WITH OVER 2,200 HORSES, seven arenas in use, acres of temporary stalls, and two weeks full of every kind of event – ranging from halter to gaited driving to at-liberty classes – the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show was truly a spectacle. This year's show was the 58th version, with the reining events filling a full 11 days. In addition to a full range of youth, amateur, and open classes, the reining futurities for 4- and 5-year-olds are highlights of the show. NRHA Judges Carlton Crowe III, Robyn Schiller, Corey Hendrickson, Patrick Flaherty and Leo Fourre judged the futurities this year. Both the Arabian Futurity Classic and the Half Arabian Futurity Classic are among the highest-added money events in the reining industry, having paid out over $1,200,000 from 2005- 2013. Via two first go-rounds and a clean-slate finals, this year saw a field of 28 in the purebred futurity and 34 in the Half Arabian futurity narrowed down to 10 finalists in each division. Arabian Reining Futurity The purebred reining futurity finals took place Friday night, and thanks to a thorough dousing of rain and snow, competitors were forced to warm up in a small section of the show pen portioned off at the in-gate side. Having won both the first and second preliminary goes, Arizona NRHA Professional Dan Huss was the odds-on-favorite with a 5-year-old gray mare, Take A Spin. On finals night, the duo drew up midway through the class and put together another dynamic run. And while several competitors would give it a worthy effort, Huss and Take A Spin bested the nearest competitor by a full 7.5 points with a score of 216. Huss and the mare were solid from start to finish, with a big first run-in, stop and back-up (NRHA Pattern 9). Plus-spins both directions were followed by aggressive circles and impressive stops along the sides. "I thought she was good in the finals tonight," Huss explained. "I showed her pretty soft in the second go so I could show her aggressive in the finals." Last year, Huss rode Take A Spin to third place in the same event. "She's pretty talented, but there's not much she doesn't notice. You definitely have to get her prepared and focused," he laughed, in reference to the mare's trademark ears forward, bright expression. Owned by Amara Spizzirri, a high school senior from Scottsdale, Arizona, Take A Spin has a rich pedigree behind her talent. "She's the only Arabian Futurity champion out of an Arabian Futurity champion," Huss explained. The mare's sire, What It Takes, won the 2006 Scottsdale Open Futurity with NRHA Professional Tyson Randle in the saddle. A year later, her dam, Minding Ps And Qs, won the Scottsdale Futurity with NRHA Professional Brian Welman riding. For her part, Take A Spin now has NRHA Lifetime Earnings of over $21,000. Minnesota breeder and long-time advocate of Arabian Reining Richard Ames bred Take A Spin while Wisconsin NRHA Professional Brian Welman started her. Recently, "Shilo" has been doing double duty, with both Spizzirri and Huss showing her. In fact, earlier in the week Spizzirri guided the mare to the reserve championship in the youth reining as well as several Top 10 finishes in other events such as horsemanship. Thrilled with the futurity win, Spizzirri said she was looking forward to showing Take A Spin in the non pro derbies next year. "I felt pretty confident that she would do well going into the finals, but it was still kind of nerve-wracking," Spizzirri laughed after the awards ceremony. "It was really fun to watch them do well. She's a lot of fun to show, and really good-minded." Future plans for Take A Spin include breeding her via embryo transfer to two time-Scottsdale Futurity champion, TA Mozart (reportedly purchased by Ames from Kimberly Tillman at the Scottsdale Show) and possibly outcrossing her on a few a Quarter Horse stallions. There was a tie for the Arabian Futurity reserve championship when Scottsdale NRHA Professional Crystal McNutt tied with Chase W. Button and each, earning $6,500 checks. McNutt rode AM Reining Star owned by Joe Betten of Grand Haven, Michigan, and Button rode Maksymilian MA, owned by Gary Magnino of Phoenix, Arizona. McNutt, who showed multiple horses in the purebred futurity, has established herself as the leading trainer at the Scottsdale futurities, with total earnings in the two futurities of over $240,000 since 2005. The Scottsdale Non Pro Arabian Futurity championship was won by Michele Culbreth of Scottsdale on Culbreth Equine Training & Management LLC's 5- year-old stallion, Rahmone (Rahere x Baloo Essence). Culbreth said that although she has shown Arabians for many years, this was only her second time to show a reining horse. "I've always loved the Arabians, and I've shown in a lot of different events, so I thought I would try Reining," she said. Her husband, Chris Culbreth, is a professional trainer and Michele said it was his assistant trainer, Jessica Scheffler, who trained Rahmone. "We've had him since he was a baby and Jessica has taken him to where he is today," said Culbreth. "He's been good at home and I felt good about my rides here at Scottsdale also. It's been really fun, and now I think I want to get a Half Arabian reining horse also." Scottsdale Half Arabian Reining Futurity The Half Arabian Reining Futurity finals took place on Friday, again under the lights in an unseasonably cool-evening atmosphere. A full crowd surrounded the arena as competitors vied for their share of a $74,000-added purse. Colorado's Tyson Randle had a full night with four finalists, while McNutt and Welman both had two finalists. As it turned out, McNutt and