Futurity Win Clinches Million Dollar Owner Status for Tish Fappani

For Immediate Release – December 31, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Okla. – It was a night chock full of million-dollar accomplishments during the 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) CINCH Non Pro Futurity Finals on Friday, Dec. 4. With a first-place finish in the CINCH Non Pro Level (L) 3 Futurity, Tish Fappani solidified her NRHA Million Dollar Owner status aboard Joes Genes (Lil Joe Cash x Electric Genes).

Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, Fappani is no stranger to million-dollar milestones. She’s the wife of NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani. Partners when it comes to the business of horses and reining, the couple shares the workload at home and the limelight when it shines in their direction.

The team dynamic has been a longstanding strategy for Tish, but it first began with her parents, Bob and the late Sue Wood.

“My mom had me on horses before I could even walk,” Tish said. “My mom used to do a lot of the American Horse Show Association (AHSA) and stock horse events. When I was 6, I went to ride with Glenn Gimple. It was cool because my mom rode with him, and he was ‘The Man’ when it came to equitation and stock horses.”

From Covina, California, Tish’s family always had around 10 horses at home. Tish remembers feeding and cleaning stalls every morning before school, and she would help her mom get horses ready for lessons in the afternoon. Those hours in the barn funded Tish’s time in the saddle in Arizona where her affinity for reining blossomed.

“When I was 15, I was lucky enough to start riding with Brett Stone and John Slack in Arizona,” Tish remembered about her official entrance into the world of reining. “That was the year Boomernic won the Futurity.”

It was those long, sliding stops that initially caught Tish and Sue’s attention for reining. The style and finesse sealed the deal for Tish and is perhaps the reason she’s now an NRHA Million Dollar Owner.

“My mom was a huge part of my life with horses; she always made sure I had the best opportunities and she put me with the best trainers,” Tish said. “I was very lucky to have both of my parents in my corner.”

Today, Tish finds partners in Andrea and their oldest son Luca. The three have been swapping horses in the show pen for the past few years. Titles in the open, non pro, and youth, all on the same horses, speak volumes about the caliber of horses in the Fappani reining program.

“I’m really proud of raising horses that we can all ride and compete on,” Tish said. “I remember the first horse Andrea and I bought together–Lean With Peppy Chex–we bought him as a 2-year-old before we were even married. Andrea showed him at the 2002 Futurity and then we sold him as a 4-year-old.”

Eight years later, the Fappanis bought that gelding back, and now ‘Scooter’ is a permanent resident in the retirement pasture. If it were up to Tish, she’d keep them all.

“I get sentimental and think we need to keep all of them,” she said with a laugh. “Andrea isn’t a huge fan of all these geldings in our backyard, but we’ve had a lot of special horses together: Premier Diamond, Spooks N Jewels, Ice Cube, and Joes Genes, the mare I showed at the Futurity, just to name a few.”

Tish is excited to breed her mare and see what kind of foals she can throw for the Fappanis to show in all three levels in a few years.

“I always want all of our horses to do their best, but there’s something special when we own one and are able to get it shown,” Tish said. “I’m super shocked by this accomplishment. It’s huge. I’m proud to have raised and shown these horses, it’s super rewarding but it also takes a team to get it done.”

Photo by Carolyn Simancik

‘Tis the Season to Give to the Reining Horse Foundation

Since its creation in 2001, the Reining Horse Foundation has existed to help reiners in need, preserve National Reining Horse Association history, create opportunities for youth, and shine a positive beacon on the entire reining industry. In 2020, the organization may have missed out on holding its signature Sliders’ Night Out fundraiser presented by Toyon Ranch, but its direction remained the same, as did the needs of the many programs it supports.

Notwithstanding the challenges of the year, the philanthropic arm of NRHA kept its focus on expanding fundraising and continuing its mission. Helping reiners through the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund, providing youth leadership development and scholarships, and perpetuating the sport’s history through the NRHA Hall of Fame were made possible by a variety of fundraisers.

