Short Stirrup and Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under Champions Crowned in Oklahoma City

The Adequan® Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City has been bustling with activity all week, as riders from across North America compete in the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships. Youth competition began Friday with the Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under and the ancillary Short Stirrup class.

Madison Rafacz Wins Third Adequan® NAAC Title with Wimpys Dun Twistin

Madison Rafacz has had quite the week. She traveled from Ocala, Flo., hoping to do well in the Adequan® NAAC competition. She started off strong by winning the NAAC Limited Non Pro on her gelding Whizenboonsmal. The pair followed that up with another NAAC title three days later – this time in the Novice Horse Non Pro.

She capped off her time in Oklahoma City on Friday by winning the Adequan® NAAC Youth 13 & Under, but this time on Wimpys Dun Twistin. “It was a really good run today. I was just trying to have a clean ride, and she was really good for me,” Rafacz said. “It was great to win these classes. I came out here to show seven times, and was hoping I could win something, so to win these three was great.”

Wimpys Dun Twistin is by Wimpys Little Step out of Totally Dun Twistin. “She’s been in our barn since she was three or so, and she’s around 13 now. A customer owned her, and she (Wimpys Dun Twistin) went away for a while to have babies, but now she’s back and we own her,” Rafacz explained. “She’s back in shape now and winning, and she’s just perfect. She’s the favorite in the barn.”

Although his stablemate won the title, Whizenboonsmal (Peptoleap x She Whiz A Star) still pulled off a run that was good enough to mark a 214 and win second in the NAAC Youth 13 & Under. “He is so tired. He showed four times and he’s just over it and ready to be home, but he was good, too,” Rafacz said.

The 12-year-old took home many prizes, including a Bob’s Custom Saddle, Adequan® vests, Platinum Performance jackets, Montana Silversmiths buckles, product from SmartPak and Classic Equine, and gift certificates to Platinum Performance and Bluebonnet. “I thank my mom and dad, Kyla Thurlow, Steven Borgia, Jenna Webb, Stephen Graycheck, McKenna Ivey, my grandma back home, and everyone for being here for me,” she said.

Colt Mitchell Wins Short Stirrup Championship on Playgun Chic Olena

Charismatic Colt Mitchell claimed the Championship of the Short Stirrup division on Playgun Chic Olena. The pair wowed the judges, earning a 217.5. “He was great. The only problem I had was I slowed down after the center. That was our only bobble, but the rest of the run was really good,” Mitchell explained.

Mitchell’s family has owned Playgun Chic Olena, by Smart Chic Olena and out of Mamas Packin, for several years. “He’s actually my sister Molly’s horse, but I stole him from her. He’s 16 years old now, and we’ve had him since he was about seven.” Mitchell added, “He’s just a great horse that is really good at everything. He does it all right. I love him.”

The Short Stirrup title isn’t the only thing Mitchell is taking back to Missouri with him. He also got a new beagle puppy. “His name is Hank. I’m going to use him to hunt rabbits,” he said.

Mitchell, who will turn 11 next year, still has a year of Short Stirrup eligibility left. “I thank the good Lord for keeping me safe and giving me a nice run, and I thank all my family members for coming to watch and support me,” he said.

Becca Schaffhauser took the Short Stirrup reserve title on Dun Got My Rest with a 212.5. Dun Got My Rest, by Hollywood Dun It and out of Got My Rest, is owned by Becca’s father, Sam.

Rookie Riders Take the Spotlight for the Adequan® NAAC

The National Reining Horse Association Futurity also includes the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship, which features horses and riders from across North America competing for big money, prizes, and bragging rights.

On Thursday, Rookie riders took over the Adequan® Arena, with many competing for the title of Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year.

Kalena Reynolds and Gun Whiz It Win Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year

Kalena Reynolds has had her eye on the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year title for several years, and on Thursday evening, that dream became reality. She and her horse, Gun Whiz It, marked a 215.5 to win not only the Toyon Ranch Rookie of the Year title but also Reserve in the Adequan® NAAC Rookie Level 2.  “I can’t describe how excited I am. This is amazing,” Reynolds said following the class. “I’m so incredibly grateful for it all. Just to have the chance to win is absolutely amazing. I’m so thankful to have it and I owe it all to my mare.”

