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FEI Creates New Milestone With $100,000 World Reining Masters Series

NRHA Press Release

On September 11, 2004, everyone will know which two German reiners will represent Germany at the FEI World Reining Masters Finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A. There, the world’s best reiners will compete for a guaranteed purse of $100 000. For this mega show, riders must qualify via CRIs (Concours Reining International) in their own countries. It’s the prize money that counts toward qualifying. The rider with the most money earned in their respective country’s CRI qualifying shows will be sent by his or her National Federation to the FEI World Reining Masters Finals. Those countries which qualified for the Team Reining competition held in the World Equestrian Games Final 2002 (U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Italy) are entitled to send two riders to the Masters, which will take place on December 2, 2004 in Oklahoma City, USA.

The two best candidates in the German ranking at the moment are Volker Schmitt (Rhede) and Steffen Breug (Reichsweiler). They earned their respective earnings - EUR 1246 and EUR 580, - in Germany’s first two CRIs: Kampmann Pferdesport Festival in Bremen in February and the International Horseshow in Dortmund in March. Volker Schmitt was the second best European and best German at the WEG 2002 and has been riding very successfully in the U.S.A. for quite some time as well. Steffen Breug belongs to the German National team. The next potential candidates are Grischa Ludwig (Bitz/ German Champion 2000) with EUR 495 and Oliver Stein (Coesfeld/ Team Gold Medal European Championship 2003) with EUR 455. There are two more CRIs in Germany, the next will be held during the Super Slide at Kreuth (Oberpfalz) on September 5. The final competition will take place at the last CRI during Americana at Augsburg on September 11.

So far, ten nations have organized CRIs: USA, Dominican Republic, Canada, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Germany and Great Britain. There are current ranking lists for Germany, Sweden, Italy and the U.S.A. In Italy, the leading riders are Marco Ricotta and Dario Carmignani. The second Italian CRI will be at Egna on July 30. The Swedish ranking is led by Rick Lemay at the moment with another CRI to go in Falterbo on July 11.

In the U.S.A. current rankings, the first four riders are very close together: Todd Sommers (US $22,328), Todd Crawford (US $21,324), Tom McCutcheon (US $21,223) and Craig Schmersal (US $20,437). It is yet to be determined if more CRIs will be held in the U.S.A. before the October 15 deadline. Austria selects its competitor at Leermoos on August 7, Switzerland at Waengi on August 28-29. There will be two CRIs in Great Britain on July 31 and August 1 during the Garden of England in East Sussex and at Robertsbridge and one CRI in the Netherlands at Deurne on July 9-10.

It has been the close cooperation between the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) that has enabled the FEI World Reining Masters Series to become a reality and a new milestone in the evolution of the sport of Reining, which was first officially recognized by the FEI in 2000.

”With the FEI World Reining Masters we want to further promote and encourage the growth of Reining – hopefully to be a part of the Olympic Games in the future,“ says FEI Reining Committee Chairman Frank Costantini. The Masters will be held annually. A search is already underway for a facility in Europe at which to hold the 2005 FEI World Reining Masters Finals.

To see the current WRM standings, visit the official NRHA Web site and click on FEI World Reining Masters Standings.

NRHA is proud to host the first-ever $100,000 FEI World Reining Masters Finals Presented by NetJet in 2004, which will be held in conjunction with the NRHA Futurity & World Championship Show, November 25 - December 4, 2004. The world’s best reiners will converge on Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to represent their countries in this historic and much anticipated International Event.