Show report first published in November/December 2016
The 39th American Quarter Horse Association UK Championship and Breed Show took place at The Oakridge Arena from the 1st to the 4th September; 81 horses took part, entering 897 classes in total.
Competitors started to arrive on the Tuesday prior to the show. The Oakridge Arena looked amazing, a credit to the Oakridge Team, as another show had just pulled out that morning and there was not much time to turn the arena and stables around.
The Championship Show was run as 2 x split/combined AQHA Shows. Shows 1 and 2 were judged by Mai Brit and Rick Lemay from Sweden, while Shows 3 and 4 were judged by Ralph Hesselsschwerdt from Germany and Elizabeth Baker from the USA, on her first trip to the UK. The show also encompassed a full slate of National Reining Horse Association and Bieman Riding classes. These classes were hotly contested, with the highlight being the $1,000 NRHA Open class generously sponsored by Oakridge Arena, won by Lee Rutter, riding Lita Pocock's Little Nic, and a $500 NRHA Non Pro, also generously sponsored by Oakridge Arena, won by Fiona Howard, riding her own Gun Chic Nic.
It was encouraging to see large class entries, particularly in the Ranch Riding, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle and Halter Classes.
The Halter classes were extremely competitive, with Fiona Howard's Gun Chic Nic, shown by Lee Rutter, winning the UK Stallion Hi Point Championship. Jane Wallace's Make Me Invited won the UK Gelding Hi Point Championship and, making a welcome return to the show ring, David Teideman's Jays Dene took the Mare Championship. These three horses then went through to the AQHA UK Supreme Championship, with Gun Chic Nic taking the honours.
Sadly, the halter futurity classes were poorly supported, but Jayne Lerwill's stunning grey Fifty Shades of Jay took the 2-year-old Gelding Futurity Champion, and Joanne Clark's beautiful mare Fashioned in Blue was the 2-year-old Mare Futurity Champion, each winning the much sought after Bling It On Futurity Rugs. The ridden Futurity and Maturity classes were well-supported, with Alan Payne and Hot Steppin Leaguer winning the Trail Futurity on Friday. Tammy Greaves had a clean sweep on the Hunter Futurity and Maturity classes, winning the Futurity on Debbie Burns’ gorgeous black mare, Lady Sudden, and Rebecca Holt’s consistent gelding Jack Te Higgins winning the Maturity. The Western Pleasure futurity and maturity classes were showcased on the Saturday evening, with Sally, Alan and Helen Payne's Hot Steppin Leaguer winning the Futurity Class, shown by Alan. The Maturity class was well-supported and all the exhibitors turned out in their best 'Bling', which sparkled in the evening lights of the arena. The champion of this round was Jane Wallace's Make Me Invited, ridden by Jess March. The reserve champion was Evelyn Dash, riding her own Certainly Immortal.
The last classes on Saturday evening were the Futurity and Maturity Reining Classes. These were hotly contested, with competitors also wanting to earn points for the prestigious British Bred Hi Point Futurity/Maturity Trophy. Tammy Greaves and Mary Larcom were both in close contact going into these classes and interestingly both were riding horses bred by Mike and Jane Roberts from their Stallion Sean Dillon. Tammy finished ahead of Mary and the Champions were Alan Payne, riding Mary Lungenmuss’ This Remedys Smart in the Futurity and Lee Rutter riding Fiona Howard’s Custom Remedy, taking the Maturity Championship.
The final class to determine the British Bred Hi Point Champion was the Trail Maturity, held on Sunday morning. Evelyn Dash, riding her own Certainly Immortal, was the champions, but Tammy Greaves and Rebecca Holt's Jack Te Higgins picked up enough points to win the enormous British Bred Hi Point Trophy. It is interesting to note that "Jack" is a full brother to last year’s Champion, Seans Little Te Boy, both bred from Mike and Jane Roberts’ Stallion Sean Dillon.
