Fonck And What A Wave Earn The Gold Medal in Individual Reining Competition

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By Simona Diale

Reining competition closed the week on Saturday September 15th at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 with great performances as some of the world’s best riders battled it out for the FEI medals at the Johnson Controls Individual Reining Competition finals. When the curtain fell upon the TIEC Indoor Arena, the dream team of Bernard Fonck (BEL) and What A Wave made history by claiming the gold medal for Belgium with a perfect execution of pattern #12.

The Belgian rider has won close to $1,800,000 in reining competition and his mount, an 11-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Gina De Pauw and Steve Vannietvelt, scored a 227 for the win, claiming the highest step of the podium. “This is the first time in history that a European rider leaves the World Equestrian Games with the individual gold medal, and I could not be any prouder,” said Fonck. “What A Wave is the sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of riding. I am very fortunate to have had more than one ‘once in a lifetime’ horse, and he is at the top of this list. Every time we show, he gives me all he has and every time it gets better and better. When I came here I knew that we could probably make it to the top five positions, but I would have never imagined that we would claim the gold.”

Team USA’s Dan Huss and his double-registered American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse mare Ms Dreamy, owned by Frederick Christen, set the crowd on fire as they burst into the arena setting the dirt flying and spinning fast to mark a 226.5. The duo clinched the silver medal and they too made history: The talented 8-year-old horse is the first mare to earn an individual medal in reining at the FEI World Equestrian Games™.

A run off determined who would take home the bronze medal as both Cade McCutcheon (USA), riding Custom Made Gun, and Joao Felipe Lacerda (BRA) aboard Gunner Dun It Again scored a 225 during the finals. They returned to the arena to battle it out and both horse-rider-combinations once again thrilled the crowd.

Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again, a 7-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion owned by Paulo Francisco Tripoloni, laid down a powerful performance paid back by the judges with their highest score of the Games: a 227.

Fighting until the bitter end was 18-year-old Cade McCutcheon aboard Custom Made Gun, the flashy 7-year-old double registered AQHA/APHA Palomino stallion owned by his grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay. Having topped the first individual qualifier with an outstanding 229 score, the pair was last to go in the seeded Individual finals. Once it was time to ride back into the arena, they performed to a 228 score and firmly captured the bronze medal.

Amazingly, both Gunner Dun It Again and Custom Made Gun were both bred by McCutcheon’s grandparents, and they are both by the legendary stallion Gunner (AQHA Colonels Shining Gun) and out of two mares by yet another stallion that has made history, Hollywood Dun It. Both stallions are owned by the McQuays.
From US Equestrian
An electrifying crowd and highly competitive runs from 22 combinations proved to be just the atmosphere needed for U.S. reiners Dan Huss and Cade McCutcheon as they fought for their spot on the podium Saturday evening in the Individual Reining Final at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018.

Fresh off their gold-medal finish with the U.S. Reining Team on Wednesday evening, Huss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) were the final U.S. runs of the night, going back-to-back as the home crowd waited in anticipation to see if the U.S. would claim not one, but two medals.

Huss and Ms Dreamy, Frederick R. Christen’s eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare, laid down a competitive run and the home crowd cheered them on. They needed a score better than 225.0 to land a spot on the podium. With easy precision and smoothly executed lead changes, the athletic, sorrel mare and Huss slid into a score of 226.5 to sit in the silver-medal position. With just McCutcheon to follow, Huss and Ms Dreamy had secured at least a medal in their first individual competition at a WEG.

“I loved the reining here,” said Huss about his first experience at the WEG. “The enthusiasm and support you get from the audience and your fellow countryman, and also your teammates, it’s a feeling you don’t get a lot of. Our team members, we make it easy for one another.”

Eighteen-year-old McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun, Tim and Colleen McQuay’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, followed just behind Huss and his mare. Having led the team event with a score of 229.0, the combination loped into the show pen looking to lay down another flawless run. However, with a few small mistakes in the circles, McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun scored a 225.0, tying them with Brazil’s João Felipe Andrade C S Lacerda and Gunner Dun It Again for third. A run-off of the same pattern would determine the bronze medal.

McCutcheon was second to go after watching Lacerda lay down a clean run that earned them a score of 227.0. With the home crowd behind them, McCutcheon and the palomino stallion entered the covered arena to a thunderous applause from U.S. fans. The cheers of support seemed to propel the combination as they executed nearly a flawless pattern, tipping their hat as the crowd roared and a final score of 228.0 sealed the bronze-medal victory.

“I was a little disappointed in my first run, but I just had to flip the page, have a short-term memory, and go try again,” said McCutcheon. “I didn’t do anything different with [Custom Made Gun]. I just tried to let him catch his breath, head into the arena, and be safe in spots. I talked to my dad a lot, because he was in the same situation in 2002 and he helped me. Pretty much everyone around me had a word of advice for me. I took it all in and it helped me.”

Earlier in the evening fellow U.S. reiner Casey Deary (Weatherford, Texas) and Heavy Duty Chex, Hilldale Farm’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, put in a solid performance, earning them a score of 219.0. Jordan Larson (Valley View, Texas) and ARC Gunnabeabigstar, HDC Quarter Horses USA LLC’s seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, put on a show for the home crowd with their last ride together before the stallion’s retirement, earning a score of 215.0.
Reining Individual Final Results:
Gold – What a Wave, Bernard Fonck (227.0)
Silver – Ms Dreamy, Daniel L. Huss (226.5)
Bronze – Custom Made Gun, Cade McCutcheon (225.0)

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