Keeping your horse happy and healthy pays off!
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.”
Earlier in the week, McCutcheon and his horse helped the U.S. team to a gold medal in the team reining competition. Gunners Special Nite is by Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Mifs Doll by Mifillena. He is the 2007 National Reining Horse Association Futurity intermediate open champion and has $194,237 in NRHA lifetime earnings.
The individual silver medal went to U.S. teammate Craig Schmersal and Mister Montana Nic with a score of 223, while bronze went to the defending WEG individual gold medalist Duane Latimer of Canada, riding Dun Playin Tag, with a 222.5.
At 12 years old, Mister Montana Nic is twice as old as the other horses on the U.S. team, and he has been with Schmersal since he was a yearling.
“That’s what it’s all about, right there,” Schmersal said of the horse’s longevity. “We’ve just got to keep those old horses sound and happy.”
Mister Montana Nic is an American Quarter Horse stallion by Reminic and out of Mollie Montana by Montana Doc. He was the 2005 FEI World Reining Master silver medalist and has $132,784 in NRHA lifetime earnings.
Latimer’s mount is a 6-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding by Whiz N Tag Chex and out of Brennas Dunit Fancy by Hollywood Dun It. Dun Playin Tag has $188,942 in NRHA lifetime earnings.
The other members of the gold-medal U.S. team were: Tim McQuay and Hollywoodstinseltown, finishing individually in fourth place with a 222; and Shawn Flarida and RC Fancy Step with a 207.5 after faring some bad luck. Flarida’s stirrup leather broke during the run, and he touched the saddle to regain his balance, which mandated a five-point penalty from each judge.
Judges were: Greg Darnall, USA; Patti Carter-Pratt, Canada; Thiago Boechat, Brazil; Ralf Hesselschwerdt, Germany; and Eugenio Latorre, Italy.
Countries competing in reining at the World Equestrian Games were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, South America, Spain, Sweden and the United States.
It was, most definitely, reining on the world stage.
“I think it’s safe to say that this afternoon was exactly what we all wanted it to be. The sport of reining had probably its biggest week in history,” said Brad Ettleman, reining discipline manager at the Games.
Learn more about all 21 riders and horses that competed in the individual reining finals.
About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). The Games are held every four years, and this is the first occurrence in the United States.
Even though reining at the 2010 World Equestrian Games is one for the record book, there’s still plenty of American Quarter Horse action here — through AQHA’s test rides and demos in the John Deere Reining Arena and great clinics by AQHA Professional Horsemen and women in the Equine Village. We’ll keep you updated on Facebook, as well as on Twitter at @AQHA and @americashorse.
Check out our exclusive photos from Thursday’s performance. Click on the photos to read cutlines.
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