Category Archives: Western/Reining

“Let’s Cowboy Up” at Jacksonville Equestrian Center by Giving Back to Local Community Charities

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will host the exciting Atlantic Coast Stampede on March 4-5 (Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center)

Jacksonville, FL (February 9, 2016) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is honored to announce that on March 4-5, they will host the Atlantic Coast Stampede, presented by Cinch Jeans & Shirts.

The rodeo is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) and delivers old-fashioned family western entertainment and a full rodeo program of rough stock and timed events with cow folk from across the southeast competing in America’s #1 extreme sport. Featured events include Friday ‘Armed Forces Night’ sponsored by Swisher International, with a portion of the rodeo proceeds going to the northeast Florida chapter of Wish for Our Heroes, and Saturday ‘Children’s Night’ sponsored by 99.9 Gator Country, with a portion of the rodeo proceeds benefiting Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“Each night we will make a check presentation in the arena to each charity,” said Bill Fitzgerald of Western Events Rodeo Consulting and Event Planning of Franklin, TN, promoter of the Atlantic Coast Stampede, and All American Pro Rodeo Series board member. “Wish for Our Heroes was selected because there’s no better feeling than giving back to the heroes who protect our country and give us the freedom to do everything we do, and hospitals that help children are also near and dear to our hearts, which is why we will also be raising support for Wolfson Children’s Hospital.” They’re the two best reasons why everyone should come to the Atlantic Coast Stampede this March at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “It’s about God, Family, Country, and Community. When we come in we build an event that people want to come back to year after year. We love bringing rodeo fun – the clowns, the bull riding, trick riders, the bronc riders – to families and kids,” Fitzgerald continued.

“The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a great, state-of-the-art facility and the people here have been great to work with. It’s the first time we’ve brought this rodeo to Jacksonville but it won’t be the last,” said Fitzgerald.

For more information and tickets for Atlantic Coast Stampede presented by Cinch, visit

Learn more about the exciting performances and special guests coming to Jacksonville Equestrian Center and how to host an event at this multifaceted facility by visiting or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Friesian Owners Get Boot Camp Training with World Champion Jannie Giles

Jannie Giles aboard KFPS Friesian, IFSHA World Champion, Victor FC. Photo by Avis Girdler.

Black Horse Manor Hosts Fun Educational Weekend

February 5, 2016 — Pleasureville, KY – Black Horse Manor hosted a Friesian Boot Camp, January 30-31, 2016. The weekend was a fun-filled, educational package that allowed Friesian owners to bring their own horses to the facility for one on one personal training attention.

The goal of the one on one sessions was to address a variety of training challenges, tackling horse show related goals, and training tips for perfecting and polishing horse show performance. Well known multi-titled World Champion, owner and trainer of Black Horse Manor, Jannie Giles, worked with each individual and their personal horses, focusing on their 2016 goals.

Jannie sits on the Board of Directors for the International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) and is also a member of the USEF Rules Committee. Her professional career has been well documented with Regional and National wins with American Saddlebreds, Friesians, Arabians, Half Arabians and National Show Horses. She was the first woman to win the National Show Horse Five-Gaited National Championship. She also instructed a number of champion Saddle Seat Equitation riders to national titles as well.

Jannie took her very first Friesian from an average school type horse and turned him into a show ring legend. Jannie and her star gelding, Robin ut de Warren, dominated the show ring from coast to coast. Together they enjoyed the incredible run of six undefeated seasons competing against World and National Champions from various breeds.

By setting the standard of excellence in the Friesian saddle seat and western divisions, Jannie is considered one of the most talented and respected trainers nationwide. Jannie’s outstanding Western Pleasure Friesian, Victor FC, was the first ever Friesian to be awarded the 2011 USEF Equestrian of Honor Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy.

Black Horse Manor, is located just a few short miles from Shelbyville, KY, off I-64, and offers training, lessons and sales for a select group of Saddlebreds, Morgans, Friesians and Hackneys.

More clinic dates will be released soon for Saddleseat, Hunt Seat, and Western riding.

For more information, contact Black Horse Manor at or 859.321.9278.

