The experiment was successful and the challenge has been met. The stands of the large, bright oval arena of the „new Futurity“ in Cremona was sold out in and provided an ideal setting to the “reining show“ the big Open Final. An impeccable sound system and a soundtrack chosen with feeling and intelligence, was supported by a flawless technical staff. And at the top of the podium for levels 4 and 3, a third-generation Italian trainer: 30-year-old Pierluigi Chioldo. His partner in victory in this great adventure, the 2015 Open IRHA / NRHA Futurity, was the magnificent Saturday Mizzen, a gelding by Saturdaynight Custom and Westcoast Mizzen bred by Ambrosini Qh in Pontoglio (Brescia). We could almost call this the “geldings’ Futurity”, as once again a gelding dominated the rankings, showing how this condition can really bring out the best from certain types of horse, helping to avoid unnecessary risks and conferring a special kind of serene energy that may be an advantage in the show pen.
Saturday Mizzen and Chioldo really upped the power between the first and second go-rounds to tie for the lead after the preliminary rounds with Pierluigi Fabbri, who was on top form this week, also winning the Italian Championship aboard Broadway Jaba, and here riding Gfc Surprise For Me and finishing their show as Futurity Open Reserve Champion Level 3 and in fourth place at level 4 tied with the beautiful Ann Fonck and Roosters Attitude.
Chioldo’s run was aggressive but characterised by a wealth of style and technique. The trainer from Piedmont entered second to last and had a formidable opponent to beat: the great Bernard Fonck, who had marked a resounding 223, giving full expression to the power of Sevenchextocash (Big Chex to Cash x Lil Chic Peppy), another gelding belonging to 7 Heaven Reining Horses.
„Pier“ had to pull out all the stops: he and Saturday Mizzen astonished the crowd with a run that became progressively more impressive: two sets of elegant and precise spins, fast circles, where the charisma of this young horse emerged clearly , as well as flawless small, slow circles. The finishing touch to a great performance was the execution of the three thrilling stops, met with a standing ovation from the audience as the beautiful chestnut exited the arena, while the announcer’s voice announced the winning score of 224.5.
Saturdaynight Mizzen is the product of a mare, daughter of West Coast Whiz, that Pierluigi rode while trainer at Arcese QH. „I fell in love with this horse immediately, and he always been my favourite,“ he says. „He might be rather lazy, but has a great character and one peculiarity, if you work him on an empty stomach he gets very upset!” He adds “I think Mizzen’s added value is the style he shows in everything he does. I love the naturalness he expresses in every manoeuvre, always with his head down.“
Chioldo, 30 years old last June, started his career as a professional trainer while still very young as assistant to Stefano Massignan at Arcese Quarter Horses. In that period, he won the 2007 Limited Open Futurity riding Arc Olena Cee (Arc Matt Olena x Hickory Holly Cee). Subsequently he moved to become trainer at Claudio Risso’s facility, Roberta’s Stable, after spending some time in the US to hone his professional skills, and finally settled at the stables of Paolo Ambrosini, premium sponsor of this Futurity 2015, who declared, „It’s an incredible feeling when the Futurity is won by your own stallion’s first son! Special thanks to all those who helped earn this success: my family, who share my passion, and all the staff, especially those who work behind the scenes to build the success of our breeding programme. In addition, I want to congratulate the entire organization of the Futurity here in Cremona for creating a really special event.”
So Bernard Fonck was confirmed as Reserve Champion Level 4 riding this impressive stallion bred by the current owners, 7 Heaven Reining Horses. Following the show Bernard wanted above all to emphasize the help received from his wife Ann: „All my thanks go to my wife Ann for helping me prepare for this run; I didn’t feel too good while getting ready, but she pushed and supported me, and I’m really grateful.“ Commenting on the final itself Bernard expresses his surprise on the score awarded for the circles, a sentiment surely shared by many in the audience given the roar of appreciation from the crowd as the pair completed the manoeuvre. “I don’t wish to dispute the judges’ decision and I’d like to emphasize that I’ve watched Chioldo’s run and I can say that the best man won, no doubt about it. But if my circles in the final deserved just + ½ I’d like to see what you have to do to get + 1 or + 1 ½?” Bernard continues, “This horse came to me as a two-year-old and I started training him myself in December. I was more than happy with him at Cremona.
Fonck is generous with his praise for the organisation in Cremona. “The quality of the show here was at a whole different level; there was all you needed for the horses and it was great to give something back to the many sponsors we have in terms of contact and enjoyment – a 100% improvement.”
Leading after the eliminatory go-rounds alongside Pierluigi Chioldo, was one of Romagna’s finest reiners, Pierluigi Fabbri on GFC Surprise For Me (Dualin For Me x Arc Surprise On Stage), owned by Piero Pollarini. The pair were the last competitors to enter the entered the show pen, and the crowd encouraged horse and rider to give their all. The judges awarded a final 219 that secured Fabbri the Reserve Champion Title level 3.”He always tries to do his best,” commented Pierluigi,”and he certainly did that here in Cremona. Sometimes it’s a bit dangerous, because he risks pushing himself too far. Halfway through the final, the fatigue hit him and I could ask no more, but I’m delighted with the way he performed.”
