Since 2011, the Kentucky Reining Cup has been held in conjunction with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and has become a fan favorite in its own right. After a thrilling day watching top riders tackle one of the toughest cross-country courses in the world, spectators head over to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena on Saturday night to watch the Freestyle Reining World Championship.
Last year’s champion, Dan James, was back again this year in spite of a serious leg injury he sustained while working with a young horse earlier this spring. He rode his own IRA Top Gunner in an inspiring freestyle that included the liberty work James is known for. He left with a zero score as his performance did not include all of the required elements, but the fans didn’t care about that. James and Top Gunner took home the People’s Choice award.