Team USA Wins Reining Gold

Belgium earns silver and Austria bronze at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Spooks Gotta Whiz and Shawn Flarida at the Kentucky Reining Cup where they earned the right to represent the United States in reining at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equstrian Games in Normandy. (Larri Jo Starkey photo)

Team USA claimed gold in reining August 26  at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Riding Michell Kimball's Spooks Gotta Whiz, Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio, had the top score of 229.5 to pace the team.

In the second part of the reining team competition and first individual qualifier of the Games, Mandy McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, rode Yellow Jersey (Wimpys Little Step-Ms Clara Melody by Mr Melody Jac), owned by her parents, Tim and Colleen McQuay,to a score of 224.

Team USA was already leading the competition rankings following the first day of competition August 25. Andrea Fappani on Custom Cash Advance earned the top score (224) and Jordan Larson, riding HF Mobster, had earned the third best score (221).  Once Mandy and her mount performed, the total team score was a 669.

The final rider on the American squad was Shawn, the only $5 million rider for the National Reining Horse Association.

On "Baby Spooks," (Spooks Gotta Gun-Prettywhizprettydoes by Topsail Whiz), Shawn performed an outstanding pattern n.6. His fast spins, perfect circles, deep spins and incredible rollbacks set the public in Normandy on fire.

When he concluded his run, a 229.5 appeared on the scoreboard bringing Team USA’s total to 677.5. Their score remained unbeaten and the United States of America took home their fourth consecutive WEG FEI Team Gold medal.

“This is an awesome horse and I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to ride him for the last three years,” Shawn said. “Jordan won the NRHA Futurity on him, and then the reins passed on to me. I trust him a lot, and I know that he is very talented, so I was afraid to be the one to make a mistake.  The crowd here was wonderful, and being able to show in front of such an enthusiastic audience was just great. My team mates couldn’t have been any better and I am once again proud to be able to represent my country with such a great group of horsemen. My thanks go to Michell (Kimball) for having trusted me with this incredible stallion.”

Just as proud was Mandy, the only non-pro on the team.

“It’s an honor to be here at this venue to represent my country. To have the opportunity of riding a horse like Yellow Jersey is just unreal, and I cannot thank my parents enough for giving me this opportunity and for trusting me with him,” she said in a press conference after the ride. “Today, I really tried hard to focus on what I had to do and tried to get him through the run the best I could.  It’s all a matter of being focused, because if you let all that this event represents get in your way, you could panic!”

Native Italian Andrea Fappani, a naturalized citizen of the United States, said four years ago he had hoped to represent the United States in the Games.

“I didn’t make it in 2010 but am very honored and proud to be here today,” Andrea said. “My heart is in Italy but I have to thank the USA for having given me the opportunity to be where I am today, this being the reason for my decision to show for the Stars and Stripes.”

Jordan, who has been showing HF Mobster since 2011 and who has won more than $200,000 on him,  was also thrilled with the result.

“It takes a very special horse to be able to achieve these goals, and I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to ride ‘Hamster’ to the FEI gold medal.”

Jeff Petska, who has been coaching the US team since 2002, added: “I cannot describe this role as coach to these, or the past, riders I have worked with.  It’s been a pleasure and an honor.”

It’s Silver for Team Belgium
Draw 2 on the second day of competition were Cira Baeck and Colonels Shining Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun-Shining Little Peach by Shining Spark). On the flashy stallion owned by Katarzyna Roleska, Cira posted a 221.  

“We started off our pattern really well today, then I made a couple of little mistakes, so I am not super happy with the way I rode, but I did my best,” Cira said. “In the (2010) edition of the Games, we won the silver medal and were really hoping to be able to bring home the second one.  We did, and I am thrilled.”

Later during the day, fourth team member Bernard Fonck, rode Sail On Top Whizard (Whizard Jac-Miss N Sis by Miss N Cash), owned by Danny Cerato of Belgium to a 219.5.

With that score, Belgium had the second highest total, a 663, which remained unbeaten.

“I am very lucky to be able to ride such a great horse who has won close to $300,000 in lifetime earnings but today I did not show him to the best of my ability,” Bernard said. “I am very proud of my teammates and of this second consecutive FEI silver medal we won at the Games, and I will try to make up for my mistake in the individual competition on Saturday.”

Ann Poels Fonck, riding Nic Ricochet, and non pro Piet Mesdagh, riding RS Spat Man O War, scored a 221 and a 216.5 respectively on the first day of competition.

Team coach Susy Baeck proud of the medal, was quick to praise all the riders, the owners, the veterinarians and the grooms for all their help which contributed immensely to their achievement.

Bronze for Team Austria
Which team would sport the bronze medals was determined after the third to last combination,  Alex Ripper of Germany, rode Awesome Paleboy.

Possible contenders for the podium (after three riders) were Team Australia with 653 points, Team Germany (646.5) and Team Austria (644.5).  

Thanks to Martin Muehlstaetter’s score of 224 aboard Wimpys Little Buddy, Austria slid to the third step of the podium and conquered the bronze medal. Martin is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and qualified for the 2014 Games in 2013 in Europe and in the States.  

“My horse was pretty good today,” Martin said. “We purchased him from Andrea Fappani (who trained him) as a 4-year-old. He’s always been with us and always will be.”

Wimpys Little Buddy is a 10-year-old gelding by Wimpys Little Step and out of All Thats Dun by Hollywood Dun It. Martin and his wife Kim own the horse.

“I would like to thank our coach, Gerold Dautzenberg, for doing such an awesome job, the Austrian Equestrian Federation and my teammates,” Martin said. “Winning this medal here today is awesome.”

Country  Horse  Rider   Owner Score 
 USA  Spooks Gotta Whiz  Shawn Flarida  Michell Kimball  229.5
 USA  Custom Cash Advance  Andrea Fappani  Silver Spurs Equine  224
 USA  Yellow Jersey  Mandy McCutcheon  Tim and Colleen McQuay  224
 Austria  Wimpys Little Buddy  Martin Muehlstaetter  Kim and Martin Muehlstaetter  224
 Belgium  Nic Ricochet  Ann Poels  23 Quarter Horses  222.5
 USA  HF Mobster  Jordan Larson  Heritage Farms  221
 Belgium  Colonels Shining Gun  Cire Baeck  Katarzyna Roleska  221
 USA  Dun Git A Nicadual  Tom McCutcheon  Jennifer Marley  221
 Austria  Dr Lee Hook  Rudi Kronsteiner  Wolfram Isopp  220
 Belgium  Sail On Top Whizard  Bernard Fonck  Danny Cerato  219.5