The inaugural Back To Berrien Futurity Show held its final classes on Saturday, June 25, and ended with payouts to exhibitors of more than $60,000.

“We are so pleased with all the positive comments and support for our first show,” noted one of the show’s three organizers, Charles Cannizzaro. “We are so thankful for our exhibitors and our sponsors, because without either of them, the show would not have been possible. We put together a team that sort of came together by accident, but they were great together and we’re going to come back again with them in 2023.”

Longe Line Triple Threat

AQHA stallion Makin Me Willy Wild saw three offspring placing first, second and third in the Western Open Yearling Longe Line, which kicked off the final day of competition in Berrien Springs.

Willy Makin It, shown by Anthony Leier for Julie Davis, took the top prize and $670.85. “He’s a really nice gelding,” Anthony said.

“He’s actually been on stall rest for two weeks because he tweaked his suspensory, so we weren’t sure how it would go, but he has so much raw talent. He wants to go slow, and he has so much personality. This is his first big futurity win and the second show he’s been to.”

Makin Shine, shown by Kenny Lakins for Brett and Heather Caplinger, earned second place in the class and Willy RockNThe House, owned and shown by Peter Mead, took third.

Winning Again In Hunters

Saturday’s two Hunter Under Saddle winning exhibitors had both won other classes earlier in the week.

Judy Zeitler returned to the Back To Berrien winner’s circle by winning the Maturity Open Hunter Under Saddle. She showed Onn Cloud Nine for owner Anya Danielson, winning $616.

“Goose is hands-down my favorite horse,” Judy said. “I have such a blast showing him. Dawn (Baker) did such a great job starting him. I’ve had him for about two years and just love him.” Goose and Judy will continue to compete in Open Maturity Hunter Under Saddle events, while Anya will show in Non-Pro events.

Elizabeth Baker and Al Be Good To Go picked up their second futurity title at Back To Berrien in the Three Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle, winning the largest paycheck of the show, $3,434. They showed for owners Rich and Elise Cognetti.

By Good Better Best, ‘Rocco’ added to his winnings from Friday in the Three Year Old Limited Open Hunter Under Saddle.

Western Winnings

Charlie Brooks borrowed her mother’s horse, Itsa Krymsum Belle, to win the Youth Western Pleasure. “This was my first time showing her,” 14-year-old Charlie said. “It’s my first futurity win – it’s pretty exciting, and it was a big surprise to get to show her here.

“I normally show the All Around with Ill Be Batting Ona RV, and I’ve never really shown a true Western Pleasure horse. She’s so fun, she loves her job. I showed her for the first time the other day and won the 13 & Under with her.”

Melissa Cook and Flo Rida picked up their second futurity win of the show in the Three Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure Futurity, earning $660. Gorman Barger and Made For You were named reserve champions in the class and earned the $500 Select rider bonus.

Line Up Behind earned two futurity classes on Saturday, including the Maturity Open Western Pleasure with Cole Baker in the saddle and the Non-Pro Maturity with owner JR Cook riding. Line Up Behind earned $630 for the Open win and $648 for the Non-Pro placing.

“When Cole approached us about coming up to this show, we were a little hesitant because there weren’t classes for our daughters, but with Gil Galyean, Charles Cannizzaro and Jon Barry putting it on, we wanted to come and support the show, and we are so glad we did. It’s been a great show.”

“I really want to thank Gil, Jon and Charles and everyone with this show, because it’s pretty special,” added Cole Baker. “I think next year, this will be an event to plan on attending. I am so grateful to JR and Melissa for allowing us to bring their horses up here to support it.”

In the Three Year Old Open Western Pleasure, Jamie Dowdy showed Perfectly Southern to the win for Gumz Farm LLC, earning $786. “Amy raised this gelding, and we call him Heath,” Jamie said. “He’s just so athletic, and he has a great personality. He’s a little quirky, but he’s a lot of fun. He learns fast, and things are just so easy for him, especially for a young horse.”

By It’s a Southern Thing, Heath will compete at the NSBA World Show and other major fall shows before going to the AQHA World Show under Jamie’s guidance, showing in three year old and Junior Open classes.

Bill Hatten and Easy Money Martini took home all the money in the Two Year Old Open Western Pleasure, including the bonus for the highest placing Limited rider. They earned $1,077 for the first place finish and $500 for the bonus. The duo showed for owner Tiffany Loxton.

“He’s by An Absolute Martini, and we call him Rip,” Bill said. “We bought him in the NSBA Yearling Sale last year, and we’ve loved him ever since we got him. He’s super talented, just deep hocked and a natural loper. We will be showing for some of the Yearling Sale Graduate Money in the Two Year Old BCF class at the NSBA World, and he will also be shown at the Congress.”

Mark Zeitler took his turn in the first place spotlight in the Three Year Old Novice Horse Western Pleasure, showing Hot Wrench for Aubrey Alderman Jacobs. Mark and ‘Lucky Wren’ earned $586 for the win. It was the second futurity title for the mare, who also won earlier in the week with her owner.

“We haven’t had this mare very long, but Shane Pope sold her to us all trained up, so she made our job easy,” Mark said. “We have loved being here for the Back To Berrien Show. It’s the best show I’ve been to in a long time. It had a great feel to it and the payouts have been awesome.”

Another repeat Back To Berrien futurity champion was Lisa Feinberg, who showed Good Vybes to a win in the Four Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure. The duo also picked up the bonus to the highest placing Select exhibitor. They earned $656 for the class win and $500 for the bonus.

After being blessed with picture-perfect weather throughout the week, Berrien Springs brought a few sprinkles for the final few classes, continuing its tradition of raining on the Non-Pros, in the Non-Pro Maturity in the last class of the show.