National Reining Horse Association European Affiliate Championship

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Sponsored by Roberto Testa’s Horse Valley Ranch, Italy

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA – The first-ever National Reining Horse Association European Championship Show was held July 4-7 at Egna, Bolzano, Italy. With six affiliates participating in the Championship show, it was a landmark event that showcased the tremendous popularity of reining, worldwide.

Dave Young, NRHA International Committee Chairman voiced the thoughts of all those who had helped organize the event: “This first edition of the European Affiliate Championships is a milestone in the history of reining worldwide and is definitely the first of many successful NRHA approved shows in the years to come.”

Riders from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy met to vie for an NRHA European Affiliate Championship title in Egna Ora (Bz), Italy. The event took place at Baron Felix Longo’s Alps Coliseum, a beautiful facility located in the Italian Alps.

The European Open Championship was won by Stefano Massignan on Mega Powered, owned by Roberto Testa, the official sponsor of the event. Testa, thrilled with the win, thanked the National Reining Horse Association, the organizing committee, and host Baron Longo for the wonderful job done. “This show was organized very efficiently and took place smoothly. I would like to thank everybody for the work done and would like to personally thank Dan Wall, NRHA Executive Director, for presenting a special plaque offered by the NRHA for this occasion, which will hold a special place in my heart. This is an historic event which I have been awaiting, I am happy to be a part of it and will definitely renew my sponsorship next year. As far as Stefano’s win is concerned, this title means a lot to me and once again he has proven his talent in showing his horses to the best of their abilities.”

Stefano and Mega Powered also won the NRHA approved $10,000 added Open which ran concurrently. His score of 220.5 earned him a total paycheck of $5,300. Just a half point behind was Kelly Zweifel on Broadmoor, owned by Impresa Agricola Cuoghi. Zweifel only had a week to ride the stallion before the show as the horse had just been flown to Europe from the U.S. Kelly tied for the Reserve Championship in the NRHA Open with Nicola Cordioli who showed Mr Olena San, a son of Smart Chic Olena owned by R D Horses Srl. That earned $1,478 for the reserve championship in the European Championship class as well as $1,957 for tying second with Nicola in the NRHA approved Open.

Claudio Risso claimed both the European Championship Non Pro title and the $5,000 added NRHA Non Pro with a score of 216.5 on RS Jac Flash Leo. “I am extremely happy to have won this title, which for me is just as important as any special event,” commented Claudio. He earned $2,060 for the NRHA class and $1,428 for the European Championship.

The Reserve Non Pro Championship went to Great Britain’s Francesca Sternberg on Chuka Chic. She won $1,134 for the European Championship and $1,431 for the NRHA approved class. “I really wanted to win the European Championship,” said Francesca after scoring a 216. “But Claudio did a good job and now we look to next years’ event.”

Filippo Masi of Italy rode Bad To The Badge to win the Limited Open European Championship with a score of 217 with Marie-Claude Collin of Belgium winning reserve honors on Ima Torrid Lady with a score of 211.5.

The Limited Non Pro division was won by Henri Wijdeven of Belgium with a score of 208 on Young Lemac. Reserve Limited Non Pro honors went to Italy’s Ewald Rifeser on JP Genuine Red Jac.

Young Italian riders took the titles in the Youth classes. For the 13 and Under class Ruggiero Musacci won on LJ Jessolena, and Francesca Mercuriali won the 14-18 with a score of 209 on Jackie Lil Solano. Reserve honors in this division went to Juliane Muchery of Germany on Chexita San.

Alberto Villani marked 205.5 to win the European Rookie title on LJ Billy Jess. The Reserve Championship went to Lilian Coppens of Holland on Copenhagen Catalyst.

In order to determine the winning team, the three best scores from each Nation’s riders were totaled. Team Italy won, followed by Team Germany and in third place, Team France.

During the Awards Presentation, National Reining Horse Association Executive Director Dan Wall presented special plaques on behalf of the NRHA to Eleuterio Arcese, president of the host affiliate, the Italian Reining Horse Association (ANCR), to Giancarlo Doardo, whose staff organized the event and to Roberto Testa for his sponsorship support. Baron Felix Longo, owner of the Alps Colliseum was given an NRHA Reining Fundamentals video tape.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the first ever NRHA European Championships” said Wall, “and I am convinced that this event will see continued growth in the years to come. I would like to thank Dave Young, Nick Cornelissens and Giancarlo Doardo for the tremendous effort put into this project as well as all those involved in the outcome of the Championship itself.”

The National Reining Horse Association is the worldwide governing body of reining, responsible for promoting the sport, and working to insure the highest standards of competition. With corporate support from Cinch, Sundowner Trailers, Saddlesmith, Profile Nutrition, Horse & Rider magazine, Markel Insurance, Pfizer Animal Health, Quarter Horse News, Kiser Arena Specialists, State Line Tack, and Classic Equine the NRHA continues to educate its members and the public about reining. For information on the NRHA visit the web site at or call 405-946-7400.