It may have taken Wendi Lund and Smooth As Tamulena awhile, but they finally captured that elusive World title in Fort Worth.
Wendi Lund had mixed feelings as she rode Smooth As Tamulena into the show pen at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions.
As they began their Non-Pro Bridle finals run, Lund had all the confidence that “Felix,” as she calls the 14-year-old gelding, was well prepared and ready. But, on the other hand, Lund was understandably sad knowing this would be Felix’s last time to show.
Regardless of the outcome of the finals, Lund was retiring Felix after the show.
There were no words to describe just how excited and “relieved” Lund was as she and Felix were announced as the World Champions. Finally, after having qualified for the finals at several World shows during their show career — always finishing in the top five or 10 and coming close, but just short of winning a World title — they got the job done.
Lund said she had promised Felix’s former owner and her dear friend, Joyce Powers Sevoian, who died a few years ago, that one day she and Felix would win a non-pro World championship.
“After I made that promise, I thought, ‘Am I ever going to have this happen’?” Lund said. “Every single thing time we’ve come to a World show, that horse has shown up for me in a big way, and I just feel so incredibly blessed to have owned him.”
With tears of joy running down her cheeks, Lund pointed with her hand and looked up as she proclaimed, “Joycey, this one is for you!”
Leading up to the World show, Lund said she’d been working really, really hard on Felix’s rein work.
“He’s a Smooth As A Cat and they are not real fond of the reined work, they just want to go trap, or work, a cow,” Lund said. “That’s kind of when he [Felix] goes from his ‘Jekyll And Hyde’ — when he sees the cow, he picks up his head and lights up.”
Felix’s dam was Miss Tamulena (by Tamulena). He was bred by Niangua River RCH L&C Co. of Eldridge, Missouri.
Knowing they would need to up the ante in the cow work if they were going to have a chance to win, Lund said she looked to her friend Joyce for help.
“I just said, ‘Joycey, if you’re back there in those cow pens, pick me a rank one because we have some marks to make up for [in their] reining pattern.’ And, she did! Out comes this Charolais that was pretty waspy and I was just like, ‘Perfect, this is exactly what [Felix] needs for his last retirement run and we’re going to go show.’”
Lund, a native of Duchess, Alberta, Canada, said Felix has had a long career and she is just so proud of him. Their last win before the World Show was at the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity show, where they won the Non-Pro Bridle class and where Felix earned his NRCHA Supreme Reined Cow Horse award.
“He’s just given me so many great trips,” Lund said. “And, what’s so incredible about this [Supreme award] is that he won 98% of [his money] in the Non-Pro. My family flew in because they are so excited about the award he is going to get” at the NRCHA awards banquet.
Lund said she’s been very fortunate that her family, which was not into cow horses but was involved in a wide variety of horse events, has always been behind any of her dreams and ambitions.
“We had an agricultural raising and I just kind of grew up that way — always on horseback, always training horses. I was very fortunate to have had that way of life, and I think that’s why I was drawn to the cow horse is because it is very connected to horse training and that vaquero style of riding young horses and giving them more purpose.
“I’m very excited about what the cow horse is doing for the Quarter Horse world — it’s just bringing a lot of great mind and bone and frame back into a really well-bred cow horse. We’ve just lacked that when we were breeding for a Border Collie-type horse. This particular sport really, really requires good conformation and a very trainable mind and I just love that we are keeping those vaquero traditions alive.”
There are so many people that have supported her through the years, Lund said. The five key people who influenced her from start to finish, she said, are: “As a child growing up, my grandfather Bronc Earsle, a horseman, cowboy and rancher; Mel Svingen, a horseman and horse breeder who introduced me to the sport and who sold me and my family some of our best cow-bred horses; Jeremy Meador, who currently coaches me — he’s an amazing horseman and coach; all the amazing horsemen in Idaho that I’m surrounded by, including Jake Teleford, who trained “Pistol” [Smooth Silver Pistol — Lund’s derby horse], and coaches me; and last, but not least, Paul Sevoian, who had helped me keep Joyce’s dream alive and has offered endless and unconditional support — I owe him such gratitude.”
Before the Non-Pro Bridle finals, Lund said she told herself, “You know what, this horse doesn’t owe me another thing and I’ll probably have one more great run on him.
“And, he sure gave that to me,” Lund said.