The younger competitors had their time in the spotlight on Saturday morning, October 30, at the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity. The SWRHA Futurity is held annually at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Tying for the top spot in the Youth 14-18 Class were Jordan Donnelly and Alexis Daggett. Both girls marked 73, and flipped a coin to divide the prizes which included a Pro Equine saddle pad from Haverty Ranch, and a Kyle Tack saddle pad. Donnely and Smokems Whiz, by Topsail Whiz out of Peppys Smokem, won the ancillary Non Pro class earlier in the week after an exciting run-off – but the Aubrey, Texas, competitor said the 4-year-old mare surprised her in the Youth class. “She was really good. I was expecting her to want to run, but she stayed with me and even stopped better today,” she said. “I felt more confident with her today.”
Daggett was riding Cee Pepto Wood, a horse she has only owned since the National Reining Horse Association Derby. “I like him a lot. I’m just getting used to him,” she said. “He really reminds me of my old horse who’s about to retire. We had a few bobbles today but we’re still getting used to each other and he was really good.”
In the 13 & Under division, it was James Michael Phillips and Shining Shoes who won the Championship with a score of 71. “He was good. He listened to me and really focused,” the sixth grader said of the Shining Spark gelding, out of Miss War Doc. Phillips, of Hartshorne, Oklahoma, has only been riding reining horses for three years. His trainer, Don Flohr, noted, “He’s a completely different rider than when he started. He works really hard at it and does a good job.”
Phillips thanked Flohr and his parents Sue and Michael Phillips for their help.
Taking Reserve in the 13 & Under with a 69.5 was Whitney Paige Conrad and Slick San Lena, by Smart N Slick out of RB Top San Lena. Conrad received a Dennards cooler.
The Short Stirrup Champion was Dani Latimer, who rode Get On Whiz It to a 71.5. Latimer and Get On Whiz It, by Topsail Whiz out of Getaway Lark, also won the Short Stirrup division in 2009. “I’ve had other horses, but this is my favorite out of all of them,” the 9-year-old explained. “My friends came out to watch me show today and I thank them for coming out and supporting me.”
Latimer received an NRHA plaque, and thanks to sponsorship from Kim Ferguson, every short-stirrup rider received a Breyer Horse to take home.
Built in 1937, the historic Hardy Murphy Coliseum has been a mainstay as an Ardmore tourist attraction. Primarily designed to host horse and livestock shows, recent renovations to the facility have given it the flexibility to host even more events. Along with the space upgrades that allow the facility to stall 500 horses, the addition of air conditioning provides Hardy Murphy with the competitive ability to attract national and regional events. The renovations have resulted in a premier competitive equine facility.
For more information on the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity, or to inquire about the SWRHA, please call 580-759-2572, or visit www.swrha.com.