The first National Reining Breeders Classic Open Classic Challenge competition for horses 7 years old and up was filled with heavy-hitting horse-and-rider pairs touting impressive resumes. Rising to the top of the superstar lineup was Martin Muehlstaetter and Wimpys Little Buddy. The Austrian-native guided the 7-year-old gelding, owned by Madalyn Roberts, San Diego, California, to a score of 228.5 and the $6,147 Champion's paycheck.
Muehlstaetter said it was "pretty special" to win the inaugural Classic Challenge at the Katy, Texas, show, especially on a horse who's shown consistently for the trainer and for his Non Pro wife, Kim Muehlstaetter.
"The horse felt really good. He's the most honest horse there is," he said. "He gave 110 percent. He's just so good-minded."
The Muehlstatters bought Wimpys Little Buddy as a 4-year-old from Andrea Fappani, who trained him and showed him in the futurities and derbies. Kim earned money on the horse during his 5- and 6-year-old show seasons, and Martin showed the horse at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games for Austria before selling him to a Roberts, who plans to show him in Rookie competition.
Not only is Wimpys Little Buddy the first NRBC Open Classic/Challenge Champion, but his score also placed him at the top of the concurrently held National Reining Horse Association Open and FEI-CR12* classes. All things considered, Muehlstaetter earned $15,436.
Taking the Classic Challenge Reserve Championship was Custom Harley, ridden by Jordan Larson for Rancho El Fortin, Del Rio, Texas. Their 228 score came with a paycheck for $4,180.
Also earning a place on the podium was Andrea Fappani, who rode Robert Thompson's Yellow Jersey to first place in the United States Equestrian Federation Open with a score of 226.5. This was only Fappani's second time showing the horse, but the big score was no surprise from this mount who also won the $100,000-added Open Shootout at the 2010 NRHA Futurity.
"I think any time you have a chance to represent your country, it's always good, so I enter any chance I get," Fappani said of the USEF competition.
The NRBC also features a full-slate of National Reining Horse Association-approved classes, which run in the East Arena while the Classic is held in the Coliseum. The National Reining Breeders Classic is the most successful stallion incentive program in reining history. In just fourteen years, the NRBC has grown to include nearly 200 subscribed stallions. Annually, the payout at the National Reining Breeders Classic exceeds $1.4 million. For information on the NRBC, visit the web site at www.nrbc.com or call 580-759-3939.