An Austrian competitor has broken the American stranglehold on the World Reining Masters in Oklahoma City, 29 November.
Rudi Kronsteiner rode Quarter Horse stallion Smart Spook to bag gold medals in both the open and restricted divisions — the first time a non-American has won the open since the championship started four years ago.
Kronsteiner, who showed his potential when landing the restricted last year, is Europe’s top National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) rider. He put his win into perspective.
“I’m really proud for my country,” said Kronsteiner, who was showing the six-year-old Smart Spook for the first time. “We are really small — maybe seven million people, and we have only about 300 NRHA members. For my country and for me, this means a lot.”
America has 15,000 NRHA members.
But Kronsteiner had to fight for his place in the Hall of Fame. After tying with Americans Casey Hinton and Gabe Hutchins in round one, a “runoff” decided the placings.