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THE TEAM

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Pieter Hugo Managing Director

Johan Blom Chief Executive Officer

Madge Bass USA Sales Manager

Marguerite le Roux Senior Designer

Deveau Zubrod Kreitzer Features / Profiles

Marie Chin Advertising Executive

Meghan von Ballmoos Features / Billing Director

Melissa Chatto Executuve Assistant

Gasnat Jaffer Office Manager

CONTENTS

www.showhorse.co.za

THIS ISSUE 18

Museum Must haves for Men

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Advertisers

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About The Cover

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A Driving Force: Gold Medalist Misdee Wrigley Miller Deveau Zubrod Kreitzer

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American Royal Howard Schatzberg

128 2018 National Academy Championship Nick Schubert 131 Ribbon to Ribbon 142 Alex Rudder - A Junior year in pictures Deveau Zubrod Kreitzer

EDITORIALS: Johan Blom johan@silvermane.co.za (0027) 83 324 3709 Pieter Hugo pieter@showhorse.co.za (001) 502 321 8305 Meghan von Ballmoos meghan@showhorse.co.za (001) 860 605 5041 Deveau Zubrod Kreitzer DESIGN: Marguerite le Roux mleroux@silvermane.co.za ADVERTISING: Madge Bass bass.madge@gmail.com (001) 502 299 8523 Marie Chin marie@silvermane.co.za (0027) 82 497 4475 ORDERS & INVOICING: Gasnat Jaffer gasnat@showhorse.co.za 32b Whitlers Way, Hout Bay 7806, South Africa INTERNATIONAL DIALING CODES: SA (0027) AND USA (001)

150 Mercer Springs Farm Meghan von Ballmoos

Published by:

156 Macey Miles(tone) Meghan von Ballmoos 163 Horse of the Year Award Winners www.silvermane.co.za

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ADVERTISERS

176,IBC,OBC 171 22 166 172 68 9 25 50 38 160 2 54 66 164 46 168 173 167 56 10 34 FC,44,165 20 17 64,170 70 IFC

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Copyright for all original published material is vested in SilverMane Media and may be reproduced only with the permission of the Editor. All opinions expressed in the articles appearing in SilverMane Media are those of the authors and are not necessarily subscribed to by the editorial staff of SilverMane Media. Authors of articles are compelled to acknowledge all sources of information (if any) used in the compiling of articles and are therefore liable for copyright transgressions. SilverMane Media accepts no responsibility for claims made in the advertisements and will not be held liable for any damage resulting from the use of any of the information published in SilverMane Media.

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Misdee Miller prepares for the dressage phase of the World Equestrian Games.

By Deveau Zubrod Kreitzer

A DRIVING FORCE

Gold Medalist Misdee Wrigley Miller The sun washes down over her face as she ducks her head so the brim of her helmet blocks the glare. The breeze picks up, and the horse’s manes dance through the air as if they are in a synchronized song.

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rom high atop her perch, like a captain to her ship, Misdee Wrigley Miller, navigates her four horses. They are in perfect harmony. Each horse responding to the pressure of a line, held by Miller, and to the connection between their partners.

The team of horses race down the hill, and without slowing, abruptly turn right as Miller eyes her obstacle. Her stomach clenched, and her breath held, she points the leader and they pass through the narrow gate, the spoked wheel of her exquisite carriage narrowly missing the fence post.The team tightly circles through the obstacle before heading back up the next hill at a full gallop. Pure adrenaline could describe many events in the horse business. Miller had experienced the rush of riding down the ramp and onto the green shavings at the World’s Championship Horse Show many times, and worn the roses for the victory pass as World’s Grand Champions. But she never imagined she would have the courage to compete, and feel the thrill of marathon carriage driving with a four-in-hand team. At 61-years-old, Miller not only found the courage to compete

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at the highest level of competition, she excelled. At this year’s World Equestrian Games, held in Tryon, North Carolina; the United States Team took home the Gold Medal in the Combined Driving Event for the first-time ever, making Miller the first woman medalist in the history of this event. She is quite literally rewriting the history books for a sport that has always been male-dominated. For good reason, the four-in-hand team can be very intimidating to most women.The strength it takes to maneuver and control just one horse is incredible. Multiply that times four, all with just the aids of your upper body, and it’s a true feat or any horseman. Anyone who has ever watched the speed and agility of these horses knows it’s not for the faint of heart. “There are only seven or eight women in the world that compete on this level,” explained Miller.“Especially with me being able to medal, I hope it will encourage other women to take up the reins.” A fourth-generation horseperson, Miller grew up riding. Her grandmother bred Arabian horses on their families’ Catalina island. She competed with the family Arabian’s in Scottsdale, Arizona where her interest in the Arabian horses brought her to Cal Poly State University for their horse training and breeding program. After taking a broadcast law class, she switched tracks and headed to Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School

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Miller and her four-in-hand team competing in the Cones obstacle phase at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

of Broadcast Journalism, where she earned her degree. After working as a production assistant, and as an on-air reporter, she then had an epiphany that the horses were her calling. Saddlebreds have been a long-time love for Miller, who has competed at the highest level, even being one of just a few amateurs to win the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship. As an owner, she’s had countless world’s champions under Kalarama Farms direction, including this year’s Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion, CH The Daily Lottery. Together with her husband James, their Hillcroft Farm encompasses not just the Saddlebreds, but polo ponies, Thoroughbreds, and the Warmblood’s that make up her driving team. The farm was named after her grandfather, P.K. Wrigley, the son of chewing gum founder, William Wrigley, Jr. Hillcroft was his summer retreat on Lake Geneva and the farm now bears the family crest in its logo. Miller’s entrance into the driving world was somewhat serendipitous. She had experience driving just for pleasure, and when she acquired her great-grandparent’s two beautiful antique carriages in the late 1990’s, it started her on the journey of really learning to drive.

Miller had become friends with driving icon, Chester Weber, while living in Ocala, Florida, as she volunteered at the Live Oak Combined Driving Event. “The second year that I volunteered there was when I met Chester Weber,” recalled Miller.“Looking back, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I would be on a gold-medal winning team with him in the future.” She started volunteering, and navigated for some people. The navigator is the spotter that stands in the back of the carriage and communicates with the driver on the course. She slowly got hooked. “The World Equestrian Games was coming to Kentucky and I was on that organizing committee and I decided to put a couple of my pleasure driving horses together that had previously done combined driving and try it. I was completely hooked,” said Miller. She competed with a pair at first, with no aspirations to drive a team of four horses, but then in 2013 it looked like America was not going to be able to field a team to go to Normandy for the 2014 WEG. Coached by Weber, he convinced her to give it a try. With just months of practice, Miller not only competed in her first World Equestrian Games, but the United States finished just off the podium with an incredible fourth-place finish. The combined driving event consists of three grueling days of

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Miller and her teammates on the podium after their Gold Medal winning drives at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

competition in a row. Similar to its under-saddle counterpart, the first day is dressage, which is Miller’s specialty, and one in which she has a special affinity for. It’s also the basis for success in all of the competition events. “I think maybe because I’ve always appreciated roundness and suppleness, and contact on the bit, it came more naturally to me than the other two phases,” she explained. “The whole foundation of the sport is based on dressage. If you don’t have the suppleness, you’ll struggle through the marathon and cones. I spend most of my training on the dressage. That’s where I knew I could contribute my best score for the team.” “The second day is marathon – and that’s sheer strength. You have to memorize eight obstacles and do them in order,” she said. And all at full-speed, no holds barred, which makes it easy to make a costly mistake or be eliminated. Miller explained that she only felt prepared for this phase in the last year, much in thanks to her coach, Australian, Boyd Exell, undeniably the best driver in the world. “He built up my courage, I trust him so much that I knew he would never ask me to do something that I couldn’t do.”

