Thursday, 19 November and the Futurity was in full swing, as 32 Non Pro finalists took centre stage in the arena at CremonaFiere. Gina Schumacher who had shared top score after the preliminary go-rounds with Cs Eye Catchin Gun, finished the evening as Non Pro Champion Level 4: same rider, but a different horse. The gutsy eighteen-year-old claimed the title on the stallion Star Bleach, aka Charles, by Star Spangled Whiz (son of the legendary 10 million dollar sire Topsail Whiz) out of Snappy Bleach with a final score of 216.5 that assured the pair a full three-point lead over their nearest rivals, rider Fabienne Kuratli-Suter and her Starlights Revy Bb (Einsteins Revolution x Miss Starlight Jac).
Star Bleach, owned by Chanay Sky SA Management and bred by Elisabetha Raviola, had already accompanied Gina to the title of 2015 NRHA European Co-Reserve Champion Non Pro L4. The horse, bought as a yearling and trained by Australian Shauna Larcombe, long-standing chief trainer at CS Ranch, was first showed by Gina at the European Futurity. «This is a horse I can always trust”, comments Gina. «It’s hard to feel relaxed before you enter, but he gave me a great run here. There’s pressure when you enter first and you don’t know what’s coming or when you enter last and you have a score to beat; basically I always feel the pressure!”. Despite all this pressure Gina managed to secure an additional fourth and fifth place at the same level with Cs Eye Catchin Gun (My Royal Gun x Jessie Wright On) and Twist In A Dream (Magnum Chic Dream x Frost And Twist) respectively.
Fabienne Kuratli-Suter, multiple Swiss champion, whose 213.5 on Starlights Revy Bb earned the pair the top spot at levels 3 and 2, as well as the Reserve Champion title at level 4, explained that she had imagined a worst-case scenario before setting out for Cremona. «I thought the worst thing that could happen», said the 27 -year-old rider, «would be if my best horse (SL Wild Spook, with which she claimed the European Futurity Non Pro Levels 3 and 2 Ed.) didn’t make it to the final and my other horse did, which meant I’d have to stay all week without much hope of winning. In fact, I was upset about getting off to a relatively bad start. But it all worked out really well in the end. I’m so happy with the run we had and the way my horse performed in the final. We picked up a few penalties with an overturn and on the lead change, but he has great stops».
Two and a half points behind Fabienne in both levels 3 and 2 was the first Italian to step on the podium in those 2015 IRHA/NRHA Futurity finals, Matteo Benedusi. Matteo from Bologna, who already has a EuroFuturity Championship title to his name, earned in 2011 at levels 2 and 1, as well as degree in aerospace engineering obtained when not in the saddle, marked 211 on his Steadynest Dude (Steadys Dude x Finest Chicolena) bred by Roberto Prevosti.
With a run that was marked 210.5, Emma Villa claimed the Level 1 title on her mare Dual Spirit by Dualin for Me out of RDH Spirit Of Dun It, that she had previously led to a shared Non Pro Reserve Championship title at the Austrian Futurity level 3 in August of this year. Emma’s show got off to a tricky start with serious transport problems on the way to the venue, proving that our four-legged friends are often more reliable. «Despite this, to boost my luck before entering the show pen my tactic is to insult her up to 5 minutes before we go in». jokes Emma. «My hope is that she’ll be so offended that she’ll show me just what she can do! In fact», she adds, «I offend her quite a lot of the time while we’re training, but she’s a really great horse. Unfortunately, in the final we had a penalty on the right circle, but otherwise she did really well». Another Italian appeared on the second step of the podium, Alessandro Bardelli aboard Big Chicolena (Big Chex To Cash x Shezalittlechicolena) thanks to their score of 207.5.