John Swales and Heza Diamond Spark put in four clutch performances to win the World’s Greatest Horseman competition at the 2017 National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions!
Reined cow horse could be called the eventing of the western world — combinations are tested in reining, cow work and cutting, imitating the kind of tasks that a working cow horse would be expected to perform on the job. Horses must be well broke and cow savvy, athletic, quick on their feet and well aware of their job to do; riders must have cow sense of their own to appropriately “read” a cow and set up their horse for success. A good reined cow horse run is a work of art but a grueling test for both horse and rider.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association’s annual Celebration of Champions takes place each February in Fort Worth, Texas, culminating in the World’s Greatest Horseman competition. This contest includes the reined cow horse components of reining, cow work and cutting and also includes a steer stopping portion in which a steer is roped and brought to a stop, requiring roping skills from the rider and strength from the horse.
The 2017 World’s Greatest Horseman was crowned over the weekend: Canadian John Swales rode Heza Diamond Spark, a 2005 palomino stallion owned by 7P Ranch. Watch a quick interview with Swales and highlights from the four phases:
Phew! The open field turns away from the fence are a challenge to pull off, but this team made it look easy. Congratulations to John Swales and all connections of Heza Diamond Spark! What a run, and what a horse.
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