Teton Ridge Announces its First Team of Professional Riders

Andrea Fappani, Corey Cushing and Todd Bergen introduced as inaugural members of TEAM:TR

(AUGUST 2, 2021) TETONIA, IDAHO – Teton Ridge, a newly-formed brand created to preserve, promote, and protect America’s western way of life announced today that three elite professional riders will be joining TEAM:TR, the equine competition component of the brand.

Together, Andrea Fappani, Corey Cushing and Todd Bergen create a powerful team of best-in-class professional riders spanning the major disciplines of reining and reined cow horse. Teton Ridge is further expanding this team to include the disciplines of cutting, barrel racing and bull riding. 

Leading visionary entrepreneur and western enthusiast Thomas Tull formed Teton Ridge to honor western culture, expand interest in performance sports, and celebrate the top-tier athleticism and spirit of the men and women who compete in western riding disciplines every day. Teton Ridge is also breeding elite, equine athletes and provides programs that offer the finest quality horse and TEAM:TR trainer combinations, so the animals can reach their fullest potential.

Each horseman brings a different skillset and personality to TEAM:TR. Collectively that translates to a diverse roster of riders whose values and dedication will not only help elevate all western equine disciplines, but provide them with the type of respect and recognition they deserve.

Andrea Fappani, considered one of reining’s all-time greatest athletes, has captured multiple titles and won over $6 million in the saddle. Introduced at an early age to English riding and reining, Fappani has never known life without horses. He moved to the United States from his family’s farm in Italy to train with Todd Bergen, become a professional rider, and be the best horseman he could be.

In 2001, after five years of training, Andrea won his first NRHA Futurity at the age of 24.

Fappani is only the second person to become an NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider. Additionally, he is a four-time NRHA Futurity Champion, a four-time NRBC Champion, an NRHA Derby Champion and has captured multiple AQHA World Champion titles.

Fappani’s experience, enthusiasm and professionalism make him a crucial asset to TEAM:TR. “I’m committed to excellence with horses and always focused on what’s best for each individual. That is what drives me to be the best reining trainer and showman,” said Fappani. “To commit to understand the needs of a horse and how that particular horse learns is extremely rewarding. Developing confidence in each horse’s athletic abilities and becoming a trusted partner in the show arena and winners circle is our goal.”

TEAM:TR is “here to make a difference in western performance sports and bring them to a different level. I think that we’re going to see some great changes, both in the sports and to western culture.”

Corey Cushing specializes in reined cow horse and reining and is a best-in-class qualifier focused on the longevity of performance horses. Corey became involved in western performance sports at a young age. He honed his horsemanship skills under the eye of the late Noel Skinner and also John Slack directly out of high school.

Cushing had the opportunity to learn from Todd Bergen, who is widely recognized as one of the finest horseman in the business.

The assistant trainer turned athlete made his professional breakthrough at 19 when he won the NRHA Futurity Intermediate Open Championship. At the time, Cushing had only been reining for one year. Corey’s dedication also earned him the title of youngest National Reined Cow Horse Association Million Dollar honoree in 2012. And in 2018, Cory became the third NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider in history.

Most recently, Cushing captured the 2021 NRCHA Open Derby Champion title, aboard Teton Ridge’s stallion, Hesa Dual Bet.

A perfect addition to TEAM:TR, Corey’s experience, confidence, poise, and sense of respect have all helped elevate him and his horses to the most elite levels.

“Teton Ridge appreciates us and our horses as athletes, and they truly respect and understand the hard work and long days that go into western life and sports,” said Cushing. “What drew me to join  TEAM:TR is the enthusiasm and appreciation that Thomas Tull has and the multiple disciplines that Teton Ridge is involved in and will be a part of one day.”

Todd Bergen, a familiar name in western sports, is a ten-time NRHA and NRCHA Futurity Champion and Reserve Champion Rider. He is the sixth NRCHA Million Dollar Rider and the first rider to achieve a Two Million Dollar status in both the NRCHA and NRHA.

Bergen started competing at the age of 11 and turned professional at 18. Todd was only an assistant when he started winning world championships. His most memorable win was in 1995, at age 25, when he won the NRHA Futurity.

