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Kentucky Reining Cup
By Marty Bauman, Press Chief
Lexington, Ky., April 27, 2014 -Shawn Flarida is no stranger to winning the Kentucky Reining Cup, having won here the last three years. This year he took the top spot again, scoring 452.5 aboard Michell Kimball's Spooks Gotta Whiz.
Mandy McCutcheon was a close second (449.0) aboard father Tim McQuay's Yellow Jersey, and third was Jordan Larson (448.0) with Heritage Farm's HF Mobster. This competition also served as the selection trial for the squad for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, in August.
Joining these three on the squad will be the newly minted American citizen, Italian-born Andrea Fappani, who qualified with two of his horses: Silver Spurs Equine's Smoking Whiz (446.5, for fourth place) and Custom Cash Advance (445.0, for fifth place).
Because Fappani can't ride more than one horse at the Games, the other two squad members will be Troy Heikes on Denise Bixler's Lil Gun Dunit (442.0) and Tom McCutcheon with Jennifer Marley's Dun Git A Nicadual (440.5).
Friday night April 26 was a night full of costumes and music at the Kentucky Reining Cup. A remarkable performance by Australian Dan James and Smart Little Elan put him at the top of the podium with a score of 227.0 at the World Freestyle Championship. Drake Johnson, aboard Sonic Chic Dream, and Rocky Dare, aboard Bruce and Sue Kuryloski's Squeaky Clean Genes, tied with a score of 226 for the silver medal.
James’ performance brought the crowd to their feet as he performed all the spins, stops, run-downs, and lead changes bareback, and then while seated backwards. As if that weren’t enough, he dismounted at one point and sent the chestnut spinning on his own with a wave of his hand.
His costume was a mirror image of that worn by Johnny Depp in the film The Lone Ranger, and his music featured both the classic theme and music from the film.
Dare has been riding his mare since she was a 2-year-old. His routine was inspired by his grandchildren, who also played a role in his performance.
Johnson has also been working with his horse for many years, although he was originally owned and competed by a youth student. “He's really a special horse, and I’ve been lucky to do some nice things on him. He just has a lot of personality. It’s a neat connection to have with a horse,” he said.
Held at the Kentucky Horse Park, in conjunction with Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the Kentucky Reining Cup is a dynamic and exciting event that presents Reining at the highest possible level, drawing top competitors and elite-level horses from around the globe.
This year's Kentucky Reining Cup featured the Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship and the World Equestrian Games Selection Trial, determining which horse-and-rider combinations will represent the U.S. in the 2014 World Reining Championships at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France this summer.
Full results and further information on the 2014 Kentucky Reining Cup is available on line at
Photo credit: (Waltenberry photo)
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