TSL: Sarah, you have been very successful at the Euro Paint for many years. Tell us a bit about the last show – was there one win that was very special?
Sarah Vorraber (SV): This year’s Euro Paint was very special to me, because I have not been able to compete as much as I wanted in the past due years due to work. I have practiced a lot, but I would have never dreamed of having such a successful show! I have won nine gold medals, one silver medal and three bronze medals, one medal in each performance class I have shown in. Furthermore, Emanuel Ernst won the Reining Challenge and gold in Senior Reining with our stallion Big Chic Gun, Nina Leiner took home gold with Like Smokin Gun in Western Riding Open, Senior Trail Open, Senior Pleasure Open and won the Green Western Pleasure with Willi Gotit Goin On as well as the bronze medal in Open Junior Hunter under Saddle. I am very proud of Willi Gotit Goin On aka Chrissy’s achievements. I bought her as a yearling from Kim Stonerock and imported her from the US. She was doing great at her first Euro Paint and always gave her best! I have to thank my trainer Nina Leiner a lot – all the horses she trains are as calm as she is, no matter how stressful it is. I have been training with Nina for more than nine years and you can really sense her love for animals and that this job is perfect for her.
TSL: You have been showing your horse Like Smokin Gun for a while and it is fascinating to see a Reining bred horse doing so well in the allround events!
SV: My Dad is breeding Reining horses that can do the allround events as well. He wants to breed calm, good-minded horses with great movement – horses anyone could ride. All of my former horses have been Reining bred. My Dad has imported my other mare Lenas Amazing Grace from the States and she is a great mover as well and she has won gold medals in all allround events at the Euro Paint in the past. Like Smokin Gun was bred by my Dad. Her dam is a half-sister to Lenas Amazing Grace and she is sired by The Big Gun, so I knew she was going to be great. We start all our horses by ourselves and train them a lot by ourselves. I rode Like Smokin Gun for the first time when she was 30 months old and has been under saddle for three weeks. It was “love at first ride”! I quickly recognized how exceptionally talented she was and could talk my parents into keeping her. Because of her talent I named her Diamond. She was like a rough diamond and I knew she was going to be great. The character of the Reining bred horses is amazing! They are good-minded, patient, willing to please and always give their best! Diamond is so special, she wants to cuddle all the time and always gives 100 percent! No matter how many classes she has to do at a show, she will always greet you with her ears forward. She had her first foal this year. She is a very loving and caring mother and still gives 100 percent at home and at the show. We will breed her to a Pleasure/allround stallion next year and will keep the baby. Diamond is a great mover – my Dad puts a lot of focus on the horses’ movement and that they can be trained easily. He has managed to breed horses that have been dominating the allround events as well as the Reining classes. This year our stallion – and half-brother to Like Smokin Gun – Big Chic Gun won the Reining challenge and the Senior Reining. Like Smokin Gun won the Open Western Riding, Open Senior Trail and Open Senior Pleasure. Both horses were bred by my Dad, are easy to ride and to handle.
TSL: Usually, you show great young horses that were bred by your parents. Your latest addition, however, was a double-registered mare by Winnies Willy. How did that happen? Do you plan on showing more on the AQHA circuit?
SV: Yes, I have always shown horses that were bred by my parents and will continue to do so in the future as well. It has always been my dream to own a Pleasure bred horse. Katrin Tengg imported her mare Goodilicious from the States in 2015 and that was when I decided that I wanted such a horse as well. I have been looking for horses for a long time, but could not find something in Europe, so I started to search the internet for horses from the States. I found a video of Willi Gotit Goin On on Youtube, so that is how I got Chrissy. She was “only” AQHA registered at that time, but the breeder told me that she had a spot on her belly and could be APHA registered. It was love at first sight. In the first video Kim sent to me one could already see what a great mover Chrissy was. Unfortunately, I could not fly to the States myself, so a friend of my Mum looked at Chrissy and took more videos. I quickly had decided for myself that I would buy that horse. After the vet check and the APHA registration the matter was settled. Chrissy arrived at Frankfurt Airport and my Mum, my boyfriend Christian and I were anxiously waiting. When I saw her live for the first time I fell in love again! Although Chrissy’s character is a lot different than that of my other horses, we got our act together. She is a great horse which is why we will use her as a broodmare as soon as possible. Since she is double-registered I have travelled to the Bavarian Championship and the Summer Show this year, but my heart will always belong to the APHA circuit. I will do some AQHA shows, but stay true to the Paint Horses.
TSL: You have been part of the European APHA Circuit for so many years – what has changed over the years?
SV: My parents went to the Euro Paint for the first time in 1995 and already took home the first gold medal. No year without a gold medal went by ever since. I started my career when I was eight years old and showed in the Walk Trot in 1998 with Parkers Sunny Miss. I won this class which was quite big with twelve people showing in it. That was how it all started. At the next Euro Paint in Bonn, I showed in the regular Youth class and took home the Reserve title in Youth Trail with Parkers Sonny Miss. During the past ten years, the European APHA industry has become much more competitive! I think it was obvious this year – there were more horses at the Euro Paint than at the ECQH! The more horses, the more great performances and the more you’re proud of yourself if you can win a class!
TSL: Anyone you would like to thank?
SV: I want to thank everyone who supports me every day and thereby is part of my success! Especially my parents, Johanna and Franz Vorraber, who make all my dreams come true; my boyfriend Christian Mitscha who travels to every show with me and indulges all of my whims, Nina Leiner, the world’s best trainer and Emanuel Ernst who managed to get me ready for the Reining within one training session, as well as his team who always cares for our horses in the best possible way!