CONTACT: Lisa Murray,

Cell: 516-848-4867 –

Xaveco Interagro Earns Top Honors at Brazil’s Inaugural Working Equitation World Cup

Xaveco Interagro and Claire Moucadel during the dressage phase at the Working Equitation World Cup (Photo courtesy of Ambar Dressage)

Tatuí, SP, Brazil (February 4, 2016) – This past December, an international assortment of top working equitation horses and riders converged on Brazil with one goal in mind: world cup glory. Brazil’s first Working Equitation World Cup took place December 11-13, 2015 at Tatuí Riding Center in Tatuí, SP, Brazil, and showcased the athleticism, teamwork, and adaptability required for international caliber working equitation. With foreign riders competing on horses from Brazilian breeders, teams from Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, France, Holland, Italy, and Mexico navigated their way through obstacles ranging from bridges and gates to jumps and poles as they vied for top honors in this extreme test of poise, agility, and synergy.

Xaveco Interagro (Profano Interagro x Dona RC), a grey stallion owned and trained by Haras Santo Angelo, and Claire Moucadel led their team to victory with 105 total points for France, followed closely by Portugal in second with 99 points, and Brazil in third with 73.5. Moucadel and Xaveco Interagro also finished at the top in the individual rankings, part of a three-way tie with Luis Carlos Oliveira of Brazil with Cisne SA and Miguel Fonseca of Portugal with Ulisses do Castanheiro. Xaveco’s world-class performance also earned him a plane ticket to the States, as he was purchased by Haras dos Cavaleiros of Magnolia, Texas and exported in January of 2016.

Bred by Interagro Lusitanos of Itapira, Brazil, Xaveco’s performance epitomizes the qualities sought by sport horse and working equitation riders around the world. Based on the daily activities and tasks required by working horses, the discipline was created with the objective of enhancing the equestrian techniques utilized by horses and riders in various aspects of ranch and field work. Broken into the four categories of dressage, ease of handling, speed, and cow trials, working equitation blends the power and agility of modern sport horse competition with the efficiency and equitation of unique agrarian cultures. Pioneered by Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, the first international working equitation competition was held in 1996, and has evolved into the international showcase of the Working Equitation World Cup.

The Interagro Lusitano is a popular sport horse and working equitation mount, showcased at the World Cup by not only Xaveco’s impressive performance, but also by the elegant buckskin Dorus Interagro (Tufão Interagro x Xaqueca II Interagro) and Colírio das Mangueiras, who is out of Vênus Interagro, a mare sold at Interagro’s 2005 National Auction. Dorus competed for Italy under the direction of Giancarlo Giuliano, and both he and Xaveco were exhibited and purchased during Interagro’s national Lusitano auctions. The PSL (Pure Sangue Lusitano) breed, and especially those bred by Interagro, excel at working equitation and the sport horse disciplines because of their natural gift for collection, willing temperament, and exceptional intelligence, all of which allows them to navigate the challenging working equitation courses with ease.

Claire Moucadel and Xaveco during the Cow Trials phase of the 2015 Working Equitation World Cup (Photo courtesy of Interagro Lusitanos)
Claire Moucadel and Xaveco during the Cow Trials phase of the 2015 Working Equitation World Cup (Photo courtesy of Interagro Lusitanos)

With over 40 years of experience breeding, training, and exporting Lusitanos, Interagro’s mission is to preserve the exceptional bloodlines and qualities of the breed while showcasing their talent, beauty, and intelligence, especially in the FEI and sport horse disciplines. Established in 1975 by Dr. Paulo Gavião Gonzaga, Interagro’s initial vision was to preserve and restore the original foundational Lusitano bloodlines and lineages, many of which were in danger of extinction following the Portuguese Revolution of 1974. Through meticulous breeding, exceptional care, and world-class training, the Interagro Lusitanos of today continue that legacy as they compete across four continents.

For more information on Interagro, the Lusitano bloodlines, working equitation and training, or horses for sale, visit Interagro’s website or follow them on Facebook.

Media Contact:
Holly Johnson
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
954 205 7992

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Hosts 2016 National Team Roping League (NTRL) Finals

Photo courtesy of

Jacksonville, FL (January 27, 2016) – For the tenth year in a row, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and its 80 acres of premier horse facilities will play host to the National Team Roping League (NTRL) Finals. This exciting event will take place on January 28-31, offering fierce competition for qualified team ropers and exciting action for spectators.

