What better way to impress your new employers than winning a Championship at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity? Kelby Phillips, who works for Gardiner Quarter Horses, Ashland, Kans., did it when he won the Limited Open Bridle class on Garth and Amanda Gardiners’ mare, Soula Jule Forever (Soula Jule Star x Forever Sparked x Shining Spark).
Phillips, who began working as the Gardiners’ resident trainer in May, guided the fancy bay mare to a 216.5 in the rein work and 216 in the cow work for a 432.5.
“She was good in the rein work. I didn’t run her too terribly hard because I have to show her tomorrow in the Open Two Rein. She’s a really big stopper. I just kind of coasted through enough to try to plus-half everything,” Phillips said. “On the cow, she was good on the end, had a big first turn, had to loop it around and then had a really big second turn and circled right there in the middle.”
The Championship paid $1,440 and came with a Gist buckle sponsored by Joe Putnam, a CR Morrison Trophy, Platinum Performance sponsored by Doug Herthel, and a Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles and the New West Country Store.
Soula Jule Forever, originally trained by Million-Dollar Rider Todd Bergen, carried her owner, Garth Gardiner, to fourth place in the Non Pro Bridle class on Monday.
“She’s really easy everywhere and stays framed up all the time. This is her first year in the bridle, and even though she’s only been in the bridle three or four months, she’s handled it well,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who is originally from Guthrie, Texas, worked for leading professionals Ken Wold, Bozo Rogers and Zane Davis before relocating to the Gardiner Quarter Horses this spring.
“I also thank Garth and Amanda, not only for giving me the opportunity to show here, but also for the opportunities they’re giving me for the future,” Phillips said. He also thanked Don and Nelle Murphy and his fiancée, Abbie Burtenshaw.
The Limited Open Bridle Reserve Champion was Jennifer Neel, riding Zezes Pepto Cat (Zeze Gunsmoke x Boons Cat x Peptoboonsmal). She guided the stallion, owned by her parents, Tom and Lorna Neel, to a 211.5 in the rein work and 215 in the cow work. The 426.5 composite paid $1,200 and came with a Cinch monogrammed jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/New West Country Store and Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition. It is responsible for promoting the sport, ensuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of reined cow horses. With the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob’s Custom Saddles, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, Bloomer Trailers and Schwalbe Trucks presented by Great West Trailers, 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 official NRCHA web site at www.NRCHA.com.