Lexington, KY - Shawn Flarida slid and spun to a strong lead in the Adequan/USEF Open Reining Championships after the first go at the AQHA Battle in the Saddle which is also serving as the USEF Selection Trial for the Adequan US Reining Team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Flarida (Springfield, OH) and RC Fancy Step scored 223.5 to take a clear lead over Craig Schmersal (Overbrook, TX) on Boom Shernic , and Andrea Fappani (San Marcos, CA) on Custom Legend who finished tied on 221.5.
Flarida, is the first and only Three Million Dollar Rider and is one of the most decorated reiners in the game. Runner-up in the 2009 Adequan/USEF National Open Reining Championships, Flarida is poised to go one better in 2010 and also secure a spot on the Adequan US Reining Team at the World Equestrian Games which will be held September 25-October 11 in Lexington, KY.
Owned by Buffalo Ranch in Ft. Worth, TX, RC Fancy Step thrived on the big stage at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
He represented the US on the FEI World Equestrian Games and won Team and Individual Gold in 2002 and is a 20 year veteran of the sport.
Schmersal and Fappani will ensure that Flarida does not win easily. Schmersal won back-to-back Adequan/USEF Open Reining Championships in 2008 and 2009 and has a title to defend to make it three in a row. He achieved both titles with Mr Dual Rey, but he has a new star in Boom Schernic (who is owned by a syndicate that bears his name).
Schmersal has vast experience winning both nationally and across the globe. In 2008, Schmersal was Team Silver and Individual medalist at the FEI World Reining Championships in Italy.
Fappani , an Italian ex-patriate, rode Steven Simon's Custom Legend in a command performance to add to his already decorated career at age 33. In 2006, he achieved NRHA Million Dollar status, the youngest person and first European to reach this mark.
The competition continues Saturday afternoon and evening with the second and final round of the Adequan/USEF Open Reining Championships and USEF Selection Trials for the Adequan US Reining Team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Scores from the first and second rounds are combined for one composite score - deciding both the US national champion title and the US Reining Team.
For complete information and all the action on Saturday, please visit: http://usef.org/_IFrames/breedsDisciplines/discipline/competitions/OpenReiningChampionship.aspx
And for results, please visit: http://www.aqha.com/battle/pdf/USEF-first-go-results.pdf