Although Reynolds has won quite a bit with Gun Whiz It, she still had some setbacks during the year. “I almost fell off in the finals at the (AQHA) youth world, and that hurt my confidence a bit. Then I didn’t have a great run at the Run For a Million, but I was still happy to be here,” she said. “I pulled it together and had the mindset of whatever happens, happens. I walked in, and she spun so well for me, and she was good for the entire performance.”

Reynolds won a Bob’s Custom Saddle, an Adequan® champion vest, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, product from Classic Equine, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet, Platinum Performance, and SmartPak.

The 16-year-old, who competes in the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association and represents the South Central Region, has owned the mare for 3.5 years. The 8-year-old mare is by Gunner and out of Roll Whiz It. “She’s my absolute best friend in the entire world. I love her so much. She loves oranges and hanging out with people,” Reynolds shared. “I thank her for always being there. I thank my mom who is my number one supporter. I also thank Fred and Dany Tremblay, and Ethan and Angie Wiley.”

There was a tie for reserve in the Toyon Rookie of the Year and the ancillary Rookie Level 1 between Jenna Webb and Sydney Friedman. Both riders marked 214s on their horses. Webb rode Ima Blonde Chic, a 5-year-old mare by Magnum Chic Dream out of Im Not Blonde. Friedman rode her 7-year-old stallion Spooks Full Throttle, by Spooks Gotta Gun out of Angierilla Boom.

Webb and Friedman split prizes which included a Montana Silversmith’s buckle, Adequan® vests, Classic Equine products, and gift certificates to Platinum Performance, Bluebonnet, and SmartPak.

Kyla Thurlow Wins Adequan® NAAC Rookie Level 2 on Kachina Olena Tag

Kyla Thurlow wasn’t feeling too confident riding into the Adequan® Arena for the NAAC Rookie Level 2. The night before, her horse had shown he had his own ideas. “I was a little nervous, but he was wonderful today. When we got in the arena I knew he was going to let me show him,” she said of their run. “We had a penalty to the right, but he circled better than he ever has, and he stopped really good for me. I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

Not only did Thurlow win the Adequan® NAAC title, she also won the accompanying ancillary class, winning a bevy of prizes including a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddles, an Adequan® vest, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, Classic Equine product, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak.

“I never thought I would win here. I did the Rookie of the Year many years ago, and it’s changed for sure. Now you have a lot of steps to get here, and you have to conquer them all. It’s been wonderful,” Thurlow said.

Although Thurlow lives in Massachusetts, her horse, Kachina Olena Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) resides in Florida with Mark and Shannon Rafacz. “I fly down for the weekend a couple times a month to see him and ride. I don’t get a lot of time in the saddle, so I’m fortunate he’s as nice as he is,” Thurlow said. “I thank Shannon and Mark. I owe them. They make this possible for me. I also thank everyone who has a hand in this – my mom and dad, Madison Rafacz, and my boyfriend Steven.”

Debbie Good Wins Adequan® NAAC Rookie Prime Time on Chics Love Me Wimpy

Debbie Good and her 9-year-old gelding Chics Love Me Wimpy (Wimpys Little Step x Dream About Magic) marked a 213 to win the Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Rookie. Winning an NAAC title has been a goal of hers since purchasing the gelding three years ago. “It feels absolutely amazing. I can’t even express it. Josh (Tishman) won so many awards on this horse, and I’ve just been trying to win one of my own,” Good shared.”

The first ever Adequan® NAAC Prime Time Rookie Champion received a saddle from Bob’s Custom Saddle, as well as an Adequan® vest, a Platinum Performance jacket, a Montana Silversmiths buckle, Classic Equine product, and gift certificates to Bluebonnet and SmartPak.

“We’ve been practicing in the arena all week and working on our circles. We were finding the holes we had and working on them. I broke my shoulder nine weeks ago, and my goal was just to get back here,” Good said. “Our goal was to go in the arena and not get overwhelmed by it. I felt very confident when I walked in. He was locked into me, and we really went for it on our rundowns, slides, and rollbacks.”

Dentoni & Brokaw Claim Ancillary Rookie Prime Time Co-Championship

Lisa Dentoni and Kimberly Brokaw tied for the ancillary Prime Time Rookie Championship, with each rider marking a 209.5. Both riders gave much of the credit to their equine counterparts. Dentoni was riding Smart Little Dunnit, while Brokaw rode KR Ima Dreamer.

