• USEF Network @WhispersAngel Not on Youtube, but we will have it available on-demand at http://t.co/D0gaNcvecG. 10/31/2014 12:13:31 AM
  • USEF Network That does it for our live coverage tonight. ūüĆÉ We're live from @TheNationalHS again at 7am ET in the morning! ūüĆĄ 10/30/2014 11:40:13 PM
  • USEF Network Congratulations to tonight's winners Olivier Philippaerts & Armstrong Van De Kapel! #nationalhorseshow 10/30/2014 11:39:35 PM
  • National Horse Show 21 clear rounds qualified for tonight's tiebreaker - it's going to be a foot race! #OpenJumpers #nhs14 Retweeted by USEFNetwork 10/30/2014 10:43:02 PM
  • DaydreaminEquestrian Winding down with some #nationalhorseshow livestream. GREAT commentary tonite - thanks @USEFNetwork!! ūüĎĆ Retweeted by USEFNetwork 10/30/2014 10:21:38 PM
  • USEF Network @sarah31733 Brian Lookabill & Angela Covert are the commentators. 10/30/2014 9:18:47 PM
  • USEF Network Tonight's $75k Intl. Open Jumper class at @TheNationalHS has begun! ūüĎÄ Watch it-> http://t.co/UyOxXlZ3KH http://t.co/LETtAgXDCF 10/30/2014 9:17:21 PM
  • USEF Network Giavanna Rinaldi & G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise were brilliant, winning another A/O Jr. Jumper class. #nationa... https://t.co/CdwzBN1A9i 10/30/2014 9:07:22 PM
  • USEF Network Set up for tonight's #nationalhorseshow feature, $75k Open Jumper class, is underway. http://t.co/t3rHwVJsOl 10/30/2014 8:32:07 PM
  • USEF Network Kalvin Dobbs & Woodstock O have won just won the second competition in the #nationalhorseshow U25 Championship http://t.co/dWevyyzqAV 10/30/2014 8:28:23 PM


James Flies To Win At World Championship Freestyle Reining At Kentucky Reining Cup

RELEASE: April 26, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Classic Communications

Lexington, Ky.  - It was a night full of costumes and music, but a remarkable performance by Australian Dan James and Smart Little Elan put him at the top of the podium with a score of 227.0 at the World Freestyle Championship at the Kentucky Reining Cup. Drake Johnson, aboard Sonic Chic Dream, and Rocky Dare, aboard Bruce and Sue Kuryloski's Squeaky Clean Genes, tied with a score of 226 for the silver medal.

Dan James, winner of the World Freestyle Championship.
Dan James, winner of the World Freestyle Championship.
James' performance brought the crowd to their feet as he performed all the spins, stops, run-downs and lead changes bareback, and then while seated backwards. As if that weren't enough, he also dismounted at one point and sent the chestnut spinning on his own with a wave of his hand.

His costume was a mirror image of that worn by Johnny Depp in the film The Lone Ranger, and his music featured both the classic theme and music from the film. "Growing up as a kid I wanted to be a movie horse trainer," said James of the inspiration for his performance.

However, James admitted that learning to ride the horse backwards was trickier than he anticipated. "For a little while I spent more time picking myself off the ground than riding," said James. "They say that the key to horsemanship is keeping the horse between you and the earth, but I didn't do much of that."

Dare is known for his own daring performances, but even he admits riding backwards isn't on his bucket list. "In my younger days I might have tried riding backwards, but not today," he said.

Dare's been riding his mare since she was a 2-year-old. His routine was inspired by his grandchildren, who also played a roll in his performance. Last year Dare performed to Psy's "Gangnam Style," which became a favorite for his grandchildren.

"I said I can't just do Gangnam Style all the time," he said. Dare's wife provided the solution, by framing a bedtime story of kids having their dreams come true-in this case a return to the "Gangnam Style" performance.

Johnson has also been working with his horse for many years, although he was originally owned and competed by a youth student. "He's really kind of a special horse, and I've been lucky to do some nice things on him. He just has a lot of personality. It's really kind of a neat connection to have with a horse," he said.

James is new to the sport of reining, but his victory tonight has made his path clear. "It's been a helluva experience. It's definitely lit a fire under me to keep on doing this. It's an amazing event," he said.

In addition to the victors this evening, Pete Kyle brought the house to its feet when he unsaddled his champion mare A Ruf Gal at the end of their performance, signaling her retirement from competition. A clearly emotional Kyle hugged his longtime partner and waved to the crowd as the packed house gave them a standing ovation.

Earlier in the day, a very special competition made its debut at the Kentucky Reining Cup-para-reining. Five riders with disabilities-most of them from the world of para-dressage-contested the class. Lise Yervasi came out the victor, scoring 72.00 aboard Lexi Stoval's Dolano Glory Rey CT. Dale Dedrick came second with a 70.5 aboard Dan James' Smart Little Elan, and Holly Jacobson with Tamra Kyle's Zins Smart Wrangler was third with 70.0.
Para-reining is a new class with in the sport of reining, but it is quickly catching on.

 "This was challenging because it is so new to us," said class organizer and FEI reining competitor Lisa Coulter. "We just weren't sure how the horses would respond to these riders-we had no framework to work from, but it was amazing how these horses responded and adapted. These horses suit a lot of riders because they're shorter and smaller-strided."

"I'm a grade 1b in [para-dressage]," said Dedrick. "So I only walk and trot. I have not cantered a horse in more than 18 months, and I was a little leery about the idea of a canter test, but [competition manager] Brad Ettleman said, 'Oh no, the Western lope is more comfortable, you'll like it.' And then [James] and his horse Top Gun convinced me to try it and it was great."

Yervasi is an experienced competitor in horse sports, but the new requirements made her a bit nervous. "The very long, slow walk in was really hard. It's hard to be patient and keep your nerves in check all the way to the center. "
But Yervasi is now sold on her new discipline and hopes it expands to other venues. "This horse was incredible. These horses are so nicely trained. I really enjoyed the reining and thought it suited my disability quite well. The trot is hard for me in [para-dressage], but the [loping] was not so hard."

"These horses are so mentally stable and are trying so hard to work with the riders," said Jacobson. "Plus the clothes are way more fun."