As Reno hosts its final NRCHA Snaffle Bit, the Futurity Finals is one for the ages
RENO, Nev. — In its final go at the Reno Livestock Events Center, the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity played out Sept. 19-Oct. 1, and while tradition was on center stage throughout the event, so was its future.
Top riders and horses in all divisions sparked intense competition that made goosebumps and fed anticipation for next year’s Futurity at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I heard from several people, it’s one of the best finals they’ve ever seen,” said NRCHA 2 Million Dollar Rider and Open finalist Todd Bergen of Eagle Point, Ore. “I think that just shows where this sport is going, how good it’s gotten, how good the horses are, how good the trainers are.”
TEMECULA — It seemed routine to Allyson Tapie, who had just completed her reining and boxing runs Sunday at the Southern California Reined Cow Horse Association Shootout in the final go of the day. Then, as she and her Little Yellow Vett started their trot out of the arena, the show manager called her to the judges stand for a bit check.
“I was confused because bit checks are not normally done before you leave the arena,” she said. “But it can be called if the judge sees a need to call one.”
DEL MAR — West Palms Events continues to grow its slate of quality hunter-jumper competitions, and all the while, its Del Mar International continues to improve annually.
This year’s version lasted from Oct. 12-30 at the venerable Del Mar Fairgrounds, host of the 1992 Volvo World Cup. Fittingly, the Del Mar International hosted the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League — one of only seven World Cup™ Qualifiers on the West Coast. Enrique Gonzalez and Chacna won the event.
There were many other significant events during the Del Mar International, including the GGT Grand Prix Series Final, presented by California Horsetrader and Horsetrader.com, the USHJA National Hunter Derby, Onondarka Medal Finals, and the PCHA/Equine Insurance Jumper Championship.
Many top horses will vie Nov. 15-20 at the Las Vegas Nat'l; here are four
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — In addition to a number of well-known riders, an amazing lineup of four-legged celebrities will also be making their way to the South Point Equestrian Arena for The Las Vegas National CSI4*-W in Nov. 15-20.
Robin de Ponthual once again will be partnered with Peter Lutz to try for two Las Vegas wins in a row; Capital Colnardo will be competing with recent double-Longines FEI World Cup Jumping class winner Audrey Coulter; The Dude and his bodacious riding partner, Will Simpson, are coming to play; and Lordan will gallop around the course with Nayel Nassar, just to mention four of many.
Robin de Ponthual
McLain Ward’s storied Castle Hill Farm and Peter Lutz’s home barn in North Salem, N.Y. are only a few farms apart. The two riders, former teen-age riding buddies, are good friends and often work together, with Ward welcoming Lutz’s overflow horses to his barn, and Lutz frequently helping Ward with riding.
In 2014, Ward brought home a Selle Français gelding that had caught his eye, and the minute Lutz climbed aboard, there was an instant synergy. Robin de Ponthual had found his rider, and Katherine Gallagher and Michael Mellor purchased him for Lutz the same year.
The partnership came together in 2015 with a win in last years’ $100,000 Longines World Cup Qualifier at the Las Vegas National, followed by a top 20 finish at the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Lutz, who has trained a number of top horses and riders over the years, is deserving of this time in the limelight. For the first time in his career, he has an international-level horse that he can hold onto.
Remington W takes rare path from near death to National Champion
Beckey Downing first set her heart on a national championship when she was nine years old. When 2016 started, she felt this would be the year, and she had good reason. After three years, her gelding, Remington W, was coming along nicely under both her as an adult amateur and also her trainer, Joelle Roberts of Temecula. With the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals returning to Nampa, Idaho, the stars seemed to be perfectly aligned this year.
Until the morning of Jan. 13.
Downing, of Anza, received a 6:30 a.m. phone call from Roberts that Remington W was found bleeding severely from his nostrils and clearly in stress.
“We had, and still have, no idea what happened to him,” said Downing, who sped to Roberts’s Delacreme Equestrian facilities at Galway Downs with trailer in tow. “He was ataxic and his right pupil was completely blown.”
They took the horse to the San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, where the equine medical team of Dr. Nick Huggons, Dr. Lindsey Porubovich and consulting internist Dr. Rob Franklin used new CT scanning equipment to diagnose skull fractures that had eluded X-ray diagnosis.
California Dressage Society caps banner year with 2016 CDS and Region 7 championships
BURBANK — Among the many smiling faces seen during awards ceremonies for 29 championship divisions on the final day of the 49th Annual California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Championship Show and Great American Insurance Group/United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Region 7 Championships held Sept. 29-Oct. 2 was Ruth Shirkey of San Jose.
With her U.S.-bred Hanoverian mare Wyleigh Princess, Shirkey was capping off a tremendous weekend by taking home the Two-Tone Malone Trophy for the $1,000 CDS Horse of the Year in the Second Level Adult Amateur division with an overall score of 68.256%. But the special partnership she now has with her horse almost never happened at all save for one crucial decision.
