It took a runoff to decide the first championship at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Affiliate Championship in Denmark.
In a field of 11 qualifiers, Jolien Rottiers of Belgium riding ND Spooks Shaggy Gun owned by SV Quarter Horses and Dutch Mariska Hak aboard her own Ripped Wrangler both scored a 214 tying for the lead in the $500-added NRHA European Affiliate Rookie Professional Championship on July 17.
After the two came back to the arena, the title, with a 215.5 score, was for Hak and the 2007 gelding by Starlights Wrangler and out of Hollywood Two Step (by Hollywood Jac 86).
“I am thrilled with this win,” said the young professional. “It’s tough to qualify, to tie for the lead and to come back for the run-off. The good thing about running off is that if you’re not first, you’re surely second! I’m super happy with this title, especially since I’ve had this horse for five years; he’s now 12 years old, he’s always been good for me and I love him to death.”
Rottiers settled for the second step of the podium with ND Spooks Shaggy Gun (Spooks Gotta Gun x Lil Ruf Cee Blair x Lil Ruf Peppy).
“I was really excited, I didn’t expect to tie for the highest score nor to have to come back and perform again,” she said. “This is a great result and I could not be any happier.”
The third step of the podium, with a 211.5, went to Sweden’s Jan Persson riding Mikael Körner’s Tangys Walla Whiz (Walla Walla Whiz x Tangys Classy April x Tangys Classy Peppy).
“I rode this horse last year and got her back in training three weeks ago,” said Persson. “I did not expect to do so well, considering that we come from the northern part of Sweden where there aren’t very many reiners, so I am very happy with this result we achieved. She’s a small mare with a big heart.”
The great competition in a relaxed atmosphere will come back tomorrow where, following the NRHA Youth 13 & Under class, the NRHA European Affiliate Rookie, Limited Open and Intermediate Non Pro Champions will be determined. Adding to the excitement will also be $2,000-added NRHA Intermediate Open.
The European Affiliate Championship show is just the recent star-studded reining event in Europe, which recently celebrated some of its most successful riders at the SVAG FEI World Championships in Switzerland.
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