The reining bug has taken Europe by storm. Just look at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open World champions for the past five years. They have European ties in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Austria. NRHA Million Dollar Rider Bernard Fonck, who is from Belgium, has won four Open World championships since 2010, with the latest in 2015 aboard What A Wave.
What A Wave is a 2008 stallion bred by Sam and Tina Ellis, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. What A Wave was first shown by Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Rider Craig Schmersal. Together, they amassed an Equi-Stat record of $122,314. Their biggest payday came with a Level 4 Open Reserve Championship at the National Reining Breeders Classic in 2014.
Steve Vannietvelt and Gina De Pauw, of Belgium, bought What A Wave in December 2014 from Karl Roberts. Fonck took over the reins in 2015 to ride What A Wave to earnings of $44,191 and the Open World title.
What A Wave’s sire, Tidal Wave Jack, continues with the international flare. With Schmersal in the saddle, Tidal Wave Jack earned $142,080. He has an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Superior in Reining with 143 points tallied at 43 shows. The highlight of Tidal Wave Jack’s show career was the American reining team’s gold medal win at the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Equestrian Games in 2002. Three years later, Tidal Wave Jack came out of retirement to win gold at the FEI Reining World Masters Finals.
The sire of Tidal Wave Jack is Hollywood Macho Jac (Hollywood Jac 86 x Say J Command x First Command). Hollywood Macho Jac, an NRHA money-earner, is the sire of foals that have Equi-Stat records totaling $204,476. He is the sire of Mr Mini Macho, who was the 1996 NRHA Limited Open World Champion and 2004 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Youth Bridle World Champion.
The dam of Tidal Wave Jack is the unshown mare Tidal Mist Cody (Lance Cody x Tiempo Torrido x Tiempo Tivio). She is the dam of only three foals, and records show her only performer was Tidal Wave Jack.
Tidal Wave Jack is the sire of earners of $413,621. His No. 1 money-earner is 2003 stallion Sparkling Waves ($169,960, out of Shining Proof x Shining Spark). The current owner of Tidal Wave Jack is Randy Gugubera of Custer, South Dakota. The European influence of this stallion is noted as he has frozen semen available at the Eifel Gold Breeding Station in Belgium.
What A Wave’s dam is What A Sunrise. She is an NRHA money-earner and an AQHA amateur register of merit performer. She earned 22.5 Amateur Reining points with Tina Ellis in the saddle. What A Sunrise has produced one other performer in Commandersrisingsun. He was the Spookfest Futurity Level 1 Non-Pro Reserve Champion.
The sire of What A Sunrise is Sunrise Enterprise, who is sired by NRHA Hall of Fame member Be Aech Enterprise (Squaw Leo x Enterprise Lady x Poco Enterprise). Sunrise Enterprise is the leading money-earner out of Looks Like Mom (Bandit Breno x Ann’s Valentine x Vaquero Prince), with earnings of $59,923, 109 AQHA performance points and a Superior in Reining.
Sunrise Enterprise was gelded in the mid-2000s and since then, he has earned 11 AQHA Youth performance points.
With foals registered from 1998 through 2005, Sunrise Enterprise has offspring earnings of $129,957 in reining, according to Equi-Stat. His leading money winner is Jacs Little Sunrise ($101,049, out of Miss Whoa Jac x Hollywood Jac 86), who has a Superior in Reining with 77 Open performance points and 1 halter point. He was the 2008 AQHA European Champion Senior Reining Horse, as well as the 2010 and 2012 AQHA High Point International Senior Reining Horse and 2010 High Point International Performance Halter Stallion.
The dam of What A Sunrise is Imprint Smoke, a daughter of NRHA Hall of Fame stallion Mr Gun Smoke. Imprint Smoke is out of Princess Imprint, by Poco Imprint. Imprint Smoke is the dam of Imprint Starlight, the 2009 Stock Horse of Texas (SHOT) Limited Non-Pro All-Around, Pleasure, Reining and Trail Champion and 2008 SHOT Limited Non-Pro Trail World Champion.
Her other performer is Oh My Lucky Stars. He was ridden by Bettina Bellini to earn just $246 in reining, but in AQHA competition they earned an amateur register of merit and 32.5 performance points.
What A Wave’s sire, Tidal Wave Jack, was a consistent reining horse who was successful at the top level for several years, while his dam, What A Sunrise, also found success in the show pen as a solid amateur reiner. It is individuals like Tidal Wave Jac and What A Sunrise that form the backbone of the reining industry, producing horses like What A Wave, the 2015 NRHA Open World Champion.
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