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CKlasek Design, LTD. to Donate Painting to The Good Hands Finals Champion, By Lindsay Shearman


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CKlasek Design, LTD. has generously donated a custom painting of The 2014 Good Hands Finals Champion and their winning horse as a keepsake.  Cathy Klasek, artist and owner of CKlasek Designs, LTD., is a well known exhibitor and contributor to the Saddlebred industry.   She, also, enjoys watching the poise and precision of our talented equitation athletes.  And, as of this year, has a new appreciation of the entire process.  Oh Night Divine (Yahtzee), a horse bred by Cathy, made his debut as an equitation horse this season.  Trained by Toni Utoft, but now under the direction of Kent Swalla, Yahtzee is making his presence felt having won the championship ribbon at Lexington Junior League this year with Gabby Snyder. Some examples of Cathy’s beautiful paintings can be seen below!

We are so thankful for generous sponsors, like Cathy, for their time and talents.  The Good Hands Finals will be held at the Mane Event Horse Show, October 22-26th, in Springfield, Illinois.  We look forward to welcoming each rider and witnessing the beauty as our bright young stars show us the precision and elegance of equitation.





Elisabeth Goth


 Elisabeth Goth

Elisabeth Goth, renowned rider and Saddle Seat supporter, is the “Gold Level Sponsor” of the prestigious Good Hands Finals to be held at Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show, October 23-26, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL.  In addition to the sponsorship, Elisabeth will be donating a $1,000 college scholarship to one of the Top Ten riders.  This partnership allows for two entities from the Saddlebred community to come together to showcase and celebrate saddle seat equitation and its athletes.  The announcement was made by the Good Hands Finals Committee and Mid-America Horse Show Association.

 Elisabeth Goth, well known for her continuous support and participation in the Saddlebred community and the show horse world, is generously taking part in supporting these athletes. The Good Hands Finals is the oldest saddle seat equitation finals in the country. It dates back to 1929 and for many years was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  In 2009, the finals moved to the more centrally located Mane Event Horse Show, where participation has grown by 78%, making Good Hands the largest of the “Triple Crown” finals.

It is the goal of Mid-America Horse Show Association, The National Horseman, Elisabeth Goth, and the Good Hands Finals Committee to build upon the traditions already set, to continue to grow this final and promote saddle seat equitation. Elisabeth Goth’s sponsorship enables the committee to provide more incentives to qualified riders and to host an added Friday night celebration honoring the riders for the entire community attending the show.

Riders compete at shows throughout the season to qualify for the 2014 Good Hands Finals.  Class specs, judging criteria and finals procedures are detailed in the USEF Rule Book.

The Good Hands Committee is made up of Jessica Curl, Jessica Moctezuma, Lindsay Shearman, and Jenna Winquist (The Good Hands Social Media Correspondent) who bring great enthusiasm, energy and an appreciation for what it takes to excel in show ring competition. Sharon Gardner, former equitation “mom” and current Mid-America president, serves as advisor to the committee.

For more information or to support the Good Hands Finals visit thegoodhands.org or contact Jessica Curl at J.curl_22@yahoo.com. For information on the Mid-America Mane Event Show, visit www.MidAmericaHorseShow.org.


Exhibitor Interviews: Nick Maupin, The Good Hands Final 2010 Champion and Triple Crown Winner; By Jenna Winquist

Jenna: These equitation finals are not just a brief portion of your life that are left behind only to be reminisced. Often times, they can truly make an impact on a person’s life. How do you think these equitation finals left their mark on you?

Nick: If I were to use one word to illustrate the mark equitation and these national finals left on me, it would be tenacity. The ability to remain persistent on the goals I set for myself in equitation has translated directly into my scholastic and professional career. Beyond the physical endurance required during the two months encompassing these finals, there was a very necessary mental fortitude. Ultimately, these conditions left me with a more determined attitude about the challenges I take on in my life outside of the equestrian world.


Nick Maupin and CH Eq Coco Mojo from Left to Right: Melissa Maupin, Mother; Scott and Carol Matton, Trainers

Jenna: If you were to do it again, would you change anything or do anything differently?

