The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Derby Non-Pro finals in Manerbio, Italy, lit up the Palasturla Equestrian Center arena from the very first competitor that went through the in gate. A young group of up-and-coming riders performed to the best of their abilities, making the sixth edition of the event one to remember.
Draw No. 1 in the second section of the finals was Austrian rider Anna Lisec riding her 7-year-old stallion Tari Whizin (Topsail Whiz x Tari Badgekin x Doc Tari). Once the duo closed their run, a 224 appeared on the score board and remained unbeaten, and for the second year running, Lisec took home the Level 4 Non-Pro Championship.
“Like I said last year following the finals, I did not expect to win,” Lisec said. “My horse was amazing, and I am so happy. The whole week I had a little trouble with him but we solved the problems and he was great. Last year, with This Wimps So Fly, I just wanted to do the best I could. This year I wanted to win! It was a tough final, and a tough go-round. Having won is the best feeling ever and I cannot thank my parents, my trainers Ann and Bernard Fonck, my team and my horses for helping me achieve this result.”
Only a half-point behind the winners was 20-year-old Clemens Hefel riding his Rio Juice (Smart Like Juice x Tari What x Doctor What). Also from Austria and also riding a 7-year-old stallion, Clemens was quick to praise his mount and his trainer, NRHA Professional Grischa Ludwig.
“Rio Juice has always a solid and awesome horse. He is simply incredible. I came back from the States last week after spending some time riding with Martin Muehlstaetter. Grischa did a fantastic job with my horse when I was away and I cannot thank both these great trainers enough,” said Clemens who also claimed the Level 3 Championship.
Winning the Derby Level 2 Non-Pro was 17-year-old Carlo Ambrosini with Saturday Pepper (Saturdaynight Custom x Miss Snapper Lena x Snapper Cal Bar), owned by Ambrosini Quarter Horses ASD. Ambrosini and the 6-year-old stallion scored a 221.
“My horse was bred by us and this makes the win twice as sweet. He’s a very talented horse, but I must admit that this evening in the warm-up pen, I wasn’t quite sure that we would do well. Once we went in the pen, I was confident that we could run hard and I’m very very happy!” said Ambrosini, who also left Manerbio with the Level 3 Reserve Championship.
It took a run-off between Italian Enrico Sciulli and German Alina Janoush to determine who would take the Level 1 Non-Pro Championship. Sciulli, 19, and his mare, Snips Gotta Bud (Nic It In The Bud x Snip O Chex x Nu Chex To Cash), were determined to bring home the title, and the duo closed their run with a 221.5. They also took the Level 2 Non-Pro Reserve Championship. Janoush and her mare, Ace Got It Dun (Spooks Gotta Gun x Good Lookin Dun It x Hollywood Dun It), posted a 219 in the run-off and settled for reserve honors in Level 1.