Mills Wins Sun Circuit Open CRI

MillsMatt Mills riding Mia Little Whiz • Photo by Jeff KirkbrideSanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and USA Reining, the Sun Circuit FEI Concours de Reining International (CRI3***) offers a valuable and vital qualifying opportunity for U.S. riders to advance to the Official Team Selection Trial. Matt Mills, of Scottsdale, Ariz., took the gold medal aboard Janice Dickson’s Mia Little Whiz (Easy Otie Whiz x HR Kaylas Lil Lena x Little Lenas Legend) with an outstanding score of 149, showing to plus-one maneuver scores throughout the pattern and commanding the attention of the ground jury.

“She is an outstanding and consistent mare that gives me everything I ask, every time,” Mills raved about the 6-year-old sorrel mare. “We are thrilled to have had such a great result here in Scottsdale and look forward to an exciting trip to Lexington to ride for a spot on the U.S. Team.”

Earning the silver podium position, and rising through the ranks as an amateur rider, Dana Cohen, of Denver, Colo., was showing Gail Klapper’s Magnum Refund, an 11-year-old chestnut gelding (Magnum Chic Dream x Alaythia x Rocky Mountain Major).

Showing as an amateur among the FEI entries is rare in the sport of reining, and the second-place finish for Cohen is notable. The success at the Sun Circuit gives Cohen a highly coveted berth at the Selection Trial, held at the Kentucky Reining Cup in April. In addition to the rarity of an amateur qualified contestant, Cohen is sure to be one of only a handful of elite female riders to join the field of U.S. challengers.

USA Reining, the official affiliate of the USEF, serves as the kick-start organization for U.S. riders with international aspirations. Providing a pipeline of talented horses and riders to the USEF’s high-performance programs, USA Reining offers competitive programs, education and support within the FEI/USEF sport structure for reiners.

Qualified athletes will advance to the competitive U.S. Team Selection Trials at the Kentucky Reining Cup, held during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., April 25-27.  For more information about the Official Selection Trial, visit The Kentucky Reining Cup will be broadcast live at