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News

FUTURE FOR THE ARHA FUTURITY

LEADERS LOOKING TO THE FUTURE...

Eleanor and TimTim Anderson of Amani Reiners in Milbank, SD, offered an instant response to what most impresses him about the 2014 ARHA Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic. "The quality of the horses and the riders," he stated with no hesitation. "Two riders in this year's show boast NRHA lifetime winnings of two and three million dollars, Andres Fappani and Craig Schmersal."

Fappani, with lifetime earnings of three million, was the youngest of all one million dollar NRHA riders. Schmersal, a two million dollar rider, is one of the youngest trainers on the NRHA's top ten list, and the third Two Million Dollar rider.

As the new chair of the ARHA Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity, Anderson is rightly enthused about the future of the Futurity. He reports that the committee is exploring new revenue opportunities and fundraising plans.

"Future support may not come just from donations," he explains. "We have a lot of confidence in the popularity and growing potential of reining. The Futurity will continue to be a driving force in supporting reining. And as we look back over the accomplishments of the past decade, I see the future as equally bright."

FROM AHRA PRESIDENT

Arabian Reining Horse Association president Eleanor Hamilton of Eleanor's Arabian Farm in Rogers, MN has donated several of reining prospects as raffle prizes to benefit ARHA and the word is out this year. Friday afternoon people were knocking on the reining office locked door wanting to purchase more tickets for this year's filly donation. And no wonder, she's a full sister to the horse Eleanor is riding this year.

The first horse Eleanor donated, Sheaz Melody JAC, owned by Linda Jacobs of Hinsdale, IL went on to take National Championship honors and is a competitor at the Show. Makes a ten dollar raffle ticket a rather exciting investment.

Eleanor is most pleased by the quality of the entries in the tenth anniversary Show. "Our breeders have made huge strides in the past ten years," she explains. "I think people now truly appreciate how important it is to find the right bloodstock for reining and to stick with a good breeding program. The improvement in our purebred horses is really fantastic." Looking to the future of Futurity, Eleanor, like Tim Anderson, sees opportunity. "Tim and his committee are already at work now. No doubt we will retool a little going forward, after all, we're ten years into this, we're more experienced now and we need a new vision for the next ten years."


SPEAKING OF THE FUTURE...

This group of young riders has their sights set on filling that famous Wells Fargo Stage Coach with a big load of ribbons, roses, buckles, saddles, trophies and big checks for years to come!

ARHA's launch of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) based Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup class at the 2014 Show brought a new group of competitors to the Wells Fargo Advisors Arena. These classes provide an especially designed riding pattern for young riders who might still be too small for safe and comfortable managing of traditional reining patterns. The Short Stirrup NRHA Pattern #11 eliminates speed and flying lead changes and keeps the event safer and easier. This is an ideal event for youth to compete on Arabian Horsemanship horses or by riding older, semi-retired reiners. Riders in this class are not required to own their own horses and the class does not count for NRHA Top Ten standings.

Welcome aboard, kids, we all look forward to cheering as you "slide" into many years of reining competition!


It's a Wrap - Scottdale 2014 - ARHA Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic

Special thanks to all of our exhibitors, generous sponsors, supporters and hard-working staff for making this show a fantastic Tenth Anniversay Celebration!

CELEBRATING A DECADE

The ARHA Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic celebrates a tenth anniversary with this Scottsdale Show and this event is marking far more than time. Indeed, realizing ten years is a significant achievement and a credit to all who believed from the very beginning. However, from the perspective of Joe Betten, who together with Tom Redmond and Dick Ames, is regarded as one the "Three Founding Fathers" of the Futurity, the reality may well have surpassed the dream.

"The quality of the horses showing this year reflects nearly a complete change over this decade," states Betten with pride. "If you lined up the horses from that first event with the competitors here now, we've got a completely different horse. And the quality of our trainers has grown up with our horses."

"The Show this year has a much deeper group of riders than ever before," he continues. "When we started we hoped to attract some top Quarter Horse people - and this year, they're here!"

A vision come to life - what a tribute to the first decade.

As a side note to a big difference between 2013 and 2014, the desert sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and Michelle and Joe Betten are not wearing their warm jackets from last year. photo top right

IMPROVEMENTS EVERYWHERE

Frank Costantini, a past president of NRHA and NRHF along with numerous other equine industry credits, offered a single word assessment of the ARHA Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic, "Fantastic!" A horse show veteran of many years, it is safe to say he knows horse shows.

"Now others are grasping what is happening here," Costantini continues. "Top level NHRA trainers are here because everyone sees that it doesn't matter what the bred, what really matters is the quality. And the quality is evident here as never before."

