Recently, John and I were able to combine a visit to Britta and San with a trip to the NYRMHS.
This was the first time that we have been to the Fairground, the Coliseum, and this particular Horse Show, although we had always wanted to come.
It is clear that this is a well-established show, used to its facility, and being run by a good team of volunteers, and professionals.
This was the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Show, and it was nice to see the historic photos and blurbs in the program; and to hear them mentioned by the announcer.
We have had Morgan Horses for over thirty years, and the “old” bloodlines and show people are very familiar to us even though we have not shown our horses for quite some time.
We did not have horses at the Show, or ties to anyone showing, professionals, or amateurs. What follows are some views from the stands. Dear Readers: Please remember that these notes are not meant to be totally inclusive; and we did not attend the entire show.
Some impressions that we have of the Show include:
It was nice to see our former Regional Director, Tony Lee, winning in the amateur driving class(es).
The Broadmoor team, Mike Goebig, Dwayne Knowles, and staff, consistently turn out a good-looking, athletic, well-trained, horse. (Disclaimer: We’ve never had a horse with them, and have no vested interest in their stable.) We see the gentlemen and their horses every year at the beginning of the season at the Dixie Cup, which they always support…and even early in the season the horses look good. Their record, of course, leads them to their choice of training candidates. But from the stands, over the years, whether they are presenting the horse, or it is an amateur customer doing the ring work, they and their staff are there on the rail and the horse knows, and appears to enjoy, its work. (Another disclaimer: “usually”).
Tony had a horse, Harper Lee, in a class that we missed. That’s Britta’s favorite author. Great southern name for a presumably great southern horse. Tony, love some of your creative naming! Especially, since our girls and I are all “Lees” for our middle names.
It was nice to see some other familiar faces around the barns and in the ring.
Harry Sebring also shows a consistently nice horse. We enjoyed the three horse Roadster To Bike class…but it was not like the ‘80’s with Harry and “Spence”.
It was great to see all the UVM bloodline horses in the ring, and to see Steve Davis presenting UVM horses.
The weanling NYMHSSSA futurity class was a demonstration of superb, seamless, ring management by Lynn, and Kathleen, Peeples…was it five weanlings they presented, and four called back?
THAT takes patience and skill!!!!! And good collegial relationships.
We cheered for Bernard Parker in his classes too. The Parkers know how to present great looking, talented horses to their best.
We always cheer for Judy Nason and her horses…Again, someone who consistently presents talented, beautiful, athletic horses. She moved to Ashby, MA after we left Gardner, MA…too bad. We would have enjoyed being neighbors!
We’ve known Ivan Beattie for at least as long as we’ve had Morgans. It is always good to see his friendly face and some descendents of his family’s breeding program. From before we owned a Morgan horse, through a successful AI breeding shipment, Ivan has been welcoming and friendly. Even when he has been tremendously busy at their farm, he has made us feel welcome, and made himself available to answer theoretical breeding questions, even when the questions come decades apart in time! Their program is well represented in our breeding philosophy: Ulendon, predominently through Orcland Leader, crossed with B-L Rhinestone Kid’s GET and Old Government.
It is also always a pleasure to watch Peggy Alderman show a horse. She bought the dam of our first horse, U C Spicy Lass (U C Marquis x U C Taffy) at about the same time that we purchased Spicy. Spicy had a white fleck in one eye, so Peggy didn’t get her, instead, or too. Thank goodness! Otherwise, we would have missed the most perfect FIRST family horse ever!!!
We’ve followed Peggy’s career from the early days, and watched her develop as a professional trainer, and a breeder. So talented; and a great breeder of nice horses.
Percy McDaniel, Mike Carpenter, Kathryn Schwartz all had some beautiful, talented horses on display.
We last saw fellow Massachusetts-ite Chris Casenti at the Atlanta AMHA convention, where she was a speaker in an Equitation session that we brought our three young grand-daughters to attend. Congratulations to her on a successful show. Training horses and junior exhibitors is tough work, and she always does it well.
I saw Nikki Rae Woodworth’s name in the program. She showed leadline/walk-trot at the same period as our daughters.
