South Dakota horseman does well in international competition
The European versus United States Cutting Horse Challenge was held in Denver at the National Western Stock Show Complex in conjunction with the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Finals June 23-30. The 2018 highpoint riders from eight European countries were invited to compete against eight individually selected U.S. horsemen.
Competitors from Europe were Damiano Avigni — Italy, Hansruedi Bauman — Switzerland, Jack Enright — Ireland, Koen Hertecant — Belgium, Lea Hirschauer — France, Marek Medvecky — Slovakia, Michal Popov — Czech Republic and Sasha Schwind — Germany coached by Denis Pini, a trainer from Italy.
The U.S. team was composed of Ora Diehl — Florida, Whizzy Harper — Colorado, Nicole Pietrafesso — Colorado, Jason Reed — South Dakota, Denise Seiz — Georgia, Shaun Strickland — Texas, Linda Werner — Colorado, Kristen York — Wyoming coached by Scott Amos, trainer from Colorado.
Reed was selected to participate based on his past performances, including a 2017 NCHA World Championship, a 4-year-old American Paint Horse Cutting World Title, and many state and regional awards. Reed provided two world class cutting horses, Smooth Freckle Cat, an eight-year-old mare, and Gallactic Cat, a four-year-old stallion.
The challenge consisted of three rounds. Each U.S. member drew for a partner from the European team. Jason’s partner was Koen Hertecant from Belgium. Each member then, by lottery, was assigned which horse they would show in the first round.
In round one Jason, showing Smooth Freckles Cat, scored a 210 which contributed 10 points to the U.S. team. By the end of the first round the European team was victorious with a 30-point margin.
For the second round, the team members swapped horses. Koen Hertecant of Belgium showed Jason’s Smooth Freckle Cat while Jason rode his stallion Gallactic Cat and received a score of 213 contributing 12 points to the U.S. team. The second round resulted in the U.S. team making up ground with the margin only being 18 points in favor of the Europeans.
In the third and final round the horses were drawn again. Jason showed his mare Smooth Freckle Cat and received a score of 208 which contributed 12 more points to secure the victory for the United States team. After six days of international camaraderie, cutting horse fellowship, and three exciting rounds of competition, the scores were tabulated.
The United States team had acquired 213 points while the European team had accumulated 195. Immediately a discussion was begun to organize a rematch!