Welman tied with a score of 214.5, which set up a run-off situation bolstered by enthusiastic crowd support. Riding Were Dun Johnny (Were Dun x BSF Fiona), McNutt was first up, guiding the palomino gelding through an aggressive rendition of NRHA Pattern 9, besting their previous finals run by a full four points for a 218.5. Next up, Welman rode Gone N Dunit RA through an equally impressive run highlighted by rapid-fire turns and deep, stylish stops. They too bested their last score, this time marking a 219 for the championship and a $30,000 paycheck. Owned and bred by Richard Ames, Gone N Dunit RA by the Quarter Horse stallion Brennas Golden Dunit and out of Marliera. Before the awards ceremony, Welman said he was pleased with the gelding's efforts, especially considering he got better each time he was shown. "In the first run, we missed one of the stops and I felt like I rushed my rollbacks. So I tried to slow that down, and he just felt like he had a little more flow in the run-off," he said. Having already shown once in the amped up atmosphere of a cool night with a full crowd surrounding the pen, Welman said knowing what to expect the second time in was also a benefit. "I've ridden him at night in this pen before, but there weren't a lot of people standing around the arena like there are during the finals." Welman, who also showed Gone N Dunit RA's sire, Brennas Golden Dunit, to $32,600 of his $35,169 total NRHA Lifetime Earnings, said there are a lot of similarities between the two. "He stops a lot like his sire and it took a while to figure him out," the Minnesota trainer explained. "With both of them you have to hold them a little at first and then you can give them some slack once they get in the ground. There are a couple people interested in him. He'll make a nice non pro horse. I think he's a good enough horse to show in the NRHA events in the limited divisions." Welman won another $8,000 by marking a 213 for third place on another Ames-owned horse, Dun With Style RA. Also sired by Brennas Golden Dunit, the bay gelding's dam is Minding Ps And Qs – dam of the Purebred Futurity Champion, Take A Spin. In a repeat of 2012 and earning an $11,000 check for the reserve championship in the Half Arabian division, Mc- Nutt said she was really happy with the 4-year-old gelding, Were Dun Johnny. "I had only shown him once before this show. We didn't have a great first go, but he got better and better each time I showed him. He's just a really nice, kind horse," she said. Owned by Susan Lefevre-Friedman, he was purchased from past Scottsdale Futurity Champion John O'Hara. "My client wanted a palomino reining horse, but we couldn't find one that we liked that was started. So we've had him since he was a yearling, which is when he was purchased from John." The Half Arabian Non Pro Futurity championship was won by Colby Powell riding the gelding, What a Doc Bar TR (What It Takes x Smokums Miss Doc Bar). Powell's win was based on a two go-round composite score. "I was happy with him as it was his first show and he had never been off the farm before," said Powell, who is 18 and the son of horse trainer, LaRae Powell and amateur Rod Powell. In 2011, Powell won the Scottsdale Arabian Non Pro Futurity championship on My Majec Moment. 2005–2013 SCOTTSDALE REINING CLASSIC FUTURITIES TOP 5 MONEY EARNERS 1. Crystal McNutt $240,455 2. Brian Welman $203,885 3. Tyson Randle $195,650 4. John O'Hara $176,130 5. Steve Schwartzenberger $60,740 2005–2013 SCOTTSDALE REINING CLASSIC FUTURITIES TOP 5 MONEY EARNING OWNERS 1. Richard Ames $202,561 2. Wolf Spring Ranches $87,580 3. Joe Betten $64,800 4. Tim Anderson $50,150 5. Jensen Arabians $46,800 SCOTTSDALE REINING SPONSORS With a bevy of sponsor awards and prizes, the Scottsdale Arabian Show is grateful to these major sponsors: Arena Sponsor: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC Celebrity Slide: SmartPak Draw Party: Markel Insurance Non Pro Derby: Amani Reiners & Silver Spurs Equine Tractor: Bingham Tractor Trophy Saddles: Eleanor's Arabian Farm, Nymeyer's Tack, Kyle Tack Buckle Sponsor: Wolf Spring Ranches, Inc. THE ARABIAN REINING HORSE ASSOCIATION The ARHA was founded in 1998 to promote Arabian and Half Arabian reining horses. Through one of the initial founding members of the ARHA, amateur competitor Robb Walther of Oregon, the ARHA became an NRHA affiliate. With a large amount of added money in the futurity and derby events, Arabian Reining is continuing a steep upward trajectory in quality. This is in part thanks to Joe Betten, Tom Redmond of Wolf Spring Ranches, and Dick Ames of Cedar Ridge Arabians, who stepped forward in 2005 to guarantee a significant chunk of added money in an effort to attract top-level riders and inspire owners to breed for the next Arabian and Half Arabian futurity champion. The trio of reining enthusiasts, all non pro exhibitors, contributes $80,000 to the Arabian and Half Arabian futurities each year. Current ARHA President, Eleanor Hamilton of Rogers, Minnesota, is also a staunch supporter of the Arabian performance and reining industries. As mentioned in this year's ARHA futurity brochure, she has seen an increasing amount of interest in Arabian reining horses, which has been evidenced by the upward trend of show entries at Scottsdale. "We are very pleased that our show entries in most divisions are on par with last year and up somewhat in purebred classes," she said, while adding that non pro entries were also up in 2013. You can learn more about the Arabian Reining Horse Association at ARHA.net.
Published by National Reining Horse Association. View All Articles.