Grant Lindaman II woke up Friday, Feb. 1 with two things on his mind – his run in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions Novice Non-Pro Bridle World Championship finals, and his grandmother, who had passed away exactly four years ago.
“I was thinking about her this morning,” Lindaman said.
No doubt she would have been proud to see her grandson pilot his mare Meradas Little Miss (Meradas Money Talks x Missies Promise) to his first major NRCHA title, the Novice Non-Pro Bridle World Championship, with a score of 436 (216.5 rein/219.5 cow). The title came with a $2,600 check.
Lindaman, 25, bought “Missy” from renowned Arizona horseman Jimmie Paul. He said the World Championship is “humbling,” and a payoff for the homework he did as he learned to ride the talented 2002 mare.
“Jimmie Paul was the only person who had showed her before I got her. She’s a good mare. I was looking for a nice bridle horse, and she’s a good fit for me. We had to pay our dues and practice, and figure each other out, but we’re starting to click,” Lindaman said.
In the World Championship finals, Meradas Little Miss performed as well as she ever has in the rein work, he said.
“I kicked her to her stops and trusted she was going to stop – she has every time. I was happy with her.”
The cow posed a challenge, coming off the wall and forcing Lindaman to turn it in the open arena.
“It played a little bit on the end, and when I got into the corner and drove to its hip, it got off the fence. I stayed calm because I knew she could make a good open field turn,” he said. “She has taught me to stay out of her way and let her do what she knows how to do.”
Lindaman, who plans to move to his newly-purchased Arizona ranch later this month, said he has many mentors in the cow horse industry, particularly Chris Dawson. He thanked his family and girlfriend for their support and help, and had some advice for other young up-and-coming horsemen.
“Be still and listen, and try to absorb everything you can. Stick with a program that works for you, but always be open to learn, and add to it or take away from it. More than anything, just go with your gut and trust the instincts that God gave you.”
The Novice Non-Pro Bridle Reserve World Champion was Sanjos Top Gun (San Jo Lena x Colonel Little Pistol), a 2001 stallion shown and owned by Lia Savas, Huntington, New York. The pair earned a 211.5 in the rein work and 221.5 in the cow work for a total 433 score and a $2,080 payday.
$5,000 Non-Pro Limited
Ione, Calif., competitor LaDona Emmons wrapped up a brilliant year in the $5,000 Non-Pro Limited division by winning the NRCHA World Championship, her first, aboard Anuther Mister 505 (Mister Dual Pep x Anuther Olena), a 2005 gelding she owns with her husband, leading professional horseman Ron Emmons.
LaDona guided the horse she calls “John” to a score of 217 in the rein work and 221.5 in the cow work. The championship came with a check for $2,243.
Emmons and Anuther Mister 505 blazed a winning trail through the 2012 show season, earning championships in the Non-Pro Limited and $5,000 Non-Pro Limited divisions at the NRCHA Derby and Snaffle Bit Futurity. They also won the first-ever American Quarter Horse Association World Championship in Amateur Boxing.
“It’s been so fun. I’ve had a really, really great year. I’m blessed. I can’t complain about anything. I have a great horse,” she said.
Emmons is no longer eligible for the $5,000 Non-Pro Limited division, which may have helped her ride even better in Friday’s finals.
“I’m out of it now, and I thought, ‘I don’t have anything to lose!’ ” she said, smiling.
Her experience showing in the Limited divisions prompted Emmons to consider something she never thought she’d try – showing down the fence. She plans to stay in the Limited for at least another year, to take advantage of the new Non-Pro Limited and Non-Pro Derby divisions, but fence work may be in her future.
“I have anxiety about the fence work,” she admitted. “I thought I would never do it, ever, and after this year of showing, I feel like it’s a possibility for me, where before, I would say absolutely not.”
Her other thrill in San Angelo is watching her husband, Ron, and Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie) defend their 2012 World’s Greatest Horseman Championship by earning a spot in Saturday’s finals. It’s an achievement made even sweeter by the fact that LaDona recently became Olena Oak’s half-owner with Nichole Scott.
