You suggested the questions; we asked them. Each day this week, we’ll post a new interview with one of the members of the USA’s reining team. Get to know these great riders before the World Equestrian Games’ action starts in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday.
WEG Reiner: Craig Schmersal
Horse: Boom Shernic
What do you do to get focused before a big run?
There’s not a whole lot I do. I prepare my horse. I don’t have any rituals. I do what I have to do to get him ready. I treat [each event] like it’s just another reining.
How do you keep your horse fresh/honest?
It comes from training and showing him right his entire career. I’ll show a horse to his potential, but I won’t push him past what I know he can do. If you go push him all the time, he won’t last.
What’s your all-time favorite horse that you’ve shown?
Boom Shernic and Commanders Nic. They did the most for me career-wise.
What sparked your love of reining?
My dad bought my sister and I a 2-year-old and took us to Mike Flarida’s barn. Mike always had a few reiners around. It looked way more fun than the pleasure. I did pleasure a few years, and then I moved in to reining. I just wanted to run and turn.
What WEG event would you compete in?other than reining?
Driving looks pretty cool. I watched them prepare the horses in Spain [at the 2002 WEG], and it looked pretty fun.
What are your show-pen superstitions?
I don’t really have any for the show pen. I make sure I don’t toss my hat on the bed or spill the salt.