Living up to his name, Gunna Juice You did just that, owner/rider Marilyn Scheffers, of Riverside, California, said.
The 5-year-old gelding (Smart Like Juice x The Gunners Daughter x Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]) handily won the Reining finals at the American Quarter Horse Association Adequan Select World Show with a score of 218.5. This marked Scheffers and “Junior’s” first time to compete in the Select World Show, and she went home with a golden globe trophy!
In the preliminary go-round, Scheffers said she and her horse had a few problems – some stopping issues and a penalty in their turns – which caused them to finish 10th with a 209.
“It was both of us,” Scheffers explained of the difficulties. “I was having some trouble stopping when we got there, so we worked a lot on that. The penalty in the spin was me.”
Scheffers felt intimidated with the run-in pattern, she said, so they worked on it during the “reiners only” practice held the night before the finals.
“I wanted to practice, so when we did our run, I’d feel more confident running through the gate,” she said. “I think it [practice] worked! He turned really well both directions in our spins, and we did good in the circles – that’s his best maneuver.
“When he comes to the center, he slows down with hardly any cue, and he guides really well in the small, slow [circles]. We did the same in the other [circles] and then did our last three stops. He doesn’t like to run, so I was having to really push him to get him down to the end of the arena to stop him.”
It was worth the effort.
“We got all that done, and it felt like a good run when we came out,” Scheffers recalled of her instincts as she left the show pen. “When I heard my score, I was just so excited!”
Scheffers purchased Junior as a yearling from breeder Devin Warren, of Franktown, Colorado, and started the horse herself. She rode him until he was 3 and had hoped to show him at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity.
When she started having a few training problems with Junior, Scheffers decided to send the gelding to Bob Avila to ride for a while. She showed with Avila that year, but she ended up not going to the Futurity.
“Bob let me show the horse toward the end of the year – at the CRHA [California Reining Horse Association] Challenge – and we won all the Non-Pro divisions there,” she said.
Scheffers then decided to bring Junior home so she could ride him herself during his 4-year-old season.
“Because that is what I love, I love riding my horses myself and doing my own thing,” she said.
Scheffers has only shown Junior in one Derby this year – the Reining By The Bay. They placed in all the Derby Non-Pro levels and won a little more than $5,000.
“That was a lot of fun, but there was a lot of room for improvement,” Scheffers admitted.
Scheffers and her husband, Lee, who used to rein, ride Junior in team sorting, and she said she is looking forward to competing in the boxing in the future on the gelding, who she said has “a lot of cow.”
“He’s a really kind, quiet and sweet horse,” she said. “He’s a horse that I’m going to keep forever; he’s not ever going to be for sale.”
Scheffers credited her success at the World Show to her husband.
“He goes everywhere with me, and helps and supports me. He makes sure I get to the back gate on time and makes sure I have the right number.”