Non Pro Limited and $5,000 Non Pro Limited Champion Morgan Miller and Jack In The Pot
The 3-year-old horses had a day off from showing Sept. 28 at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nev., while the spotlight shined on the seasoned equine campaigners and their riders in the Non Pro Bridle and Non Pro Limited divisions.
The Non Pro Bridle class was, as always, a highly competitive affair with 33 entries. For Stephen Silva, who was returning to the NRCHA arena with Talkin Prize (Smokums Prize x Talkin Peppy Merada x Meradas Money Talks), it was also a bit anxiety-provoking.
“It’s been a couple years since I’ve shown a cow horse so I was feeling pretty pressured up, but this is just a great, great horse. He could have won a lot of money with someone else on his back – that’s how good he is – but he’s kind of put up with me so I’m glad to get a big win on him,” the Templeton, Calif., horseman said.
Silva showed as if he had never missed a day in the cow horse arena, scoring a 291.5 (147 rein/144.5 cow) to claim the Non Pro Bridle Championship. The win paid just over $3,800 and came with a Bob’s Custom Saddle sponsored by Matacorp, a Gist buckle from the NRCHA, a gift certificate and tote bag from Santa Cruz Animal Health, and product from Back On Track and Platinum Performance.
Silva, who has NRCHA lifetime earnings of more than $37,000, has focused on cutting horses for the past couple of years, under the guidance of California professional Morgan Cromer. When he decided to enter his 3-year-old, Shady Nic Luvs Chics (Shady Lil Starlight x Nic N Chic) in the Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro, he thought it might be worthwhile to bring Talkin Prize back into show shape too.
I”I figured since I was showing a three year old, I should get [Talkin Prize] legged back up. I’ve just been using him at home to brand and piddle around on. I got him legged up and have worked pretty hard to get tuned back up myself,” he said, smiling.
Silva, who also credited NRCHA professionals Jake Telford and Phillip Ralls for their help in his cow horse endeavors, hopes to stay active in both the cutting and reined cow horse arenas in the future.
“Yes, depending on what kind of horses come my way. I like the cutting also. It’s tough to do both every year, but this year it’s worked out really well. I’m sure going to try to stay in the cow horses,” he said.
It was a goal accomplished, and then some, for La Cygne, Kans., horsewoman Amy Lund, who rode The Big Day to a very big payday in the Non Pro Bridle divisions. Lund scored a 291 (143 rein/148 cow) to win the Championship in the Intermediate and Novice Non Pro Bridle and finish Reserve in the Non Pro. Her combined paychecks were just over $6,400. Her prizes were two Gist buckles and product from Platinum Performance and Back On Track.
“I’m very excited. It’s been a goal of mine to come here and do well in the Novice Non Pro Bridle,” she said, adding that the Intermediate championship was “very unexpected!”
Lund, whose husband is NRCHA professional Brad Lund, purchased The Big Day (Smart Little Lena x Olena Day) from Corey Cushing last November. She’s already had success on her sweet new ride.
“We were reserve in the Non Pro Bridle Spectacular at the NRCHA Derby. It’s our first year together. He just shows so honest, and he’s really good down the fence. As long as I stay on and stay out of his way, he does a pretty good job,” Lund said, smiling.
Does she have future goals with “Red”?
“Not right now – I’m kind of on cloud nine!” Lund said.
She thanked her husband for “teaching me to get down the fence,” and also appreciated Cushing for his advice and guidance.
The Intermediate Non Pro and Novice Non Pro Bridle Champion was Amanda Somerville, riding Ill Be Skeets (Skeets Peppy x Oak Ill Be) to a 290 composite (144 rein/146 cow).
With two trophy saddles piled high on her gelding, Jack In The Pot (Meradas Blue Sue x Bingos Nurse x Dual Rey), and her hands full of two Gist buckles, it seemed a bit silly to think that Morgan Miller doubted her ability to compete in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Limited division.
“I didn’t know if I had a legitimate chance or not,” the Collinston, Utah, competitor said. “There were some really tough horses. It just worked out today!”
Miller and “Jackpot” won dual championships in the Non Pro Limited and $5,000 Non Pro Limited divisions in Reno Sept. 28, scoring a 144 in the rein work and a brilliant 151 in the cow work for a 295 composite.
“I feel like I’m on cloud nine. It’s unbelievable! In the rein work, he circled really good. I was a little timid when I ran and stopped him and I left some points out there, but he made up for it in the boxing. He was really good. I drew a cow that I could tell as going to fit him and his style. He was spot on, really expressive, and it was really sweet because of all the hard work and all the struggle I’ve had with him on a cow. He likes a cow that’s going to look at him so he can draw it in and ‘shake n’ bake’ in the middle. That’s when he looks his best,” Miller said.
She won two paychecks totaling $2,540. Miller also filled up her tack room with two Bob’s Custom Saddles sponsored by the Santa Ynez Valley Cow Horse Classic and the NRCHA, and claimed a pair of Gist buckles sponsored by Boyd and Halee Rice and the NRCHA. Rounding out the prize list was product from Back On Track and Platinum Performance.
Miller has been riding and showing “Jackpot” for about a year, with guidance from her husband of two years, professional trainer Mike Miller.
“He encourages me and coaches me. I do most of the riding myself and he has a watchful eye and cheers for me,” she said.
She thanked her friends Brandon and Sophia Buttars, adding that Sophia convinced her she could be competitive in Reno. Miller also appreciated Kelby and Abbie Phillips, her husband, Mike, and friends and family too numerous to mention.
“I’m thankful for everyone,” she said, through tears.
There was a tie for the $5,000 Non Pro Limited Reserve Championship between Kristin Bacchetti, riding Heart Of A Remedy (Heart Of A Fox x SPD Remedys Response) and Debra Brautovich aboard TF Choice Sugar (SR Instant Choice x Peptos Sugar). Both riders scored a 292.5 and took home a check for $612.
In the Non Pro Limited, the Reserve Champion was Mattie Neel, riding Instantee (Tejons Peppy Doc x Suddenly Shiney x Shining Spark) to a score of 294.5 (148 rein/146.5 cow), earning $1,237.