Kentucky Reining Cup Para-Reining

The third time’s the charm for Holly Jacobson, who won the Nutrena para-reining at the 2015 Kentucky Reining Cup.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Frederick Win prepares to ride Sunrise Genuine Hope in the Nutrena Para-Reining. (Credit: Journal)

Fearless. That’s just one word you could use to describe the three competitors in the Nutrena USA Reining AQHA National Reining Horse Association Para-Reining event Saturday, April 25, during the Kentucky Reining Cup during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Three handicapped riders swung their legs over the backs of horses they had just met three days before and performed NRHA pattern 8 to win the Gist belt buckle.

Holly Jacobson won the class, scoring a 200.5 aboard Time Made Me Radical, a 2004 sorrel mare by Radical Rodder and out of As The Time Passes by Scotch Bar Time. Jacobson, a former hunter/jumper turned para-dressage competitor and now para-reiner, was competing for only the third time in para-reining, but it’s safe to say she’s hooked now.

“It’s so much fun that I’m seriously considering pursuing getting a reiner,” she admited. “I find that the atmosphere with the Western folks just so welcoming, and the horses are just dolls to ride. I think for para it’s really important because it opens up the door for para riders who might not be able to do dressage. With the American Quarter Horse minds and smaller gaits, it’s just a lot more fun, and I think para-reining has a bright future.”

Her pattern was fluid, relying on the chestnut mare to listen to her subtle cues for two spins to the right and two spins to the left. She’s thankful to Midway College for donating the horses, and the students donating their time, to help the riders prepare and compete over the weekend.

“Midway was awesome to step up and donate these horses and provide an excellent grooming crew and their coach, Lance Hayden, was absolutely instrumental.,” she said “And just helping us figure out the little details like reins and stirrups because each of us need special things, and coaching us through the practices to help us pull off some decent patterns.”

Reserve winner Dale Dedrick agreed. Her trusty ride, a 20-year-old gelding named BTS Bo Diddly, was already so in-tune with his rider, he knew when she was losing her balance in the middle of the pattern. The 1995 bay gelding brought himself to a smooth stop and waited for Dedrick to regain her balance, then the pair continued to finish the pattern to a score of 175. BTS Bo Diddly is by TNT Bo Dolls Bro and out of Claytons Girl by Brother Hank.

“The kids refer to him as ‘Mr. Perfect,’ and really he is,” Dedrick said.

Dedrick is currently competing with the United States Para-Dressage Team and helping them earn a spot in the 2016 Summer Para-Olympics in Rio, but after that, she would like to focus on para-reining.

“I would like to keep exploring (the reining),” she said. “I live in Michigan, so I need to look for some opportunities and horses up there. I have some friends who do western pleasure at home, and some that do cutting - I think cutting is a little beyond me, I think I need a serious seat belt for cutting.”

Rounding out the trio was Frederick Win, a former trick rider and now a lawyer in New Jersey. Growing up in Burma, Win never let his handicap of being born without a full right leg slow his love of the horse. He was a national champion trick rider (competing against able-bodied riders) and champion show jumper.

When he was looking to get his visa to study law in the United States, he spotted an image of a cowboy at the U.S. Embassy and said he wanted to go straight to Texas to be a cowboy. After finishing law school and starting his practice, he knew it was time to learn to ride western, and para-reining has been just the right fit for him. He now rides with reining trainer Dean Brown, and this was his first competition aboard the Midway College mare Sunrise Genuine Hope, a 2001 bay mare by Genuine Doc and out of Docs Oceanside Star by Docs Decatholon.

“Freddie is a phenomenal rider with fantastic hands, and is smart and never afraid,” complimented Midway College instructor Lance Hayden.

“Lance is a great coach, he trained me and prepped the horse, and even though we got her at the last minute, I just got it. But we did very well. I just followed his pattern,” said Win. “As long as I’m in the arena, I enjoy it, and everything is great!”

Midway College, a local private school with a strong equestrian studies program, provided horses for the competition, as well as equestrian program students who schooled and groomed the horses and instructed the riders over the weekend to prepare for the competition. Hayden said the experience was just as beneficial for the students as it was for the riders, allowing them to see life outside the collegiate arena.

All three riders are looking forward to more para-reining competitions and hope to be able to represent Team USA at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in para-reining.

Journal Coverage of the Kentucky Reining Cup

  • Freestyle – Laura Sumrall claims the 2015 world championship freestyle title aboard Wimpys Top Model in a 'Frozen'-inspired routine.
  • Para-Reining – The third time’s the charm for Holly Jacobson, who won the Nutrena para-reining at the 2015 Kentucky Reining Cup.
  • Open and Non-Pro – Fifth win at the Kentucky Reining Cup is just as golden for Shawn Flarida.