Team USA Selected for Normandy

Four horse-and-rider teams will represent the United States in reining at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

After placing first in the Kentucky Reining Cup, Spooks Gotta Whiz and Shawn Flarida will be part of Team USA for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the event, scroll through the slideshow below.

Tensions were high and the stakes were higher as the scores ratcheted up April 27 at the Kentucky Reining Cup.

In addition to the money and prestige on the line for winning the prestigious event for horses 7 and older, riders from the United States were vying for a berth on Team USA for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

When the dust settled in Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, four riders earned the chance to represent the United States: Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio; Mandy McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas; Jordan Larson of Whitesboro, Texas; and Andrea Fappani of Scottsdale, Arizona.

“This (competition) made me nervous,” said Mandy, who becomes the first non-pro to represent the United States on a reining team. “But the next part (in France) is just fun.”

Riders competed in a first round April 25, and their scores from the two rounds were added to find the four riders and two alternates who will make up the reining squad at the equestrian games.

Andrea, who was born in Italy, said it was important to him to make the team for the country that now holds his citizenship.

“This means a lot,” Andrea said. “I moved here when I was 18. I’ve experienced a lot of top shows, but I’ve not been tried internationally. (To make the) toughest team in whole world means a lot. This is something I've wanted to get to one day.”

The alternates are Troy Heikes of Scottsdale, who will also be competing in his first European reining, and Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey.

Jeff Petska, the chef d’equipe for the 2010 Team USA that won the gold medal at the Games in Lexington, will reprise that role for the 2014 team. The World Equestrian Games are August 23-September 7.

The American Quarter Horses to represent the United States are:

Spooks Gotta Whiz
(2007 bay stallion by Spooks Gotta Gun-Prettywhizprettydoes by Topsail Whiz)
“Baby Spooks” was bred by Clint Haverty of Krum, Texas, and is owned by Michell Anne Kimball of Encinitas, California. He has $316,022.21 in National Reining Horse Association earnings and will be shown by Shawn.

Yellow Jersey
(2004 palomino stallion by Wimpys Little Step-Ms Clara Melody by Mr Melody Jac)
Yellow Jersey was bred by Peter T. Phinny of Glen Arbor, Michigan, and is owned by McQuay Stables of Tioga, Texas. He has $116,582.63 in NRHA earnings and will be shown by Mandy.

“To be able to ride a horse like this and for my parents to give me this opportunity is pretty generous,” said an emotional Mandy, whose father, Tim, had originally planned to ride the stallion after catch-riding him at the 2013 Kentucky Reining Cup.

HF Mobster
(2008 buckskin stallion by Colonels Smoking Gun-Dun Its Black Gold by Hollywood Dun It)
HF Mobster was bred by Rhodes River Ranch of Arlington, Washington, and is owned by Heritage Farms of Ogden, Utah. He was the 2013 NRHA Derby open champion and will be shown by Jordan.
Smoking Whiz
(2007 sorrel stallion by Topsails Whiz-Glendas A Smokingun by Colonels Smoking Gun)
“Hamster” was bred by Susan Ray of Pasadena, Texas, and is owned by Silver Spurs Equine of Scottsdale. He has $166,370.76 in NRHA earnings and was in the top 10 in AQHA year-end reining standings. He placed fourth in the Kentucky Reining Cup with Andrea.

Custom Cash Advance
(2006 sorrel stallion by Custom Crome-Cash In Roan by Topsail Cody)
“Cash” was the 2013 AQHA world champion in senior reining. He was bred by Steven Simon of Marietta, Oklahoma, and was purchased by Silver Spurs Equine in January. He has $180,749.53 in NRHA earnings and was fifth in the Kentucky Reining Cup with Andrea.

Lil Gun Dunit
(2006 sorrel gelding by Colonels Lil Gun-Hollywood Baby Dunit by Hollywood Dunit)
Lil Gun Dunit was bred by Paul and Pam Rohus of Double PR Ranch of Royse City, Texas, and is owned by Denise Bixler of Wilson, Wyoming. Lil Gun Dunit is one of three horses Troy showed for Denise. The gelding has $41,618.88 NRHA earnings.

Dun Git A Nicadual
(2008 palomino gelding by Mister Nicadual-Gotta Git Ya Dun by Hollywood Dun It)
Dun Git A Nicadual was bred by Monica Hicks Mathison of Tioga, Texas, and is owned by Jennifer Marley of Plainview, Texas. He has $75,758.54 in NRHA earnings and is shown by Tom.