For the second year in a row, Audra Lee won the World Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. She rides with Alicia Owens of Scottfield Stable in Montrose, PA. (Photo by Howard Schatzberg)
The 43rd Annual Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® was held October 10-17 in Oklahoma City, OK. More than 1,000 entries from the United States, Canada and Europe met at the State Fairgrounds to compete in more than 300 classes, held in four different arenas, with more than $40,000 in prize money.
Show Manager Matt Kwapich, along with a dedicated and hard-working show committee and staff, joined an impressive list of sponsors, officials, and volunteers to make this year's show the best ever. "It is with great excitement that I come to Oklahoma as the manager of the Grand National," said Matt. "This horse show is where the best of the best in the Morgan breed compete, and Morgan history is in the making!"
Amanda DuPont of Windward Farm in Port Matilda, PA, brought home several titles to central Pennsylvania. On the first day of the show, Mike Mooney helped Amanda present EKL Town Final to the Reserve Grand National Three-Year-Old Champion Gelding title. Eli and Rebecca Lapp of Colonial Stables in Gordonville own the bay son of Town Assets.
SSLLC Cover Girl, owned by Farley & Dayna Peechatka, was the Reserve Grand National Three-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Mare Champion, the Reserve UPHA Hunter Pleasure Classic Grand Champion and the Reserve World Futurity Three-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Champion. Amanda DuPont showed her to all three titles.
Trainer/instructor/owner Alicia Owens of Scottfield Stables in Montrose, was thrilled that one of her equitation riders, Audra Lee, had a very successful show. On the first Saturday of the show, Audra was the Reserve Grand National Saddle Seat Equitation 13 & Under Champion. One week later, she came back to capture the World Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Audra is only the fourth rider in Grand National history to win back-to-back world titles in this division. She rode the six-year-old bay mare, CBMF Random Hearts, who is owned by DLM Farms.
Alicia also coached Sarah Hecht, riding Dragonsmeade Varvatos, to the Reserve Grand National Junior Exhibitor Park Saddle 15 & Under Championships. The 11-year-old gelding and his young rider finished the show in third place in the World Championship of this division.
Dan Pavan, trainer/instructor at Trotwood Stables in Greencastle, took five horses to the show. Merriehill Dark Knight was Reserve World Three-Year-Old Futurity Classic Pleasure Driving Champion. Owner Coni Hose, who also owns Trotwood Stables, drove him.
Riding MEM I’m Back, Maddie Sappenfield won the Grand National Hunter Seat on the Flat Equitation 13-Year-Old Championship. Maddie’s grandfather, Terry Randall, owns the gelding.
Brady Groot was Reserve Grand National Walk/Trot Hunter Seat Equitation 10 & Under Champion. Brady was aboard LJB Pure Elegance, a five-year-old mare owned by Coni Hose and trained by Dan Pavan. Jessica Cavanaugh of Silver Pine Stables coaches Brady in equitation.
After missing the show last year, Josette Conti of Josette Conti Performance Horses in Kutztown, brought two reiners to compete this year. Disco Daredevil, a five-year-old gelding, was the Reserve World Reining Snaffle Bit/Hackamore Reining Champion and the Reserve Grand National Reining Five-Year-Old Snaffle Bit/Hackamore Champion. Joe and Ellen Palillo of Endless Mt Morgans own him.
Josette rode Disco Diablo to the Grand National Reining 1st/2nd Year Green Championship and the Grand National Reining Green Horse Finals Championship. Cindy Nord owns this five-year-old gelding.
Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles, owners/trainers at Broadmoor, also in Kutztown, had the largest number of horses competing at the Morgan Grand National from Pennsylvania. With the help of their assistant, Stacey Myers, they put 16 horses into the ring and came home with four World Championships, two Reserve World Championships, and six Grand National Championships.
One of their clients, Allyson Wandtke, won the World Ladies Park Saddle Championship with Get Smart. Allyson co-owns this four-year-old mare with her mother, Cindy Nord. This victory brought Allyson’s total wins in this division to six, riding four different horses. Quite an accomplishment.
Another client, retired school superintendent Linda Brewer, had her arm gently twisted to take her gelding, Centaurus Rising, to compete at the show this year. She sure was glad that she did show, as she came home with two Grand National Championships and one Reserve World Championship title.
Murraysville resident Kerrianne Adamek had a great show with her three horses. She was the Grand National Junior Exhibitor English Pleasure 14 & 15 Champion riding Queens Overruled. Aboard her 19-year-old gelding Burkland Rafinesque, she won the Grand National Junior Exhibitor Classic Pleasure Saddle 14-15 Championship. And riding under the direction of Tim Roesink of Grove Pointe Stables, Kerrianne was also the Reserve Grand National Saddle Seat Equitation 14 & 15 Champion riding ECP Scandelous.
“I have created such special bonds with each of my horses, and to be able to go and compete against the best in the nation and come out successful means more to me than I can describe,” said Kerrianne. “It makes it all the more fun to be able to compete in different divisions with three different horses.”
Another talented young rider from Pennsylvania is Haley Brooks, who lives in Northern Cambria County. She won the Grand National Saddle Seat Equation 13 & Under Championship, the UPHA Junior Morgan Challenge Cup and the Reserve World Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship aboard her mare, SSL Unique Creation. Haley rides under the direction of Manya Smalley of Dreamway South.
“This year brought a lot of enthusiasm and excitement back to Oklahoma,” said Show Chairman Tony Lee. “We had a tremendous amount of competition and positive energy that carried throughout the week ending with two incredible championship days to culminate what we like to call ‘A Tradition Of Excellence’.”