“The marathon is a complete adrenaline rush. The most difficult thing was for me to be brave and attack the obstacles in a marathon course.You have to gallop them. I would worry, ‘what if they rub their hip or ding their leg,’ I’m expected to head full force into them and that was hard.” The third and final day of competitions is obstacle cones, which Miller likens to driving a race car through a course. The driver negotiates a course of up to 20 pairs of cones, each cone having a ball balanced on top. The cones are only a few centimeters wider than the wheels of the carriage. “It’s speed and agility and you have to be precise. You have an hour to memorize the course. You really have to dig deep to drive a good cones course.Your horse also has to really dig deep and still be responsive. Of all the equestrian sports, I would say combined driving has to be one of the most difficult. Just the sheer hours of competition in three consecutive days.”

In the summer of 2017, Miller suffered a broken elbow after a bicycle accident, which kept her out of the driving and Saddlebred competitions the entire year. She came back with a vengeance, and as soon as she had the all clear, started back to her daily training routine. In May of 2018 Miller headed to The “One of my favorite quotes is from Audrey Hepburn, and I just Netherlands with her horses to train with Boyd Exell. James kept repeating it to myself, ‘There is nothing that is impossible. and her have a home across the street from Exell and would Even the word itself says, I’m possible’.” spend upwards of five hours driving every single day. “I have 90

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Misdee and James Miller celebrate WGC CH The Daily Lottery’s win in the Gaited Stake this past August.

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WGC CH The Daily Lottery took home the Gaited Stake at the UPHA National Championship last month. He will debut with Misdee next spring.

even get to WEG without him,” Miller recalled. She had a young horse waiting in the wings, but they had planned to bring him along slowly. Instead, he was thrown into the lead position. “We had to up his learning curve and The cones practice can be likened to an equitation pattern. that was coming together really well. And then my other With a set course at the competition, you don’t get much time great leader suffered an injury. I finally got him back, and to memorize it, but at home in practice each element can be then another had an injury. All throughout the year, I had drilled over and over again until it’s perfect. “You can’t practice to keep substituting and changing the team around, and I the marathon as often,” explained Miller. “We never train only got to compete with the ‘A Team’ once before WEG.” marathon ten days before a show, because you don’t want to While it was mentally tough to make all those changes, injure your horses. Cones you can practice three times a week Miller also acknowledged that it also probably really helped and that’s what it takes to get really good at them. It has to be contribute to her adaptability in the competition. automatic, if you have to think what you are doing with your The dominant leader in Miller’s team is her left leader.This hands, it’s already too late.” horse, as she explains, must have style, be brave, and be Miller’s driving horses are all KWPN’s, which is a combination of dominant. “He’s such a stylish horse, he looks like a big the Hackney, Geldelander and Dutch Warmblood breeds. Four hackney pony. He has to have a partner who is equally of her 11 horses are by the same sire, a hackney stallion. “My stylish and brave, but is willing to be a bit of a passenger as love of that sort of hot-blooded, beautiful moving horse similar well. You can’t have your leaders trying to dominate each to the Saddlebred has definitely bled over into this competition other. Finding those two horses that will work together horse that I prefer.” is really difficult.” The two horses closest to the carriage are called the wheelers. They are the ones that have to Out of the 11 horses, she tries to keep the same team of bear the brunt of the weight of the carriage, so they are five horses together. It can be difficult in such a physically slightly larger and true work horses.“You point the leaders demanding sport. “Exactly one year ago, I lost my best leader towards the gate and they will duck in pretty easily, but you to a freak accident, and that threw me. I didn’t think I would have to rely on your wheelers to respond quickly enough enough horses that I could drive two teams a day,” said Miller.“I would do dressage and cones, and maybe even borrow some of Boyd’s horses to practice marathon.”

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Miller and Two Sweet Too Kiss winning the Five-Gaited Amateur Ladies National Championship.

Misdee Miller and CH HS Baby Steps winning the UPHA Three-Gaited Ladies National Championship at the American Royal.

and with enough agility to get them and the carriage through the same opening,” she explains. “You can’t be competitive, especially in the marathon phase, without really good wheelers.” Miller’s training routine is getting ready to ramp back up. She will head back to The Netherlands in the spring and spend her days training. She plans to compete in the Driving World Championships inThe Netherlands in 2020, and will continue her training regime in preparation for that. And then, perhaps another World Equestrian Games will be in her future. Her husband James supports her crazy dreams and schedule as well. “We are both very competitive by nature,” she explained.“But I don’t mind five hours of drills and he does.That’s the difference in our personalities. He’s such a great natural horseman. He has a natural, wonderful feel for a horse and has great hand-eye coordination. It actually makes me almost angry that he could not [drive a team] for a month and then come in and drive a perfect cones course,” she laughed. They will continue to fly back and forth from Europe to Kentucky and across the country for Saddlebred competitions next summer as well. “The great thing is that

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Danny and Kelly [Lockhart] and Larry [Hodge] know me so well and they have my horses so perfectly prepared for me.They allow me to fly in and step on and say ‘let’s go’. I’m fortunate to have the same kind of team with my driving horses. That allows me to compete at the highest level in both disciplines, and it’s an absolute dream for me.” While she doesn’t get much opportunity to practice in the saddle, she does say she’s in the best shape of her life, due to her driving training, and she’s able to transfer the feeling of the driving horses into the saddle. “The crosstraining has helped me, and my core strength from driving has definitely benefited my riding.” Miller plans to show WGC CH The Daily Lottery this summer as well.With the grueling training and competition schedule of the World Equestrian Games last year, she knew she wasn’t going to be able to connect with him and show him to the best of their abilities, so she had turned the reins over to trainer, Daniel Lockhart. And after taking home the title of Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion, and being there to witness the incredible performance, she’s sure glad she did. “I’ll have to drag Danny out of the saddle now,” she laughed. “He loves that horse so much and they have a real connection.” Miller is looking forward to their first competition together as a team this spring.

