The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Non-Pro finals began Friday morning, Nov. 30, with section one. In section two, held later in the afternoon, 33 of the top competitors rode into the arena aboard the hottest futurity prospects in the industry.
When Tish Fappani and Icecube came sliding into the Jim Norick Arena as the second-to-last draw, Fappani’s show vest glittered beneath the bright lights, and their maneuvers dazzled the crowd and judges alike.
As the stallion son of freshman sire SG Frozen Enterprise and Fappani finished their pattern, the scoreboard overhead announced they had matched the previous tie between Samantha Smith, riding Neverthoughtiwould, and Madison Steed, aboard Into the Nite, with their own 222.5.
The roar of the crowd nearly drowned the announcer’s voice informing the top three competitors to prepare their mounts for a run-off. The crowd was privy to another thrilling display of horsemanship, after which Fappani and Icecube marked a 223.5 to claim the Level 4 Non-Pro Championship and a check for $45,117.
“It was so good! I was nervous,” said a breathless Fappani about her thrilling run-off for the title. “It was just tight because we were so late in the draw, so I didn’t really have time for him to air up. I felt bad for him because he didn’t really have the time to catch his air.”
The 3-year-old stallion must have had ice in his veins to return to the finals arena for the second time in about thirty minutes and mark an even higher score.
“He’s just a special horse; he’s a big, strong horse,” said Fappani, who had $543,893 in lifetime earnings prior to the finals.
“He’s really good-minded. He hung with me both times. I never felt like he got away from me,” she added of the stallion, who is out of the Mr Boomerjac mare Taris Designer Genes. “In the first run I had some rider errors myself, so he was great. I just needed to come back in and be clean.”
Icecube, who took Reserve at the High Roller Reining Classic Futurity and the Best of the West Futurity earlier this year, came into the finals with $8,105 to his name. Bred by Rancho Oso Rio LLC, the Fappani-owned horse is a “big turner and is getting stronger in his stops,” according to Fappani, who was the 2015 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro Champion as well.
“He’s a blast to run circles on, too, because he just kinds of hunkers down. It’s fun. He’s a neat horse!” she added.
When Icecube is at home, he bears little resemblance to the fierce competitor the crowd witnessed in the finals. “He’s always half-asleep and he walks really slow,” Fappani said with a laugh. “He’s just a really chill horse.”
Icecube has a well-deserved rest to look forward to after the Futurity. Fappani anticipates returning to the ring with her stallion in his 4-year-old season.
Quarter Horse News
written by Katie Marchetti
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