Exhibitors flocked to the Southwestern sunshine for the 2019 Arizona Sun Country Circuit, and made the 2019 NSBA Riders Cup show the largest one to date. Held in conjunction with the Sun Circuit AQHA circuit, the Riders Cup saw nearly 300 entries, an increase of nearly 60 percent over last year.

The Riders Cup classes took place March 5 and 6 at Westworld in Scottsdale, Arizona, and included events from Showmanship, Horsemanship and Hunt Seat Equitation for Non-Pro exhibitors as well as Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle classes for Non-Pro and Open exhibitors. Limited divisions of several classes were also held.

The Riders Cup is formatted to nominate horses under the name of a trainer who has sold his or her services in the NSBA Trainer Sale, with the sold trainer fees as well as entry fees making up the purse. Horse owners receive 80 percent of the earnings and the trainer receives 20 percent of the earnings of horses under their nomination. The total purse for the 2019 Rider Cup event was $75,000.

Patterns of Perfection

Non-Pro and Open exhibitors earned cash for their pattern work as part of the Riders Cup.

The show began with Trail classes that included Novice Non-Pro, Non-Pro (Youth and Amateur), Amateur Select, Green, Junior and Senior divisions. Among the Non-Pros, Gayle Scharf took home the win in Novice Non-Pro Trail with UF A Certain Star.

“I bought him at the Congress about a year and a half ago,” Gayle said. “He’s been fantastic. I haven’t got to show him all that much, because my daughter Casey showed him last year during her last year in Youth, but now I’m getting to show him more this year. We call him Perfect Peter, and he’s taking very good care of him. He is my teacher.”

Ben DeBrouwer showed Good To Be Macho to win the Amateur Select class, while Emily Maul and Only Temptation earned the Non-Pro Trail trophy cup.

“I’ve had him since he was two years old, so we’ve been together a while,” Emily said of her ten year old gelding by Invitation Only and out of Goodbars Glamour Girl.

“We call him Lefty. Our favorite class is Trail, but that’s followed closely by Horsemanship. This was our first time to do the Riders Cup classes. We did Show For Dough before. I thought the course was was really flowy. It had a few quick transitions, but Tim Kimura always does great courses.”

Chad Evans showed Sugaray to win the Green Trail for owner Ashley Wilson.

“We got him last year here at Sun Circuit, and our long-term plan is for him to become an All Around horse,” Ashley said. “He’s by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Whatscookngoodlookin. He’s a really cool horse.”


Chad Evans returned to win his second Riders Cup trophy with My Vital Valentine, showing for owner June Liston.

“He’s a really special horse,” Chad said of the gelding he calls Fluffy. “He’s ten years old, and I’ve had him since he was a three year old. He was with another customer in the barn before June bought him. He tries so hard. He’s a pure soul.”

Fluffy is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Vital Signs Are Good.

Blake Weis catch rode a very familiar mount – Cool Cruzen Lady, for owner Diamond Ranch LLC.

“I haven’t seen her since the World Show last year, but I am catch riding her here and at the Silver Dollar Circuit,” Blake said of the mare known as Hazel. “She did great. This was a flowy pattern, and it was a lot of fun to show.”

“We just loved everything about her,” added owner Samantha Ihde, who bought the mare from Jane Humes at the 2018 AQHA World Show. “She’s beautiful, and she makes everything look easy. Today her lope overs were great and she trotted great.”

In Western Riding, three classes saw Green Junior, Green Senior and Non-Pro horses and exhibitors competing.

Sara Simons showed Im Blazin Trouble to earn first in Green Junior Western Riding, while Gil Galyean showed I Will Be A Good RV for Richard and Betty Jo Carr to win the Green Senior division.

“We did a little Western Pleasure with him last year, and I just started changing leads on him at the end of last year,” Sara said of Im Blazin Trouble, who is known as Parker. “There are some horses that are just gifted at things, and he’s one of them. He just excels at it.”

Cool Cruzen Lady earned her second Riders Cup championship, this time with owner Samantha Ihde, winning the Non-Pro Western Riding.

“I had really only shown Western Pleasure, so this has been all new to me,” Samantha said. “You use your legs so much differently and move their shoulders over in a different direction. It’s been fun but a challenge to learn. Hazel has been a great teacher.”.

Showmanship exhibitors worked through patterns in Novice Non-Pro, Non-Pro and Select Amateur classes.

At the end of the first day of the Riders Cup classes, Taylor Kungle took her new horse, Krymsun Belle, into the Wendell Arena and won the Novice Non-Pro Showmanship, while Anne Wilson and Give Me The Goods earned the championship cup in Select Amateur Showmanship. Tiina Volmer and Beter Late Thn Never earned the top spot in Non-Pro Showmanship.

Horsemanship classes saw champions named in Novice Non-Pro, Amateur Select and Non-Pro divisions.

John Whitney showed Reissued In Red to win the Novice Non-Pro Horsemanship. “My wife Erica and I share our mare Reece, and she shows in the Amateur and I show in Novice. We are with Robin Frid,” John said.

“We just started doing NSBA classes a few years ago because Robin told us we should. This is our first time to show in the Riders Cup. We love getting to show in another class, and especially to earn money for showing in the pattern classes. We’re working toward earning year-end awards with NSBA this year, because they give such great recognition for the Novice classes.”

