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Interview mit NRHA Futurity Champion Andrea Fappani
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Vom 21. bis 26. Februar 2006 war NRHA Futurity Champion 2001 und der aktuelle NRHA Futurity Res. Champion Andrea Fappani zu einem Kurs in Deutschland (wittelsbuerger.com vom 11.02.06).

Michel Pec, Präsident des polnischen Reiningverbandes PLRHA nutzte die Gelegenheit zu einem Interview, das er uns liebenswürdigerweise zur Verfügung stellt.


Image   It's not usual to see interviews with such great trainers. Andrea Fappani is considered to be currently one of the best reiners. He is the first European rider to win the prestigious NRHA Open Futurity and multiple NRHA Derby and Futurity. We invite you to discover our exclusive interview with Andrea.

He started riding horses as a child. Reining was a love on a first sight for him. He earned his first titles in Italy, where he won two Non Pro Reserve Champion titles at the Italian Futurity and was twice Derby and Maturity Champion. After finishing his studies, he went to the States, where he was working for John Slack and Todd Bergen. Aboard his own horse he won the Non Pro division at the West Coast Spectacular. Four month later he was crowned NRHA Limited Non Pro Futurity Champion.

After a 10-month break, when Andrea had to return to Italy for military service, he went to Medford, Oregon, to work with Todd Bergen. In 2000 he won the NRHA Intermediate Open Futurity. One year later he guided RR Star to the Open Championship title thus becoming the first European rider to win the NRHA Open Futurity.

This success allowed him to make a decision of running his own business. Since then, he is always at the top of almost every single reining show.

- We always start with presenting the rider to our readers. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself, about how did you get involved with horses and reining?
I grew up on a dairy farm which my father owns. When I was young I rode English. I was nine I started riding reining horses and I was hooked. I won numerous titles as a non pro in Italy. Once I was finished with high school I came to the states to ride with John Slack and Todd Bergen. I was the 1997 MEC Non pro Futurity Champion and the NRHA Limited Non Pro Champion. I had to go back to Italy for the mandatory military service and returned to the states in 1999 to work for Todd Bergen in Medford Oregon.
- You are working in USA for several years. Please tell us what pushed you to move there. What is for you the biggest difference between Europe and USA?
It has always been my dream to show and be competitive in the states. I started spending my summers with different trainers when I was a teenager in the states. My family has always been very supportive of me and that has helped a lot. I moved to the states to be with the best of the best in reining.
- Do you think that there are any differences in how reining horses are trained in Europe and in USA?
I feel that the horses in Europe are trained for the maneuvers, there´s not the horsemanship involved. I learned there is a lot more a horse stopping big and turning big.

Image- We always ask riders about their mentors. Do you have a trainer that you can say he is your mentor? Do you have any favorite riders/trainers from USA or Europe?
I always look up to Todd Bergen. He has such ability in the show pen and can adapt to different types of horses.
- In Europe people often say than Italian riders have their own style of showing reining horses. What do you think about it? Is there really an Italian reining style?
Some of the Italian ( European) riders can be too aggressive and it looks dirty in the show pen.

- You are the first European rider to win the NRHA Open Futurity. Please tell us how it was to win the most important reining show? Tell us also a little bit more about RR Star.
It was an honor to win the NRHA Futurity. RR Star will always be one of my favorites because he made my dream come true. He has had some health problems which is a shame, but it sounds like he is doing well now. I look forward to riding his babies.
Image- In last few years you always finish the NRHA Derby and Futurity among the top riders. For a reining fan these are great results. Are you satisfied with your achievements? Are there any mistakes take you could have avoided or have you had higher expectations for any of your horses?
As for any competitor, you are never really satisfied unless you win and sometimes when you win you think you could have done better. I look at my mistakes as a lesson learned. Of course I always try to be professional and avoid them before they come.
- Your wife Tish is showing reiners in Non Pro disivision. Do you work together on preparing her horses? Do you often exchange your oppinions about your training methods and showing horses?
My wife grew up riding and showing horses. We actually met in OKC at the futurity in 1996. Tish rides and trains her own. Every now and then I will try them. We both give each other advice and are honest about what looks good and what doesn´t.

Image- Last year you were NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion with Big Chex To Cash. Please tell us more about this horse. Will you show him in aged events this year?
Yes, I will show Big Chex To Cash at the aged special events this year. We ( 23 Partnership ) decided to breed him to limited number of mares for 2006 and will stand him in 2007 open more to the public. We feel it is very important to get his babies on the ground while he is still in his prime. He is from a very strong family and hope that he throws to his babies his mind and athletic abilities. I have ridden his older brother Hot Smokin Chex and have his younger brother and sister.
- Do you already know which horses will you show at the 2006 Futurity? When do you start working with futurity prospects? How many times do you usually show them prior to the Futurity in Oklahoma City?
No, I don´t know which horses I will show at the 2003 Futurity. I start riding my prospects as 2 year olds, once the have about 60-90 days on them. I like having the opportunity to spend 2 years on them rather than doing everything in a year. I think it´s much easier on them too.  By the time they are 3 year olds I will weed out the ones that don´t have it ( at least to be competitive with me in the open ). I usually have about 5 3 yr olds that I will show at the pre futurities then I will choose. Some I will show only once, others a couple times. I do haul them out in the beginning of their 3 yr old year to start getting them used to being away from home.
Image- What are you looking for when choosing a reining prospect? What is the most important for you in a reining horse? Do you have a favorite reining sire or is there a reining line that you particularly like?
When I choose a prospect, I look at how they are on the ground to on their backs. I feel a good minded colt is easier to train. Breeding is important, but I will admit I have been very successful on horses that weren’t sired by the trendiest studs at the time.  I will try anything and everything; you just never know when you´ll come across a great one.

- If you could have a ride on any horse from history which one you would choose and why?
Boomernic and Trashadeous are a couple of my favorites from the past they were freaky and looked like a blast to show.
- What are your plans for the 2006 season?
Of course my priority is showing here in the states. It´s hard to say what my schedule will be at the time.
Thank you!

Michal Pec
Photos: Waltenberry, photos of Chocolate Chic Olena courtesy of Ms. Carter Smith Ellingson 


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