Sophie Germ captured the World Junior Exhibitor Park Harness Championship for the third year in a row driving her bay mare, Signed Sealed Delivered
Every year, Pennsylvania-based Morgan enthusiasts have a strong showing at the Morgan Grand National & World Championship Horse Show. This year, trainers and owners from Pennsylvania Morgan horse farms traveled to Oklahoma City the first two weeks in October, for the 39th Annual show, which attracted more than 1,000 entries from this country, Canada, England and Austria. Because of the breed’s versatility, the event offered more than 300 classes in 25 different divisions. Entries also compete for more than $400,000 in prize money.
Broadmoor, a full service Morgan training and breeding facility located outside the borough of Kutztown, PA, and owned by Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles, took 19 horses and brought home three world championships, six reserve world championships and six grand national championships. One of their clients, Sophie Germ, captured the World Junior Exhibitor Park Harness Championship for the third year in a row driving her bay mare, Signed Sealed Delivered.
Another rider from Broadmoor, Dr. Linda Brewer, a retired school superintendent, rode in only her third horse show ever. She entered the large, quality-filled Grand National Classic Pleasure Saddle Stallions & Geldings Championship, made the 12-horse work off and finished in the top ten.
Kathy Gutting drove her black stallion, Get Busy, to the World Amateur Masters Park Harness Championship. Four years ago, she won the Amateur Masters Park Saddle Championship with her stallion. One of his offspring, Get Lucky, won the Reserve Grand National Two-Year-Old Park Harness Championship with driver Dwayne Knowles.
Dwayne was successful with several other junior horses. He won the Reserve World Four-Year-Old English Pleasure Championship with Centaurus Rising, who is owned by Charles Marcon. The gelding was reserve in both his qualifying classes, one under saddle and the other in pleasure driving.
With Tara Good’s Who Do You Love, Dwayne won the Reserve Grand National Three-Year-Old Park Saddle Championship. And with Emma Thomson’s Rush Delivery, Dwayne won the Grand National Three-Year-Old Pleasure Driving Stallions & Geldings Championship.
“This is the culmination of a year of hard work and attention to details by us and our amateurs,” said Dwayne Knowles. “To win at this level everything needs to be exact and also a little luck.”
Around the corner from Broadmoor is another training facility, Josette Conti Performance Horses. With a long and successful career riding Quarter Horses, Josie first won a world title with a Morgan horse in 1998, and has been back to the winner’s circle at the Morgan Grand National four other times. She also has had success coaching non-pro and green riders.
This year, Josie coached Lynne Robinson to the Reserve Grand National Reining Green Rider Finals title. Lynne was riding her mare, Camas Mist Chemalis, whom she has owned for two years.
“Two years ago, with only six months of training, Josie and I took Cassie to Oklahoma City for the Morgan Grand National, and we were third,” Lynne said. “This year, after we both had more hours of training under our belts, we finished reserve champion. I was really pleased.
“Competing at the Morgan Grand National was an exciting adventure, and I look forward to competing next year,” Lynne said. “This year, I was nervous going into my class as I had not been able to compete at any of our local shows. But, because it was my vacation, I had a good time.”
Outside the borough of Montrose, PA, you’ll find Scottfield Stables, home to trainer Alicia Owens and her husband, David, one of the official horse show announcers.
This year, Alicia took three horses from her barn. One of her young riders, Audra Grace Lee, won two national titles. The first was with her walk-trot English pleasure horse, WTS Simply Outrageous; and the second was with her walk-trot saddle seat equitation horse, Hermitage Avatar. Both of these awards came in the nine and under age group.
“It felt so amazing to be at the Grand National and to be able to show two horses,” Audra said. “Even though the competition is really tough, it is so much fun to ride in the championship classes and do so well.”
Amanda DuPont shipped eight Morgans from her Windward Farm in Port Matilda to Oklahoma City. Amanda rode her sister’s mare, CBMF By Popular Demand, to the Reserve Grand National Four-Year-Old Hunter Pleasure Mare Championship.
One of the horses from Amanda’s barn, SSLLC Primary Contender, owned by Hershey veterinarian Kevin Schengrund, came to the rescue of a walk-trot rider from the Saratoga, NY area. Alena Gannon’s horse was injured following her qualifying class, and on this borrowed six-year-old gelding from Windward Farm, whom she rode twice in practice lessons, she won the World Walk-Trot Hunter Seat Equitation 11 & Under Championship. This was just one example of the camaraderie and support between trainers in the Morgan horse world.
Outside the borough of Greencastle, PA is Trotwood Stable, owned by Connie Hose. A full service training facility, Dave and Debbie Gowans oversee the training and lesson programs. They took three horses to the Morgan Grand National and four riders – two junior exhibitors and two amateurs. One of their walk-trot riders, Maddie Sappenfield, was a first timer at the national event. “Even though I didn’t win, it was lots of fun and a good experience,” said Maddie. “In one of my classes, there were 24 other riders, so I learned a lot about riding my horse in traffic, and learned how to get good spots on the rail so the judges could see me.
“It was also fun to see all the great Morgans and riders from across the country compete in very exciting classes,” she said.
In the equitation divisions, all of the Trotwood riders made the cuts from the qualifying class to ride again in the world championship class, but did not get a ribbon.