’s A Weekend Warrior.  Second place honors were graciously accepted by Knox Blackburn and Ice’s Big Show for Gene Ramsey of New Madrid, Mo.  This team is also on a great roll this season.

                Time out was taken in the competition to honor and present Buddy Moore with an award for his dedication and service to the Trainers’ Show.  Moore has been in attendance to each of the past 38 shows. 

Jennifer Clement aboard Jewell Scatman for Bill Shea of Charles Town, W.Va., won the Amateur Park Performance class. Jordan Eldridge and Pzazz Marks made a polished performance for the reserve position. Pzazz Marks is owned Jordan Eldridge of Shelbyville, Tenn.

Finishing out the round of halter classes was the Open Amateur Yearling class.  Walking their way to the winner’s circle was the pair of A Vicious Rumor and Amanda Winters of Christiana, Tenn. Shane Coon directed Jolie’ Jolie’ to the reserve honor for owner Mitzi Butler of Andalusia, Ala.

The first championship of the show was the Amateur Plantation Pleasure Lite Shod Specialty Championship. Calvin Klein’s Obsession and owner Donald Knight captured the win in this championship, besting their reserve win in 2005. This was the third 2006 Trainers’ Show blue for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Another outstanding entry, C’mon Turn Me Loose and Joe Dixon claimed reserve in this very competitive class. This is the second consecutive year this team placed reserve in this championship.

Last year’s first and second place winner’s swapped positions this year. Debbie Cable and Silver Ghost made their 2005 debut to win the roses and tricolor in the Amateur Park Pleasure Specialty Championship. The reserve team also hails from Barnes Training Facility. The team of world grand champion Jazz All Night and Bob Lawrence made the reserve victory pass.

Those that waited up passed midnight for the six-entry Amateur Show Pleasure Specialty Championship were by no means disappointed. Zulu and Suzanne Littell made the trip to the winner’s circle to collect the blue ribbon for owners Bud Moore and Suzanne Littell of Catherine, Ala. Suzanne could hardly believe her ears when they called her number and couldn’t have grinned any bigger during her victory pass. The remaining crowd was on their feet for the reserve win of reigning world grand champion Ironwork’s Tin Man and Grant Jones.  Ironwork’s Tin Man is owned by SRJ Land and Cattle Company of Greeneville, Ky. This was the second year in a row this team has placed in the reserve slot.

He's A Weekend Warrior and Sam Martin are joined by family and friends after the Riders' Cup Three-Year-Old Championship.

Everybody came out to celebrate with Suzanne Littell and Zulu after the Amateur Show Pleasure Championship.