Someone “new” to us was in attendance. We had seen Dale Rickford at the new KY Morgan Horse Show, and noticed him again immediately at this show. He seems to have a quiet manner, while presenting a well-turned out horse.
I know I’m forgetting some long-time, talented trainers who were there. If I have, perhaps, my memory is faulty; or we didn’t see the classes. We were not at every session.
We got to see most of one class that R’Surene Dante was in; and his strong 2nd place in a solid 12 horse Novice Hunter Pleasure Horse class. He was bred by our friends from the Blue Ridge Morgan Horse Association, Sue and Chris Nerland, Lancer Stables, Tennessee. www.BlueRidgeMorganHorseAssociation@yola-site.com
We were happy to see Suzy Lucine, and finally meet her husband! Suzy took the photos that we have used of our senior stallion, B-L Rhinestone Kid (1980 – 2009). He was a product of a well-known NY state breeding program, Big-Little Farm, the Berans. So, most of our herd descends from NE and NY. (Waseeka’s Showtime x B-L Brown Lace, by UVM Flash x O-At-Ka Sealect Lass).
We were disappointed that we did not get to see the Carriage Driving classes. In our short time in NY, we had to juggle schedules. Blue Ridge Morgan Horse Association, of which John is the President, supports the Liberty Classic Horse Show at the Tri-State Exhibition Center in Cleveland, TN. We usually have a really nice Open Carriage Driving component to our show. Another BRMHA member is a leader in the Driving Pairs Forum.
Another one of our stallions, Exquisite Sir Echo, (Waseeka’s Peter Piper x Triton’s April Windy) (deceased) was acquired from another NY State Morgan breeder, Diana Saxton, Wheelhorse Morgans. We have a spectacular final son of his, Sleipnir Echo’s Finale, out of our champion show mare, Sleipnir Constellation (B-L Rhinestone Kid x U C Spicy Lass). His Yearlings and Weanlings are turning out very nicely.
It was interesting to see the in-state folks and their horses. We started our farm in New England, so we were familiar with the various N Eng. states’ residents; and we have been in the South for awhile, and getting to know folks and their breeding programs there. At the show, there were some “prefixes” that we were familiar with and many that are new to us.
In the year that Britta has moved to NY, I’ve read a bit of NY State Morgan Horse Society news and history. The program once again was really helpful with the photos, ads, and bits of history. We met Valerie at the Tack Sale, and bought a NYMH Society Members’ Directory and that has also been, and will be, well read.
The 3 judge system for the NYSSA Morgans seemed to function well, including the 2 judges for the entire show, and John MacDonald, who is extremely knowledgeable about the characteristics of the Morgan and a highly competent judge.
We loved the weanling class that I mentioned before. As breeders, it is our favorite. NY breeders can be justly proud of their Get/Produce.
It must have been a thrill for the NY state folks; it certainly was for us, that a Mellin-Herrick grandchild was showing at the 50th anniversary show. I saw Fred prior to the class, and recognized him instantly. There was a TN Walking Horse (TWH) print by Jeanne Mellin at the Tack Sale…I didn’t get a chance to bring it back to TN, for the TWH people…
I wanted to have a child in the walk-trot class(es) just to win a book illustrated by Jeanne Mellin. We, naturally, have well read copies of her Morgan horse books.
There was some sadness attached to the show for us, when we were alerted by Barb Goda, that Tom and Charlene Hilgenberg’s son, Chris, had passed away. The Hilgenberg’s are long-time Morgan breeders’ and Tom had been an early supporter of Morgans in the Carriage Driving world. We have a mare, also via S. Constellation, from the Great Oaks’ breeding.
Our sympathies go out to Tom, Charlene, Heidi and the Great Oaks’ Family.
We will be joining the NYMH Society, with Britta as our representative, based in CNY. Hopefully, no one will need her services (as an Asst Professor of Infectious Diseases, at SUNY-Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse).
Please see her website and book about her blind dog, San, and his adventures on our farm. He has been gathering NY adventures for another book in the series. All the funds from purchases go to support charity, namely medical studies for clinical officers in Malawi. Books can be purchased via his website and on Amazon.
San’s Adventures on Sleipnir Morgan Horse Farm, by Britta L. Denman; photographs by Elizabeth L D McGee.