Reiner Andreu Nogue Puig made history this week as the first Spanish rider to win the prestigious Santa Hill Ranch Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) 3-Year-Old Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro Championship. The event featured €100,000 (Euros)-added money, or about $113,390 in US dollars.
Puig and his horse, A Whiz N Cash, swept all four levels in the Non-Pro – taking the Levels 4, 3, 2, & 1 championships – with an amazing 218.5-point run on National Reining Horse Association Pattern No. 12.
The young rider showed off his personality both at home and in the show arena with his positively aggressive attitude.
“The most difficult moment for me was when I was home, just before flying to the Futurity. This is not an easy show: It is ‘the’ show. I kept thinking ‘it must work and I need to do well,’” said Nogue. “After all the sacrifices my family and myself did to come here, I felt it was my responsibility to do my best. In the qualifier, all went well and, on top of leading the level 1, I also qualified for the finals in all the levels so that gave me a boost and I relaxed a little bit. Tonight, before going in, I was as nervous as ever but, when the gate opened, the only thing I saw was the show pen and I thought to myself that there was no way back. I think that a competition should always be a positive experience; either you win, or you learn something important. If you don’t win, you learn; and if you do win, you also learn.”
Nogue lives in Lloret de Mar, near Barcellona, and rides in a small private family-owned facility. In 2015, he started riding reining horses under the guidance of Italian professional Eugenio Latorre, who is now based in Spain.
In 2017, Nogue was selected to be part of Team Spain for the FEI World Reining Championships for Juniors in Givrins, Switzerland, but he could not find a suitable horse for the event. At that time, it was his present trainer, Mirko Midili, who saved the day.
“I met Andreu and his family two years ago here in Cremona,” said Midili. “We started talking, and I understood that he was looking for a horse for the FEI World Championships. At that point, I offered him my black horse to ride; Arc Sparkle Magnetic, aka ‘Black Panther.’ Andreu and his family were thrilled and, since then, have been part of my heart.”
Following the World Championships, the search for a prospect for Nogue to show in the ‘big Futurity’ began.
“I saw A Whiz N Cash as a 2-year-old. He was broke and trained by Mattia Nadalini, and I loved his attitude,” added Midili. “He definitely turned out to be a great horse!”
Bred by Carlo Sala, A Whiz N Cash is by Custom Cash Advance out of A Whiz N Wranglers (by Topsail Whiz). His first and only show before the Futurity was the LR Prefuturity held in Manerbio, where the pair won the Futurity Non-Pro Championship.
“Initially plans included Mirko showing him in the Open Futurity,” explained Nogue in his perfect Italian. “In the summer things changed: Mirko moved to Luga Quarter Horses and, since they gave him three horses to ride at the Futurity, he could not show any more. At that point I suggested that I could try to show him in the Non Pro Futurity and, since then, that was our new goal. In the beginning it was a disaster and I could not even lope him. He was strong but so sensitive … he as an open horse. Mirko always said that probably this was the best horse he had ever had. But it was not easy for me to build up a nice feeling with him. I just went back and forth from Spain to Italy to ride him in the weekends, up to the Futurity. I even changed my school program in order to have more time to dedicate to the preparation for this show. It didn’t take long to understand each other.”
“Andreu is a special guy,” states Midili. “He is polite, very intelligent and is an incredibly talented rider. I am certain a bright future in the show arena lies ahead of him.” Future plans for Andreu include a well-deserved Christmas vacation with his family and rest for him and his mate. Their plans for 2019 include the NRHA European Futurity and the IRHA Derby. There is no doubt that we will hear again about this special ‘Olé’ team!”
Nogue took home four saddles (one for each level) offered by IRHA and Selleria Repetti; two bits offered by Donut Bits an Spurs for the Level 1 and Level 3 titles and a custom-made Greg Darnall Bits & Spurs bit.
Levels 4 & 3 Reserve Championship
Taking the Levels 4 and 3 Reserve Championship, a point behind Nogue, was Carlo Ambrosini and his mare Jac N Lime (Tinsel Jac x ARC Yellow N Lime x Yellow Jersey) owned and by Ambrosini Quarter Horse ASD. In the qualifier, the pair claimed the fourth-highest score, a 215.5, and they also boast the ARHA Levels 4 and 3 Futurity Non-Pro Championship.
Level 2 Reserve Championship
The Level 2 Non-Pro Reserve Championship went to Sabine Schmid and All Niter (Gunners Special Nite x Dun Made By Chic x Smart Chic Olena) with a 216. The stallion, bred by Susi Hutchins, was previously ridden and shown in the United States by Justin L. Michels, of River Falls, Wisconsin.
Level 1 Co-Reserve Championship
The Level 1 Co-Reserve Championship, with a 215 score, went to Mattia Cosio and White And Whizzy (Spat Split And White x Rooster Roohide x Ricochet Rooster) and Francesco Pedretti and Could You Be The One (One Gun x Star Dun Its).
White And Whizzy was bred by Letizia Selvi. Could You Be the One was bred by Claudio Carraro.
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