Shootout at Battle in the Saddle
Â The Worldâ€™s Greatest Horseman is a grueling endurance test of horse and rider. Four eventsâ€”herd work, reined work, steer stopping and cow workâ€”bring out the most versatile competitors.
Â Â At the inaugural Battle in the Saddle, held July 5-10 in Oklahoma City, eight of the industryâ€™s best riders, hand-picked by the associations in which theyâ€™re most active, vied for a chance to ride at the Worldâ€™s Greatest Horseman contest next February in San Angelo, Texas. At the end of four rounds of the Worldâ€™s Greatest Horseman Shootout, world champion roper J.D. Yates and perennial winner Bald N Shiney emerged on top. They earned a Worldâ€™s Greatest Horseman entry, along with a number of prizes, for their efforts.
Â Yates was riding in the Shootout on behalf of the American Rope Horse Futurities Association, along with Clay Logan. Representing the American Quarter Horse Association were Craig Haythorn and Kris Wilson. Chris Benedict and Matt Budge represented the National Cutting Horse Association, while Doug Milholland and Todd Wright rode for the National Reining Horse Association.
Â Yates and Bald N Shiney, owned by Nelle Murphy of Burneyville, Oklahoma, topped the steer stopping with a 150.5, placed second in reining and working cow horse, and were third in the herd work. They earned a total of 578.5 points. Placing second were Wright and Mambo Number Shine, owned by Hoby and Anita Horn of Oklahoma City. The duo also won the reining portion of the competition. Placing third were Budge and Mr Playinstylish, owned by Kit and Charlie Moncrief of Fort Worth, Texas. They won the cow horse with a score of 151.
Â Wrapping up the last day of Battle in the Saddle was the United States Equestrian Federationâ€™s team selection trial. Four riders and an alternate were chosen to represent the United States at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in September in Lexington, Kentucky.
Â Winning the gold medal with a combined score of 446.5 was Shawn Flarida of Springfield, Ohio, aboard RC Fancy Step, owned by Buffalo Ranch of Fort Worth, Texas. Taking silver was Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, aboard Gunners Special Nite, owned by Turnabout Farm of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The bronze medalist was Craig Schmersal of Overbrook, Oklahoma, riding Boom Shernic, owned by the Boom Shernic Syndicate of Brenham, Texas. Also competing on the U.S. team will be Tim McQuay of Tioga, Texas, on Hollywoodstinseltown, owned by David Silva of Tolland, Connecticut. The alternate will be Casey Deary of Weatherford, Texas, with Rootin Tootin Dunit, owned by the Wolf Stern Partnership of Horse Cave, Kentucky.
Â The Shootout and USEF trial were among of the highlights of Battle in the Saddle, which also included a Ranch Remuda competition and a stop on the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting tour. Also featured were classes in cutting, working cow horse, reining and roping, all AQHA-approved.