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This year’s Reining By The Bay, held July 22-27 in Woodside, California showcased the talents of California trainer, Andrea Fappani when he dominated the limited age event competition by capturing both Open Derby and Futurity Championships, as well as Open Derby Reserve and Open Futurity Reserve titles worth a total of $20,753.


Riding Spooks Gotta Gun, owned by Duane Hicks, Marrieta, Oklahoma, Fappani turned in a 229 performance during the one-run event for the Open Derby Championship and $10,000 winner’s check. The six-year-old stallion is by Grays Starlight and out of Katie Gun, who is by John Gun and also the dam of the well-known stallion, Gunner.


Fappani has had Spooks Gotta Gun in his training program since the end of April, and for only three weeks before showing him to a Open Derby Reserve Championship at Rancho Murieta, and a third place at the NRHA Derby. The 2007 APHA Junior Reining World Champion poses a particular challenge given that he is deaf. However, Fappani, who says he has ridden several deaf horses over the years, considers “Spook” to be considerably talented in spite of his disability.


“Spook is a deaf horse, but he doesn’t feel like one,” he emphasized. “He’s really, really sensitive and not numb at all. He’s very alert to everything, but he’s real quiet and, contrary to his name, doesn’t spook at all!” He added, “He’s a really fun horse, and very honest in the show pen. Even with being six-years-old, he never tries to cheat or get uptight. He runs great circles, because he handles the speed really well.”


Tinsel Jac, who carried Fappani to the Open Derby Reserve Championship, is a Palomino stallion by Dolls Union Jac and out of Holly Tinsel Town, by Primary Pine. He is owned by Tinsel Jac Partners of Guadalajara, Mexico. The pair earned the Reserve title with a 227.5 performance that garnered a check for $7014.62.

After receiving the horse into his training program following this year’s National Reining Breeder’s Classic show, Andrea said he was well aware of the horse’s talent. “I had seen him as a four and five-year-old and always liked him,” he mentioned. “He had some very good runs in the past, but always seemed to have some bad luck.”


But the NRHA million dollar rider wasn’t finished collecting his due. In the Open Futurity he and Nimble Star Wars, bred and owned by Alfred Nueberger, Austria, turned in a 149 two-judge score to nail the Open Futurity Championship title.

“I’ve had him since his two-year-old year,” explained Andrea of the stallion by Smart Starbuck and out of Abbie Be Nimble, by The Jac Be Nimble. “Even early in the futurity season, he’s a three-year-old that acts like a four-year-old. He’s very consistent and pretty easy to show and gets better everyday. I’ve taken him to several shows just to see how he’d be; and, even though he’s a stud, he never has nickered or looked at mares. He just goes to work and does his job. He’s a really good-minded horse.”


Fappani admits that Nimble Star Wars is the first Smart Starbuck offspring he has ridden. “I’m enjoying him quite a bit,” he said. “I’m taking him to another futurity in Tulsa; and, if he feels good there, we’ll probably give him a little break and then just go to the (NRHA) Futurity after that.”

Crome Plated Step, a brown gelding by Wimpys Little Step, owned by Regina De La Madrid of Coronado, California and Andrea Fappani wrapped up the show with a 147.5 for the Open Futurity Reserve Championship.


“I was actually a little bit concerned to show him, because he isn’t as broke as my other two. But, I was very pleased with the way he showed. He actually showed better than he was outside in the practice pen. Some of the horses are natural show horses where you just put your hand down and go show. It’s sometimes better to do that than keep picking at them in training and trying to make them perfect. He’s been a big surprise to me. I’ve always known he was a good horse, but he’s even better than what I thought.”


Article by Sheri Forrest

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