reining horse
Kristen Avila & Xtra Voodoo Sinbar • Photo by Jeff Kirkbride

Kristen Avila Goes Xtra Step

Kristen Avila was unsure how the Buckeye Reining Series Coughlin Automotive Futurity Non-Pro, held Saturday, Aug. 18, was going to go for her. She flew from a work conference directly to Ohio two days before the competition. And, it was only the second time she was showing Xtra Voodoo Sinbar.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said. “Bobby [Avila’s husband] hauled in early to get the horses warmed up, but I wasn’t able to get there until Thursday.”

The rookie 3-year-old mare (Shiners Voodoo Dr x Wimpy Little Sinbar x Wimpys Little Step) took it all in stride. An overspin penalty early in the pattern on the first turnaround didn’t set the tone for the run; the duo made up those points in the remaining maneuvers.

“I knew we needed to step it up to make up for that penalty,” she said. “She’s a big turner and a big stopper.”

Avila asked “Sinbar” for more and the palomino mare delivered, earning a 216.5. But as the eighth draw in a class of 27, Avila worried the talented riders to follow would top her score.

“I was on the edge of my seat while everyone else rode,” she admitted.

That score held throughout the class, though, and Avila won the Futurity Levels 4, 3 and 2 Non-Pro, as well as the mare incentive class with Sinbar. That brought their total earnings for the show to $7,036.

“I was pretty excited when I found out we won,” she said. “It has been a team effort to get here. I’m thankful to have a great team with Bobby and Josh [Murphy]; I appreciate all their help.”

Avila purchased Sinbar as a yearling in 2016 from breeder Xtra Quarter Horses in Purcell, Oklahoma. Then the filly went for training with Josh Murphy, who kept her until the North Central Reining Horse Association Futurity in mid-July. After that event, the mare returned to the Avilas’ Rogersville, Missouri, facility, where Bobby finessed the filly’s solid training.

“I’ve been riding Bobby’s horses [horses trained by Bobby] since we got married,” Avila said. “His horses have a particular feel. I asked him to ride her so I that she would have the same feel.”

Avila has plans to show Sinbar at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in October and may enter an additional futurity or two throughout the fall. Until the next show, she said she will focus on keeping the mare fit instead of drilling.

“The big maneuvers are really easy for her, and she doesn’t need a lot of prep work,” Avila explained. “She’s really sweet and kind.”