There’s nothing more satisfying for an owner and trainer than to spot the potential in a young horse, and develop it all the way to the winner’s circle. That’s not an easy task in the western horse world, especially when you throw in the cow factor. But the set of 2014 champions from the Canadian Supreme (September 29-October 5) in Red Deer showcased such equine talents in fine style.
Cochrane’s talented reiner Shawna Sapergia was one of the stars during the Cinch Night at the Supreme command performance. She took a pair of horses to the top in the NRHA Open Reining Finals. Riding KR Sweet Shine, owned by Tim and Johanna Neuls of Knutsford, BC, Sapergia posted an early score of 147 on the leaderboard. But then she came back and equaled that on Gunnin Fancy, ownedy by Alison Howden, to split first and earn $700 for each.
Dustin Gonnet of Cayley accomplished a similar feat later in the evening during the Open Classic Challenge Cutting Finals. With Ron Patton’s This Cats Got Style, Gonnet posted an early high mark of 149. Late in the draw he mounted his second finals horse, This Cats Max owned by Doug and Angie Wiens, for another exciting work, to post a 147. That gave him both first ($6037) and second place ($4644) in the Finals.
The crowd of fans at Westerner Park was also thrilled by some stellar fence work in the Bridle Finals. High River’s Vance Kaglea handled an active cow on Reminiscin the Chics, owned by Monica Willie. That included making turns on the opposite side of the fence, to rack up 151 points from the judges.
“That cow kind of got tricky and didn’t want to line out and run, and he was bang on tight,” noted Kaglea about the horse’s performance. “So the next turn we were able to circle really tight, and you couldn’t ask for anything more. They were really tight circles both ways.”
“This is the first year I’ve had him, and he’s been just getting a little better each time. That’s definitely one of the highest scores I’ve had on him.”
Kaglea is no stranger to the Open Bridle Finals at the Supreme, but this marked his first outright win of the class, worth $2633.
“I have been reserve in this a few times, but John (Swales) or Brad (Pedersen) usually beat me,” he chuckled. “But finally it was my chance.”
In the Non Pro division of the same contest, it was Suzon Schaal taking first place on her great Genuine Brown Gal, with another 151 mark ($889). It was the second time the two had claimed the title, and they were runners-up last year in the Open competition.
“Pretty much once you get going, you just hang on and she does the rest,” smiled Schaal, a Calgary veterinarian. “She’s won the Stampede several times, and several World Championships.”
Make that five, to be exact.
But the interesting part was the path to get the horse to such heights.
“She’s terrified of cattle. I was just starting out in cow horse, and the lady who owned her I was good friends with. She didn’t really know what to do with her, and she thought I should try her. She turned out to be OK. I showed her in the boxing class for a year, and was just slow and patient with her, and we just clicked. She’s still terrified of cows, but I think that’s what keeps her so keen.”
A boxing class was actually added for the first time to this year’s Supreme program, and Charlene Sereda of Big Valley won that, on her mare Cee Chicadee.
The highest paying individual competition was the Open Cutting for 3-year-olds, and Lacombe’s zBrad Pederson won $11,767 for first on Heza Dual Cat owned by Ron Mathison of Calgary.
A new element of the Cinch Night at the Supreme was a fun Team Doctoring contest that really got the crowd going. In the end, it was the Prairie team of Dale Clearwater, Dustin Gonnet and Cody Smith who showed their roping, snagging first by a mere five one-hundredths of a second. Young Hayley Butz also got lots of applause for her first place work in the Bridleless Cutting competition.
At the Friday night Western Horse Sale, the top seller was the red roan stallion Metallic Hugh Hefner consigned by Kevin Genz. It brought $15,000 from buyers John and Debbie Thomas of Spruce Grove. Another stallion, from Marie Marshall of Milo, went for $11,000, while a seven-year-old gelding, My Own Poppy, consigned by Ken Zender brought $13,500.
For full results of all the Canadian Supreme classes, head to the website www.canadiansupreme.com