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The Legacy of Canadian International Reining Competition

By Susan MacLennan

Canada has a prodigious record of achievement in international reining competition. Canadians have competed internationally since 2000.  International competition is ruled by the FEI (Federalis Equestre Internationale). In all international events to date, the Canadian team has been top medal winners. This incredible record should inspire all reiners and horse enthusiasts. Canada has some of the world’s top horses, trainers, and riders in this very competitive sport.  Today, over 30 countries have national reining associations.  As the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky draw closer, it is important to reflect back on the Canadian Team’s accomplishments.


The first international competition was held in Gladstone, N.J., USA, in June 2000.  Seven teams competed.  They were the USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Venezuela, Japan and Brazil.  Every team except the USA and Canada rode borrowed horses. 

The next international competition in reining (the first FEI approved Nation’s Cup),  was held in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in May 2001. The event was one of the two qualifiers for the top ten teams to compete at the WEG in Spain 2002. The Canadian team consisted of: Jason Grimshaw riding Mr. Tanquery Bride (the only member of the official Team Canada that could make the trip), Maurie Fisk riding Bran New Nic, Pierre Ouellet on Super Olena, and Vern Sapergia aboard Show One Mark. Team Canada rode borrowed horses.  Eleven countries participated, including Canada, Italy, and the U.S.A.  

In September 2002, our Canadian Team competed in the World Equestrian Games, Jerez, Spain. About 46 horse and riders would compete, representing countries from all over the world. The Canadian Team’s  riders were: Francois Gauthier riding Ghost Buster Baby, Jason Grimshaw riding Listo Pollito Lena, Patrice St. Onge riding slip Me Another Kiss, and Shawna Sapergia riding Pretty Much Eagle.  The Chef d’equipes were Bob Thompson and Molly Sapergia 

The next international competition (FEI), was in Gladstone, N.J., U.S.A., in June 2001.  It was called the USET (United States Equestrian Team) Nation’s Cup, during the USET Festival of Champions. Four countries participated: USA, Canada, Germany and Mexico.  The Canadian Team’s riders were:  Jason Grimshaw riding Listo Pollito Lena, Shawna Sapergia riding Pretty Much Eagle, Lance Griffin riding Moonstone Chex, and Cody Sapergia riding SR Cotton Candy.  Molly Sapergia was the Chef d’Equipe. Two of the four horses were Canadian-bred, and all four Canadian trained.

2000 Team medal results:  Gold-USA, Silver-Canada, Bronze-Italy

May 2001 Team medal results:  Gold-Italy, Silver-Canada, Bronze-Austria, Fourth-Germany, Fifth-Brazil, Sixth-Argentina

June 2001 Team medal results: Gold-Canada,  Silver-USA, and Bronze-Germany

Individual medalists:  Gold-Jason Grimshaw (Canada), Silver-Craig Johnson riding Smokin Chic O Lena (USA), Bronze-Pete Kyle riding Dun It The Hard Way (USA).


As the result of this qualifier for the next WEG, the USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Japan qualified to join five teams from the Italian Qualifier for the first ever-reining competition to be held in Spain.

Jason Grimshaw and Listo Pollito Lena

Molly Sapergia (Chef d’ equipe), Lance Griffin, Cody Sapergia, Shawna Sapergia, Jason Grimshaw    

Photo: Waltenberry Inc, Slidin’ Summer 2002

It was at this competition that the NRHA and the AQHA announced that reining would be a medal event at the World Equestrian Games, being held in Spain, 2002


In June 2002, the USET hosted another Nation’s Cup.  Canadians rode borrowed horses.   The top teams were:  Team USA -Tim McQuay riding Okie Dun It, Craig Johnson riding Sailing Smart, Dell Hendricks riding Dunit In Hollywood, Shawn Flarida riding Freckles Top Prize;  Team Canada - Francois Gauthier riding Don Quintana, Shawna Sapergia riding Jac Pic A Nic, Patrice St. Onge riding Start Me A Tab, and  Team Brazil - Renata Mauri Ricca riding Scottin Little Lady, Franco Bertolani riding Peppy Sol Anson, Gilson Vieira Diniz Fihl riding Reys The Band, and Alexandre Lhanas Ramos riding Melon Kali Jac

