Gina Schumacher Pilots Gunnastepya to First NRBC Victory

 Gina-Marie Schumacher & Gunnastepya Gina-Marie Schumacher & Gunnastepya Photos by NRBC Media
April 22, 2023

For Gina-Marie Schumacher, her ride in the NRBC Non Pro Classic Level 4 Finals aboard Gunnastepya was a lot of fun. For the judges, it was top of the class, and the 227.5 score reflected that feeling.

Schumacher, from Germany with Gordonville, Texas, being home in the United States, is an NRHA Million Dollar Rider. Gunnaztepya (Gunnatrashya x SDP A Lasting Step) didn’t quite have as extensive of a resume, but the stallion is continuing to build it, one event at a time.

“He comes to a horse show and just cruises. It doesn’t bother him to run hard,” Schumacher said. “I think this is the only horse that I say there is no weak point on him. I’ve ridden a couple really nice ones, but he is by far the nicest I’ve ridden. He is good minded, has big turns, big stops and circles really nicely.”

After Schumacher’s XCS Ranch LLC purchased Gunnastepya, bred by Adh-Mor Ranch, following the NRHA Futurity, Schumacher had her hopes for his 4-year-old year dashed when COVID restricted her from coming to the United States. Now, though, she and the 2016 stallion are clicking.

“We qualified for The Run For A Million at our first show together, but I never managed to put it all together [in a run],” she said. “He’s matured and now he is super chill, relaxed and does his job. Sometimes I get nervous, but he will do it. There is nothing I can pick on with him.”

Coming into the Non Pro Classic Final on Friday, the pair sat in the sixth hole, marking a 219.5 in the preliminary. When it came to the Finals, Schumacher didn’t plan to run Gunnastepya to his maximum.

“It all went to plan today, except he didn’t circle as nice because we weren’t going as hard as we were in the Cactus [Reining Classic]. The faster you go, the more tuned in he gets, but I didn’t want to run him super hard because we need to go to Vegas in August, and I wanted to save some horse. He can make points in the turns and stops. He just listens to whatever I do and if he does anything wrong, it is because I screwed up.”

The stallion, which Schumacher describes as “so special, easy and so sweet” is where she’s putting her hopes for a The Run For A Million win. She enjoys competing in the United States and has high hopes for her breeding and training program.

"To get better, you need to compete with the best and the really good ones are here, and it pushes me to get better,” Schumacher said. “The industry is going crazy now, really good, and we breed and train our horses, and that is what I want to do at one point. That is what made me want to come here and be as good as I can. My ultimate goal is to train my own horses, push our breeding and horses we raise, and promote our stallions—just get better. Triple threat, that is the dream I am trying to get to!”

She’s thankful for a “dream team” that stands behind her endeavors.

“I have a really good team,” she said. “They work tirelessly and I am really lucky to have Duane Latimer by my side to help me be better at what I do, my boyfriend who pushes me, and my mom, Corinna, of course, who couldn’t be here but is behind all of this.”

For the Level 4 win, Schumacher won the use of a Twin Cities Trailer’s deluxe two-horse Sundowner bumper pull and a slew of other prizes, earning $50,000.

Level 3 & Level 2 Non Pro Classic Champion
Kelsey Price & In My Glory Days
Kelsey Price and In My Glory Days (SG Frozen Enterprize x Gunners Glory) are on a roll after winning the Novice Horse in the Non Pro Classic Preliminary round. The duo took the Champion title for Non Pro Level 2 and 3 scoring a 222. Coming from her win on the mare in the Novice Horse in the preliminary round, her husband and trainer, Kole, thought her mare would be at peak for the finals.
“She is a lot of horse, and I am eligible for a lot of levels so I could win a lot of money,” Price said. “I was just going to give it my all, I was going to go fast and that was my plan.”

Price noted the mare loves her turn-out time so here at the show, the plan was to continue to let her be a horse. For one of the mare’s two exercise sessions during the day, Price would take her in a hackamore on a relaxing walk here at the Tulsa Expo Square.

With the win in both levels, Price takes home $25,000. The Prices plan to turn the mare out at home and let her be a horse before getting her ready for the NRHA Derby.

Price thanks her husband, Kole, and their assistants and groom, who always “has her looking amazing,” she said. She also thanks her veterinarian and farrier. Without this team behind her she says she couldn’t do it without them.

