2017 NRHA Derby: Day One

Great horse-rider stories fill the first day of competition at the 2017 NRHA Derby

Dunit In Wranglers steers Melissa Wigen to the NRHA $2,000-Added Non Pro win

Opening the day at the 2017 NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) Derby was the $2,000-added Non Pro Show 1 class run concurrently with the $1,000-added Intermediate Non Pro, the $500-added Limited Non Pro, and the $500-added Prime Time Non Pro.

Melissa Wigen of Ogden, Utah, rode her 2007 gelding, Dunit In Wranglers (Starlights Wrangler x A Bueno Poco Dunit), to a 143.5 score as well as the $2,000-added Non Pro title.

“[My run] was pretty good,” Wigen said. “He ran in and stopped well for me, turned good, circled good, and I knew if I could nail my stops, I’d probably be in a good position to win.”

Melissa’s accomplishments in the show pen are remarkable considering that not long ago she had a devastating horse accident, which resulted in multiple surgeries. Only three months ago, Melissa was in surgery once again. Not only has she had to recover physically, but she has had to regain her self-confidence. Her horse, Dunit In Wranglers, has given Melissa that confidence, and she is so very grateful. “I have a nice horse, and I am thankful everything came together,” states Wigen, who is married to NRHA Professional Travis Wigen.

The $2,000-added Non Pro reserve championship went to Adam Donahue on Thata Shiner (Smart Spook x SLJ Smartlikewhinny) with a score of 141.5. The duo also took home top honors in the $1,000-added Intermediate Non Pro class.

“I haven’t shown for 16 years,” Donahue said. “I had some time this year, so I decided to go back to the show pen. I purchased my mare from (NRHA Million Dollar Rider) Jose Vazquez a few years ago and, after a three-year-period in the pasture living the broodmare life, I started riding her in January. Plans are to show her through the rest of the year and then breed her to Not Ruf At All.”

Donahue trains his own horses and rides at Zimmerman Performance Horses Rogersville, Missouri. Donahue’s 2009 sorrel mare was supposed to be a broodmare until Donahue decided to bring her back into the show pen.

With Smart Dundee (Conquistador Whiz x Smart Oaklyn) between the reins, Cathy Brant won the $500-added Limited Non Pro with a 140, while Paul Queen scored a 138.5 to take reserve honors aboard Outta Dough, owned by Dorothy Queen. “My horse is incredible,” Brant said about her 7-year-old gelding. “My husband, (NRHA Professional) Brandon Brant, showed him in the 2010 NRHA Futurity. Following an injury, my horse wasn’t shown for two years, after which I picked up the reins. We tied to win the NRHA 7&Up Level 4 and Level 2 Non Pro class offered at the Buckeye Reiners Easter Slide, and now here we are!”

Ann Admonius and her own Gunners Genes (Gunner x Taris Designer Genes) paid another trip to the winner’s circle in the Prime Time Non Pro with a score of 139.

“I had so much fun today,” Admonius exclaimed. “This is a new horse for me, so we’re still getting acquainted with each other. I just had a ball!”
A string of unfortunate events delayed Admonius and the 2012 gelding’s progress toward the show ring, and this class was only the pair’s second time showing.

“I ride with (NRHA Professional) Ruben Van Dorp, who found the horse for me last October,” Admonius said. “The first time I went to show him, I fell and fractured my wrist. The second time I went, Ruben was headed to the barn and got hit by a drunk driver. The third time I went to show him, [National Reining Breeders Classic] the horse came up sick. I went to Redbud, so really this is the second time I’ve shown him.”

Admonius is now focused on enjoying her horse as they progress as a team.

“[My plans are] to get better,” said Admonius, who also took the reserve championship in the NRHA Intermediate Non Pro. “I love him! He’s just the sweetest horse.”

