Ricato Suave and Clay Volmer continued their winning ways at the 2022 NRCHA Eastern Derby. • Photo by Primo Morales.

Ricato Suave & Clay Volmer Score Second Eastern Derby Win

Ricato Suave and Clay Volmer made it two in a row at this year’s National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Dom Conicelli Memorial Eastern Derby.

Volmer and the stallion marked the top composite of 666.5 on Wednesday, July 13 at the show, which was presented by MARS Equestrian. They did so with a 222 in the herd work, 220.5 in the reining and a 224 down the fence to put together a 666.5 composite, winning $20,000.

Last year, they won the Eastern Derby Open with a 656.

“He was so fun down the fence,” Volmer said. “He was like ‘I got this, you just stay out of the way.’ When we rolled down that corner, I could have done nothing. It felt like he knew the situation and he knew what the plan was.”

For Volmer, the win was a testament to consistent hard work and Ricato Suave’s solid mind. The 5-year-old stallion is by Metallic Cat and out of Hip Hip Sue Rey (by Dual Rey). He was bred by Flag Ranch LLC and is owned by partners Shaleah Hester and Madeleine Fountain. 

“He’s very kind and he’s lazy. He doesn’t get super amped up about much. I’m a ramped-up person and he just stays laid back,” Volmer said. “For as hard as he’s been shown throughout his career, he’s the same pretty much every time he steps into the show pen and he allows me to show him successfully.”

Volmer first laid eyes on Ricato Suave when the horse was a 2, saying he completely fell in love. According to Volmer, wife Veronica Swales insisted he buy him, saying “He just fits you.” 

Clients Ron and Julie Fountain purchased Ricato Suave for daughter Madeleine, hoping he could be the youths’ horse one day. 

“The older he gets, the more he figures everything out. And, he’s the only one I’ve been able to have this long. You can just tell he learns all the time,” Volmer said. “I want to thank my wife and all the clients that allow us to do this. Shaleah, Ron, Julie and Madeleine have all been so supportive of the whole team.”

Volmer is steering the stallion towards the NRCHA’s World’s Greatest Horseman competition, and joked that Madeleine may get to have him after they’d won it. 

Reserve Champions were Selvarey (Dual Rey x Shine Smarter x WR This Cats Smart) and Sarah Dawson, who put together a composite of 662 (216 herd/225 rein/221 cow) earning $11,290. 

Derby Non-Pro

Debbie Crafton continued her 2022 winning streak with Foundloveathooters or “Zaro.” Crafton and the 5-year-old gelding posted two 220-plus runs to earn the NRCHA Eastern Derby Non-Pro Championship and a $5,000 winner’s paycheck.

Crafton previously won the NRCHA Stallion Stakes Non-Pro on Foundloveathooters (Smooth As A Cat x Rey Lena Rey x Dual Rey).

She also garnered the NRCHA Eastern Derby Non-Pro Reserve Championship on Hesa Wee Bet (Bet Hesa Cat x Wee Quejana Gal x Quejanaisalena), marking a composite of 653.5 (213.5 herd/219.5 rein/220.5 cow) for $3,173 in winnings.