The IRHA/NRHA 4-year-old Non Pro Futurity Finals

Laura Dalla Gassa and Gunners Special Olena Laura Dalla Gassa and Gunners Special Olena Photo by Andrea Bonaga
December 13, 2018

The finals of the 2018 IRHA/NRHA 4-year-old Non Pro counted 27 finalists representing six nations (Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland and Switzerland).  Taking home the Level (L)4 and L3 Championship was Laura Dalla Gassa of Italy riding Gunners Special Olena, an own daughter of NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Gunners Special Nite out of Dolly Special Lena.

“This is a truly special story,” said an emotional Dalla Gassa after winning both the Level (L)4 and L3 Championships. “It all started last year when my dad [Diego] and I were looking for a mare that could in the future become our top brood mare. We had seen quite a few mares but “Dolly”, who had been shown by Nicola Cordioli, was the one that I immediately fell in love with — there was something about her.”


Laura and her father decided that the mare would be ridden under the guidance of Ann Fonck. “Ann and Bernard are amazing people and amazing trainers; and Ann proved that she was the right one as soon as she took over the reins. She was already a good mare but is becoming better and better every time Ann puts work on her,” added Laura. “Our mare did well at the NRHA European Futurity, she won the Belgium Futurity and was third at the NRHA Germany Breeders Futurity with an amazing 227.5 score. We knew she was a good horse, but never imagined she would be so good.”


Plans made with Ann for the mare also included the 2018 IRHA/NRHA 4-year-old Non Pro Futurity with Laura in the saddle. “We took her home at Ongaresca Reining Horses where [NRHA Professional and Judge] Ricky Bordignon and my dad would help me out when I rode her,” she added. “I would call Ann whenever I needed extra help and she was always there for me. The first time I showed her we won the regional APCR Futurity and when we got here my goal was to win. In the first go-round I was very nervous because I wanted to make the finals. Tonight I was a lot more relaxed and things went exactly as planned! Next year, after a well-deserved break, Ann will be showing her again.”


Taking the L4 Reserve Championship was Manuel Bonzano and his Zedd Sunburst (Great Sun Burst x Ms Sanditch Whiz) a mare bred by 23 Quarter Horses. In the L3 division, renowned breeder Claudio Risso claimed second place honors riding Rs Twitter Jac (RS Great Jac Feona x RS Countach Olena).

Andrea Castrucci and KN Taco Whiz, a stallion by Skeets Dun out of KN Skeets Miss Badger, posted a 212 to take the title in the L2 Championship. “Tako was bred by us and is an own son of one of our stallions. He is out of a mare, also bred by us, who was never shown because of injury but who has already proven herself as a brood mare,” said Castrucci. “I have two full-brothers to Taco and am very happy with them.” KN Taco Whiz was trained by Gennaro Lendi who showed him to the Lazio Futurity where he won. In the IRHA/IRHBA/NRHA Futurity he was shown by Luca Dossetto, who unfortunately spun him five times, and following the year-end event he made his way back to Castrucci’s facility, KN Resort.

“This is a really good horse and, after having been shown by a great trainer such as Lendi, put me in the position of having to adapt to him. This is the very first time that I’ve shown him and, because I don’t know him that well, I wanted to stay on the safe side,” he said. “I will certainly ask more in the derbies and, even though he is not easy for me to show, I like him a lot and I am happy that I did not sell him,” concluded Castrucci who has been showing reining horses since 2004 and who has gone back to an old passion; wind surfing. The non professional has won over $150,000 NRHA LTE thanks to his impressive show record which includes a past NRHA Non Pro World Championship won in 2009 with Skeets Dun and an AQHA World title.


Claiming the L2 Reserve Championship was Lara Lorengo riding Heidi Whiz (NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Walla Walla Whiz x Heidi Sailor), an NRHA Euroepan Futurity L3 Open finalist.

Andrea Castelli and his Miss Playguns (Great Sun Burst x Playguns Chick) had already left their mark in the CremonaFiere arena on Tuesday after the pair had taken home the IRHA/FISE Novice Horse Non Pro Championship with a 142.5 score. “My goal was not only to slide on the highest step of the podium in the Italian Championship … it was also that of making the finals and, possibly, take home a title in the 4-year-old Futurity,” said Castelli who qualified for both the L2 and L1 finals. “I still cannot believe that we won the L1 title. I’ve had this mare for the past year and, even though she’s always been consistent, this year she proved that she could do better both at home and in the show pen. As a matter of fact, she has matured a lot. Tonight, we could have done even better but, my mistake, we had an over spin penalty. I’m really happy and my thank you goes to my girlfriend, Giulia Mandaletti, and to [NRHA Professional] Mattia Nadalini who will collaborate with Mandaletti Quarter Horses as of next year.”


A half-a-point behind Castelli’s 209.5, Alessia Simoncini and her Ot Great Sun (Great Sun Burst x OT Taris Me) took reserve honors. The 20 year old who rides under the guidance of Gennaro Lendi, last year took the IRHA/IRHBA/NRHA L1 Non Pro Futurity Championship.