Brian Bell had a lot to celebrate as he sipped his martini in celebration of his win at the Oklahoma Reining Horse Association Ride & Slide. His choice of drink was deliberate as he toasted the win to the horse they called “Martini,” a gelding named Gunnaout Shine Ya.
Owned by Rolling Hills Ranch, of Santa Rosa, California, Gunnaout Shine Ya (Gunnatrashya x Jesta Little Shiner x Shining Spark) snagged both the Level 4 and 3 wins in the Derby Open on March 9 to take home nearly $14,000 for his score of 227.5.
“I bought Martini as a 2-year-old from Vandorp Reining Horses, and he’s been a lot of fun,” said Bell of the blaze-faced gelding. “He’s gotten a reputation for how fast and pretty his spins are, and I think that is probably one of his more unique abilities.”
While still a stallion, Martini earned more than $30,000 as a 3-year-old, producing a fifth place finish and earning more than $11,000 at the 2018 All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity. He was also a finalist at the 2018 National Reining Horse Association Futurity, earning $11,516. Even with that success, the decision was made to geld the horse.
“This was his first show as a gelding, and he increased his highest score by 5 points,” Bell said. “We’re pretty happy with the decision to geld him.”
Bell noted that reining competitions in Texas and Oklahoma are among the toughest they compete in, and the Ride & Slide was certainly no exception. The duo will head to the National Reining Breeders Classic in April.
The Ride & Slide paid like a slot machine for Bell. In addition to the win in the Level 4, he rode Gunnaoutfoxya (Gunnatrashya x Foxynicki x Jacs Electric Spark) to a score of 225.5 to share in a three-way tie for the Level 4 Reserve title, while also snatching the Co-Reserve in Level 3. An additional win in the Level 4 Novice Horse helped him nab total earnings of nearly $12,000 with Gunnaoutfoxya.
Also reserve in Levels 4 and 3, and winner of the Level 2 Open, was Gunna Cash Ya (Lil Joe Cash x Gunners Blonde Chic x Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]), shown by Joe Schmidt for owner Allison Sutton to total earnings of $8,712. Rounding out the trio for Reserve in Level 4 was Guaranteed A Magnum, shown by Jimmy Van Der Hoeven for Chad and Molly Cherry, who earned a paycheck for $4,639.
Derby Levels 4, 3 & 2 Non-Pro
Coming from a world where Western horsemanship had been her guiding light, Lauren Love-Stein did an about face after she captured her goal of becoming the American Quarter Horse Association Amateur World Champion in Horsemanship in 2017. She turned to reining as her next Everest to climb. While she may not have reached the summit yet, her win in the Levels 4, 3 and 2 Non-Pro on March 8 certainly established a solid base camp.
Riding the elegant and striking bay gelding Chex Out My Dough (Outta Dough x Chexanicki x Bueno Chexinic), Love-Stein’s horsemanship abilities, which she honed under the guidance of Robin Frid and Jenny Jordan, paired nicely with the 6-year-old she purchased in December 2017 from trainer Casey Hinton. A veteran showman, Love-Stein has shed the butterflies many feel before competing and simply concentrated on making her ride.
“He had been really good all week, so I was excited to get to show him because he shows pretty much how he warms up,” she said. “I kind of knew when I got the shut off on my first spin, I thought, ‘OK, this might be pretty good,’ and it kept getting better as it went. It was exciting to hear the crowd get into it a little bit.”
Working 55th in a class of 74, Love-Stein scored a 222 to take the lead, but she had to wait out another 19 riders before finally accepting she had received her biggest win yet on “Dough,” taking home a total of $11,082.
A realtor in Pilot Point, Texas, Love-Stein was raised by two veterinarians in an animal-loving household in College Station, Texas, but ended up attending the University of Georgia from 2008-2011 where she competed on that school’s national champion women’s equestrian team. Now married to Joel, who works in construction, Love-Stein finds that reining has become the challenge she has looked for.
Love-Stein, who is 5-foot 8, purchased Dough in 2015 for $62,000 at the NRHA/Markel Insurance Futurity Prospect Sale after Hinton pointed her to the bay, saying he thought the two would be a good fit, as the gelding was an atypically taller reining horse.
“We talked about my goals and where I wanted to be, and it’s been a great match,” she said. “He’s [Dough] very athletic, and he does like to show. He’s fun and has a good personality. It makes it fun when you enjoy riding them.”
Stein said Dough has definitely shown her how to make reining work for her.
“I definitely am very grateful to have such a nice horse to start out with,” she continued. “I’ve made my mistakes here and there, but he’s honest and takes care of me. I am excited for this year now that we have the kinks worked out and we’re getting together.”
Stein will finish the horse’s derby eligibility with competition at the Cactus Reining Classic and the National Reining Breeders Classic, as well as trying to qualify for the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship show.
For more news and information from the Western performance horse industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.