A limited-age event designed to provide the gift of time to young reining horses will debut in May 2016. The Wild Card Reining Challenge, to be held May 25-29 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, is a futurity devoted to 4-year-old reining horses.
“The Wild Card Reining Challenge is a huge step outside the box for the reining industry, focusing on a new train of thought – the 4-year-old reining futurity horse,” said show producer Amanda Brumley, of Brumley Management Group. “Everything about this event challenges people to open their minds to new ideas and learn where our industry is now and where it needs to be for a positive outcome going forward.”
Pamela Schroeck, a non-pro reiner from Poolville, Texas, is co-administrator of a 950-member Facebook group that supports changing the 3-year-old futurity concept. She said the primary purpose of the event is to preserve the mental and physical health of young reining horses.
“It offers an opportunity for 4-year-olds to earn significant checks without having to compete at traditional futurities for which they are not ready, or at derbies against horses that already have extensive show experience,” Schroeck said.
The purse is estimated to include $60,000-$100,000 in added money. Brumley assures riders that the entry fees will be reasonable – around $400-$600 for Level 4 – with 60 percent going into the purse. Participation will not require nominations or enrollments, but horses entered in the Wild Card Reining Challenge cannot have competed in any class with a purse of more than $1,000-added. All horses must have an NRHA competition license.
“I think that it’s great that we are really going to have a place to showcase our 4-year-olds,” said Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Rider Andrea Fappani. “Not every horse will peak in his 3-year-old year, and this event will give us the flexibility to go show our reiners when they are truly ready to compete at a high level.”
Schroeck believes the event will offer an additional opportunity for owners to justify substantial investments in reining prospects, and that it has the potential to expand the market for aged-event reining horses, in general.
The futurity will be the highlight of a show that will also include ancillary classes, pre-futurities for Arabian and Half-Arabian horses, and a World Para Reining Challenge. Free educational seminars will focus on such topics as judging, shoeing, sports medicine, training, breeding and nutrition.
“I encourage everyone with the same passion I have for reining to attend this event, with or without horses,” said Brumley, whose management group also produces the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas, Cactus Reining Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Reining By the Bay in Woodside, Calif.