The Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA) Futurity has seen top-shelf competition throughout the week. Reiners from across the country have traveled the miles, put in the hard work and arrived in Ardmore, Oklahoma, in top form to battle it out for championship prizes and bragging rights.
The Futurity Open finals, sponsored by Billingsley Ford, were held Oct. 29, showcasing the top 52 horses and riders from the two-section qualifying round.
Fernando Salgado, riding Loveya, and Yonathan Baruch, aboard Spooks Show Time, each marked impressive 224 scores to tie for the Futurity Levels 4 and 3 Open championships, which paid $12,671 and $6,089, respectively, to each team. Salgado also finished on top in Level 2 for another $3,294.
Loveya is by Gunnatrashya and out of Love Em N Lena (by Smart Little Lena). He collected a total of $22,054 at the show for owner Cam Essick, making the SWRHA Futurity without a doubt a special one for both he and Salgado.
“It’s always a big score to win it [the SWRHA Futurity], and we’re so close to the [National Reining Horse Association (NRHA)] Futurity, it gives me a lot of confidence to go to the big Futurity in Oklahoma City,” Salgado said of his wins.
Baruch rode Spooks Show Time, who is by Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of the Shining Spark mare Dolittle Lena. He is owned by Bobby Lewis. Baruch said he and Salgado’s decision to split the win rather than run-off for the Championship was based on wanting to preserve their horses.
“This close to the Futurity, there’s really no point. We’re all trying to make the Open Futurity Finals, which is the biggest thing we have in our industry, so there’s really no point burning those horses [when] we already had to push them pretty hard this week,” Baruch said.
Baruch gave credit to owner Bobby Lewis for his help and the faith he’s shown him along the way, as well as to Misty Valley Performance Horses out of Marietta, Oklahoma, for their support to not only him, but to the industry and horses overall.
Futurity Level 1 Open
Austin Roush took home the Futurity Level 1 Open title riding Shiney Chexy Chic to a score of 219, picking up $661.
Shiney Chexy Chic is by Shine Chic Shine and out of TH Great Big Chex (by MI Great Badger). The mare is owned by Roush’s grandfather, Robert Southerland.
Roush’s main goal for the SWRHA Futurity was to get his mare ready for the NRHA Futurity, and he felt he accomplished his goal in the process of claiming the Championship. Shiney Chexy Chic has a tendency to get frightened in the show pen, but Roush said during the finals, she showed without fear.
“I’m really happy with her. She showed good,” he said. “When I showed her in the first go she was really scared [in the middle], but today she was a lot better, so it gives me confidence showing her later on in her life.”
The Mega Mare Bonus, sponsored by Premier Equine Veterinary Services and Rancho Sereno, was created to honor Mega Maggie Mae and Cinco De Mega by rewarding $1,000 to the highest-scoring mare in the futurity. This year the incentive was claimed by Shes Got Good Guns (Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner] x A Bueno Poco Dunit x Hollywood Dun It), who was ridden by Duane Latimer and is owned by Roxanne Koepsell.
“She’s just been a lot of fun to train; she’s a really good mare. She’s really consistent,” Latimer said. “I thought she was really good tonight [in the Futurity Open finals]. We maybe drew a little early for everything, but I thought she didn’t really make any mistakes.”
Shes Got Good Guns also won the custom Gist Buckle sponsored by the American Paint Horse Association for being the farthest advancing paint in the Futurity Open.
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