Wild Card Reining Profile: Andrea Fappani

By Jennifer Paulson | May 05, 2016

We're catching up with participants in this month's Wild Card Reining Challenge, to be held May 25-29 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the South Point Arena. The focus of the show is the 4-year-old "red-shirt" futurity (learn the requirements here), but the event also includes an Arabian/Half-Arabian Futurity, demos/clinics by industry leaders, and a full slate of NRHA classes.

This post's Q&A is with NRHA $4 Million Rider Andrea Fappani.

Horse&Rider: What will you be showing at the Wild Card Reining Challenge?

Andrea Fappani: I have one horse for the 4-year-old futurity and one for the Arabian futurity. Jennifer Paulson
Credit: Jennifer Paulson
Andrea Fappani will compete and present a demo at the Wild Card Reining Challenge.


H&R: What are your thoughts on the 4-year-old "red-shirt" futurity concept?

AF: The concept is great; I'm a big supporter. It will take a little bit of time to gain momentum because the horses that show in this event can't have been shown as 3-year-olds. We trainers are programmed to go try our 3-year-olds to see if they'll be able to compete at the NRHA Futurity at the end of each year, so it'll take us a while to adjust. With this type of event, trainers won't have to feel the pressure to show a horse as a 3-year-old if he's not ready. We can keep our customers (the owners) and our horses happy. If more events like this develop, then it'll help keep horses from burning out in the long run.

H&R: You're presenting a demo at the show. What can spectators expect to learn?

AF: I'll present my tips for speed control and lead changes. It'll mostly focus on horses that are already trained to do these things, but I'll touch a little on the early process. My tips will be more about fine-tuning, what the judges are looking for, and how to earn the most points with these maneuvers. I'll also discuss the importance of my horse's body position and where I want him to be when I ask him to slow down or speed up so that the transitions look clean and smooth.

H&R: You've been active with the Arabian/Half-Arabian reining futurities for a couple years now. What do you see them doing to grow the sport of reining?

AF: It's a great program where I've met new people and gained new customers. People who only have shown in the halter and pleasure with their Arabians are looking at reining now. It's sparking new interest in our sport. As they come to these events, they'll see the quality of these horses--the Arabians and the Quarter Horses and Paints.


Look for future posts with other Wild Card Reining Challenge competitors and clinic presenters as the show approaches.

You Want Video? You Got It!

By Jennifer Paulson | March 30, 2016

Instructional, step-by-step training lies at the heart of Horse&Rider. In the past, we've relied on our print magazine to give you solid, safe training advice. But with the rise of video, we're excited to start bringing you a richer experience to enhance the training tactics you get in print via filmed clips.

As a lifelong magazine-reader, I love being able to "ride my chair" as we say in the office. I can go through each step–hand and leg placement, how much pressure to use, and what comes next–without subjecting my horse to my learning curve. Once I've read the steps a few times and tried them out on my trusty chair, I feel more confident about going out to try it with my horse. Sometimes we have success; sometimes I need to go back to the chair and practice a few more times.

Video allows something that still photos and written instruction can enhance: seeing the expert's finesse and the entire maneuver in motion. If you put it all together, it's quite an educational package.  Jennifer Paulson
Credit: Jennifer Paulson
We shot numerous video clips during the first day of Al Dunning's Masters Clinic last October.

We kick off our adventure into the video world on Friday, with footage shot at Al Dunning's Masters' Clinic last October in Scottsdale, Arizona. I've worked with Al quite a bit for the magazine, but seeing him work with students in a clinic really opened my eyes to what makes him unique. He's kind with his criticism, but direct and quick to offer solutions. 

During our one-day shoot at the clinic, we gathered numerous clips that we're excited to share with you. We'll begin with Al's Five Basics of Horsemanship. For the next five weeks, be sure to check back every Friday to get his tips for honing the most integral aspects of riding. This will arm you with things to work on each weekend when you jump in the saddle. Beyond that, Al discusses other training tips, conformation, and tack (which aligns perfectly with his bimonthly "Tack Talk" department in the magazine). 

