Behind the Slide – Shawn Reynolds

Shawn Reynolds of Bordentown, New Jersey, has qualified for the National Reining Horse Association’s Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships numerous times, but only made the trip south to Oklahoma City once in 2014.

“We ended up running for a world title in the Intermediate Non Pro, so I knew I had to go or else I’d lose it. Other than that, though, the trip is expensive,” Reynolds explained.

He wasn’t planning on making the trip in 2021 until he was visiting his friend Nelson Shertzer and heard about the new Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdowns for a select group of classes. “He started telling me about the Showdown, and I thought it makes it worthwhile to come down, show in the NAAC, and try to make the Showdown round,” he shared.

Reynolds qualified for this year’s NAAC through the Northeast Affiliate Regional Championships and is a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association. He and Shiny Gunman won the Non Pro there with a big score of 145.

While competition is consistently tough in the Adequan® Arena, Reynolds was excited to see that the Bob’s Custom Saddles Showdown was specifically for the Intermediate Non Pro. “I was looking at the numbers from last year when I was home watching, and I think the top 10 horses in the Non Pro all marked a 224 or better. I might knock on that door every now and then, but I don’t know if I’m consistent enough to mark that,” he said. “I think it’s awesome that they offered the Showdown at the Intermediate Non Pro level, because you’ve taken away some of the top riders. It’s great!”

Reynolds, a C17 Loadmaster for the Air Force and based out of McGuire, was stationed in New Jersey in 1990 when he met his wife, Tracy, who worked for NRHA Professional Terry Thompson at the time. “I got into reining a couple years after we started dating. I actually rode with Terry a few years, then with Rocky Dare, and currently ride with Bill Bowen of Gata Rein,” he said.

Reynolds didn’t grow up riding horses, although he spent many summers at his grandparents’ farm where he rode ponies during the summertime. “Pretty much almost every day they would let me I would be riding, but I never showed or anything. I started in the appaloosa circuit and rode pleasure horses for a year, but went straight to reiners after that,” he said.

In 2002, Reynolds was the NRHA Rookie of the Year, and has since earned a world championship, two reserve world championships, and currently sits second for the Prime Time in 2021.

Reynolds recalls the first time he showed in the Jim Norick Coliseum. “I remember I used to thank, ‘Man, this is such a big pen. There’s a lot of room in here.’ It’s still the Gateway of Champions and it’s still neat to go down that alley and go in the pen to show. Even sitting here thinking about it right now, I’m getting amped up,” he admitted.

Reynolds will be showing two horses in Oklahoma City, Hollywood Hype and Shiny Gunman. “They have been in full time training this year. I’ve tried to keep them both in training full time, which is not easy on a military budget, but that’s what they need so that when I show in Oklahoma City, they’re ready to go,” Reynolds said. “I thank my wife who is coming down with me, and I have to mention my friend Nelson Shertzer. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be coming down here.”