Fonck & Smart N Sparkin Win KL Performance Horses NRHA European Derby Open for 7 Heaven Reining Horses

By Simona Diale – From the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Derby: Draw 2 in the second section of the seeded Level (L) 4 Open finals were Bernard Fonck and Smart N Sparkin, a five-year-old stallion by Smart Chic Olena and Setting Off Sparks, bred by Rosanne Sternberg. After running a flawless and powerful pattern, NRHA Pattern 5, the NRHA Million Dollar Rider thrilled both the crowd and the judges who paid him back with a score of 228. This score remained unbeaten in the field of 18 finalists.

The athletic stallion, owned by 7 Heaven Reining Horses, boasts $30,490.44 NRHA LTE and, with Fonck, placed fifth in the L4 at the 2012 NRHA European Futurity, was reserve champion in the L4 at the 2013 NRHA Germany Breeders Futurity, reserve champion in the L4 at the 2011 Western Event Snaffle Bit Futurity and claimed third place in the L4 at the the 2011 NRHA Germany Breeders Snaffle Bit Futurity.

“My wife Ann has been riding this horse lately and about a month ago we decided that I would show him here. He’s always been really honest in the pen and tonight, even though I asked a lot of him, he was there for me all the way. This is the result of team work between my wife Ann, the 23 Quarter Horses team, our farrier Carlo Vercesi and myself,” said Bernard. “The cherry on the cake tonight was that my wife earned the co-reserve championship here!”

Ann Poels-Fonck, riding Ebony Spook (Smart Spook x Ebony Whiz) for owner Rosanne Sternberg, Gennaro Lendi and Piccolo Spanish (Spanish Snapper x Jokin Peppy), owned by Giancarmine Sabatino, and Cira Baeck and Whizasunnysailor BB (Topsail Whiz x Walla Walla Sunshine), owned by Ruediger Diedenhofen, tied for second place honors after scoring a 225.

Winning the L3 Open Derby Championship were Francesco Martinotti and Rambo Bo Sun (Bars Jacson Bo x Be Aech Sabra) owned by Giulia Degiovanni. “I am really lucky to be able to ride such a super horse! He’s so generous. Tonight I really asked for all I could from him and he never hesitated to give me back exactly what I requested from him,” said the 22-year-old rider from Italy who closed his pattern with a score of 223.5. Bred by Franco Rosso, Rambo Bo Sun has won $16,550.04 in NRHA competition and with Francesco took the L1 and L2 open division championship at the 2012 NRHA European Derby and the L1 open division championship at the 2012 IRHA Derby.

The reserve championship in the L3 division, with a score of 221, went to the winners of the L2 Open Derby: Nicola Cordioli and A Reminic Star (Lenas Starfish x Miss Reminic Chex), owned by Allevamento Ongaresca. “This stallion’s blood line, bred is all about cutting horses and that’s exactly why he is so athletic,” said an enthused Cordioli. “It took us a while to finally manage to earn a title in the reining circuit: I have been riding him since he was two, but I think that now we’ve nailed it.  For me this is a great result in more ways than one!” The 2009 stallion, bred by Lino Zivelonghi and who counts $2,219.37 NRHA LTE, was a L3 and L2 finalist at the 2013 NRHA European Futurity with Nicola in the saddle.

Reserve champions in the L2 division, after scoring a 219.5, were Pierluigi Fabbri and Rooster Nic (Gallo Del Cielo x Sanjos Pistolette) owned by Eleonora Felicita Malerba. The pair were on Team Italy, winners of the Silver medal in the past edition of the 2013 FEI European Reining Championship in Augsburg, Germany. The 7-year-old stallion bred by James Eakin had earned $38,932.24 NRHA LTE before coming to Manerbio.

Winning the L1 division, with a score of 215, was Klaus Lechner of Austria aboard his KH Hes A Smart Jac (Smart Spook x TT Playing Jacky). “I raised and trained this horse on my own,” said Klaus. “He was really good tonight and I just loved his stops.  It’s my first title earned in Italy and it’s simply fantastic, I am so happy. My horse will now get a well deserved rest and then we’ll see what to do next year.”

Reserve champions in the L1 division, a half a point behind the winners, were Roberto Prevosti and his Whizzle N Smoke (Remin Whiz x Miss N Smoke).


