Sandra Bentien: Alone at the Top

When I am able to cover events live, I love to hear everyone’s stories. It’s part of my job: to listen and share your story. I met Sandra Bentien at the NRHA Futurity a couple of years ago and fell in love with her stallion, Gotta Twist It Up. The pair ended up winning the Level 3 & 2 Non Pro Futurity Championships in 2016, then came back to win the Level 4 Non Pro Derby Championship in 2018.

It was my privilege to share her story in the January 2018 issue of Horse & Rider magazine. She tells me how she survived her first pony, a black Shetland named Thunder, and moved on to teach herself the intricacies of reining.

“Competitors all dream of winning on the big stage. For reiners, that’s often at the Jim Norick Arena in Oklahoma City during either the National Reining Horse Association Derby or Futurity. Riders and trainer fantasize about being crowned the NRHA Futurity Champion, the penultimate title. Breeders hope they’ve produced the next prospect to wear the roses. Owners dream of taking those roses home to their mantels. 

“Rarely are all four of those people–rider, trainer, breeder and owner–under one hat. But when you’re the ultimate do-it-yourself non-pro, the stars can align for that to occur, as they did for Sandra Bentien at the 2016 NRHA Futurity.”

Sandra Bentien NRHA Non Pro Derby Championalone-2

Read the whole article on Horse & Rider’s website: DIY Rider Alone at the Top

A little behind the scenes look when Sandra was named 2018 NRHA Level 4 Non Pro Derby Champion with her homebred, Gotta Twist It Up.

2018 NRHA Derby NP Champion

Catching up with Sandra Bentien right after she’s named 2018 NRHA Level 4 Derby Champion.

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Andrea Fappani – Getting the Most From Your Horse

(From the January 2017 Reiner Magazine)

Andrea Fappani Spooky WhizThe surprise wasn’t really that Andrea Fappani had won the Lucas Oil NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity, but the surprise was what horse he won it on, and how he did it.

Spooky Whiz joined the Fappani training barn at the end of his 2-year-old year after Fappani purchased him through agent Eduardo Salgado for Rancho Oso Rio, an NRHA Million Dollar Owner. While the dark bay gelding was a bit on the small size, Fappnie could tell, even at an early age, that he had exactly the mind he was looking for.

“What I liked was his mind,” recalls Fappani. “As a 2 year old he was very mature, and you could tell he took different things that he wasn’t used to and handled them well. That’s what I’m looking for when I train young horses.”

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Learn more about how Fappani got the most out of Spooky Whiz, and why he chose to break tradition and ride in romal reins: Trainer Talk: Getting the Most From Your Horse

Keeping Up with the Johnsons

One of my favorite things to do is write profiles on the people of the horse industry. I love to tell their stories, and to share with the world something that maybe nobody else knew. When I am assigned a story about a subject whom you think everyone knows everything about, I see it as a challenge to dig a little deeper…

Bob and Karen Johnson of Burns, Tenn., are those kind of people–their personalities are so big that everyone wants to be their friend. They met at a horse show, and now they spend their time together at horse shows all across the country, showing their American Quarter Horses in ranch riding and halter.

This story earned an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Livestock Publications Council awards in the Feature/Human Interest, Association category for the American Quarter Horse Journal. Continue to read more to learn about this awesome couple.

Bob and Karen Johnson feature in American Quarter Horse Journal

Read more: Keeping up with the Johnsons

On the Hunt – Equine Media Descend on Maryland

As I’m writing this, I realize that I have not been the best in updating my own website, and for that I’m embarrassed. However, maybe that’s a good sign to show that I’ve been so busy with projects and work and promoting others that I don’t have the time to promote myself? Yeah. Let’s go with that.

This weekend I’ve flown East to Hunt Valley, Maryland, for the annual American Horse Publications Media Seminar. It’ll be a weekend of learning, networking, inspiring and (hopefully) being inspired. The weekend starts with a tour of Maryland’s horse country, including fox hunting grounds and Sagamore Farm. It’ll culminate with the annual Equine Media Awards.

This year, I am a finalist in at least one category that I know of. I entered a few different stories, and one that I wrote for the Quarter Horse News was named a finalist in its category. It was a fun article looking into the history and the use of the romal rein, spurred by the use of them by 2016 NRHA Futurity Champion Andrea Fappani.

QHN041517_BraidedInTradition[1]

You can read it here: Braided in Tradition

I’ll be sure to take photos and chronicle the weekend, in hopes that it kicks me back into updating things and sharing more of my work with you. To say life has been a whirlwind is putting it mildly.

The Importance of Balance in Reining Horses

While I lived in Lexington, I had the privilege of getting to work with leaders in the equine health industry in many facets. I’ve always enjoyed talking with Stuart Muir, resident farrier at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. Stuart is a wealth of information when it comes to the horse’s hoof, so when he knows of a podiatry topic horse owners need to learn about, he and I work together to get that information out there.

One such example is this article I wrote for the NRHA Reiner: “The Importance of Balance in Reining Horses.”

GH-Joe Schmidt

Why is balance so important? In order to alleviate the amount of stress and pressure on the horse’s front legs during movement, it’s imperative that the front legs breakover with as little force as possible. “We need to get the horse moving very efficiently,” says Stuart. “To do that, we work a lot at balancing the hoof with trimming and shoeing. It’s very important, especially in reining, to make sure that the front end is balanced.”

You can read the rest of the article: The Importance of Balance in Reining Horses

Trailer Shopping? Be Ready to Hit the Road

Summertime means road trips, and for a lot of horse people, that means taking your horses with you–whether it’s for a horse show circuit or a long weekend of trail riding. And, if you’re looking to purchase a new ride for your horses, it’s a lot more than just choosing gooseneck or bumper pull.

In the May 2017 issue of the American Quarter Horse Journal, I did the research so you can answer this question yourself: Are you looking at the right horse trailer?

 

EverythingTrailers

Read more: Hit The Road

Getting the Most from Your Horse

I just returned from a trip to Oklahoma City for the 2017 NRHA Derby, the aged event that celebrates 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old reining horses. It’s always fun to see the horses that competed in the prior year’s Futurity, as well as returning Futurity champions all in one building. I’ll post some photos from my trip later, but first, I thought it’d be good to learn how to get the most from your horse in the reining pen from the 2016 NRHA Futurity Champion (and NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider) Andrea Fappani and the NRHA Reiner.

The surprise wasn’t really that Fappani had won the Lucas Oil NRHA Level 4 Open Futurity, but the surprise was what horse he won it on, and how he did it.

Spooky Whiz joined the Fappani training barn at the end of his 2 year old year after Fappani purchased him through agent Eduardo Salgado for Rancho Oso Rio, an NRHA Million Dollar Owner. While the dark bay gelding was a bit on the small size, Fappani could tell, even at an early age, that he had exactly the mind he was looking for.

Andrea-romal

Read more on the PDF:

Trainer Talk: Getting the Most from Your Horse with Andrea Fappani