Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, The Gallop Report

Reflections on WEG

October 11, 2010

Covering Quarter Horses and beyond at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

AQHA and the American Quarter Horse got an amazing amount of exposure at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Here, our sign on the main road to the stadium (in the background). Note the famous "floating Land Rover" in the pond.

Today, I’ll admit it: I’m tired.

Since September 23, when I flew into Lexington, Kentucky, I’ve been running on adrenaline and caffeine. No matter the amount of walking — and there was a lot — no matter the long days and sometimes-short nights, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, held for the first time in the United States.  Zero complaints here.

As part of AQHA’s sponsorship of the Games, the Association loaned a staff member (me) to the WEG press office, so as such, after reining was over, I was put to work covering dressage, show jumping and vaulting. Especially with vaulting, I had a big learning curve, but the good news is that horse people, no matter their discipline, l.o.v.e. to talk horses and horse sport, so I had no trouble finding knowledgeable people willing to fill me in. Plus, the vaulters’ enthusiasm was contagious, and you can now count me among the sport’s fans.

Throughout the 16 days of the Games, there were so many amazing moments. I’ll list a few:

I was wowed to see some of the dressage and jumping horses in the flesh. These warmbloods are much bigger than you realize when you see photos of them, and their incredible talent is wrapped in some very tightly wound muscles. I actually had to follow Dutch team dressage gold medalist Hans Peter Minderhoud on his way back to the stables (there were journalists waiting to interview him who were afraid he was “escaping”), and he was very gracious as he answered some questions while holding the gorgeous-but-antsy mare, Exquis Nadine. I’m impressed by the level of horsemanship it takes to channel that energy and electricity … and I’m also very appreciative of my Quarter Horses! Read the rest of this entry »

Holly Clanahan

Holly Clanahan
Editor, America's Horse magazine

Farriery at WEG

October 10, 2010

The American Farrier’s Association provides education and much-needed services at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

In the team show-jumping competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, U.S. rider Mario Deslauriers was going around the warm-up pen – preparing to enter the main coliseum in a matter of minutes – when his horse pulled a shoe.

Enter the American Farrier’s Association, which had a farrier stationed in the competition area for just such cases. AFA is an AQHA educational alliance partner and also provided the official farriers to the Games.

Danvers Child, a certified journeyman farrier and editor of Professional Farrier magazine for AFA, helped coordinate the farriery efforts at WEG, and he explains why AFA farriers were perfect for the jobs at hand.

About 100 volunteer farriers rotated in and out of the Games, in addition to the AFA-certified farriers already on hand as official team farriers. The farriers stepped in to help in cases such as Mario’s, or when some of the international horses – who had been in quarantine long enough to merit a reset of their shoes – needed work. There were roughly 1,000 competition horses and 600 in the Equine Village that were being used for clinics and demonstrations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Intrigued by Dressage at WEG? Try It on a Quarter Horse!

October 9, 2010

Why dressage is perfect for any rider – and why American Quarter Horses are the perfect mounts.

Lynn Palm and Larks Home Run doing a demo at the John Deere Reining Arena at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

If you’ve been following dressage at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, no doubt you’ve been swept away by the elegance of three-time gold medalist Moorlands Totilas and the majesty of American horses like Ravel. But does it seem, to the average rider, a little … out of reach?

Lynn Palm, an AQHA Professional Horsewoman and dressage devotee, has an emphatic answer: “Absolutely not.”

During a demonstration at the John Deere Reining Arena, staffed by AQHA and the National Reining Horse Association, Lynn took questions from the audience, and the first query was: Is it complicated doing dressage?

Lynn loved that question, because it gave her a chance to deliver one of her favorite messages: Dressage is achievable for everybody.

“There’s a place for everybody,” Lynn says. People have often told her, “I ride western; I can’t ride dressage,” or “I just trail ride, and I can’t do dressage.” But really, she says, “Dressage is a simple word that sounds complicated, but it’s not. It’s a French word that means ‘training.’ If you say natural horsemanship, natural training, that’s what it’s all about. It’s achievable, because it promotes correct horsemanship. Horsemanship means riding well, and your goal is that you’re always trying to bring out the best in your horse.”

Read the rest of this entry »

From Dressage to Reining

October 8, 2010

Top dressage competitor Anky van Grunsven takes a spin in the reining pen at the World Equestrian Games.

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

Anky van Grunsven and Whizashiningwalla BB. Photo by Jeannie Blancq Putney

Anky van Grunsven’s list of honors is seemingly endless, topped off by three Olympic gold medals in dressage, eight World Cup dressage championships and two World Equestrian Games gold medals in dressage. She has been associated with big, scopey warmbloods like Salinero, Bonfire and Painted Black. Until now.

Anky withdrew from the Dutch dressage team after her best horse, Salinero, suffered an injury and wouldn’t have been in top form for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. So this top competitor – who has lately been learning the sport of reining – donned boots, bling and Wranglers, and saddled up the little palomino American Quarter Horse Whizashiningwalla BB for a spin in the FEI Reining World Championships, presented by John Deere as part of the World Equestrian Games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learn About Trail Riding at WEG? You Betcha!

October 5, 2010

Demos in the John Deere Reining Arena at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games help horsemen and women of any level.

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

Suzanne Sheppard and Bob Jeffreys teaching at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

When spectators come to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, they’re here to see some of the best horseflesh on earth and the master horsemen and women who go along with that.

