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2014

he Buckeye is one of those shows with a special place the history of Arabians in North America. For more han half a century, it has maintained a prominent position n the show calendar without many of the benefits some her high-profile events offer. It is not a season-end hampionship, its weather is nothing special, its city offers tle glitz and glamour, and its facility, while useful, is not cturesque. But it always has been a favorite. Why do its orsemen keep coming back, many driving a long way attend? Two reasons stand out: its exhibitor-friendly mosphere and its top-notch competition. The Ohio uckeye Sweepstakes, held over Memorial Day Weekend

Show by ANNE STRATTON

It was part of the overall junior exhibi “Youth entries appeared doubled, and coming at graduation and finals week difficult. We did what we could to ma kids to attend—we added classes, cha was possible to help them out.”

That went hand-in-hand with a trend seen increasingly over the past two ye horses at the show might have been sl entries per horse have been up. “Amat horses more,” she observes. “Right now


2014

Show by ANNE STRATTON

The Buckeye is one of those shows with a special place in the history of Arabians in North America. For more than half a century, it has maintained a prominent position on the show calendar without many of the benefits some other high-profile events offer. It is not a season-end championship, its weather is nothing special, its city offers little glitz and glamour, and its facility, while useful, is not picturesque. But it always has been a favorite. Why do its horsemen keep coming back, many driving a long way to attend? Two reasons stand out: its exhibitor-friendly atmosphere and its top-notch competition. The Ohio Buckeye Sweepstakes, held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 22-26) in Columbus, Ohio, and featuring $50,000 in prize money, is still big business. This year’s event got high marks. “I think the quality in every division was very good,” reports Bob Gordon, who, along with Scott Brumfield and Mitch Sperte, judged the show. It was Gordon’s first time at the Buckeye, and he, like Brumfield, is booked to officiate at this year’s U.S. Nationals as well. He adds that the show’s trademark English division was particularly hard to miss. “The English and the country classes were huge. When Cindy [Clinton, show manager] was asked to help by splitting classes—I think those were the ones that typically were split—that was pretty cool, and there were very good horses in every one of them. That’s what made it fun for me.” The Buckeye has long been known for its English horses, and Clinton agrees that this year’s contenders were among their best. “They proved our slogan, ‘Where National Champions Are Made,’” she smiles. “And equitation was phenomenal this year. It was as deep as a national class. Of our top eight, I almost guarantee that most of them will be top ten at Youth Nationals.” 96 | A R A BI A N HOR SE T I MES

It was part of the overall junior exhibitor story, she notes. “Youth entries appeared doubled, and with the show coming at graduation and finals week, that is always difficult. We did what we could to make it easier for the kids to attend—we added classes, changed times, whatever was possible to help them out.” That went hand-in-hand with a trend Clinton says she has seen increasingly over the past two years. The number of horses at the show might have been slightly down, but the entries per horse have been up. “Amateurs are showing their horses more,” she observes. “Right now, people who are spending the money to send their horses to a show want to ride them themselves. It used to be that the trainers showed the young horses until the amateurs were ready for them, but we’re offering amateurs so much now that they are choosing their own classes. So we’re seeing the open classes a little lighter, but the amateur classes full.” Another interesting point from this year’s show, she says, was the halter. In years past, she had been told that their numbers decreased because the Buckeye employed the scoring system. This year, they changed back to comparative showing. “Being a Class A show, I didn’t have to use the score card,” she explains, “so we applied for and got permission not to, as kind of a test. The prize list was out for months, so everyone knew that we were not using the scoring system, but in the end, comparative judging made no difference in the number of entries.” Regarding the numbers situation—a slight decrease overall at the show—Clinton points out that 2014 is hard to evaluate because of singular circumstances. Region 9’s move-in dates overlapped the Buckeye’s, making it impossible for the Texas barns who normally


attend to come north, and there was the coincidence of trainer changes and injuries at farms which were regular participants. The silver lining in that cloud was that when front row stalls came open, young trainers snapped up the higher-profile accommodations. In addition to the competition, the Buckeye is known for supporting its exhibitors, and this year it lived up to its reputation. A standard feature at the show is the Horse Show App, which ensures up-to-the-minute availability of information. “The App is like our own updated program,” Clinton says. “The judges cards are seen within minutes of their being turned in. You can be sitting in the stands watching the class and see the cards right away.”

What is the takeaway from the show which has been a hit for such a long time? There is the topnotch competition, of course, but that is not all. Bob Gordon saw more than just the view from center ring, as impressive as that was. As president of the Minnesota Half-Arabian Association, he observed with an eye toward enhancing his club’s show. “The one thing I really took away from the Buckeye was the exhibitor-friendliness of the horse show,” he says. “To me, that is a huge deal. We have to make everything as exhibitor friendly as possible.” ■

Also on the technological front, a 2014 innovation was that wi-fi was offered free of charge in the coliseum, and per usual, the Buckeye was live-streamed on Arabian Horse Global for those unable to be there. There was an array of other amenities as well. A vendor area provided shopping for exhibitors between classes, while nearby, two Bounce Houses and an inflatable basketball arrangement kept the kids entertained. And Friday night’s traditional Progressive Party, always a success, was again a social panorama as a tide of people moved along the barn aisles. Clinton is quick to praise everyone on the Buckeye team. “I have to thank all the people who help put this show on,” she says. “Schneider Saddlery has been a corporate sponsor since I came on board, and Nutrena® is in its second year. And Jarvis Insurance provided great gift baskets for our gold and silver sponsors, as they have done for two years.”

Volume 45, No. 2 | 97


Show

New in 2015

The AEPA Strawberry Banks AOTR Maturity

Since 2008, the Ohio Buckeye has been home to the Arabian English Performance Association’s Yearling In-Hand Futurity. Offering $15,000 in prize money, it was one of the highlights of the show’s schedule. Next year, that will change—not the venue, but the type of class. And its prize money will go up. “The purpose of AEPA is to build growth and participation in the English performance division,” says Peter Conway, the organization’s president. “So, we tried an experiment to see if we could get people involved with yearlings in that class.” The specifications of the competition, which offered a relaxed style of halter presentation for the youngsters, directed that the horses be judged for English potential.

Over the years the class was in operation, however, it never really attracted sustained support. “My guess is that most performance people did not want to send their yearlings out to a class yet,” Conway says. “They want to wait until they grow up and then bring them in for performance training.” Therefore, the in-hand competition has been discontinued. “We decided to try something that we know people have been clambering for, and that’s more opportunity for amateur owners to win prize money and to participate,” Conway says. Barbara Chur, of Strawberry Banks Farm, stepped up to augment the prize money, and the result is calculated to please. “The AEPA Strawberry Banks AOTR Maturity is for amateur owners to ride,” Conway says, “and is for 5- and 6-year-old horses that were sired by an AEPA stallion at the time of the breeding. It is open to all English performance horses, both country and English, but it will be judged by country English standards.” The Maturity will offer not only a prestigious title. On Friday night at the 2015 Buckeye, it also will be passing out $20,000 in prize money. “The Buckeye Board is thrilled to be a part of the AEPA’s innovative ideas,” says Cindy Clinton. “We appreciate their choosing our show to hold this new and exciting class.”

98 | A R A BI A N HOR SE T I MES


Eleesa LR & Jaime Nutter

2014 Buckeye Champion AEPA Yearling In-Hand English Futurity (Tryst CCF x BA Inspiration)

Victorino LR & Linsday Rinehart

2014 Buckeye Reserve Champion AEPA Yearling

In-Hand English Futurity (Allience x Pro-Bability)

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2014 Ohio Buckeye