Teton Ridge, a newly-formed brand created to preserve, promote, and protect America’s western way of life announced today that three elite Western performance horse trainers will be joining TEAM:TR, the equine competition component of the brand.
Andrea Fappani, Corey Cushing and Todd Bergen will train for Teton Ridge in the disciplines of reining and reined cow horse. Teton Ridge is further expanding this team to include the disciplines of cutting, barrel racing and bull riding.
Entrepreneur and Western enthusiast Thomas Tull formed Teton Ridge to honor Western culture, expand interest in performance sports, and celebrate the top-tier athleticism and spirit of the men and women who compete in Western riding disciplines every day. Teton Ridge is also breeding elite, equine athletes.
Its recent private purchases include National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion All Spice; EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire and NCHA Horse of the Year Smooth Talkin Style and NCHA Open Horse of the Year Twice In Santiago. It also bought the $225,0000 sales topper – Metallic Cincin – from the Rocking P Ranch Production Sale during the Mid-Year Cutting Horse Sale at the NCHA Metallic Cat Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth.
Officials with the brand say Fappani, Cushing and Bergen each brings a different skillset and personality to TEAM:TR. Officials say the three men also will continue to train outside horses in addition to those owned by Teton Ridge.
Fappani has captured multiple titles and won more than $6 million in the saddle. Introduced at an early age to English riding and reining, Fappani has never known life without horses. He moved to the United States from his family’s farm in Italy to train with Bergen, become a professional rider, and be the best horseman he could be.
In 2001, after five years of training, Andrea won his first NRHA Futurity at the age of 24 with RR Star (PT).
Fappani is only the second person to become an NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider. Additionally, he is a four-time NRHA Futurity Open Champion, a four-time National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Champion, an NRHA Derby Champion and has captured multiple American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Champion titles.
Fappani’s experience, enthusiasm and professionalism make him a crucial asset to TEAM:TR. “I’m committed to excellence with horses and always focused on what’s best for each individual. That is what drives me to be the best reining trainer and showman,” Fappani said. “To commit to understand the needs of a horse and how that particular horse learns is extremely rewarding. Developing confidence in each horse’s athletic abilities and becoming a trusted partner in the show arena and winners circle is our goal.”
Fappani, who recently rode Teton Ridge-owned Winding Inferno to Reserve Champion honors in the Invitational at the North American Reining Stakes, said TEAM:TR is “here to make a difference in western performance sports and bring them to a different level. I think that we’re going to see some great changes, both in the sports and to Western culture.”
It also appears Teton Ridge is in the process of buying Fappani trainee Starjac Vintage, an earner of more than $95,195 and a full brother to NRHA Derby Open Champion Platinum Vintage. According to AQHA, a transfer on the ownership that horse — who was previously owned by Tim Anderson, of Milbank, South Dakota – is currently pending.
Cushing specializes in reined cow horse and, officials said in the announcement, a best-in-class qualifier focused on the longevity of performance horses. He became involved in Western performance sports at a young age, honing his horsemanship skills under the eye of the late Noel Skinner and also John Slack directly out of high school.
Cushing had the opportunity to learn from Bergen, who is widely recognized as one of the finest horseman in the business.
He made his professional breakthrough at 19 when he won the NRHA Futurity Intermediate Open Championship. At the time, Cushing had only been reining for one year. His dedication also earned him the title of youngest National Reined Cow Horse Association Million Dollar honoree in 2012. And in 2018, Cory became the third NRCHA Two Million Dollar Rider in history.
Most recently, Cushing captured the 2021 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Western Derby Open Derby Champion title, aboard Teton Ridge’s stallion, Hesa Dual Bet.
Officials with Teton Ridge say Cushing is the perfect addition to TEAM:TR, Corey’s experience, confidence, poise, and sense of respect have all helped elevate him and his horses to the most elite levels.
“Teton Ridge appreciates us and our horses as athletes, and they truly respect and understand the hard work and long days that go into western life and sports,” Cushing said. “What drew me to join TEAM:TR is the enthusiasm and appreciation that Thomas Tull has and the multiple disciplines that Teton Ridge is involved in and will be a part of one day.”
A familiar name in Western sports, Bergen is a ten-time NRHA and NRCHA Futurity Champion and Reserve Champion Rider. The trainer from Eagle Point, Oregon, is an EquiStat Elite $4 Million Rider and was the first rider to achieve a Two Million Dollar status in both the NRCHA and NRHA.
Bergen started competing at the age of 11 and turned professional at 18. Todd was only an assistant when he started winning world championships. His most memorable win was in 1995, at age 25, when he won the NRHA Futurity with Todaysmyluckyday.
In a statement, Teton Ridge said Bergen’s vision of the future of equine events aligns with its strategies to grow Western sports, noting that “the bigger the events and purses, the more people are going to want to participate and come see equine sports.”
“What Teton Ridge is doing for western culture and the horse industry is something a lot of people have dreamed about for a long time,” Bergen said. “Teton Ridge is paving the way for people in the future that want to do what we do. What I can bring to the table is experience in the industry. I can help guide Teton Ridge in the right direction.”
Teton Ridge is a multi-platform brand devoted to the iconic American Western way of life and Western equine sports. Teton Ridge says it aims to create a team of elite equine riders from multiple disciplines, invest in the breeding and training of the most sought-after pedigrees in the Quarter Horse industry and engage audiences to elevate and expand western equine sports through innovative technology. Additionally, Teton Ridge operates a philanthropic foundation that provides invaluable funding for land stewardship, fosters community by preserving the American West’s cultural heritage, and ensures the future of ranching and riding sports.
For more information about Teton Ridge, visit tetonridge.com or @tetonridge on Instagram and @tetonridgeusa on Facebook.