Reissued In Red is by AQHA stallion Repeated In Red.

Whitney Vicars showed her horse Southwestern Gunman to win the Non-Pro Horsemanship.

“This is our first show together since the NSBA World Show last August, because he’s been injured. I’m so thankful to have him back – he’s my baby,” Whitney said.

“It’s so nice to have the opportunity to earn money in our classes. We won the Trail here last year, and it’s our second year to show at the Riders Cup. We love it.”

In the Amateur Select Horsemanship, Kent Ray Taylor and Dont Think Twice earned the top spot and the Riders Cup trophy.

“My horse is just five years old, but Blake Weiss and I are adding some events for him. We show in Western Riding, Showmanship and Horsemanship, and he’s almost ready in Trail. We’ve qualified for the 2019 AQHA World Show in Showmanship and Horsemanship,” Kent said.

“I really liked showing the Horsemanship pattern. It had different speeds, turns and a back and was a fun pattern.”

Tiina Volmer battled not feeling well to win both the Non-Pro Hunt Seat Equitation and Non-Pro Showmanship with her horse Beter Late Thn Never. “I’ve just not been 100 percent, but Rainman has helped me through,” she said of her seven year old gelding.

“Honestly I wasn’t that happy with my Showmanship pattern because I just wasn’t feeling well, but we had a good go in the Equitation. He was good. We’ve been spending time working on transitions. He’s so sweet, and such an easy horse to work with.”

Hunting The Top Spot

Sara Simons was a repeat champion in the Hunter Under Saddle classes, earning the top spot with Talk Southern To Me in the Three and Four Year Old Limited Open and Open Hunter Under Saddle as well as the $2,500 Limited Horse Limited Rider Open Hunter Under Saddle and $2,500 Limited Horse Open Hunter Under Saddle for owner Alessandra Ehrle.

“I’ve had him for about three months,” Sara said. “He just has a really neat expression, a lot of self-carriage and a big hock. He hangs his neck out and courses along.” The four year old gelding is by Its a Southern Thing.

Shelby Ratliff and Willy Has Potential were also repeat winners in the Hunter Under Saddle pen. They earned Riders Cup trophies in All Age Non-Pro and Limited Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle.

Shelby made the most of a very short night before showing. “I’ve been up since 3:00 a.m., and I got here at 6:30 this morning,” she said. “I don’t always get to show because of work, but I’m here until the end of the Sun Circuit now.”

The duo plans to concentrate on Amateur Hunter Under Saddle classes in 2019. “He’s the best,” Shelby said of her ten year old gelding.

Sandra Morgan and Im Willy Good Today won the Three and Four Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle. “I call him Drake,” Sandra said of the three year old gelding by her late stallion Good I Will Be.

“I think what I love about him most is that he is so docile. He has such a natural big trot and a long neck that just hangs out there. He’s a lot of fun to show, and it’s so great to be able to raise them and show them.

“I love that we have the Riders Cup classes. This is my second year to show in them, and it’s been great to see that they have really grown this year. I think they will just keep on growing in the future and we’ll end up with a mini Congress here.”

Western Winners

Kristen Galyean and Alicia Ritsema earned the Riders Cup trophies in the All Age Non-Pro Western Pleasure and All Age Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure. Kristen showed her decorated mare VS Lady In Red, while Alicia rode Chattanooga Lucy.

“I loved everything about her go. It was just our second show in a bridle, but she’s just really willing to give the effort,” Alicia said.

“Becky Schooler showed her mostly last year and I haven’t shown her very much. We’re going to show in the Three Year Old Limited classes, Level 2 Amateur and qualify for the AQHA World Show.”.


Katie Buff and VS Red Hot earned two Riders Cup championships. They won the Limited division of the $2,500 Limited Horse, Limited Open Rider Western Pleasure, and also earned the top spot in the Limited Open Three Year Old Western Pleasure.

“She and I really click, so that’s how I got to show her,” Katie said. “She’s very sweet. We’re taking her to the Premier Quarter Sires classes in April, and showing her here was a good test to see where we’re at. She showed better the second time than the first. We have a long way to go, but she’s getting better every time she shows.”

Aaron Moses showed Snapit Sendit to win the $2,500 Limited Horse Open Western Pleasure for owner Twylla Brown.

“She’s three years old, and we call her Bailey,” Aaron said of the mare. “This is just her second horse show. She’s great minded, beautiful and has a great front leg. I’m not sure which classes will show her this year just yet but we’ll probably continue in this $2,500 Limited class for sure.”

Whats On Ur Mind won both an Open and Non-Pro Rider Cup title. Andy Cochran showed the mare to win the Three Year Old Open Western Pleasure while Hillary Roberts showed her to win the Three and Four Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure.

Hillary had shown the mare to win the Two Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure at the 2018 Congress. “She’s grown a little and gotten stronger since last fall,” Hillary said. “She’s had a really great show here between Andy and me. We plan to show her in the three year old events this year. I’m really excited about her, because I think she’s very athletic and she's going to go on and do a lot of different events.”

To view complete show results from the 2019 NSBA Riders Cup, please visit www.nsba.com.