Kristen York did not stop smiling from the moment the placings were announced until late into the Las Vegas night after topping the Amateur in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes. This is the first limited-age cow horse event where she’s competed, and it was aboard her first snaffle bit horse.
“This is a dream come true! We just won our first major here at the Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas, and it hasn’t sunk in yet,” York exclaimed. “This mare is amazing, and I’m so blessed to have her.”
York purchased Shezacrackinnsparkn (Nabisco Roan x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark) from Kyle Trahern and Myles Brown, who had partnered on the 2014 Holy Cow Performance Horses-bred mare. York and her husband, Thad, made the buy before the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, where Trahern showed her. After the event, York took the mare home to ride.
After only riding cow horses for four years and going down the fence for one, the win was unexpected for the fairly new competitor who is a director for Region 1 in the National Cutting Horse Association. She is one in a long line of riders who is trying the sport from other disciplines.
“I come from the cutting world. She is my first aged event horse, and this has been quite an experience to learn how to do that,” York said. “This horse is truly what they call a fence horse; she craves the fence. She knows her job and does it well while taking care of me.
“For the fence, I am intimidated by it and she helps me go down and put together a decent run. I trust her to put me in the right spot and take care of me. I don’t worry about falling or being in the right spot [because] she handles all of that.”
The sorrel mare put York in the winner’s circle to earn $1,863 in the Amateur and also qualify for the Stakes finals in the Non-Pro, Intermediate Non-Pro and Novice Non-Pro divisions.
“To be hanging with the big dogs and to win the Amateur, I have no words,” York said. “I am ecstatic, blessed and my vocabulary isn’t big enough!”
There was a tie for second in the division, which is based off of the preliminary round. With a 647 composite, Mandy Lizama and San Master Peppy (Smart Little Pepinic x Masters Miss Pici x Master Remedy) tied with Darleen Wood and Cat Walks Into A Bar (WR This Cats Smart x Sue C Shiner x Shining Spark).
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