The best of the best in the Morgan breed was celebrated in Oklahoma City for the 2014 edition of the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show, held Oct. 11-18. Since 1973, this show has represented the pinnacle of achievement in the Morgan horse world. More than 1,000 of the world's finest Morgan horses from across the United States, Canada and Europe met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to compete in over 300 classes for $400,000-plus in prize money.
Matt Kwapich of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was the show's manager for the second year in a row, and Georgie Green of Morgan Mill, Texas, served in the capacity of show chairman.
"It was both a joy and a pleasure to be chair of the 2014 Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show," said Green. "The staff and the committee were extraordinary! The parties were fun; the camaraderie was enjoyable; the competition was outstanding. Thank you to all involved. I hope your week was as gratifying as mine."
Kwapich, along with a dedicated and hard-working show committee and staff, joined an impressive list of sponsors, officials, and volunteers to make this year's show the best ever. "It is with great excitement that I come to Oklahoma as the manager of the Grand National this year," said Kwapich. "This horse show is where the best of the best in the Morgan breed compete is Morgan history in the making!"
The Youth of the Year Contest had 13 competitors this year. Caitlin Kernander of South Lyon, Michigan, was crowned the winner of this prestigious contest. Kernander, 16, will receive a unique custom-designed prize package valuing $2,500. This award is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Earning reserve honors in the contest was Victoria Angers, 15, of Merrimac, Massachusetts, who also has earned a custom-designed prize.
Elizabeth Burick's Midshipman won both the World Champion Senior Gelding and World Champion Gelding honors with trainer Tim Roesink on the lead. The two-year-old LSB Game Time was the World Champion Junior Gelding with John Hufferd showing for Diane Kleinecke. Jungle Love GCH was shown to World Champion Senior Mare and World Champion Mare titles with Ken Swanson for Tara Farm. LPS Forever Hopeful was shown by Nancy Flower for Lynn Peeples to take the Junior Champion Mare title. For the stallions, Merriehill After Hours left the ring as the World Senior and World Champion Stallion, with Whitney Bodnar leading for Cingate Morgans LLC. Robert Hughes showed Dressed Up to the World Junior Champion Stallion title for Donegal Hills Farm.
In the performance divisions, amateur Dawn Fire rode her Graycliff Tony GCH to claim the World English Pleasure Championship for the second year in a row. Kristen Cater rode Epona's Mo'o Lio GCH to top honors as the World Hunter Pleasure Champion for Michael and Sara Foy. SpiceOLife Present Tense GCH, with trainer Diane Conrady in the buggy, claimed the World Park Harness Championship for David James Walker. Mike Wahl rode Privilege to the World Western Pleasure Championship for Chris and Janet Morris. Tim Roesink took Elizabeth Burick's World Champion Gelding, Midshipman, to win the open world championship in pleasure driving. Jenny Taylor rode PLS High Pine Picasso to win the very competitive World Park Saddle Championship for Joy Scala for the third year in a row. Peggy Alderman returned to the ring to win the World Roadster to Bike Championship with Flairetation for the fourth year in a row. Alderman is the most winning roadster driver in Morgan history, driving to the world championship 10 times.
The Grand National joined forces with Horse Show Wire and Richfield Video to bring the show to online viewers for free. The video feed had an incredible viewership response.
Plans already are underway for next year's show, which will take place Oct. 11-18 in, of course, Oklahoma City. C. A. "Tony" Lee of Birmingham, Alabama, will be the show chairman.
Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors, and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 90 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. It also provides an important link to foreign Morgan horse registries and clubs.
The Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show is owned by the American Morgan Horse Association and is licensed to the American Morgan Horse Educational Trust, a not-for-profit organization committed to education and scholarship. For more information and updates on the Morgan Grand National, go to www.morgangrandnational.com.