This is a stallion whose name is especially fitting, as he was in many ways a surprise as Pierluigi explains, “We bought this horse last year from Ambrosini; he’d already been marked as unsuitable for Open competitions so we were trying him for a Non Pro, but I got a great feeling straight away – he was a bit behind with his training but he’s very special because he’s a great worker.”
“The show organisation in Cremona was fantastic, the stabling, the surface of the arenas, all the facilities, up there with the very best European shows,” concluded Fabbri.
Dominating Level 2 were Stefano Angelucci and Jessie Sailor, belonging to the rider’s father, Severino. The good three-year-old is of course a son born from the family’s stallion, Frozen Sailor, better known as Captain, and Jessie Oak Tari. In the go-rounds Stefano chose to ensure a calm and clean performance, marking a higher score in the second go but without pushing too much, just enough to get to a good composite 421.5 and ninth place ex aequo in the provisional standings; enough to enter the final without exhausting the energies of his talented stallion too early.
Stefano, who is generally quite reserved and not much of a talker, described his horse saying, “He tends to be a bit nervous around other horses, but that really is his only defect. He’s never given me any problems, even in training, except for a brief moment when he was slightly ‚blocked’; but then it passed about a month ago, and everything went smoothly.” Stefano knew that Jessie Oak had great potential, but admits honestly that he did not think he was quite ready to take a place on the podium. This result, of course, makes him very happy.
The title of Reserve Champion Futurity Open Level 2 goes to Mirko Midili and Rs Moon Feo Jac, already the undisputed go-round leaders. The stallion is a son of the many-time winner Rs Great Jac Feona out of Rs Red Moon Olena, by Spat Olena, and hence a product labelled Claudio Risso 100% given that both parents were bred by the great horseman from Piedmont. The combination, which in the preliminaries had marked 214 and 217.5, entered the arena as the 32nd pair and reached a score of 215.5 in the final (where they were competing in the three upper levels). “It was my third horse in the final,” said Mirko, who had already presented two other horses belonging to Risso, Rs Blue Link (Spat A Blue x RS Linkwood Jac) and RS Last Feona Spat (Spat Olena x Feona Pine), “and I had overdone it a bit on the circles with the first two, so by the end of the pattern both horses were too tired to give it their all on the stops. So, with Jac Feo I held back on the circles and pushed harder on the final stops. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the credits I was hoping for, but I’m very happy with the way he behaved; he was with me from start to finish.” Midili has loved this stallion from the start of his training, as he commented, “He’s always been my favourite: a great stopper, and a very sensitive horse that you have to treat with respect and moderation, avoiding any aggression. He’s cool and needs a bit of pushing, but he listens to you and never takes the initiative, which makes him ideal as a show horse.”
Coming to the 2015 Futurity 3 year-old Open Level 1: the Champion is a very excited Francesco Marchegiani, competing in his first Big Futurity riding SQ Elgon Steady Cody, a young stallion that is son of Steadys Dude and Agility Lil Cody, owned by Patrizia Ferrari and bred at La Torretta. Francesco, who took over the horse when he was two, started and trained the colt entirely on his own. „Initially the idea was not to prepare him as a show horse, but I immediately I noticed qualities that made me think we could take him further. He was a natural stopper, and this combined with a great character. Although he’s a stallion he’s never given me any of the problems you might expect; he’s docile, and his training has progressed steadily. So, I suggested to his owners that we could go for it, and show him here in Cremona. “
Francesco took no chances. Given that the stallion was a ‘Steady’, the trainer from the Marches, who also saw one of his younger pupils take the podium in the Italian Rookie / Youth here, attended a clinic with Beppe Prevosti, an Italian expert of this bloodline. Then, four months before the Futurity he brought the colt to Beppe’s stables where they could be followed more closely. In Cremona, Francesco had to deal with an annoying novelty, „During the Futurity week, we had some problems with the right circles, because the horse changed on the back leg without being asked. He had never done it before, and I still don’t understand the reason he does this. Unfortunately, in the final, just before the slow circles on the right rein, he did just that. But his spins and stops were good, so we were able to recover some points and finish with a decent score.” Marchegiani left the arena with a 209.5, a score that tied with that of another pair. However, a few runs later the score was adjusted to 210. Francesco says, „When I heard there was a change, I thought they might be brining my score down! What a nice surprise end up with half a point more!”
Francesco, 38, has worked as a trainer since 2002, when he and his wife took over a centre in their home region, Il Villino. It was in 2002, thanks to Alfredo Ciabattoni, that he fell in love with this sport. Two years ago, he participated in a Futurity four-year-old for the first time but failed to enter the finals. On his second attempt in this special event, and this time with a three-year-old, he has instead earned the title.
Just half a point behind, and this year’s Open Futurity 3 year-old Reserve Champion Level 1 is Gaetano Cipriani riding his Moonlight Serenade, a stallion by Ima Redskin and Pie di Cuori belonging to one of the historic breeding stables for western riding in Italy that, however, had been missing from the top rankings in special events for some time: welcome back Schinaforte Ltd!
IRHA/NRHA Futurity Press Office
Infos: www.futurity.it – firstname.lastname@example.org