Manitou and Henderson Enjoy A Honeymoon At HITS Sundance Welcome

Mar 23, 2006 - 10:00 PM

Carrie Henderson’s wedding ring proved to be a good luck charm for her first show as a married woman at HITS Sundance Welcome on Feb. 1-5 in Tucson, Ariz.

She rode Manitou to the younger adult amateur championship.

Henderson, of Wayzata, Minn., hadn’t set foot in the show ring since early last fall, taking time out for her October wedding to husband Evan and honeymooning on a Caribbean cruise.

With points accumulated from three firsts and two fourths, Manitou carried the bride over the threshold to the tricolor.

Henderson’s longtime trainer, Andre Haraseth of Fair Haven Farm in Independence, Minn., discovered the 10-year-old chestnut, gelding in 2001, showing as a pre-green hunter in Kentucky. Henderson’s mother, Patty Napier, purchased him as a surprise present for her daughter. Napier named him after the Minnesota island where she kept a summer home.

In spite of “Bob’s” tattooed lip and state of origin, Henderson jokes that he “isn’t really a Thoroughbred” because of his serene disposition. “He’s really laid back. He’s so quiet–nothing startles him!” she said, adding that he doesn’t even require longeing to prepare him for a class.

On course, “he’s very reliable. He doesn’t spook at anything,” said Henderson. But out of the ring, even the usually placid Bob succumbs to the occasional “Thoroughbred moment.” Henderson reports that he is particularly prone to “spooking at nothing in the grooming stall.”

Nevertheless, Bob remains an exemplar of the breed’s athleticism and versatility–in addition to putting in consistently winning rounds, “he also smiles for carrots!” said Henderson with a laugh.

First Impression
The Impressionist left his mark on the green hunter division in his maiden outing at 3’6″, taking the blue in three of the four classes over fences en route to the tricolor.

Owner Cindy McGuire acquired the 17.1-hand, chestnut gelding in August 2004 from her friend Cezanne Hitchcock of Bend, Ore., and renamed the horse in her honor.

The 9-year-old Mecklenburg’s original name, “Geronimo,” didn’t quite fit his “wonderful personality,” said McGuire, “He’s a teddy bear–he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”

Trainer Leslie Nelson of Sterling Silver Stable in Santa Barbara, Calif., derived a more suitable barn name, “Nemo,” from his former gung-ho moniker.

McGuire, of Tucson, Ariz., initially fell in love with his good nature and, since Nemo hadn’t been campaigned previously, she purchased him as a practice horse. She admitted, “I wasn’t aware of his full potential.”

That talent was soon realized under Nelson’s rider Alanna Bloomberg, who began campaigning him last June and guided him to Zone 8’s Pre-Green Horse of the Year title in 2005.

Bloomberg attributed Nemo’s success to his “three incredible gaits” and good mind. His training is further expedited by his fondness for treats. Bloomberg, who shows him in the first year green division as well as the regular working division, said, “He’s extremely food motivated–he’ll eat anything! We have to be careful not to overstuff him.”

McGuire, 60, is slowly making her way back into the saddle after severely breaking her leg last June in a freak accident in an equitation class at the Woodside horse show in California. She lost her balance while riding her horse Puzzle through a tight rollback turn. McGuire landed on her feet, but the horse, still cantering, collided with her, slamming her into the ground and fracturing both bones in her lower leg. She was forced off her feet for 4 1/2 months.

Having undergone a second surgery in November “to get some hardware removed,” she said she’s just getting ready to start jumping again.

On Feb. 14, she jumped her first fence since the accident, and she hopes to be able to return to showing by week 5 or 6 of the Arizona circuit.

McGuire plans to give Nemo a solid year at 3’6″ with Bloomberg before taking over the ride in the amateur-owner division. “I love how easy he is for me to ride,” she said, “He’s truly an amateur horse.”


First Pony For Future Star
While her mother and trainer, Brandie Holloway, was busy galloping to victory in the grand prix on S&L So Be It, Hunter Holloway was doing some winning of her own on her first pony, guiding her mare Sleeping Beauty to the Sundance Welcome’s pony hunter championship.

Holloway, 8, is a second-grader at Jay Shidler Elementary School in her hometown of Topeka, Kan.

Her biggest challenge in showing “Muffin,” a 13-year-old Connemara-Thorough-bred, was getting her reluctant father’s permission to miss two weeks of school. Holloway cleverly gained her teacher’s approval before approaching her father, who eventually gave in to her persistent pleas.

Muffin sported a red braid in the middle of her black mane for good luck. Hunter said that one of her favorite things about the pony, a sixth birthday present, is that “I hardly ever fall off her. She takes care of me.”

Brandie said that Hunter, who has been showing in the large pony division for nearly a year, doesn’t give a second thought to the size of the fences she faces. “She’s absolutely fearless,” Brandie said proudly. The determined younger Holloway has already expressed her intention to someday follow her mother’s footsteps into the jumper ring.

At home, she helps out in the barn and rides every day, often hacking her mother’s grand prix horses.

Category: Horse Shows
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