Five talented women ride with the best at World’s Greatest Horseman.

For the first time, five women competed for the title of World’s Greatest Horseman. Women have competed in the National Reined Cow Horse Association event in the past, but typically with only one entry each year, according to the association’s records. As a whole, entries are up by 14, for a total of 50, the most the event has ever seen.

The event, which takes place in Fort Worth, Texas, is a true test of horsemanship. Horse and rider must compete in four events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work. The top 10 riders compete in the finals February 17 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center.

Of the five women, two returned to this years’ competition. Idaho horsewoman and NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Annie Reynolds rode homebred and -raised stallion Magicality, a horse she owns with her mother, Joyce Pearson. “Ringo” comes from proven lines. In 2001, his dam, Magical Lena, was WGH reserve champion with Reynolds, and in 2005 his sire, Very Smart Remedy, won the prestigious event with Jon Roeser.

Gusti Buerger, who used to ride for Reynolds, returned riding Rica Olena, the same horse she rode last year. Rica Olena’s dam, Cute N Cashy, was a WGH finalist in 2007 with T.J. Good of Marietta, Oklahoma.

Fresh faces included Naomi Bancroft riding Meradas Golden Rey, Abbie Phillips on Bed Head Cat and Alexis Blakey with Hail Of A Shine.

Reynolds says past results prove that the partnership between horse and rider plays a huge role in making the finals.

“Most of the horses that have been champions in this event have been trained exclusively by the person showing them,” she says. “There are some teams that are young, but most of the [past winners], like Russell Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker, Ron Emmons and Olena Oak, Ted Robinson and Katie Starlight, and the list goes on, are horses and riders that have been teams for the horse’s entire show career. I think it makes it an advantage for the horse and rider.”

Past champions of the event who competed in 2018 include three-time winner Dilday and two-time winner Ron Ralls, as well as past champions John Swales (2017), Clayton Edsall (2016), Corey Cushing (2015) and Boyd Rice (2014).

For more information about the NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman event click here.

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