She’s been waiting a long time to win a major National Reined Cow Horse Association Limited Age Event Non Pro Championship, and on Sunday, March 27, Tish Wilhite’s dream came true. The setting was the Idaho Horse Park in Nampa, Idaho, and the event was the NRCHA Stakes.
Wilhite was riding her horse, The Fresno Fox, and together the pair won both the Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro Championship, taking home $9,860 and $3,570.
“This is so exciting. It’s my first major event to win since I have been doing this seriously,” the Fresno, California, competitor admitted after the Finals were over. “I’m so proud of my horse – I can’t believe it.”
Wilhite and “Shorty” began the Finals competition with a 213 in the herd work. “The herd work has been my nemesis, but today I felt like I cut the best I could. I had two clean cows and he was really good, and my herd help was great,” she said. “Lance Johnston has been working with him in the herd and cow work. It’s been a team effort and it’s definitely paying off.”
That strong showing in the herd work was followed by a 219 in the rein work and a 216 in the cow work. “Shorty was a little strong in the prelims so I worked to slow him down, and got him slowed down just enough today,” Wilhite explained. “We were praying that we got a good cow all day. We did, and my horse was right there for me.”
WIlhite had several people to thank, including Johnston and Brandon Staebler, who helps her with the rein work. She also extended a special thank you to her fiancé, Brian Avery. “Brian is not a horse person, but we were having some bad weather getting out here. He didn’t want my mom and me to drive it alone, so he bought a ticket and made the drive with us. It meant a lot to me that he did that,” she explained.
Only horses by NRCHA Subscribed Stallions are eligible to compete at the NRCHA Stakes. “I thank Jon Roeser and Karen Twisselman, who own Heart Of A Fox, for nominating him to the Stakes program. We wouldn’t be here if not for them,” she said.
Winning the Non Pro Reserve Championship was Anne Reynolds and Very Shiney, who marked 217.5 in the herd work, 215.5 in the rein work, and 211 in the cow work for a 644 composite. The NRCHA Million Dollar Rider and the Very Smart Remedy cow horse, out of Shirley Shine, won $7,395.
In the Intermediate Non Pro division, it was Carol Roberts and Oaks Dual Rey who won the Reserve Championship and $2,677. Roberts and Oaks Dual Rey, by TR Dual Rey and out of Docs Pearly Oak, had a 635.5 composite, thanks to a 204 in the herd work, 216 in the rein work, and 215.5 in the cow work.
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 Adequan, Bob’s Custom Saddles, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Nutrena, Pfizer Animal Health, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Running W Designs, 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 http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=em4lwidab&et=1104977281200&s=40&e=001PAviAMhS x43_E2qH8AQmLA_TyJ04y-nwXzopNMxgZuL5G8_s0bj_LfeUcHD0b9Iket8LarCYl5jE1q0d57dV SB-T9ABKTMOoOPKsC8zNRr8=> www.nrcha.com.
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