“Harry (Smart Little Dunnit) was just super, and we got through all the maneuvers. We just did the best we could, and it all worked out,” Dentoni said. “I thank everyone here who has been there for me this week. We all pulled together. I thank everyone from the west coast who came together to support us all here.”

Dentoni purchased Smart Little Dunnit, by Smart Spook out of Jan Van Bar B Dun It, in July. “We picked him up from the McCutcheons, and he’s just a kind horse. He’s gentle, well-mannered, and good natured. He’s just a pleasure to have in the barn,” she said.

Brokaw has been riding KR Ima Dreamer, by Magnum Chic Dream out of KR Ima Tejon, for almost a year. “I probably couldn’t have asked him for anything better. He did everything I asked him to do. I just love this horse,” she shared. “He has taught me a ton. Tonight was probably the best run we’ve ever had. He just locked on and was awesome.”

KR Ima Dreamer is owned by Kristen Avila. “I thank Bobby and Kristin Avila for the privilege of riding this awesome horse. I also thank my trainer and coach Josh Murphy,” Brokaw said.

Emily Emerson Wins NRHA Invitational Freestyle on Give Me Starbucks

Easily one of the most entertaining events of the National Reining Horse Association Futurity took place Thursday evening, when the Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau presented the $20,000-added Invitational Freestyle.

Ten riders were invited to compete, and the pool was chosen from winners and crowd favorites from other freestyle events. Swashbuckler Captain Jack Sparrow, Santa, and more fantastic characters made an appearance in the Jim Norick Coliseum of State Fair Park.

Taking top honors in the Invitational Freestyle, and winning a big check for $6,936, were Emily Emerson and Give Me Starbucks. They performed to Gary Allen’s hit song, “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain,” and marked a 223. “I didn’t have the greatest year, and I did this song a few years ago. It hits a certain spot inside of you when you had a year you had hoped would be better. Doing this song and coming out at the top is a great way to start out the new year,” Emerson said.

Emerson was riding Give Me Starbucks, a 9-year-old mare owned by Kelly Rainford. “This was the first time I got to be super serious with her and so the fact that I took the bridle off without not knowing how she would be, shows what a rock solid, good mare she is,” she shared.

The pair entered the arena missing a very vital piece of equipment – the bridle. “I was feeling confident. When she walked in, she was really good. When I first loped her off, it didn’t go like I planned, but she locked in and gave me the run I was hoping for,” Emerson said.

Having grown up on a ranch in Montana, Emerson has worked for Shane Brown for almost 13 years. “He’s taught me everything that I got done tonight,” she shared.

Dan James and Don Magnum finished second in the Invitational Freestyle with a 222.5, collecting a check for $5,508. Third went to Sharee Schwartzenberger and Game Day Surprise, who won $4,080.

Inferno On Ice Tops NRHA/Markel Futurity Select Yearling Sale

Inferno On Ice

The NRHA/Markel Futurity Select Yearling Sale took place December 5 during the 2019 NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship, and an outstanding group of yearlings was showcased at the event. Two colts, both by Inferno Sixty Six, topped the sale, bringing $80,000 and $70,000, respectively.

The top seller was hip number 1039, Inferno On Ice, a grey colt that brought $80,000 and applause from the crowd. Rick Christen signed the ticket on the colt, who was consigned by Pro Fit Equine LLC, an agent for Lotti Quarter Horses.

“We think he’s an amazing prospect, and we’re really fortunate to get him into our program,” Christen said. “We’ve bought some nice horses from Lorenzo [Lotti], so we feel fortunate that we were able to get him purchased.”

The colt is out of Unquestionably Crome (by Custom Crome), an NRHA Level(L) 2 Non Pro Futurity Champion who earned more than $62,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE). Inferno On Ice is five panel negative and is enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program.

Comehellorhiwater, a bay colt consigned by Sergio Elia, brought the second-highest bid of $70,000 as hip number 1049. He is a half-brother to NRHA Open Derby finalist Gunnafoolya, an earner of $79,000 LTE; NRHA Open Futurity finalist Berry Best Step; and APHA World Champion My Berry Best Gun.

Out of Berry Dun It Best (by Hollywood Dun It), the colt is enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program and the NRBC.

