Reiner Gunners Nite Special is US Horse of Year

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Gunners Nite Special ridden by Tom McCutcheon. © 2010 Shannon Brinkman

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Jan. 22–The sole World Equestrian Games U.S. double gold medalist, the reining horse Gunners Special Nite, has been named 2010 Farnam/Platform U.S. Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year.

The six-year-old American Quarter Horse ridden by Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, led the U.S. team to a medal by the largest margin in history then captured the individual gold medal.

Sarah B. Willeman of Turnabout Farm bought the chestnut stallion just before the WEG selection trials.

Willeman switched to reining world after an injury to her back shortened her career in the hunter/jumper world.

No Olympic discipline horses–dressage, jumping or eventing–were nominated for the award that is by vote of USEF members, despite Steffen Peters and Ravel becoming the first combination in U.S. history to win two individual medals in a world championship.