The National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions wrapped up Saturday with the Youth classes. In the 10-horse Youth Limited finals, Meredith Graber rode Hickorys Chic Olena to the win.
Graber and her 2005 gelding received a 433 composite score (216 rein/217 cow) to earn their first NRCHA World Championship. Graber owns Hickorys Chic Olena (Smart Chic Olena x Hickorys Red Rey), and she was pleased with her horse’s performance in both the rein work and cow work.
“Our cow was great,” Graber said. “It really looked at us and sized us up.”
Graber had a strategy for the boxing in the finals. “Go in there and just stop on those ends and get that cow to look at me and get that head turned toward me,” she explained. “It wasn’t really much else, it was just another cow to work.”
Graber, 17, is a high school junior from southern Indiana who started showing in reined cow horse last year. Her show career in ranch horse events, and she wanted to step up and win money in the tough reined cow horse arena, saying her favorite part of the sport is “the adrenaline rush.” She rides under the guidance of trainer Ben Bowman and plans to continue working with horses after graduating high school.
Graber thanked her parents, her trainer, and her family and friends cheering her on from home.
Caleb Bailey and Hiada Rey Cat (TR Dual Rey x Ladys Pagan) won the Youth Limited Reserve World Championship. The pair earned a combined score of 424.5 (214.5 rein/210 cow).
Reece Rosenauer was the first to go in the pen in the Youth Bridle finals. He set the pace with a high score of 433, earning a 217 in the rein work and a 216 in the cow work. Rosenauer rode Playin With Smoke, a 1998 grey gelding sired by Playgun and out of Im Thirsty Smoke.
This was a meaningful win for Rosenauer and his family. After being the Reserve Champion in 2014, Rosenauer won his first World championship title with one of the oldest horses out of the group of finalists – but his horse’s age did nothing to slow the team down.
When talking about his win, Rosenauer said, “It feels pretty good. I was Reserve last year, and I wanted it this year. I just threw him down and let him go and went for it.”
Rosenauer explained that he was extremely nervous, not to be the first go, but to sit in the holding pen waiting to see what everyone else scored.
“This is the first I have ever been this nervous in my life. I usually get nervous before I show, but this was a bigger feeling for me.”
Rosenauer, 18, is a high school senior from Burleson, Texas, and he plans on attending college to pursue a degree in the agriculture field and to continue showing, moving up to the Amateur and Non-Pro divisions.
The Youth Bridle Reserve Champion was Garrett Lund and Ginas Pepto (One Time Pepto x Gina Badger). Lund rode Ginas Pepto to a combined score of 431.5 (213 rein/218.5 cow).
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