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Fine Harness Missouri/Kansas WINTERSBY & GARY DICKHERBER

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Saddle Seat Equitation Missouri/Kansas CH REEDANN’S WHY NOT & GABRIELLA SNYDER

ASB Three Gaited Park Three Year Old SLAMCRACKER & DAVID CATER

ASB Country Pleasure Driving CH ATTACHE’S CHOCOLATE THUNDER & LYNDA ST ANDRE Saddle Seat Equitation Adult SUNSET’S FLYING KISS & NADINE VAN ZOMEREN THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASB Three Gaited Country Pleasure Adult APPARENT TO ME ONLY & KASEY SACCOCIA

ASB Three Gaited Park Pleasure Three Year Old DANCE BABY & AUSTIN HAZELWOOD

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Harness Pony Denver/Junior Pony HEARTLAND MONEY TALK & HOLLY NICHOLS

ASB Three Gaited Park Pleasure Junior Horse NUTTIN’ BUT KISSES & TORI ALBIN

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ASB Am/Jr. Exhibitor Three Gaited Missouri/Kansas HARLEM’S HEIROSPACE & KELSEY HANEY THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE


ASB Three Gaited Country Pleasure MO/KS ABSOLUTELY ALISON & GWYNETH HAMRAH

ASB Fine Harness Three Year Old REEDANN’S SPRING HEIR & JAIME MEDINA

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Veteran Show Pleasure Horse JETT RINK & DIANE NYHAMMER ASB Hunter Country Pleasure CH HARLEM’S SWEET SUCCESS & CAITLIN BRANNON

ASB Five Gaited Country Pleasure UNDULATA’S CHEEKIE NUT & ZOE SCHAFFEL

Roadster Pony Denver/Junior MIDNITE PRINCESS & ANDY FRESETH THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Three Gaited Missouri/Kansas TOP COUNTRY GIRL & MIKE APONTE

ASB Five Gaited Missouri/Kansas SOQUILI’S KNGIHT SHADOW & VIRGIL HELM

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ASB Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding MADEIRA’S CODE RED & JAMES LOWRY

Amateur Harness Pony CRYSTAL CREEK’S DIXIE CHICK & ELIZABETH GHAREEB

ASB Three Gaited Show Pl. Jr. Exhibitor MO/KS BUCKLES, BOOTS ‘N SPURS & NORA WADE

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ASB Three Gaited Over 15.2 TANGO’S TOKEN KISS & SMITH LILLY

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ASB Five Gaited Mare DIVERGENT & KENNY SMITH

ASB Three Gaited Park Missouri/Kansas ROSEWOOD’S WISHIWOULDA & ABBY MUTRUX

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ASB Amateur Three Gaited Park CH UNDULATA’S JUST PERFECT & DR AMERY CREIGHTON

ASB Three Gaited Three Year Old SPECIAL GENTLEMEN & STEVE WHEELER

ASB Five Gaited Three Year Old WITH LUCK & DEBBIE FOLEY

ASB Amateur Three Gaited under 15.2 FAR AWAY C’EST SI BON & ALI JUDAH

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASB Ladies Amateur Three Gaited CH I’M STILL DREAMIN’ & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW

Roadster To Bike Amateur CH IAMNOTACOW & ZOE SCHAFFEL

ASB Three Gaited Show Pl. Adult MO/KS CH THREE POINT SHOOOTER & HALLIE EVERETT

Harness Pony Open HEARTLAND DIXIE DANCER & ALICIA SCHUCKERT

ASB Three Gaited Park Open ATTACHE’S AMERICAN PATRIOT & TODD MILES

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ASB Five Gaited Stallion NUTS ABOUT BLUE & ISAAC DEURLOO

ASB Fine Harness Two Year Old CHESS PIECE & LYNDA FRESETH

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ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure Amateur 18-38 SEDGEFIELD’S IL DIVO & MEGAN NOVAK

ASB Amateur Five Gaited Mare THE BRIGHTEST BLUE & MISDEE WRIGLEY MILLER

Hackney Pony Denver/Junior HEARTLAND JAMIN’ & GRACE ARNOLD THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure MO/KS MATERIAL KISS & TAYLOR WOODS

ASB Ladies Three Gaited under 2 SAVE THE DAY & ANDREA HARRY

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ASB Three Gaited Two Year Old NOHO & MIKE APONTE

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure 39 & Over RO & ME’S HEIR EXPRESS & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW

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ASB Fine Harness Junior Horse ROCKET MAN & BRET C DAY


ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure 18-38 GENTLEMAN & MAYA MANILOW

ASB Three Gaited Park Pleasure ULTIMATE CHARM & ROBERT GARDINER

Harness Pony Open HEARTLAND BEJEWELED & MAUREEN CAMPBELL

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ASB Five Gaited Two Year Old RIDGEWOOD’S LUCKY CHUCKY & AUSTIN HAZELWOOD

ASB Amateur Three Gaited over 15.2 ESPRESSO NOIR & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Three Gaited Park Junior Horse DOCTOR DOBRO MS & NEIL VISSER

Roadster Pony Missouri/Kansas REGAL’S CREATION LF & JAN BURDEN

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ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure 39 & Over CALLAWAY’S BOOKMARK & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW

ASB Fine Harness Mare LULU FROST & JAMES LOWRY

ASB Amateur/Junior Exhibitor Five Gaited MO/KS KISS MY ATTACHE & JILL QUAID LOMBARDO 102 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE


Roadster Pony Amateur CH COOL MAX & ELIZABETH GHAREEB

ASB Ladies Fine Harness I’M A LOOKER & GRACE ARNOLD

UPHA Except. Challenge Cup Non-Assisted Level 1 NACHO MAMA & MADELYN FARRIS

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ASB Ladies Five Gaited Mare SHARE THE MOMENT & DEBBIE FOLEY UPHA Except. Challenge Cup With Assist. Level 4 AWESOME GOLDEN GLOW & LEXI ANDERSON

UPHA Except. Challenge Cup With Assist. Level 3 WILLOWICK SOUTHERN STYLE & ASHLEE TUCKER

UPHA Except. Challenge Cup Non-Assisted Level 2 KNICKEE & ELORA STAROPOLI

ASB Three Gaited Western Country Pleasure HALLELUJAH NEW YORK & GABRIELLE ZIMMERMAN

ASB Three Gaited under 15.2 CLARA LYNN & JAMES LOWRY THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASB Junior Three Gaited AMY FARRAH FOWLER & RAY KRUSSELL

Roadster Pony Open TURTLE CREEK CELEBRATION & JOHN WRATHER

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ASB Ladies Five Gaited Gelding NOBLE CHARM & SENA BOWLING

ASB Amateur Five Gaited Stallion/Gelding PHOR THE LOVE OF PETE & CEIL WHEELER

ASB Ladies Three Gaited Over 2 CH HS BABY STEPS & MISDEE WRIGLEY MILLER

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Roadster to Bike Open LIVE ACTION & LARRY HODGE

ASB Walk/Trot Pleasure 12 & Under I’M VEGAS & NORA BURNETT

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Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Adult HEARTLAND SUGAR PLUM & GRACE ARNOLD

UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup (2019) OPTI MYSTIC & DANIELLE BECKER ASB Five Gaited Gelding CH THE DAILY LOTTERY & DANNY LOCKHART

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASB Three Gaited Country Pleasure 13 & Under CH EXTREMELY FORTUNUT & BELLA JETTE

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 CH COMPLETELY CAVEAT & DAWSON ARCHIBALD

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ASB Show Pleasure Driving KATHARINE THE GREAT & ANNA MARIE KNIPP

ASB Junior Exhibitor Three Gaited 13 & Under ROSE ARBOR’S MOVING OUT & GRACEY JENKINS

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Roadster Under Saddle THE GENERAL LEE & BRITTANY MCGINNIS


Five Gaited Pony REGINA GEORGE & HANNAH HERBST

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure 13 & Under CH HIS SUPREME REFLECTION & ISABELLE FISCHER

