The Kentucky Reining Cup attracts Rolex fans in the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena held during the Rolex Kentucky event on April 26 and 27 in Lexington, Kentucky.
On Friday night Shawn Flarida showed why he is the first reining competitor to win $4,000,000 by winning Friday night’s Kentucky Reining Cup. As the individual winner with a score of 226.5 aboard Wimps Quixote Cody this was the third time for Flarida to win the event. Sliding into second place was Andrea Fappani aboard Star for the Chicks with a score of 224.5. Tom McCutcheon took the third place riding Pretty Peppy Chec with a score of 221.0. They competed for $100,000 in prize money.
Shawn Flarida aboard Wimps Quixote Cody shows off their winning sliding stop.
In the team competition Flarida’s high score helped take the Ariat Boots team to first place with a score of 657.5. The Ariat Boots team also consisted of Sam Smith aboard Mister Dual Train and Jose Vazquez aboard Moonshine Juice. This was Flarida’s first time as a member of the winning team at the Kentucky Reining Cup. There were six teams that competed. The Apex Ranch team with Tim McQuay, Mandy McCutcheon, and Sean McBurney finished second with a score of 652.0. The Cosequin team of Tom McCutcheon, Dell Hendricks, and Mandy McCutcheon came in third with a score of 650.5.
AQHA, Kentucky Reining Cup sponsor, presented a sweet program depicting a little girl meeting her first Quarter Horse.
Spectators enter the arena to do the Harlem Shake during Pete Kyle and A Ruf Gal's freestyle performance.
Pete Kyle puts A Ruf Gal into a sliding stop during his Harlem Shake freestyle performance.
Saturday night’s Freestyle Championship was a wild and crazy ride as riders steered their horses in choreographed spins, slides, flying lead changes, and backs to music and right into the hearts of fans while competing for $20,000 in prize money.
Riding to ragae music a rider puts her horse into a fantastic sliding stop.
Rocky Dare puts Painted Pony Whiz into one of those famous reining horse spins.
For the second time in three years Shane Brown won the World Championship Freestyle Reining competition aboard Shepherd Star who displayed some amazing spinning ability. They rode to victory to Montgomery Gentry’s song Gone with a score of 228. A three way tie for second place with a score of 227 went to Aaron Ralston aboard Blue Taris Glo in a funny and entertaining performance to Gangnam Style, and Drake Johnson riding Sonic Chic Dream to a very beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, and the most rowdy freestyle performed by last year’s winner Pete Kyle and A Ruf Gal to Harlem Shake. An entire group of people entered the arena to perform the Harlem Shake while Kyle and A Ruf Gal rode to the music around them.
A rider ends their freestyle with the horse standing on a base.
Brown also won $5,000 as the highest-placed rider wearing SSG gloves, as part of SSG’s "Reining Dollars” promotion. Shawn Flarida was the "Reining Dollars” winner while claiming the Kentucky Reining Cup on Friday night.
Rocky Dare aboard Painted Pony Whiz rode to a crowd favorite Charlie Daniel's Devil Went Down to Georgia. Pictured with Rocky and Whiz is the "Devil".
An announcer at the Kentucky Reining Cup’s Saturday night Freestyle Reining Championship asked the crowd attending the Kentucky Reining Cup how many were from the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and a loud roar went up. This event has come a long way in recruiting new reining followers.
Celebrity eventer and Olympic Gold medalist David O'Connor rides Starbuck Summer.
One way of attracting more Rolex fans was by recruiting eventing stars to come and ride a loaned reining horse in the exhibition division in Saturday night’s Kentucky Reining Cup Freestyle Championships. The eventing riders who participated were Bobby Costello riding Bingo, David O’Connor riding Starbuck Summer, Sinead Halpin riding Blue Taris Glo, and Allison Springer riding Shepherd Star. Allison Springer took first in the celebrity division with a score of 211. Coming in second was Sinead Halpin with a score of 210.5. In third place was David O’Connor with a score of 210.
The World Championship Reining Freestyle competitors await their placings.
For more information on the Kentucky Reining Cup go to the event’s website here.
Photos: Courtesy of Carly Dolan and the Kentucky Reining Cup