Liberty County stables placed well in the final show of the 2014 American saddlebred season.
The annual Georgia Fall Classic, held Nov. 21-23 at the Georgia National Fairground and Agricenter in Perry, was challenging but successful for Bluff Creek Stables, Dixie Stables and Gravel Hill Farms. With more than 20 barns from across the Southeast competing, Liberty County equestrians brought home 10 championship ribbons and 13 first-place ribbons.
The three-day show included 110 classes in academy and performance divisions and the United Professional Horse Association horsemanship challenge. Show manager Bruce Payton from Jonesboro said it was the largest show in three years.
For the Fall Classic, the biggest draw is the horsemanship challenge. It tests riders’ horsemanship, requiring each to ride two horses they have never ridden before. Liberty County had four riders place in the top 10.
Bluff Creek Stables had the largest contingent from Liberty County at the show, winning five championships, one reserve champion, seven first places and two second-place ribbons. Owner Mary Anne Jones and trainer Deanna Edgy said they could not have been happier.
“While most of our riders at this show were academy riders, we could not be more excited with the results,” Jones said. “We are especially proud of our three performance riders who came to the show just to ride in the UPHA horsemanship challenge and the horses we had entered in the event.”
Both Lori Harden and Sara Kate Garret placed in the top 10 of the challenge. Lauren Mortimer, Teyha Bly and Becca Blythe won multiple classes, with Mortimer winning both the saddleseat and western classes.
Dixie Stables also had bragging rights.
“We had a fantastic show at the Georgia Fall Classic,” said Caitlin Jarriel, trainer at the Allenhurst barn. “Our riders showed significant improvements this year and we were proud of all of them. We can’t wait for next year.”
Dixie Stables won four championship ribbons. Lily Darsey and Emily Egner were academy champions, while Jarriel and Anne Eaker were performance champions. Another Dixie Stables rider, Sarah Tirpak, won a reserve championship. Egner also won a first in academy WT equitation.
Chris Jarriel, who has been riding for only two years, was one of the four riders to make it into the top 10 of the UPHA challenge.
Charles Durrence, trainer at Gravel Hill Farms, said, “Despite the challenges due to the weather conditions, we had a very nice show with the increase in participation this year, and our riders got to ride in front of a world-class judge in Maria Gilman.”
Gravel Hill also had successful academy and performance riders, but the performance riders stood out.
“Bobbie McDonald debuted her horse, Radiant Day, and won the amateur park class, riding against both juveniles and adults. Wow,” Durrence said. “As for Sam Hocking, she was on point the entire show. I don’t think I have ever seen her parents, Tim and Cindi so happy. It was a great show for Sam.”
Samantha Hocking, riding Syb van de Loekshamhoeve, was the big winner for Gravel Hill Farms. She won first place in saddleseat pleasure open and the saddleseat open championship. Hocking also placed in the top 10 of the horsemanship challenge.
“Sam and Dudley (Syb van de Loekshamhoeve barn name) have worked extremely hard over the past year they have been at Gravel Hill,” Gravel Hill owner Alicia Floyd said. “Both individually and together, they have become an amazing team. In fact, I think all our riders were competitive in all areas. I was very proud of them!”
The 2015 horse show starts in March.
(For full show results, go to coastalcourier.com)