Level 1 & Prime Time Non Pro Classic Champion
Paul Queen & Makendiamonds
Paul Queen has a new goal: to win the Level 4 Non Pro Classic. He’s well on his way, locking down the Level 1 and Prime Time Champion titles with a 222.5 aboard Makendiamonds (Whizkey N Diamonds x Makeit In Tinseltown).

“This is my first Finals and I made all four levels,” he said. “It was pretty damn cool. There were a lot of them [in the preliminaries] and to make the Level 4, and make it pretty easy, was cool.”

The palomino mare nicknamed “GI Josie” is owned by Queen’s mother, Dorothy Queen. He rides with Jared Leclair, and the pair spent time getting Josie back to being a horse after her Futurity year.

“Now, she loves to go show, and she’s getting a personality. She’ll dig a cookie out of your pocket,” said Queen, of Whitesboro, Texas. “Sometimes you have to rehab their mind a little bit, and that is what we did with her. Now, she is doing really well. Jared and I both love her. I’m going to try and push her in the Derbies; I want to make her $100,000 horse, that is my goal.”

His other goal is to keep climbing the Non Pro ladder. The preliminary round was tough, and while making the Finals in all divisions was not expected, Queen now aims to do it again. He knows, though, that his competition is steep.

“You have to run hard. I just went and watched [the preliminary]; I watched every run to see where to hit,” he said. “It is all about precision. You have to have the speed and you have to be precise. Anymore, it’s so tough, you have to be precise. You have to be good as a Non Pro in this pen, and in every other pen here. I know most of these people in here and we are not competing against one another but against ourselves to do better than the last time.”

Queen earned $2,000 for the Prime Time Non Pro Classic win, and in the Level 1, added another $5,000 to his take home. He tied for reserve in the Level 2 and Level 3, adding another $5,000, in the Level 2 and for the Level 3 $11,250. He and Makendiamonds placed ninth in the Level 4, earning another $5,750.

NRBC Open Classic Challenge Champion
Josh Tishman & Magnum Style
Eleven horses and riders vied for the Level 4 Open Classic Challenge Champion title, and by half-a-point, Josh Tishman and Magnum Style (Magnum Chic Dream x Easy Whiz My Money) earned the victory. Owner Mark Hurd took home the check for $7,037.

Tishman, from Weatherford, Texas, hung his shingle out a year ago, but the gelding and trainer have a history together.

“I won the NRBC Level 1 on this horse a few years ago,” Tishman said. “He is mostly a Non Pro horse, but they let me pull him out for these events. I think a class like this is great. He is shown two or three times a year, but events like this is another way to showcase these older horses that still have it.”

Running through the gate, the “quirky” gelding wasn’t arrow straight. Tishman focused him in, and let the horse fire off his signature move—a long slide.

“He dialed in and ran his circles as hard as he could, and this pattern 9 that we ran tonight has a slowdown that he hit pretty good,” he said.

This isn’t the last class at the NRBC for the gelding. The owner will show him in the Non Pro on Sunday, switching back from the Open caliber horse that can mark a 227.5. It’s worked out for Tishman to share the horse when the chance is there for an Open class with added money.

“My entire team behind me, my wife, and Mark and Elena Hurd are all cheering me on,” he said.

$25K Open Champion
Matt Mills & Guns And Dynamite
Typically, Draw 1 isn’t the spot riders want to be in when a big purse is on the line, but surprisingly Matt Mills wasn’t too worried. In spite of a talented field of accomplished reiners to compete against, Mills knew he has a solid mount in Guns And Dynamite (Gunners Special Nite x Chic Olena Starbuck), owned by MaryBeth and Tim Ruckman.

“Normally, you don’t feel good about draw one but when you’re riding a horse like this, its never a bad one,” Mills said. “There were things I wanted to work on and clean up from the last show, the Cactus Classic. I told my assistant, Alejandro, that this horse has a 230 in him, if I do my job, so it was nice to hit that number on the nose. Running in, I wanted to be smart and let him do his thing.”

The win is that much sweeter for Mills, having missed qualifying for The Run For A Million aboard the stallion at the Cactus Reining Classic. The 230 score boosted confidence and paid $6,967 for the $25k Open win at the NRBC.

“This horse has so much grit and heart, he doesn’t really have a weakness,” said Mills, of Weatherford, Texas. “It was an easy decision to show him in the Open tonight in a tough class. We went hard and the run flowed just right. If things aren’t perfect, which they never really are, he has a way of getting in the right position. I’m really excited to continue to show him.”