Giovanni Masi de Vargas & Remins Remedy Win the Individual Gold Medal for Italy

2013 FEI Young Riders Individual Competition

By Simona Diale – Fifteen riders representing four nations (Austria, Germany, The Netherlands and Italy) fought for the podium and the FEI medals in the Young Riders Individual competition this morning in Manerbio, Italy at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Derby.  Winning the individual Gold was Italy’s Giovanni (Dido) Masi de Vargas after posting a 218.5 with Remins Remedy (Remin Whiz x Colonels Lil Red Hot) between the reins.

“I still cannot believe it!  Winning two gold medals, both in the team and individual competition, is simply something that does not happen every day.  In the pen my horse was perfect and I am really happy to have been able to show this great horse to the best of his ability today.”

The Silver medal went to yet another Italian rider, Manuel Cortesi, who, riding The Slide Surprise (ARC Sparkle Surprise x Rulerita Pride), scored a 216.5 . “Showing today felt like going back to the days when I was really small and first started showing – I was so emotional!” said Manuel.  “My mare always gives me her best and Lady Luck was on our side.  I knew that we couldn’t beat Dido’s score, but I did my best.  Now it’s time for my horse to take some rest!”

It took a run-off to determine who would claim the third step of the podium.  Both Anna Lisec of Austria, riding Whizable (Topsail Whiz x Dun It The Hard Way) and Italian Lara Lorengo riding Boemil Twin Robotop (Topsail Speckles x Boemil Valentwin) had closed their run with a 215.5. Anna rode back to the show pen, posted a 216 and took home the Bronze medal.  “Finally the first FEI medal has come to Austria! I have a great horse and now I am super happy and proud to have been able to represent my country.”

Italian Team Coach, Filippo Masi de Vargas,  closed the 2013 FEI European Reining Competition with the Team Silver Senior medal earned in Augsburg (Germany), the Team Gold Young Riders medal, the Team Gold Junior Medal and the Individual Bronze Junior Medal, as well as the Gold and Silver earned today in the Individual Young Riders Competition: “All the athletes were simply great.  I am really tired but very, very proud of them all!”



Gina Maria & Gunners Enterprise Claim the Individual Gold Medal for Germany

2013 FEI Junior Rider Individual Reining Competition

By Simona Diale – Twenty Junior Riders qualified for the FEI Individual Junior Reining Championship in Manerbio, Italy in conjunction with the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Derby. Sliding straight to the highest step of the podium, after posting a 214.5, was Gina Maria of Germany aboard Gunners Enterprise (Gunner x My Royal Enterprise).

“As always, my horse was great and I am very proud to have been able to take the individual gold medal for Germany,” said Gina.

Winning the Individual Silver medal, with a score of 213, was young Zoey Kant for The Netherlands riding Its Dun Time (Hesa Sonofa Dun x Miss Sin San). “I am very happy to have achieved this result for my country,” said Zoey.  “We won the Silver in the Team competition and now again today in the individual – it’s been great!”

The Bronze medal went to Italy’s Enrico Sciulli riding The Gunner King (Gunner x Miss Tabano King).  The pair closed with a score of 212.5.  “Once again my horse was there all the way for me.  Maybe I could have done better in the left circles, but his stops were great!” said Enrico after his first experience in FEI competition.  Sciulli was on the Italian Team that two days ago won the Team Gold in the Junior Rider Team Competition.

Follow the action from the NRHA European Derby via Livestream at or Livescore at

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Baeck & Pop Gun Cash BB Win Roleski NRHA European Non Pro Derby for Eifel Gold Ranch Baeck

By Simona Diale – More girl power! Today in Manerbio, Italy, the 2013 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Non Pro Derby Champions were crowned. The Derby is open to 4-, 5-, 6- and 7-year-old horses and run in a qualifying go-round and clean slate finals. In the finals, 29 riders competed in the first section while another 18 riders took to the pen in the second section.



Taking the level (L) 4 non pro championship, with an impressive score of 223, were Susy Baeck of Belgium and Pop Gun Cash BB (Nu Chex To Cash x Sugar Pop Gun). Together the pair earned the L4 non pro co-championship at the 2012 NRHA European Futurity, as well as the championship in L3 and L2 divisions. With Cira Baeck in the saddle, the 2008 gelding, bred by Deborah Strahman and who boasts $25,235.16 NRHA LTE, won the L3 open championship at the 2012 Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) 4-Year-Old Futurity.  “I am just so happy with the way he went for me today,” said an enthused Susy.  “Everything was just right and he did the best he could for me!”



