August 29, 2007 -- The 2007 FEI European Reining Championship had Mooslargue, France, spinning, sliding and stopping August 16-18. Seven national teams competed at the event. Germany rode away with the gold, and Italy took the silver.
Martin Gamper of Italy and RS Great Jac Feona were the first to go for their team and set the bar at 218. Germany's first team member Steffen Breug ended with a 212 astride Mr Rattle N Hum. Then Gennaro Lendi added another 220 to Italy's score riding Mifillenium, the American Quarter Horse that captured individual gold with Adriano Meacci two years ago. Then Emanuel Ernst scored 221 for Germany astride Paul Kratschmer's Legends Diamond Doc. Italy's Davide Brighenti and OT Taris San Peppy scored a 222.5 for Italy. The competition was heating up, but the top score was yet to come. Nico Hoermann and Ralf Gembe's Big Time Rooster slid to the high score of 227.
With precise circles, fast spins and long sliding stops, Hoermann had the crowd cheering. With only one rider left to compete for each team, Italy's team total stood at 660.5, and Germany was a half point behind. Adriano Meacci and Docs Tivio Hancock scored a 212 for Italy, which didn't change the team score. Germany's final rider needed a 213 to secure the gold. Grischa Ludwig of Germany rode Kai Thielk's Olenas Diablo Star to a 218.
Switzerland won the bronze medal with a total of 634.5--only half a point ahead of Great Britain. The Netherlands team earned 629 points to finish fifth, the Czech Republic finished sixth with 617 points and Denmark was seventh with 610 points.
"The team was simply super," Germany's team coach Kay Wienrich said. "Everything seemed to be just perfect from the start. After Martin Gamper's 218, there was great pressure on Steffen Breug, but he still had a good ride. I'm very, very happy for them."
It was the second gold medal for Germany, who won the first European Championship in 2003, and Nico Hoermann's second time to win a medal at the European Championship, as he was part of the silver medal team in 2005.
The star of the day was Big Time Rooster, a 7-year-old American Quarter Horse stallion. The bay stallion that was bred in the United States is a son of Gallo Del Cielo out of an own daughter of Smart Little Lena. Big Time Rooster was bred to be a cutting horse and started cutting training, but his reining talent persuaded breeders Dave and Clara Capps of Millsap, Texas, to send him to Todd Bergen for training. Bergen rode the stallion to a 14th-place finish at the NRHA Futurity finals. The stallion also placed third in the West Coast Spectacular and has won more than $40,000.
Seven teams from the nine European nations were able to compete as some horses were injured or did not pass the vet check. Israel's team could not start as Ilan Rosenberg's horse Doctor Stream suffered an injury during their last show.
Seventeen competitors from seven nations started in the individual competition of the third FEI European Reining Championship on August 18.
Davide Brighenti of Italy won gold, Nico Hoermann of Germany received silver, and Gennaro Lendi of Italy earned the bronze medal.
Brighenti and OT Taris San Peppy scored 226 points in the individual competition. OT Taris San Peppy is an American Quarter Horse stallion by Taris Valentine. The 9-year-old palomino stallion is owned by Giuditta Foti of Italy.
Hoermann and Big Time Rooster had scored a 227 in the team competition and earned a 225.5 in the individual competition.
Reining was approved as an FEI discipline in 2000. The number of international competitions organized throughout the world continues to grow from three in 2001 to 41 in 2006. Reining is the only western discipline to be recognized by the FEI, which has 135 affiliated national federations.
The 2007 FEI World Reining Masters Finals will take place during the 2007 National Reining Horse Association Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show at Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, November 22 to December 1. The Masters competition is scheduled for November 29.
--The American Quarter Horse Journal