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FEI World Reining Masters Finals: U.S. Reiners Craig Schmersal and Tim McQuay Thrill the Crowd with Gold and Silver; Switzerland's Jeannette Krahenbuhl Does it Again

Simona Diale, edited by USEF staff

The much awaited second $100,000 FEI World Reining Masters Finals, presented by the Arcese Group and the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation, saw a full house and was truly a tribute to the sport of reining.

Craig Schmersal, riding Tidal Wave Jack, received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd, who had a chance to witness one of the most exciting runs in the history of the sport, all at the Palasturla Facility in Manerbio, Italy, on Saturday night. Schmersal performed NRHA pattern number five to perfection, earning a score of 231.5, which put him and the powerful nine-year-old bay stallion by Hollywood Macho Jac and out of Tidal Mist Cody on the highest step of the podium in the $75,000 Open Division.

“The pressure was on and the crowd was incredible but Tidal Wave Jack just gave all he had, and this is better than anything I had ever hoped for!” said Schmersal following the competition.

Schmersal and Tidal Wave Jack were part of the Gold medal-winning Team USA at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, and until the qualifier, the 2005 Adequan/USEF Open Reining Championship, part of Fiesta in the Park in Lexington, KY, Tidal Wave Jack had not been shown as he was in the breeding barn at Mike McEntire’s Reining Horses. “Mike did a great job in getting him ready,” added Schmersal.

The Silver medal went to the all-time money earner in the National Reining Horse Association, Tim McQuay. McQuay, who boasts more than $1.9 million in earnings, rode Mister Montana Nic, owned by the Montana Nic Syndicate, for a score of 224.

“I am so honored to have been able to represent the United States in this competition,” said McQuay. “I cannot thank Craig and Ginger enough for giving me the opportunity to show Mister Montana Nic here, and my thanks goes to all the public here and to all those who did their best to make our stay as easy as possible.” Mister Montana Nic is a seven-year-old stallion by Reminic and out of Mollie Montana with over $100,000 in lifetime earnings.

Both Tidal Wave Jack and Mister Montana Nic were shipped from the United States to Italy especially to compete in the FEI finals.

Steffen Breug of Germany riding Mercury Starlight, a seven-year-old stallion by Grays Starlight and out of Dox Lady Amhurst earned the Bronze after scoring a 223. “Being on the podium along with these two legendary riders is a win within the win,” said a smiling Breug, who is no stranger to international competition. He competed in the 2001 USET Festival of Champions, was part of the German team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain and competed in the 2004 FEI World Reining Masters Finals in Oklahoma City.

In the $25,000 Restricted Division, Jeannette Krahenbuhl and Arc Golden Boy (Surprise Enterprise x Arc Topsail Lady) repeated their feat and once again earned the Gold medal in the prestigious FEI competition. With a score of 221.5, the talented Swiss rider rode her nine-year-old gelding to top honors.

“Being able to repeat what we did in Oklahoma City last year was simply incredible, and once again I have to thank Martin Larcombe, my mentor and friend, for all the help,” Krahenbuhl said. “Ponino (Arc Golden Boy) once again proved to be a super solid horse, and now he will have a well-deserved rest even though we are already thinking about the 2006 World Equestrian Games.”

With a half-point difference, Bernard Fonk of Belgium claimed the Silver medal riding One Fine Remedy owned by François Verschueren. The 2003 NRHA European Affiliate Rookie Champion has gone a long way in his career, and the competition in Manerbio aboard the six-year-old stallion by Footworks Finest and out of Docs Bar Remedy will truly be a highlight to add to his short, yet intense, show record.

Proving that reining is truly an international sport, Brazil also appeared on the podium, alongside the United States, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. Riding for their country were Jango Salgado and Gizmo Whiz. The seven-year-old stallion, by Topsail Whiz and out of Katie Jo Fritz, is owned by Azvedo-Bezerra. Last year, the talented rider won the Silver medal in the Restricted Division of the first edition of the FEI World Reining Masters Final. This year, he scored a 220.5, which was enough to earn them the Bronze medal.

“Being able to represent my country once again in the World Reining Masters is a great opportunity, and everybody here did their best to make things work for us,” he said. “Gizmo Whiz did a wonderful job, and I am very proud of the Bronze medal earned here in Italy.”

“Tonight the crowd cheered for the best horse and rider, they cheered for the sport of reining,” said the Chairman of the FEI Reining Committee, Frank Costantini. “This was truly another step taken towards the road that leads to London 2012.”

The second edition of the $100,000 FEI World Reining Masters Series, presented by the Arcese Group and the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE), was an event organized in collaboration with the Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA), the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), the Reining Horse Sports Foundation (RHSF) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).

For complete results of the second FEI World Reining Masters, visit