Cody Sapergia has been paired up with 4-year-old Mr Royal Hollywood since the end of May 2018 when he went to work for the stallion’s owners, George and Carol Bell, of Raleigh, North Carolina. Sapergia and “Royal,” who finished as the Level 2 Open Co-Reserve Champions at the 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity, have continued to build upon a successful partnership and added two more titles to their collection when they won the 2019 Carolina Classic Derby Levels 4 and 3 Open championships.
“He’s a good horse,” Sapergia said, pleased with their smooth winning run. “It’s a really big arena, so it was easy to run our big circles. He was good in his circles — ran with his head down and slowed down good. He’s quick-footed in the turns, but I maybe had him a little too bent in the first turn. Our second turn was pretty good.”
The ground was really good and the stallion’s (Hollywoodstinseltown x Cee Miss Hollywood x Custom Crome) stops were all great, said Sapergia, who had worked out some shoeing changes with the horse’s farrier, Dwight Sanders, and Sedgwick Guerreiro, from France, who has been working with Sanders.
“He’s a good stopper, but I had been wanting to make some [shoeing] changes on him — just to give him that extra little bit [of help in stopping],” Sapergia said. “They were willing to do whatever, and it seems to have helped him pretty good — so it’s all worked out.”
As far as the stallion’s best qualities, Sapergia said once the horse is mentally prepared, “He’ll do anything you want him to do — and he’ll bend over backwards to please you!”
The next planned outing for Royal, who was bred by Brian and Julie Bell, is a small show in South Carolina where Sapergia plans to school the horse before they leave to compete at the NRHA Derby in Oklahoma City. Presently, there are no plans to sell Royal.
“But,” Sapergia added, “if somebody offered them [the Bells] the right kind of money, they’d probably sell him.”
Sapergia, who is originally from Canada, really enjoyed competing at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
“It was a really, really big [arena] for the horses I had,” he said. “They could really run in their circles and really run to their stops. I quite enjoyed it [the show].”
Sapergia worked seven years in Europe — mostly in Austria — before moving to the States about two years ago.
“I like it here,” he said. “Everything is good — anytime you have horses to ride, it’s good!”
Reining is a Sapergia family tradition. Sapergia’s father, Vernon, trains and shows reining horses in Austria, and his two sisters, Terry Lee and Shawna, who reside in Alberta, Canada, also train and show reining horses.