Shelby Clausen burst into tears and got a big hug of congratulations after marking a 226 during a run off in the Non-Pro Championship at the Run For A Million show.
Her horse, Smart Tinseltown, got just as many hugs from well wishers as she did — maybe more after their run Saturday morning in Las Vegas, Nevada. The celebration wasn’t because they won — the second rider, McKinnon Larcombe, hadn’t even run yet — but instead a recognition of a job well done by a horse and rider with a long history.
“I was just so excited and so thankful to be able to show a horse like that,” said Clausen, who was later crowned the champion after Larcombe marked a 218.5 in the run off. “I’ve never been able to show a horse like that and he’s just so incredible, so I was really grateful. And, it was so much fun.”
“Chester” Returns Home
Called “Chester” around the barn, Smart Tinseltown (Smart Spook x Tinseltown Lil Step x Wimpys Little Step) is a family favorite. This is the second time the 2010 sorrel gelding has been owned by Clausen, who first rode him in 2017.
In 2018, Chester was sold and then ridden by Lisa Coulter in the Fédération Equestre Internationale World Equestrian Games (WEG) for Team Canada
The Clausen family bought Chester back after the WEG and 17-year-old Shelby has shared saddle time on him with her younger sister, Anna. The horse is clearly a barn favorite. She’s thrilled to have him back.
“Everyone loves him,” Clausen said.
The question of a possible run off in the Run For A Million Non-Pro Championship between Clausen and Larcombe, who rode Designed With Shine, loomed after both riders marked a 221.5 in their first run.
The decision to go for a run off, rather than settle for a tie, wasn’t a difficult one for Clausen. She’d never been in a run off in her life, but had confidence that Chester could handle the second effort.
“I think if it would’ve been a different horse, I would’ve said no,” she said. “But, this gelding, we’ve had him forever and he’s so steady and I know I can show him and show him and he’ll be the same every time.
“I knew that he would be good if I ran off.”
For more news and information from the Western performance horse industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.