Team roping’s top contenders will compete for over $500,000 in cash and prizes over the course of this four-day event presented by Wrangler and Lubrisyn.

The NTRL was founded in 2004, and offers a wide variety of divisions so team ropers of different backgrounds and abilities can participate. According to John Johnson of JX2 Productions, which produces the National Team Roping League Finals, even the high-caliber NTRL Finals will offer competition for ropers of all skill levels. “We’ll have everything from a professional roper to a beginner novice roper there competing,” Johnson said.

Competitors qualify for the NTRL Finals by competing in other team roping events, of which the NTRL offers over 60 per year. The National Team Roping League Finals is the number-one paying team roping event east of the Mississippi, so it isn’t hard to draw a crowd of competitors vying for prizes to this show.

“There will be ropers from as far north as New York and as far west as New Mexico, Oklahoma City, and Texas,” Johnson said. “We cover quite a large area.”

With an anticipated 600 horses, the 2016 NTRL Finals requires a facility large enough to accommodate high numbers. Combined with the favorable Florida weather and a convenient location, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center has been the obvious top choice to host the NTRL Finals for the past 10 years.

“The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a great location for people to get out of the cold during this time of year, but it’s not too far south to be difficult to get to,” Johnson explained.

For team roping fans or anyone else who is interested in witnessing this intense sport first-hand, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center offers free admission and parking throughout the NTRL Finals. Beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, January 28 until 8 p.m. every evening during the event, spectators can see the talented horses and riders in action.

Johnson said, “The NTRL Finals is a great event for anyone who wants to come watch a true cowboy sport that originated in the West. There will be some really outstanding horses.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a multifaceted facility that is a popular destination for equine, sporting, and recreational events. Equine amenities include an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 permanent stalls. Additional RV hook-ups and vendor spaces make it the perfect place for any event. For more information and event listings, visit or call Penny Gorton at 904-255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Celebrates Holidays with 13th Annual Fiddler’s Turkey Run

Photos courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (December 4, 2015) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center hosted an equestrian version of a “turkey trot” to celebrate Thanksgiving this past weekend. Instead of runners racing off extra holiday calories, horses and riders poured into the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for a barrel racing extravaganza on November 26-29, 2015. Fiddler’s Trailer Sales sponsored the event, which is now in its 13th consecutive year. The Fiddler’s Turkey Run was an immense success, featuring $95,000 in prize money, and plans to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center next year.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has become a popular event venue for a variety of equestrian sports. The facility came under new management last year, and has since invested in significant upgrades to its venue, which includes several outdoor riding rings and a 3,500-seat 150′ x 300′ indoor stadium. The indoor stadium was used for the Fiddler’s Turkey Run last weekend.

Young Laney Robinson earned the fastest time around the barrels at the Fiddler’s Turkey Run, who was awarded a beautiful pair of silver spurs donated by Amanda Weekley. The Fiddler’s Turkey Run was a WPRA sanctioned barrel racing competition. Although competition was fierce, the show organizers made sure there was also some “just for fun” competition in the form of a potato sack race!

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will continue to host equestrian events and other community-focused events throughout the rest of the year. This weekend will feature the Winter Dressage on the First Coast equestrian event. Riders will compete with their horses in the equestrian sport of dressage on December 5 and 6. The following weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will welcome the USDAA Pals & Paws Agility Trial. Spectator admission and parking are free for those wishing to watch canine athletes in action on December 11-13.