“Nichole asked me if it was any different being his owner. I said, ‘No, because I thought I owned him before.’ The horses are with us so much that I never think of them differently. I love that horse and I’m thankful to be a part owner in him. He owes us nothing. He is an amazing horse and has been great for Ron’s career. I also think it’s exciting that Topsails Rien Maker and Olena Oak are in [the World’s Greatest Horseman finals] because they’re the two leading horses in the NRCHA.”
The $5,000 Non-Pro Limited Reserve Champion was Garrell Reilly, Temecula, Calif., who guided Shootn Starlight (Finalight x Miss Remachex) to scores of 218 in the rein work and 219.5 in the cow work. The 437.5 total score netted a $1,755 paycheck.
Kelly Valdez admitted she was almost in nervous tears before riding Smart Tic Tack (Smart Mate x Tic Tackatoo) in the NRCHA Youth Bridle World Championship class. But when it came time to show, she regained her poise and piloted the 2003 mare to a winning score of 217 in the rein work and a sparkling 225.5 in the cow work. The 442.5 composite was good for $480.
“I was so nervous before I went in, I thought I was going to start crying. I don’t know why,” the 14-year-old La Junta, Colo., competitor said. “But once I got in the arena, the nerves went away and I just showed my mare. She was so good for me!”
Valdez, who won the Youth Limited World Championship last year, was pleased with Smart Tic Tack’s consistent performance in the rein work and her grit in handling a difficult cow.
“The cow was wild when it came out! She just hooked on right away and then took it down the fence. She did everything she needed to do. She couldn’t have better for me,” she said.
The 8th-grader rides with NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Don Murphy.
“He told me to ride smart and make sure to do what I need to do. He’s the best. He helps me so much,” she said.
Smart Tic Tack has also been successfully shown by Kelly’s mother, Betty Lou Valdez. The mare was originally trained by Robbie Boyce.
“She’s the best. She’s so easy to show. She does the same thing every time,” Valdez said.
The Youth Bridle Reserve Champion was Mackenzie Grimshaw, who rode Smart Bayou Chic (Smart Chic Olena x Docs Missy Command) to scores of 214 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work. She earned $360.
In her first trip to the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, Adrianna Adams captured the Youth Limited World Championship riding Wynsome Chex (Chex Out This Remedy x Miel Classic Tejon), with scores of 213 in the rein work and 217 in the cow work.
“I’m just so happy. I’ve never scored a 217 in the cow work, so this is very exciting. It’s my first time here, and I’m very excited,” the Oakdale, Calif., 13-year-old said.
She started showing cow horses two years ago after she met her trainer, Clayton Edsall. She purchased “Bo” from Edsall, who had previously trained and showed the 2005 gelding.
The hardest part of learning to show cow horses was “learning to box the cow without letting it go down the fence. My horse likes to go down the fence, but I don’t want to do that right now,” she said, laughing.
“Bo really tries for me and puts so much effort into it,” she said. “Clayton has helped me so much, too. He’s awesome!”
Adams won a $450 check.
There was a tie for the Youth Limited Reserve Championship between Kailey Culligan, showing TF Montalena (Folks Montaluc x Peps Sissy Lena) and Rene Ferini on Soula Boom Star (Soula Jule Star x Savannah Lee 2000). Both riders earned a 425.5 composite.
Another day, another NRCHA World Championship for Calgary, Alberta, competitor Suzon Schaal. On Thursday, Jan. 31, she piloted Genuine Brown Gal (Listo Pollito Lena x Genuine Emerald) to the Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle World Championship. On Friday, Feb. 1, she claimed the Non-Pro Bridle title with a score of 217 in the rein work and 217.5 in the cow work. The 434.5 combined score was worth a $3,495 payday.
“She felt pretty good in the reining. She felt tired. It’s been a tough week on her,” Schaal said. “She tried her guts out for me. As far as the cow goes, we maybe could’ve had a little harder-running cow, but it got the job done, so I can’t complain!”
Schaal rides “Genna” herself, with coaching from leading Canadian professional John Swales, who had just one dryly-worded question for Schaal as she entered the show pen Friday.
“He said, ‘Are you scared?’ and I said ‘Yes!’ ” Schaal said, laughing.
As Schaal unsaddled the mare and put her back in her stall, the Non-Pro Bridle Reserve Champion, Patty Ralls, arrived to give Schaal an exuberant, congratulatory hug.
