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Joes Genes and Tish Fappani returned to their winning ways in the 2022 Cactus Reining Classic. • Photo by Waltenberry

Joes Genes & Tish Fappani Triumph in Return

Tish Fappani and Joes Genes made a triumphant return to the competition arena on Saturday, claiming the Cactus Reining Classic Level 3 and 4 Non-Pro Derby championships.

Riding her 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Level 3 Non-Pro Futurity Champion, Fappani found some sweet redemption at the Westworld of Scottsdale complex after an injury kept Joes Genes sidelined for most of last year. 

“She had an injury after the Futurity and it took us a while to get her sound. Now she’s back, strong and just as much fun as she was as a 3-year-old,” Fappani said.

Now 5, Joes Genes (Lil Joe Cash x Electric Genes x Jacs Electric Spark) added $11,998 to her bankroll with the victories. Bred by Rancho Oso Rio, the mare was raised by Fappani and husband Andrea, who showed both Little Joe Cash and Electric Genes.  

“We had a plan, we wanted to go in and be solid and smooth. We wanted to gear up for the [National Reining Breeders Classic]. [What] I was so happy with her here was her circles. She’s way more mature in the way she carries herself in her circles,” Fappani said. “This mare is really nosy and always a lot of ears. She doesn’t spook, but she’s very alert. When I showed her as a 3-year-old she never really locked in to her circles, she would come up and down and she wasn’t very consistent with her speed.”

The Cactus Reining Classic horse show, which is hosting qualifiers for the Open and Non-Pro divisions of The Run For A Million, was flooded with entries. That included in the Derby Non-Pro, which had a large field of more than 130 Non-Pro riders that show officials split between Friday and Saturday. Fappani competed Friday, leaving her success in limbo as the remaining competitors gave it their best shot Saturday morning. 

To cope with the nerves Saturday, Fappani headed to the family ranch, which is only 20 minutes from the Westworld complex. 

“I went to the ranch and I rode a 3-year-old we own. I rode and came down when there was eight head left [in the Derby]. Out of sight, out of mind,” Fappani said, “We get spoiled with the local shows. We get to sleep and be at home.” 

Reserve Champion in the Cactus Reining Classic Level 4 Non-Pro Derby was Gina Marie Schumacher and Gunnastepya, a 2016 stallion by Gunnatrashya and out of SDP A Lasting Step (by Wimpys Little Step). The pair scored a 219 for $4,790 in winnings.