Lexington, KY - April 29, 2011 - Shawn Flarida, Craig Schmersal and Tom McCutcheon—all members of the U.S. gold-medal team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games—grabbed the top four places tonight in the HorsePower Inc. CRI5* at the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup.
This was the debut of the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup alongside the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone. This competition was made possible by the popularity of the Reining World Championships at the World Equestrian Games last September here at the Kentucky Horse Park
Flarida rode KR Lil Commander to the top score of 226.5. Schmersal claimed second on Miss Lil Addy Tude (225.0) and third on Mister Montana Nic (224.5). McCutcheon earned the fourth-placed ribbon on Chic Olena Starbuck (222.5).
“There were a couple of places that could have been better, but this horse has been great for me his whole career,” said Flarida. “I sometimes can get in his way, but he knows his job.”
Schmersal grabbed the runner-up position on Miss Lil Addy Tude even though “this was probably only the fifth time I’ve ever ridden her. But she’s like a little motor-scooter out there.”
Mister Montana Nick, a 13-year-old stallion, is the horse Schmersal rode on the WEG team. “He never lets me down. He just keeps on knocking out all those 6-year-olds,” said Schmersal.
The Horsepower Inc. CRI5* also offered a team competition, with five teams sponsored by five companies: Clark Oil, ProEquine Equipment, Ariat, Purina and Smartpak. The Clark Oil team of Tim McQuay, Mandy McQuay and Sam Smith took the prizes for first place, with a score of 662.0.
Mandy McQuay and Smith each rode horses they’d never shown before. “I just kind of tried to get to know him, because he’s a real experienced horse,” said Mandy of her strategy. She first sat on Don Julio Whiz on Wednesday, but she finished in fifth place individually (222.0).
Smith has trained Paid By Corona for “about a year” for owner Timmothy Roper.
Tim, her father, was the team’s second-leading scorer on Rudy Dun It (221.0). “It was a lot of fun. I hope they ask us back next year,” he said of the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup.
A highlight of the evening was watching singer Lyle Lovett perform his pattern on his horse Smart And Shiney. Said Lovett after finishing 20th (207.5), “I think I need a bigger handicap.”
When asked if he thought he might be considered a candidate for the 2014 World Championship team, Lovett quipped, “After the way I rode tonight, I’m the only one who’s considering me."
Further information on the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, is available at the Rolex Kentucky website (www.rk3de.org). For the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup visit www.KentuckyReining.com.
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