Opt-in donations, Affiliate fundraisers, memberships in the Reiners Club, Foundation grants, Facebook birthday donations, AmazonSmile support, and memorial gifts breathed hope in troubled times and kept the spirit of giving alive.  Additionally, NRHA Professionals gave in unprecedented numbers and there was an increase in international giving.

It was an opportune time for new avenues of giving as the pandemic created challenges for a cross-section of the reining industry. “Every day, we see the need within our industry. By giving, individuals and businesses have the power to make such a difference in the reining community. Gifts of every size are meaningful,” said Reining Horse Foundation Executive Director Leslie Baker.

“In my case, one simple $25 donation to the Reining Horse Foundation led to a $100 donation and then to more,” said Tim Anderson, president of the volunteer-led RHF Board of Directors. “I began by wanting to help other reiners enduring a tragedy of some sort. What I discovered is that helping others gives me an overwhelming feeling of goodness and purpose. When you are doing your holiday shopping and year-end giving, I hope you will remember the reining community that we all love.”

Besides topping off your Christmas list, there are plenty of reasons to give before the end of the year, including new tax benefits. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act enacted this year expands charitable giving incentives and allows taxpayers who take the standard deduction to make up to $300 of charitable contributions to qualified charities. For those who itemize their deductions, the new law allows for cash contributions to qualified charities to be deducted up to 100 percent of their adjusted gross income for the 2020 calendar year. Donors who make year-end gifts to the 501(c)3 nonprofit Reining Horse Foundation by December 31 may gain the maximum benefit of these tax incentives.

Giving to the Reining Horse Foundation is easy. Gifts can be made digitally in ReinerSuite, by texting “RHF” to (405) 300-5919, or via PayPal or credit card at reiningfoundation.com/donate, or simply by mailing a check to the NRHA office at 3021 W. Reno Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73107.

For more information, visit reiningfoundation.com, or email rhf@nrha.com.

Gunner Becomes NRHA’s All-Time Leading Sire

For Immediate Release – December 28, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Okla. – When Andrea Fappani won the 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open Level (L) 4 Futurity on All Bettss Are Off (Gunner x Wimpys Little Chic), the historic $250,000 first place check catapulted legendary sire Gunner to the top spot of both the NRHA All-Time Leading Sire and 2020 NRHA Leading Sire lists. Seven years after his death, the NRHA Hall of Fame inductee’s move to over $12.6 million in sire earnings exemplifies total domination in the reining world.

It was twenty-four years ago when Gunner, then an unknown floppy-eared sorrel with a white tail, was guided into the Jim Norick Coliseum in Oklahoma City by NRHA Professional Clint Haverty to compete at the 1996 NRHA Futurity. By the time the go-rounds were over, he had grabbed everyone’s attention by claiming the Open L 4 Futurity Reserve title and the hearts of reining fans everywhere.

By Colonelfourfreckle and out of Katie Gun, Gunner’s excessive white spots kept him from registering with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). He was initially registered Colonels Smokingun with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). Bred by Eric Storey, Gunner was purchased by Pam and Paul Rohus, who took the colt to Haverty. With Haverty at the reins, he also won the Open Reining Futurity at the APHA World Championships. Gunner was then sold to Kim and Debra Sloan, and won another APHA World Championship, finished as Reserve Champion at the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC), and won a gold medal for the United States Equestrian Team with the late Bryant Pace.

In a time before live-streamed video, it was easy to tell when Gunner was about to go. The stands would fill, a buzz would build, and the anticipation became palpable. The cheering started as he moved into sight–long before he ever reached the arena gate. Haverty, in typical understated fashion, noted then, “They love Gunner, don’t they?”

He was right. Horsemen and horsewomen everywhere loved Gunner and they exalted in the charisma and excitement he brought to the show pen. All totaled, Gunner earned $173,000 and was immortalized as a Breyer model horse in the early 2000s, but that was only a small part of the legacy he was beginning to create.

His impact upon the APHA world was landmark, not only in his exemplary performance in APHA competition but in how he carried the paint horse name, presence and look to other venues and agendas. APHA Executive Director Billy Smith said, “The APHA would not have had the high-quality reining horses we have today if not for Gunner. His impact and legacy are incalculable at this point because he is that once-in-a-lifetime individual that was not only able to produce great performers, but also to produce sons that throw great performers. That has created an exponential impact that literally changed the industry.”