Ralls, a dynamic competitor from Gainesville, Texas, earned the Non-Pro Bridle Reserve World Championship with a 217 in the rein work and a 215 in the cow work aboard her 2000 gelding Chromium Cowboy (A Chic In Time x Marvelous Miss). The 432 composite score netted a $2,796 paycheck.
Thursday, Jan. 31
Non-Pro Two Rein
Jan. 31 started out in San Angelo, Texas, with Scott Trueblood and Just Plain Hip taking top honors at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions in the Non-Pro Two Rein.
It was the first time Trueblood, Ducor, Calif., had shown at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions, and he made it a memorable trip with Just Plain Hip (Hickorys Indian Pep x Miss Plain Plain), a 7-year-old gelding he raised and owns with his wife, Darnell.
Trueblood piloted “Indy” to scores of 209 in the rein work and 211.5 in the cow work. The 420.5 combined score was good for a $1,950 paycheck.
“I’m a little ‘Western’ in the reining, and it shows,” Trueblood said, good-naturedly, following the run. “The cow ran pretty hard, and we had a really good first turn. The second turn – I saw a lot of cows go clear to the end and pass the marker on that second turn. I was going to get way ahead of it, and I kind of got hung out a little bit, but it all worked out. And then, Indy circled up really well like a good cow horse.”
The Truebloods own and operate their family cow-calf operation in California, so Indy does double duty as a ranch horse when he’s not in the show pen.
“We brand calves on him and gather on him and do everything. The horses have a job, besides showing. The experience outside really builds their confidence and makes them great horses,” Trueblood said.
He got started in cow horses with top NRCHA Professional Russell Dilday, who was the Truebloods’ neighbor until his recent move to Wynnewood, Okla. Dilday showed Just Plain Hip’s mother, Miss Plain Plain, for the Truebloods in years past, claiming two World’s Greatest Horseman Reserve Championships with her.
“We had always admired the show horses and finally decided to try it. We sent horses to Russell, and one thing led to another, and Russell got really good at what he does. We’re just along for the ride with him. The people in this association are great to show with,” Trueblood said. “I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the honor to be here and the blessing of such great horses.”
The Non-Pro Two Rein Reserve World Champion was Steve Bond riding Boons Mr Milliennium (Boons Milliennium x Pies Lottie Lady), a 2006 gelding owned by Bond Ranch. The pair scored a 419 on two events to earn $1,625.
Alexa Beaty, Aubrey, Texas, claimed the second National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship of her career when she won the Celebration of Champions Non-Pro Hackamore title Thursday, Jan. 31 in San Angelo, Texas, aboard Star Dustn Wrangler (Starlights Wrangler x Pines Dusty Model).
In 2010, Beaty won the Youth Limited World Championship on Mad About Chics (Educating The Chics x Echolettes Freckle).
Working second-to-last in the field of 10 finalists, Beaty, 16, guided “Cinch” to a 213.5 rein work score and 214.5 cow work score. The 428 composite garnered a $3,368 paycheck.
“I felt really good about it!” Beaty, still slightly breathless after her run, said. “It was great to work so hard all last year, and then come out and do this.”
She has owned “Cinch,” a 2007 gelding, for two years, but only began showing him in the hackamore and derby events last spring. They had successful outings at two fall derbies in Colorado and Texas in 2012, and Beaty was thrilled with her horse’s performance in San Angelo.
“My first and last stop, circles and first set of spins in the rein work were really good, and our first turn on the cow was awesome! I’m really proud to have accomplished so much in less than a year with him,” Beaty said.
Making the transition from showing a bridle horse one-handed to showing Cinch two-handed was a challenge, she admitted.
“It was a learning experience,” she said. “I’m really glad I did it.”
She plans to show Cinch at the National Reining Breeders Classic in April and compete with him in reining and cow horse for the remaining two years of her high school career. Beaty rides with trainer Steve Metcalf, and thanked him, his wife, Carol, and their son, Carter, for their help and support. She also appreciated her friends and fellow competitors and the support of her parents.
“I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to do what I do, and [for] the family support. I’m thankful for the youth here. They’re like my little show family,” she said.
