Articles: Horse News
Shawn Flarida Wins First-Ever CRI 5* Kentucky Reining Cup
Shawn Flarida and KL Lil Conquistador.
(Photo by StockImageServices.com)
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
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Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2011
Lexington, KY - For the first time in the history of the Western saddle
sport of reining, a collection of the world's best reining athletes slid
into the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, to
contest the inaugural five-star reining competition known as the CRI5* - the
Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup. When the dirt in the arena settled, it was Shawn
Flarida and KL Lil Conquistador who laid down a spectacular pattern to take
the title on a score of 226.5 in this the highest level of reining
competition in the world.
shawn flarida ky reining cup 5*
From a country music icon to the current USEF Equestrian of the Year to the
four-member U.S. Team that rocked the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian
Games with their Team Gold and two Individual medals to a three-member
family show down, this was a night of reining that won't soon be
forgotten. Reiners from three nations (United States, Canada and Mexico)
took part at the event which was held concurrent with the Rolex Kentucky
Three-Day Event sponsored by Bridgestone. In addition to the Ariat Kentucky
Reining Cup CRI5*, which offered $50,000 in prize money and is this year's
only five-star reining event in the Western hemisphere, there will be the
first-ever World Championship Freestyle competition on Saturday.
The level of competition was expert, and performances these Western horses
and riders put in thrilled the crowd. In fact, three of the four members of
the Gold-medal WEG team were the top four riders.
Flarida, who missed out on a possible medal at the 2010 FEI Alltech World
Equestrian Games when his saddle strap broke during his round was happy with
his first-place finish tonight aboard. Tonight's win was a sort of birthday
present as Saturday is his birthday.
"There were a couple of places where tonight could have been better," he
said. "That horse has been absolutely great for me his entire career. I feel
honored just to have the opportunity to ride him. This horse looks forward
to showing and he's so much fun to ride."
He continued, "Anytime you can go and compete against guys that are this
talented, it's fun."
Craig Schmersal finished second aboard Miss Lil Addy Tude (owned by KC
Performance Horses) on a score of score of 225.
"This was the fifth time I've been on the mare," he said. "She's a tough
little mare, she's really cute and she's like a little motor scooter out
there and zips around and does her job. She's a lot of fun."
With his third-place horse on a score of 224.5, Mister Montana Nic (the
14-year-old bay Quarter Horse stallion who he rode to an Individual
Bronze-medal at the 2010 WEG), Schmersal came to superlatives.
"I don't know what else I can say about him. He never lets me down and hangs
with those little six-year-olds and just keeps on knocking them out," he
said. "I'm very, very lucky to have a horse like that in my barn."
Tom McCutcheon, who was the only American double-Gold medalist at the 2010
WEG, has taken reining to new heights over the past year. Tonight, he was in
fourth, but happy for his fellow WEG teammates and their scores tonight.
He guided Turnabout Farm, Inc.'s Chic Olena Starbuck (a seven-year-old,
sorrel Quarter Horse mare) through the pattern to end on a score of 222.5
and a fourth-place finish.
"It was a great crowd here, and the ground was great, and it was just fun to
come here," McCutcheon said. "My horse felt really good, but she's not a
really big turner, but a good thick stopper and she circles good. She went
out and did all that stuff for me. She didn't turn as good as I would have
liked, but she went out there and did what she could do."
McCutcheon also spoke of the importance of tonight's event. "I think the
diversity that this event brings to our sport following up behind the WEG
Games is a great opportunity for us to showcase our sport. Right now, I
think we are in a spot of growth...we are getting out to a new group of
people, and it's important that we go out and put on a great show."
Competing as one of the Non-Pro competitors was Grammy winner and country
music star Lyle Lovett piloted his Smart and Shiney (a seven-year-old
Palomino Quarter Horse stallion co-owned with Tim McQuay) through the
pattern to an excited audience. He finished admirably in his first ever
"Just to ride in this arena with so many fans is an incredible feeling,"
said Lovett, who compared the sport of reining to his career in music.
"It's very similar, because even though it's a competition and the top
reiners in the world are here, you watch them helping one another, and they
are all associates and the team spirit among the competitors is just
incredible," he said. "Nobody in reining likes anything better than to see
somebody have a great run. When someone has a great run, everybody in the
stands and in the barn is cheering for that rider and that run."
When it comes to reining, the "Royal Family" of the sport has to be the
McCutcheon clan. And, Mandy McCutcheon (daughter of Tim McQuay and wife of
Tom McCutcheon), had to be feeling a bit of a divide while rooting for her
father and her husband, all the while doing her best to throw down the
gauntlet and show the men just how it's done.
Contesting two mounts - Don Julio Whiz (a nine-year-old chestnut Quarter
Horse stallion owned by Rosanne Sternberg and Chexy Dun It (a 10-year-old,
Palomino Quarter Horse mare owned by Turnabout Farm, Inc.) - Mandy had her
work cut out for the night. In the end, she finished in fifth with 222 and
tied for 11th on 218.5, respectively.
Team Sponsor's Competition
Event organizer, Brad Ettelman of HorsePower, Inc., explained the importance
of the Team Sponsor event. He applauded them for coming on in a big way and
said that the event wouldn't have happened without them. He went on to
explain the Team Sponsor concept.
"At World Championships like the World Equestrian Games, you have national
teams ride for your nation. We thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we got some
sponsors because this is a five-star and a big event.' We wanted to recreate
the team atmosphere, and the sponsors you heard called out tonight helped to
support us in that effort. We had a team structure under sponsor banners
rather than national flags."
Among the various sponsors - SmartPak, Purina, Ariat, ProEquine Equipment,
Clark Oil - the sponsor team with the highest combined score was Team Clark
Oil with 662, followed by Team Purina with 660.5. Team Clark Oil consisted
of Sam Smith aboard Paid by Corona; Mandy McCutcheon aboard Don Julio Whiz;
and Tim McQuay aboard Rudy Dun It. The second place team was sponsored by
Purina (Lyle Lovett aboard Smart and Shiney; Lisa Coulter aboard Western
Whiz; and Shawn Flarida aboard KR Lil Conquistador).
The Inaugural World Championship Freestyle
Tomorrow, the Inaugural World Championship Freestyle winner will be named at
the Alltech Arena. The Freestyle Championship will award $25,000 in prize
money - the world's largest purse for a reining freestyle to date.
The Freestyle Championship begins at 5:30 p.m. (EST), and tickets are $20.
Developed from the ranch-type work performed by horses, reining was born of
the great American West. Power, agility and speed couple with a calm
demeanor are at the core of this Western saddle sport. Always a crowd
favorite, the sport has spread worldwide with more than 40 countries on six
continents participating at the FEI level.
The event and HorsePower, Inc., would like to welcome Ariat as the title
sponsor and Official Apparel and Footwear of the Kentucky Reining
Cup. Joining Ariat as sponsors of the inaugural event are the American
Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), SmartPak and Markel Insurance.
Visit the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup Alltech Arena Trade Fair on Saturday
from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. EST.
For more information about the event, including ticket sales, visit
For streaming and press releases about the event, visit
Watch live (and free) the Freestyle Championship on Saturday, April 30,
5:30-7:30 p.m. on USEFNetwork.com: http://usefnetwork.com/2011KYCupReining/.
For Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup news, videos, photos, blogs and results
For more information, visit the event website:
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.