Bergen’s vision of the future of equine events aligns with Teton Ridge’s strategies to grow western sports, noting that “the bigger the events and purses, the more people are going to want to participate and come see equine sports.”

“What Teton Ridge is doing for western culture and the horse industry is something a lot of people have dreamed about for a long time. Teton Ridge is paving the way for people in the future that want to do what we do. What I can bring to the table is experience in the industry. I can help guide Teton Ridge in the right direction.”

TEAM:TR is elevating western sports by assembling a roster of the world’s most elite western riders and broadening audience appeal and participation.


About Teton Ridge

Teton Ridge is a multi-platform brand devoted to the iconic American Western way of life and western equine sports. Teton Ridge will create a team of elite equine riders from multiple disciplines, invest in the breeding and training of the most sought-after pedigrees in the quarter horse industry and engage audiences to elevate and expand western equine sports through innovative technology. Additionally, Teton Ridge operates a philanthropic foundation that provides invaluable funding for land stewardship, fosters community by preserving the American West’s cultural heritage, and ensures the future of ranching and riding sports. For more information about Teton Ridge, please visit tetonridge.com or @tetonridge on Instagram @tetonridgeusa on Facebook.


TEAM:TR, the equine competition component of the Teton Ridge Brand, is assembling a roster of the world’s most elite western riders to elevate equine sports while also broadening audience appeal and participation. Simultaneously, they are training and breeding the next generation of high-performance Quarter Horses to strengthen the breed based on superior bloodlines and genetic traits. Additionally, Teton Ridge is planning a new state-of-the-art training facility at TR9 Ranch in Weatherford, Texas, to be one of the world’s most advanced and innovative equine training facilities. For more information about Teton Ridge, please visit tetonridge.com or @tetonridge on Instagram @tetonridgeusa on Facebook.

Contacts: Katie Harvey
KGBTexas Communications
(210) 410-1139

Cody Shown
KGBTexas Communications
(210) 913-2639

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

NRBC Announces Schooling Protocol Change for 2021

Believing strongly in creating a positive future for the reining industry has long been a hallmark of the leadership of the National Reining Breeders Classic. Throughout its 24-year history, the Board and staff have explored new directions, tested innovative new ideas and adjusted their course with a laser focus on improving reining year by year. Many of the fruits of their labors have become accepted as industry standards.

So, it is not surprising that the NRBC leadership team is once again addressing an issue – one that invites strong opinions for and against change. NRBC President Tom McCutcheon explains, “It’s a new stage of history for reining. We are not where we were 20 or even 10 years ago. We feel that it’s time to evolve with the times for the betterment of our industry.”

To that end, the NRBC has announced a new protocol for its 2021 event. “All the arenas will be closed at 7 pm each night and will reopen for riding two hours before time to prep the arena the next morning,” Tom noted, then added, “If classes run past 5 PM in a particular arena, it will be open for two hours following the end of the class.”

The NRBC Board was unanimous in making this change and the decision was based on two important facets of reining. Paramount in the decision was the welfare of the horse, and the board felt that this new direction was essential to the soundness, health and longevity of reining horses.

The second reason for the decision was in consideration of the experience of participating in reining events as trainers, owners and riders. McCutcheon said. “It’s really about taking an opportunity to try to change the culture of our industry – trying to find a balance between the normal 24-hour schedule that can be fatiguing for horses, trainers, assistants, owners and Non Pros. We have to remember that we are competing for the discretionary dollars of today’s horse owners and they have many options both inside and outside the equine industry. It’s really about the NRBC trying to take the opportunity to have an amazing, fun show for exhibitors and owners alike.”

NRBC Vice President Colleen McQuay noted, “Schooling at night has always been a part of reining. Reiners have felt since day one that they had to get on the ground. It’s time to change that old mindset to today’s needs.”

The new policy has already sparked plenty of discussion. Some trainers are glad to hear of the change and others are concerned with getting their horses prepared.

