Anne Reynolds and Shiney And Verysmart Win 2009 Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Championship/McKenzie Merrill and Ill Be Skeets Take Intermediate Non Pro Title
Friday, October 2, was a day of anticipation, heartache, defeat, and victory at the Reno Livestock Events Center. As the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro finalists began the cow work, it was clearly a horse-race between three contestants.
Coming in as draw two was four-time NRCHA Non Pro Champion Anne Reynolds on her horse, Shiney And Verysmart. The pair had already set the pace in the herd and rein work, marking a 216 in the herd and following that with a 219 in the rein work to gain a one-point lead after the rein work.
With the championship within reach, Reynolds and Rick (Shiney And Verysmart) managed to score 216. “The fence work was shaping up to be 75s, but we had trouble getting up to the cow in the circles. I’m pleased though, because I did the best I could.”
Next to take a shot at ousting Reynolds was McKenzie Merrill and Ill Be Skeets, who were only 1.5 points behind going into the cow work – but their 212 score fell short.
Then the 2008 Intermediate Non Pro Champion and Non Pro Reserve Champion John McCarty entered the arena on Roosters Zack. Only a point behind Reynolds, the Gaviota, California, Non Pro and his horse had the crowd enthralled and cheering from the moment the cow entered the arena.
But, as luck and the cow gods would have it, McCarty and Roosters Zack fell when they began circling the cow for the last time. The Non Pro Championship was Anne’s – her fifth. Reynolds received a check for $22,300.
While Reynolds has trained many champions, she was quick to give credit for the win on Rick to Jaton Lord, the young man who has worked for her for over two years. “Jaton started this horse and he did all the training on him up until the end of June,” she explained. “He did a great job on him and there are no holes in this horse’s training. Jaton’s only been riding cow horses for two years, and I appreciate his hard work. He does a great job.”
Shiney And Verysmart is the product of Reynolds breeding program – one that has been successful time after time. He is by her stallion, Very Smart Remedy, a former World’s Greatest Horseman Champion and sire of five 2009 Open Futurity Finalists and two Non Pro Finalists.
The maternal line is one that began before Reynolds was even born. Her aunt had a mare named Nevada Miss, who she bred to Poco Tivio to produce a filly named Poco Rhythm. When her aunt died, she gave Reynolds that mare – Anne was six at the time.
At the end of her high school years, Reynolds and her mother bred Poco Rhythm to Tripolay Bar, resulting in a mare named Music And Rhythm. Music And Rhythm was the dam of Shirley McLain, who was bred to Shining Spark and had Shirley Shine – Shiney And Verysmart’s dam.
For most Non Pros, the end of the finals means a chance to relax, but for Reynolds, the show is far from over, as she qualified another horse for the Open Finals on Sunday. Lord also qualified another of Reynold’s horses for the finals, so Sunday, October 4, will be busy.
McKenzie Merrill claimed the Intermediate Non Pro Championship and the Non Pro Reserve Championship on Ill Be Skeets. She collected $22,995 in the finals competition alone, after topping the herd and rein work preliminaries.
“I’m kind of in shock. This was my first year to show a Futurity horse here. I brought one two years ago and the day before I showed in the herd work she tore a suspensory, so that was tough,” she explained. “I showed a hackamore horse last year, and then was able to come back this year and compete in the Futurity.”
Merrill and Ill Be Skeets, (Skeets Peppy x Oak Ill Be), began the finals with a 216.5 in the herd work. “My horse is really cowy – I don’t have to make him do anything and I can leave him alone,” she said. “My horse is a show horse, and he was just great. I think I did everything I needed to, and we marked a 217.”
When it came down to the cow work, the Dallas, Texas, Non Pro knew she had to lay it on the line. “I knew I had to be aggressive, and that it would either work or not. I just knew I had to go out there and be aggressive and really go for it.”
Karey Franz, the 2008 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Amateur Champion, won the Intermediate Non Pro Reserve title on Hy Rollin Hollywood with a 631. The Reserve title garnered a check for $5,016.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Adequan®, Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinch, Inc., Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, MD Barns, Platinum Performance, Inc., Nutrena, Quarter Horse News, Fort Dodge West Nile Innovator, Rios of Mercedes, Merial products ULCERGARD and EQUIOXX, Wide World of Horses, Markel Insurance Company, and the Silver Legacy Hotel, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.