NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champions Crowned

Holy Cow Performance Horses' Starlight Kisses claims the $100,000 open championship with Jake Telford.

From the National Reined Cow Horse Association

It was an intense Saturday night during the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity open finals, where 25 horse-and-rider teams were down in the dirt vying to earn the prestigious Snaffle Bit Futurity open championship. Ride after ride, competitors brought the heat. However, it was Jake Telford and Starlight Kisses who took home top honors.

"I can't even describe it. It's just amazing," Telford said of the win. "It's been something that I've wanted for such a long time. It's almost unreal for it to finally come true."

Telford and Starlight Kisses (Shady Lil Starlight-Kiss My Shiny Lips by Shining Spark) scored a 216 in the herd work, 218.5 in the rein work and a 221.5 in the cow work, giving the duo a composite 656, which was just a half-point above fellow competitor and reserve champion Erin Taormino and Plain Wright (Hes Wright On-Isabellena by Quejanaisalena).

Futurity Open Champions Jake Telford and Starlight Kisses (Primo Morales photo)

"In the herd work, she was really on it this morning. I kind of cut her a bad cow on my second cow and it took away from the run and I only marked a 16," Telford explained. "The rein work was especially stressful for me because it's more rider participation and I really did not want to screw up. Going into the fence work I was hoping that I had enough cow to show off what she could do. After I made my run, I was a little worried that it wasn't enough cow but she's so stylish doing it that they marked me enough. It worked out!"

The long wait after their cow work performance was nerve-wracking for Telford, but it was worth it when he and Starlight Kisses came out on top and garnered a $100,000 paycheck for owner Holy Cow Performance Horses. They also received prizes that include a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Matthews Cutting Horses, CR Morrison Bronze from the NRCHA, Gist Buckle sponsored by Edsall Performance Horses and Kathryn Phillips, Cooler Bag with Grooming Supplies and a $50 Gift Card from Santa Cruz Animal Health/San Juan Ranch, Custom Designed Cowboy Boots from Rios of Mercedes, 100X and 30X Hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats, Classic Equine Polar Fleece Cooler, Monogrammed Cinch Jacket from the NRCHA, product from Platinum Performance, and a $500 Gift Certificate for a CR Ranch Wear Shirt.

"I just couldn't do [this] without my owners," Telford said. "Nancy [Crawford-Hall, owner of Holy Cow Performance Horse,] has been so good to me. She sent me horses that were way better than I ever was and it taught me so much and it's because of her that I advanced like I did. And my wife, she supports me so much. My family is so good to me. It's so much work and so hard; no one can do it without a great support system. It's just impossible."

Futurity Reserve Champion Erin Taormino and Plain Wright. (Primo Morales photo)

Taormino and Plain Wright scored a 213.5 in the herd work, 214 in the rein work and a whopping 228 in the cow work giving them a 655.5 composite for the reserve title. The duo garnered an $80,000 paycheck for owners Garth and Amanda Gardiner. 

"It's been surreal," an emotional Taormino said, after receiving her awards. "It's been a long two weeks. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but it's all worth it. I showed his full brother here last year and made the open and intermediate finals and won the Level 1. We brought this one this year and he's been good. He's got so much heart and try. He's made so many runs here in this arena. He's been in here nine times showing and he never quits. I just love him."

The duo also received many prizes, including as a Bob's Custom Saddle from the NRCHA, a Gist Buckle sponsored by Ruby View Quarter Horses, 30X Hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats, Monogrammed Cinch Jacket from the NRCHA, $300 in Farnam Products, product from Platinum Performance, Cooler Bag with Grooming Supplies and a $50 Gift Card from Santa Cruz Animal Health/San Juan Ranch, and a $500 Gift Certificate for a CR Ranch Wear Shirt.

Visit www.NRCHA.com for complete results from the 2015 Snaffle Bit Futurity.

