Toyon Ranch’s Rookie of the Year – Pathway for Lifelong Reiners

For Immediate Release – June 13, 2019 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and Toyon Ranch have partnered to support the grassroots of reining through the Rookie of the Year program. Sponsored by Toyon Ranch, the Rookie of the Year title is a goal that many beginning reiners strive for. Here, past contenders share their Rookie of the Year stories, advice for running at the title, and what it meant to them.

Their Time to Shine
The Rookie of the Year title is awarded during the Adequan® North American Affiliate Regional Championships (NAAC) held in Oklahoma City during the NRHA Futurity. It’s a chance for grassroots reiners to compete in close proximity to their reining idols—many of whom could be credited for inspiring people to get involved with reining—at one of the association’s major events.

Holly Valerio, 2015 NRHA Rookie of the Year, describes the competition as the Super Bowl of Reining. “As a beginner reiner, I had the opportunity to compete at the same shows as the celebrities of reining,” she said. “Rookie of the Year is the title wanted by any beginning reiner. It’s our place to play as beginners. Plus, the prizes were outstanding. It was something I worked hard for all year long. It was a dream come true on a high level. It was a huge accomplishment to me.”

Canadian reiner Magalie Boulanger, 2017 Reserve Rookie of the Year, said, “It was the most prestigious title to win as a rookie! I’ve always dreamed of showing in the United States, and it was such a great opportunity.” Boulanger is from Quebec, Canada.

Contenders for the Rookie of the Year must compete in qualifying shows held by their local affiliates. The top 15 riders in each region at the end of the season qualify for the Affiliate Regional Championships (ARCs). From each ARC, the top 10 horse-and-rider combinations, plus ties, earn the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma City to compete for the Toyon Ranch NRHA Rookie of the Year title, saddle, trophy, buckle, and other awards during the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® NAAC.

Insider Tip: Check with your local affiliate to find the closest qualifying events and learn more about qualifying for an ARC. Refer to the NRHA Adequan® NAAC Conditions for complete details.

First-Hand Advice
2015 Reserve Rookie of the Year Kathy Loudamy, from Whitesboro, Texas, advised anyone going out for any title to “set their goals, knows the rules, work hard, mentally prepare, be a good sport, trust their horse, and have fun. I lived and breathed all those rules from the start. I researched all the avenues. All the affiliates. I set small goals for myself to get to each step. I decided SWRHA was the affiliate I would designate as mine and mapped out all their shows needed to qualify for the South Central ARC in August. When I qualified for the finals in Tulsa, I never lost sight of the Adequan® NAAC Affiliate Finals.  But it was a much harder competition than I thought as there were so many good riders and horses. It’s people from all over, not just your next-door neighbors.”

“Going in with the big dogs was scary but awesome at the same time,” said Sandra Cochran, 2014 Reserve Rookie of the Year. “As a rookie, you have so much to overcome—learning how to deal with the pressure of the high-point competition and my own pressure was challenging. My trainer was able to keep me focused on the pattern one step/maneuver at a time.”

Memories That Last a Lifetime
“Giving an opportunity to the rookies to work hard and set goals for a prestigious title is such a great idea,” Loudany added. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you have something to work toward like this, it makes it even better. I’ll never forget the Adequan® NAAC. It was that important to me. It’s the accomplishment, the confidence it gave me, and knowing that I did it.”

Cochran, the Colorado native that now lives in Sandy Valley, Nevada echoed that sentiment.

“The feeling of that ride, with all of the people from Colorado cheering for me, is so hard to explain,” she recalled. “It was like I won the biggest event there is; the screaming and yelling was so loud. Everyone was so supportive, even those who I competed against were amazing and there cheering everyone on. I can’t believe all of the prizes. It was just amazing.”

Long-Term Success
Helping educate reiners as they start their journeys with the sport is crucial to setting them up to succeed and understand the organization’s systems. “Aiming toward Rookie of the Year helped me understand the process of levels and accumulating scores (learning how the NRHA judging system works),” Cochran said.

Valerio advised starting with the basics at the green reiner level until they get the most out of it. “It’s a learning environment. Know your levels, and work them to their max. Work your way out of and up through the divisions one by one, because once you are out of that division, you’re out. Go to judges’ educational meetings and seminars. It’s amazing what you’ll learn. The more educated you are, the more successful you’ll be.”

