Consistency is Key for the Novice Horse Open Competitors

We are thrilled to announce the outstanding achievements of the Novice Horse Open competitors at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Their impressive performances have not only earned them well-deserved recognition but also highlighted the sport’s promising future.

$1,000-added Novice Horse Open Levels 3 and 2 Co-Champions – Sean McBurney and Americasnextdiamond

NRHA Professional Sean McBurney and the Rhodes River Ranch-bred and -owned Americasnextdiamond scored a 146 to tie for the win in the Levels 3 and 2 $1,000-added Novice Horse Open classes, also earning the High-Point award in both levels.

McBurney said the 9-year-old mare was recently a broodmare, but with the money added at the show, her connections decided she should return to the show pen to increase her NRHA lifetime earnings (LTE).

By NRHA $3 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds and out of Americasnextgunmodel, the mare already had $10,591 in NRHA LTE on her record, all with McBurney at the reins.

$1,000-added Novice Horse Open Levels 3 and 2 Co-Champions Matt Mills and Wallas First Vintage

Matt Mills took home the Novice Horse Open Levels 3 and 2 Co-Championship on wife Karen’s horse, Wallas First Vintage (A Sparkling Vintage x Wallas Chic Diana).

“I’m glad NRHA provides classes like this; it’s a perfect platform for younger horses that are moving up the ranks — a place for them to show and be competitive,” Mills said. “I rode his mother, Wallas Chic Diana, for Janice Dickson, who raised him. I watched this little guy from the beginning, so it has been really cool to see how he progressed.”

Mills said the stallion started out very playful, and it took a while for him to take training seriously.

“He’s just a fun little horse. He keeps getting better and better, and that’s the great thing about reining — it’s all about that connection with the horse,” Mills said. “They have to be willingly guided, so we have to get them to do these hard maneuvers, but it has to look like there isn’t any signal at all from the rider to the horse. To get that, you have to have hours and hours of practice. A lot of times personalities have to match, so [I’m] real excited about that win today.”

Novice Horse Open Level 1 Champions – Jared Leclair and Sparkling Magnum

NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jared Leclair piloted Sparkling Magnum (Magnum Chic Dream x Electric Sparkle) to the top of the first slate of the Novice Horse Open Level 1 and repeated the feat today to earn themselves the championship and high-point title.

The 6-year-old mare, who is owned by Lisa Mauzerall and was bred by Wendy Hausner, boasted more than $11,000 in NRHA LTE before this win.

“The mare has been really competitive for me in the Noice Horse classes, and I’ve shown her in derbies, too,” Leclair said. “We decided to show her here [in the ancillary classes] instead of the [NRHA] Derby because I thought she would be more competitive. That’s what’s great at these big horse shows; there are other classes for those horses to go in to be competitive.”

As the NRHA Professionals left the show pen, it was once again time for the rookies to shine. The first section of the Toyon Ranch Rookie Free-For-All began this afternoon and will conclude after the second section shows tomorrow. Follow along with the free live feed at

Sean McBurney