ASB Three Gaited Country Pl. MO/KS Stake ABSOLUTELY ALISON & GWYNETH HAMRAH

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Three Gaited Pony NOBODY KNOWS & RYAN VISSER ASB Three Gaited Country Pleasure 14-17 BROOKHILL’S KNOCKOUT & BELLA HODGE

Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Jr. Exhibitor ROMEO’S POLICITICAN LF & ELIZABETH SESSUMS THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Five Gaited Junior Exhibitor 14-17 CALLAWAY’S BRIONI & SALLIE MASON WHEELER

ASB Amateur Fine Harness CH CARAWAY’S NEW YORK MINUTE & GRACE ARNOLD

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UPHA Adult Challenge Cup CH (EQ) LEMON SHAKE UP WRF & VICTORIA WALZ

ASB Three Gaited Park MO/KS Stake ROSEWOOD’S WISHIWOULDA & ABBY MUTRUX

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ASB Ladies Amateur Five Gaited TWO SWEET TO KISS & MISDEE WRIGLEY MILLER


ASB Junior Exhibitor Five Gaited 13 & Under SAMURAI & HAILY MILLER ASB Three Gaited West. Country Pl. Ladies CH THE MAJESTIC & SHARON VUINOVICH

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Roadster Pony Under Saddle MY KYRPTONITE & CAROLINE PEARSON

Veteran Show Pleasure Horse Championship JETT RINK & DIANE NYHAMMER ASB Junior Exhibitor Three Gaited 14-17 LADY MANDOLIN & RYAN VISSER

ASB Country Pleasure Driving Nat. Championship CH ATTACHE’S CHOCOLATE THUNDER & LYNDA ST ANDRE

UPHA Junior Challenge Cup Nat. Champ Phase 2 VIVE LA FANTASIA & ELLA WHITE THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG Parade Horse Open NADIA COMANECI & CHERI WISE

ASB Hunter Country Pleasure Nat. Championship CH HARLEM’S SWEET SUCCESS & CAITLIN BRANNON

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ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure MO/KS Champ. CH THREE POINT SHOOOTER & HALLIE EVERETT

ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure Jr Exhibitor ABSOLUTELY SASSY & ALAYNA APPLEGATE

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Hackney Pony Open CRYSTAL CREEK’S STORMY NIGHT & RON TAAPKEN


ASB Five Gaited Junior Horse MAN OF MAGIC & SMITH LILLY

ASB Three Gaited Park Junior Exhiibitor FUTURETTE & ALEX RUDDER

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ASB Walk/Trot Pleasure 12 & Under Stake CALL THE SHOTS & KYRA MCGEE

Roadster Pony 13 & Under BOOGITY BOOGITY & CARTER SINEX

ASB Five Gaited Country Pl. Nat. Championship MONNINGTON SIR CHARLES BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG Saddle Seat Equitation 13 & Under CH (EQ) IMAGINE MY SURPRISE & SOPHIE YIH

ASB Am/Jr Exhibitor Five Gaited MO/KS Stake LOADED QUESTION & EMMA CARUSO

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ASB Three Gaited Park Pleasure Stake ULTIMATE CHARM & ROBERT GARDINER

Hackney Pony Pleasure Horse/Pony Under Saddle HEARTLAND DIRECT HIT & CHEYENNE WILLIAMS

ASB Three Gaited MO/KS Stake SIR MAMBO & ALIX POLYDOROS 112 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE


ASB Three Gaited West. Country Pl. Nat. Champ. CH PARK AVENUE DIVA & SAMANTHA THOMAS

ASB Am/Jr Exhib. Three Gaited MO/KS Stake HARLEM’S HEIROSPACE & KELSEY HANEY

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Roadster Pony 14-17 REGAL’S PRIME RATE LF & OLIVIA TURNER

ASB Three Gaited Country Pl. Adult Nat. Champ. APPARENT TO ME ONLY & KASEY SACCOCIA

Roadster Pony 14-17 REGAL’S PRIME RATE LF & OLIVIA TURNER

ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure Adult Nat. Champ. CALLAWAY’S BOOKMARK & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG UPHA Hackney Pony Pl.Driving Classic Grand Champ HEARTLAND RAIN MAKER & JULIE GREENBANK

UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Phase 2 BROOKHILL’S PASSION PUNCH & HALEY BERGET

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UPHA Harness Pony Classic Grand Championship HEARTLAND HI HO SILVER AWAY & MAUREEN CAMPBELL

UPHA Park Pleasure Classic Grand Championship RIDGEWOOD’S GYPSY HEIR & MIKE APONTE

UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Grand Championship HEARTLAND GUN SHOW & MAUREEN CAMPBELL

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AHHS Youth Medallion Showmanship HEARTLAND MACHO MAN & CLAIRE KILEY


UPHA Three Gaited Classic Grand Championship APHRODITE’S KISS & TOM THORPE

UPHA Five Gaited Classic Grand Championship FEEL THE FURY & SMITH LILLY

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UPHA Roadster Pony Classic Grand Championship HEARTLAND MAGIC MOMENT & MAUREEN CAMPBELL

Three Gaited Pony Stake NOBODY KNOWS & RYAN VISSER

UPHA Roadster to Bike Classic Grand Championship C U LATER& DEBBIE FOLEY

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG AHHS Hackney Pony Pl. Driving Med. Nat. Champ. BELLS AND WHISTLES & MADISON POPE

ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure MO/KS Stake MATERIAL KISS & TAYLOR WOODS

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Saddle Seat Equitation 16-17 ARIZONA POPPY & KAYLEE ATKINSON

Saddle Seat Equitation Junior Nat. Championship CH (EQ) IMAGINE MY SURPRISE & SOPHIE YIH

Saddle Seat Equitation 14-15 WALTERWAY’S DIGNITARY & ISABELLA PRIVITERA

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Five Gaited Pony Stake ULTIMATE SPITFIRE & SAMANTHA SWIGER

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure 13 & Under Nat. CH CH HIS SUPREME REFLECTION & ISABELLE FISCHER

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ASB Three Gaited Country Pleasure 14-17 Nat. CH BROOKHILL’S KNOCKOUT & BELLA HODGE

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure 14-17 Nat. CH CH COMPLETELY CAVEAT & DAWSON ARCHIBALD

ASB Three Gaited Country Pl. 13 & Under Nat. CH CH EXTREMELY FORTUNUT & BELLA JETTE THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Show Pleasure Driving National Champ. KATHARINE THE GREAT & ANNA MARIE KNIPP

ASB Five Gaited Show Pleasure Jr. Exhib Nat. CH ABSOLUTELY SASSY & ALAYNA APPLEGATE

ASHA Jr. Exhib. Show Pl. Driving Challenge Final CH BROOKHILL’S EXPRESS YOURSEL & BRIANNA TOLKACZ

UPHA Walk/Trot Nat. Champ. Phase 2 GLENVIEW’S EXCELALANTE! & LYLA GRACE WROBLE 118 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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ASB Amateur Fine Harness National Champ. SAFECRACKER & CRAIG WILLETT

ASB Ladies Amateur Three Gaited National Stake CH I’M STILL DREAMIN’ & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW PB INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE THE

