Modern Gun and Andrea Fappani didn’t waste any time linking up when they won the Reining By The Bay Derby Level 4 Open Championship on July 27. The pair, who had only been working together for three weeks, laid down a blistering 231.5 in the Woodside, California, sand. The win came with a $28,195 paycheck.
“I love the horse and I knew that I was getting together with him, but this was kind of a test run. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I trusted him 100% [in the pen] because that’s usually the way I go at it, and if they prove me wrong, then I’ll adjust my training,” Fappani said.
But the palomino stallion sired by Gunners Special Nite and out of the mare Taris Modern Design (by Mr Boomerjac) was with Fappani every step of the way as they ran National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) pattern No. 10.
Prior to the Reining By The Bay, Modern Gun, known as “Mickey,” had great success with Duane Latimer, winning the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Level 4 Open in 2018. When owner MS Stables decided to have Fappani train Mickey, the time constraint loomed as Fappani prepared Mickey for the Reining By The Bay.
“I had to adapt my way to him more than him to me because he’s a horse that’s been really successful. When something is working you don’t want to change it too much,” Fappani said. “I changed a few things on him but he adapted right away. Great horses are like that. You make tweak a few things here and there, but no matter how you ask them to do something, if they’re natural at it, they’re going to do it.”
Mickey’s demeanor in the barn is unusual for a horse of this caliber, according to Fappani.
“When I first got him, I doubted they sent me the right horse, because to be honest, horses that mark 230’s, they’re [higher strung],” Fappani said. “But no, he acts like a 6-year-old gelding, not like a breeding stud. He’s always chill and you’ve got to wake him up to go to work.
“This has been a great show for our team for a long time and we won it a few times, but it’s challenging because it’s a pen that brings a lot of high scores,” Fappani said, reflecting on his team’s success at Reining By The Bay. Fappani brought home multiple futurity titles on July 26 and his son, Luca, experienced great success in the Derby Non-Pro.
Fappani is currently preparing for The Run For A Million and has an impressive selection of horses to choose from. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based horseman earned the reserve championship on Epic Titan, a 2013 stallion bred by Clinton Anderson, of Stephenville, Texas, and owned by Silver Spurs Equine/Downunder Horsemanship. Epic Titan earned $20,840 with a score of 229.5.
Derby Level 3 Open
PS Mega Shine Chic & Dany Tremblay
13S (Shine Chic Shine x Megas Sugar Baby x Marthas Mega Jac)
Owner: ADH Mor Ranch, Ponoka, AB, CN
Breeder: Patsy Schutz, Pottsboro, TX
Derby Level 2 Open
Sparkin Dun It & Jackson Porath
13G (Pale Face Dunnit x Sparkin Personality x Jacs Electric Spark)
Owner: Christopher Park, Bluffdale, UT
Breeder: Hickory Creek Ranch LLC, Scottsdale, AZ
Derby Level 1 Open & 4-Year-Old Stakes Level 2 Open
Inlovewiththemobster & Dakin Allred
15M (HF Mobster x Smart Stylish Ruby x Smart Chic Olena)
Owner: Rick Christen, Whitehouse, OH
Breeder: Lorenzo Lotti, Whiteboro, TX
4-Year-Old Stakes Level 4 Open
Electric Genetics & Martin Muehlstaetter
15S (Jacs Electric Spark x Taris Designer Genes x Mr Boomerjac)
Owner: The Electric Partnership, Scottsdale, AZ
Breeder: Rancho Oso Rio LLC, Scottsdale, AZ
4-Year-Old Stakes Level 3 Open
NF Shining Whiz & Gabe Hutchins
15M (Colonels Shining Gun x Whowhizthispeppychic x Who Whiz It)
Owner: Tamarack Ranch LLC, Joseph, OR
Breeder: Kim Windey & David Perneel, Wuustwezel, BG
Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro & 3-Year-Old Developing Horse Level 4 Non-Pro
Smoke In Whizkey & Jennifer Gilliam
16G (Whizkey N Diamonds x Suga Suga x Smart Like Juice)
Owner: Jennifer Gilliam, Pine Grove, CA
Breeder: Jeanne Levine, Sparks, NV
Futurity Level 2 Non-Pro
Whizzen The Dream & Stacy Hamilton
16M (Magnum Chic Dream x Whizards Chexy Bar x Whizard Jac)
Owner: Stacy Hamilton, Clovis, CA
Breeder: Stacy Hamilton, Clovis, CA