Fiddlers2For more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and to find out how to host your event at this multifaceted facility, visit or call Penny Gorton at 904-255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Riders Plan Para-Western Dressage Demo at the 2015 Western Dressage World Championship Show

Tulsa, Oklahoma – October 21, 2015 – Para-Equestrian World Equestrian Games’ athlete Roxie Trunnell, rider and Para-Equestrian Western Dressage Organizer Marcia Cullen, Frederick Win, and Lara Oles will be demonstrating Para-Equestrian Western Dressage at the 2014 Western Dressage World Championship Show. The Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) Western Dressage World Championship Show is scheduled November 6-8, 2015, following the WDAA Annual Convention November 4-6. The championship takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Built Ford Tough Livestock and Mustang Arena at Expo Square. Judges include Para-Dressage rider and Judge Robin Brueckmann R/Western Dressage, S/Dressage (Young Horse); Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez R/Western Dressage, S/Dressage (Young Horse, Equitation); Sue Malone-Casey – S/Dressage (Young Horse); and Barbara Ebner – S/Dressage (Young Horse). These riders are showcasing the para-equestrian side of Western Dressage offering a future additional discipline for disabled equestrian athletes. For more information, please visit or go to

Para-Dressage and Western Dressage rider Marsha Cullen explained, “As a Para-Equestrian and WDAA member I am happy to participate in the Educational Task Force on Para-Western Dressage. Having the WDAA World Championship Show in Tulsa every November is a real plus for those of us living in the Midwest and Southern states. There’s an abundance of stock horses here and their gaits are generally smoother and easier to sit. One of the tenets of the WDAA is its inclusiveness so combined with a sport that’s more accessible for more para-equestrians and you have a win/win situation.”

Para-Dressage rider and judge Robin Brueckmann noted, “I am so proud to be a part of the Western Dressage organization. It is helping people to use their horses in a productive and fun way. I think that Western Dressage is accessible to anyone with the horse they already have. It’s very exciting.”

By: Lindsay Y. McCall

To view an online version of this press release, please visit:

About United States Para-Equestrian Association:

The USPEA is a network of riders, judges, national federation board members, and equestrian enthusiasts. The association gives athletes the ability to get involved and expand their knowledge and experience in the Para-Equestrian sport. The USPEA encourages para-athletes to participate in all disciplines under the para-equestrian umbrella.

The USPEA is a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) which serves as the National Governing Body for the equestrian sport. This relationship between the USPEA and USEF is to encourage para-equestrian competitors, leisure riders, coaches, fans and enthusiasts to network and get involved with the entire equestrian sport.

Ultimately the goal of the USPEA is to foster growth in the para-equestrian discipline. From growth in the number of participants to growth as a team, and growth in the experience and knowledge of all involved. From local horse shows to international Olympic Games, the USPEA will provide para-equestrians the knowledge of what they need to succeed. The USPEA connects with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the United States Dressage Federation (USDF), and USEF which provides Para-Equestrians the top equestrian resources.

In June 2010, the USPEA earned its 501 (c)(3) status which has encouraged supporters to help supply funding to the Para-Equestrian Team as a recognized affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Washington Area Chevy Dealers Will Be in Winner’s Circle at Washington International Horse Show

Olympic veteran Reed Kessler earns her first Barrel Racing buckle riding for Army in Army v. Navy Celebrity Barrel Racing, presented by Washington Area Chevy Dealers, in 2014. Photo copyright Alden Corrigan Photography.

Visit a WACD Dealership and receive complimentary tickets to the show!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 5, 2015 – Washington Area Chevrolet Dealers will be center stage once again as title sponsor of the WIHS Winner’s Circle at the 57th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in North America, which will take place October 20-25 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Washington Area Chevy Dealers (WACD) also returns to sponsor of one of the most popular events of the week, the WIHS Army vs. Navy celebrity barrel racing exhibition held on Military Night, Friday, October 23. Professional barrel racers affiliated with National Barrel Horse Association, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association or American Professional Rodeo Association will team up with celebrity riders representing the military to run the barrels.

WACD is offering a limited number of free ticket vouchers to dealership visitors during the month of October. WIHS fans can pick up the general admission ticket vouchers at any local Washington Area Chevy dealership, conveniently located in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. While at the dealership, Chevy encourages fans to enjoy their complete lineup of trucks. The 2015 Silverado 1500 was named the “Highest Ranking Large Light Duty Pickup in Initial Quality” by J. D. Power with class-leading V8 fuel efficiency and high-strength steel, and as the Motor Trend Truck of the Year in 2015, the all-new 2015 Colorado is reinventing the midsize pickup from frame up.

“There’s no power like horsepower! We are pleased to be a part of this exciting event representing the very best in equestrian competition in the heart of Washington, D.C., just like Chevrolet represents the highest caliber of automotive lineup in the industry and top service in the area,” said Bob Biagi, General Manager of Ourisman Chevrolet of Alexandria.

