2002: We Are the Champions...


Where do I begin? This year was one of the most rewarding of my life with these horses. We made so many new and fantastic friends, achieved goals we never dreamed of reaching, brought new lives into this world, and had one HECK of a lot of FUN!!!

This page and the stories on the attached pages will evolve over the next few weeks. Keep checking back as I will be adding to it each time I sit down for a few moments.

All of our successes this year cannot be attributed to any one person. We were truly a team, and proved that teamwork RULES! Thanks go out from Cassie and I to each and every member of "Team Starstruck." I can't wait to see what you guys accomplish in 2003!

Below is a list of the highlights.

Mason Dixon Classic:

The Mason-Dixon Classic was the end of April, and we took both PX and Sohn. Torrential rains had turned the rings into a lake, which made Sohn keep swapping leads behind through puddles. His courses were, for the most part, below average. PX on the other hand, was great!

Thanks to the horrible rain the whole drive up to Quentin, this trip was not too fun! The rings, when we got there, were soup. Unfortunately, Sohn didn't like the feeling of slapping around in standing water and would swap leads behind every so often...I could have KILLED him for it! Luckily, he didn't do it in the hack class and was FIRST!!

Sohn's jumping courses were mediocre, somewhat due to his swapping off, and partly because there were puddles on both sides of the jumps, causing some horses to stop. He placed in the ribbons, at least! I was very pleased with his hack class.

PX was his usual casual self about footing, and Cassie rode him very well against some tough competition. He place first and second over fences and won the hack to be Champion!!

Debbi, Curtis and Billy drove up with us and were a great help. They brought the puppy they bought from us, Trooper, Jr. or TJ and he was a hit!

The first of the EAAHSC Shows, a weekend combining NE Md and SC PA regions was next and goodness did we have a great weekend! Paradoks, below, won his Liberty class, Hunter Pleasure Intermediate Ride, and was Hunter Pleasure Champion.

Next, Cassie and I decided to drive to NJ with PX for the NJHAHA Class A show. We arrived while it was still dark out, napped a while, then woke up just in time to finish braiding and warm up. PX did fairly well against some tough competition, ending up Reserve Champion.

Easy Rider's 4-H Club Show:

We all went to the Easy Rider's 4-H Club show in June, and again we had a terrific time. Alot of "firsts" and alot of learning and fun.

This again was a perfect show to give everyone some mileage. Ginger and Anjuli, Kelly and Surprise, Billy and Foxy, Debbi and Foxy (Nina had pitched a shoe dammit!) and Cassie/me and Sohn went.

The kids showed in Conformation just for fun and did fine.

Kelly won her first blue on Surprise in the Equitation Over Fences, much to our delight! She also pinned well in the Large Pony Pleasure classes.

Cassie showed Ginger in the Baby Green and was Reserve Champion. Anjuili showed her in the Pleasure and did fairly well, but still has work to do gaining confidence over fences. She did well in the Under Saddle classes though!

Billy and Foxy were terrific in the Walk-Trot classes. He learned alot about his horse and about showing.

Debbi won her first blue ribbon and Champion on Foxy in the Baby Green, much to our delight!

I wanted a little tune on Sohn before the PAJAG show, so I showed Sohn in the Horse Hunter, won the first class, then went off course in the Handy (duh!) and ended up Reserve Champion. Cassie was set to show him in Pleasure and ended up Champion. She rode him so well, after a several year hiatus from him!!

Again, Leena and Scott provided a terrific luncheon spread, with everyone else's contributions....and Cetta is the BEST ringside groom and water person! You need it? She's GOT IT!

EAAHSC Fair Hill Shows:

The EAAHSC Show at Fair Hill was next, gorgeous weather this year, and everyone did well. Sohn pulled a muscle in his butt on Saturday and had to be scratched, but was well enough the next day to compete and win Reserve Champion! The kids had really gotten their acts together and were super also! Cassie showed off her new costume, and did well!

That very weekend, the unthinkable happened. Binty, Sohn's mom, dropped a colt foal by PX, a complete and utter surprise to all of us. (The vet had declared in August that she was empty, so I sold her to someone as a babysitter.) She was in Delaware at the time, and we would spend a few months in emotional turmoil wondering if we would ever see him, let alone have him be ours. After all we had been through to get him here, it was heartwrenching to not know!

The end of June brought our FAVORITE, the Pa. Jr/Amateur Games Class A show. We took Par, PX and Sohn and camped out in our trailer for the weekend. They had added a second show on Sunday, the PAHA Sporthorse Show, which we also entered with our working hunters. Sohn was not 100% yet, but PX and Par were SUPERSTARS!!

Region 15 Championships:

Right after that came our big trip to Lexington, VA and the Region 15 Championships. We got a hotel room for 2 nights, as the weather was horribly hot. The judging was a little funky, but PX again was Champion in the Open and Reserve in the JTR, and Sohn (feeling AWESOME) was Reserve Champion in the ATR. (He loves that rubber footing!)

