Double Career

This reining mare puts a little extra oomph into her showmanship stops.

This reining mare puts a little extra oomph into her showmanship stops.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Courtney Ryan and Whiz Jewels
Courtney Ryan and Whiz Jewels. Journal photo.

One of the junior reining competitors in the November 13 finals at the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show already had a 2010 trophy – a showmanship bronze.

Whiz Jewels, a reiner who has placed in the top 10 at the National Reining Horse Association Derby, has a second career with her amateur owner, Courtney Ryan of Collinsville, Texas.

“We bought her in 2006 after the World Equestrian Games from Rosanne Sternberg in Aubrey,” Courtney says. “She was a yearling. Luke (Gagnon) helped me pick her out. That was my first reiner. He owned and showed the mother, so he always had a soft spot for her offspring. That is how it all began.”

Courtney waited patiently for her new reiner out of Hot Hollywood Jewels by Hollywood Dun It to grow up. While she waited, the three-time world champion in showmanship couldn’t help showing her new filly a few tricks.

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“I started messing with her when she was a 2-year-old and had a little bit of a cold and I could only hand-walk her,” Courtney says. “She’s like a sponge. She picked it up so quick.”

And since the filly knew some showmanship – why not show her?

Courtney started taking “Jewel” to a few shows. The next thing she knew, the 2005 chestnut mare by Topsail Whiz had 85.5 showmanship points and was qualified for the World Show, even with her nontraditional long mane.

In the meantime, Courtney’s fiancé, reining trainer Luke Gagnon, was prepping the mare for serious competition.

“Because she’s a reiner, that’s rigorous training, so I really only showed her at the Reichert, the Redbud and one show in Tennessee,” Courtney says. “I’m the proud owner, and I get to cheer from the sidelines. I get to brush her, and they tolerate me doing showmanship.”

With her reining training and sliding plates, Jewel’s showmanship pattern stops sometimes have a bit of extra emphasis. The first time the sliding stop happened in showmanship was a little surprising for both of them, Courtney says.

“You get dirt hitting you in the back,” she says. “We try not to (slide into the stop), but she gets in the pen and she sharpens up, ‘What do you want? What do you want?’ So then she becomes an overachiever.”

Courtney has a goal with her mare.

AQHA can help you and your horse prepare for your showmanship events. Check out our FREE “Showmanship Basics” report and learn how you can practice patterns at home, correct positions beside your horse, streamline your routine and much more!

“One hundred showmanship points and $100,000 in NRHA earnings,” Courtney says with a laugh.

5 thoughts on “Double Career”

  1. Great to see a long maned horse competing in these types of events and winning! Gorgeous mare and I have a soft spot for all Topsail Whiz horses. Good luck and your well on your way to your goal!

  2. I absolutely LOVE it! Out of the box and going strong in two events with different “Looks”! THAT is what the QUARTER horse is all about!

  3. LOOOOVVVVEEEE it!!!! this industry needs so many more people to loosen up and step out of the box!!! I was at the Denver National Western Stock Show, and was talking with a gal about showing my stud colt in everything, but when I said that I refused to cut his long hair, she told me I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t! THANK YOU!!! soooo very much!!! and no, I haven’t given a thought to cutting his super long mane 🙂

  4. What I’d like to see someday is this gal and others taking their reiners into west. pleasure and doing well!! Lets get our west. pleasure horses moving out with more forward movement, it would stop the head bobbing and they wouldn’t all look like oil driggers going down the rail! I show QH’s, Paints and Arabians. In Arabian open west. pleasure they call for a hand gallop!! Lets get that going in our QH and Paint western pleasure classes maybe that might help get some forward movement and get the horses legs swinging freely – a well trained horse SHOULD be able to extend and collect ALL his gaits.

    Great article – lets see more of this – AMEN!!

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