horse and rider
Stars And Sparks & Fernando Salgado • Photo by Kristin Pitzer

Stars And Sparks Slides to SWRHA Futurity Levels 4 & 3 Open Championships

When the Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA) decided to change its Futurity to a single go-round this year, it was the catalyst for a large influx of entries. In total, 112 showed in the Futurity Open, an increase of 58 percent in the division.

Fernando Salgado had planned to just school Stars And Sparks, a mare by A Sparkling Vintage he had started riding earlier this year when he went to work for Tom and Mandy McCutcheon. He felt the mare, who he had shown at the Tulsa Reining Classic in September, was still in need of work, but Mandy convinced him to take her through the show pen anyway. That faith paid off with the Levels 4 and 3 Open championships.

“Mandy said, ‘No, you’re showing her Saturday – I think that’s the best plan for you and the mare to get ready.’ She has way more experience showing than I do, and it actually worked, so I’m very happy,” Salgado said after receiving his awards.

The trainer had liked “Lacy” from the moment he first saw her at the McCutcheons’ place, so when Tom asked him to ride her and help put some earnings on her, he jumped at the chance.

“She was sick at the beginning of the year so we lost some time,” Salgado said. “It was nothing major, we just couldn’t ride. We were just taking care of her and it was right before the NRBC [National Reining Breeders Classic], so as far as riding-wise, we lost a month in training.”

Lacy looked well-prepared in the arena during her winning performance, which the judges scored a 224. Salgado said she can do all the maneuvers, but her specialty is her stops, which gave him a lot of confidence.

“I love that mare. She fits me really well – she’s real feely – so I really enjoy riding her every day,” he said.

Lacy was bred by Turnabout Farm and is owned by Oldenburg Farm, who intends to eventually add her to its broodmare band. She is out of Belle Starr Dun It – the first reiner Turnabout Farm ever bred. By Hollywood Dun It, Belle Starr Dun It won nearly $30,000 in her own career and has produced $20,000-plus earner Hollywood Villain.

With champion’s checks totaling $25,989, Lacy is well on her way to surpassing her dam’s lifetime earnings. Salgado is excited to take her to the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity in November to try his hand at a title.

“Two years ago I won [the SWRHA Futurity], and that was the only time I made the Level 4 finals at the Oklahoma [NRHA] Futurity, with the horse that did really well here,” he said, referring to Loveya, who he rode to a 224 and the 2016 SWRHA Futurity Levels 4 and 3 Open Co-Championships and Level 2 Open Championship. “I scored the same score [this year]. So I’m excited, I hope I can do the same again this year. This is our test drive for Oklahoma City and pays so well at the same time. We know where I need to work more.

“I really want to thank Tom and Mandy for the opportunity to have this kind of horse to ride. And the whole team, it’s a lot of people over there,” he added. “Thank you to my wife, Sabrina – she is with me the whole time through the good and bad moments!”

Futurity Level 2 Open

horse and rider
Tinseltown Joe & Ann Salmon Anderman • Photo by Kristin Pitzer

When they arrived in Ardmore, Tinseltown Joe and Ann Salmon-Anderman already had the Tulsa Reining Classic under their belts, where they won more than $1,000. Still, the SWRHA Futurity was the site for something new for the duo.

“I’ve shown him twice before this show, and this is the first time I showed him one-handed,” Salmon-Anderman said. “My game plan was to see how I could get him through the pattern one-handed. I knew his stops were going to be good. I was a little bit worried about his turnaround one-handed, getting started and getting shut-off, but he did really good.”

The duo rode to the tune of a 220, which won the Level 2, tied for fourth in Level 3 and tied for sixth in Level 4. Altogether, they banked $11,068.

Salmon-Anderman said the buckskin stallion is talented in a lot of places, but at the SWRHA Futurity, his circles and his stops stole the show.

“He came back really well for me today on the circles, but really running and stopping was a lot of fun,” she said. “He feels like an old soul to me. He doesn’t feel like a 3-year-old, he feels like an older horse and he acts like an older horse.”

By Hollywoodstinseltown, “TJ” is owned by his breeder, John McCarroll. His dam, Joe Cat Jac (by El Ricky Joe), has produced reined cow horse, reining and roping money-earners.

Salmon-Anderman, who trains out of Rick Ford’s Cinder Lakes Ranch in Valley View, Texas, raised TJ and has trained him since the beginning.

“I don’t always get to show all that often because we sell a lot, so I always feel lucky when I get to show,” she said. “I’m really impressed with this one on how he’s coming. Every time I hit an obstacle, he doesn’t worry about it, trains right through it and off we go, so I’m real happy with him.

“What he does in there [the show pen] is even better than what he does in the warm-up pen,” she added. “I never have had that luxury of being able to show one that is so honest in there. It surprised me and now it’s three times he’s done that, so I kind of feel like he’s that way and I’m real happy. Really looking forward to going to the [NRHA] Futurity with him.”

Futurity Level 1 Open

horse and rider
Wimpysred Gaylena & Max Fontana • Photo by Kristin Pitzer

The SWRHA Futurity Level 1 Open title went to Wimpysred Gaylena and Max Fontana, who slid to a 217. The duo also took Reserve in Level 2.

“She was really good,” Fontana said. “I was showing for the second time, and she made me very confident the more that I ran to all the maneuvers. It worked out.”

The duo collected $4,127 for owner Mary Scott Brown. Fontana said though he was nervous in the warm-up pen, the mare helped him out during her run, helping him forget his nerves.

Fontana, who works with Duane Latimer for XCS Ranch, said Wimpysred Gaylena arrived in the middle of May.

“She was very little, she was born a little bit late,” he said. “When I started training, I soon felt like she had a good disposition, good feeling to work every day, was very smart and everything. When they’re 3 years old, you need to have a lot of time, sometimes. The horses are very young. I was not worried but just worked her every day, and then she helped me because she has a good mind.”

Though the mare is timid sometimes in the stall, Fontana said she tries hard when she is being ridden. Her attitude under saddle gives him confidence. By CFR Centenario Wimpy, she is out of Baby Red Gaylena, a Gallo Del Cielo (Rooster) mare with no performance or offspring earnings prior to Wimpysred Gaylena.

After picking up his awards, Fontana thanked XCS Ranch, Latimer, Scott Brown and his friend, Wes Janzen, for all their help and support.