On Saturday, July 29, 2017, the American Saddlebred breed was spotlighted at the Kentucky Horse Park at Rood & Riddle’s Hats Off Day.
Hats Off Day is the only day of the year where admission to the Kentucky Horse Park is free, drawing tens of thousands of people to the park to enjoy and learn about horses. The event culminated in the evening with the Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, where some of the top show jumpers took center stage to vie for a large purse.
Before the jumpers competed however, the crowd was treated to a demonstration of three of the American Saddlebred world’s top show horses, WGC Marc Of Charm, RWC Magic City, and True Fortune. Similar to an American Saddlebred show, the crowd quickly got excited, cheering to the delight of the horses performing.
Being a popular event in Central Kentucky, Hats Off Day garnered the attention of the local media. The morning before the event, Alex Rudder and Stephanie Sedlacko Brannan of Wingswept Farm, along with event coordinator, Dr. Tom Riddle, were the stars of LEX 18’s Lee Cruze’s morning show. Up before dawn, Alex and Stephanie were eager to ride two lovely American Saddlebreds in various segments before handing off the reins to Lee Cruze to climb aboard for the last segment.
The promotion and education aspect of the event continued on Saturday, where the American Saddlebred Horse Association staff and volunteers manned a booth full of promotional materials, free introductory riding lesson coupons, hats, posters, other goodies. The star of the booth, though, was multi-World’s Champion Billy Jewel. “Billy” had his photo taken with adoring fans hundreds of times, and had the sweet luxury of his round pen being in close proximity to the peppermint bowl.
“Superstars from our breed have become Superstars in another discipline following their exhibition prior to the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix at the Hats Off-Ky day at the Rolex Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park. We very much appreciate Dr. Tom Riddle, DVM, and his invitation to the American Saddlebred Horse Association to exhibit the American Saddlebred Show Horse. A live TV interview was expertly handled by Alex Rudder and Stephanie Brannan. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed and applauded loudly for Jimmy, Nelson, and Lionel as they displayed their American Saddlebred Horses in a new venue to a most welcoming audience. Our hats are off to our many volunteers, who worked countless hours to distribute hats, t-shirts and brochures to the large crowd in attendance,” said ASHA Executive Director, Bill Whitley.
The ASHA is indebted to the trainers and owners of the horses that came from all over Kentucky to perform, Lionel and Georgia Ferreira, Carolyn Koch, Nelson Green, Josie Forbes, Jacqueline Coleman Manzo, Jimmy and Helen Robertson, Frank and Iris James, Lorrie Floyd, and Anne Pateman. As well as ASHA Vice President, David Rudder, who worked tirelessly to secure horses, plan the event, and make sure everything was perfect. The ASHA also is grateful to the many volunteers who worked the day of the event helping to introduce thousands of people to the American Saddlebred breed.
-- via ASHA