In addition to the Army v. Navy Celebrity Barrel Racing, presented by Washington Area Chevrolet Dealers, Military Night, presented by The Boeing Company, is an exciting evening of competition, exhibitions and special events in honor of the U.S. Military, with highlights including The Boeing Company Puissance, a thrilling high jump competition, and the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, a high-test race over a challenging course with jumps close to 5 feet!

“WIHS is proud to partner with Washington Area Chevy Dealers,” said WIHS Executive Director, Bridget Love Meehan. “Their standard of excellence and commitment to making a positive difference in the local community bring an important local distinction to our event.”

About Washington International Horse Show,
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

Fappani Edges Mills to Win 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship

Andrea Fappani and Custom Spook (Waltenberry)

Las Vegas, Nev. – Andrea Fappani came out the gate strong Thursday night to earn the 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship during the High Roller Reining Classic. Fappani scored a 229 to edge out Reserve Champion Matt Mills who scored a 226.

The 2015 $25,000 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship was comprised of elite reining talent including four members who competed in the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Casey Hinton (Whitesboro, Texas) and Tracey Tuttle-Bryce and Roberta Faga’s Top Gun Tonite led the competition with a score of 222 before Fappani (Scottsdale, Ariz.) entered the arena as fourth to go. The 2014 WEG Individual Silver medalist Fappani and Rancho Oso Rio, LLC’s Custom Spook electrified the arena upon entering with their first sliding stop. This set the tone for an exceptional performance and helped them earn a great score.

Fappani had a commanding lead going into the final four performances. Mills (Cave Creek, Ariz.) and Dealer Auctions, LLC and Vincent and Lynn Maffucci’s Freckles Got AShiner took to the arena first. They also gave an exciting performance. However, Fappani and Custom Spook were more on point with their stops and spins, which allowed them to keep their lead.

Hinton as well as Troy Heikes (Purcell, Okla.) and Denise Bixler’s RSD One Hot Deal were tied for third place with a score of 222 until Tom McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Jennifer Greenleaf’s Dun Git A Nicadual entered the arena. They put on a good show to take third place with a score of 223.

From the USEF Communications Department

Dance Little Spook and Masi de Vargas Claim Gold in Aachen

The individual medal podium at the FEI European Reining Championships (from left), silver medallist Grischa Ludwig (GER), gold medallist Giovanni Masi de Vargas (ITA), and bronze medallist Elias Ernst (GER). (FEI/Dirk Caremans)

Aachen (GER), 16 August 2015 – Excitement and great reining were the key words at the FEI European Reining Championships in Aachen (GER) today. Twenty of Europe’s finest horses and riders performed in the Deutsche Bank Stadium with Giovanni Masi de Vargas of Italy clinching individual gold with Quarter Dream’s Dance Little Spook between the reins.

Last to enter the arena, the 22-year-old flawlessly guided the talented seven-year-old mare, by Smart Spook out of Sailors Dance, through pattern number nine. His deep stops, fast spins, smooth lead changes and perfectly painted circles pleased both the crowd and the judges who paid him back with an outstanding score of 222 and the top step of the podium.

“Earning two gold medals here is unbelievable and so emotional,” said Masi de Vargas, who also posted the highest score in the team competition on Friday when Italy took home the gold. “I cannot thank my team enough, our coach and the president of the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE), Cav. Vittorio Orlandi, for being here to cheer for us.”

The pressure was on for Masi de Vargas once it was his turn to enter the arena. German veteran Grischa Ludwig and the eight-year-old stallion Shine My Gun (Colonels Smoking Gun x Shiners Mistress), owned by Stephanie Maudas, had thrilled the crowd with their run and their perfect spins. Once they had performed their last stop, a 221 appeared on the scoreboard, meaning the duo just missed out and had to settle for individual silver on home soil. “I came here aiming for the gold,” Ludwig said. “I did not have much luck in my last stop but it was a great fight until the very end and I am proud of our results.”

