Level 1 Limited Open Champion
Up-and-coming Ashland, Kans., professional Erin Taormino, the resident trainer at Garth and Amanda Gardiners’ Gardiner Quarter Horses, made a big impression in Reno when she piloted her employers’ homebred gelding, Cuttin Wright Up (Hes Wright On x Isabellena x Quejanaisalena) to the Level 1 Limited Open Championship with a composite 651.5 score (216.5 herd/214 rein/221 cow), earning $7,403.
But Taormino didn’t stop there; she also qualified Cuttin Wright Up for the Open, Intermediate Open and Limited Open Finals, making the gelding the first foal by the Gardiners’ stallion, Hes Wright On, to become an Futurity Open finalist.
“I’m on top of the world. I don’t think it could get much better,” Taormino said. “Being an Open finalist means the world, because that’s what we work toward all year. That’s the goal. That’s why the smile hasn’t left the face!”
In the Intermediate and Limited Open finals Thursday, Oct. 2, Cuttin Wright Up scored a 641 (211 herd/212.5 rein/217.5 cow), placing 3rd in the Limited Open and tying for 6th in the Intermediate, earning combined paychecks of $11,178. Then on Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Open finals, Taormino rode the gelding to a 634 (210 herd/211.5 rein/212.5 cow) banking another $11,750. Including go-round money from the prelims, Cuttin Wright Up’s total earnings at Reno were just over the $35,000 mark.
“He’s been a handful to train,” Taormino said, describing the bay horse known around the barn as “Junior.”
“As the year has gone on, he’s just gotten better. HIs personality is great. He’s really good minded, and he’s so talented. Probably the best thing about him is he never stops trying. He’s got a big heart.”
Taormino arrived in Reno with NRCHA earnings of $34,049. The former apprentice to NRCHA Hall of Fame horseman Ron Ralls and Million Dollar Rider Todd Bergen went out on her own last December when she became the Gardiner Quarter Horses head trainer.
“I knew I had good horses coming here. I was confident, but it’s only my third time showing at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, so to make the Open finals my third time, and my first year on my own – you hope for the best, but you never really know what’s going to happen,” she said.
For the Level 1 Championship, Taormino also won a Gist buckle sponsored by Karilyn and Clay Crolius; a CR Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA; a cooler from Classic Equine; a 30x JW Brooks Custom Hat; a Cinch jacket; and product from Platinum Performance and Back On Track.
Futurity Open Finalists Determined; Cinch Intermediate Open and Limited Open Finals Begin Thursday, Oct. 2
The National Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity Open prelims wrapped up Wednesday, October 1 at the Reno Livestock Events Center in Reno, Nev.
There was a three-way tie for the lead in the Open composite with a 656 between Nursin a Hangover (Metallic Cat x Bet On Nurse), shown by Corey Cushing for Mystic Shadow Farm; Big Time in Cowtown (One Time Pepto x Lil Lena Long Legs), shown by John Swales for owner Robbie McKay, and Call Me Mitch (Metallic Cat x Miss Hickory Hill) ridden by Phillip Ralls for owner Estelle Roitblat.