Photos courtesy of Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Oh man, what a trip this has been! Everyone was very keyed up for yesterday’s individual reining final. This was it, the no-holds barred title round, the main event! Everyone was going in to lay it on the line, nothing less would do with this group of riders.
The scores were solid right out of the gate with 218.5 from Shawna Sapergia and This Chics On Top of Canada leading the way until the Americans came to play.
Tim McQuay and Daivd Silva’s Hollywoodstinseltown raised the bar with a score of 222. A small bobble in the spins would ultimately put them into fourth place, overall. Canada’s Duane Latimer and Dun Playing Tag, for Lance Griffin, posted a 222.5 to ease into first. They would not hold the lead long as the second US rider, Craig Schmersal, galloped into the arena next with Mister Montana Nic, for Erika Smith. Craig would again prompt a change at the top, marking a 223. The score would hold until Tom and Gunners Special Nite came to dominate the rest of the go. The six year old stallion, owned by Sarah Willeman and Turnabout Farm, was in top form from the moment he ran to the first stop, until the very end when Tom threw his hat in the air in celebration of an awesome run. The judges agreed, and marked a 228! The crowd didn’t have to wait long to see if the score would hold up as Stefano Massignan and Yellow Jersey of Italy scored a 213. Last to go were Shawn Flarida and RC Fancy Step, the only pair standing in between Tom and the Gold. An unfortunate broken stirrup caused Flarida to grab the saddle horn for a mandatory five point penalty, resulting in a score of 207.5. Tom and “Bailey” finished with the Gold, Craig and Mister Montana Nic the Silver and Duane Latimer with Dun Playin Tag the Bronze.
The crowd was wild, Mandy was jumping and screaming, Sarah was ecstatic, and I think I may have seen a tear in Barb’s eye. It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip!
Tom was delighted with the run. “I really wanted to do this horse justice, he is such an amazing horse and a delight to ride. It is just such a special night.”
We are supposed to be heading home to Texas tomorrow morning, but I have a feeling we may be postponing that for a day! There is the Freestyle Exhibition at 6 and a medal reception at the Blue Ribbon Supper Club at 8:30 this evening and it is, as Tom said, a Special Nite!