The 18-horse field included horses up to 12 years old, showcasing the longevity of today’s Open caliber reining horse.

“Classes like this are special and I hope we see a lot more,” Mills said. “I think you’re seeing the level of training is better and we are getting better about taking care of these horses, and we don’t have many [maturity] events to show them at. To have a place like this where there is enough money to bring them out, I think it shows everybody that these horses are not sprinters that break down. Look at Josh Tishman’s horse, Cade McCutcheon’s horse, they are 12 years old. The NRBC was one of the first ones to step up and have a big class like this, and hopefully some of [the other shows] follow suit. These horses have life in them and tread on the tires.”

Mills is still aiming at The Run For A Million. He gave thanks for his wife, Karen, his entire crew, his sponsors and the Ruckmans for their support.

Yellowstone Rookie Shootout Champion
Kent Ray Taylor & Xtra Wimpys Catalyst
It’s been an award-winning week for Phoenix, Arizona’s Kent Ray Taylor. He brought two bullets to shoot toward NRBC success, and with Xtra Wimpys Catalyst, he earned the Paramount Network’s Yellowstone Rookie Shootout top spot. The black gelding, dubbed “Zorro,” was first out in the six-horse field, setting the bar with a 221.

When the last horse went in the pen, which was ironically Taylor riding Hot Hollywood Whizky (Topsail Whiz x Hot Hollywood Jewels), the score hadn’t been touched. It capped off a week of wins for Taylor, who also picked up one class win on Zorro and one on Hot Hollywood Whizky, as well as the Prime Time Rookie High Point on the black gelding sired by Wimpys Little Step and out of Im Not Blonde.

“It was a lot of fun showing in the big pen. He is so fun, he will go as fast as I ask him to go,” Taylor said. “He’s just fun to show.”

Wearing a custom white shirt embroidered with the iconic “Z” for Zorro. Taylor seemed to manifest the win. An avid and accomplished horseman in the AQHA all-around events, Taylor began riding reiners just over a year ago and rides with Craig Schmersal.

“You know horses and you have balance, but it’s like riding a 10-speed and a mountain bike, there are a lot of different gears,” Taylor said. “I listened to Mandy [Faust] and Craig and tried not to be nervous. [Reining] is still new. Fun, exciting but still new. Each maneuver, I need to get better and add some finesse.”

Taylor is qualified for The Run For A Million in the Rookie and plans to continue to improve before the August event. For the special Paramount Network’s Yellowstone Rookie Shootout, Taylor takes home a number of prizes, including a belt buckle from Skyline Buckles, a custom-made bench with the Paramount logo, and much more. He gives thanks to the Schmersal team for getting him to this point.

“I couldn’t show without them, they’re super supportive and keep a good balance between pushing [and building confidence],” he said. “I want to be a 226 one day, but they help you improve at your pace. It is a great barn.”

The results of the Paramount Network’s Yellowstone Rookie Shootout are:
1. Kent Ray Taylor on his gelding Xtra Wimpys Catalyst, 221
2. Owen Deary riding Gunnarickashay, owned by Jody Puno / Puno Performance Horses LLC, 215
3. Kent Ray Taylor riding Hot Hollywood Whizky, owned by KRT / MAN LLC, 214.5
4. Brady Lambert riding Vintage Princess, owned by John and Allison Lambert, 213.5
5. Carly Estreich-Lueck riding her gelding Xtra Orderacocktail, 211.5
6. Sara Janiece Blevins riding her gelding Kashnkarry, 206.5

Novice Horse Open Levels 3, 2, & 1 Champion
Peter DeFreitas & Keep On The Sunnyside
It isn’t often Novice Horses step up to the plate and sweep all levels because of the different qualifications, but Keep On The Sunnyside and Peter DeFreitas claimed all three titles for the Slate 1 Novice Horse Open in Levels, 1, 2 and 3.

Keep On Th Sunnyside is a 2017 mare by Shine On Line and out of Conquistadors Sandy bred by Double Run Farm, now owned by Carlton & Dr. Khris Crowe.

“The farm I used to work for in North Carolina raised her and we started her as a 2-year-old and I started her as a 3-year-old, then she was sold as a 5-year-old,” DeFreitas said. “Khris and Carlton Crowe were looking for some mares to breed to their stud, FM Cottonwood (Gunner x Sonita Lena Chick), so I told them about this mare, and they bought her and asked if I would like to show her.”