Germany also kept the bronze medal at home as Elias Ernst and USS N Dun It (Reminic Dun It x USS Entrprise) closed their run with a 219. The talented 10-year-old stallion is owned by Christine Wilinski. “I can’t describe my feelings! To show here is awesome and the crowd was super,” said the young German rider.

Setting the pace

Austria’s Daniel Schmutz and BH Cielo Dry opened the competition with a score of 214.5. Closing the first judging block, and raising the score by a point, was the duo that made it through from the second qualifier, Verena Klein of Germany and her Olena Joe Cody.

Italy’s team veteran, Pierluigi Fabbri, was in the lead following the second of four judging blocks after posting a 217.5 aboard Broadway Jaba (Little Red Jaba x Tuff Lady Boss), owned by Az. Agricola Pollarini.

With a strong performance, Klaus Lechner of Austria and Cody Rooster Delmaso (Ricochet Rooster x Made Of Lacy), owned by Giulia Gaupmann, received a 218.5 from the judges, the highest score prior to the last five competitors which also earned them fourth place overall.

Following the last drag, expectation and high class reining kept the public glued to their seats and the final tussle between Masi de Vargas and Ludwig couldn’t have been a better advertisement for the sport. There was no better way to close the 2015 edition of the FEI European Reining Championships in Aachen!


Giovanni Masi de Vargas – “I started competing in 2009 in junior competition and this is my ninth FEI medal. This is the first time I’ve competed in a senior championship and it’s been an amazing experience.”

Grischa Ludwig – “I was fifth in the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and fourth last time, then I was individual third in the European Championships in 2013 and now second here, so the tendency goes up!”

Ralf Hesselschwerdt, President of the Ground Jury – “We expected a very close run and it turned out to be that. Grischa ran a great pattern, performed awesome spins, and at that manoeuver he was ahead of Giovanni; his horse anticipated the last stop and that pushed him half a point behind Giovanni. Giovanni was very consistent; his run reflected smoothness and finesse and nobody deserved it more than he did.”

The Reining family

When asked about the friendship/rivalry between them, the medalists answered:

Giovanni, better known as ‘Dido’ – “We compete every month against other. It’s a real friendship.”

Grischa – “I’m a bit older than Dido, and I’m a very good friend of his father’s; in fact we’ve had some fights on horses! I’ve known him (Giovanni) since he was that high (demonstrating with his hands) and I always told his father that he would grow to be a top top rider. When I saw him compete in junior competition through the years, I knew that he was a rising star. Reining is a family; we are the reining family. I’d like to thank the organisers here and say that this is probably the best organised reining show we’ve ever shown in. It’s unbelievable how much they’ve done for us.”

Reining competitors often refer to the connections they develop within the sport as being as close as family. That was literally true in Aachen. Filippo Masi de Vargas, Italy’s team coach and Giovanni’s father summed up his feelings by saying: “I’m bursting with pride and honored to be part of this team gold and individual gold all Italian experience. Each and every competitor here was wonderful and they all showcased the sport of Reining to the best of their ability.”

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.

By Simona Diale

Media Contacts:

At Aachen:

Niels Knippertz
Press Officer
+49 (0) 241 9171 182


Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Tel: +41 787 506 145

It’s Gold for Team Italy!

Left to right: Giovanni Masi de Vargas, Francesco Martinotti, Pierluigi Fabbri and Edoardo Bernadelli. (Jon Stroud/FEI)

Aachen (GER), 14 August 2015 – Today, Italy claimed team gold ahead of Germany in silver and The Netherlands in bronze at the FEI European Reining Championships 2015 in Aachen, Germany.

In a field of 40 competitors, and with 8 horse-rider combinations to go, the podium was determined by a superb performance from Italy’s Giovanni Masi De Vargas and Dance Little Spook.

Aboard the 7-year-old Quarter Horse mare by Smart Spook and out of Sailors Dance, owned by Quarter Dream, the young Italian rider posted a 221.5. Equaling the top score of the day was Germany’s Grisha Ludwig and Shine My Gun. The 7-year-old stallion, an own son of Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Shiners Mistress, owned by Stephanie Madaus, thrilled the crowd executing the only +1 ½ spins of the day. Once the duo closed their performance, they secured Germany’s European team silver.