“My favorite story is that I purchased Wyleigh Princess in utero, and I was really hoping for a black colt,” Shirkey remembered. “When she was born, her breeder called and said, ‘The good news is that the foal is black. The bad news is that it’s a filly.’ She said that if I didn’t want her, to just let them know because they actually really wanted to keep her. So I thought about it for a day and decided I still wanted her, primarily because I really, really wanted a foal by Weltmeyer. So of course in hindsight it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Sacramento Int'l brings MEC to life with jumpers
SACRAMENTO — The standing-room only event kicked off with a special presentation for Style of Riding Sponsored by Shady Lane Farm. Congratulations to Maggie Kehring on her Junior Style of Riding Award and Patricia Warner on her Amateur Style of Riding Award. Thank you to the Archers and Shady Lane Farm for their continued sponsorship of the Style of Riding Awards!
Next was an incredible opening act from the California Cowgirls, an impressive drill team from Rancho Murieta, CA. Following the California Cowgirls was the Doreen Irwin Singers Choir and the Presentation of Colors by SGT Joel Campos, SSG Gary McCorkle, SPC Phillip Spaur, and SPC Nicole Coyle. Thank you so much to all of them for making the National Anthem so special to begin the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Sacramento Presented by Lasher’s Elk Grove Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram.
Entries are up as world’s best converge on 2016 Las Vegas event
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The 2016 Las Vegas High Roller Reining Classic, is in its ninth, fabulous year at the South Point Event Center, Hotel and Casino. The fourth largest NRHA show in the world, this year’s HRRC ran from Friday, September 9th through Saturday, September 17th, and still draws riders and horses globally from Reining’s finest pools of talent, nearly a decade after its creation.
“There are so many levels to our wonderful sport of Reining,” says Amanda Brumley, show producer. “The High Roller Reining Classic has always been our favorite venue for including the people who love this game, from the Short Stirrup kids to the Non-Pros; from the Million Dollar NRHA professionals to teenagers and their grandparents. This show provides a challenge for everyone.”
This year’s show was up in entries, particularly the Youth group. Encouraged by last year’s Tournament and the new National Arabian Reining Horse Association sponsorship, over 60 youth signed up in 2016. Youth classes ran mornings Saturday and Sunday the first weekend. The kick-off on Friday night was the NARHA Youth Tournament of Champions Bowling and Draw Party, sponsored by NARHA Corporate Sponsor, Markel Insurance, upstairs at the South Point Bowling Center. A great turn-out added even more fun to the gathering. The NARHA Team Tournament of Champions ended on Sunday with awards for both the teams and the individual competitors. The Gold Medal Team winners each won $500 in Scholarship money. The 5-member, Olympic-style team included Custom Spook (Smart Spook x Custom Spinderella) with Luca Fappani; Cashen Big Chex (Big Chex To Cash x Doc Will See You Now) and Adrianna Adams; VLQ Friendly Fire (Forelocks Petja x Polka Jane), a purebred Arabian, and Siena Kruger; Miss Trashy Lady (Trashadeous x Miss Glenda Joe) with Sophia Polumbo, and MK Check Please (Chic Please x Devils Dry Divanita) with McKenna Bein. Custom Spook carried Luca Fappani to the individual Gold Medal and $1,000 scholarship. “I’m grateful Pat Warren leased Custom Spook to me,” says Luca, a seventh grader attending the Sonoran Trails Middle School in Cave Creek. “Custom Spook is so talented and well broke. I’m showing him at Congress in October. My mom’s horse, Premier Diamond (Like A Diamond x Sexy Chexy Nic), is awesome too. He’s the first horse I ever showed and he taught me and made me the rider I am today.” Luca, though enjoying showing horses does not want to be a trainer. “I’d like to go to the University of Southern California and study to be an Orthopedic Surgeon.”
Haness, Maxwell, Looker earn Romfh awards
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Wrapping up their 2016 California season with the Fall Series in San Juan Capistrano, Blenheim EquiSports congratulated the Leading Hunter Riders with awards presented by Romfh Equestrian Apparel.
Three times was a charm for professional hunter rider Nick Haness, amateur-owner rider Lindsay Maxwell and adult rider Tonia Cook Looker. Collecting the most points throughout the season, Haness, Maxwell and Looker earned the Leading Rider Award in their divisions in the spring, summer and fall.
After numerous placings in the professional hunter sections on Maxwell’s Kingston, Enzo and Quinn during the Blenheim EquiSports Fall Series, Haness secured a hat trick with his third Romfh Leading Hunter Rider Title of the 2016 season.
Blenheim star riders get Veredus Leading Jumper Awards
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Riders who excelled in the jumper ring earned extra recognition during the last two weeks of the outdoor Blenheim EquiSports show season through the new Veredus Leading Jumper Rider awards program. After all the points were tallied, riders from the Open, Junior, Amateur, Adult and Children’s divisions were presented with a Leading Rider Sash and a Veredus Horse Boots gift certificate. One rider even made history in the process – Tina Yates with her amazing double win, finishing clean and clear on two horses with the same jump-off time in the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix.
After an amazing two weeks of top notch competition, emerging professional Tina Yates garnered the Leading Professional Open Jumper Rider title after a thrilling and historic win in the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix at the Blenheim Fall Tournament, where Yates duplicated her score and time on both Bowmore VDL and Cicomein VDL, and by winning in the $30,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix, presented by ACE Equestrian at the International Jumping Festival one week later.