Ultimately his footprint grew even larger. When the AQHA changed their registration requirements in 2004, Gunner registered as Colonels Smoking Gun and began to rewrite the record books for yet another association.

Gunner was purchased by NRHA Hall of Famers Tim and Colleen McQuay in 2005, following the passing of their stallion NRHA Five Million Dollar Sire Hollywood Dun It. The McQuays had followed Gunner’s career and even hoped to buy him as a 3-year-old. Tim had ridden several Gunner colts, which cemented his decision to buy the horse. “I loved him when he was showing, but what got me going was that we had some colts of his to ride, and I liked them a lot. Stopping was easy for them and they did it with style. They always let you train them, and then they got better and better and better,” McQuay said.

Although Gunner was laid to rest in 2013, his legacy continues to grow. First becoming an NRHA Million Dollar Sire in 2007, he became a Two Million Dollar Sire just three years later. Since then, his offspring have earned a million dollars annually, subsequently moving Gunner to a new milestone each year. He crossed the $12 Million Dollar threshold in September of 2020 and his 959 foals now have average earnings of $13,183.

Gunner’s topearning offspring include:

    • Tinker With Guns (out of Tinker Nic): $344,000 NRHA LTE
    • Gunners Tinseltown (out of Miss Tinseltown): $305,000 NRHA LTE
    • Americasnextgunmodel (out of Cee Dun It Do It) $289,486 NRHA LTE
    • All Betts Are Off (out of Wimpys Little Chic): $281,000 NRHA LTE
    • NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite (out of Mifs Doll): $219,000 NRHA LTE
    • NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire Gunnatrashya (out of Natrasha): $218,000 NRHA LTE
    • No Smoking Required (out of Icing Required): $185,000 NRHA LTE

NRHA incoming President Rick Clark has owned both sons and daughters of Gunner and is quick to credit his impact on the industry and to applaud the management of his breeding career by the McQuays. “We may never have a sire like him come along again for many, many years. They guided his path so well. Losing him was a setback but we are all thankful they had the foresight to make it so that he’s still part of the industry. It’s amazing, really. Gunner has made a lot of people happy. Everyone’s happy when they have a Gunner baby!”

NRHA Nomination Deadline Quickly Approaching

Tie a ribbon around your finger because a very important deadline for reining horses is near at hand. The opportunity to nominate weanling foals into the National Reining Horse Association Nomination program at the lowest rate ends on January 10.

The National Reining Horse Association’s Nomination Program was created to grow its North American and European Futurities and Derbies to new heights through enhanced payouts. It has done that by allocating 60 percent of all the fees to the Futurities and 40 percent to the Derbies after a 10 percent retainage. Simply put, the enrollment of foals creates additional added money to the purses at the Futurities and Derbies which saw a 42% increase in the North American Open Futurity in the very first year.

Although the nomination programs for the North American and the European regions are separate, there is an “option” fee available so that horses can become eligible to enter both the North American and European Programs. ­One hundred percent of the Option fees are allocated to their respective Nomination Program. Nominating foals makes them eligible to compete in the NRHA Futurity and/or Derby of their respective regions when they come of age.

When a horse competes and wins money at one of the Futurities or Derbies, the nominator receives 5% of the earnings! It does not matter if the nominator still owns the horse or not. For example, at the 2020 NRHA Futurity, although Arcese Quarter Horses was both the owner and nominator of open futurity champion All Bettss Are Off, had the horse changed hands, Arcese Quarter Horses would have still received $12,500 of the winner’s $250,000 purse.

Any horse can be nominated, and the original nominator can never be changed. NRHA Member and Show Services/Nomination Representative Emily Rush said, “We are so fortunate to have ReinerSuite available to us now because it really is the fastest and most economical way to nominate a horse. The $10 handling fee is waived when you do it online, and you receive an instant digital confirmation.” When members log in to ReinerSuite, they can get guidance on how to complete nominations in the Resources Library.

