With two round-topping scores, Lauren Middleton and Sweet Reyvenge built up a head of steam during the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Finals in Fort Worth.
She and the 2008 gelding (Reys Dual Badger x Sweet Camille x Chicks Achy Braky) took the World Finals Show Championship with a composite 882 (215/225.5/228/213.5), worth $18,105.
Going into the show, Middleton knew it was statistically impossible for her to make enough money at the Finals to take the World Championship from division leaders April Widman and Woodys Baby. Instead, she set her sights on the Show Championship.
With the pressure off, she and the gelding, nicknamed “Sammy” in honor of Equi-Stat Elite $2 Rider Sam Shepard, who sold the gelding to her parents, put together a string of solid performances – including two impressive runs that won the second and third rounds.
“The second and third night…It was amazing,” Middleton said. “I can’t even tell you how exciting it was, and it definitely ranks in my top five best memories showing, especially the third night.
“It was just amazing and it was so loud; all my friends were in here cheering and [Sammy] was loving it and he was amazing, and I just have a really special relationship with this horse.”
Middleton had competed at the World Finals before, but this is her first win.
“This was my fourth time to do this,” she said, standing next to Sammy after her fourth and final round. “I made it in 2003 when it was still in Houston; I was 16. And then I made it in 2010 and 2011 on a gelding named Cees Little Poo, and I still have him. He’s like my golden child, but [Sammy is] kind of catching up, though.”