Exhibitors and show management faced several challenges on Thursday at the Tom Powers Triple Challenge Futurity in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Although the outdoor arenas were groomed well on Wednesday, the area faced another heavy thunderstorm overnight into Thursday, which added a great deal of water to the show pens once again. The rainfall forced the Longe Line and Hunter Under Saddle classes to the indoor arena Thursday morning and early afternoon while volunteers worked tireless to make the outdoor arena usable once again. A power outage on the show grounds caused some further delays for the show, but exhibitors and show management made the best of it.

Ditty and Caplinger Tie for Non-Pro, Leier Wins Open English Longe Line Events

The team of trainer Anthony Leier and Kevin Griner once again produced a champion, this time in the Open English Longe Line at the Tom Powers with their entry Soo Sleepy. The Appaloosa Too Sleepy To Zip filly is out of a Total Impulse mare.

Anthony and Kevin produced the Congress English Longe Line champion with an ApHC stallion in 2017 with The Best Bet Yet. “We call this filly Heidi, and she is a three quarter sister to The Best Bet Yet,” Anthony said.

“She is so good minded and can just lope. We love her. We had our debut at the Powers and we’re planning to show at the NSBA World and if that goes well the Congress.”
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The Non-Pro Longe Line class saw two divisions, which included the Brad Borton Memorial Limited Non-Pro division. Nancy Ditty and the roan gelding A Cowboy For You tied with Brett Caplinger’s Best By Design for the Non-Pro title.

“We call him Lucky, and he’s by VS Code Blue and out of Huntin For A Cowboy,” Nancy said. “He’s beautiful. We love how slow legged and put together he is. He’s so big, you could put a saddle on him right now.”

Nancy has had a busy spring and summer planned with four yearlings that she prepared between the Color and Non-Pro classes, which she and her parents, Susan and Stanely Scott all showed. “It’s like having four toddler children,” she said with a laugh.

Brett Caplinger and his entry Best By Design shared the Non-Pro title with Nancy but also won the Brad Borton Memorial Limited Non-Pro division of the class, and his wife Heather won the reserve award with Its Lazy Time. Heather also took third in the Non-Pro division.

The Caplingers have developed a consistent breeding program. “Heather has been breeding horses for 30 years, and I’ve been breeding them for the past five years,” Brett said. “We have three mares and we’ll have three babies coming next year. We set a goal to win the Brad Borton award. Brad always had kind words for us when we would see him at this show, so it’s very special to win this award.”

The yearling gelding known as Griffin is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Shes Good N Sultry. “We’re always searching for that ‘magic cross,’ and we talk to our trainers Kenny and Ashley Lakins about it a lot. Our goal is to breed great individuals, get them broke and out to shows and place them with great owners,” Brett said.

“RL Best Of Sudden is always on our ‘short list.’ This colt is just exquisite. He has such great movement. Both Heather and I work full time, so we try to spend a lot of time in the barn when we’re home.”
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Hunting Champions

Judy Zeitler got to catch ride an old friend to win the Three Year Old Limited Open Hunter Under Saddle. She showed Lucky To Sleep for owner Deanna Darroh. “We just bought this horse before the Silver Dollar show in Las Vegas,” Deanna noted. “We were looking for a Non-Pro Select horse that would be good enough to show in the Open but still be good minded enough for a Select rider.

Farley McLendon had tried the horse at the NSBA World Show, and I bought it sight unseen. We have been doing great so far, we won the Non-Pro class at the Premier Sires in Nebraska and we’ve qualified for the AQHA Select World Show. We’re working to finish up qualifying in Level 2. We will be showing at the NSBA World Show and the Congress.”

In the Maturity $2,500 Limited Horse Hunter Under Saddle, owner Sarah Heeley kept it in the family when Judy Davis catch-rode VS Life Flight to the win. “Katy Jo had showed her at Nebraska, and Judy rode her here,” Sarah said.

“We call her Greta The Great. She’s four years old and by VS Code Red and out of Cool Krymsun Lady. We bred her and Beth Case started her. She had an injury and had some time off, but she was too sweet not to try again. She’s been awesome. My four year old son leads her around at home all the time. We just keep her at home and prepare her there.”
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Western Champions

The Western Pleasure classes were able to be held outside once again, and several first go rounds of futurity classes were held as well as a few finals with champions named.

Aaron Moses showed Snap It Send It for Kent Ray Taylor to win the Three Year Old $2,500 Limited Horse Western Pleasure. “We call her Bailey,” Aaron said. “She’s by VS Code Red and out of Snap Crackle Pop, so she has great horses on both sides of her pedigree. She’s been super easy. She lets you help her, and she just keeps getting better because of that.”

The delays in the show schedule didn’t affect Aaron’s preparation for the mare. “I usually work on her the day before we show, and then just ride her once before we show,” he said. “I’m getting a lot more confident with her and she knows the routine.”

Houston Huff took KM Nothin Better to the top spot in the Maturity Limited Open Western Pleasure for Masterson Farms. “We call him Cupid because she’s a Valentine’s baby,” Houston said.

“He’s my dude. He’s been my project for a while now, and I just love this horse. He’s got so much heart. He’s a little bit quirky to prepare, but he shows so well. He has such a level top line and great expression – his ears are always up. He just has a ton of flow and it looks so effortless for him. I’ll be showing him in the Maturity Limited events, and we’ve qualified for the Level 2 at the AQHA World Show.”

The Open Color Western Pleasure class ended up being the last class of the evening, as the rain threatened to blow up again. The class was dismissed prior to award presentation, but Kenny Lakins showed Born Sophisticated to the win for Laura Bracken. The final class on the show schedule for the day, the Maturity $2,500 Limited Horse Western Pleasure, was postponed until Friday.

The Tom Powers Triple Challenge continues through Sunday, June 30th.