It was July fourth when we headed down to Lexington, VA for the annual IAHA Region 15 Championships. The temperature had been in the upper 90's for days, so Cassie and I booked a hotel room for our two days stay there.

The drive down was uneventful, though definitely hot. We gave in and turned on the air for the last half of the trip-that truck hauled just fine running the A/C! We were stabled in the hot inner barns with the temporary stalls, so it was lucky we had fans for our boys!

We took the horses for a lovely trail ride after they rested a bit - what a beautiful show grounds! We gave them baths and braided for our early morning classes, then headed back to the hotel to sleep.

The next morning dawned a bit cooler than the last, and we were ready early. Our only hang-up was that the judge was a working WESTERN judge...grrrr! But we were going to do our best regardless of the outcome.

Our warm-up courses were good, so we felt ready. Cassie showed first in the Half-Arabian Open, winning the first class, then pinning second in the second. She ended up Champion, much to our delight!

Cassie showed in the Junior classes next, and didn't do quite as well as she is capable of...but ended up Reserve Champion anyway!

Sohn went like a million bucks, I was so pleased after his injury and all! He pinned second in the two jumping classes behind the National Champion, *Betys+/, nothing to be ashamed of! He pinned second in the hack also and therefore finished up Reserve Champion! I was so proud of him!

We were done showing by lunch time, so we headed back to the hotel after taking care of the boys, and just chilled in the A/C the rest of the day.

Storms that night brought cool weather, so the drive home the next day was much more comfortable. Both horses handled the trip well, and we were very happy with the entire show!

The Central Md. EAAHSC Show in Dillsburg was next, and we hauled up to that both days also. Only Toni, Lauren, Cassie and I went, as some folks were away on vacation. Cassie and I were first and second in the Hack both days, and Par and Mirage were stars!

The Harford 4-H Farm Fair was our next show, with Senior day first. Conformation with Lucy and Rain went very well, as both won their classes. Lucy went great over fences for the most part, but had a few moments here and there that were silly. All in all, Cassie was happy with everyone! The Junior day got rained out after Showmanship, and postponed until August.

East Coast Championships was next, and we took only Par and PX this year. Again, it was ungodly hot! Par was awesome, although the judging was funny, and PX was Champion in Open and Reserve in ATR. Par did win a huge Hunter Pleasure JTR Championship Class, meriting a trip to the "spit box" for drug testing. Kim came with us the whole weekend and was a great help.

Whew....next was Howard County Fair. Arabian day was blast! There were open classes too, so we took EVERYONE. What a great show! And the party afterwards was made more memorable by Scott's performance at the car wash. He decided to go through the car wash in the bed of my truck!

Howard County Fair's Hunter Breeder show was that same week and we took Rain and Chance with Jet there. Our guys did GREAT against some really stiff competition.

In the middle of all this, Snickers came into heat and we bred her to the full brother of the dog we bred her to in January. Pups would be due in October!

The make up day for the Farm Fair dawned clear and hot, but everyone was ready. Surprise wound up Reserve Grand Champion in Conformation to everyone's delight! Anjuli worked hard on Ginger, although the pony wasn't the most cooperative thing. Erika and PA had a FAST course in the Pleasure, but had improved a good deal over the summer!

Our very favorite EAAHSC show was next, HARRINGTON (aka Margaritaville). What a party that was! What a great show also! Surprise won a Handy Hunter class to everyone's delight!

Around this time, we sent in our entries for U.S. Nationals, after I was really on the fence about whether or not to go this year...glad I did!

Kim started her search for her next horse, PA Solidor, about this time. After returning from that trip, I found out that we would indeed become the proud owners of Binty's foal...we were ecstatic!

The Maryland Futurity was next, with Rain showing beautifully and placing very well! We also hit a local schooling show, just for fun and mileage, but the day was loooong and dragged out, and we didn't get to do all we had hoped. Surprise won a jumping class out of 30 entries though! Cassie even showed Par over fences successfully for the first time!

The last of the EAAHSC shows, Southern Maryland, was next, with us driving down both days, and absolutely kicking butt the whole weekend! Great food again, great photos, great ending to the season!

The Final HHSA show followed, witih the kids doing really well, and me showing PX and Sohn, just as a tune up for Nationals.

Suddenly, it was time to head off to Louisville for U.S. Nationals. What an awesome experience it was....read our story on the sagas page. Who would have guessed we would be CHAMPION!?!?!?! And Sohn getting Top Ten, and Cass getting Top Ten too!

In the midst of all that, Snickers had her six puppies at my mom's house! And on the day we showed in Kentucky!


End of Year Awards:

Here are a few of our year end awards banquet photos.

2002 BRAHA End of Year Banquet

2002 EAAHSC End of Year Banquet

2002 HHSA End of Year Banquet

To top it all off, PX ended up being the 2002 USEF National Horse of the Year & Region XV Horse of the Year in HA/AA Hunter/Jumper!

2002 USEF National Horse of the Year

Cassie with David & Karen O'Conner