Xtra Dun Right and Nathan Piper claim the NRHA Novice Horse Open Level 1 and Level 2

NRHA Professional Nathan Piper of Nathan Piper Performance Horses Aubrey, Texas, rode Xtra Dun Right (Wimpys Little Step x SLJ Dun Juice) to the head both the $1,000-added NRHA Novice Horse Open Level 2 – counting 24 entries – and the $1,000-added Novice Horse Open Level 1 (counting 17 entries) with a score of 146.

“He went in and turned for me both ways, and after I felt him take a big deep breath, I knew he was focused,” Piper said of the winning performance. “He circled right with me and had some pretty stops. I didn’t want to over-show him; I wanted to go out there and half every maneuver and see what he’d do for me.”

Piper has a history with Shannon and Hershel Reid’s 2013 sorrel stallion bred by NRHA Million Dollar Owner Smart Like Juice Inc.

“I had him when he was younger, then sold him, and recently got him back. I brought him here to see what he was like, and hopefully I’ll be able to get him ready for Tulsa,” Piper said. “I knew he was a neat and talented horse, but since I’ve had him back, I’m surprised at how physical he is in his stops. I think he’s matured both physically and mentally since his early days in training.”

NRHA Professional Patrice St-Onge of Gainesville, Texas, earned the reserve championship in both classes with a score of 145 riding Smart Cowboy Whiz (Who Whiz It x Little Smart), owned by Cowboy Partners.

Closing the day was the CRI Jog counting 25 horse-rider combinations. All were accepted. Riders representing nine countries (Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Uruguay, USA) will be moving on to Sunday’s USA Open CRI3* competition.

US Equestrian Names Platinum Performance U.S. Teams for 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 23, 2017, 10:20 AM EST

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has named a group of up-and-coming athletes to the U.S. teams for 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders, August 9-12, in Givrins, Switzerland. Platinum Performance will serve as the title sponsor for the junior and young rider teams at the inaugural championships.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will represent the U.S. (in alphabetical order):

Platinum Performance U.S. Junior Team

Sam Flarida (Springfield, Ohio) with Katsy Leeman’s Footwork Revolution, a 2010 Quarter Horse stallion

Emma Lane (Gates, N.C.) with Bundy Lane’s Gunner Gump, a 2008 Quarter Horse gelding

Emilia Reutimann (Sherrills Ford, N.C.) with Lisa Reutimann’s Black Hails Gold, a 2010 Quarter Horse gelding

Alternate – Bo Van Duys (Westcliffe, Colo.) with her own and Holly Van Duys’s Wimpy’s Lucky Girl, a 2009 Quarter Horse mare

Platinum Performance U.S. Young Rider Team

Gabriella Kammerer (Mt Sterling, Ky.) with her own Gunners Star, a 2009 Paint gelding

Dani Latimer (Marietta, Okla.) with Fancy Sailor Oak

Cade McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Tim and Colleen McQuay’s Yellow Jersey, a 2004 Quarter Horse gelding

Jack Medows (Cuba, Mo.) with his own Wimpys Show Stopper, a 2006 Quarter Horse gelding

Alternate – Aubrey Galbraith (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) with Nadine Galbraith’s Cortez Conquistador, a 2008 Quarter Horse gelding

Find out more about the 2017 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors and Young Riders.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.

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.

NRHA Receives Multiple Awards at AHP Equine Media Awards Banquet

For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Okla. – June 22, 2017 –  During the American Horse Publication’s (AHP) three-day conference, held June 15-17, award winners in the AHP Equine Media Awards were honored for their hard work and expertise. This year’s competition for materials published in 2016 had over 783 entries from 105 members.

The National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) monthly publication, the NRHA Reiner, and NRHA Inside Reining’s production team, Sandbur Video, received multiple accolades at the AHP Equine Media Awards. “The publishing business is constantly evolving and becoming more and more competitive every day, and I could not be more proud of the team involved with the NRHA Reiner. The hard work and dedication they display every month is outstanding. They’re proud of NRHA and our sport, and that shines through in each issue,” said Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner. This isn’t the first time the NRHA Reiner has taken home a prize at the AHP Equine Media Awards. It won the General Excellence Association Publication award in 2012, an Honorable Mention in 2014, and numerous other awards for editorial, design and event programs.