A new class for this year was the introduction of 2- and 3-year-old longe line classes. The overall champion was Jayne Lerwill's Fifty Shades of Jay, finishing off a very successful first year of showing with Jayne.
On Saturday, the arena was really buzzing, not just with the competition, but also due to the great turn out of spectators who, despite the rain, had turned out in good numbers to come and see the UK's best Quarter Horses and western riders. AQHA UK took the opportunity to parade the successful Youth World Cup Team, which had competed in Australia. Outgoing Youth Director Sheila Fitzpatrick presented them all with medals to acknowledge their success as a team.
Olivia Lochead, a youth team member, took the Novice Youth Hi Point Championship, riding Carrin Herrick's Wimpys Smart Chex, and Karen Coleman, riding her own Jays Diamond Heiress, won the Oakridge Western Riding Club Hi Point Championship.
The AQHA UK Championship classes were highly contested, with all champions winning a Montana Silversmith Buckle and Champion Rug. The buckles will be awarded at the AQHA UK Awards evening to be held at the Garden of England Spring Show on the 27th May 2017. All of these awards were generously sponsored by some very kind and generous individuals and companies whose details are listed on the photographs. AQHA UK would like to pass on their grateful thanks to all of the sponsors. Without them, none of the awards detailed above would have been presented.
Alan Payne had a successful show, winning both the Open Hunter and Western Pleasure Championships. Gill Parker and Gregory Pep won the Open and Amateur Trail Championships. Lee Rutter, riding Lita Pocock's Little Nic, won the Open Reining Championship and perhaps the most competitive open Ranch Riding Class was won by Lucy Adams with Caroline Goodwins Lady Magnebellum.
Avril Wilson, riding her father's RS Hermes Olena, was the most successful Amateur and Novice Amateur competitor, winning two Amateur Championships and four Novice Amateur Championships. Evelyn Dash and Certainly Immortal won the Amateur Horsemanship and Western Pleasure Championships. Jane Wallace and Make Me Invited were the Amateur Hunter Under Saddle champions for the third year running. Other amateur champions were Liz Shaad and SS Smokin Jesse, Ranch Horse Riding Champions, and Carrin Herrick and Smart Wimpys Chex, winning the Showmanship Championship.
Other novice amateur champions were Karen Shaw and Juicy June winning Ranch Riding, Sue Gardner and A Pro But Shy, won the Western Pleasure Championship and, finally, Gemma Taverner and KB Give Me The Top were the Reining Champions.
Katie Willis and Protecturinvitation were the most successful youth competitors, winning four championships, Emily Sands and This Chicks Smokin won two championships, and Olivia Plum, with CS Texas Cat, won the Youth Ranch Riding Championship.
All competitors and spectators were superbly fed in the amazing Oakridge café -- the food on offer is excellent and the menu varies on a daily basis. A special thanks must go to Chris and Craig who worked tirelessly throughout the whole show. Including an absolutely delicious barbecue on Saturday evening, which must have taken an incredible amount of time to organise.
The other hard-working team was LRG Photography, who captured the most amazing photographs and videos and covered every single class and presentation. The photographer is an integral part of a championship show and the whole team worked incredibly hard over four long days. A huge thank you to this amazing professional team.
It takes a huge team to coordinate and manage a show of this size and a massive thank you must go to the following people: Jane Wallace, Jane Muir, Charles Graylan, Mick Carder, David Lloyd, Rob Painter, Chris Valle, Helen Payne, Jane Mead, Tracy Haynes, Anna Kerslake, Michelle Mcquire, Mike and Jane Roberts, Nick Mason, Karen Coleman, Lucy Adams, Ruth O'Reilly and David Deptford.
Last, but not least, a huge thank you to Lita, Graham, Becky and Lee and the rest of the Oakridge Team for hosting a very successful show and giving a very warm welcome to everyone in attendance.
Next year’s 40th Anniversary show will be held at Bodiam International Arena, with dates to be confirmed.