Pat Dills of Indiana, PA, drove Circus Boy to the World Three-Year-Old Futurity Classic Pleasure Driving Championship and the Grand National Three-Year-Old & Under Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. The bay gelding is owned by Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles of Broadmoor. (Photo by Howard Schatzberg)
More than 950 Morgan horses from across the country and Canada graced the rings during the 44th Annual Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City, October 8-15. They competed in more than 300 classes for more than $400,000 in prize money.
Matt Kwapich of Bernalillo, NM, was the show's manager, and Cindy Mugnier of Belchertown, MA, served as show chairman. "The 2016 Grand National was such a wonderful event," said Cindy. "The level of competition, the displays of horsemanship and sportsmanship, the pride in our country and our service men and women that our exhibitors demonstrated, the attendance of 13 members of the Swedish Morgan Horse Association and the participation of the Wishes4OurHeroes and Oklahoma City Thunder organizations all contributed to a memory-filled show.”
Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles, owners/trainers of Broadmoor in Kutztown, PA took 19 horses to the show. They came home with four world championships, four reserve world championships, one grand national finals championship, 10 grand national championships and three reserve grand national championships. Several of the performances were unanimous wins, and several exhibitors had back-to-back wins with their horses.
One of their amateur riders, Allyson Wandtke, set a record for the number of times she has won the World Ladies Park Saddle Championship with four different horses. This year, she won it unanimously for the second year in a row on her junior mare, Get Smart.
Bringing back additional wins to the Kutztown area, Josette Conti of Josette Conti Performance Horses took three Morgan reiners and came home with numerous titles. She won the World Reining Snaffle Bit/Hackamore Championship and the Grand National Reining Three- & Four-Year-Old Snaffle Bit/Hackamore Championship with EMM Heartbreak Kid. Riding Disco Diablo, Josette won the Grand National Five- & Six-Year-Old Snaffle Bit/Hackamore Championship. Cindy Nord owns both geldings.
Showing under Josette’s guidance, Ellen Palillo of Meshoppen, PA rode her mare, Disco Patricia, to the Grand National Reining Non-Pro Adult Championship and the Reserve World Reining Non-Pro Championship.
Mid-week during the show, Josette was one of three clinicians participating in a Reining Horse Clinic, sponsored by the National Morgan Reining Horse Association. She discussed some of the ins and outs of how to get the best performance from your reiner in the show pen.
Lynn Peeples of Lynn Peeples Stable in Creekside, PA presented Ledyard Oberon to two world championship titles and one Grand National Championship title. Owned by Bill Haines of Ledyard Farms, the colt was pinned Grand National Two-Year-Old Stallion Champion, and went on to unanimously win the World Junior Champion Stallion tri-color and the World Futurity Two-Year-Old Stallion Championship.
Driving his bay colt Diversity, Lynn won the Reserve World Two-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Championship.
Alicia Owens of Scottfield Stables, newly relocated to Lenhartsville, PA took five horses to compete. She and her clients brought home one world, two reserve world and three grand national championship titles. One of the greatest accomplishments for Alicia during this event was when Audra Lee and her mare, CBMF Random Hearts, unanimously won the World Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship for the third year in a row. This is the first time in the 44-year history of the show that a young rider has accomplished this.
Amanda DuPont of Windward Farm in Port Matlida, PA took nine Morgans to the show. She unanimously won the Grand National Four-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Stallion & Gelding Championship with EKL Town Finals. The gelding is owned by Cassandra Machado of Machado LLC. Samantha Chamberland showed the bay to top honors in the Grand National Ladies Hunter Pleasure Gelding Championship.
Amanda rode SSLLC Cover Girl to the Reserve Grand National Four-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Mare Championship. Farley and Dayna Peachatka own her.
Merriehill Dark Knight won the Reserve World Four-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Championship. He is owned by Connie Hose of Trotwood Stables in Greencastle, PA and was ridden by trainer Jessica Cavanaugh of Silver Pines Stable.
Haley Brooks of North Cambria, PA was the Reserve Grand National Saddle Seat Equitation 14-15 Champion. She rides her mare, SSL Unique Creations, under the direction of Selvin Torrez of Morgan Horse Farm.
“I was very pleased with the success of this show,” said Show Manager Matt Kwapich. “No show compares to the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show. The trainers, exhibitors and owners are the nicest group of people to work with, plus the show committee is dedicated to hosting a great event. It is the pinnacle of what a horse show should be, and we look forward to another great event next year.”