Veronica Swales & SJR Diamonds Justify * Photo by Amy Olson

Swales Second Intermediate Open Snaffle Bit Finals lead to win on SJR Diamonds Bonnie

Veronica Swales has only been to the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity three times. On her second trip, she made the Intermediate Open finals. On this, her third trip, she not only made the Intermediate finals, she made the open as well. And, won the Intermediate Open finals on SJR Diamonds Bonnie.

Nothing could make the accomplishment more special, except Swales’ entire family being in Fort Worth for the event.

“My mom comes down and takes care of the kids at most of these majors, so I’m fortunate to have her. But my dad, this is the first time he’s got to come down [from Canada] and watch me compete for three years,” Swales said.

Her brother was also present, they made the trip to receive John Swales award for becoming a $1 Million Rider. The first NRCHA Canadian $1 Million rider.

“His first time to make the Open Snaffle Finals was on Cats Picasso, and I remember thinking that it would be so cool to be able to do that,” Swales said.

She was able to do that this year on Raquel Ray (Stevie Rey Von x Reychell Rey x Dual Rey). The mare, owned by Seth Murphy, marked a composite score of 650.5 (221 herd/ 215.5 rein/ 214 cow). The pair tied for twelfth place and earned $16,500 for their efforts.

Intermediate Champion

Qualifying for the open finals was a highlight from Swales third futurity, but winning the Intermediate Open Finals and marking the high cow work score in the finals were unforgettable moments for Swales.

“Pretty much from the first time I stepped her into the show pen, she turned into a little show pony,” Swales said of SJR Diamonds Bonnie (CD Diamond x Missin Reylena x Dual Rey).

The palomino owned and bred by the San Juan Ranch tested Swales patience through the training process but always showed massive potential on a cow.

“I was kinda banking on that I would get a cow that really ran and tried her,” Swales explained. “So when I was watching the cows it looked like the cows were maybe going to be enough.”

The duo had marked a 219 in their finals herd work and a 216 in the rein work finals. The cow they got was enough for a 224, making them the high cow work score of the Limited and Intermediate open finals and catapulting Swales to the top of the Intermediate Open.

The excitement was immediate, but Swales and her family had to wait and see if the scores would hold out for another night, a few riders wouldn’t perform until the next day during the Open finals.

“She’s the type that you hope for that really tough cow because she’s going to step to the plate for you,” Swales said.

Not only did Swales’ scores hold up and make her the 2024 Intermediate Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion, she was later informed that she and Clay Volmer became the first married couple to both have won the Intermediate Snaffle Bit title. Volmer won the Intermediate Open in 2019.

Veronica Swales and SJR Diamonds Bonnie * Photo by Amy Olson