Givrins, Switzerland – The U.S. Reining team delivered a great display of showmanship at the 2016 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships, August 11-13, at the CS Ranch in Givrins, Switzerland. Team members Shane Brown, Troy Heikes, Kari Klingenberg, and Nick Valentine all had consistent performances throughout the Team and Individual competitions. They finished fifth in the team competition with a score of 646. Heikes placed seventh in the Individual Final on Saturday to lead the U.S. contingent.
“I can’t say enough about how this team came here, their work ethic, and their approach," reflected Chef d’Equipe Jeff Petska . They were very willing to help each other and listen to advice. It was great to watch them interact. It was an invaluable experience for them. They were good horsemen when they came, but I don’t think they will go home the same. It’s a whole new level of experience. It’s always an eye opener."
The event began on Thursday with the team competition. Valentine (Pilot Point, Texas) and Haiden De Jane’s A Smokin Whiz entered the arena first for the U.S. team. For the combination's first performance in a world championship event, Valentine and the 2008 Quarter Horse gelding came out poised and ran a good pattern for a score of 213.5.
“He [Nick] came in there and was like a rock. He stayed even keeled and took whatever came. The progress that he made on a horse that he didn’t know in a short period of time was really a testament of his ability as a rider and his approach,” said Petska.
Klingenberg (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Pam Nelson’s Mr. Electric Spark followed in the order. She and the 2009 Quarter Horse stallion got off to a slow start with the left and right spins but finished strong. They earned high marks for their rein backs and sliding stops for a score of 214.5.
The U.S. Reining contingent (Gilles Gauthier with permission from Nick Valentine)
“Kari has a really nice horse and went in and worked really hard. There were a couple of things that didn’t go as she liked, but she finished strong and showed her horse well. She’s a good show woman and she doesn’t back down,” said Petska.
Brown (Elbert, Colo.) continued in the order with Susan Geiger’s Wind Er Up Wimp. He and the 2009 Quarter Horse stallion demonstrated nice sliding stops and rein backs towards the end of the pattern, but had problems with the left and right circles mid-pattern to finish with a score of 212.
“Shane just had a couple things off with the horse, but I think they’ll come out of here with a very good experience and a lot of things to go home and reflect on,” said Petska.
As the anchor combination, Troy Heikes and Denise Bixler's RSD One Hot Deal came out with an impressive performance. They needed a high score to stay in medal contention, and they delivered with a 218. However, exceptional performances from Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Germany in the final half of their orders knocked the U.S. from the podium. Belgium won the team competition with a score of 661.5. Germany placed second with a score of 660, and Austria placed third with a score of 653.5.
“Troy had a solid run. He came in and did what he was supposed to do. The team approached this very professionally, took it serious, and worked hard. They schooled their horses well, they progressed every day, and it will make them better for the future,” added Petska.
Heikes and Klingenberg automatically qualified for Saturday’s Individual Final by finishing 10th and 14th, respectively in the Team Final. Brown and Valentine competed in Friday’s Second Individual Qualifying competition. Brown and Wind Er Up Wimp excelled in their run, fine-tuning the circles that hindered them in the Team Final to advance to the Individual Final with a score of 219. During Saturday’s Individual Final, Brown, Heikes, and Klingenberg produced quality runs with their mounts. Heikes and Klingenberg improved upon their Team Final scores scoring a 219.5 and 216, respectively. Brown finished with a score of 214.
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. Without the support of these organizations and individuals, it would not be possible to support our athletes. The USEF is especially grateful to individuals who give generously of their time and money to support the equestrian teams.
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