The award-winning team for the NRHA Reiner includes: Simona Diale, Senior Director of Publications; Carol Trimmer, Editor Emeritus; Bucky Harris, Director of Art, Advertising & Design; Martha Haglund, Graphics; Sharon Barr, Advertising Manager; Chris Maedche, Advertising Account Executive; and Jana Thomason, Senior Manager of Creative & Design. Jennifer Reynolds, Producer and Chris Cook, Co-Producer/Videographer, make up the team for Sandbur Video.


NRHA Reiner

Inside layouts are where the artists shine. Nice packaging for the big show. Awesome writing. Very engaging. Really gives you a flavor of the people.

NRHA Reiner – July 2016
Ann Fonck and Roosters Attitude
Jana Thomason, Designer
Bucky Harris, Designer
Andrea Bonaga, Photographer

This is a gorgeous cover design. The lines, motion and depth in this composition make the page come to life. Every design element is handled expertly; from the color pallet, to fonts that complement each other, to the perfect amount of outlines and shadows that embellish the type, to the balanced positioning of text.


Honorable Mention
NRHA Reiner – December 2016
My Reining Journey
By Cullen Le Roy

This heartfelt first-person story may have a slight word count but it absolutely nails the significance of the human-horse bond. Cullen talking about his failures before his success just makes you root for him and keep reading. A sweet read.

Honorable Mention
National Reining Horse Association
2016 Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary – December 2, 2016
Sandbur Productions/Jenifer Cook Reynolds, Producer
Chris Cook, Co-Producer/Videographer

Video done well. Great use of video clips and using them in the appropriate places.

The AHP Equine Media Awards contest started in 1974 and provides an opportunity for AHP professionals and businesses to be recognized for excellence in equine publishing, print and online, as well as provide professional critiques for improvements.

Since 1980, the NRHA Reiner magazine has been the “Source” on all things “Reining.” The NRHA Reiner is the official publication of the National Reining Horse Association and as such covers all aspects of the association’s activities – from local NRHA Affiliate events, to the prestigious NRHA Futurity and Derby, to worldwide international competitions. To view the magazine online or to subscribe, visit www.nrha1.com/reiner.


Time to Ride Reaches Major Milestone: 100,000 New Horse-Human Connections

June 21, 2017, Georgetown, Texas – Time to Ride has reached a major milestone: connecting 100,000 new people to horses. The industry outreach program, created by an alliance of forward-thinking companies and organizations, focuses on increasing participation in the horse industry by engaging new enthusiasts in equine activities.

When the Marketing Alliance formed in late 2011, its members agreed to work together toward one simple but lofty goal: to increase participation in the horse industry, in the face of major economic, demographic and cultural changes and challenges. “With all the pressures and distractions of modern life, the mental, physical and emotional benefits that riding and other horse activities provide are more essential than ever. Time to Ride focuses on sharing that message with moms and families across the country by encouraging them to get involved with horses in a variety of ways,” says Marketing Manager Christie Schulte.

Time to Ride programs are unique in their grassroots focus. Since 2014, its largest program, the Challenge, has engaged stables, clubs, and equine businesses across the nation through a summer contest to introduce as many newcomers as possible to horses. Professionals teaching entry-level riding and horsemanship provide opportunities for budding equestrians to learn the basics while filling the pipeline of future participants in every discipline and breed.

The impact is already visible. In 2016, 82% of participating hosts reported that the Challenge had a positive impact on their business. Jessica Taylor, owner of Taylor Ranch Arabians in Payson, Utah, shared her experience: “We had over 100 people at each [of two] open house[s].  We doubled our lesson program during each open house.  We are holding 3 summer camps this year and hope to double our lesson program again.  It’s great to be able to grow the horse industry and this program is so helpful and rewarding.” Testimonials from newcomers have been equally powerful, including this excerpt from essay contest winner Aimee P.: “Once I discovered horses, the longing for a sense of stability disappeared, and with it my uncertainty and fear. Now, at 20 years old, experiencing college, I can easily say that simple sense of belonging is the greatest gift I have ever received.”

