Lexington, KY - November 1, 2013 - The American Saddlebred Division, presented by James & Misdee Miller and Elisabeth Goth & Richard Shadwick, captivated the Alltech National Horse Show crowd on Friday night at the Kentucky Horse Park. The electric atmosphere in the Alltech Arena spurred the horses on to perform their best as the division concluded with big wins for David Rudder, Misdee Miller and Susan Swope.
"With the exception of Louisville, I don't know that I've ever heard a crowd that loud and that enthusiastic," said Swope, who rode her own Miss Can't Be Wrong to claim the Three-Gaited Amateur/Juvenile Championship. "The hunter/jumper people had a lot to do with that, and we appreciate it. My horse loved the audience. She was very bright."
Miss Can't Be Wrong, a striking black 4-year-old mare, stood out from the rest in her division. "She's very refined," Swope, of Simpsonville, KY, said. "I think her chiseled head and neck are her best assets. She's got a lot of motion too, and a good attitude, so she's a pretty special mare."
David Rudder, who scored two wins on the night, seconded Swope's assessment of the audience. "I thought the atmosphere was fantastic tonight," he said. "It adds so much more excitement when we're competing to have a crowd that's enthusiastic. When you're in the ring and the crowd's cheering, it energizes you, and the horses can tell too. It's really a lot of fun."
Rudder and Phind the Treasure, owned by Joan Hamilton of Springfield, KY, won the ASB Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Juvenile/Adult Stake. Rudder later paired with Candalight, owned by Crabtree Farms Inc. of Simpsonville, KY, to take the title in the Five-Gaited Amateur/Juvenile Championship.
"They're both similar in the fact that they both love to compete," Rudder said of the two winning mares. "You can feel that they get excited and love to go in the show ring. They have great expression, and you can just feel them change as soon as they're at the horse show. That's always a sign of a good horse - they rise to the occasion."
Joining Rudder in taking home two titles on Friday evening was Misdee Wrigley Miller. She began with a first place finish in the Fine Harness Amateur Stake with H.S. Baby Steps, owned by Hillcroft Farm of Paris, KY. "This is the first time I've showed this mare," she said of H.S. Baby Steps. "So I was a little nervous - I've never had her in the ring before. But she was fantastic. She was such a thrill to drive, she really was."
Miller returned later in the night to claim the Road Horse to Bike Championship, sponsored by Sylvia Covino, with Hillcroft Farm's Live Action. Miller and Live Action blazed their way around the ring, drawing cheers from an enthusiastic crowd as they showcased their speed and style.
Miller stepped up to support the American Saddlebred division this year at the Alltech National Horse Show in order to bring the excitement of the show to other competitors. "American Saddlebreds were always such a great part of the National Horse Show," she explained. "I remember showing when it was still at Madison Square Garden, and that was such a thrill. They have transformed the arena and done such a good job making you feel like you're back in the Garden. I just wanted the opportunity for other people to have that same thrill of showing at such a prestigious show."
"And it worked, because so many people have come up to me now and said, 'We've had so much fun, and it's like being at the Garden!'" she added. "I know that's what Mason [Phelps, Jr., President of the Alltech National Horse Show] wanted to accomplish. He's done a fabulous job."
While the American Saddlebred and Hackney Divisions at the 130th Alltech National Horse Show have concluded, hunter, jumper and equitation classes, including the $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix and the ASPCA Maclay Finals, continue through Sunday.
For more information or to view the competition live, please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh, and HRTV.