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The World’s Championship Horse Show Hits the Top of the Mark in 2016

by American Saddlebred Horse Association | Sep 1, 2016, 3:49 PM EST

Louisville, Ky. - Beginning on Saturday, August 20th, and ending on Saturday, August 27th, 2016, nearly 2,000 American Saddlebreds, Hackneys, and Roadsters competed for the World’s Championship titles in Freedom Hall at the Kentucky State Fair.

The exhilarating and glamorous event culminated on the final Saturday night when seven top horses competed for the crown jewel of the American Saddlebred world as they vied for the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion title.

After a thrilling two-horse workout between Top Of The Mark, with exhibitor/trainer Tre Lee, and Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lily and exhibitor/owner, Elisabeth M. Goth, Top Of The Mark was crowned the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion.

Top Of The Mark, who won the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake earlier in the week, was also crowned the Five-Gaited Grand Champion at the Lexington Junior League Horse Show in July. The dark chestnut stud, is owned and bred by Mary Gaylord McClean of Simpsonville, Ky. McClean won the Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Championship on Top Of The Mark’s sire, CHTop Spool in 1999, making the win extra special for her homebred stallion. Mary has also had much success by other full and half siblings to Top Of The Mark at the World’s Championship Horse Show. In 2008, McClean came very close to winning the crown jewel class herself, when she showed Top Of The Mark’s half-sister (same dam Carol Lynn (BHF)), CHAccording To Lynn to the Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Grand Championship finish.

Elisabeth M. Goth had the distinction of being the only amateur rider to compete in the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship this year. Aboard her elegant chestnut mare, Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lily, she gave the professionals a run for their money to finish in reserve. Goth, who is the current Vice President of the United States Equestrian Federation and American Saddlebred Horse Association Board Member, is very active in all things equestrian. Goth qualified her mare for the “big stake” earlier in the week by winning the Five-Gaited Ladies Mares class. 

The grace and elegance of the American Saddlebred Three-Gaited horse was exemplified on Saturday night in the three “walk/trot” champions. Don O’Neil was crowned the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion with trainer Chris Reiser for owner World Calm LLC. Misdee Wrigley Miller added another title to her long list of equestrian accomplishments by winning the Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions designation for the second year in a row with HS Baby Steps. Shortly after winning this class, Miller was off to Breda where she is now competing with her four-in-hand team in the FEI Combined Driving World Championship.

Barbara Goodman Manilow had a stake night to remember as she did not only win the Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Championship with I’m Still Dreamin’, but also the Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Championship with Callaway’s Sweet Thing. Jessica Moctezuma’s dreams came true on that special Saturday night as she beamed her way to the victory enclosure aboard her beloved mount, Kiss My Cuervo for elated owner and breeder, Lisa Balcerak. The team of Wild Carrissima and Bret C. Day had the distinction of being crowned the only repeat winners of a World’s Grand Championship title this year. This was the fourth time Day drove Wild Carrissima to the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship for owner Dr. Robert Pugh.

In addition to the excitement in Freedom Hall, there was much fun to be had outside of the show ring. The ASHA offered many activities for the youth attendees. The Junior Judging contest, which was held three times during the show with 57 participants (sponsored by USEF, Andrea Hartmeyer Johns and R.E. Fennell, Co.). The 13 and under winner was Kaitlyn Smith from Windy Hill Farm in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and the 14-20 winner was Mandy Bray from LeMaster Stables in Ashland, Kentucky.  The presentation was Friday evening in center ring with the 13 and under recipient being presented a full show bridle from Charlie Glenn of R. E. Fennell Co. and the 14-20 recipient being presented a framed painting by Andrea Hartmeyer Johns. All winners placing 1-8 received gift cards compliments of the USEF.

Barn Bingo was offered Sunday through Friday, with 20 participants every day.  Each winner received a basket of gift cards valued at $75. The Cash Cart was offered Monday through Friday, where youth were asked five American Saddlebred/Equestrian theme questions to win a total of $5. The Coloring Contest sponsored by Elisabeth Goth LLC was well received with 82 youth entries, as well as adult entries.  Ava Kimmel from Kierson Farm was the youth drawing winner, and Scott Anderson from Boones Farm won the adult drawing. The winners receive an iPad air, and Ms. Goth also generously donated $150 per youth entry to the ASHA Youth Scholarship program. For young exhibitors wanting to keep up with their studies during the horse show, they were able to take advantage of the UPHA/ASHA Open Gate Learning Center conveniently located in the Freedom Hall concourse.

For the past several years, the World’s Championship Horse Show “First Timers” presentation for the inaugural showing of owners, exhibitors, and trainers in Freedom Hall. This year the show welcomed over 120 newcomers with a beautiful ribbon sponsored by Winner’s Circle Tack and Independent Equine Agents, as well as group photo courtesy of Howard Schatzberg Photography.

For full coverage of all the happenings, results, and judges’ cards at this year’s World’s Championship Horse Show, please view the American Saddlebred Daily publication.