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The GALA Spring Fiesta Horse Show has Started Off with a Bang
Folsom, LA. - The GALA Spring Fiesta Horse Show has started off with a bang. The Folsom, Louisiana horse show now boasts five rings of all weather footing along with over 400 permanent stalls. What a huge improvement in five years!!! The improvements along with the Southern hospitality and great Southern food (only an hour from New Orleans ) and over $ 200, 000 in prize money makes this the place to horseshow this year.
Week One of the three week horse show, with hunter trainers here like Don Stewart and Terry Brown, started off with the excitement of the $ 1000 Pro Am Hunter Classic on Friday night. Nine teams participated in the event. It was a fun class for all, but trainers and amateurs were not allowed to speak or be coached during the event evidenced by Heidi Austin-Fish from Chicago wearing duct tape across her month throughout her rides. Amateurs of all ages competed- the youngest being 9-year-old Claudia Billups with her large pony and her Alabama trainer, Holly Shepard. Holly also competed with 13-year-old student, Anne Marie Walker on the winning team, Team Hot Sauce aboard Walker’s Junior Hunter, Tabasco. Tabasco is a locally- bred horse out of Lincoln and Heather Case’s Hunters Bluff Farm. Anne has been showing 5 year old Tabasco less than a year. Scores in the 80s for a new horse who been showing less than a year, how’s that for progress?
The fun at GALA Spring Fiesta Horse Show continued into Saturday night as 20 horses made there way into the ring for the $ 20, 000 Hunter Classic. Judged by Randy Roy and Danny Robertshaw, scores varied with only the top 12 being called back for a second round. Holly Shepard aboard the 7-year-old imported German bred gelding, Neitzsche came back first in the second round with the high score of 89 and rose to the occasion with another score of 84. Holly and Neitzsche were chased by Junior rider Lexy Reed under Don Stewart’s training who came in a close second to Holly with combined score of 170.5. Terry Brown aboard Fictitious was third with a score of 170 followed by another horse of Lexy Reed’s Cover Charge. Our locally bred horse Tabasco ridden by Holly Shepard who had the highest score in the second round of 90 and placed 5th.
Holly Shepard continued her good luck streak by winning the most exciting Grand Prix I’ve ever seen on Amen Corner’s Daydream (photo above). The Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course was very technical with the last line which was a triple bar to a tight two stride in and out headed to the end gate that faulted close to 3/4 of the field. Not one of the 22 riders who competed had a clear round, so there was a jump off between all 11 four faulters. Sean Steffee of Lafayette, LA aboard Carentino Z set a blazing time in the jump off of 38.799. Sean held the number one spot until Daydream and Holly Shepard blazed through the timers at 36.426 for the win. Holly ended up with the 2nd spot as well aboard Courtney Jones’ Ruben Z and 5th on Leslie Carter’s Nightwatch. Daniel Damen ‘s Jewel Thief was 3rd with Sean Steffee and Caretino Z clinching 4th place.
With continuous parties at the GALA horse shows, beautiful weather great classes and great prize money, horse show competitors need to think seriously about coming South to horseshow. To quote top hunter rider, Heidi Austin-Fish who travels here from the Chicago area, “ This is the nicest, most hospitable horse show anywhere in the country with divisions of every fence height for all my customers. Not only is the footing and barns great, GALA has the best hunter money than any horse show I do all year. I love it here. ” We love having you, Heidi.
Photo Credit - Holly Shepard aboard Daydream owned by Amen Corner Farm (winning the Grand Prix) by Flashpoint Photography
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