August 10, 2016–The U.S. Reining Team will compete at the 2016 SVAG FEI World Reining Championships August 11-13, at the CS Ranch in Givrins, Switzerland. The team of Shane Brown, Troy Heikes, Kari Klingenberg, and Nick Valentine will face teams from nine other countries as they go after team and individual medals. They will be led by Chef d’Equipe Jeff Petska.
Heikes (Scottsdale, Ariz.) is no stranger to FEI level competition and will help the U.S. team navigate the world stage. He competed at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), winning the consolation round and finishing just outside the top 10 in the Individual Final. Brown (Elbert, Colo.), along with Klingenberg (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Valentine (Pilot Point, Texas), will make their first appearance on an U.S. Team at a world competition.
Brown will ride Susan Geiger’s Wind Er Up Wimp. Brown got the ride on the 2009 Quarter Horse stallion late last year with the purpose of developing him into a world championship-caliber horse. In March, Brown competed with him at the 2016 Cactus Reining Classic, where they earned a first-place finish in the Ancillary Open division.
Heikes will compete at the world championships with Denise Bixler and Steve Tarani’s RSD One Hot Deal. Bixler turned to Heikes to get RSD One Hot Deal to his full potential. After serving as Heikes’ reserve horse at the 2014 WEG, RSD One Hot Deal will get his shot at a world competition. Heikes and the 2007 Quarter Horse gelding won the High Roller Reining Classic Open Level 4 SmartPak Maturity in 2014. In 2013, they won $20,000 after finishing 10th in the NRBC Open Classic Finals.
A rising talent, Klingenberg makes her world reining championships debut with Pam Nelson’s Mr. Electric Spark. The 2009 Quarter Horse stallion won nearly $40,000 in lifetime earnings, as well as the 2015 Open Derby Championship at Reining by The Bay, with Andrea Fappani before Klingenberg took the ride. Klingenberg finished in the top ten in the Rookie Professional Limited Open division at the 2011 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Affiliate Championships with Nelson’s Lena Nica.
Valentine has made the finals at every major reining event he has entered. He will look to do the same at the world reining championships when he competes with Haiden De Jane’s A Smokin Whiz, a 2008 Quarter Horse gelding. Valentine won back-to-back NRHA South East Affiliate Open Championships in 2013 and 2014, with Glen Yasser’s A Ruff Master and Cameron Sandford’s GS Smart Kitty Kat, respectively, as well as the NRBC Limited Open and Level 1 Championship in 2010 with John and Dianna Rower’s Shiney Chicken.
The team competition begins tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. EST. The top 15 individuals from the team competition will automatically qualify for Saturday’s Individual Final. Those placing 16-35 will compete in the Second Individual Qualifier on Friday where the top five will move on to the Individual Final.