AHHS Roadster Pony Under Saddle Med. Nat. CH HOPKINS (CAN) & LILLIA SHOPE

Parade Horse Open National Championship NADIA COMANECI & CHERI WISE

ASB Amateur Three Gaited National Stake ESPRESSO NOIR & BARBARA GOODMAN MANILOW

Amateur Harness Pony National Championship THE REMINGTON & CHARLOTTE WRATHER

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

ASB Five Gaited Missouri/Kansas SOQUILI’S KNIGHT SHADOW & VIRGIL HELM

ASB Three Gaited Show Pleasure Adult National Championship SEDGEFIELD’S IL DIVO & MEGAN NOVAK

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Amateur Hackney Pony Nat. Championship HEARTLAND MAJESTIC & KATHLEEN VERVERELI

Roadster Pony Amateur National Championship CH COOL MAX & ELIZABETH GHAREEB

Roadster To Bike Amateur National Champion RUMSPRINGA & TABITHA ZIMMERMAN ASB Three Gaited Park Amateur Championship CH UNDULATA’S JUST PERFECT & DR AMERY CREIGHTON

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AHHS Hackney Horse/Pony Pl. Under Saddle HEARTLAND DIRECT HIT & CHEYENNE WILLIAMS

ASB Ladies Five Gaited National Stake NOBLE CHARM & SENA BOWLING

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AHHS Roadster Pony 14-17 Med. Nat. CH HEARTLAND VELVET TOUCH & GRIFFIN DAY

UPHA Walk/Trot Challenge Cu (2019) ROYAL CREST’S ROCKY MORNING & ARIA FALZONE THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG ASHA Country Pl. Driving Jr. Exhib. Chall. Final CIAO! BELLA MIO & ANNIE AYOTTE

Hackney Pony National Championship HEARTLAND JAMIN’ & GRACE ARNOLD

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UPHA Challenge Cup (2019) HOLLYWOOD IS NUTS & TRYSTAN MAYER

ASB Three Gaited Park Jr. Exhibitor Championship FUTURETTE & ALEX RUDDER

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USEF Saddle Seat Medal Final BROOKHILL’S PASSION PUNCH & HALEY BERGET

Roadster Under Saddle Stake THE GENERAL LEE & BRITTANY MCGINNIS

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AHHS Roadster Pony 13 & Under Med. Nat. CH SIRFISTICATION & MARY ELIZABETH KIRKPATRICK

Saddle Seat Equitation WTC 10 & Under UNDULATA’S OL’ ROSEBUD ERB & AVA PERRY

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

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ASB Fine Harness National Championship MADEIRA’S CODE RED & JAMES LOWRY

ASB Ladies Amateur Five Gaited National Stake TWO SWEET TO KISS & MISDEE WRIGLEY MILLER 124 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE


ASB Junior Exhib. Three Gaited 14-17 Nat. Champ. CH SHE’S BORN TO SPARKLE & GRACE WEISNER

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ASB Ladies Three Gaited National Stake CH HS BABY STEPS & MISDEE WRIGLEY MILLER THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

Roadster to Bike National Championship B 52 & DEBBIE FOLEY

ASB Three Gaited National Championship TANGO’S TOKEN KISS & SMITH LILLY

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ASB Junior Exhib. Five Gaited 14-17 National Championship QUESTIONABLE CONVERSATION & ALEX RUDDER

ASB Junior Exhibitor Three Gaited National Champion UNDULATA’S NUTTIN BUT NET & ELIZABETH SESSUMS THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

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UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show PHOTOS BY HOWARD SCHATZBERG

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ASB Three Gaited Park National Championship CH MY ROYALE PRINCE & LISA HOLT

Roadster Pony National Championship MASTERCRAFT’S FORECASTER LF & SMITH LILLY 128 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE


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ASB Five Gaited National Championship CH THE DAILY LOTTERY & DANNY LOCKHART

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By Nick Schubert

2018 NATIONAL ACADEMY CHAMPIONSHIP

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here are firsts for everything, first horse, first pony, first ribbon, and even a first bite of pizza. 2018 was my first trip to the National Academy Championship, and it proved to be one of the best firsts I’ve ever had. The moment I stepped foot onto the show grounds, the energy and excitement was amazing. Music was blasting in the barns. People were dancing in the aisles. Family and friends were sharing food between barns. In the show ring, the classes were full and the seats were packed with family and friends who came to cheer on their rider or driver. I have attended no other horse show where the exhibitors, their families and horse trainers appeared to have as much fun. So, I set out to find the answers behind what makes this show so spectacular and fun for all. I questioned three key people from this year’s competition: Joyce Webster, the founder and organizer of the show; Sandra Hall, the show photographer; and Gary Garone, one of the judges this year. Interview Mr. Gary Garone Me: Tell me What it is like to judge the National Academy Championship. Mr. Garone: Judging the NAC was a huge job.The numbers and quality of exhibitors created a challenge Me: The thing I noticed the most is the amount of participation

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from not only exhibitors, but the audience too. What do you think drives that? Mr. Garone: Participation from the large audience was such a refreshing experience. Stable support for their team from the winner thru all ribbons displayed great sportsmanship. It seems to be driven by family and most likely trainer example. Me: How important is the National Academy Championship to the industry? Mr Garone: Whether the NAC is used to provide a stepping stone for riders towards a suit, or as what may be the biggest opportunity they have, its very important to our industry. Me: What was the most fun class to judge? Mr. Garone: The lead line championship was such a joy, beginning riders displaying great talent and the older equitation class was as competitive any class and a fun class as well to judge. Me: How can we, as an industry, support NAC better and help it grow? Mr. Garone: I applaud Joyce and ALL involved in creating a wonderful event and I believe it continues to grow from its own success each year. Interview Mrs. Sandra Hall Me: You shoot lots of shows each year. What makes the NAC so special?


Lyla VanderSpuy- The Cash Lovell Memorial Walk/Trot Pleasure 5-6 National Champion

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Mrs. Hall: The Academy Nationals is usually the peak of the yearly competition for these riders. They compete all year in their area to be on their barn’s “team”. Each rider has the opportunity to compete in up to 6 classes throughout the course of the show...two preliminary classes for everyone... they must qualify for the next championship level, and from there, qualify for the National Finals Classes. There are top ten selections in each of the finals classes...great long neck ribbons that thrill those who receive them...and only top 3 receive the traditional championship ribbons in these classes... Me: In your opinion, what makes the participation on an exhibitor level and an audience level so great? How can we replicate this in breed shows? Mrs. Hall: The way I see to replicate the participation of exhibitors and the audience is to stop splitting classes. This takes away the competition and, to me, the excitement of a horse show. At the nationals there are very large classes and the riders know their ride decides if they go on to the next level and they all try to bring their “A game” with each ride. They ride hard and the audience gets into it and the cheering is great to hear!! When horse shows have 10 of the 15 classes of a performance with only 1 or 2 entries, it gets boring and you lose your audience. Me: What was your favorite class to shoot at NAC this year? Mrs. Hall: I would have a hard time picking one class that was

my favorite. I Love seeing the determination on the faces of the riders as they come through the gate...and the joy when they win! What I like to do is capture those moments!! Interview Mrs. Joyce Webster Me: What made you choose to start NAC? Mrs. Webster: 1999 was the year I started the National Academy Championship Finals. After showing and training for over 25 years, I noticed a big change in the Saddlebred Industry. The fun one night shows were rapidly disappearing. Very few trainers were showing in the Stake classes. The big show barns were slowly no longer there. Having been at both ends of this industry, both as a trainer and as a parent/spectator ( my children, Elizabeth and were the first brother and sister team to win in the 5 gaited pony division at Louisville under the tutelage of their own mother/ trainer) I felt we needed a place to introduce new people into the wonderful world of competitive riding. A show that would give the Academy rider a place to compete with other top Academy riders across the country, and the recognition needed to give them incentive to step up to the next level of competition, the wonderful world of show riding the American Saddlebred and Morgan horses. Me: How many exhibitors participated in this year’s Championship? Mrs. Webster: We had 1,039 entries from 19 states, as far away as New York, Iowa and Florida. I try to make this the most special show the Academy Rider can compete in.