DeFreitas marked a huge 147.5 to take the titles earning them a total of $2,642.90. He commented she can be a little “looky” outside but in the arena, she is all business.

The duo has Slate 2 tomorrow and they are determined to keep their winning streak. DeFreitas thanks the owners for giving him the opportunity to show the mare, and his wife, Erin, for her support. He thanks his assistant, Ryan Clark, and the NRBC for putting on a great show.

Youth 14-18 & Unrestricted Youth Co-Champion
Morgan Hobson & Trendsettter
organ Hobson and Trendsettter had big expectations from spectators after he marked a 229 with trainer Josh Tishman in the NRBC Open Classic to qualify for the Level 4 Open Finals. Morgan and the gelding marked a 73 today tie to win the Youth 14-18 and Unrestricted Youth.

“I had at least 10 people ask if he was going to go run a 229 today and I said that’s not my goal. I want to go in there and mark a 70,” Morgan said.

With Morgan coming back from an injury, she noted how the gelding just took care of her during the run and that she never even had to “cluck” to him.

“We gave him six months of slow and easy work and now that he’s come back, he is like, ‘I’m going to show off, this is my year,’” she said of the gelding.
Morgan thanks her trainer, Josh Tishman, and his wife, Layton, as well as her mom and dad and Tishman’s assistants for all they do in getting her ready to show.

Youth 14-18 & Unrestricted Youth Co-Champion
Mazie Petelski & Chexalicious
Mazie Petelski and Chexalicious took the co-champion title for the Slate 1 of the Youth 14-18 and Unrestricted Youth classes. The gelding by Busy Winin Chex out of Gunnalicious is only Mazie’s second reining horse, ever, and today the pair marked a 73 to tie to win the classes.

“I’ve only had one other, so he is my step-up horse and is going to be my last one as well,” Mazie said. “I’ve had a couple of fun ones.”

In the fall Mazie will be attending Baylor University in Waco, Texas and will be competing on the equestrian team.

“The next show we are going to hit is Red Bud Spectacular to school for the AQHA Youth World Show, so that is going to be our last big show together,” she said.

She thanks her trainer Yonathan Baruch and her dad because he does “everything for her.”

Youth 13 & Under Champion
Abigail Dooley & Top Haida
Aboard Top Haida (Topsail Whiz x Haida Million), Abigail Dooley rode to a 70.5 to claim the Youth 13&Under Slate 1 win. The gelding, called “Vegas,” is owned by Abigail’s father, Randy Dooley.

“He taught me how to show a horse, that is for sure! He taught me a lot,” she said. “He loves treats, trail rides and love.”

From Elbert, Colorado, Abigail has been riding for six years, and competing on the gelding for two, with this being her second NRBC. She said that he will beg for a treat and gets bored easily. However, in the show pen he has no weakness.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with him. There’s nothing he could have done better; he was perfect for me,” she said. “I usually brace up when I stop, but [today] I stayed still.”
Abigail’s trainer, and father, tells her to always go and have fun. She followed his advice today and wound up on top.

Dany Tremblay of Tremblay Sport Performance paid the entry fees for every exhibitor in the NRBC Youth classes.

“Thank you to my parents for their help and the people that own the horse,” she said. “I’m very grateful to Dany Tremblay paying our fees.”

Short Stirrup Champion
Sebastian Cervantes & SGC High Stage Whiz
Sebastian Cervantes and SGC High Stage Whiz (Walla Walla Whiz x Marq Of Cita) topped the Slate 1 Short Stirrup Class marking a 71. According to his dad, they are a perfect match. The 10-year-old has been riding “Julian” for about four years now.
“My favorite thing about him are his stops,” said Sebastian.

While Sebastian was piloting Julian in the arena, his younger brother was looking on and it’s apparent he is not far behind Sebastian as the rider. He was eager to cool out the 8-year-old gelding.

The NRBC is Sebastian’s favorite show because of all the arenas that are available to ride in to warm up and all the different classes that are available to enter in. At the NRBC, Dany Trembly paid all Youth exhibitor fees, including Short Stirrup.

The Tomball, Texas, exhibitor will also show in the Youth 13&Under here at the NRBC. He would like to thank his parents for all their help and everything they do for him to be able to show.

By NRBC Press Release