By Simona Diale – Lyon, France – The NRHA approved $20,000-added Grand Prix Non Pro Reining, sponsored by Lambey, closed the reining competition in Lyon where the 18th edition of the prestigious EQUITA’ Horse Show was held. For the third year running, the sport of Reining was also showcased at its best.
Ann Poels Fonck riding NRHA Million Dollar Owner Rosanne Sterberg’s Spook A Little, won the $40,000-added Grand Prix Open sponsored by Equidia Life. Today, in a field of 30 riders and in front of a full house, one had to wait for the very last entry before the winner of the $20,000-added Grand Prix by Lambey was determined. With a score of 222, once again, Italy’s Claudio Risso and his Spat A Blue – the 2011 NRHA Non Pro World Champions – took the lead as well as the highest step of the podium. “I tried hard and spoke to my horse all the way through the pattern, and he listened! Last year the score to beat was a 221.5, this year it was the same and it’s a great feeling”, said a smiling Risso. Spat A Blue is a 10-year-old stallion by Spat Olena and out of ARC Joy Surprise (by Surprise Enterprise) who has won over $65,000 in NRHA competition.
Just a half a point behind the winners were Austria’s Tina Kuenstner-Mantl and her Heza Sure Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Jeanie Whiz Bar x Cee Red), owned by Jac Point QH. “My horse was really good for me today and I am happy with the way he went, even though of course we would’ve liked to have won!” said Kuenstner-Mantl about her 12-year-old stallion who boasts over $95,000 LTE.
Opening the last day of the NRHA approved show was the NRHA approved Markel Snaffle Bit Open Level 2 and Level 2 Futurity. NRHA Professional Cody Sapergia riding Tari Whizin for owner Marino Pilotto and NRHA Professional Bernard Fonck riding Wimpy Genuinediamond for owner Marcel Van Raad, tied to win the level 4 division with a score of 218.5. Winning the level 2 division, after posting a 215.5, was Belgian Alfons Hoefkens riding Classy Gun WR San Jo, owned by WR Horses.
These results were unofficial at press time.
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Photos by Andrea Bonaga