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Founder, Joyce Webster, supports the Hackney Bucks program

Durbin –Hackney Pleasure Pony Under Saddle Champion

Samantha Holyfield drove Hackney Ambassador, WCC The Ivy League, in an exhibition following her trip to the winner’s circle in the Hackney Pony Pleasure Driving Championship

Me: It seems like the energy at this show is electric. Can you explain the excitement and participation this show seems to have and others don’t? Mrs. Webster: The instructors are the ones that have made this show so electric by getting the team spirit in their barns. Much like the little league teams, they pump their riders up and give them that excitement of competing at a national level. We have an AWESOME pep rally and pass pom-poms, beads and mega phones and really get the kids and parents pumped like they are at a football game. The fact that there are classes for all ages is another reason this show is so popular, from 5-6 year olds to adults. The driving classes are getting popular again too. There is something for everyone. A three-round competition is the other exciting thing. Making it to the next level is a real challenge. Me: How can breed shows replicate the excitement and energy that NAC has? Mrs. Webster: We have a dinner for the instructor, to let them know how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication to our industry. How many shows do that? It is the little things that people remember; a thank you goes along way. Me: What does NAC do for the industry in your opinion? Mrs. Webster: The National Academy Championship has opened the door to our future. Why is this show so outstanding? How many shows give a cut back show saddle, a William woods Scholarship, a director chair and a Finals Jacket to the winner of the Senior Equitation WTC Final? That’s a lot 132 THE INTERNATIONAL SHOW HORSE

of loot for the National Academy Champion, and this show makes LIFETIME MEMORIES!! Over 85% of the riders that have won the finals have stepped up to a top show horse and that is what this show is all about, stepping up to the next level. We have made the riders. It’s up to the trainers to take them on their next journey of showing these awesome show horses. Me: Are you satisfied with where NAC is today? What changes do you see in the future if any? Mrs. Webster: I continue to listen to what the instructors want to fit their needs. I am happy to announce that we will be sending a Check to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in the amount of $56,000.00! What I would like to see, in the future, are more volunteers. I, single handed, do the center ring, box seats and stalls as well as order ribbons, trophies, hire the officials and do all the advertising, I would love to see someone help do local PR and get more local interest. The National Academy Championship is a venue that offers an opportunity for exhibitors to improve in their discipline and ready themselves for the next challenge.They are able to do this while celebrating team success, fellowshipping, creating excitement in and out of the ring, and becoming great breed ambassadors so when they are ready to make the next step into a junior exhibitor or amateur position, they will represent the breed with a maturity that fosters true success. NAC is one of the best shows I have attended. If you have never been, I highly recommended you put this show on your 2019 calendar as a first!

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Smith, Alexandra, Sandy and her sister Dr. Clare Seagren

By Meghan von Ballmoos

MERCER SPRINGS FARM

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his was a great year for Mercer Springs Farm. Trainers Smith, Alexandra and Sandy Lilly, once again turned out a bunch of world’s and national champions from their Princeton, West Virginia facility. Year after year, this dynamic team consistently produces Saddlebreds that compete at the highest level, in the most difficult divisions. They also recently took on the Hackney pony world and essentially knocked it out of the park. They garnered a total of 27 world titles at the World’s Championship Horse Show this year alone and more recently won 5 National Championships, plus a UPHA Three-Year-Old Classic. Like most great horsemen, it appears their training technique is always evolving, but with a remarkably consistent outcome. More bookish than most in his line of work, Smith takes a distinctly philosophical approach to horse training. In fact, he literally wrote the book on it. His methodical and measured approach, combined with professionalism and dedication

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to excellence has helped Smith establish himself as a leading trainer in the industry and the equine community at-large. An ideal compliment to Smith is his co-trainer and like-minded wife, Alexandra, who brings her own experience and abilities to the team, while owner and matriarch, Sandy adds yet another set of capable eyes and hands with over sixty years of experience. Mercer Springs Farm was originally purchased by Sandy’s father, Ira Mason Smith in 1954. It became a commercial show horse training operation in 1992, when Sandy built a large lesson and training barn. Smith “went to college with an open mind” and considered other careers, but eventually came to the realization that horse training was his calling. He worked summers during college for Larry Barbee, but knew he needed to further his equine education. Sandy says she practically “pushed him out the door” to learn from other good trainers, so he went to work for Nelson Green and Mitch Clark to take away as much as he could from the renowned horsemen. When he returned, Smith got to work molding the family business further into a show horse training barn and making a reputation for

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WGC Tango’s Token Kiss in 2017

himself. As fate would have it, Alexandra was then working at the farm. The two worked well together and eventually fell in love. Only half-jokingly, Sandy takes credit for finding Smith his wife. After 20 years of working side-by-side, the couple remains devoted to each other and the farm. “One of the reasons our relationship works is that we both worked for Smith’s mother first. The romance and marriage came later,” explained Alexandra. To understand Mercer Springs, one has to understand the in-house culture. It centers on making well-rounded, happy horses through teamwork at every level. From the training to the staffing, it is founded on the idea that every individual has a valuable part to contribute to the whole outcome. Smith, Alexandra, and Sandy work closely together, with the common goal of making each horse better. “We want every horse that comes through our program to be the best it can be,” said Sandy. They believe in giving each horse a solid foundation of the basics, treating them as individuals, and keeping is simple. Gadgets and quick-fixes are not the Mercer Springs way. To be great at their jobs, they analyze every aspect of training the show horse. For example,

when charged with the task of preparing the Hackneys, Alexandra went to harness maker David Freedman to pick his brain, getting a comprehensive understanding of the fit and function of the harness to make her able to do her job better. Certainly, she could have used her own knowledge of a show harness as it fits a Saddlebred, but felt it was useful and important to know more. “You can ask David Freedman - I asked him a hundred questions about a pony harness and side-check bridle,” Alexandra said. A quick check of show results would indicate that she applied all of that information effectively. By nature of being such a tactile, hands-on kind of career, horse training is seldom visited as a topic of academic pursuit. Considering man has ridden and trained horses for over 5,000 years, there is little occupying the shelves at the Library of Congress, particularly with respect to the saddle seat discipline. It has long been regarded as a trial-by-error kind of career, in which time and experience begets knowledge. So, as a young aspiring horse trainer, when Smith tried to further his education as a horseman, he found very little. A horseman’s style and technique

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Smith and Alexandra Lilly

Alexandra and Smith receiving the Richard Lavery Horsemen of the Year together

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Alexandra and Heartland Rough and Ready

is very personal and often hard to articulate in a way others can follow, but, inspired, Smith decided early on that he was just the intrepid horseman to take what he has learned and put it to paper. Anyone wanting to understand Smith Lilly can, and should, read his book, Saddle Seat Horsemanship. In the process of exploring and describing his own perspective, this kind of personal writing reveals much about the author. The book is both technical and theoretical, dichotomously balancing idealism and realism in a way that only a philosopher, or perhaps a show horse trainer could. The comprehensive books contains 36 rules of saddle seat horsemanship, riding techniques, bitting and training tactics, even showmanship. Ultimately, it gives the reader a full view of what Smith does as a trainer. It also illustrates a large part of why Mercer Springs is so successful, where a horse is trained purposefully.