“I am simply thrilled,” said Italian team coach, Filippo Masi De Vargas. “This squad is made up of young riders, the future of our discipline, and they were just great, very professional and full of enthusiasm. The only ‘older’ rider is Pierluigi Fabbri, who was also on the team in the past edition. He had to endure the pressure of opening the competition today and did a great job giving the other athletes on the team the confidence they needed.”

In the 2013 edition of the Championships, Italy took team silver behind Germany and today, again on German soil, the battle was on from the first to the last competitor. With only 10 horse-rider combinations left to go, vying for the medals were Italy with 651 points, The Netherlands with 637 and France with 634.5. The situation was soon to change following Masi De Vargas’s performance, which did put Italy in the lead but still left the highest step of the podium undecided.

The gold and silver medals were determined after Ludwig’s run, but reining enthusiasts had to wait until the last competitor of the day to find out which nation would complete the podium. Rieky Young Van Osch of The Netherlands, who performed aboard her Brady Chex, the 10-year-old stallion by Buenonic Chex and out of Somethingtocrowabout, ending up posting a 214, enough to earn the bronze.

Just off the podium was team Great Britain with three competitors and a total of 635 points. Francesca Sternberg and Ten Reasons (Hand Ten Suprize x Hotroddin Catalyst) closed with a 215.5, enough to advance automatically to the individual competition on Sunday. “Ten Reasons just gave me another reason why my husband Doug chose him!” said an enthused Francesca following her run.


Frank Kemperman, Aachen 2015 Show Director, FEI Executive Board member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee, said: “It’s nine years since we did reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games, but this was fantastic sport.”

Joe Hayes, judge: “I’m from Texas so I probably don’t need a mic! If you didn’t see the reining today don’t miss it next time! It was really fun to judge and congratulations to all three teams. It was like a heavyweight boxing match, very exciting to judge. It’s really fun to show a good horse and it’s fun to judge good horses.”

Giovanni Masi De Vargas: “Being here in on German soil and being able to claim the gold is an incredible experience. The feeling we had when we got here was that this could be done but actually getting it done is a completely different story! The pressure was definitely on when I went in the arena, but I used that pressure to do the best I could. This is a tough arena to show in, especially considering the importance of this venue. I cannot express how I feel right now; the only thing I can say is that it’s simply great!” The 23-year-old De Vargas boasts multiple FEI team and individual gold medals in Junior and Young Rider competitions.

Dutch dressage champion, Anky van Grunsven, who holds the record for the most Olympic medals won by any equestrian athlete, and is the only rider to record three successive Olympic wins in the same event, was on Team Netherlands riding her own Whizashinningwalla BB. This is her first reining medal in an FEI event. “It’s amazing, so much fun and I’m so excited about it,” said Anky. “I know I can do dressage but to be on a bronze medal winning reining team – that’s something else. Earning a medal at the FEI European Championships is so good for this sport and the reason that I enjoy this discipline is firstly because I’m not good at it and I like the challenge, and secondly, I love the atmosphere both in and outside the arena.”

Chefs d’Equipe quotes:

Filippo Masi De Vargas (ITA): “It’s really great to win here in Germany, especially as we’ve got some young team members and it’s their first time on a team.”

Nico Hoermann (GER): “We knew that the Italians had a very good team and in the end the final was really good sport. We only had a team of three, but in the end it was no difference as it was the scratch result.”

Dave Young (NED): “I’m very proud of my riders; all four of them worked really hard and showed very smart today. They worked hard on a strong team presentation today.”

The individual competition

Ten nations competed in the 1st individual qualifier (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden). All except Austria presented full teams with Tina Kuestner Mantl and her Nu Chexomatic along with Klaus Lechner and Cody Rooster Del Maso both scoring a 215.5. The two secured a spot in the individual finals.

The 15 top scores from the 1st individual qualifier will automatically advance to the individual competition on Sunday, 16 August, at 10.00 CEST.

The next 20 scores will be able to compete in the 2nd individual qualifier with the first five also advancing to the finals. On Saturday 15 August, the second individual qualifier will begin at 18.15 CEST.

For more information on the FEI European Championships 2015 in Aachen, visit

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 results are here.

By Simona Diale

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