Oklahoma City, Okla., November 30, 2007 -- The 2007 FEI World Reining Masters drew riders from 15 countries to the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds on November 29, but three riders caught the judges' attention equally and tied for first place on a score of 221. After a ride off, Austrian Rudi Kronsteiner won gold.
In regular competition, Casey Hinton, from Whitesboro, Texas, was the first American and second rider in the ring. His mount, Mr. Boomerjac, was rock solid and put in a stellar performance to set the standard. The 13-year-old Quarter Horse, owned by Robert LaPorta and George Easterday, was lightly competed this year but didn't look rusty.
"I've always had a lot of respect for him as a horse," said Hinton, "but being around him personality-wise, he is just awesome. He's a special horse and he sure gave everything he had tonight."
The second American combination answered the challenge. Gabe Hutchins of Orland Park, Ill., and Juiced Up Doc, winners of the USEF/Adequan Open Reining Championships in June, continue to impress in their first year at the FEI level. With a huge loop in the reins, Hutchins had total confidence in Smart Like Juice Inc's 7-year-old Juiced Up Doc. In an aggressive ride Hutchins went for a big score and was rewarded with a score equal to Hinton's.
Then Kronsteiner walked into the ring on Smart Spook. The very seasoned stallion, produced by American rider Shawn Flarida, had the best rollbacks of the night.
This unique situation meant that no matter where they finished in the order, the tie had to be broken, so all three combinations returned to the ring to decide the medals.
In the same order and riding the same pattern, Hinton led off the trio with a more tenacious effort on M.r Boomerjac. He bested his first score by one point, wrapping up his evening on a 222.
Hutchins put in another impressive performance on Juiced Up Doc. Gold slipped through Hutchins' hands during his second spin but he didn't let up with impressive lead changes and slides. A score of 211.5 meant that his medal would be silver or bronze.
Smart Spook ambled back into the ring to an Austrian yodel call and Kronsteiner orchestrated another excellent effort from Rosanne Sternberg's stallion. Dynamite transitions and slides were marred only by finishing short on both spins. The Americans were denied gold when the performance garnered a score of 227.