CH Our Charming Lady

Photo courtesy of Howard Schatzberg
(2001 – )
Owned by Jack & Donna Finch
Inducted: 2013

Photos

Photo courtesy of Howard Schatzberg/USEF Archive
Photo courtesy of Shane Shiflet
Photo courtesy of Jane Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Jane Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Avis Girdler Photography
Photo courtesy of Howard Schatzberg
When CH Our Charming Lady stormed into the show ring in 2007, the American Saddlebred world stood up and took notice. This captivating mare set off to collect the highest honors and awards of the three-gaited divisions, and few could stand in her way. In a show career spanning four years (2007-2010), she compiled a remarkable record of 37 championship wins and one reserve championship. Her wins included an undefeated streak of an astounding 34 consecutive classes.

CH Our Charming Lady, ridden by Mary Marcum Orr, earned the titles of World's Grand Champion Three-Gaited (2008 and 2009) and World's Champion of Champions Ladies' Three-Gaited (2007 and 2010). In 2009, owners Jack and Donna Finch watched in awe as the mare blazed to victory in the Saddlebred Triple Crown, taking wins at the Lexington Junior League Horse Show, the Kentucky State Fair World's Championship Horse Show Horse Show, and the UPHA/American Royal National Championship Show in Kansas City.

CH Our Charming Lady's 2009 accomplishments led to her recognition as the American Saddlebred Horse Association Horse of the Year and a USEF Horse of Honor. She closed out her career in August 2010 with her win at the Ladies' Three Gaited World Championship of Champions at the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville, KY.

"She is truly blessed with beauty, elegance and athleticism," Donna Finch said of CH Our Charming Lady, who is fittingly nicknamed Grace. "She is also very consistent in the show ring "“ always ready and willing to do her job. Her trainer and rider, Mary Orr, has an understanding and bond with Grace that no one else has been able to achieve. The greatest factor in her success is most likely this connection with Mary."

Throughout her competitive career, Grace was a crowd favorite, acquiring legions of devoted fans. "Those in the Saddlebred industry appreciated her power and beauty in the show ring, the consistency of her competitiveness, and the excitement she generated," Donna Finch said. "It is hard to describe how something so beautiful and elegant could become such a powerhouse in the show ring, but she did this every time."

She earned the affection of those who knew her on a personal level as well. Her strengths and her personality are entwined," explained Finch. "She is all business and thrives on consistency and routine in her training. In the pasture or stall, she is sweet and loves to interact."

When it was evident that Grace had no more to prove, the Finches made the decision to retire her. Over the course of her star-studded career, she had achieved every possible award and championship for a performance horse. The 2011 World's Championship Horse Show celebrated her accomplishments with a formal retirement ceremony, and the crowd bid her an emotional farewell as she paraded in her final tricolor and a blanket of yellow roses.

After leaving the show ring behind, Grace settled into a new life as a broodmare at her trainers' barn, High Caliber Stables in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has had several foals, born via embryo transfer, and more are on the way. Although Grace is enjoying the relaxation of life on the farm, she still remembers her show days, according to Finch. "Even in retirement, she puts on a horse show if you saddle her," Finch noted. "It's as though she is saying, "˜This is my job.'" But her promise as a broodmare suggests that she has many successes yet to come.

"We have four beautiful babies on the ground that carry many of her traits," Finch said. "Her greatest impact on the industry may not just be in her show career legacy, but in her offspring."