11-year-old stallion Chics Smoking and rider Morey Fisk narrowly beat the world’s leading ladies Ann Fonck and Cira Baeck with a thunderous 226.5 that thrilled the packed stands in the Elementa Masters Premiere Open competition.
The 45-year-old Canadian — who came to Europe for a short stay in 1994 and has been here ever since — was the first rider to achieve a hat trick at the NRHA European Futurity, conquering the title of Open Champion three years in a row.
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) & American Paint Horse Association (APHA) bay stallion that partnered Fisk on this memorable night is by the outstanding Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner) out of Dun It By Chick (by Hollywood Dun It). Chicks Smokingun furthered an excellent career that has seen him finalist in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open Futurity, the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Open, NRHA Open Derby and NRHA Non Pro Derby.
Fisk choose a single word to describe this horse with which he has been competing successfully for some time: “Awesome,” Fisk continued “it was just fantastic! I could never have predicted that I would be celebrating this win today, but one of my goals this year was to compete and do well in this show; I had actually been holding the horse back a bit so he would be ready for this Open.”
Fisk works out of Horse Academy, in Mooslargue, France where he not only trains but follows a group of Non Pros.
“It’s a part of the job I really enjoy; one of the satisfactions of being a trainer for me is being able to help people develop and in this facility our clients have the advantage of being able to compete regularly at home – we have about one show a month,” Fisk said.
Next up on Fisk’s agenda is the IRHA/NRHA Futurity coming up at the end of this month.
Sharing reserve honours were two Belgian colleagues among Europe’s most successful reiners, namely Ann Fonck on Gunners Specialolena, daughter of NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Dolly Special Lena and owned by Diego Dalla Gassa, and Cira Baeck on Maria Cecilia Fiorucci’s Phantom Face (Pale Face Dunnit x Gorgeous Like A Star x Smart Like Juice).
Sylvia Rzepka took home the Elementa Masters Premiere Intermediate Open Title after marking 225 on Winnie The Boo (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Jac Golden Faith).
“I have had this horse for a couple of years and have made quite a few changes,” explained Rzepka “and now he’s really starting to perform well for me. He can be a little bit freaky sometimes, but when he shows he has a heart of gold”.
Winner of the Italian Derby in 2011, Rzepka has competed in the World Equestrian Games (WEG) twice and was part of the German team awarded the bronze medal at the FEI World Championships in 2008; on this mare, Rzepka took Reserve Honours in the L3 Open NRHA European Derby this August, then going on to gain the title of Level 3 Champion and Level 4 Reserve Champion at the Austrian Maturity the following month.
She has been working out of the facility of H & D Schulz Quarter Horses a Neustadt, Austria for the last two years.
“It’s a great place for me to train my horses, it’s one of the busiest areas in Austria for reining and we have the Austrian Futurity and Maturity there.” Rzepka said.
Rzepka summed up her show as “highly emotional.” She continued, “there is always something that can go better in a run, but I went in there last night with high expectations.”
Reserve Champion at the Intermediate level was Klaus Lechner, who also travelled here from Austria, guided Cody Rooster Delmaso (Ricochet Rooster X Made Of Lacy) to a score of 223. The veteran stallion, 14 years of age, is owned by wife Julia-Gaupmann-Lechner. Klaus has been working professionally in reining since 2010 and now runs his own centre, together with Julia, in Lower Austria.
Niklas Ludwig was crowned Elementa Masters Premiere Limited Open Champion after closing his run on 218.5 aboard 2013 stallion Whiz N Spook (Smart Spook X Whizicle x Topsail Whiz) owned by Margot Van Doone.
“I would describe him as a big baby: he likes to play around and can be a little tricky to handle at times, but I really like him. We have been together for the last two years,” Ludwig said. “I always knew this show was going to be special, of course, it’s partly the money but also everything around it. It is bringing a lot of new people into the sport so it can only be good!”
Niklas, who has been working together with older brother Grisha at Ludwig Quarter Horses in Schwantelhof, Germany for the last seven years, says the two brothers work well together as a team. He adds that he has no idea what he would do if he were not a reiner.
“I love the horses, I love the sport and I like to get up every morning to do this work,” Ludwig said.
For now, the show season is over for the 26-year-old German who started in reining with his dad, going to help out with Grisha in the holidays and then travelling to the US to gain experience with Tom McCutcheon, Duane Latimer and Martin Larcombe.
Just half a point behind (218) to claim reserve honours at the Limited level was Lena-Marie Maas riding Georg Ferl’s 2015 QH stallion Chic Heidi (Chic Magnetic X Heidi Sailor x Frozen Sailor). The 20-year-old German trainer was Individual and Team gold-medal winner in the Youth Continental/Regional Championships in Givrins in 2015.
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