Claiming the L4 reserve championship, as well as both the L3 and L2 European Derby Non Pro championships, with a score of 221, were German Pia Kalle and Lil Kali Pep. “This is a very special horse for me who I train at home by myself, even though I sometimes ride with Volker Schmitt,” said Pia. “This evening he was great he always listened to me, and now he will get a well deserved rest until next year.” The German rider, who tied to win the L4 qualifying go-round as well as the L3 and L2 divisions, bred this stallion by Lil Dry Peppy and out of  Kaliz Golden Happily. To-date his earnings are $14,932.88 LTE. Prior to coming to Manerbio, the two had placed fourth in the L4 non pro division at the 2010 NRHA Germany Breeder’s Snaffle Bit Futurity and had made the finals in all non pro divisions at the 2011 NRHA European Futurity.


The L3 and L2 reserve championship as well as the L1 championship went to Nuith Lindhorst of The Netherlands. Draw 2 in the first section aboard her  6-year-old mare Just Miss Enterprise (Surprise Enterprise x Jiggs Partner), Nuith set the bar after scoring a 218. The pair, who won the 2013 NRHA European Limited Non Pro Affiliate Championship, remained unbeaten and took home the second prestigious title of their career.  “I was really nervous going in so early, but I tried to stay focused and do the best I could with this mare who I bought as a two year-old from the pasture,” said the 19-year-old Nuith.
Tying for the L1 reserve championship with a score of 213.5 were Sigrid Gooris riding her 6-year-old mare Shes Got Big Guns (Gunner x BH Top Gun) and Barbara Seibold riding her Trigger Happy Chic (Gunner x Chic Is Bonde, by Stone Canyon Ranch), also a 6-year-old mare.Shes Got Big Guns, bred by Fredrick Pursell, to date counts $35,341.41 NRHA LTE.  The pair were recently reserve champions in levels 1-3 non pro at the 2013 IRHA Derby and were 2011 NRHA European Futurity finalists in all four open levels with Lukas Brucek.
Tomorrow the last day of competition at the Palasturla will keep on thrilling the crowd.  In the morning, the FEI Reining Junior and Young Riders Individual championship will be held.  At 3 p.m. (CET), the KL Performance Horses Open European Derby finals will take place.
Photos courtesy of Andrea Bonaga.

Italy wins the FEI Reining Championships Junior & Young Riders Team Gold Medal

Italy wins the FEI Reining Championships Junior & Young Riders Team Gold Medal

By Simona Diale – It’s a two-peat for Italy as both the Junior and Young Riders Teams claimed the Gold Medal in the FEI Reining Championships held yesterday in Manerbio, Italy during the NRHA European Derby.  Lead by Italian Team Coach Filippo Masi De Vargas, the Italian Junior Team closed with a total of 642.5 points and slid to the highest step of the podium.


On the Italian Junior Team were Enrico Sciulli riding The Gunner King (Gunner x Miss Tabano King), score 217.5, Linda Rebecca Martinelli riding Playgirl On The Rocks (Frozen Sailor x ARC Snappers Calgirl), score 212, Maddalena Esti riding Rickashay Ray (Reminic x Docs Ready Jenny), score 208, and Carlo Ambrosini aboard Kachina Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak), score 213.


Claiming the Silver medal was Team The Netherlands, with a total score of 617.5. Team Great Britain was awarded the Bronze Medal with a final total score of 599.5.


The second Team Gold medal of the day went to the host country, Italy, in the FEI Young Riders Competition. On the team were Manuel Cortesi and The Slide Surprise (ARC Sparkle Surprise x Rulerita Pride), score 216, Martina Roasio on West Coast Oakie (West Coast Whiz x Oakendokie), score 207.5, Lara Lorengo and Boemil Twin Robotop  (Topsail Speckles x Boemil Valentwin), score 215.5 and Giovanni Masi De Vargas riding Remins Remedy (Remin Whiz x Colonels Lil Red Hot), score 215. The total composite went up to 646.5.


Team Germany claimed the Bronze with a total of 627 points followed by Team Austria (623), who left the awards ceremony wearing the Bronze medal.


Two weeks after winning the FEI European Senior Reining Championship Team Silver medal in Augsburg, Germany, the Italian Coach, Masi de Vargas, was thrilled with the success of his young reiners, “I am really happy and very pleasantly surprised with the Junior Team,” he said.  “This is their first major FEI event and they all took the pressure and reacted in a very professional manner, both out and in the show arena.  I am just as proud of the Young Riders who all did a great job. We are now very much looking forward to the Individual Competition on Saturday and I know that all my athletes – who have worked so hard – will once again fight and vie for the Gold!”


Visit to see the FEI Junior and Young Riders Individual Competition Draw for Saturday. Follow the action via Livestream at or Livescore at