Nick: There is not a noteworthy part of my Triple Crown experience I would change. I made the conscious decision before my 16-year-old year to have it be my last due to the impeding aspect of college life that would come in my 17-year-old year. This choice gave me a real peace of mind that ultimately helped my horse and me throughout the year. Prior to the finals that year, I was already highly content with my equitation career and what I had accomplished with my incredibly talented horse — the Triple Crown was icing on the cake. As for a word of advice from this, I would say that the finals will be much easier to mentally handle if you recognize and appreciate the aspects you have control of while remaining stoic about the rest.


Nick Maupin and CH Eq Coco Mojo

Jenna: What were some of your greatest memories while competing in equitation?

Nick: My reserve title in the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup during my first year out of equitation with my first horse, Oh What a Feeling, will always be memorable for me. He would consistently test my abilities, but he always had a way of pulling through for me when I needed him to. Beyond that, winning my age group at Louisville and taking reserve in the UPHA Challenge Cup with Coco Mojo in his 4-year-old year was incredible. As mentally grueling as the finals are for the riders, it is undeniably more difficult for such a young horse, and Mojo pulled through remarkably. Any class with him was just as rewarding as the last. I will absolutely never forget the moment I came back up the ramp of Kemper after my last pattern with Mojo, knowing we had just concluded our extraordinary journey together.

Photos owned and provided by Melissa Maupin

The Good Hands final at Mane Event

Good Luck Equitation Riders!

As you stroll down Stopher’s Walk toward the arena, trainer by your side and partner in Equitation beneath you, breathe easy.  While you wait for the in-gate to swing open this evening at Freedom Hall, let all of your winter training rush over you.  As your chest tightens and heart rate quickens as they sound the call, you hit the green shavings with perfect form and a trot worth envying, know that we are thinking of you and wishing you the BEST of luck in your Equitation WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP tonight.  Most important of all know that, among a pool of the World’s best of the best in equitation,  regardless of your ribbon or any mistakes made, it’s about the ride.  As we have all heard from our trainers, “Ride your ride.”

If you haven’t seen the Good Hands Committee yet this week, you definitely will today.  Our team, as our Facebook Fans already know, is running around personally inviting all GH qualified Equitation Athletes to our Finals October 23-26 at the Mane Event horse show, but that’s not what is important about today.

While we certainly care about our qualified athletes, we care more about the industry’s athletes and those working to better themselves, improve their skill and improve their spirit (perhaps becoming one of our qualified athletes in the future).  Today is the big day!  Good luck to one and all, ride your ride, have fun, live in the moment, and recognize honor that is being chosen to perform with the best in the world in your division and your sport, and support and love one another.




The Good Hands Committee


The National Horseman Logo

Press Release July 18, 2014





National Horseman magazine now is the “Official Sponsor” of the prestigious Good Hands Finals to be held at Mid-America Mane Event Show, October 23-26, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.  This partnership allows for two historical entities from the Saddlebred community to come together to showcase and celebrate saddle seatequitation.  Announcement was made by the Good Hands Finals Committee and Mid-America Horse Show Association.


National Horseman, founded in 1865, has been an anchor in the Saddlebred community and the show horse world.  Earlier this year, Allison Lambert took over as publisher with a commitment to present beautiful photography, interesting features and cutting edge design as well as up-to-date news.  She chose to partner with The Good Hands Finals to promote the precision and skill of the ride as well as the beauty of saddle seat equitation.  According to Allison,  “In my first year as publisher of National Horseman, it was especially important for me to give back to the industry that has given me so much. When presented with the opportunity to partner with Good Hands, I was not only honored and humbled by the notion, but extremely thrilled by the possibility. I believe strongly in the support and promotion of our equitation program, as it’s an essential part of the foundation of our business. Many of the greatest trainers, breeders, and amateurs in our industry today are former equitation riders whose skills and love for the breed were cemented by preparing for and competing in challenging equitation championships like The Good Hands”.

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“Equi-What? Equitation!” By Jenna Winquist

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the NHS Good Hands final soon to be held at the Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show this fall. The riders participating in this Saddleseat Equitation final are a rare group of America’s most talented equestrians to say the least. Yet, most people do not even understand the term “equitation final.” Equi-what? Equitation is a sport, as much as is football, baseball, soccer, or whatever other cliche sport comes to mind. Equitation is not as common as these sports, but it is just as difficult, and prestigious as any of them. To all of us horse lovers, equitation final is a very well known phrase. An equitation final means that you have made the cut, it means you have shown precision, persistence, and passion.

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