2002 Team medal results:  Gold- USA, Silver- Canada, Bronze- Brazil

Bob Thompson (Chef d’equipe), Patrice St. Onge, Jason Grimshaw, Francois Gauthier, Shawna Sapergia

(Photo courtesy of Mike Scott, Slidin’ 2002)

2002 Team medal results :  Gold- USA, Silver- Canada, Bronze- Italy   2002 Individual medalists: Gold- Shawn Flarida riding San Jo Freckles (USA), Silver- Tom McCutcheon riding Conquistador Whiz (USA), and Bronze- Shawna Sapergia riding Pretty Much Eagle (USA).  Shawna Sapergia and Tom McCutcheon rode in a run off to determine the final results, as they had been tied for second place.  Tom succeeded, securing the individual silver medal.

In 2004 the FEI started the World Reining Masters show, in which countries could compete for a yearly world championship.  In 2004 sixteen countries competed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.  The results were:


2004 Masters:  Gold – Todd Crawford (USA), Silver – Todd Sommers (USA), Bronze – Jeannette Kraehenbuehl.


2005 Masters (Manerbio, Italy):  Gold – Craig Schmersal (USA), Silver -  Tim McQuay (USA), Bronze – Steffen Breug


2006 Masters (Denver, Colorado):  Gold – Shawn Flarida (USA), Silver – Tom McCutcheon (USA), Bronze – Shawna Sapergia (Canada) riding BL Whiz Kid, 7th place – Lisa Coulter (Canada) riding Jalapeno Peppy.

In 2006 was the next World Equestrian Games, in Aachen, Germany.  It was the second time reining had been part of the event with a total purse of EUR 100,000. Teams from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and the USA competed along with individual riders from the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Norway, Poland and South Africa. In order to be able to compete either as a member of a team or as an individual at the 2006 WEG, riders must have taken part in two FEI Reining competitions held in any country during the qualifying period, or competed at a National Federation CRIO with a team during the same period.


Members of the Canadian Team were: Duane Latimer riding Hang Ten Surprize, Luke Gagnon riding Lil Santana, Lance Griffin riding Whiz N Tag Chex, and Francois Gauthier riding Snow Gun.


2006 Reining Team Silver Medalists Team Canada – Terry Griffin (Chef d’Equipe), Lance Griffin, Francois Gauthier, Luke Gagnon, Duane Latimer.

(Photo courtesy of Horsemotion)

Duane Latimer-Individual Gold Medalist

(Photo courtesy of Horsemotion)

Duane Latimer and another reining legend Tim McQuay riding Mister Nicadual had a run-off tie-breaker for the individual gold medal.  Tim took the Silver medal after the tie-breaker with a score of 226

2006 Medal Teams at the Podium (Aachen, Germany)

2006 Team medal results:  Gold- USA, Silver- Canada, Bronze-Italy


2006 Individual medalists:  Gold- Duane Latimer (Canada), Silver-Tim McQuay (USA), Bronze- Aaron Ralston (USA)


2007 Masters (Oklahoma City, USA):  Gold – Rudi Kronsteiner (Austria), Silver – Casey Hinton, Bronze – Gabe D. Hutchins.


2008 Masters (Oklahoma City, USA): Gold – Rudi Kronsteiner (Austria), Silver – Jordan Larson, Bronze – Craig Schmersal (USA), 7th Francois Gauthier (Canada) riding Snow Gun.


2009 Masters (Oklahoma City, USA):  Gold – Rudi Kronsteiner, Silver – Bernard Fonck, Bronze – Pete L. Kyle, 4th Patrice St. Onge, Lisa Coulter (Canada)


2009 Kentucky Cup International Reining Competition (Lexington, Kentucky, USA)


The Canadian team members were:  Jason Grimshaw, Dave Young, Francois Gauthier, Lisa Coulter.


Team Results: Gold – USA, Silver – Canada, Bronze - Mexico

Individual Results:  Gold - Tom McCutcheon (USA), Silver – Lisa Coulter (Canada), Bronze – Shaun Flarida (USA)


Duane Latimer in his Gold Medal Victory Lap 2006 WEG  in Aachen, Germany

 (Photo courtesy of Kim Sloan)

Go Canada GO!

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