The Tulsa Reining Classic Derby Open took the spotlight on Sunday at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Big stops, smart maneuvers and stylish reining horses were shown in the Ford Truck Arena where 64 entries battled for top honors.
Dan Huss rode Chics Dream to claim the Derby Level 4 Open Championship with a score of 224.5 after Jason Vanlandingham, who rode two horses to the same score, opted out of a run-off.
Huss had a big day in Tulsa as he also dominated Levels 3 and 2 aboard the 2011 gelding owned by Morris Kulmer. Chics Dream is by Magnum Chic Dream and out of First Ex Flame (by Expensive Flame), and he more than proved his worth in Tulsa for both owner and rider.
“It felt great, he was really honest and real willing,” Huss said. “Usually he’s a little lazy, but today he was looking to be good.”
Huss said he was chasing the win on Sunday and his mount stepped up when he needed him.
“I always go in to win,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes you have to make adjustments, but I wanted to mark a 75 or higher and [he made it happen today].”
Four days before, Morris rode the horse to an American Quarter Horse Association Select Reining World Championship. Chics Dream will have a short break after the Tulsa Reining Classic, then will head to the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas. Huss hopes to capitalize keep the momentum going into the future.
Jason Vanlandingham and his two mounts, Shining In Town and Ruf Nite, took the Co-Reserve title in the Level 4 and the Co-Championship in the Whizkey N Diamonds Novice Horse Derby Level 4 Open.
“It was one of those things where you were asking a lot out of your horses and they both gave you everything you wanted and they both came out the same,” he said. “I was tickled for them.”
Vanlandingham’s first horse shown, Shining In Town, is a 2013 stallion by Hollywoodstinseltown and out of the Shining Spark mare Shine Ann. He is owned by Jon Sather. Sunday’s performance is the pair’s second time to show together, and each time has resulted in success.
“He was really good, just did exactly what I asked him to do on every maneuver. I was really excited,” Vanlandingham said. “He’s a show horse. He has such a cool look to him whenever he’s going around there, and you can just drape your reins to him and let him go do his thing.”
Ruf Nite also showed up in top form, turning in what Vanlandingham called an admittedly shocking performance.
“He caught me off guard,” Vanlandingham said of Ruf Nite’s run on Sunday. “I wasn’t expecting him to be quite that good. He’s really green. We haven’t had him that long. My son showed him at the [National Reining Horse Association] Derby and he had some penalty points. I brought him here, and I was trying to win it. We were going hard and he stuck with me everywhere. He’s a huge, huge stopper, so he did that for us all four times.”
Ruf Nite is a 2012 stallion by Gunners Special Night and out of Dunit A Lil Ruf (by Lil Ruf Peppy). He is owned by Sather Family Partnership. The stallion will go home after the Tulsa Reining Classic and fine tune his skills with Vanlandingham.