Reiner — May 2013
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Top 20 Professionals
Heather Loveridge

Martina Morell and Guy Vernon

Martina Morell, Erieville, New York

SHE'S RIDDEN SADDLE SEAT AND hunter/jumpers professionally for years but, once she discovered Reining, it was all over. For NRHA Professional Martina Morell, Reining is her life.

"A friend let me ride one of his reining horses and I liked it so much I got a reining horse and showed hunters and jumpers one weekend and Reining the next," Morell said. "Eventually, I switched, got a job riding reining horses with NRHA Professional Bryant Pace and then went to work for Dutch Chapman."

The first year Morell showed for Chapman, an NRHA Professional, she hauled for a world championship title and won the rookie professional reserve world champion title.

"Dutch started my career. I'm only here because of him, that's for sure," she said. "He taught me how to show a horse to the best of my, and its, ability.

In 2011, Morell went out on her own and is now resident trainer at Rick and Leigh Garber's Cazabu Farms.

"I've been riding for them since 2007 and am enjoying managing the farm. I also train for a few outside clients," she said. "I love every part of being a trainer. I love wearing jeans to work and helping people and horses develop. When my customers do well in the pen, I'm extremely proud of them."

This year, Morell's showing Dun Gotta Prize, a horse several trainers told her to sell. "No one could get him to turn around and he was tough-leaded. I figured out there's a certain way to ride him and now he's the coolest horse with the biggest heart," she said.

When she's not riding, Morell enjoys painting and sculpting.

"My dad actually wanted me to go to art school but I just had to ride horses," she said.

Guy Vernon, Kiowa, Colorado

AS A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR, NRHA PROFESSIONAL GUY VERNON wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life. A friend talked him into going to Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colorado, where he was introduced to horse training.

"I'd grown up on a ranch but never shown horses," Vernon said. "I chose a degree in horse training and management and had the opportunity to intern with reining trainer Terry Wegener. I had never even seen a reining horse until then. I was completely amazed and fell in love with Reining."

After graduation, Vernon worked for Wegener full time and then spent some time training cutting and pleasure horses. His heart was still in Reining though, and in the early '90s he went out on his own.

"For me, figuring out what the best approach to each horse is and seeing that day-to-day progress is the best. I always tell people it's a tough job but it beats having a real one!" he laughed.

Over the years, Vernon has showed futurity and derby horses and also served as U. S. Chef d'Equipe at the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

Vernon has a large non-pro clientele that he enjoys working with, but his favorite "client" has been he and his wife Valerie's daughter, Lacey.

"Probably my proudest moment was when she won the youth 14-18 championship at the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship," he said. "She's now 24 and decided she wants to be a trainer. Right now she's working for me and it's been awesome."

(As of shows input March 19, 2013)
Rider Earnings
1. Martina Morell $9,496
2. Michael McEntire $9,211
3. Gabe Hutchins $4,719
4. Guy Vernon $4,500
5. Shawn Flarida $3,770
6. Matthew Palmer $3,271
7. Mark Rafacz $2,956
8. Bryant Pace $2,694
9. Peter De Freitas $2,487
10. Patti Brownshadel $2,172
11. Jason Torpey $2,134
12. Shane Brown $2,039
13. Arno Honstetter $1,875
14. Jessica Bein $1,790
15. Matthew Flarida $1,137
16. Jamie Bissell $1,022
17. Rebecca Adkins $914
18. Ashley Dunn $882
19. Mike Flarida $788
20. Emily Emerson $750