Monday, May. 27, 2024

Grand Affair Wins In Grand Style At Upperville

Grand Affair almost never made it to this year's Upperville Colt & Horse Show. Due for a 2006 foal, she began having problems with her pregnancy in January. She was rushed to the New Bolton Center (Pa.) where it was discovered she was carrying twins. Attempts to save the foals failed when she aborted in mid-January. In addition, Grand Affair retained her placenta and remained in the clinic for several more weeks.
PUBLISHED
WORDS BY

ADVERTISEMENT

Grand Affair almost never made it to this year’s Upperville Colt & Horse Show. Due for a 2006 foal, she began having problems with her pregnancy in January. She was rushed to the New Bolton Center (Pa.) where it was discovered she was carrying twins. Attempts to save the foals failed when she aborted in mid-January. In addition, Grand Affair retained her placenta and remained in the clinic for several more weeks.

But, the chestnut mare regained her health and returned to Upperville, Va., full of confidence, as if she knew how important another win would be. Her first-placed finish in the non-Thoroughbred broodmares class on June 11 was the 11-year-old chestnut’s third consecutive win, retiring the Posh Challenge Trophy for owner Peggy Kohn of Symmetry Ranch.

In her career, Grand Affair has won the class four times, her first win for owner Susanne Bienen-stock in 1998. She was also second in 2003 for Meadowbrook Manor Farm. This third win was special, though.

“She was actually very puffed up and proud of herself out there today,” trainer Jill Manno said with a laugh. “She thought she was supposed to jog from her days of showing on the line!”

In addition to retiring the trophy, Grand Affair, nicknamed “Diva,” also earned her own retirement with Sunday’s win. “She is officially retired [from showing] as of today,” Manno reported. “There really isn’t anything left for her to do.”

Grand Affair has definitely done plenty. As a 3-year-old, she was undefeated on the line, including winning her class at the 1998 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair (Pa.). At the time, she was also carrying Unlimited (by Unfold), who placed in the top 10 nationally during his years showing on the line and was 2002 U.S. Equestrian Federation national champion as a 3-year-old.

ADVERTISEMENT

After producing Unlimited and a second foal in 2002, Grand Affair was shown in the pre-green hunters, but was again returned to broodmare duty when Kohn bought her in 2004, hoping to produce more foals who could equal Unlimited’s success. Grand Affair then produced another filly, Royal Engagement, by GP’s Krugerrand, for Kohn in 2005. This filly was last year’s second-placed foal at Upperville, and stood by when her mother won the broodmare class.

Grand Affair does have one last assignment, though; she is in foal to Minister General for a 2007 foal due Valentine’s Day. Her connections are very excited with hopes for the foal, feeling the stallion suits her exceptionally well. They also see her due date as a possible good omen; her mother was Al’s Valentine.

Following on the heels of his best young horse win at Devon, Spanish Spear also kept a streak going by winning the same title at Upperville, in addition to the 2-year-old non-Thoroughbred colt/geldings class and the non-Thoroughbred championship.

Michael Knight, who co-owns the colt with Cismont Manor Farm, also credited Spanish Spear with giving him the showing bug. “I started going to shows [to watch Spanish Spear] and got interested,” Knight said.

So interested that he ventured into the ring to handle the horse at this year’s Devon in the amateur handlers class, and won it. “It seemed an interesting thing to do, and I enjoyed it,” he said. “I would like to [start showing more]. Very much so.”

Knight also credited Spanish Spear’s wins to Cismont’s farm manager, Michael Rooks who “keeps the colt happy, healthy, and in top shape”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ask almost any 4-H participant and he or she will probably tell you that their least favorite class is showmanship. But 4-H competition is exactly what helped Elizabeth Refo produce another breeding winner who kept a streak alive at this year’s Upperville show. The winner of this year’s non-Thoroughbred 2-year-old filly class, Pandora, also won the 2005 non-Thoroughbred yearling filly class.

Part of deciding to breed Pandora was “being frustrated with everyone else’s rejects,” Refo joked. “I knew what I wanted, and decided to try to make it.”

As a 4-H member, Refo could only afford unbroken or problem horses that she tried to break or fix. Experiences with those horses’ physical and temperamental faults helped her realize what she did not want in a horse and participation in 4-H horse judging competitions showed her what she did want to see.

What she made by breeding Paparazzo to her Thoroughbred mare, Pristine Waters, is an elegant, 16.1-hand dark bay filly with a star, two hind socks, and a taste for anything sweet. Pandora is the third foal out of her mother and by the third stallion Refo used trying to find just the right match to compliment Pristine Waters. However, there won’t be any more. Refo lost Pristine Waters last year and although she has Pandora’s full sister, the younger filly looks nothing like her older sibling.

In addition to aiding in her decision to breed Pandora, 4-H also helped Refo get the filly ready for the show ring. When she asked neighbor Bucky Reynolds how he wanted the filly prepared for him to handle in the ring, he simply told Refo, “Do what you do with them.” So, she worked with Pandora just as she would a showmanship horse, and it paid off. The filly stood and handled well to win the judge’s approval Saturday.

Of course, Pandora is used to being on top. At home, she is the leader in the barn. “Everybody does whatever she says,” Refo said. “When she’s gone, it’s like, ‘Oh, gosh, we’re lost! We don’t know what to do!’ ”

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse