Morgan Horse Breed Celebrated in Oklahoma City

Merriehill After Hours GCH (Photo Howard Schatzberg Photography)

SHELBURNE, VT—The best of the best in the Morgan breed was celebrated at the 2017 edition of the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show®, held October 7-14. Since 1973, this show has represented the pinnacle of achievement in the Morgan horse world. More than 1,000 of the world’s finest Morgan horses from across the United States and Canada met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to compete in over 300 classes for $400,000-plus in prize money.

Matt Kwapich of Bernalillo, New Mexico, was the show’s manager for the fourth year in a row, and this year, Sally Plumley of Monmouth, Oregon, served in the capacity of show chairman.

“We were so happy to have more entries than in recent years participating in a record number of classes,” Plumley said. “From thrilling Park Saddle classes, Carriage [including a spectacular four-in-hand presentation], 38 entries in the newly added Ranch Horse Pleasure class, and everything in between, there was something for everyone as the versatility of our Morgan horses was demonstrated magnificently.

“All in all, the show ran smoothly and plans are already being put in place for 2018!” Plumley concluded.

Kwapich, along with a dedicated and hard-working show committee and staff, joined an impressive list of sponsors, officials, and volunteers to make this year’s show the best ever.

The Youth of the Year Contest had 16 competitors this year and Kate Ramsower of Alamo, California, was crowned the winner of this prestigious contest. Ramsower, 17, will receive a unique custom-designed prize package valuing $3,500. This award is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Earning reserve honors in the contest was Emily Mulligan, 21, of Georgetown, Massachusetts, who also earned a custom-designed prize.

Saralin In Touch, owned by Lora Lyons and shown by Tim Roesink, earned top honors as World Champion Gelding at this year’s show. Roesink began his winning week by taking two-year-old Saralin In Touch, to the World Champion Junior Gelding title for Little Rock Morgans. For the mares, the yearling filly Merriehill Maleficent was the World Champion Junior Mare with Whitney Bodnar showing for his family’s Merriehill Farm. Ledyard Octavia was shown to the World Champion Senior Mare and World Champion Mare titles by Dwayne Knowles for William Haynes. For the stallions, the two-year-old colt, EKL Shake It Off, led by John Hufferd for Fire Run Farm, left the ring as the World Champion Junior Stallion. Following in the footsteps of his sire, Mizrahi, Merriehill After Hours took top honors and earned World Champion Senior Stallion and World Champion Stallion titles for Theodore and Elaine Olsen, for the second year in a row. The seven-year-old stallion was led to victory by trainer, Eric Antman.


In the performance divisions, Antman returned to the ring again for the second year in a row to be rewarded top honors in the World English Pleasure Championship with Merriehill After Hours. Kristen Cater rode Epona’s Mo’o Lio GCH to top honors as the World Hunter Pleasure Champion for Lila Tatar. Cimi’s Voodoo Daddy, with Phil Fountain in the buggy for Lynn Begalla, won the World Pleasure Driving Championship. Rick Gervasio rode SpiceOLife Rightful Heir to the World Western Pleasure Championship for Donald and Mary Lynn Geisler. Nikki Rae Woodworth took LC Amazing Spiderman to top honors as the World Park Harness Champion for George Fayad.

Katie Mair rode As Predicted GCH to win the very competitive World Park Saddle Championship for Mary Golata. This is the third year in a row this competitive gelding has earned this title. Jennifer Hazen drove her mother, Sammi’s, Dragonsmeade Maxmara to the World Roadster to Bike Championship, a title he previously won in 2008!

The Grand National joined forces with Richfield Video and several sponsors to bring the show to online viewers for free. The video feed had an incredible viewership response.

Plans already are underway for next year’s show and Sherry Cole of Sheridan, Indiana, will be the show chairman. The dates are October 6-13 in, of course, Oklahoma City.

Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors, and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 90 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. It also provides an important link to foreign Morgan horse registries and clubs.

The Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show® is owned by the American Morgan Horse Association and is licensed to the American Morgan Horse Educational Trust, a not-for-profit organization committed to education and scholarship. For more information and updates on the Morgan Grand National, go to

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