The spotlight was on the Ostbayernhalle Arena in Kreuth, Germany, as the first section of the first go-round of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Open Futurity took place today with 46 horse-rider combinations making their way into the pen vying for a spot in the finals which will take place on Saturday, April 20. The Futurity is open to 4-year-old horses which have been nominated in the NRHA European Nomination Program.
Leading the €92,000-added level 4 open division, after posting a 218.5, were Bernard Fonck riding Little Nic (Wimpys Little Step x Smart Chexy Nic) for owner and nominator, Lita Pocock, and Grisha Ludwig riding FS Rio Good Gunner (Gunner x Rio Dun Good), owned by Aniek Hagelaars and bred and nominated by Bill & Patty Fingland.
Draw 13, Bernard set the bar early. “I’ve only had this stallion in training for a little over 20 days and am really happy with the way he went today. He has a lot of potential and I look forward to showing him again,” said the NRHA Million Dollar Rider and multiple NRHA Open World Champion about his mount who, with Andrea Fappani in the saddle, had claimed fifth place in the level 4 open division at the 2012 Reining by the Bay Futurity.
Ludwig, on the other hand, entered the pen with only three more riders left to go after him. “My horse felt really good. He showed off his brilliant stops and during the winter has improved in his other manuevers, too. I’m happy with the way he felt, and I can really trust him. I love this showing here. The ground is great and so is the organization.”
In the €35,000-added level 3 open division, with a score of 214.5, leading the rankings is Guy Zemah riding Keen Little Juice, a gelding by Smart Like Juice and out of Keen Little Katie, owned and nominated by Olga Hofmann. “I’ve had this horse in training for the last year and a half, and he was started by Daniel Schlomer,” says the Israeli rider based in Germany. “He was real good for me today, as he is always!”
Leading the €10,500-added (or more) level 2 open and the €5,300-added (or more) level 1 open divisions, with a score of 217.5, was ND DJ Gun (Gunner x Hustle Up A Star) ridden by 21-year-old Arnaud Girinon for owners Steve Vannietvelt and Gina De Pauw of Belgium. The talented stallion was bred and nominated by Nathalie Derua. “Bernard (Fonck) rode him last year and his owners were supposed to ride him this year,” says the French rider, assistant trainer at the 23 Quarter Horses facility in Italy. “At the beginning of this year, they decided to have me show him instead, and I am thrilled. He’s so good minded, talented and great to be around, both in the saddle and on the ground.”
The Riders Meeting
In the morning, Dori Schwarzenberger, member of the NRHA Judges Committe and Judges Teaching Panel, welcomed the reiners that attended the Riders Meeting held at the Ostbayernhalle. This was the first of the meetings that will be scheduled at all NRHA owned events. “I was impressed by the great crowd that came to the meeting, especially considering that many of them were showing in the first go-round this afternoon,” said Dori, judges monitor for the European Futurity. “The main points we covered were pattern placement, putting correctness before speed, animal welfare and the schooling rules.”
More Showing to Come
On Monday the second section of the Open qualifying go-round will take place and following the lunch break, the preliminary go of the €50,000-added (or more) KL Performance Horses Non Pro Futurity will be held.
Make sure you follow the action via the livestream and live score. These links and more information regarding the show is available on the official NRHA European Futurity website: www.nrhaeuropeanfuturity.com.