Sandy Driving WGC CH Mother Mary

competent employees. Yet the apprenticeship program has a distinctly pedagogical feel, including a weekly meeting where apprentices can discuss ideas in Smith’s book and the real-life application of those in the barn. Apprentices have a chance to learn under the watchful eye of three exceptional horsemen and the Lillys get engaged and ambitious staff members.

Self-deprecating and mildly sarcastic, Smith is straightforward and unpretentious. He is serious about his career and responsibility to do his best for the horses under their care. Smith recalls 2000 as their breakthrough year, in which he earned two world titles in the two year old classes at the Kentucky State Fair. In 2001, he debuted the grand mare Have You Ever, who went on to win the Junior Five-Gaited Mare Stake class and the Junior World’s Championship the following year. The list of winners since then is long and varied - a veritable who’s who of great The family adopted an apprenticeship program a few years horses. The ultimate in saddle seat accomplishment, back that brings in aspiring horsemen with the intention Smith has won the World’s Grand Championship Fiveof teaching valuable skills. With long-time assistants Gaited with He’s The Man and, of course, World’s Grand Andrea Harry and Tori Albin heading up the program, Champion Three- Gaited with Tango’s Token Kiss - three its primary purpose is to adequately staff the farm with times.

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Smith riding Pass With Care winning the 2011 Junior Five-Gaited World’s Championship

Walterway’s First Responder, the 2018 World’s Champion Kentucky Futurity with Smith and Kentucky Amateur Futurity with Kenny Wheeler

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Alexandra riding Walterway’s Pardon Me to win the 2011 ASHAV Five-Gaited Grand Championship

Sandy Lilly can ride and drive with the best of them and has done her fair share of winning for Mercer Springs, including the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship with Mother Mary in 2008. Grace Arnold’s recent introduction of a growing string of Hackneys to Mercer Springs’ show string has expanded the team’s realm of accomplishment. “Grace has great taste! We are fortunate to have been able to buy very nice ponies,” said Alexandra. She leads the way with the training of the ponies. Though some joint issues have hindered Alexandra’s riding of the Saddlebreds, the ponies allow her to truly show her abilities as an outstanding horseman. Grace’s Hackney ponies won nine world titles in 2018. “I must also mention that another of Smith’s strengths is his wife, Alexandra. They are of like mind and are a grand team- they have each other’s backs. Both are totally devoted to the saddlebred business, and they dedicate themselves to its success,” said Grace. Another important event for Mercer Springs, occurring early in Smith’s career, was forging a lasting relationship with Ceil and Kenny Wheeler, as well as their girls. In 1998, Kenny led a yearling for Smith to win the World’s Champion Yearling Amateur class, technically earning

Smith his first world title and starting a long, successful partnership between the family and Mercer Springs. A true horseman herself, Ceil Wheeler elaborated: We have been with Mercer Springs Farm for about 12 years. Smith is professional in every sense of the word, he has such a strong work ethic and expert knowledge about every aspect of the horse industry. Smith has developed great relationships with our daughters Catherine and Sallie-Mason through the years, and has taught them not only about horsemanship but also the importance of sportsmanship. He and Alexandra both, are so talented in their ability to pair a horse with a rider and also teaching that rider to get the most out of that horse. Smith is also very skilled with the young ones as well; his patience, consistency and diligence make a strong combination when training the youngsters. I cannot think of any better fit for our horses or our family than Mercer Springs. The quality of care and professionalism demonstrated by Smith, Alexandra, Sandy, and of course their wonderful assistants and caretakers is second to none. Remarkably cohesive in their message regarding horses

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Smith with WGC Tango’s Token Kiss at Lexington Junior League, Stopher’s Walk, and the Kentucky State Fair.

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and training, each member of the Mercer Springs trio was candid about the excellence of their customers. Smith, Alexandra, and Sandy each raised the topic with palpable gratitude. “There are a lot of ups and downs in this business. A basic for any barn to be successful is that you must have great owners,” opined Sandy. Similarly, Smith and Alexandra praised their customers as a major factor in their ongoing success. They have devoted and highly knowledgeable clients, who understand what it takes to compete at the highest level, but also what it takes to make a show horse. Grace Arnold, avid equestrian and supporter of both Saddlebreds and Hackneys, has earned much success under the Mercer Springs banner. She had much to say about the team: My introduction to the Lillys occurred with the purchase of a horse that turned out to be my very favorite of all time, A Night in Vegas. When visiting MS [Mercer Springs] Farm I was struck by what a well-oiled machine their operation was. One of Smith’s many strengths is his organizational skill, things are planned well in advance. He is a master strategist and a detail guy, things don’t happen there just by chance.Teamwork

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is paramount as MSF, so Smith chooses his helpers carefully, and, under his watchful eye, those people are encouraged to blossom as horsemen. He values their individual strengths/ skills and gives each person a chance to shine, much as he does with each horse. He inspires confidence in his horses, his teammates and his clients. One of the things that came as a wonderful surprise is that Smith is a very kind man and treats the horses in ways that owners appreciate. While he definitely keeps his eye on the ball at all times, there’s a lot of laughter & good fun too— we get to enjoy our horses. It’s a fabulous place to be a client! Overall, the tone at Mercer Springs Farm is appealing. It is one that values learning, horsemanship, hard-work, and above all, prioritizes the well-being of the horse. As evidenced by Smith’s book, the Lillys take pride in being horsemen, in the best sense of the word. They seek to instill that same pride in their staff, and likewise, the show horses and ponies truly take on that pride. Mercer Springs is a family operation at its very best, with a long history of horses and an eye on the future.


