August 23, 2010
Check out the accomplishments of the U.S. reining team that will compete at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
By Holly Clanahan of America’s Horse
Does anybody remember the men’s basketball team that clobbered all opponents at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics? That was one of the first teams dubbed “the Dream Team.” That tag also was tacked on to the crack legal defense team in the O.J. Simpson case. And if memory fails but Wikipedia serves … there have been a whole host of other athletes, and even comic-book superheros, known as dream teams.
Get ready to add one to the list.
After the United States Equestrian Federation selection trials for the Adequan U.S. Reining Team for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the phrase “dream team” was tossed around quite a bit. And with good reason — the horses and riders represented on this team are nothing short of top-notch. If you don’t believe it, read on:
Shawn Flarida, 41, of Springfield, Ohio
As the National Reining Horse Association’s all-time leading rider and its only $3 million rider, Shawn has trained some of the most talented equine athletes in the business. He is the second person in NRHA history to reach the $2 million milestone, and he is on his way to earning $4 million. He has won the NRHA Open Futurity Championship five times, and he and Wimpys Little Chic won the Futurity, the National Reining Breeders Classic and the NRHA Derby — making them the first pair to ever win reining’s “Triple Crown” of top events. Shawn is the only rider to capture both individual and team gold medals at the FEI World Equestrian Games. (He competed in 2002 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.) At the 2010 selection trials held as part of Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City, he won the USEF National Open Reining Championship.
His horse: RC Fancy Step, an NRHA Derby champion owned by Shane Plummer
Tom McCutcheon, 43, of Aubrey, Texas
Tom has NRHA earnings of more than $1 million and is a two-time USEF National Open Reining Champion. (He was a silver medalist in 2010.) He was on the U.S. team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain and assisted in taking team gold, while winning an individual silver medal. He also was on the silver-medal-winning team at the FEI World Reining Championship in Manerbio, Italy, in 2008. He is a founding board member of the NRBC, the largest added-money reining event in history, and he also serves on the USEF board of directors.
His horse: Gunners Special Nite, an NRHA Futurity reserve champion owned by Turnabout Farm Inc.
His comments: Gunners Special Nite, I remember watching him at the (NRHA) Futurity, thinking that was one of the best runs I’ve ever seen. I’m blessed to have owners that go out and get horses like that for me. When we had the opportunity to get that horse, when we found out he could be bought, we bought him that day. I’ve always loved that horse, and he has not disappointed me. He’s a superstar, and he’s a lot of fun. He makes me look like I know what I’m doing.”
Craig Schmersal, 38, of Overbrook, Oklahoma
Craig is the third all-time leading NRHA rider and is one of the youngest trainers on the NRHA’s top-10 list. He is a $2 million rider and has won numerous AQHA and NRHA open world championships. In 2002, Craig was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2008, he captured team silver and individual bronze at the FEI World Reining Championships. In 2009, he and Boom Shernic won the USEF National Open Reining Championship.
His horse: Boom Shernic is also an NRBC champion and is owned by the Boom Shernic Syndicate.
His comments: “Boom Shernic has been a special horse for me all along. He has been a consistent player in every major event. He has never missed a finals, and he marked a 234 a couple of weeks ago at the (NRHA) Derby, and just like Tim said, it’s a dream team. We have some serious horses on here. Before, on the other teams, we’ve had one, maybe two, really nice horses. But we have four horses here that have been major players in our major events. It really is a dream team when you think about it. My horse has won $275,000, around there. Shawn’s has won over $300,000, and Tom’s has won over $200,000. Tim’s has won right at $200,000. There’s some serious horses out there. My horse, he has just been so consistent, and I think that’s the same for all of us.”
Tim won his first NRHA prize money in 1978 and became the first $2 million rider in history. For 11 years, he was NRHA’s all-time leading earner. In 2000, he was inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame. He is a five-time All American Quarter Horse Congress champion, a two-time AQHA world champion and has multiple NRHA world champion titles. In 2005, he won a silver medal at the FEI World Reining Masters in Italy, and in 2006, he was a member of the gold-medal U.S. team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. He earned an individual silver medal there, as well.
His horse: Hollywoodstinseltown is owned by breeder David Silva and has been a finalist at both the NRHA Futurity and Derby. Hollywoodstinseltown was sired by the late, great Hollywood Dun It, the NRHA Hall of Fame stallion that Tim owned in a partnership.
Alternate Casey Deary, 29, of Weatherford, Texas
At age 16, Casey had a life-threatening fall off a colt. But he didn’t let that slow him long. During high school and after graduation, Casey began working for top horsemen, honing his skills. In 2009, he won the NRHA Intermediate Open Derby and also took the Intermediate Open reserve champion title. He placed third at the 2009 USEF National Open Reining Championships.
His horse: Rootin Tootin Dunit, owned by the Wolf Stern Partnership.
And if you’re not making the trip, make sure to watch the NBC coverage. On Sunday, September 26, be watching from noon-1:30 p.m. Eastern, as the team reining competition is featured live. On Sunday, October 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. Eastern, the individual reining will be covered as a taped segment. And on October 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern, reining will be recapped. The live coverage is brought to you by AQHA and the Reining Horse Sports Foundation.
AQHA is an official sponsor of the World Equestrian Games and is the official breed sponsor of WEG reining.
See the team in action in this slide show! Click on the photos to see captions.
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Editor, America's Horse magazine