Supporting Every Aspect of the Industry
Toyon Ranch of Pilot Point, Texas, focuses on breeding and bringing to market high-quality reining prospects by pairing a diverse and proven band of mares with the world’s leading stallions. Their dedication to the sport of reining encompasses all levels of riders and competition, from green to pro. They also sponsor the Affiliate Ambassador program, which brings together a diverse community of reiners and aims to connect the global reining community on multiple levels. Toyon Ranch also generously presents Slider’s Night Out, a fundraising event for the Reining Horse Foundation held during the NRHA Futurity. Sliders’ Night Out recognizes members of the NRHA Hall of Fame and raises funds for the nonprofit charitable foundation. In addition to their Presenting Donor role for the charity event, which will be held again December 4, 2019, Toyon Ranch underwrites an NRHA program to recognize and involve NRHA member volunteers at the grassroots level during Sliders’ Night Out.

Time To Ride Welcomes Pilot Program Participants

Over 60 Equine Facilities Accepted

For Immediate Release – June 6, 2019 – Washington, DC – Time To Ride®, a program of the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance, has accepted 62 lesson facilities for its 2019 pilot program.

The new Time To Ride program is designed to introduce school-age children to horseback riding and horse care in a safe, welcoming environment. The goal is to familiarize school-age children with horses through an initial series of six to eight lessons that include basic horse care as well as riding. The lesson series are offered through schools, local youth organizations and recreational leagues.

Equine facilities and instructors had to meet specific requirements to be considered for the pilot program, including SafeSport training and a criminal background check. All instructors either hold a current professional membership with one or more national breed or discipline associations, are certified as an instructor through a recognized program such as Certified Horsemanship Association or licensed as a riding instructor in the state in which they teach.

“We were expecting to get 20-30 qualified applicants for the pilot program,” said Molly O’Brien, Time To Ride Program Manager. “To our delight, we received over 100 inquiries and applications, and narrowed it down to the 62 selected.”

The facilities participating in the pilot program represent a broad cross-section of the equine industry, with representatives ranging from Arabian horse farms to AQHA professionals, dressage, hunter/jumpers, Saddlebreds, Morgans, Paint Horses, Certified Horsemanship Association, United States Pony Clubs and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship instructors and more. O’Brien said, “It’s very encouraging to see the support we received promoting the program from so many breed and discipline organizations, and the response from their members. This points to the ongoing need for a program such as Time To Ride to help lesson barns bring new kids into the horse world in a structured, supported fashion.”

Barns and instructors accepted for the pilot program have been designated Time To Ride Program Facilities and are being given marketing tools, techniques and assistance to help with their local outreach. The Time To Ride program emulates the golf industry’s The First Tee, in which schools offer children a series of lessons at a local golf course. The First Tee has reached 15 million children since its start in 1997.

The pilot program will continue through the end of this year. The results and methods will be analyzed and adjustments made where necessary, with plans to roll the program out on a larger scale next year.

To learn more about Time To Ride, visit To view the list of selected facilities, visit

About Time To Ride

Time To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. The Marketing Alliance was founded by a consortium of equine-related corporations and organizations to encourage and support the growth of the U.S. horse industry. Current members of the Marketing Alliance include: Active Interest Media/Equine Network, American Horse Council, Morris Media Network, Platinum Performance, Purina and Zoetis. Additional support is provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association, Troxel Helmets and Weaver Leather. Educational support is provided by Certified Horsemanship Association, United States Equestrian Federation and United States Pony Clubs.

For more information contact Molly O’Brien, Time To Ride Program Manager:; 202-891-7971.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

Yellow Jersey to return to Italy

The great Yellow Jersey, the hugely attractive palomino stallion with an impressive show record, whose career advanced between the reins of six different riders all the while maintaining excellent results, is coming home – or, at least, to the country, Italy, where his fame as a great athlete was initially built and established. The news is as fresh as it comes: the prestigious Elementa Centre will now be home to the ‘golden’ Champion who is due to arrive in the coming weeks. Thus, the Facility adds a second World Equestrian Games Gold Medallist to its collection of “happy” horses – because welfare is top among the priorities that Cecilia Fiorucci, owner of the magnificent Centre near Rome, has for her equine guests.

