Copyride, shown winning the Italian Reining Horse Association Futurity with Lukasz Czechowicz, is now in training with Martin Muehstaetter for a possible appearance at The Run For A Million. • Photo by Bonaga Communication.

European “Mystery Horse” Prepares for Run at Million Dollar Competition

American reining fans will soon get their first glimpse of a flashy sorrel reining horse that shipped from Europe for a possible run at the Million Dollar Competition at next month’s The Run For A Million horse show.

The horse, Copyride, is unfamiliar to most stateside reining fans, having until now competed exclusively in Europe and winning roughly $50,000 in Italy and Belgium. He is, as trainer Martin Muehlstaetter told Quarter Horse News while discussing his contenders for this year’s Million Dollar Competition, “A little mystery horse I just purchased from Europe.”

The Italian Sensation

At the 2019 Italian Reining Horse Association Futurity Open finals, Copyride effortlessly powered through the pattern to score a 223.5, good for the Level 4 Open Co-Championship with Polish trainer Lukasz Czechowicz. Watching more than 6,000 miles away in Scottsdale, Arizona, Muehlstaetter was in awe.

“I thought it was a pretty spectacular run. Huge stops, really nice turns, big circles. The crowd was going crazy. He really catches the eye of a spectator,” said Muehlstaetter, an Austrian native and EquiStat Elite $1 Million Rider. “I think he’s a crowd pleaser. He has a lot of charisma about him, he’s super athletic.”

He also remembered seeing Copyride’s dam, Finest Copyshot, during her time as a successful European show horse – she and trainer Rudi Kronsteiner marked a 233 to win the 2011 NRHA European Futurity Open Championship. The mare accumulated $73,702 in earnings during her career. Muehlstaetter remembered watching the daughter of the stallion I Am Shotgunner (by Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]) compete, noting she was “pretty spectacular.”

Both Copyride and his dam, Finest Copyshot, were bred in Germany by Anja Deutzmann.

Though a bold step, shipping a horse from Europe to compete at The Run For A Million has been done before. In 2019, eventual Million Dollar Invitational Co-Champion Custom Made Gun was shipped from Italy to Texas to train with Cade McCutcheon for a shot at the big money. McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun tied with Craig Schmersal and No Smoking Required for the event’s first-ever million-dollar title.

The “James Bond” Manuevers

Never imagining he could buy Copyride, who was bred in Germany but most recently owned by Katarzyna Roleska, of Poland, Muehlstaetter said he immediately purchased three breedings to the horse’s sire, Colonels Shining Gun. When he caught word from an international friend that he may be able to buy Copyride, Muehlstaetter was ready to move quickly.

According to Muehlstaetter, the plan was for Copyride to be his The Run For A Million backup horse and a candidate for The Run For A Million’s $100,000 Open Shootout during the show, which is scheduled for Aug. 18-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sleipner LLC bought the horse in June from Roleska, according to AQHA records, but getting the deal done required getting the money to Poland – which took some doing. Time was of the essence, considering The Run For A Million wasn’t that far away.

“I was almost out of James Bond movie. We did a pre-purchase and we were a little pressed on time to get the horse on a transport to ship to Los Angeles,” Muehlstaetter said.

According to Muehlstaetter, his friend Hans Zöhling paid a cash deposit while they waited for Muehlstaetter’s wire transfer to arrive. Within a few days Copyride was headed East on a plane bound for Los Angeles.

“He’s had a lot of frequent flyer miles,” Muehlstaetter said, “Poland to Belgium and then to Los Angeles, [and then I] took him to my place and then Reining By The Bay. He seems to be a show horse – everywhere he goes he’s really comfortable. He eats good, he travels good.”

The American Debut

Copyride’s American debut is planned for the Inside Slide, an Arizona Reining Horse Association show scheduled for Aug. 10-15 at WestWorld Of Scottsdale.

Muehlstaetter said he thinks Copyride’s stout build helped him as he traveled halfway across the globe.

“He has a lot of character. He’s a big, strong horse. He initially was a little standoffish. We keep a water tub in the grooming area with electrolytes and we let the horses drink there,” he said. “He was like ‘what is this?’ But now every time with bring him to the barn he sticks his nose in it and blows bubbles.”