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Arabian Horse Association Crowns National Competitive Trail Champions

Take a tropical sun, crank the heat up to 85 degrees and turn the humidity knob to sweltering. Then ask your horse to trot 80 miles in two days through sections of foot-deep sand and finish "fit to continue." Of the 15 horses that competed over this punishing course during the Arabian Horse Association National Championship Competitive Trail Ride on October 31-November 2, 2003, only eight met the ride's stringent pulse, metabolic and soundness criteria to finish in the top ten.

The Arabian division champion, Donna Shoaf of Altoona, Florida, lives three miles from the Ocala National Forest trails and attributes her win on Silko Desert Rain to "the home court advantage." Despite this edge, Shoaf came close to not competing when her original entry, a Half-Arabian mare, was off at the vet check-in.

"I went home and took Rain out of the pasture," says Shoaf. "Although he has completed almost 1,000 miles, and I'd been trail riding him, the last ride he did was at the end of May." Shoaf wound up clipping Rain that evening to combat the heat and riding him barefoot. Despite his last minute debut, Rain, thrived.

This was Shoaf's first national ride, and she admits that a big part of her motivation was to win the beautiful Turtle Neck blanket donated by Paint Rock Designs to the champion and reserve champion.

Reserve champion Maris Ramsay of Clermont, Florida, who rode both days with Shoaf was another first time national rider who enjoyed the home court advantage.

"In March, SA Csea Mistral and I won a grand championship on the same trail, " says Ramsay. "I only live an hour away and we trained in similar conditions all summer. Still it was difficult to pulse down to 44 after running through sand."

When the gelding tripped over a root on the first day, slightly soring his right front leg, and stumbled on the same leg the second day, Ramsay didn't expect anything more than a completion award. "I was very surprised to win reserve," she says. "But the vets told me that every horse had some soreness and that the ride was won and lost on pulse recoveries."

Pulse recoveries depended heavily on keeping a horse cool, and David Campbell, of Scottsburg, Indiana, the Half-Arabian champion with his wife's horse, Rollingwood Kelpie, faced a dilemma. "Kelpie had her winter hair and since we live in Ohio, we didn't want to body clip her," says Campbell. "But I did clip her neck area after the first day to cool her down."

Last September Noel has ridden the mare to the overall championship at her first regional ride, but the couple decided that Campbell, a heavyweight, should ride the bigger horse. Noel ended up top tenning on GT Reno, a 21-year-old Arabian gelding that she rode to the national championship in 1998.

The top scoring junior was Alexandra Kroh of Ormond Beach, Florida, who placed fifth overall on Precious Ebonita (Rabaska x Ebony Masterpiece), a bay Arabian mare owned by Cheryl Van Deusen.

All the champions and reserves praised the job done by veterinary judges Maureen Fehrs, DVM, and Doug Schearer, DVM. The riders were equally complimentary about ride manager Joan Eastman, ride secretary Debbie Price, trail master Ken Anderson, treatment veterinarian Kent Seamonson, DVM, and farrier George Holman. Micky Creech, the AHA Competitive Trail Ride Committee Chair, was the ride steward.

The 2003 Ride sponsors include Chick's, Cowboy Magic, Eastern Kansas AHA, Elite Sport Horse International, Equisure, Hawthorne Products, Hickling Feed, Illinois AHA, Indiana AHC, Indiana Half-Arabian Horse Club, Mobile Milling Servics, Inc., Paint Rock Designs, the Indiana AHC Distance Program, Rio Vista Products, Rocking Horse Stables, State Line Tack, Will O Bar Arabians and AHA Regions1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14 and 16.

Next year mark your calendar for October 8 and 9 when the National Competitive Trail Ride moves to the Scioto Trails Forest in Chillicothe, Ohio.


Champion: Silko Desert Rain (EVG Desert Storm x Silko Nisra), Donna Shoaf , Altoona, FL

Reserve: SA Csea Mistral (SSA Csea Dream x SA Fairis Destiny), Maris Ramsay, Clermont, FL

Top Ten: $Edition MTA (MS Baquero+ x Elexandrija), Karen Jones, Altoona, FL; $DA Al Capone (Ebony Masterpiece x Rabaska), Cheryl Van Deusen, New Smyrna Beach, FL; $Precious Ebonita (Ebony Masterpiece x RC Rose), ridden by Alexandra Kroh, owned by Cheryl Van Deusen, New Smyrna Beach, FL; GT Reno+/ (GT Immarouge x GT Galaxie), Sheila Noel, Scottsburg, IN; Magata Mist (De Gaye Gambler x Itseyis Magata), Rebecca Neunzig, Dallas, NC

Completion: Shazanna S Glory, Ellen Kay Schwartz, LaGrange, IN


Champion: Rollingwood Kelpie (Que Seras x Rollingwood Avril), ridden by David Campbell, owned by Sheila Noel, Scottsburg, IN

$ Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Winners

AHA is a 40,000 member equine association that registers and maintains a database of more then one million Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses. It administers more than $4 million in annual prize money, produces national events, maintains official event records, recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance rides and provides activities and programs that promote breeding and ownership. For information about Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail or visit


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