High school rodeo and the reined cow horse competition are leading to a college scholarship for Zayle Davis of Blackfoot, Idaho, thanks to a partnership benefiting competitors at the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).
For the second consecutive year, the Reining Horse Foundation has joined with the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) to provide a $2,500 scholarship to the student athlete marking the highest score in the reining during the NHSFR, held July 17-23 in Gillette, Wyo.
In her final year of high school competition, Davis scored a 151 in the rein work during the short go to capture the award. She also received a Morrison bronze courtesy of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). She was riding Reymanator (Dual Rey x Savannah Hickory), a 2006 American Quarter Horse gelding. In a field of 107 reined cow horse contestants, Davis finished fourth overall with a total score of 874.5; the event champion is Daxon Buttars of Snowville, Utah. Reymanator is owned by Sandy Semanik of Jacksonville, Fla., but is a full-time member of the Davis family.
Davis also had the high reining score in the preliminary round and knew she needed to perform a clean pattern in the finals. Of her winning run, she said, “I’ve been practicing a long time. Once I walked into the pen, I cued him right, and I’ve never had him stop like that before. He was being really good. It takes a lot of teamwork to have a run like that.”
Davis and Reymanator were the 2017 Idaho State High School Rodeo Champions in reined cow horse. A true example of versatility, the gelding is also her mount for barrel racing and pole bending and her brother Dawson’s horse for tie-down roping. He was the 2009 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion, trained and shown by Zayle’s father, Zane Davis.
In late 2014, the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) began offering reined cow horse as an event. It joined a lineup of bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and cutting for boys; and breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, cutting, team roping, and the queen contest for girls.
While reined cow horse might not be a traditional rodeo event, NHSRA, NRCHA, and NRHA acknowledge that reined cow horse can elevate the riding ability of NHSRA members. As part of the reined cow horse competition, contestants must complete a reining pattern, commonly referred to as dry work.
“Providing youth scholarships is a core program of the Reining Horse Foundation,” said Mandy McCutcheon, a $2 million NRHA rider and Foundation Board member. “It is our hope that by reaching out to the youth contestants of high school rodeo, more students will be introduced to reining and reined cow horse and ensure these sports grow and succeed for generations to come.”
Based in Oklahoma City, Okla., the Reining Horse Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the National Reining Horse Association. Core programs for the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization include youth scholarships, the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund and the NRHA Hall of Fame.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Duquette