Here is a followup to our first Absorbine Spotlight about Absorbine Ambassador and Para Reining Champion, Heather Smith with results from the team competition!
Heather arrived in Netherlands on Sunday and since then she has been busy preparing for the competition, as well as exploring Europe for the first time! Heather had originally been paired with the paint gelding Zippo, “Jan Jan Brit Zip”, and even met him on Tuesday, but due to unforeseen events she will now be competing on a different horse. However, Heather doesn’t seem too phased by the sudden change.
“I will be competing with a handsome palomino gelding named Fifty (Fifty’s Playboy). For some reason, I always manage to catch ride palominos. Fifty is a talented Reiner and after two rides with him, we found our partnership. I am excited to have Fifty as a partner and look forward to having fun in the show ring with him.”
Heather has been chosen as the anchor rider for Masters Team USA, meaning that she will be the third and final rider. As a Grade 2 rider, Heather’s pattern will include a small jog circle, a large fast trot circle, spins, and a rundown with a sliding stop, which can be performed at the lope. WPR grades riders in order to accommodate varying abilities to balance in the saddle. We know that Heather and Fifty will perform their pattern admirably!
Heather is ready to compete and defend the Gold, but she has not lost track of her goal to have fun and enjoy this incredible experience! She said, “With seven countries represented, I hope to make the USA proud with a great run. All of the Para riders have been super supportive of each other and have been spending time getting to know one another. I cannot wait to cheer everyone on during the team and individual competitions!”
Update! The USA Masters Team finished 4th in the team competition out of seven teams, with only a single point separating 2nd through 4th place. As Heather put it, “fierce competition and talented riders!” Heather finished with a score of 205, with the highest score of the day being a 206.5. Way to go Heather and Fifty! They are clearly a pair to be reckoned with! Heather said, “Fifty and I had a great run and hope to carry that into the individual competition on Saturday.” We wish them the best of luck!
Final Team Results:
Canada – GOLD
England – SILVER
Belgium – BRONZE
USA – 4th
Germany 1 – 4th
Netherlands – 5th
Germany 2 – 6th
Heather and her new catch ride “Fifty’s Playboy”, better known as Fifty. A beautiful palomino, just like Heather’s own Digby and Heather’s winning catch ride from last year’s championships. This last minute change must be a sign of good luck!
Heather and Fifty spending some quality bonding time together before the competition. They look like they’ve been fast friends for years, not just recent acquaintances!
One of the great things about World Para Reining is that all of the competitors, no matter what country they compete for, support one another. It sure looks like everyone is having a great time and is ready to ride! Spot Heather in the back row, fourth from the right.
Heather and Fifty getting to know each other during a two-day preparatory clinic with WPR founder Lisa Coulter. This free clinic, open to auditors and guests, helps to continue the goal of WPR, which is not just organizing competitions, but offering opportunities for continued learning and the development of new skills. What a beautiful day for a ride! They already look like partners.
The USA Masters Team following the team competition on Thursday. Heather (left) along with teammates Briana and JoDee finished 4th out of seven teams and were only ½ point away from the podium! Great work team!