700 Horses at GCHS

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By Nancy Brannon

“Come see what 700 horse power actually looks like!” That’s not just grossly exaggerated advertising; that’s how many horses were brought to Germantown, TN to show at the 68th annual Germantown Charity Horse Show (GCHS), June 7-11, 2016. The GCHS is one of only 21 horse shows in the U.S. which is recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation as a “Heritage Competition.” It is the only all-breed show in the mid-south and features not only hunters and jumpers, but also Carriage Driving, American Saddlebred, Paso Fino, Tennessee Walking horses, SHOBA single-footing horses, Speed Racking, Feathered horses, and new this year – Sidesaddle classes.

The $25,000 Grand Prix of Germantown, presented by Conway Services, is the highlight of the show on Saturday night. This is one of several important shows on the Grand Prix circuit through the mid-south. Many competitors at Germantown had just competed in the $40,000 Music Country Grand Prix at Brownland Farm on June 4th in Franklin, TN. David Jennings won the Brownland Grand Prix on Denegue and placed third with Blue Moon 22. David won the Germantown Grand Prix with Blue Moon 22.

Show Manager and course designer Philip DeVita designed a particularly discriminating course this year, with several combinations, some tough turns, and maximum height jumps to challenge the best of the best. The course produced only two clear rounds: the first by Michael Tokaruk aboard Cupid Shuffle, and the second by Blue Moon 22, piloted by David Jennings. Coming first into the jump off, Tokaruk again produced a clear round in an amazing 40.367 seconds. The crowd was ecstatic and on the edge of their seats as David Jennings entered the arena for his turn at the jump off. When all was said and done, David had edged out Michael by only 0.3 seconds with another clear round and a winning time of 40.067 on the clock.

Adria Lehmann was third with Linda Stenzel’s Colina. Miguel Ventura, winner of last year’s Germantown Grand Prix with Quan, was fourth with Lionsway Farm’s East Bound And Down.

Tokaruk had several other horses in the Grand Prix, placing fifth on Baton Rouge, on whom he won the $25,000 Grand Prix at Brownland Spring II in May; sixth on Qasqai; eleventh with Eminem; and 17th with Tenacious D.

Jennings also placed tenth with Maffitt Lake Farms’ Aventador.

Ventura had several additional placements: eighth with Swagger, ninth with Helen, and 13th with Quan.

Two phenomenal young riders were in the Grand Prix competition this year: 14-year-old Mattie Hatcher was the youngest rider in the competition, riding Hands Free, who had three rails down to place 20th. Mattie also rode Hands Free in the Junior/AO Jumper Classic, as a warm up. “We got him about a year ago for her and she is on track to be on the Zone Seven team for the North American Junior /Young Rider Championship this summer in Colorado,” said her trainer Michael Tokaruk. “Mattie has just started showing him in the 1.40m and Grand Prix level this year,” he said. The NAJYRC takes place at the Colorado Horse Park, July 26-31. Mattie rode Hands Free in her first Grand Prix at the Brownland Farm Spring show in May. Mattie is a new 2016 Ogilvy Equestrian ambassador, and she hails from Little Rock, AR where she attended Pulaski Academy. Mattie juggles a very busy sports schedule. In addition to riding, she plays soccer, basketball, and runs. “I’d much rather be riding,” she said.

Mattie says she began riding a 2 years of age, starting in Western riding and doing barrel racing. Then in 2012 she started show jumping with pony jumpers. She lives with her mom on their farm in Little Rock, Arkansas and Michael Tokaruk comes over regularly to work with Mattie. After the Charity Horse Show, Mattie traveled to Illinois for the Spring Spectacular Horse Show, then she had a soccer tournament the following weekend. She’s looking forward to competing at the NAJYRC in July.

“I love riding in the Grand Prix,” she said, but remarked on what a tough course it was. “I don’t get to show as much as other riders, but I’m most excited to do more. Now I’m doing the regional Grands Prix, but I would like to ride in Grands Prix on the national level. My horse is great! I’ve only had him for a year and I’m starting to figure him out and click better with him. He’s a very honest, well rounded horse.”

The second youngest rider in the Grand Prix was 15-year-old Jorja Rose Jones, riding Diane Masters’ Light Show. She also had a few knockdowns and placed 22nd.  Jorja placed well in other jumper classes this weekend, riding horses for Chris Richards and Diane Masters. She won the 1.30/1.40m Junior/AO Jumper class with Light Show. She was first with Quebec in the USEF Talent Search, in Schooling Jumper, and third in Modified Jumper 1.20m. She was first with Waterford in Schooling Jumper.

By Wanda Chancellor

Jorja began at GCHS in the Rachael Smith Memorial Costume Class.  By age 11, she was showing her pony, Charlie Brown, in the hunter ring.  Jorja’s mother, Victoria Hickerson, is a riding instructor,so Jorja grew up with a leg up (so to speak) in learning how to ride.

In 2012, Jorja had the opportunity to spend the summer in Ohio with Diane Masters at Masters Show Stables.  She showed such promise that she accompanied Masters Stables to HITS (Horses in the Sun),in Ocala, Florida, for the winter series from January to March.  The next year Jorja moved to Ohio full time, enrolling in school onlineto keep up with her studies, and training full time with Diane and her stable of talented horses. 

Jorja returned to HITS in 2015 and 2016.This year at the three-month winter series, she rode sixhorses, four of whomshe showed forother people. Her easy,natural style became recognizable as she competed in the huge stadium at HITS. Two of the horses she rode were from Masters Stables. Light Show, Jorja’s favorite horse,won the $5000 (1.40 meter) Junior Jumper Classic, over13 other entries. 

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