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Macey and her Morgan Equitation Champion Boston’s Big Whammy

MACEY MILES(TONE)

By Meghan von Ballmoos

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his was a big year for the Miles family. 2018 was their first full show season as Milestone Stables and their first full year as a Miles family-owned and run business. Located in beautiful White House, Tennessee, Todd and Lesley Miles made the hard decision to move from Indiana, making a big life change and, in essence, a big career change too. Todd Miles created an extraordinarily prolific career as a horse trainer, winning hundreds of titles in open, amateur, and equitation divisions for a great variety of owners over the past 35 years under the Delovely Farm banner. When the opportunity to evolve and become their own new business emerged, Todd and his wife, Lesley decided it was time to make a bold move. With their daughter Macey off to college and son, Tyler out of school, they bought a beautiful home, built a barn, and moved over a hundred miles away to form the new Milestone Stables. They settled in remarkably well, enjoying the many benefits of being close to the city of Nashville, Tennessee, where coincidentally, the locals have the saying about their town, “Minutes from Nashville, miles from ordinary.” The phrase

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takes on double the meaning for the Miles family. Certainly, Todd and Lesley expected for many aspects of the business to change, but never predicted that Milestone would soon become truly a family endeavor, with Macey coming home to take the important position of “Instructor.” In any show barn, being an instructor is a difficult job. To be successful, it demands one hundred percent of one’s focus and energy every single day. Riding instructors must understand how to communicate effectively with riders of all levels - teaching a beginner lesson requires an entirely different approach than teaching an experienced equitation rider how to perfect a pattern or a performance rider how to get the best out of their show horse. A good instructor has to know the mechanics of making a horse perform and be able to tell someone else how to do it. It requires an immense amount of energy and patience. “The hardest part of my job is patience. Each rider is different. Each rider has their own set of unique special skills that make them special. You must be patient that nothing is going to come right away and hard-work will pay off,” said new instructor Macey. It is undoubtedly a hard job. But becoming an instructor with Todd Miles training is an even

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Macey and Harlem’s Wild And Wonderful

greater challenge. Having trained a record setting number of equitation horses for world and national titles, Todd has the highest of expectations. His horses are well-prepared and likewise expects that of riders coming from his barn. Naturally, as a Milestone instructor, Macey has huge shoes to fill. Practically from infancy, Macey Miles has been riding. As a result of being born into the Miles family, she has a mother who earned her own equitation titles and a father who wins them for many clients year after year. It is no surprise that Macey has won nearly every equitation title that there is - she has won in Saddlebreds and in Morgans, which few riders have done. She has shown horses for scores of people, won performance and equitation classes at every major competition and in each age group. In 2016 alone, she was the 12th rider in history to be an “Equitation Triple Crown Winner,” meaning she won the NHS Good Hands, the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Championship, and USEF Saddle Seat Medal National Championship, as well as the Morgan Senior Challenge Cup in the same year. “Macey’s versatility and wins as a rider are well known, winning the triple crown on a green, newly equitated horse

is no small feat. What is most impressive to me is that instead of resting on her accomplishments as a rider, Macey has put her incredible work ethic and passion for equitation into becoming an outstanding mentor and instructor for her riders,” said top trainer and equitation instructor Christy Parker, of Brunswick, Georgia. Notably, she is the only horse trainer’s child to win the triple crown. Without really planning it, Macey Miles has been learning for her whole life how to do what would become her job. When Macey went off to college, Todd and Lesley did not foresee her returning to the industry so soon. When she finished her final year as a junior exhibitor, she was ready for a change. She seemed to be needing a break from the 24/7 show horse lifestyle and her parents were happy to let her go off to get recharged with no expectation of her soon becoming a professional horseman. Understandably, Todd and Lesley were shocked when they got a call from Macey while she was attending University of Alabama, proposing that she take on the role of “Instructor” for the family business. With some concern about her taking on so much pressure at such a young age, they nevertheless knew they could not say no to such a great addition to the

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(Clockwise)- Sterling McDonald, Samantha Swiger, Dawnson Archibald, Macey Miles

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Samantha Swiger ready to show with Macey

Milestone program. Of course, she is family, but she is also uncommonly qualified. By chance, their new home had an in-law apartment where Macey could have her own space right on the farm. They needed a great instructor and it was simply meant to be.

The first win for Macey as a professional instructor of Dawson Archibald

role model for their children with Macey and the results speak for themselves. “We are all so happy that Macey has stepped in as instructor at Milestone. She’s wonderful with Samantha and it’s a very positive atmosphere. She’s so mature for her age and a hard worker. Macey’s doing an amazing job - it’s a great team and family,” said Debbie Just 19 years old, Macey jumped right in and started making Swiger, client and mother of Samantha Swiger. Samantha waves. It takes many years to accomplish what Macey enjoyed a fabulous show season in both equitation and did as an instructor in her first year. Under the Milestone performance divisions - her best year yet. Lesley described banner, Macey’s riders garnered top ribbons at the World’s what it means to them to have Macey involved in her new Championship Horse Show and continued on to top role: ribbons at the UPHA national finals. She works closely with Having Macey with us at Milestone has been the game her parents every day, focused on continuing their winning changer! Macey is very well studied in the equestrian field. She tradition together. “Working with family is hard at times is very competitive and driven. She was uncomfortable in her don’t get me wrong, but their success is mine and mine is college studies as she felt her place was here with us as we theirs, that is the cool part. To me we are not just working took a huge leap of faith and moved our entire lives to our new to win blue ribbons, we are changing the lives of all those location. Todd and I both could not be more proud of Macey’s we encounter and are building a legacy,” said Macey. Todd commitment to each lesson horse she works daily, to learning admits now that he was a little worried before she began, about each rider and finding that niche to make them better. but soon realized there was no need - that his daughter has We do not take her for granted. We cherish the lessons learned all the tools and desire to succeed in the difficult job. “Macey and accomplishments achieved with Macey by our sides. Our blows me away with her work ethic,” said Todd.“She’s young, first year has been a Milestone. but her accomplishments are fresh.The feedback from it has been overwhelmingly good.” The clients like having a young Todd is already looking to the future for Macey - he hopes

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Macey winning the USEF Medal in 2016

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Macey and Todd making plans during the Kentucky State Fair

to see her become the first triple crown winner to instruct a triple crown winner and, in the immediate future, he is eager to see her earn her first world title as a professional horsewoman. All signs indicate both goals are attainable for the dynamic father-daughter team. Macey was candid about her experiences in the first year: My first year as a professional has been eye opening. As we all know this job is not the most high paid or glamorous job, but that is not why we do it. For me I teach because I love to see the smile on a child face when they receive a new horse. I love helping that new horse and rider become not just another good combination but a dynamite team. TEAM. I use that word a lot in my job. As a barn we are a team, as instructor to rider we are a team, as trainer to a horse we are a team, and especially my family who I am blessed to work next to, we most certainly are a team…. After being a student then moving right into being a professional was a hard transition at first. I have had to grow up very fast. I pride myself in my composure and work ethic. Playing sports all my life has also helped teach me the fundamentals of competition and how to be a great sportsman. As an instructor this year, I am most proud of the sportsmanship of my riders. I work hard to help institute manners at work that their parents have instilled in them at home and a sense of sportsmanship in and out of the ring. I am lucky that all of my students are

Lesley, Todd and Macey

very genuine. As a barn family they all support each other as a whole. …In my position, I must ALWAYS remain a positive role model for each of the girls and give them confidence that they can conquer all boundaries! Gratitude is a major part of accomplishment, Macey was also forthcoming in her appreciation for being welcomed and supported by so many. She extolled the horse community: I just want to thank the horse community and our clients for welcoming me into this industry as a professional and respecting me as an equal. I looking forward to promoting and expanding the industry in the future. Many great horseman and women have come before me and I plan to help create many after me. Thank you. With the new barn aptly named. It has really been a milestone year for the Miles family and most definitely for Macey. They embraced a great many changes and continued to achieve. Their customers enjoyed much success and naturally as a result, the barn family continues to grow. In just a short time, Macey has a burgeoning career, Milestone has a world-class instructor, and perhaps most importantly, it is all being done as a family. Referring to all the changes in their lives,Todd may have said it the best that “The Lord has a plan.”

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