USA’s Tom McCutcheon wins individual gold at Reining World Championships

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Gunners Special Nite

U.S. reiner Tom McCutcheon and 6-year-old Gunners Special Nite turned in a score of 228 yesterday in the individual finals at the FEI Reining World Championship, as part of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY. The score was enough to earn the individual gold medal by a margin of 5 points.

“I knew he was pretty special tonight,” said McCutcheon, who earned the individual silver medal in 2003. “I felt pressure, for sure, because I wanted to do him justice. He’s a great little horse.”

Earlier in the week, McCutcheon and Gunners Special Nite, a stallion owned by Turnabout Farm, helped the U.S. team to a gold medal in the team reining competition. Gunners Special Nite, by Colonels Smoking Gun, was the 2007 NRHA Futurity reserve champion and has $217,000 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

The individual silver medal went to U.S. teammate Craig Schmersal on Mister Montana Nic, with a score of 223, while defending WEG individual gold medalist Duane Latimer of Canada, earned the bronze medal riding Dun Playin Tag, with a score of 222.5.

At 12 years old, Mister Montana Nic is twice as old as the other horses on the U.S. team, and 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, sired by Reminic and owned by Ericka Smith, was the 2005 FEI World Reining Master silver medalist and has $136,150 in NRHA lifetime earnings.

Gunners Special Nite stands at McCutcheon Reining Horses in Aubrey, TX for a fee of $2,500; Mister Montana Nic stands at Schmersal Reining Horse in Overbrook, OK for a fee of $2,000.

For more information on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which continue through October 10, visit

Reining gold for U.S. at World Equestrian Games

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Team USA earned its third consecutive medal in reining competition on Sunday, September 26 at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY. Belgium won the team silver medal, while Italy claimed the bronze.

This is the third time that reining has been included in the World Games.

“The difference in quality of the overall exhibitors at this event has grown so much,” said Veteran U.S. rider Tim McQuay, who also won the individual silver medal in reining at the 2006 World Equestrian Games. “It’s just unbelievable how much better they’ve gotten.”

In the order of their runs, McQuay and Hollywoodstinseltown scored a 220.5; Craig Schmersal and Mister Montana Nic marked a 223.5; Tom McCutcheon and Gunners Special Nite scored a 224; and Shawn Flarida and RC Fancy Step marked a 207.5 (Flarida’s stirrup strap broke during his performance and rules mandated that he be penalized for touching the saddle).

For Belgium, which has a small but developing reining community, the silver medal was a significant achievement.

“We were hoping for third place, but getting silver is like a dream come true,” said Belgium chef d’equipe Susy Baeck, whose sister, Cira Baeck, is a team member. “Tomorrow morning when we wake up, we will realize, and we will have a headache for sure.”

For the Italians, international success is nothing new. They claimed bronze medals in each of the previous World Equestrian Games and in 2008, beat the U.S. team to claim the FEI World Reining Championships.

Countries competing in reining at the World Equestrian Games included: 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.

A “second-chance” qualifying competition for the individual finals will be held Tuesday, in which the top five competitors advance to the finals, which are scheduled for Thursday and will also include the top-15 scoring horses and riders from the team competition.

Reining to be featured live on NBC Sports

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010


Aaron Ralston at 2006 WEG

NBC Sports will provide six and a half hours of reining event coverage during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, September 25-October 10, in Lexington, KY.

The coverage marks the largest commitment a network has ever made to equestrian sports in U.S. television history.

Aaron Ralston, an individual and team 2006 WEG reining medal winner, will be on air to explain the maneuvers and scoring, familiarize viewers with the horses and riders, and interpret the action.

Live reining coverage begins on Sunday, September 26, from noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT, and features team reining competition. It continues on Sunday, October 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. EDT, with individual reining competition, and concludes on Sunday, October 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT, when reining is featured as part of the WEG recap.

The American Quarter Horse Association, a sponsor of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the official breed sponsor of reining, has teamed with the National Reining Horse Association and John Deere to provide demonstrations and test rides daily during WEG at the John Deere Reining Arena.

Click here to visit the official 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games website.

Dale Wilkinson 1925-2010

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Dale Wilikinson, 84, a giant among early-day Quarter Horse trainers and the only rider to win both the NCHA and the NRHA Futurities, passed away on Thursday, March 11.

Wilkinson, who grew up on a farm in rural Ohio, began training horses for pocket money when he was 14. He purchased his first Quarter Horse in 1947, the same year that he married his hometown sweetheart, Lucinda Sherman. In 1960, the Wilkinsons moved to Findlay, Ohio, where Dale began training Quarter Horses full-time.

In 1966, riding Pocorochie Bo, Wilkinson won the inaugural NRHA Futurity, an event that he had played an integral part in founding. He won the NCHA Futurity in 1972 on Gun Smoke’s Dream, a mare that he owned and raised, and he claimed the NRHA Futurity championship again, in 1975, aboard Clene Continental.

“We lived in Ohio all our lives which made (the wins) more rewarding,” Wilkinson once told me. “It encouraged other people to come because there was a chance for them to win.

“Texans at that time were the ultimate in the horse world. But I just loved to go to Texas and be competitive in cutting and reining. They called me “OH” from Ohio.”

One of Wilkinson’s rivals in those days was Matlock Rose, another legendary Quarter Horse trainer.

“Realistically, none of us had the corner on anything, but Matlock was sure a very, very big part of programs being developed so they could beat him,” Wilkinson said. “He made me rise to a level I probably wouldn’t have even thought of if I didn’t want to beat him so bad.”

Considered by many to be “the father of reining,” Wilkinson is credited with perfecting the fluid style of movement popular in today’s reining arenas.

