Riders from the United States Sweep Medals

Reiners on American Quarter Horses representing the United States claim gold, silver and bronze at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

Shawn Flarida and Spooks Gotta Whiz won gold in the individual reining finals at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. They earned the right to travel to Normandy at the Kentucky Reining Cup. (Larri Jo Starkey photo)

Reiners at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy set the house on fire August 30 with explosive runs and a level of competition that kept the audience members glued to their seats right until the very last horse-rider combination:  Shawn Flarida and Michell Kimball’s Spooks Gotta Whiz.

In the seeded finals, which counted 21 of the world’s best horses and riders,  Shawn and the talented 7-year-old stallion were last to enter the Parc Expo arena having posted the highest score in the first individual qualifier, a 229.5.

The score to beat, once they burst in the pen to perform NRHA pattern No.10, was the 229 earned by Andrea Fappani aboard Silver Spurs Equine’s Custom Cash Advance, the last duo to perform before Shawn, right before the last drag.

“I knew that the pressure would be on tonight, and I knew that Andrea would put me in a position to have to go out and try to beat him,” Shawn said after finishing his run with a score of 233.5. “This is such a great horse. He knows when it’s show time, steps up and always does his job. He’s been good all week, he warmed up well today, and I knew I had the horse that could make me do this. It’s been a great evening and my hat goes off to my team mates, Andrea and Mandy McCutcheon for stepping on the podium.”

For Shawn, this is the his fifth FEI gold medal from the Games: He was on Team USA that won gold in Jerez de la Frontera in 2002, and also took the individual gold there. He won a gold with Team USA in Kentucky in 2010 and won team gold this week in Normandy.

Spooks Gotta Whiz is a 2007 bay stallion by Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Prettywhizprettydoes by Topsail Whiz. He was bred by Clint Haverty of Krum, Texas, and is owned by Michell Anne Kimball of Encinitas, California.

“I can’t think of any horse that can circle better than mine did tonight,” said Andrea, who will take home the silver medal. “I was lucky enough to get this horse after Jordan (Larson) and Duane (Latimer) showed him in the past, and I give it up to them for the great job they did. I knew this horse would fit me and my program, and even though I’ve only shown him five times before coming here, tonight I was more confident with him than I have been. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that the competition would be tough, but we did it and I’m thrilled.”

Custom Cash Advance is a 2006 sorrel stallion by Custom Crome and out of Cash In Roan by Topsail Cody. He was bred by Steven H. Simon of Marietta, Oklahoma, and was the 2013 AQHA world champion in senior reining. He is owned by Silver Spurs Equine of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Coming into the pen as draw 18 was Mandy McCutcheon riding Yellow Jersey, the flashy 10-year-old stallion owned by her parents, Tim and Colleen McQuay. The pair thrilled the crowd and finished with a 227 to claim the bronze medal.

Mandy, the only non-professional reining rider on Team USA, took home her second FEI medal this week in Normandy after being part Team USA.

“It’s hard to put all I feel in words and I couldn’t be any happier,” Mandy said. “My horse stepped up for me tonight, and when your horse does that for you, it means he’s great. To be behind two such great riders as Shawn and Andrea is just an amazing feeling. It is an honor for me, and I couldn’t be luckier to have had the opportunities I’ve had in my career. My family has been the biggest support team of my life, and I once again thank them, just as I would like to thank all those that have been behind us in this incredible experience:  the sponsors, our vet, our grooms, our coach.”

Yellow Jersey is a 2004 palomino stallion by Wimpys Little Step and out of Ms Clara Melody by Mr Melody Jac. He was bred by Pete T. Phinny of Glen Arbor, Michigan, and is owned by McQuay Stables Inc. of Tioga, Texas.

More from the 2014 Games:
Behind the scenes with Tamra
Troy Heikes tops individual qualifying
Team USA claims gold, Belgium is silver and Austria is bronze
First day of team competition