When the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat, Non-Pro prelims wrapped up Oct. 18, another champion had been crowned at the prestigious event. Kyle Birkenfeld and TAMU Bettin A Dual’s composite 634.5 landed them the Level 1 Non-Pro Championship.
The event had been a roller coaster ride for Birkenfeld, who was happy to end it on a good note. They started off marking a respectable 212.5 after cruising through the rein work, but a rough run in the herd work resulted in a score of 205.
“We just kind of struggled to get cut and didn’t get a whole lot of time worked on the cow,” Birkenfeld said. “There was really just nothing to mark, and then we put a penalty on top of it. It just went like it’s always gone for me at the Futurity — there’s no such thing as just straight up. We’ve got to go up, down and sideways.”
Birkenfeld tried to stay optimistic going into the cow work, though, and TAMU Bettin A Dual responded by carrying him to a 217, helping them garner the win with 3 points to spare. He felt like he had a true cow horse down the fence, he said, and was pleased with the gelding’s run.
“We drew a cow that challenged him a little bit, especially in the fence turns — just got a hold of him and turned him really strong the first time,” Birkenfeld said. “I think that cow was sure a blessing. We needed something that was going to give us something to mark.”
The duo collected a paycheck worth $7,500 for the gelding’s owner and Birkenfeld’s dad, Keith. The title helped validate what Birkenfeld and his brothers saw in the gelding (Bet Hesa Cat x TAMU A Dualin Reina x Aggies Twelfth Man) when they purchased him as a yearling from his breeder, the Texas A&M University Department of Animal Science — even though he ended up being smaller than expected when they got him home.
“He’s got a really strong maternal side, and he had a lot of look even as a youngster,” Birkenfeld said. “He was really balanced, but there just wasn’t much of him there when he showed up. We didn’t know if he was going to make it physically, but all through his 2-year-old year, he just bloomed and bloomed. By the time we were on him, there was really no question. He got strong at the right time.”
Birkenfeld thanked his friends Myles Brown and Kyle Trahern for their support and advice. He also expressed his appreciation to his wife, Kate, and his four kids for giving him time to ride, along with his parents, Keith and Kim, for keeping good horses around to show.
Whitney Hall and Peptos Nine Three (Sweet Peptos Promise x Little Lindas Dually x Dual Pep) scored a composite 631.5 (H: 215.5/R: 200.5/C: 215.5) for the Level 1 Non-Pro Reserve Championship. Hall and the Daube Company-bred gelding, who is owned by Shannon and Ronda Hall, collected $6,000.