Yellow Jersey, who won a Gold medal with Team USA as well as Individual Bronze at the 2014 Normandy WEG, preceded by a team Bronze medal with the Italian squad in 2010 in Lexington, is currently the only horse that has participated and won medals in two World Championships. In the prestigious location at Bracciano, he will be joining the now “Roman” Custom Made Gun, who brought home the same medals (team gold, individual bronze) from Tryon 2018. What makes this encounter even more extraordinary is that the riders on these two special occasions were mother and son: respectively Mandy and Cade McCutcheon: “Cade and I owe so much to these two horses and it was extremely difficult for us to see them go,” says Mandy. “However knowing they are with Cecilia and her amazing staff makes it easier for all of us. We visited them last February at their beautiful facility and this is why we knew it was the best decision for Jersey to join the team at Elementa. Both Custom and Jersey will have the best care and be able to continue great breeding careers with first class work of E-Genetics.”

And while Custom Made Gun gave 18-year-old Cade the chance to become the youngest Gold medallist in the USA Dream Team and mark top score in the 2018 WEG, Yellow Jersey has probably done even more for Mandy McCutcheon. Indeed, this horse contributed greatly to taking her across the threshold of two million dollars in Lifetime Earnings to become the first woman and first Non Pro to reach this milestone as well as accompanying her when she was the first woman and the first Non Pro to represent the USA at the WEG. “This was not an easy decision for Colleen and I,” says Yellow Jersey’s former owner and Mandy’s father Tim McQuay, “but knowing Jersey and Custom will have the best care and homes to live out their lives and breeding careers made it much easier for all of us. We currently have several Yellow Jersey offspring we are looking forward to showing and can’t wait to start riding the Custom babies.”

Before being bought by the McQuays in 2014, Yellow Jersey had belonged to Bob Thompson and Lisa Coulter. Bob bought him after his trainer, Andrea Fappani noticed the stallion at the 2010 WEG where the horse was ridden by Stefano Massignan, the trainer who had guided Jersey to his first round of brilliant successes. In fact, while still under the ownership of Eleuterio Arcese, currently the NRHA’s only Two Million Dollar Owner, and with Massignan in the saddle, Yellow Jersey garnered a host of triumphs: at the age of four, Italian Open Maturity Co-Reserve Champion and finalist at the Italian Open Derby; at five, NRHA European Futurity Open Champion, Italian Open Derby Co-Champion and Italian Open Maturity Reserve Champion. Then, after winning the Bronze medal at the WEG in Lexington, Yellow Jersey returned to the US, where he had been born in 2004, sired by NRHA 10 Million Dollar Sire, NRHA Hall of Famer, 2018 Equi-Stat # 2 Reining Leading Sire and # 3 All Time Reining Leading Sire Wimpys Little Step out of Ms Clara Melody. Jersey had departed the US for Italy three years earlier after finishing among the Top 12 of Okla’s Futurity between the reins of Brent Wright. In 2010, it was Fappani who showed Yellow Jersey in the $100,000 Shootout and despite the pair’s short time together they won, thereby significantly advancing the horse’s annual NRHA earnings and enabling him to capture the title of 2010 NRHA World Open Reserve Champion.

Yellow Jersey continued to earn credit and dollars as an aged horse until 2014, closing his competitive career at the grand age of 10 having reached total career winnings of over

$153,000 in NRHA events as well as being AQHA Senior Reining World Show qualifier and receiving the AQHA Register of Merit (ROM). Despite going to the breeding shed relatively late, he has sired offspring that have earned over 164,200 dollars. The Top 5 performers among his offspring: The Star Jersey ($36,444, 2018 High Roller Reining Classic Futurity Open L4 Reserve Champion with Craig Schmersal), Yellow Bug (+$23,830, Half Arabian 4/5YO Reining Futurity Open Champion), New Jersey (+$17,310, 3rd Arhfa World Championship Roping Futurity Heeling), Ruf Up My Jersey ($12,503, 3rd Reining Southwest Futurity with Brian Bell), Lil Jersey (+$10,000, Reserve Champion at the Tulsa Reining Classic L3 Developing Horse Futurity with Tim McQuay). In Europe, not to forget Arc Jersey Out (French Futurity 3-yr-olds Reserve Champion) and Arc Snap Chic (Austrian Futurity 3-yr-olds Reserve Champion), all of which were shown by Gennaro Lendi. Now, managed in Europe by E-Genetics, he will be able to further consolidate his talent as a sire.