In 1964, Wilikinson purchased 3-year-old Mr Gun Smoke, who would sire Gun Smoke’s Dream, among many other top cutting and reining performers.

“I had him for 18 years,” said Wilkinson of the blaze-faced stallion. “He had incredible ability and he benefited the performance industry. At one time he stood at Charlie Ward’s in California with Doc Bar.”

In 1975, Wilkinson Training Center had become headquarters for Findlay College’s equestrian program. Although he was not a member of the staff, Wilkinson gave his time freely to students who were interested in becoming trainers.

In 1984, the Wilkinsons sold their Findlay facility to the college and moved to Waynesboro, Georgia. Wilkinson, the first member of the NRHA Hall of Fame, was inducted into the NCHA Hall of Fame in 1989, and the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2000. He was also the first recipient of the Zane Schulte Memorial Award, in 2001.

Paint horse, Gunnatrashya, wins NRHA Futurity

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

An American Paint Horse stallion, Gunnatrashya, captured the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open Futurity title in Oklahoma City last weekend, outscoring over 400 horses entered in the open division. The Paint stallion won with a score of 228.5, earning $125,000 in prize money.

This is only the second time in history that a Paint horse has won the event. Gunnatrashya now joins RR Star, who won the event in 2001. Gunnatrashya’s sire, Colonels Smokingun, known simply as Gunner in the reining world, is the first million-dollar Paint sire in NRHA history, as well as the highest-earning Paint horse performer in NRHA history.

Gunnatrashya is owned by Arcese Quarter Horses USA in Weatherford, Texas, and was shown by top NRHA rider Shawn Flarida. Hes been one of my favorites all year long, said Flarida of the 3-year-old colt. I knew when we were done that he had performed really well. I knew my horse was as good as he could be, and I didnt make any mistakes. This horse is just really special, with so much feel and talent.

Arcese purchased the horse in May 2009, sight unseen, from Bill Horn and John Dorminy. John and Katarina Dorminy of Fitzgerald, Ga. bred the horse and own his dam, Natrasha by Trashadeous. Eleuterio Arcese, who lives in Italy, also breeds and shows cutting horses.

Click here to see Gunnatrashyas winning run. Photo Courtesy of NRHA & Waltenberry

Cutting and reining bonanzas

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

The world of elite western performance horses will shrink to the corridor between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City this Saturday, November 21 through December 13, 2009.

On Saturday, the $4 million Borden Milk National Cutting Horse Association Futurity begins with open first go-round competition. The winner of the final go-round, on December 13, will earn $250,000. If the winner is sired by Hes A Peptospoonful, it will collect an additional $1 million bonus, offered by Hes A Peptospoonful’s owners, David and Stacie McDavid.

For the first time since its inauguration in 1962, the NCHA Futurity will be held in conjunction with the $200,000-added Mecuria NCHA Open and Non-Pro World Finals, November 24 – 25 and 27 – 28. Two-time world champions Dual Rey Me and Jeremy Barwick, with $74,424 in 2009 earnings, have an $11,000 advantage over #2 ranked Thomas E Hughes and Austin Shepard.

Though possible, with $256,400 up for grabs in the 5-round event, the chance for an upset in the open isn’t as likely as in the non-pro division, where less than $3,000 separates current leader Elizabeth Queen and seven-time former non-pro world champion Mary Jo Milner. Milner’s current tally of $69,801 was earned at 84 shows in 2009; Queen’s $72,729 was earned at 42 shows.

Another showdown in the offering at the NCHA World Finals is the title of leading active money earner. Elizabeth Queen’s mount, 7-year-old Sister CD, by CD Olena, has NCHA career earnings of $764,650, while Dual Rey Me, by Dual Pep, has $753,401. Only Poco Quixote Rio, with $1,091,734, and Mary Jo Milner’s former mount, Red White And Boon, with $882,498, have earned more in the 63-year history of cutting.

The NCHA Futurity, from first go-round to last, as well as the NCHA World Finals will be webcast through

The NCHA Futurity Sales, December 8 – 13, on the grounds of Will Rogers Equestrian Center during the NCHA Futurity, will also feature webcast sessions through

Three hours north of Fort Worth, the $1.9 million National Reining Horse Association Futurity kicks off its 7-day run on Sunday, November 29, at Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. In addition to the NRHA Futurity, the slate of events includes the Adequan North America Affiliate Championships, as well as the $100,000-added Federation Equestre Internationale World Reining Masters, and the NRHA Futurity Sales.

For more information about the NRHA Futurity go to

Shining Spark first NRCHA $3 Million Sire

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Shining Spark, who made history in 2007, as the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s first $2 million sire, and in 2008 as the National Reining Horse Association’s first $3 million sire, recently passed another milestone with $3 million in NRCHA offspring earnings.

“Most of Shiners foals have a huge work ethic, said the 20-year-old stallion’s owner and breeder, Carol Rose, who will be inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in March 2010. Theyre also very sensitive, very willing and they love to work cattle.”

Shining Spark and Rose share a 42-year legacy. It was in 1967 that Rose purchased Gay Bar’s Gen, a 5-year-old Gay Bar King daughter, from Californian Clyde Bauer.

“I paid a lot of money for her and they thought I was crazy,” said Rose. “But I loved her dearly.”

Gay Bar’s Gen carried Rose to win the National Cutting Horse Association Non-Pro World Championship for three consecutive years, from 1967 through 1969, and won the NCHA Non-Pro World Finals 1967 and 1973. Although she lived to be 33, Gay Bar’s Gen was “very hard to breed” and produced just six foals. Her second, a colt by Doc Bar, born in 1977, was Genuine Doc, the sire of Shining Spark.

In addition to reining and cowhorse champions, Shining Sparks is the #2 all-time leading sire of AQHA performance ROM, and he has total offspring earnings of more than $7.5 million.