Candi Aversenti and The Veldt Queen. Photos by Jane Jacobs of Jacobs Photography.
Lexington, KY – October 30, 2013 – The Veldt Queen, owned and ridden by Candi Aversenti, claimed the victory in the Five-Gaited Amateur Stake on Wednesday evening as the American Saddlebred Division, presented by James & Misdee Miller and Elisabeth Goth & Richard Shadwick, got underway at the Alltech National Horse Show. A staple of the National Horse Show in its Madison Square Garden days, the American Saddlebred Division made its return in 2012 and is joined this year by the Hackney Division.
In Five-Gaited competition, American Saddlebreds demonstrate two man-made gaits, the slow gait and the rack, which they are bred to perform. They are also shown at a walk, trot and canter. The slow gait and rack are both four beat gaits that produce a smooth ride. Each hoof hits the ground separately. The slow gait is highly collected and executed slowly and precisely, while the rack is fast-paced.
Aversenti just purchased The Veldt Queen in August, and while horse and rider are still getting to know each other, they are already looking like formidable competitors in the Five-Gaited division.
“This is my first horse show with her, and I was really excited,” Aversenti said. “She can really pound it out in the slow gait and rack, and she’s really strong. I think she liked the ring because it’s dressed so beautifully. She’s just very, very happy, and when they’re happy, it’s a lot easier to get what you want from them. When you have a show horse that likes showing, it’s the ultimate experience. You just have to let them do what they know how to do.”
Aversenti generously sponsored the Pony Division this year to ensure the ponies could be included. “I grew up showing at Madison Square Garden, since I was 12,” she explained. “The ponies are so cute and fun to watch, and we didn’t have them here last year. I thought it would add another dimension, so we decided to sponsor them and bring them back.”
She said she was happy to see the American Saddlebreds and Hackneys return to the Alltech National Horse Show. “It’s just so exciting to have them back at the National, because as far as I’m concerned, they’re part of the National history.”
The evening kicked off with the Fine Harness Open Stake, where B&T Vonderschmitt LLC’s Trust My Imagination, driven by Nelson Green, took home first place. Trust My Imagination, a 5-year-old mare, is new to Green, who started working with her in September.
“She’s a lot of horse!” Green said. “When they called that class and she went through the gate, it was like a fire horse in the building. Something clicked. I’m hoping she can go on and be the best one in her division.”
Green competed in the National Horse Show during its Madison Square Garden days, driving harness horses for Sallie Wheeler.
“I think it’s really important that we get saddle horses re-established here because now the National Horse Show is right in the heart of Saddlebred country,” he said. “It’s a perfect setup. The best of the best are right here in this area. It’s a tremendous production, and I appreciate being part of it.”
Fine Harness horses are judged on their performance, presence, quality, manners and conformation, and the division emphasizes animation over speed. Horses are shown in harness at an animated walk and park trot. Drivers are also asked to “show your horse,” meaning they can show off their horses at their most suitable speed.
The Hackneys made their debut in the Hackney Pony Amateur Stake, sponsored by Candi and Edmund Aversenti. Karen Frickey piloted her own Nobu to the victory in the class.
“He’s always bright and he always wears his ears,” Frickey said of Nobu. “And he has a really good back end and good hocks. He has nice manners.”
“They did a fabulous job here, and it’s a lot of fun,” she went on. “This is a nice horse show. I love the way the ring has flowers and greenery all around it.”
Misdee Miller had a successful evening, scoring victories in the Harness Pony Amateur Stake, sponsored by Candi & Edmund Aversenti, with Heartland Demonstrator and the Road Horse to Bike Amateur Stake, sponsored by Sylvia Covino, with Live Action. Both Heartland Demonstrator and Live Action are owned by Hillcroft Farm.
Elisabeth Goth and her own Sugarland won the Road Pony to Bike Amateur Stake, sponsored by Candi & Edmund Aversenti. Other winners of the evening included Susan Swope and her own Miss Can’t Be Wrong in the Three-Gaited Amateur Stake, Stephanie Sedlacko and Wingswept Farm’s CH Tipitina in the ASB Juvenile Three-Gaited Show Pleasure, and David Rudder and Joan Hamilton’s Phind the Treasure in the ASB Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure.
American Saddlebreds and Hackneys return to the Alltech Arena on Thursday evening, when Grand Championships will be decided for the Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited and Road Pony to Bike divisions. Thursday will also feature the Open Park Horse Stake and the Five-Gaited and Three-Gaited Juvenile Stakes.
For more information or to view the competition live, please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh, HRTV, and USEF Network.
Mary Adelaide Brakenridge for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International