Carbondale rider wins reining title in OK |

Carbondale rider wins reining title in OK

Samantha Belcher and her horse, Moonstone Dun It. (submitted photo)

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Carbondale’s own Samantha Belcher brought home the national championship for the 14- to 18-year-old division, from last weekend’s National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) North American Affiliate Championships in Oklahoma City.

Belcher and her horse, Moonstone Dun It, competed Dec. 7 against 18 youth riders who had qualified from six other regional finals across the United States. For her win, Belcher received a championship saddle, a Morrison trophy, a championship belt buckle, and numerous other sponsor prizes.

Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse within the confines of a show arena. In NRHA competitions, contestants are required to run one of 10 approved patterns. Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, 360 degree spins done in place, and exciting sliding stops that are hallmark of the reining horse.

To get to the national event, Belcher and “Mooney” finished and qualified second in her age group in the local Western Slope Reining Horse Association (WSRHA) for this season, receiving the honor to attend the regional competition. The four top riders in each division then compete at the national championships.

In the local WSRHA, Belcher also competed against people of all ages and good-caliber horses and won the overall year-end award for the Intermediate Non-Pro Division and received a championship belt buckle.

Belcher then went on to compete at a regional affiliate finals in Denver in October and finished first overall in her age group.

She also completed in a team tournament and her three-person team claimed first prize that came with a buckle and a $600 scholarship. She was also the high point youth with a score of 143 and won a championship saddle.

Belcher, now a sophomore at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, has been riding since she was 6 years old and has competed in western riding and English jumping competitions. She took up reining when she was 9 and was hooked.

She started training with Randy and Jessica Dooley of Dooley Performance Horses in January 2006 and credits much of her success to their guidance and training.

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