He is very impressed with what ARHA has accomplished here in working with NRHA. "This event speaks well to the biggest challenge facing the equine industry today, that of getting young people involved. This really shows what reining has to offer."

In Costantini's view the facility improvements over the past ten years have been a major boost to the elevation of the show. He credits the work of Westworld general manager, Brian Dygert, in upgrading of the venue and giving the reining competition the support to thrive.



IT'S MORE THAN JUST NICE WEATHER

Kyle's Tack first setup their mobile tack shop at the ARHA Futurity Reining Classic eight years ago. When asked what is different about the 2014 show, Marshall Kyle replied with a belly laugh, "The weather!" Indeed, everyone is pleased with the idyllic desert weather this year, especially given that the 2013 Show enjoyed an unusual sample of desert winter. Thankfully, Mother Nature is providing perfectly beautiful conditions for the tenth anniversary celebration of this event.

Kyle, whose tack shop boasts a great view of Wells Fargo Advisors Arena action, offered his assessment of the competition just before going into finals weekend. "This always a good show, but it is only getting better and better. The quality of horses and tremendous showmanship is impressive. Scores this year are close to NHRA average scores, not only in the Half-Arab classes but in purebred too."

Kyle went on to compliment the work of the staff in maintaining good ground in the ring and excellent conditions throughout the show area. "The staff here works to be certain everyone has fun. There's always help around and it's a great atmosphere. This show has really stepped up, and we're glad to be here again - for more than just the nice weather," he laughs.

Tim Anderson and Marshall Kyle pictured above.



FROM THE JUDGE’S CHAIR: JUST BETTER

Terry Thompson of Aubry, TX judged the ARHA Futurity Reining Classic four years ago. A NHRA judge for some 40 years, he holds eight judging cards, including FEI and quarter horse. His impressions of the tenth anniversary show reflect a view from eyes of a seasoned professional yet they echo the impressions of nearly everyone at the event this year.

""Everything is just better - better horses, better training, better breeding, better education. There are no gray areas here; the improvement is four times better, it's all positive." Thompson believes education has improved the competition. "Arabian people now have a better understanding of what makes a good reining horse, which in turn culls the competition but produces a higher level event," he explains.

In his view, reining is going to continue to grow, in good part because of the NHRA scoring system that is perceived by the competitors as fair, not a "sound up" system. "When people have a choice of disciplines in which to compete, they need to feel they have a fair chance to win and the NRHA system offers an appealing level of fairness that encourages participation." "Everyone should think about coming here, this Futurity has delivered," he states flatly.




THE CHEF’S SURPRISE NOT ON ANY MENU

Restaurant menu lingo took on a completely different meaning this past Christmas when Chicago Chef Rebecca LaMalfa-Lents opened her Christmas gift from her mother, Phyllis. No ugly Christmas sweater in this package! Instead Rebecca found one of those "dream-come-true gifts" that lasts forever in memory for all involved. To her complete surprise, she found that she was returning to the reining horse competition for the Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic at the Scottsdale Show. She was entered in the competition riding Phantom Smoke, a Half-Arabian mare owned by Alexis Hedley of Paradise Valley and trained by Crystal McNutt.

A seasoned competitor, now 32, Rebecca made her first show ring appearance at the age of four. Like her mother, horses were just simply part of her life, she and her mother showed together, worked the horses together, dreamed about horses together. She won National Champion honors in Youth competition. While she was away in college, the beloved horse she had shown with such great success died. Her mother was unable to break the news for nearly three months because she knew the pain the loss would create.

Losing her horse took Rebecca from the ring for a while and after college, advancing her career as a prize-winning Chef required numerous relocations. However, through all of her moves, she joined her mom as show management support for Scottsdale and for the AHBA World Cup in Las Vegas. Last fall Rebecca married acclaimed Chef Tom Lents and while she is very comfortable in the cooking world, horses are a completely new experience for him.

Thus the "Chef's Surprise" Christmas gift was truly a surprise - and to more than one Chef. Excited and thrilled as she was, the gift presented quite a challenge. No time or opportunity for riding reiners in Chicago and barely time to arrive in Scottsdale late night before the first day of the Show.

Very little practice time was available, their first class was on Saturday. "Saturday was really a get-acquainted ride," explained Rebecca. "We learned a lot about each other and what to expect."

Sunday provided the ultimate outcome for Christmas wishes and Chef's surprises, Rebecca and Phantom Smoke claimed the Half Arabian Limit Rider Championship in a class of 19 competitors.

Just another example of the great "back side stories" at this year's Arabian and Half-Arabian Futurity Reining Classic.





2013 Nationals Winners Archieve click here

Archived News [click here]

 
 
 
   
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