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Veteran Raymond Shively and Emerson Earn the $25,000 Equine Services Roadster Cup

Another evening of electrifying American Saddlebred competition continued Friday. A cheering audience enjoyed the $3,000 Three Gaited Championship Stake, the $1,500 Fine Harness Open Championship the $3,000 Five Gaited Championship Stake and the very first Roadster class of the show, the $25,000 Equine Services Roadster Cup.

The Roadster classes are a throwback to the origins of the American Saddlebred breed. The American Saddlebreds were developed from pacing Standardbreds, the French Thoroughbred and the Morgan horse. The were originally bred as a family farm horse that was strong enough to pull a plow, comfortable to ride long distances and fancy enough to drive the carriage to church on Sunday.

Raymond Shively and Emerson (Brooke Jacobs photo)
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Misdee W. Miller and Grande Gi (Brooke Jacobs photo)
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Castle Dream driven by Misdee W. Miller (Brooke Jacobs photo)
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Larry Hodge and SA Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice (Brooke Jacobs photo)

The American Saddlebred shows have always included the roadster classes, honoring the Standardbred, a breed that is their foundation. In order to compete all horses must be Standardbreds registered with the United States Trotting Association (USTA) or Standardbred Canada (SC) with the exception of horses that have competed in any Roadster division class at a Federation licensed event prior to December 1, 2003, when there was a rule change. Many Roadsters enjoy a second career in the show ring after racing at the track.

Roadsters should be attractive with balanced conformation and good manners; they should have a well-chiseled head with a fine throatlatch. They should have depth in the chest and a well-developed shoulder, be short coupled with strong hindquarters. Roadsters are shown with a full mane and tail.

Roadsters are shown at three different variations of the trot- the jog trot, the road gait and at full speed- very fast. At all gaits they should remain in good form with animation, presence and brilliance. They are shown in either a road wagon or a road bike and, unlike other competitors, roadsters always enter the arena clockwise, so when they reverse direction and go at speed, they are going in the same direction as a racetrack.

Equestrian Services, the veterinary clinic of Dr. Scott Bennett in Simpsonville, KY. has been instrumental in developing and promoting the Roadster program. The $25,000 Equine Services Roadster Cup was the highlight of the evening. Horse and driver teams have been accumulating points at shows throughout the year to qualify for this final championship class.

When the evening’s performances were judged and added to the year’s points, Raymond Shivley’s Emerson was named the winner. Judy McNeish drove The Last Call to second place honors. “Raymond, we couldn’t have done much better,” said second place winner McNeish to her friend Shivley, who also trained The Last Call.

“This will be my 60th year doing Roadsters,” said Shivley, who is a respected judge in the saddle horse industry. “A friend of mine had seen this horse in Ohio about six years ago and called me about him. He thought I’d really be interested in him. The fellow’s name was Emerson Walfers and I named this horse after him, I named him Emerson. He raced on the track up in Canada. I’ve been showing him for the last five years. We’ve never been beaten. He’s a three-time World Grand Champion. He’s a full brother to a horse I had called Big Red. Red won the World Championship five times in a row. They both are laid back horses at home. Their two favorite things to do are to eat and sleep.”

“With my wife, we have a farm in Rockport, Indiana,” he continued. We have 65 head in training most of those are Saddlebreds. I’ve also got a barn in Danville, KY.” Shivley’s wife, Lillian is a well know equitation teacherwhose students have won more than 80 prestigious national championships. These days Raymond Shively’s specialty is Roadsters.

In the $3,000 Three Gaited Championship Stake it was Grande Gil owned and ridden by Misdee W. Miller of who wowed the crowd and earned the blue ribbon for their refinement and brilliance at the walk, exuberant trot and rocking horse canter. Peter Palmer and Battlefield, owned by Carl T. Miller, were second.

Miller rocked it again with Castle Dream, owned by Hillcroft Farm, in the $1,500 Fine Harness Stake with an incomparable performance at the trot and park trot to take the class. In second, the pair of Merrill Murray and Cosmic Charm, owned by Cam Justice.

The $3,000 Five Gaited Championship Stake got the spectators out of their seats to root for their favorite racking superstar. Once again, it was Larry Hodge and SA Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice, the impressive stallion owned by Joan Hamilton, who took the first place prize. Lynn Williams, ridden by Mary Gaylord McClean and owned by Golden Creek Farm won the red ribbon.

“The crowd was into it tonight,” said Larry Hodge about the excitement that he and his Five Gaited horse, Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice made on the audience. “I just walked him out in the cool air. I trotted him around a couple times, cantered him a couple of times and slow-gaited him once and he felt like he was ready to go. I keep the warm up slow because, as you can see, once he hits the gate, he’s going to go.”

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