Germantown Charity Horse Show
Horses once again dominated Germantown, Tennessee at the 71st annual Germantown Charity Horse Show (GCHS), June 4-8, 2019. Always on the first week in June, this USEF Heritage Competition is the longest running multi breed/ multi discipline horse show in the U.S. There was quite a bit of rain during this year’s show, but that helped keep the hot temperatures at bay.
The 2019 Horse Show Queen, Sarah Foster is the granddaughter of the late Sonny Foster, one of the founders of the show. The charity recipient for the show is Kindred Place (formerly known as Exchange Club Family Center), which provides family support and counseling services for trauma, domestic violence, anger management, and parenting skills.
Vendors’ booths lined the hill above Sunny Foster arena with a wide variety of art, jewelry, custom leather goods, clothing for both human and horses, hats, face painting, pony rides, food and even a horse barn. DSD Stables, on Brunswick Road near Bolton, Tenn., provided horse/pony rides for the kids during the show.
The five days of horse showing started early each day and continued late into the night. Hunters and Jumpers dominated the daytime classes, while the evening classes consisted of a wide variety of disciplines such as flat shod Tennessee Walking Horses, Gypsy Vanners, Side Saddle, Carriage Driving, Western Pleasure, American Saddlebred, and Speed Racking horses. Fun classes included the Rachel Smith Memorial Costume class on Tuesday night, on Wednesday night, the Lead line, and the Stick Horse Races on Saturday night.
Tuesday June 4
Rain came on the first evening of the show, with show officials having to delay the Versatility Challenge due to lightning in the area. But soon the rain let up, and Elizabeth Nestor, riding At Last, won the Keepsake Perpetual Trophy for the horse who does both hunter and jumper courses equally well.
Tuesday evening’s costume class had an elaborate entry that won Most Original: The Circus Comes to the Germantown Charity. The Most Humorous award went to Butterfly Fly Away, and The Princesses of the Germantown Charity Horse Show were the Most Beautiful. Most Authentic were foxhunters Clara Hickerson and Emma Monroe.
First in the Family Class were Trey Lawson and Laura Lawson, who are brother and sister in-law, with Laura riding side saddle.
Wednesday June 5
Wednesday’s $15,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake 1.4m was a preview of things to come in the Grand Prix on Saturday. Louise Graves and Wicked took the win, with Michael Tokaruk and Eagle Eyes P.S. also putting in two clear rounds for second place. Christoph Schroeder was third with Duran Duran and fourth with Celine. Tokaruk took fifth with Steel The Love and sixth with Cupid Shuffle.
The Lead Line class is a crowd favorite that exudes cuteness! The Sidesaddle ladies made their first appearance in the Opportunity Sidesaddle and Hunter Hack classes. And the crowd was treated to an exhibition of dog and horse working together in AKC Road Trials by Maggie Moore and her Dalmatian Roe.
Thursday June 6
Thursday night offered the exciting Gambler’s Choice Jumper class, sponsored by the family of the late Harold Walker. Unfortunately, the competitors had to “take their own line” in the rain. Ultimately, it was Katana Kennedy O’Brien accumulating the most points for the win aboard Adeline.
Then the efficient jump crew removed the poles from between the standards and the carriage drivers entered the arena for their own driving Gambler’s Choice, just as the rains let up. In the horse division, Laura Lawson drove KT Barnabus for the win. In the pony division, the smallest equine of all – Tinker Toy, a Mini driven by Natalie Hanisco – was the winner.
Thursday night’s excitement continued with the Youth Speed Racking exhibitors. Katie Criswell rode Mary Jane’s Delight for the fast-paced win. Later in the evening, Terrin Smith and Sniper won the Novice Speed Racking.
Friday June 7
Friday evening’s NO RAIN performance began with the elegance of the Pony Hunter Classic. Ponies with perfectly braided manes and tails and riders in their shadbelly “tails” navigated the course so flawlessly that it took the discerning eye of the judge to determine which rounds were a few points better. This was the second round of the Classic, with scores from both rounds added to determine the winner. Twenty-seven entries vied for the 12 placings and it was Why Not, ridden by Kaycie Miranda, who took the blue. Emma Rupinski and her Stonewall Top Call was reserve, with Isabella Griffin and Heaven’s Gift placing third and Kali Wright Ryan fourth on Jack InThe Box.
