agree there’s no language barrier here. They all speak
the international language of reining as they greet their friends
from other countries on Thursday in Denver.
Many riders settled in at their special secluded Masters area
at the National Western complex. They have a common lounge
area decorated with flags of the competing nations hanging from
the ceiling. Tack rooms and stalls are filling up as riders
from the different countries move in. All of the competitors
sit around and laugh and cut up with one another. They say
they’ve competed together many times and are now just friends.
Jeannette Kraehenbuehl of Switzerland
is one of three women competing in the Masters Finals. She has
been to the Masters three times now. Kraehenbuehl says,
“I was looking forward to it because it is nice to have
all the nations together.”
of the reiners say there’s something more at stake at the
Masters Finals than the prize money. They all agree the
most important thing to them is to be chosen to represent their
respective countries. Doug Allen from Great
Britain says, “It’s
really exciting when you have some of the best riders in the world.
They’re the best from each of their individual countries
all getting together in one competition. It’s really exciting.”
Tom McCutcheon from the United
States agrees, “Anytime
you wear the American flag on your shirt it raises the importance
of the competition. It’s an honor to show under our flag.
Only two reiners can represent the United
States and it’s an honor
to be one of them.” World Champion reiner Shawn Flarida
is the other rider representing the United
States. Nicolas Hormann
will be riding for Germany.
He says Reining is growing in his country. He’s one
of two reiners reiners chosen from Germany
to compete in the Masters. Hormann says, “It’s
a pleasure to be here and for me it’s an honor to be here
for my country to ride for my country.”
for at least one Masters finalist, Luis Orizondo representing
the Dominican Republic,
this trip to Denver
has exposed him to something he’s never seen before.
“I’ve been to the United
States many times before, but
this is the first time I’ve ever seen snow.” Denver
saw its first snowfall of the season on Tuesday night leaving
trees and the mountains in the distance covered with a blanket