But let’s face it, most of us aren’t quite at that level. Some more basic instruction – things that horse lovers can actually take home and use – is being dispensed in the John Deere Reining Arena, which is being manned by AQHA and National Reining Horse Association staffers. One recent morning, AQHA Professional Horsemen Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard of Middletown, New York, stopped by with advice on trail-riding problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Got Inspiration?

October 2, 2010

A great story wanders by the AQHA booth at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

Annette and Kory Bevelhymer

As Annette Bevelhymer and her son, Kory, walked the grounds of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Saturday afternoon, looking for tips that would help Kory with his American Quarter Horse, Korys Miracle Spirit, it truly was a miracle they were even there.

Annette shared their story as she stopped by the booth AQHA is sharing with the National Reining Horse Association in the WEG trade show.

“When Kory was 5 years old, he had to have a bone marrow transplant down in Cincinnati, (Ohio),” Annette says. He has Fanconi anemia, and doctors warned Annette that he likely wouldn’t survive the transplant. Annette was steadfast. “Oh yes we are,” she told the doctors. “I’m going to take him out of here, and he’s going to be fine.” Read the rest of this entry »

Freestyle Reining at the World Equestrian Games

October 1, 2010

Now the world knows: Our reiners know how to have F.U.N.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Stacy Westfall of Mount Gilead, Ohio, reprises her role as the masked bandit as she rides TSW Can Can Vaquero to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive."

A great bonus to reining’s inclusion in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is that the world gets to see, up close and personal, how athletic and versatile the American Quarter Horse is.

AQHA has a robust presence at the Games to promote our horse and our industry as much as possible. In fact, I’m watching the replay of an interview with AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway being broadcast in the main media center right now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Holly Clanahan

Holly Clanahan
Editor, America's Horse magazine

Reining’s Individual Gold Goes to USA’s Tom McCutcheon

September 30, 2010

Keeping your horse happy and healthy pays off!

From left are silver medalist Craig Schmersal, USA; gold medalist Tom McCutcheon, USA; and bronze medalist Duane Latiner, Canada.

All week, U.S. reiner Tom McCutcheon has been trying to keep his mount, Gunners Special Nite, fresh and happy. Thursday afternoon, the 6-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion returned the favor by turning in a score of 228 in the individual finals at the FEI World Reining Championship presented by John Deere, held as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. It was enough to earn the gold medal by a margin of five points.

“I knew he was pretty special tonight,” McCutcheon said. “I felt pressure, for sure, because (I) wanted to do him justice. He’s a great little horse. … I didn’t do a whole lot with him between the team medal and this one. I just wanted to keep him happy and fresh and go have a run.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Reiners Competing in Individual Finals

September 30, 2010

U.S. team member Tom McCutcheon schooling Gunners Special Nite before the individual finals.

Learn more about the 21 amazing horses competing in today’s reining individual finals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

At the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, 21 horses will be compete today in the reining individual finals.

Of the horses, 16 qualified during the team competition, and 5 more were added from the second qualifying round. Find your favorite horse and rider team, and check out some of the titles they have won in the past.

Sixteen qualified during the team competition:

  • RC Fancy Step ridden by Shawn Flarida, USA
    2004 AQHA stallion (Wimpys Little Step-Sonita Wilson by Doc Wilson)
    2010 USEF National Championship reining gold medalist
    2009 NRHA Derby open champion
    2007 All-American Quarter Horse Congress reining futurity champion
    $343,802 in NRHA lifetime earnings
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Extended Reining Coverage on NBC

September 29, 2010

NBC extends its coverage of the World Equestrian Games.

If you can’t make it to Lexington, Kentucky, for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the next best thing is watching it from the comfort of your living room. You can now catch even more action from the World Equestrian Games. NBC Sports has added two hours to its existing scheduled coverage on Sunday, October 3. Catch coverage from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT and from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT.

The expanded coverage will feature expanded coverage of dressage, eventing and reining’s individual finals, so you can see more of the world’s top American Quarter Horses sliding and spinning their way into the history books. NBC is the place to find more American Quarter Horse action and more World Equestrian Games coverage. AQHA is an official sponsor of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the official breed sponsor of reining.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reining’s Second Qualifying Round at WEG

September 28, 2010

A “second-chance” competition allows five more riders into Thursday’s individual finals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Lee Rutter, left, and Doug Allen were first and second in today's qualifying round for the individual reining finals at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse

Great Britain dominated the second individual qualifying round at the FEI World Reining Championship presented by John Deere, held Tuesday at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The top qualifying score of 217.5 went to Great Britain’s Lee Rutter riding Setting Off Sparks, while his countryman Doug Allen with Don Julio Whiz had the second highest score of 216.5.

Twenty horses had been given this second chance at qualifying for Thursday’s individual finals. Sixteen horse and rider teams had already qualified by posting high marks during the team reining competition.

Other riders qualifying Tuesday included Frederik Thomsson of Sweden, marking the first time his country has ever sent a rider to the individual finals. Australia’s Warren Backhouse and the Netherlands’ Hubertus Heule rounded out the qualifiers.

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Ride a Reiner

September 27, 2010

I got to take a Quarter Horse for a spin – literally – at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

By Katie Navarra

Watching Saturday’s Round 2 of the Team Reining competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games was exhilarating. It was thrilling not only to watch some of the world’s most accomplished horse and rider teams compete, but also because I knew a few hours after the event, I would have the opportunity to “Ride a Reiner,” too, in an event sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association, an AQHA alliance partner.

The rides, available to anyone at the games with a bit of riding experience, are being held in the John Deere Reining Arena, which is also where AQHA is offering test rides to anyone – even those who’ve never been on a horse before. Both options use American Quarter Horses as the mounts.

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