“Yellow Jersey’s long and healthy career is exactly what Elementa would like to see made possible for any reining horse”, explains Communications Director, Domenico Lomuto. “While it takes special mettle to do what he did, we would like to see the same conditions created everywhere for other horses to enjoy the same chance. It is clear that the well- being of our athletes depends on a long list of care and skills related not only to their training but also to their daily management. Elementa will ensure that Yellow Jersey, like all the other residents of our Centre, is guaranteed the highest standard from this point of view. Therefore, we are certain that our new guest will enjoy the optimum conditions to best express his potential as a sire”.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

Ms Dreamy Inducted into the Horse Stars Hall of Fame

For immediate release – May 6, 2019 – Frederick Christen’s 2010 mare Ms Dreamy (Magnum Chic Dream x A Gal With A Gun; LTE $179,169) has joined other outstanding equine members in The Horse Stars Hall of Fame as a 2019 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) inductee. Established in 2013 by USEF and the EQUUS Foundation, the Horse Stars Hall of Fame celebrates the extraordinary talent of horses and their magical and powerful bond with people. The USEF inducts the horses recognized annually as “Horses of Honor” for their stellar athletic performances.

Those who have the honor of knowing reining superstar Ms Dreamy would agree that she has big talent and an even bigger heart. “This horse has a heart the size of the universe. I had a lot of success with her as an amateur rider, under the guidance of Dan and Wendy Huss,” Christen said. “She had the heart to step up and be a contender for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG).” But qualifying for WEG was just the beginning for Ms Dreamy, who would go on to make not only her inner circle of riders, trainers, and owner proud, but the entire reining community.

Ms Dreamy, affectionately known in the barn as ‘Dreamy,’ has collected a multitude of remarkable accomplishments with four different riders over her five-year career. However, nothing can compare to the results the athletic mare and her current rider and trainer Dan Huss achieved in 2018.

During the Carolina Classic Derby and FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 Reining Test Event held in May, Huss rode Ms Dreamy to the high score of 224. In the second phase of the competition, they scored a 226 for a 450 composite tie and moved past the tie to win the event. During the WEG, Ms Dreamy and Huss helped the U.S. Reining Team earn their fifth consecutive team gold medal while placing second individually in the team competition. They finished WEG with the individual silver medal, making Ms Dreamy the first mare to individually medal for a U.S. team. Out of a field of 61 combinations in the WEG reining team competition, she was one of only 12 mares, and one of only four mares in the individual competition. “Her qualifying runs for the WEG were incredible,” Christen added. “Both of her runs at the WEG also made her deserving of this recognition.”

Christen’s proudest moment involving Dreamy took place at the 2018 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show. While competing in the Senior Reining finals, an equipment malfunction where the headstall came unbuckled from the bit left Huss with no bridle, but that was not enough to stop Dreamy from putting down a stellar performance. Despite being bridleless, Huss and Dreamy stayed focused and executed a pattern that Christen described as “life-inspiring.”

Throughout her career, Dreamy has accumulated many notable accolades, including the 2013 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Level 2 Non-Pro Reserve Championship; the 2014 American Quarter Horse Association Amateur Reining World Championship; the 2015 High Roller Reining Classic Derby Level 3 Open Reserve Championship; and the 2016 National Reining Breeders Classic Level 3 Non-Pro Championship. In addition, Ms Dreamy was named a ‘USEF Horse of Honor’ in 2018.

Christen, who has been involved in the equine industry for 27 years, is proud of Dreamy’s countless accomplishments, and perhaps more importantly, her willing nature and big heart. “There is no quit in this mare,” Christen said.

Read the entire release on all the 2019 Horse Stars Hall of Fame inductees here.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America’s horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail:, Website:

About US Equestrian: Established in 1917, the United States Equestrian Federation (US Equestrian), the governing body of equestrian sport in the United States, is dedicated bringing the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible. Learn more about the US Equestrian at

Contact: Lynn Coakley

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.