Time to Ride is celebrating 100,000 new horse-human connections by sharing impact stories on social media with the hashtag #TTR100k. Join the movement to connect people with horses, encourage ownership, and bring industry partners together by connecting with Time to Ride on Facebook and Instagram.

The American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance

Time to Ride is an initiative of the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance, formed to connect people with horses. It is designed to encourage horse-interested consumers to enjoy the benefits of horse activities. The AHC Marketing Alliance is made up of the following organizations: American Horse Council, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, American Quarter Horse Association, Farnam, Merck, Merial, Morris Media Network Equine Group, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, WaterShed Animal Fund, US Equestrian, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, American Paint Horse Association, ASPCA, Equibrand, National Reining Horse Association, Lumina Media, America’s Mustang Campaign, and Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program.

About the American Horse Council

The American Horse Council is a non-profit organization that includes all segments of the horse industry. While its primary mission is to represent the industry before Congress and the federal regulatory agencies in Washington, DC, it also undertakes national initiatives for the horse industry. Time to Ride, the AHC’s Marketing Alliance to connect horses and people, is such an effort. The American Horse Council hopes that Time to Ride will encourage people and businesses to participate in the industry, enjoy our horses, and support our equine activities and events. The AHC believes a healthy horse industry contributes to the health of Americans and America in many ways.


Contact – Christie Schulte, christie@timetoride.com or 512-591-7811


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.

Support Grows for Reining Boot Camps Benefiting the Crisis Fund

For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Okla. – June 20, 2017 – Reining Boot Camps are a series of reining clinics that serve as the major fundraiser for the Reining Horse Foundation’s Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund. Classic Equine remains the presenting sponsor as it has been during the program’s 14-year run when it was called Rookie Days, and support for the Boot Camp program is growing.

In 2017, paid participants are eligible for discount certificates toward select saddles at Scottsdale Western World and end-of-season prize drawings that include a saddle made by AM Superior Saddlery and donated by Andreas Maschke and $1,000 toward a pair of custom chaps made and donated by Dave Hack Custom Chaps. Classic Equine provides a selection of products used as awards and gifts for participants.

To date, 2017 Reining Boot Camps have been hosted by the Tennessee, West Coast and Southwest Reining Horse Associations. The next clinic will be hosted by the Arizona Reining Horse Association and held at Ben Balow’s Training Stables at Skull Valley, Ariz. on August 5.

The Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) is the charitable arm of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). Reining Boot Camps, managed by the RHF, help rookies and Non Pro riders learn how to prepare for the show pen. They are intended to be fun, low-stress, one-day instructional clinics. Proceeds benefit the RHF Crisis Fund, which aids reiners enduring medical hardships, accidents and disasters—such as fires, flood and tornadoes.

“We appreciate Classic Equine for its longstanding support of this program,” said Becky Jordan, RHF Board Secretary/Treasurer and chairperson of the Reining Boot Camp committee. “And, we are thrilled to have Andreas Maschke with his Am Superior Saddlery, Dave Hack Custom Chaps and Scottsdale Western World come alongside us with these extra incentives to encourage beginning and Non Pro reiners to grow their skills while supporting a good cause.”

Reining Boot Camps rely on NRHA Affiliate volunteers to secure a venue, conduct the clinic and recruit NRHA Professionals to serve as volunteer clinicians. Additionally, some events incorporate volunteer NRHA Judges to evaluate attendees when they perform the maneuvers of a basic reining pattern.

The one-day clinics are open to youth and adults. In addition to instruction time, the advance registration fee of $225 per adult and $125 per youth (18 and under) covers lunch. A full schedule with details and registration information can be found at reiningfoundation.com/bootcamp. Affiliates interested in hosting a Reining Boot Camp event should contact the RHF office.