Look for more video from Horse&Rider in the future, too, from our personal interviews at events to training tips to horsekeeping hacks. If you have ideas, be sure to share them with us, too! We're here to help you improve your horse life and grow as a rider, so we'll do our best to show you what you want to learn more about.


Winds of Change

By Jennifer Paulson | March 15, 2016

If one theme stood out at the town hall and general meeting at this year's AQHA Convention, it's that we're in this together to effect positive change for our horses and the future of the horse industry. 

At the town hall, held on Friday, March 11, agricultural consultant and panel moderator Kevin Oschner stated "None of us is as smart as all of us." (A Kenneth H. Blanchard quote.)  Jennifer Paulson
Credit: Jennifer Paulson
Kevin Oschner, of Agcellerate, LLC, challenged town-hall attendees to be leaders in effecting positive change for horses and our industry.

Coming together for one common cause—the horse—seems easy enough, right?

Oschner also quoted, "To confront reality is to recognize the world as it is, not as you wish it to be, and have the courage to do what must be done, not what you'd like to do." (From Confronting Reality, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.)

Hm. That sounds a little tougher. Especially when there's so much deflection in the industry. That is, "Well, my group isn't as bad as that other group." Or, "Their problems are much worse than ours."

Finally, Oschner stated, "In times of drastic change, it's the learners who will inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists." (An Eric Hoffer quote.)

Now there's the one that separates those who are ready for change and are willing to do the work from those who want to stick with the status quo.

Where do you fall? Are you ready to do something exceptional to help move the horse world forward? Be sure to read "From the Editor" in the May 2016 issue of Horse&Rider for more on the topics covered at AQHA's first town hall during Convention.



We Practice What We Preach

By Alexis Bennett | February 25, 2016

As we editors sit down each month to write our columns, departments, and features; consult with industry experts; and plan to attend events in the months ahead, we do so with you in mind. We’re invested in you and your horsemanship, and that’s why we’re also willing to go in the trenches with you. We practice what we preach so we can better relate to you, with the hopes of providing even better content and insight.

Everyone on staff owns horses, and in different stages of our lives has ridden Hal Coburn
Credit: Hal Coburn
competitively. But, like many of you, time, money, and life get in the way of pursuing our riding hobby as we once did. We also understand that it’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there and try a new event or discipline, attend a clinic, or show up to compete when you’ve been out of the game for awhile.

That’s why this year, I’m making it my mission to embrace the uncomfortable as I explore new horse-related activities with my long time horse friend Chexy. Together we’ll attend clinics, jackpots, and play-day events. I’ll write about the experience in a July issue feature, and share my insight (and embarrassing stories) with the hope that I’ll inspire you to embark on a new adventure.

Our quest kicks off tomorrow with an all-day ranch-riding clinic. We’ve covered the event at shows, and have read and written about it, but we’ve never tested our own riding chops. Follow us on Instagram where we’ll be sharing clinic-prep photos and video throughout the day. If you have any burning questions about the event that you’d like answered by trainers Mark Guynn, Dori Schwartzenberger, or Shane Brown, email me at the address below. I’m happy to put myself on the spot to help you!

Lindsey (right) and I at the ranch sorting, June 2015.
Next weekend, March 5, we’ll participate in a ranch sorting clinic and RSNC-sanctioned, beginner’s-only jackpot at Colorado State University’s arena in Fort Collins, Colorado. If you remember, last summer US Rider’s marketing coordinator Lindsey and I took A Stab At Ranch Sorting at a local association’s sorting. We had so much fun that we’re trying it again this year. Chexy and I will compete at several Colorado RSNC events throughout the spring and summer. We’re going for the good time, but it’d be a lie to say that I don’t have my eye on a year-end buckle. Stay tuned for updates and again, email me with your questions before the clinic.

If you’re looking to take your riding on the road for some fun this summer, we encourage you to do so!


Check out some of our favorite articles to get you started:

Email your questions or comments to me at abennett@aimmedia.com, subject line "Fun with Chexy and Lexi."

Horsin' Around for the Holidays

By Alexis Bennett | December 17, 2015

We asked our Facebook fans if they dress their horses up for the holidays. Here are some of the photos we received. 

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

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