Style and elegance continued as the horses took the course next in the Germantown Hunter Classic. Eighteen horses rounded the course, with Germantown veteran Belynda Bond winning the blue on Santana. Only two horses took the course at the four-foot mark, with one of them, Michael Tokaruk and Trademark Darmanville placing second in the class. Afterwards Michael commented: “He placed second in last year’s Grand Prix, so I made him a hunter.” Having won the Versatility Challenge in previous years, in which a horse is judged on the ability to do well in both hunter and jumper courses, Tokaruk is definitely up to the task. Isabella Griffin and Cold Case were third, with Jason Schnelle placing fourth on Cheryl Rubenstein’s Capisce.
Friday night’s style and elegance extended to the spectators, too, who were dressed to the nines for the Big Hat and Bow Tie contests. Mrs. Doris Shifflett won the Big Hat prize and Ross Herren was best in the Bow Tie. Elvis made an appearance in one of the box seats, complete with peanut butter and banana sandwiches, to win a box seat decorating prize. Shady Creek Ranch won the best stall decorations contest. Shady Creek is owned by Norman and Debbie Timbs, who ride Paso Finos.
Then it was time to bring on the fast pace and excitement of the Carriage Scurry races! Drivers had to negotiate a course of cones in the fastest time possible without knocking the tennis balls off the tops of the cones.
First in the ring with the smallest equine was Natalie Hanisco driving her Mini Tinker Toy. The pair set a fairly fast pace for the rest to try to beat.
Allie Rudisill driving Molly was the first to break the Hanisco sound barrier, flying through the course in just 42.664 seconds.
Now the challenge was on and Maria Roberts came blazing into the arena driving Rollingwoods Off The Raydar, determined to beat the clock! She was ecstatic when she saw her time was 42.636 – 0.028 seconds faster!
The gauntlet was thrown and next up, Joanna Wilburn, driving Rollingwoods Berry Last One, was not going to be outdone by a junior driver! Her strategy planned, and spectators on the edges of their seats, she put the pedal to the metal and her pony hit warp speed to run the course in 38.112 seconds! It was a time that couldn’t be beat.
A little later in the evening came the crowd favorite class – the Open Speed Racking. The crowd went wild cheering on the competitors to “Rack on!” And when the dust settled (what dust?), Brian Hodges and his Rojo were once again Champions at Germantown.
Saturday June 8
Saturday night brings the star attraction of the show: the $25,000 Grand Prix of Germantown. Olympic veteran Melanie Smith Taylor was on hand to discuss the course with three-time winner Michael Tokaruk and course designer Philip DeVita.
Aida Sanchez Long was the first to jump a clear round on MHS Indiana. Tokaruk had his first clear round on Cupid Shuffle, and then Christoph Schroeder went clear on Duran Duran. Reid Rickett was clear on her mount Banderas De Bornival and then Schroeder was back with another clear round on Celine. Tokaruk had his second clear round with Eagle Eyes P.S., so the Jump Off was going to be a nail biter.
First in the Jump Off, Aida Sanchez Long had eight jumping faults. But next to go, Christina Athens on Akira TSP put in another clear round in 43.278 seconds. Tokaruk followed with his second clear round on Cupid Shuffle in a faster time: 39.099 seconds. But Schroeder put in his second clear round on Duran Duran in 35.537 seconds! The remaining horses in the Jump Off had four jumping faults each.
For the second year in a row, Christoph Schroeder, a German rider, won the Grand Prix of Germantown, this year on Duran Duran. Schroeder also received the Lord Byron Perpetual Trophy for his win. Michael Tokaruk and Cupid Shuffle were second, and Tokaruk was fourth with Eagle Eyes P.S. Schroeder placed sixth with Celine and eighth with Atlanta, last year’s winner.
After the Grand Prix, the VSHs (very small humans) entered the arena for the Stick Horse Finals.
Then it was on to the exciting Carriage Barrel Races!
Championship night continued with the best of the best competing for the week-long championship in a variety of breed classes. Norman Timbs was the Paso Fino Amateur Champion for the week on his Replica De La Quebrada. In the Gypsy Vanner Western Pleasure Championship, Jackie Rollins and WRKC took the blue ribbon and trophy.
The Junior Carriage Drivers were back in the arena with color-coordinated, classic-styling Kayla Benson and Laura Lawson taking the blue, driving the always-reliable KT Barnabus.
Another crowd favorite was the Best Carriage Dog. This year’s winner was Aries (dog) and Wayne (horse), driven by Heather Johnson.
The week wouldn’t be complete without the Speed Racking Championship. This year’s Speed Racking Grand Champion was Kikin Yankee Kodiak ridden by Deterrio Rivers.
It had been a wet but exciting week in Germantown. Be ready for next year’s show on June 2-6, 2020. Find more information about the show at https://gchs.org. Full results of the show can be found at horseshowsonline.com. There are show results for both the Hunter/Jumper and the Breed classes.
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