Discount Tire Futurity Non Pro

Futurity Non-Pro Champions Laurie Ward and Kiss Me A Lot (Primo Morales photo)

In the 19-horse Snaffle Bit Futurity non-pro finals, competitors proved to the spectators and judges why they deserved their spots in the finals as each horse-and-rider duo displayed control and perseverance. At the end of the day, it was Laurie Ward and Kiss Me A Lot who took home the championship.

"It just feels surreal and amazing," Ward said following her win. "I won the [NRCHA Snaffle Bit] Futurity in 2002 on Justa Hot Chic and it's taken me this long to do it again. It's not easy."

Ward and Kiss Me A Lot (Master Getta-Kiss Me A Little by Smart Little Pepinic) scored a 216 in the herd work, 214.5 in the rein work and a 218.5 in the cow work for a composite 649.

"In the herd work, I expected her to be spot on, because that's probably her strongest – well, I thought before tonight that was her strongest point. She just does the herd work really well," Ward explained. "In the rein work, she really is a show horse. She went in there and tried really hard and let me guide her. Then in the fence work, I had a little bit of trouble in the prelims, just a little spot where she was kind of green, and then tonight she just was gritty and amazing."

The duo received an $18,309 paycheck along with a Bob's Custom Saddle sponsored by Discount Tire, an original CR Morrison Bronze and a monogrammed Cinch jacket from the NRCHA, a Gist Buckle sponsored by Jon and Jody Semper, a 100X and 30X Hat from JW Brooks Custom Hats, a Classic Equine Polar Fleece Cooler, product from Platinum Performance, a Cooler bag with Grooming Supplies and a $50 Gift Card from Santa Cruz Animal Health/San Juan Ranch, and a $500 Gift Certificate for a CR Ranch Wear Shirt.

Futurity Non-Pro Reserve; Intermediate & Novice Non-Pro Champion

Terry Forst and Seven S Indian Maid (Primo Morales photo)

In the Futurity Non-Pro finals, it was AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Terry Forst and Seven S Indian Maid (Hickorys Indian Pep-Seven S Fiesta by Playgun) who earned the Futurity Intermediate and Novice Non-Pro Championships and was the Non-Pro Reserve Champions.

"[This win] feels really good," Forst said. "I'm just so proud of my son because he trained my horse and I think the thing I'm most proud of is this is part of our program. We've been breeding horses for 70 years and we've owned, I know five or six generations of this mare's family. That's a really good feeling. Makes you think you're doing something right for once."

Forst and Seven S Indian Maid scored a 214 in the herd work, 211 in the rein work, and a 216 in the work adding up to a composite score of 641. Despite Forst's reviewed rein work run, she was grateful for the score she received and now knows what she needs to work on for next time.

"We were really good out of the herd. I got three cows cut pretty clean and it worked out really good," Forst said. "Reining is where I struggle and that's one of my big goals this next year is to get over some of my little demons that run around out there. I've had a little lead change trouble with her and we've worked really, really hard on it. She still drug it a little, but we tried to compensate by getting our stops and turnarounds to make up some lost ground."

Forst was very thankful for her wins and gave credit to her son, Robert Forst, who trained the mare and has continued to support her every step of the way.

"She's got a pretty big engine. She will feel you out sometimes because she acts like she's laid back, but she really isn't at all," Forst said. "I'm not sure we are a good team because I'm not the most laid back person that ever lived, but we are and it worked out good. Robert just had her where when I was struggling; he could help me through it. He spent a lot of time with me and we tried to come as prepared as we could and by golly I guess we did!"

Forst garnered a total of $23,871 and took home two Bob's Custom Saddle's, one sponsored by NRCHA and one by JT and Sandra Neal; three Gist Buckles, sponsored by Dominic Conicelli, RT Stuart Ranch and Robertson Ranches; two CR Morrison Trophies, sponsored by NRCHA; three 30X Hats, sponsored by JW Brooks Custom Hats, two Classic Equine Polar Fleece Coolers; three Monogrammed Cinch Jackets, sponsored by NRCHA, and many other prizes.