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.”

WorldChamp07-Open

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

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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.

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

Scenes from the 2016 NRHA Futurity

Once again I had the opportunity to attend the National Reining Horse Association‘s marquee event: The NRHA Futurity & Adequan North American Affiliate Championships.

I was doing coverage of the NAAC for the NRHA Reiner, and, as always, the experiences did not disappoint.

Sometimes the Futurity isn't just about the horses. This 5-month-old Kangaroo joey is named Rosie Roo, and she was attending her first Futurity with her owner.

Sometimes the Futurity isn’t just about the horses. This 5-month-old Kangaroo joey is named Rosie Roo, and she was attending her first Futurity with her owner.

That moment when you hear, "THE SCORE...." during the Open Finals. Andrea Fappani won the Level 4 on Spooky Whiz with a 225.5.

That moment when you hear, “THE SCORE….” during the Open Finals. Andrea Fappani won the Level 4 on Spooky Whiz with a 225.5.

Just doing some daydreaming of my next reining horse....

Just doing some daydreaming of my next reining horse….

Casualties of the dirt

Casualties of the dirt

The final breath... The final "whoa".... The final slide... The Finals

The final breath…
The final “whoa”….
The final slide…
The Finals

A Golden World Equestrian Games for USA Reining

Last week was a crazy one for me. I’ve learned it is particularly difficult to cover an event that is happening in France while you’re located in Kentucky. But, thanks to technology and social media, it wasn’t too bad. I was doing remote coverage of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games for the EquineChronicle.com and HorsesDaily.com.

It was a lot of fun to watch as Team USA reasserted their dominance in the sport we’ve perfected, by not only winning the fourth (or four) Team gold medal, but also sweeping the individual podium, including having one of the few five-time WEG gold medalists in Shawn Flarida, and the first woman to stand on the individual podium with Mandy McCutcheon.

A patriot sight to see the American flag over some cowboys. Photo courtesy Dirk Caremans/FEI

A patriot sight to see the American flag over some cowboys. Photo courtesy Dirk Caremans/FEI

During the event, I was lucky to be in contact with the owner of Andrea Fappani’s ride–Custom Cash Advance. Michael Miola is one of those owners whose passion for his horses and the sport of reining might overwhelm you, but you know his heart is with his horse. In fact, Miola and his farm, Silver Spurs Equine, were lucky enough to have two horses qualified for reining Team USA with Fappani. However, when they determined Smoking Whiz wasn’t 100 percent, they decided to go all-in with “Cash.” Fappani and Cash came home with a Team Gold and Individual Silver, which is pretty good considering the pair had only competed together one time before heading to France, and that was for the team qualifier held in April in Kentucky. Each time they competed, though, their scores improved–220 in Lexington, 224 in the team competition in Caen, and 229 in the individual round. Pretty impressive.

Andrea Fappani and Custom Cash Advance set the tone early for USA reining with a great Team run.Photo courtesy Dirk Caremans/FEI

Andrea Fappani and Custom Cash Advance set the tone early for USA reining with a great Team run.Photo courtesy Dirk Caremans/FEI

What was equally impressive, to me, was the heart in both Jordan Larson and the big buckskin stallion, HF Mobster. Larson’s one of those trainers that I don’t believe gets a lot of credit, but he’s behind a lot of the top horses today–in fact, he was the last rider of Custom Cash Advance before Fappani took the reins. And when you see “Mobster” you can’t help but hold your breath just want to pet him–that big blue eye, beautifully put together… They earned the Team Gold as well, and could have possibly earned an individual medal, if it hadn’t been for a scary slip during the last of his big, fast circles. Mobster’s heart totally shown through, however, when he continued the pattern without missing a step. (You can see the video below.)

And, of course, there’s the golden girl in Mandy McCutcheon. Riding the big palomino stallion Yellow Jersey, she showed that her parents made the right decision in letting her take the reins for her first trip as a competitor (not a support like she has in the past for husband Tom, and father Tim McQuay). She lit up the arena with her smile every time she finished the pattern. She rode her heart out, and Yellow Jersey gave her everything he had. Mandy’s done just about all a Non Pro can do in her storied career, but to see a woman finally on the individual podium (and a German female rider came in fourth), was pretty awesome.

Read more from the WEG with my articles on EquineChronicle.com and HorsesDaily.com:

Team USA Reining Arrives in France for the World Equestrian Games
So what do you pack for a horse being shipped to Europe to compete in a world-class event? “Really nothing out of the ordinary,”  Michael explains. “The only thing different that was packed, besides Andrea’s saddle, bridles, blankets, etc., was that we sent a 50-pound bag of carrots for Cash’s treats along for the trip. He loves carrots!”

Team USA Starts Strong at 2014 World Equestrian Games
Miola said the “ear-splitting cheers” never subsided throughout Cash’s run and got even more intense as the pair set up for their closing rundowns and stops. “The scores before Cash’s run weren’t very high, with a 218 leading,” Miola explains. “When Andrea’s pattern was complete, the crowd continued cheering and stomping until the score was announced—a 224. Then, the crowd erupted again! I have never experienced this level of enthusiasm in my life. The Europeans really love reining.”

Team USA is Golden at 2014 World Equestrian Games
“The feeling is very emotional—I didn’t think it would be, but it is,” Miola says. “Cash is such a pleasant horse to be around. To see him and Andrea being honored like this, along with the other members of the team, brought tears to both Michelle’s and my eyes, especially when they played the National Anthem.”

2014 World Equestrian Games Wrap-Up: Team USA Sweeps Podium
Mandy McCutcheon, who is the only non pro and female NRHA Million Dollar Rider, told the media she feels lucky to place behind Flarida and Fappani. “I’ve been lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had for my whole career and the opportunities my parents have given me,” she says. “I couldn’t be more thankful or appreciative to them; I wouldn’t be here without them and the same thing with Tom.”

Adequan USA Reining Reigns Supreme
“It’s hard to put all I feel in words,” Mandy told the media. “I couldn’t be happier, my horse stepped up for me tonight and when they do that, they are great horses. To be behind two such great athletes 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.”