Brandon Dufurrena and his mare Nievas won Tuesday’s Classic/Challenge Non-Pro finals at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth with a 223, his mother headed straight toward the horse.After
“When my mom [Shona Dufurrena] came down into the arena, she wanted to see the horse more than she wanted to see me,” Dufurrena said. “She is very special,” the rider added of the homebred 6-year-old mare (Cats Merada x Smart Little Boogie x EG Southern Dancer). Nievas topped $280,000 in career earnings with another $16,691 check.
Kaityln Larsen23, Millsap, Texas, and another homebred 6-year-old mare, Light N Lily, finished as the Reserve Champions with a first-set best 221 to earn $16,074. Light N Lily also earned 10 points and boosted her season-leading NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year total to 64 points. That’s 18 better than the second-ranked horse at this point. Billy Martin, an NCHA Hall Of Fame Non-Pro Rider, and Kaitlyn’s father, bred Light N Lily (Light N Lena x Meradas Oh Cay x Freckles Merada).
By picking up 20 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year points with one ride, Nievas leaped from 12th to third with 37 points. The mare also might receive an extra chance to catch up. That’s because the horse and her rider compete together often at both limited-age and any-age shows.
Surpassing Light N Lily and Mary Ann Rapp’s 4-year-old mare Reyzin (High Brow CD x Miss Reycine x Dual Rey), No. 2 so far with 46 points and a chance to earn up to 20 at this show remaining, is long shot, Dufurrena conceded. It’s not an unthinkable one, he added.
“We’ll just keep plugging along and at the end of the year, if we’ve got a shot, we’ll take it,” said last year’s season-long NCHA Non-Pro World Champion rider. This year, he has competed only with Nievas at NCHA Non-Pro any-age shows. Dufurrena ranked seventh in the any-age season-long standings through July 19. If her rider makes the any-age top 15 and Non-Pro World Finals, Nievas gets a shot at adding to her NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year points long after many contenders have quit for the year.
“I just want to get qualified,” Dufurrena said. “It [the Horse of the Year possibility] is still in the back of my mind, but I’m just going out there and trying to have fun.”
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