September 2013 | Wentz Saddlebred Earns World Championship
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Wentz Saddlebred Earns World Championship

September 2013 - Marcella Peyre-Ferry

Wentz Saddlebred Earns World ChampionshipCH Winsdown Edgecliff, shown here in his victory pass as the World Grand Champion Western Pleasure horse at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville in 201, won 26 consequtive classes with rider Cassi Wentz. Owner Lynn Finelli has taken the reins for the 2013 show season.
Photo Credit: Howard Schatzberg

The 2012 show season was a world championship year for Wentz Stables of Oreville, PA, and 2013 has shown equal promise. The star of the show ring is CH Winsdown Edgecliff, a beautiful gray American Saddlebred who has turned in an outstanding record of wins in the Saddlebred Western Pleasure division for trainer Tara Wentz-Goosley with her sister Cassi Wentz aboard, and now with owner-rider Lynn Finelli.

Finelli has been a client of Wentz Stables for a long time. "She had another western horse with us for many years and he was getting older. She wanted this new one to be special," Wentz-Goosley explained how Finelli came to find CH Winsdown Edgecliff.

Finding a top western pleasure horse is not easy, and Wentz-Goosley asked Finelli if she would consider a prospect instead of a finished horse with the idea of moving on to another horse later.  At that point, they came across Winsdown Edgecliff as a possible western show prospect. "When I saw him he had had a lot of down time. He had never been shown western but he looked like he had such a natural way of going," Wentz-Goosley said. "We tried him and he did a few thing good and he did a few things bad but we loved him."

Because the horse had limited experience, Wentz-Goosley suggested that he start training and showing with her sister Cassi as rider. Cassie Wentz had just graduated from Lehigh University with her degree in Physics and was willing to take on the challenge.

Eight weeks after the purchase the horse went to his first show in western pleasure with unimpressive results. "He was so bad. He just wasn't ready for it," Wentz-Goosley said.  More training made the difference. "A month later he went to his second show and he did really well," she said.

With the third show he was even better, earning a blue. "Since that win he hit his streak. He continued to win through the year," Wentz-Goosley said. "He ended up turning into a way better horse than I hoped he could be."

Naturally good movement is not all CH Winsdown Edgecliff has going for him. "Part of the reason why he has been so successful is he has the natural disposition for doing that job," Wentz-Goosley said.

CH Winsdown Edgecliff won both the qualifier and the championship at the 2012 World Championships in Louisville last year with Cassi Wentz showing, and made the trip to the Championships again this August with Finelli set to ride.

"He also has won at every major horse show, 26 wins in a row," Wentz-Goosley said. The winning streak included Devon, Syracuse, Massachusetts and now he has earned a permanent Championship status affixed to his name. "He had a really really big year last year."

The successful show year was an important one for Cassi Wentz. "She's decided to become a professional horse trainer after her stellar success with that horse," Wentz-Goosley said. 

CH Winsdown Edgecliff has been a life changer for Wentz and for his owner. Wentz-Goosley couldn't be happier for Finelli, who has been through personal challenges recently but continues to pursue her riding goals. "She has loved horses her entire life and this has been her life long dream. We're very honored as her trainer," she said "She's a firm believer that you have to do things when the moment is right. Life is short. You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow."

Even with such a spectacular year to look back on, there is still much more for this horse to accomplish with his owner in the saddle. This year CH Winsdown Edgecliff was reserve in American Saddlebred Western Pleasure at Devon, this time with Finelli riding. "She's been one, two, or three in every class this year," Wentz-Goosley said. "She'll continue to show him. This is really the beginning of their journey together."