The finale to reining competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 was filled with cheers, thrills and big scores as elite riders battled it out for international glory. When the dust settled, two talented Paints stood on the podium, with another just close behind in fourth.
Team USA’s Dan Huss and his APHA mare Ms Dreamy had the crowd on their feet as they charged into the pen, stopping hard and spinning fast to mark a 226.5—just a mere half-point behind champion Bernard Fonck of Belgium—to claim the silver medal. Ms Dreamy is also the first mare to individually medal in reining at the World Equestrian Games.
“Mares are a little different—they’re a little more sensitive, so you have to be a little better with your horsemanship,” Dan said. “But your better mares have some grit to them. They’ll step up and compete with the boys. [Ms Dreamy has] probably taught me more than I’ve taught her, and it’s been a great experience.”
The chase for the bronze medal came to a thrilling conclusion with a runoff between two flashy athletes; Cade McCutcheon’s (USA) Custom Made Gun and Joao Felipe Lacerda’s (Brazil) Gunner Dun It Again both scored a 225 during the finals, and they returned to the arena to battle it out for the bronze title.
Joao Felipe and Gunner Dun It Again set the bar high, powering through the maneuvers in their fourth reining pattern at WEG to claim their highest score of the event yet: a 227.
“He gave me everything he had; I’m so proud of him. He has the biggest heart that I’ve ever seen,” Joao said after an emotional first run.
Not to be outdone, 18-year-old Cade and his longtime partner Custom Made Gun laid it all on the line in their final performance; despite being the last horse to run in the finals’ working order, the duo pushed past any exhaustion to run down a 228 and firmly capture the bronze.
“He’s always been real good to me—very honest in the show pen like Dan’s mare is. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse for me,” Cade said.
In total, nine Paint-bred horses competed in the individual medals final. During the team portion of the competition, Paints Ms Dreamy and Custom Made Gun helped Team USA clinch their fifth consecutive reining team gold; in all, five Paints helped teams from the USA, Germany and Belgium earn medals.
[Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provide back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.
About the Tryon International Equestrian Center
Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, host of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, is one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations. From carousel to competition, the mission of Tryon Resort is to celebrate the magic of the horse, grow equestrian sport, and increase access to this majestic animal. With first-class facilities for hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing competitions, the facility will soon accommodate all eight equestrian disciplines. Tryon Resort is a spring, summer and fall haven for equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, and a year-round destination for connoisseurs of diverse cuisine and shopping, lodging getaways, and family entertainment. Learn more at www.Tryon.com.
About FEI World Equestrian Games™
The FEI World Equestrian Games™, held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is the property of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for horse sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining World Championships in the Olympic disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, the Paralympic discipline of Para-Equestrian Dressage, as well as Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.
The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA), which attracted more than 500,000 on-site spectators and a worldwide television audience of 350 million, as well as delivering an economic impact of €368 million to the French economy.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ History Hub can be viewed here.