The deadline for 2020 foals is approaching quickly! After January 10, the fees double until January 31st after which date the foal is considered a yearling, and the fees adjust appropriately.

More information, including nomination forms, can be found at nrha.com/nomination.

2020 NRHA Markel Insurance Futurity Sales Increase Average Sale Prices Across the Board

Uncertainty surrounded many aspects of the 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity, including the NRHA Markel Insurance Futurity Sales. With numerous COVID-19 constraints imposed on the event, including changing the location to Arena 6 and condensing the Sales to one day instead of three, everyone waited to see what the result would be. Would the new format work for buyers and sellers? What would the averages be? Would buyers show up?

Those worries were quickly assuaged. The buyers came and stayed from beginning to end – both in-person and online – and the bidding was vigorous. Although fewer horses were consigned in the Futurity Prospect Sale than in the previous year, the sale average was substantially higher. The 23 horses through the ring averaged $35,522 against the prior year’s $34,257, while the 16 horses sold averaged $37,235, obliterating 2019’s average of $33,086.

That momentum continued in the Select Yearling Sale, where the 108 horses through the ring averaged $22,856, and the 96 sold averaged $22,697. That was up from $20,919 and $21,322, respectively.

In the Marketplace Sale, 60 horses went through the ring, averaging $14,367, compared to $13,046 in 2019. With only three pass outs, the remaining 57 sold averaged $14,088, compared to the prior year’s $13,718.

New for 2020 was the Select Breeders Sale, which showcased 21 horses that averaged $27,571. The 19 that sold averaged $29,111.

The overall high seller was Im Gunna Shine, a 2010 stallion by Gunner out of Shiner LIght by Shining Spark purchased by Onofre Gomez from California for $95,000.

Angie Honeywell, NRHA Senior Manager of Futurity Sales was excited about the success of the sales. “Overall, they went really well and everyone seemed to embrace the changes.”

One of those changes, the new online sales option, provided real convenience for buyers unable to attend in person. “We had a lot of bidding online and actually sold 11 horses to online buyers.”

“The atmosphere at this year’s sale was very upbeat,” noted NRHA Sale Committee member Jake Dahl. “I think that the one-day format this year was great. Everyone was in sale mode all day – either buying or selling. You saw more trainers there looking at yearlings and two-year-olds than I ever remember, and overall, there was a positive feel. Both buyers and sellers were upbeat.”

Dahl, who serves on the sale committee with Chairman Clint Haverty and members Casey Hinton, Fred Thomsson, Spence Bell, John Tague, and Rosanne Sternberg, added, “That vibe seemed to start during the Wednesday night preview and just stayed consistent throughout the sale.”

NRHA Chief Financial Officer John Foy commented, “2020 has been a challenge for many equine associations, including the NRHA. We had seen a reduction in some of our revenue line items and had to make expense adjustments to offset those. So, we were very hopeful that the futurity and sale would perform well not only for the association but for the industry as a whole.”

The hopes became reality when the North American Affiliate Championships at the Futurity had record entries and payouts and the show came very close to breaking the overall payout record set in 2012. “Plus, the total sold for the entire sale was the best it has been since 2007. Foy added, “It goes without saying that the NRHA Board and Management all very appreciative of everyone who participated in the sale and the show!”

Along with the upbeat tempo, there was a distinct poignancy during the sale, with many folks wearing masks with stickers that read “Mask up for Doug” in memory of the late Doug Carpenter, who passed away due to COVID-19 the week before the futurity began.

Carpenter, a wheel horse on the sale committee, had predicted the Sale’s success back in November, referencing the quality of the horses consigned. “I have never seen the depth of the horses we are selling – not only in how well-bred they are but also in their conformation. I think we are seeing the breeding coming together – throughout the industry people are breeding great mares to great stallions and it really shows,” he said.

Planning is already underway for the 2021 NRHA Markel Insurance Futurity Sales, and information will soon be available. To learn more, contact Angie Honeywell at ​ahoneywell@nrha.com or 405-946-7400.