The Non-Pro Hackamore Reserve World Champion was Toni Hagen Heath, LaGrande, Ore., riding Smokums Dream (Smokums Prize x I Dream Olena), a 2007 mare bred and owned by her husband, Dan. They scored a 215.5 in the rein work and a 208 in the cow work for a 423.5. Heath won a $2,694 check.
Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle
Last to show and first on the results sheet for the second year in a row, Suzon Schaal, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, won the NRCHA Celebration of Champions Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle World Championship aboard her mare Genuine Brown Gal (Listo Pollito Lena x Genuine Emerald).
Schaal was the final entry in the set of 10 finalists at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas. She piloted “Genna” to a 217.5 in the rein work and 212 in the cow work. The 429.5 composite earned the World Championship title and a check for $2,490.
“She seems to like it down here,” Schaal said, laughing. “We had the best rein work we’ve had all week, so I was really happy with that. She stopped hard and everything felt good. I was a little worried about the cow; it was a hard runner and things didn’t go as planned. It didn’t have a lot of respect, and when I went to turn it on the fence, it fell down.”
Despite the tricky moments in the cow work, Schaal earned the World Championship by a point over her fellow Canadian competitor Terri Holowath, who rode Pickachiclet (Fantaschic x Stratos Pick) to a 215 in the rein work and a 213.5 in the cow work.
Holowath’s 428.5 score netted the Reserve World Championship and $1,992.
Schaal rode jumping horses before making the switch to the reined cow horse pen several years ago.
“I wouldn’t go back!” she said, laughing.
Schaal has other cow horses, younger than 10-year-old Genna, “but my problem is I expect them all to be like her, and I can’t find anything else that I really like. None of them are living up to her, but I don’t think anything ever will.”
She thanked her coach, leading Canadian professional John Swales.
“He’s a huge part of my success. He’s always there when you need him and always watching,” Schaal said.
She shows Genna again in the Non-Pro Bridle World Championship Finals on Friday, February 1.
Wednesday, Jan. 30
The National Reined Cow Horse Association World Championship Show, held in San Angelo, Texas, started up Wednesday, Jan. 30, and the first Non-Pro title of the event – the Limited Non-Pro – went to Mattie Neal and Instantee.
When Neal first started riding three years ago, she vowed she would never work a cow. “Never say never,” as the saying goes – Neal won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Non-Pro Limited World Championship at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, scoring a 435.5 (220.5 rein/215 cow) aboard her gelding (Tejons Peppy Doc x Suddenly Shiney).
“He had his head in the game today,” Neal, 23, said of Instantee, known around the barn as “Tyson.”
“That was the best rein work I’ve probably done ever,” she said, adding that a late-night practice session Tuesday helped with her persistent trouble spot – the stops.
“Last night, we practiced stopping, because that’s my biggest problem. Today, I went out there and decided to go for it. I almost fell off on my second stop, which is typical,” she said, laughing.
In the cow work, she drew a sluggish cow and the judges whistled for a new one.
“That cow wasn’t moving, and I was almost out of time, and I thought ‘Well, at least I didn’t lose my cow!’ Then they blew the horn for another cow, and I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, now I have to start over!’ I got nervous because it was going pretty quick,” she said.
Neal started riding at Carol Rose Quarter Horses with head trainer Jay McLaughlin when a broken finger sidelined her from college tryouts for her favorite sport – softball. She has come a long way from the nervous beginner who first visited Rose’s ranch three years ago.
“We went there to look for a horse, and Carol had to put my foot in the stirrup because I was scared to get on. When I started riding with them, I told them I didn’t want to do any of the cow work. I was too nervous to do it. But they told me from day one, ‘You’re going to do the cow horse!’ ” she said, laughing. “Now the cow work is my favorite part of my lesson.”
She said Rose and Jay have become like family to her, and she thanked them both for their patience and support. Neal also appreciated her parents and grandparents for coming to shows as often as they can to cheer her on.
Neal and Instantee have another finals run ahead of them – they are also qualified for the $5,000 Non-Pro Limited World Championship class, which happens Friday, February 1. But until then, this Non-Pro Limited World Championship paid $2,313.
The Non-Pro Limited Reserve World Champion was Dom Conicelli, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, who rode Smokum Chicy (Smart Chic Olena x Smokum Miss Doc Bar) to scores of 213.5 in the rein work and 220.5 in the cow work. The 434 composite was good for a $1,850 payday.