November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Junior Reining

Jordan Larson takes the top two spots in junior reining.

High Roller Whiz and Jordan Larson

High Roller Whiz and Jordan Larson

Jordan Larson was facing a busy night of reining November 16 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show – he had two horses qualified in the junior finals and one in the senior.

“It was a little hectic,” Jordan told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “We tried to be as prepared as we could. … All I had to do was jog them around and lope them a little bit and I was ready to go show.

“I wanted to go in there and push, but not too far.”

First up was draw No. 9 in the junior reining, Stoney and Stuart Russell’s High Roller Whiz, a 2008 stallion by West Coast Whiz and out of Gettinsmart by Smart Chic Olena. The stallion was bred by Bob Loomis Quarter Horses Inc. of Overbrook, Oklahoma.

Jordan was happy with the 221 he marked on the stallion in the prelims to qualify for the finals.

“I really hadn’t shown him competitively before, and we didn’t really know each other well,” Jordan said. “So it was kind of getting to know him on the fly a little bit. He’s incredible-minded and the people who rode him before me did a great job. He’s a pleasure to ride.”

Riding pattern No. 9, Jordan marked a 226. By the time his second junior horse rolled around 14th in the go, Cam Bearden’s Legacy In Lights, Jordan still had himself to beat – they scored a 222 and it held to give Jordan the reserve, too.

Stuart said it really “took a village” to get the horse they call “Vegas” to his title win.

“It started with buying him, obviously, from a great breeder, Bob Loomis; and having great veterinary care with Dr. John McCarroll,” she said. “He started out with Todd Sommers, and Craig Schmersal actually qualified him for the World, and Yonathan Baruch has had him recently. Everybody has done very well with him.

“This is his first big break,” she continued. “He’s just always been a great horse, and he’s had some bobbles in his patterns here and there. It’s been almost a curse of bad luck, and you just think he’s going to have his moment, and this was it!”

Vegas has more than $54,000 in National Reining Horse Association earnings and his 2013 accomplishments include winning the junior reining at the Arizona Quarter Horse Association Sun Country Circuit.

“He’s just so good-minded,” Stuart added. “He doesn’t want to do anything but please you, he never gets pissy. He’s good-minded and tries to understand anything anyone has ever done with him. He tries to make you happy.”

“With a horse like that, you almost have to be careful because he wants to over-try a little bit, and try to be too good,” Jordan put in. “He listens really well. He’s very talented and really stylish. He steals as many points as he gains because he’s pleasing to watch. He’s really pleasant.

“The definition of a great reining horse is to be willingly guided and to be dictated to completely and that’s him. He doesn’t ever say no.”

Jordan brought four horses total to the World Show this year and qualified three for the reining finals. Based in Whitesboro, Texas, Jordan operates out of his Larson Performance Horses. He and his wife, Taylor, have one son, Cash, and two daughters, Hannah and Chloe. NRHA’s youngest Million Dollar Rider, his accomplishments include winning the 2010 NRHA Futurity on Spooks Gotta Whiz.

“For a horse trainer, you grow up dreaming of winning the World,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to do it in 2011 (in senior reining on Rancho El Fortin’s Custom Harley), and it just makes you want to do it again and again. It’s a dream come true.

“I grew up idolizing guys like Bob Avila and Todd Bergen and John Slack, and they were big AQHA guys. It’s really exciting.”

Plans now are to give Vegas a break back at his owners' place in Longview, Texas.

“He’s going home this week and getting turned out and going to be a horse," Stuart said. "Past that, we haven’t made up our minds on anything. Spur of the Moment Farms is the name of our barn and that’s the way we fly."

UPDATE: Jordan also won the senior reining on Custom Cash Advance, again marking a 226, making it a reining clean sweep!

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