In a spectacular display of rein and cow work, Jake Telford and Shady Lil Starlight took the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes Open Bridle Spectacular Championship at the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre in Queen Creek, Arizona.
In the herd work held earlier in the week, the pair marked a respectable 213 - but everything fell together on Saturday, and the judges awarded the rein and cow work with identical scores of 221.5! "It's just really fun when it all works out. I love it! I live for this - it's the greatest sport in the world. There is no better feeling than when you get a fast cow and your horse handles it," Telford said following the win. Owner Nancy Crawford-Hall was on-hand to pick up the C.R. Morrison trophy as well as the check for $5,250.
"I have the greatest owners in the world. I appreciate and thank Nancy so much for letting me show these great horses. I also thank all the people who put on the shows as well as the sponsors who support this industry," Telford, an NRCHA Million Dollar Rider, said.
Shady Lil Starlight, nicknamed Bentley, is one of the most recognizable horses in the reined cow horse industry - but he has been noticeably absent over the past year. "He got injured at the Hackamore Classic two years ago, and we gave him some time off. His first show back was the World's Greatest Horseman in February, and he just missed making the finals with Morgan Kromer there. It's nice to have him back and showing again," Telford said of the Grays Starlight stallion, who is out of Shady Little Cat.
Phillip Ralls and Very Smart Smoke were the Open Bridle Spectacular Reserve Champions with a 653.5 composite, and won $4,375. Very Smart Smoke is by Very Smart Remedy and out of Lil Brown Freckle, and is owned by The Trust/Billie Jo Ralls DTD.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the cow horse. Through the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob's Custom Saddles, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, and Merial products UlcerGard and EQUIOXX, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the NRCHA Official Web Site at www.nrcha.com.