Holidazzle Horse Show: Dakotans Shine

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Working Cow Horse/Cutting

Shaina Rasmusson and Bradley trotting [Photo: Nancy Louden]

Local North Dakotans ventured to the Land of 10,000 Lakes bringing home more than just some razzle dazzle. They qualified for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Show at the recent North Central Reined Cow Horse Association Holidazzle Show in Winona, Minn. at the Minnesota Equestrian Center.

“This was Shaina Rasmusson and Sami Lyon’s first time showing in some cow classes. They got out of their comfort zone and branched out of local shows to compete at the Holidazzle and seeing their faces coming out of the cutting pen, all smiles, was worth the experience,” explained Jacob Anderson, reining cow horse trainer/teacher in Lisbon, N.D.

Shaina Rasmusson on Bradley [Photo: Nancy Louden]

Shaina Rasmusson, Lisbon, said she looked at the trip as being an experience to keep becoming a better competitor and ended up qualifying for the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships in the ranch riding.

“We hadn’t worked with many cows prior to this, but [we] were confident on the reining and other classes, but some how we lucked out and were able to go to Ryan and Sam Gallentines arena in Belle Plane, Minn. ahead of the show. We knocked a little of the edge off there,” said Rasmusson.

Shaina Rasmusson and Bradley cutting [Photo: Nancy Louden]

The AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships are covenant equine events in which competitors must reach a predetermined number of points to secure a spot in each of the classes. Points earned in individual classes count toward qualifying for the AQHA Versatility-Ranch Horse World Championships. 

Rasmusson added that the rookie boxing, which is a ‘club’ class and one she is confident in, is where she scored the highest reining score.

“I was pumped about that. In the peak of COVID, Spring of 2020, our season at South Dakota State University got cancelled, and I really wanted to keep riding and getting stronger at showing,” said Rasmusson. That’s when one lesson turned into a daily ritual with Anderson, and the cowgirl was doing chores, saddling, and unsaddling earning her knowledge and experience with horses.

Shaina Rasmusson and Bradley stopping [Photo: Nancy Louden]

Riding SH Nightly Chex, also known as Bradley, Rasmusson took the gelding through his first reining cow horse class and his owner, Jane Hammer (who passed) was a huge part of why the horsewoman had to do it. “Jane loved the ranch riding classes, and I wanted to make her happy,” Rasmusson said.

When Rasmusson isn’t on top of a reining horse, she is a sales/agronomist trainee at CHS-Dakota Plains Ag.

Ending up 4th in the all-around, gaining points in the ranch riding, qualifying for the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Championships seemed like a good way to close out the year and set her sights on the show Oklahoma this spring.

All-around versatility ranch horse titles are awarded at every VRH show to the high-placing horse-and rider team in the open, cowboy, amateur and youth divisions. The team must enter and show in a minimum of three categories-at least one cattle class such as ranch cow work to be eligible.

Lisbon high school student Sami Lyons took the trip to the MN Equestrian Center. “It was kind of scary at first. We only really worked live cattle about one time before we came. Jacob and Shaina really helped a lot and made it fun,” said Sami.

Sami Lyons [Photo: Nancy Louden]

The team of ‘confidence builders’ paid off for Sami, and she took home the Youth Overall Championship in the versatility ranch horse class.

Sami’s goals are straightforward, “Keep going to more shows, improving each time, have fun with it to keep getting more comfortable with the bigger shows.”

Sami Lyons [Photo: Nancy Louden]

Sami began riding when she was about seven and was in 4-H horse shows and did trail rides. Her mom, Kelly Lyons, started showing in AQHA shows with Sami trotting in her footsteps.

Sami started and bought her horse, Budget, in August and did a reining show prior to Winona and started training for the cow events throughout the fall with Anderson. “Horses have brought me a way to just escape and do my own thing. It’s different than playing for a team; it’s my escape from the real world,” said Sami.

Sami Lyons [Photo: Nancy Louden]

When Sami isn’t riding her escape, she is in FFA, 4-H, and plays volleyball for the Lisbon Broncos. She is the daughter of Jeff and Kelly Lyons.

“It is great to go compete myself and be with theses students that are finding their way in the working cow horse arena, I love being a part of it,” graciously stated Anderson.

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