The blue ribbon hanging from Sundance's bridle after the Western District qualifier for the Centennial Field Hunter Championships wasn't just another prize for Terry Olsen. "This horse was a project, and over the years, people have told me to get rid of him, asking me why I keep him. So, I think it was a very special win," she said.
"She's proof that if you want it, you can get it," said trainer Christina Schlusemeyer of Megan Young, who rode to win the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Final.
Young, 17, doesn't own a horse of her own, and does all her winning on catch rides. The blue in the Medal final capped a spectacular weekend for Young at the Pennsylvania National Junior Weekend, Oct. 14-17 in Harrisburg, Pa. She also guided Navigator to the grand junior hunter and large junior, 16-17, championships, and claimed the best child rider on a horse award.
Kenny Wheeler has seen a lot of quality horses in his time, and he thinks that SpanishSpear is "one of the best colts I've ever had. He's a beautiful colt with a lot of class, and he's one of the best-moving colts I've ever shown," Wheeler said.
On June 1, at the Devon Horse Show in Devon, Pa., judges Rodney Jenkins and Phil De-Vita agreed, picking Spanish Spear as the Best Young Horse for the second consecutive year.
Billie Steffee compares watching the offspring of her stallion, All The Gold, perform to "watching your grandchildren. And they come in all shapes, sizes and colors," she said.
Steffee's prodigies outdid themselves at the International Hunter Futurity Finals, in Lexington, Ky., on Sept. 22-23. Two full siblings, Gold Digger and Gold's Gone Fishin' (All The Gold--Silver Surf, The Silver Prince) claimed the 3-year-old grand championship and the 4-year-old reserve grand championship, respectively.
George Morris has seen his share of legendary horses, and his evaluation of Royal Kaliber is succinct: "He's just a grand horse. It's an old-fashioned expression, but it fits. I don't say that about many horses."
Ian Millar said he felt 10 years younger after anchoring the Canadian team to a thrilling win the $50,000 CN Samsung Nations Cup. The class, held Friday evening under the lights, was a highlight of the U.S. Cosequin Finale CSIO, on March 10-14, the last week of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla.
"I can't tell you how sweet a night like this is. I aged after the first round and got younger after the second!" he quipped.
Ray Francis has dreamed for decades of holding the best young horse at Devon, and on June 2 in the Dixon Oval in Devon, Pa., that dream came true.
Spanish Spear may have been listed under the ownership of Kenny Wheeler's Cismont Manor Farm, the perennial powerhouse in the breeding divisions at Devon, but it was Francis who bred and raised the flashy chestnut yearling. And it was Francis with the reins in his hand when the judges--Leo Conroy and Brian Lenehan--declared Spanish Spear the top pick.
Last year, Anastazia had to play the runner-up in the best young horse judging at the Devon Horse Show in Devon, Pa., taking second as a yearling to Cismont Manor Farm's Celebration, a 3-year-old. But this year she stood at the top of the line at the end of June 3 and took the best young horse title.