Lexington, KY - The city of Lexington was largely defined by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010, so it proved a fitting setting to crown the 2010 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year. And the winner couldn't be more all-American. The only multiple Gold medal-winning horse for Team USA, Gunners Special Nite, a six-year-old American Quarter Horse brought the sport of reining to the forefront of the American equestrian community. People who had never heard of reining watched Gunners Special Nite put in a foot-perfect effort to cruise to victory with the Adequan U.S. Reining Team on NBC's Broadcast. The team won a Team Gold medal by the largest margin in history.
But it was the Individual Championship where Gunners Special Nite stood out above the rest of the field. His performance with steely veteran Tom McCutcheon brought down the house in the Alltech Arena and secured Gunners Special Nite's place in the history books.
Sarah B. Willeman of Turnabout Farm bought Gunners Special Nite just before the Adequan/USEF Selection Trials for the Adequan U.S. Reining Team which were held in July. McCutcheon had a big task at hand in his first competition, but the chestnut stallion with the big white face delivered - and was named Reserve USEF National Champion in the process of a runner-up finish in the Selection Trials. It was a hint of things to come; McCutcheon and Gunners Special Nite got to know each other a little bit better over the summer and over four days in Lexington, KY - a new World Champion was crowned.
Willeman, who found her way to the Reining world after an injury to her back shortened her career in the hunter/jumper world, accepted the award on behalf of her horse and reminded a room full of horsemen and women that good horses and good horsemanship are universal.
Gunners Special Nite had some tough competition for his final honor of 2010; the four horses that he went up against all dominated their respective breeds and disciplines. A diverse group of horses that ranged from all the dynamic animation of the Shetland Roadster Heza JackRabbit to the smooth brilliance of working hunter Lone Star, the record run of Arabian Afires Heir to the crowd-pleasing CHSprinkles, the USEF Horses of Honor delivered excellence across the country and across breed and discipline.