Top Score for Blessing and Smart Spook Surprise in the NRHA European Futurity Non Pro Go Round

November 12, 2021

Stephanie Blessing

The second day of the $340,214*-added 2021 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Futurity presented by NRHA Corporate Partner Markel Insurance and sponsored by NRHA Corporate Partner Cardinal Reining Horses saw 63 horse-rider combinations in the Non Pro Futurity Qualifier in Cremona, Italy, battling for a spot in the Non Pro Futurity Finals on Sunday, November 14.

Managed by the Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA), the European Futurity is held concurrently with the IRHA 4-year-old Futurity and the Italian Quarter Horse Association Futurity—the latter held in one go round.

It wasn’t till the end of the day when Stephanie Blessing walked in the pen aboard her mare Smart Spook Surprise. The duo performed a run awarded a 216 score to lead the $49,817*-added Level (L) 4 Non Pro division. “I did not expect to have such a good run today!” said a surprised Blessing. “My mare was really great, she has such a big heart. Normally, she circles great, but today, she also stopped huge. I was surprised, because last night it didn’t look like she was going to stop so well and today she did, so I am happy. I just want to do the same thing in the Finals, that is our goal,” added the German rider.

Roberta Gianformaggio

Smart Spook Surprise is by the NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire Smart Spook and out of ARC Honey Chick and was bred and nominated by Società Agricola Le Fattorie Di Matilde. Blessing and Smart Spook Surprise also lead the IRHA 4-year-old L4 Non Pro Futurity go round.

Tying to lead the $31,591*-added L3 division, was Italy’s Roberta Gianformaggio aboard her gelding Shining N Speedy Gun (Colonel Shining Gun x Smart N Speedy), who scored 215. Gianformaggio’s show year has been very successful and the Italian non professional is quick to credit her horses and her trainer, Mirko Midili, for her success. “I love horses and I love riding,” said a smiling Gianformaggio after her qualifying ride. “I purchased this horse as a 2-year-old from breeder [and nominator] Mauro Taccia immediately after I saw him: There was just something special about him. Typically, when it’s love at first sight with a horse, we bond. I didn’t really need a horse but saw him, liked him, and he was mine! He has a wonderful personality, is a very honest horse in the show pen. The fact that he had to stop working because he contracted piroplasmosis and I had to look after him, really strengthened our bond. I am happy I purchased him and in the show pen he takes care of me all the way, as he did today.”

Lucio Lavezzari

On home turf, Lucio Lavezzari, rode his gelding As Just In Time to a score of 215 to tie the lead in L3 and also to top the $17,010*-added L2 and $8,505*-added L1 as well as the IRHA 4-year-old L2 Non Pro Futurity go round.

Lavezzari has been riding with Italian Professional Paolo Orlandini for close to three years. After bringing a horse in boarding at Orlandini Quarter Horses, Como, Italy, the 16-year-old decided to purchase As Just In Time, AKA ‘Giustino.’ At the time, the APHA gelding by One Gun out of FG Easter Calbar, bred and nominated by Stefania Bordogna, was 2-years-old. “The first time I rode him I immediately liked him, even though he had just been broke,” he said. “We grew up together and now it’s great to be in the Finals in two divisions at my first European Futurity. Today it was a really fun ride; he was so good, relaxed, and stopped really nicely. My goal now is to give it my all and do the best I can in the Finals.” The young team is also leading IRHA 4-year-old L2 Non Pro Futurity go round.

(*Subject to change in nominations)

The action in Cremona continues with the NRHA European Futurity Open Finals on Saturday, November 13, starting at 2 p.m. CET with Section 1 and followed by Section 2 starting at 6 p.m.

To follow the action live, click here

Click here for complete results and live score

Photo by NRHA European Futurity Official Photographer Andrea Bonaga

For further information,

Media Contact:
Simona Diale / International Horse Press