Sarasota, FL - After another year of successful reined cow horse competition, the 2014 Horse Show by Appointment (HSBA) season is coming to an exciting finale this weekend at the HSBA Championship Double C Saddlery Finals. The finals kicked off Thursday morning at Triple J Ranch in Sarasota, Florida, and will continue through Sunday, Jan. 11.
The four-day championships offer riders an impressive $100,000 in cash and prizes, made possible largely thanks to the contributions of generous supporters and sponsors, including Double C Saddlery, Triple J Ranch, J.W. Brooks Custom Hats and Skyline Vaquero.
"This is our first year here [at the HSBA Championship Double C Saddlery Finals], and we hope to have many more in the future working together," said Rebecca Harrell of Double C Saddlery.
As part of the saddlery's generous support of HSBA and the 2014 championship final, 18 custom designed saddles have been donated for the weekend's winning riders. "I told [Double C Saddlery] that I'd like every saddle to be an individual saddle so no two saddles are alike. They did an incredible job of designing them around that," said Rick Steed, founder of HSBA. "As good as they look, the saddles are just as good to ride in."
The beautiful Double C saddles donated for the finals are all-around saddles for reining and cutting, designed with much input from Steed himself. They feature beautiful, intricate elephant and alligator print seats and customized designs.
"I think the winners will be very pleased with them. We can do some really neat customizations on our saddles," Harrell said. "We really look forward to a long future with HSBA. It's really nice the way they have the set up appointments, and I think it will really continue to be a good business for many years to come."
Other prize sponsors include custom hats from J.W. Brooks and belt buckles and knives from Skyline Vaquero.
The customized prizes are part of what make the HSBA Championship Finals so special for exhibitors, and another key element is the venue: Triple J Ranch in Sarasota.
At the ranch, Jay and Rhonda Holmes host an estimated 24 to 30 equestrian events a year, and when Steed introduced them to his HSBA concept, they knew they wanted to be a part of it. "It's a good concept," Rhonda said. "We have so many people that work that need to be able to set their time when they can come and show. That works for people." Rhonda continued, "We're very fortunate to be here and to have the finals here. We've got a great arena and great boys taking care of the ranch."
Triple J Ranch and Steed Training stepped up to sponsor all entries for Youth classes at the Finals, ensuring that young riders would have the opportunity to compete.
Triple J Ranch is committed to a long-term program to produce and raise quality Quarter Horses - a mission that has proven quite successful, as the ranch has produced numerous world champions.
Jay Holmes is the rider and head trainer behind some of those mounts, and he is also one of the professional contenders to watch throughout the championship finals. He earned the highest composite score aboard Ima Downtown Cat in the open division of Thursday's Greatest Caballero competition.
The Greatest Caballero Competition is just one of the many classes held throughout the weekend. Thursday morning began with herd work for competitors in the Open and Non Pro divisions of the Greatest Caballero Competition and Bridle Spectacular, as well as the Non Pro Boxing Bridle Spectacular. Riders in those classes then moved on to the reining and fence work for their respective divisions in the afternoon.
Competition continues at Triple J Ranch on Friday morning beginning at 9 a.m. with first goes in the Open and Non Pro Two Rein competition, Level One Boxing, Open and Non Pro Hackamore, Level Two Boxing, Youth Fence and Boxing and Little Britches Boxing.
Friday evening features Down the Hairy Fence, a highlight of the Finals that brings out top riders for a fast-paced test of horsemanship.
To view the HSBA Championship Double C Saddlery Finals schedule and to learn more about HSBA visit: www.showbyappointment.com/2014-Championship-Finals.html.