Toward the end of the sale, the hammer fell at $66,000 for hip number 1094, Gunnin For Fri Dee, a palomino filly consigned by Toyon Ranch LLC. She is a daughter of Gunnatrashya out of Dun It Fri Dee Nite (by Hollywood Dun It), a full sister to $44,000-earner Dun It By Chick.

Gunnin For Fri Dee is enrolled in the NRHA Nomination Program, NRHA European Nomination Program, and the NRBC, and is five panel negative.

The NRHA/Markel Futurity Prospect and Select Broodmare Sale will take place tomorrow, December 6. The sale, which starts at 6:00 p.m. in Barn 3 of State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will be preceded by a dinner at 5:00 p.m.

Sliders’ Night Out Honors NRHA Elite

For immediate releaseDec. 5, 2019Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – It was a night of honor and tradition as the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) hosted the annual Sliders’ Night Out, presented by Toyon Ranch, during the 2019 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships. New members were added to the NRHA Hall of Fame and two outstanding individuals were recognized for their contributions to the sport of reining.

NRHA Hall of Fame Inductees

Snip O Gun

Snip O Gun, by One Gun and out of Miss Kim O Lena, was purchased by her current owner, Tammye Hutton of Hilldale Farm in Brashear, Texas, as a 4-year-old from Hill and Dollie Clements. While she has never shown in the arena, this exceptional mare has proven herself as a star dam from her first foal, producing some of today’s most recognizable reining horses.

Roberto Cuoghi

Roberto Cuoghi has been involved in the reining world for more than 30 years. Today, he’s one of NRHA’s most successful European owners, breeders, and nominators with offspring both on the top and bottom sides of well-known, performing reiners. Cuoghi was the first owner to enter an Italian-bred horse, Master Snapper, in the NRHA Derby. Master Snapper went on to win all three divisions of the 2006 NRHA Open Derby with Kelly Zweifel. Cuoghi paved the road for many European breeders who’ve followed in his footsteps. 

Claudio Risso

Claudio Risso’s name is synonymous with reining all over the world. His NRHA membership dates back to the early 90s and spans many categories—owner, exhibitor, breeder, nominator, and mentor. Risso is 14th on NRHA’s Leading Owner list by breeding money-earning offspring that have accumulated more than $912,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE). Most recently, his horse Spat Olena made history as the first European horse to make NRHA’s Million Dollar Sire list

Find more information about these inductees here.


2019 Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award: David Silva

David Silva and his wife, Bonnie, have both supported NRHA for well over 30 years as exhibitors, breeder, sponsors, and owners. Silva’s loyalty to the sport has encompassed all levels of reining, from grassroots all the way to elite competition. Silva has been a major donor to the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) as well as RHF. He’s also sponsored a variety of shows throughout the Northeast Region.

2019 NRHA Reiner of the Year: Taylor Sheridan

The NRHA Hall of Fame Committee developed a new award supported by RHF to recognize the NRHA Reiner of the Year. This new accolade allows NRHA to honor a person or entity who enacts a measurable, positive influence on the industry. The inaugural recipient of the Reiner of the Year award is Taylor Sheridan.

A horse enthusiast since childhood, Sheridan started reining after his Hollywood acting and directing career took off. He elevated his commitment to reining by producing The Last Cowboy, a reality-based TV program on Paramount Network, which tied to August’s Run for a Million event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Last Cowboy put reining center-stage by chronicling the journeys of eight reining professionals as they prepared elite horses for the Million Dollar Invitational, the marquee event of the Run for a Million. Both the television series and the event in Las Vegas brought reiners together in a unique way and exposed a new audience to the sport of reining.

Find more information about these honorees, here and here.

Sliders’ Night Out, presented by Toyon Ranch, benefits the non-profit branch of NRHA—the Reining Horse Foundation. Dinner and dancing are both staple elements of the evening, but the awards presentation and live auction get the blood pumping.

Thanks to the generous donors and bidders, RHF is able to support its philanthropic efforts. This includes the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund, providing scholarships for NRHyA members, and perpetuating reining’s legacy.

Without members and sponsors, NRHA and RHF wouldn’t exist. Both entities are thankful for the support they continue to receive year after year for Sliders’ Night Out as well as their many other events and fundraising efforts. For details on how to become donor, contact RHF Executive Director Leslie Baker at or (405) 946-7400.