Judgment Day

Reymanator takes Zane Davis to his first National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity championship title.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Zane Davis was mad.

He’d come into the dry work at the 2009 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity on October 4 as the leader, after marking a 218.5 in the herd work earlier in the day. Riding Reymanator, the 3-year-old who took him to the National Stock Horse Association Futurity championship in August, Zane had always believed the feisty gelding would be the one to take him to his first Snaffle Bit Futurity title.

But as the pair left the arena after their rein work, Zane wasn’t so certain anymore.

“He’s usually an extremely good reining horse, but it wasn’t good today,” the White Hall, Montana, trainer said. “In fact, it was right on the point of being embarrassing. His circles were outstanding. His first stop was good, but he was pretty wound up when we went into our first spin and it wasn’t good. I evidently didn’t run him very hard through his second or third stops, because he didn’t stop well. It was my fault, but he’s so fast, he always feels like he’s running even when he’s not.”

They still managed to mark 214, which put their composite score at 432.5, but it just wasn’t good enough for Zane.

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“I was not happy with that,” he said. “Matter of fact, I was mad. But it turned out to be the best thing that happened to me. Because I was so mad, I wasn’t nervous anymore, and I thought, ‘Well, I might have blown this, so I’m just going to go for it in the fence work.’”

When Zane and Reymanator entered last in the draw for the cow work, AQHA Professional Horseman Todd Crawford on Shiners Nickle and Boyd Rice on Picka Patcha Pepto were tied for the lead with composite scores of 646.5 each. But Zane didn’t care. He was just determined to show the crowd that Reymanator was the best fence horse in the finals.

“I was going for broke. I don’t ever like to box very long and when they turned the cow out and we made a few good passes down the wall, I knew the cow was going to stay against the fence, turned him and my horse actually beat him out of the turn.”

With the crowd cheering them on, Zane and Reymanator finished up the run. All they needed was a 214.5 to take the lead. What they got was a 220. Zane had been right all along: Reymanator was the horse to get him a Snaffle Bit Futurity championship title.

Zane found Reymanator for client John Semanik of Jacksonville, Florida, at the 2008 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity sale. Bred by Lannie Mecom, Reymanator was by Dual Rey and out of Savannah Hickory by Doc’s Hickory. The little sorrel gelding didn’t have the best dispositionbut he did have a lot of potential.

“A friend who was working for me started him. He rode him for about two weeks and said, ‘He’s hard to stay on, but I think this is a good one.’ So I started riding him. He was so athletic and everything was so easy for him that I knew I had a possible winner.”

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Unfortunately, he was not an easy horse to train.

“He’s dirty, mean and tough,” Zane said with a smile. “He’s not a calm horse. He’s not a friendly horse. He hates other horses. He hates dogs. He hates kids. He tolerates me, but that’s about it.”

It’s the gelding’s personality that Zane thinks is the reason the two are so successful together.

“We’re both extremely high-strung and for whatever reason, we get along very well. I’m not very social, and he’s really not social, and a friend of mine who is a trainer told me the reason I can ride this horse is because the two of us are just alike. And I think there is a lot of truth in that because he’s mean and for whatever reason, I think his personality makes him good because he’s like some champion boxer who grew up in the ghetto with a chip on his shoulder. He’s mad at the world, and he’s good at what he does. And he doesn’t want to do anything else.”

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Throughout the year training Reymanator, Zane used a lot of slow, gymnastic activities for the gelding.

“He gets twice as much riding as any of the horses in my barn,” he said. “We did a lot of riding outside, especially in the mountains. I even took him to the mountains between the preliminaries and now here in Reno. We went to the mountains and just rode until he sweated. It was good for him, I think. He’s a very, very hard horse to keep mentally stable.”

Although they didn’t top their prelims composite of 661, they weren’t far off.

“I was happy with the day as a whole, but I was not happy with the reining. I was right on the verge of being embarrassed,” Zane said. “I know it has happened before here where the champion made a bad reining run and it was still good enough to win. And 20 years from now, they probably won’t remember that I had a bad reining run, either. They’ll just see my name there on the list of champion, and I guess that’s good enough for me.”