NRHA $6 Million Rider Andrea Fappani said, “I’m excited about limiting riding hours at the NRBC. The Derby-aged horses know their jobs and are for the most part very comfortable in a show arena. Once they test out the ground a few times, they should be good to show. I’m looking forward to being able to have a normal schedule for a change and enjoy spending some quality time with my customers.”

He continued, “Derby horses don’t need to be ridden hard at the shows. If we have prepared them properly at home, getting them comfortable with the ground is the only thing we have left to do once we get to a show. This new format will be fair for all of us and it will prevent a lot of horses from getting overworked and stressed.”

NRHA Professional Kole Price welcomes the chance to try something different. He said, “I’ve been to shows where you don’t get to go out once with your customers. I’m thinking that maybe knowing that the schooling time will be during certain times will also encourage people to watch and enjoy the time to interact with their friends.”
He added, “It should allow riders and horses to get a good night’s sleep. So both can perform better.”

NRHA Professional Brian Bell said, “There are enough other arenas to ride in so you can get your horse loped around and relaxed. The horses need to be ready to show and getting to ride in the middle of the night when you get there isn’t going to change them if they are not. With paid warmups and schooling classes and the other opportunities where arenas are open, if that doesn’t get you ready, I don’t know what would. My Non Pros just don’t want to come out and ride at three am. The way NRBC gets over early enough in the day, there are plenty of opportunities to ride. I remember the first couple years we went to South Point; they didn’t let anyone ride at night and I think the horses showed just as good.”

Former NRBC Open Champion Martin Muehlstaetter said that he, too, would welcome a scenario where the showing experience was not as exhausting. He said, “There are shows that, for different reasons, do not have riding at night. I believe that does not change the outcome of the show. When it’s the same for everyone and there are plenty of places during the day to ride, it could be a good thing to try. If we are not able to ride during the day, though, because of rain or bad weather, there would need to be an adjustment.”

That’s exactly what the NRBC’s Board has considered. McQuay added, “We definitely have a Plan B for days when it might rain and, in that case, would adjust the schedule accordingly.”

NRHA Professional Matt Palmer was also interested in the change. He said, “For me, anything we can do to improve our industry and culture is good. It’s sure worth giving it a try, and the NRBC has proven to be a great place over the years to test different ideas.”

Colleen said, “We want to thank our riders and trainers in advance for their support in taking the next step to ensure the health and welfare of our riders and horses to secure the future of our sport.”

The following protocol will be in place for the 2021 NRBC, set for April 18-25 in Katy, Texas. Arenas will be closed two hours after the end of the last event of the day in that arena or at 7 pm, whichever is later. For the ensuing two hours, there will be fencing (stopping) only, and the arena will be worked every 20 minutes. After closing for the night, the arena will reopen two hours before the beginning of ground preparation for that day’s classes.

Non-competition arenas will be closed at 7 pm each day and open at 7 the next morning. Adjustment to the schedule will be made in the case of inclement weather.

For nearly 25 years, the National Reining Breeders Classic program and show have held a singular place in the reining industry. For information on the NRBC, visit the website at www.nrbc.com, email to nrbc@nrbc.com or call 580-759-3939.

2021 Health Requirements for NRBC at Great Southwest Equestrian Center

Influenza & Herpes Vaccine within 6 months
Negative Coggins within 1 year
21-day health certificate that states that the horse has not been treated for a temperature or other herd health issues within the last 30 days.

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

Why You Should Join Time To Ride

Hint: Increased Success for Your Lesson Program

Washington, DC – Time To Ride®, a FREE program created by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance, can help build your lesson program by setting you apart from other instructors in your area.

Equine facilities and instructors must meet specific staff and physical property requirements to be designated as Time To Ride Program Facilities. Similar to receiving the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, achieving Time To Ride Program Facility status verifies that your facility and instructors meet a stringent set of requirements for safety and professionalism.

Time To Ride Program Facilities receive access to specially created marketing materials and support to help them succeed in gaining new lesson riders. These materials highlight the qualifications that Time To Ride Program Facilities must meet, and how that makes them different from other lesson barns. The Time To Ride marketing toolkit includes logos, press releases, letters, flyers, social media posts and more to help participating instructors promote their lesson programs to kids and their parents in their local area.

