Local reiner qualifies for nationals in Oklahoma

Eagle resident Charlie Sue Pates, 14, competes in the National Reining Horse Association Mountain Regional Affiliate Finals Sept. 27 in Denver. Pates rode 4-year-old Bay Quarter Horse Spank N Tivito, otherwise known as "Boggie."
Special to the Daily |

DENVER — Eagle resident Charlie Sue Pates, 14, won top honors at the National Reining Horse Association Mountain Regional Affiliate Finals last week.

Pates rode 4-year-old bay Quarter Horse Spank N Tivito (otherwise known as “Boggie”) to claim the Youth Reining Championship in the 13-and-under age group. With the win, Pates advances to the Adequan North American Affiliate Championships held in Oklahoma City Nov. 28 to Dec. 6.

Reining, known for its thrilling descents down the arena to graceful sliding stops, is the fastest growing and most popular Western equine sport around the world. A judged event, reining is designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse within the confines of a show arena. The general description and judging rules state, “To rein a horse is not only to guide him but also to control his every movement. The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely.”


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For Pates, the win was a memorable one. Pates’ previous horse is aging and had struggled with injuries in the middle of the 2012 season. After finding Boogie, it took years of hard work and long training hours before Pates was ready to start competing. Now one of only eight reiners in her age group to qualify for the Adequan North American Affiliate Championships, Pates says she owes her success local trainer Maynard Smith.

“(Smith) has incredible knowledge and skill in training performance horses,” Pates said. “He has also shown incredible patience and has been an inspiration for me. It is hard to find a trainer with this amount of expertise and dedication to the sport. In my eyes it is really Smith that earned this win.”

Pates says she has also enjoyed the camaraderie with the other riders at Smith’s barn, including Eagle’s Sharesa Wilbanks, Edwards’ John Wills and Grand Junction’s Leigh Taylor.

“We all support each other,” said Pates. “This barn has been incredibly motivating to me.”

Other notable performances from local residents included include Kelsy Douglas, of Gypsum, who qualified in the short stirrup division. Douglas took third in short stirrup and tied for sixth in 13-and-under age group.

Finding inspiration from the local fairs and rodeos, Pates has been in love with horses ever since she can remember. Pates has held the title for the past three years as the Beaver Creek rodeo princess alongside queens Angela Giovagnoli and most recently Maddy Fields. This weekend Pates handed down her crown to the new Beaver Creek princess, and her good friend, Abby Fields who will join her sister Maddy as queen.

Pates has been involved in the Western Slope Horse Reining Association since 2010. She is the president of the Western Slope Reining Horse Youth Association and encourages other youth to come out and get involved in reining.

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