One TTR participant said, “We are absolutely in love with the Time To Ride program and have had huge success here at our facility.”  Another participant stated, “We used our Time To Ride Program Facility status to reach an entire school district and become part of their physical education program.”

If you want to build your lesson program and set yourself apart from other instructors in your area, then Time To Ride is for you. Check out the requirements and apply here: https://timetoride.org/requirements/

For more information visit TimeToRide.org, email ttr@horsecouncil.org, or call 202-891-7971.

About Time To Ride

Time To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. The Marketing Alliance was founded 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, Purina, Spalding Laboratories and Zoetis. Additional support is provided by the 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: ttr@horsecouncil.org; 202-891-7971.

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

The 2020 All American Quarter Horse Congress Has Been Cancelled

The Ohio Quarter Horse Association regretfully announces the cancellation of the 2020 All American Quarter Horse Congress, scheduled for September 29 – October 25. The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic simply prevents safely moving forward in Columbus Ohio. The well-being of our workers, exhibitors and attendees is our highest priority and based on the information we have today, the risk is simply too great. Thank you for understanding this difficult decision.

“It is a sad day with the cancellation of the 2020 All American Quarter Horse Congress. Hearing all the concerns from the local and state health departments, and the CDC, it was the right decision to make to keep people safe and healthy,” said Dr. Scott Myers, CEO of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association. “It is disappointing to all who worked tirelessly in preparation for this year’s Congress, and I want to personally thank you for your continued support. I look forward to the biggest and best Congress ever in 2021.”

Sincere thanks to the many loyal Congress sponsors, exhibitors and supporters. We are in this together, our industry is strong and rest assured, the Congress will be here in 2021. Details on moving forward and further updates will be available on quarterhorsecongress.com.

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

Kari Klingenberg Featured at Art of the Cowgirl

For Immediate Release – January 6, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and Art of the Cowgirl are teaming up to present NRHA Professional Kari Klingenberg during the 2020 event. As a first-year event sponsor, NRHA will be featured in the trade show while Klingenberg will talk about her career in a demanding, ever-evolving industry.

Hosted Jan. 24–26, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, the event features women every facet of the Western industry and celebrates their contributions to the Western way of life.

Klingenberg was the “horse-crazy girl” who simply never grew out of what most deem “just a phase.” At the ripe age of 12, this Stanwood, Washington, native tried every discipline under the sun until eventually landing in the stock horse and performance arena.

After a career as an assistant trainer riding a kaleidoscope of horses, Klingenberg found herself working for reining and cow horse trainer Sue Sultze. This propelled Klingenberg to become a top rider, and in 2008 she took a leap of faith as she struck out on her own and started Klingenberg Performance Horses.

“I have definitely taken the path less traveled,” Klingenber said. “When I started my own business I didn’t have the experience to do it; but I had the desire and the determination to try. I also had a strong belief that I was going to be successful.”

Both Bob Avila and Troy Heikes mentored and coached Klingenberg throughout her career. Shawna Sapergia was also a major influence, inspiring Klingenberg to believe that women have a place at the professional trainers’ table and are valuable contributors to the industry.

Women making waves in the Western industry is the vein of truth that formed Art of the Cowgirl. This speaks to Klingenberg on a personal level as she grew up with strong female role models who prepared her for this career path.

“I have a soft spot for little girls and teaching,” Klingenberg said. “I think girls of all ages need to be super tough and learn there are no limits of what they can accomplish. It’s important for girls of all ages to see other women who have conquered big things.”

Klingenberg will speak twice during the event: Friday, Jan. 24 at 3:30 p.m. Arizona time and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Don’t miss out as Klingenberg travels down memory lane in hopes of inspiring the next generation of horsewomen.

“It’s an honor for me to be a part of this, and I’m really excited about it,” Klingenberg said. “Everyone makes huge scarifies to be able to live this lifestyle; to be a part of it and share the way that I’ve done it is very humbling.”

For more information about Klingenberg, visit kariklingenbergph.com/about. For ticket information and a detailed schedule for the Art of the Cowgirl, visit artofthecowgirl.com.