Plendls find plenty of success in 2020
Thanks in part to the COVID restrictions – which sent their girls home for online college courses, the Plendl family of Kingsley, Iowa, saw many successes in the arena in 2020.
Michele Plendl, mother of twins Regan and Reyly and husband to Rick, said the family has never before had one of their cutting horses make it to the open finals.
While both girls have had many achievements leading up to this year, the most recent success was Reyly’s.
The twin who loves showing, but maybe not quite as much as her sister, recently earned Reserve Champion status in the non-pro futurity division at the NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) futurity in Fort Worth, Texas. The horse and rider team was first place in the gelding non-pro, which means he was the highest point-earning gelding in that category.
Neither of the girls has ever made it this far. “This is the first non-pro futurity finals I’ve ever made, which is special in itself. Then to become reserve champion – I never expected that. I’ve never done that well,” said Reyly, the University of South Dakota senior who is working toward a career as a dentist and works as an account manager for 2M Marketing (a horse promotion firm).
The horse she rode, nicknamed Rodney, is one the family raised and Reyly and her dad Rick started as a two-year-old. Dirk Blakesley of Wichita, Kansas trained Nitreyious as a three-year-old, taking him to several preworks in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, to prepare him for the big show.
“I made it through the run, the first go, the second go, the semi-finals,” remembers Reyly. “I can’t take credit (for the results). The horse has so much heart, he’s so solid, he helps me out a lot,” she said.
She could see a lot of potential in Rodney early on, but never dared predict he would be a reserve champion, she said.
Twin sister Regan has much to celebrate recently, as well.
The USD senior will graduate in May with a business degree, works full time for (surprise!) 2M Marketing and even before COVID, would often sneak home to help her dad with farm and feedlot work, says her mother.
Cats Lightning Rey, out of a Dual Rey mare, is the horse Regan found success on in recent months.
Nick O’Dell of Fort Scott, Kansas, has trained horses for the Plendl family for about six years, and, putting time in on Cats Lightning Rey.
Both horses have integrity and are good to be around, easy to train and start, she said.
In 2019, she won the championship at The Non-Pro Plus the Open Show in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and another non-pro championship at the Western Nationals in Denver.
“From there, we went to NCHA Summer Spectacular and won the non-pro there. That was part of the Triple Crown Event, that was pretty big,” she explains.
Cats Lightning Rey is gentle enough that her three-year-old niece rides him and has claimed him for her own, said Regan.
“He was really easy from the get-go. We kind of grew together. I had kind of a tough start on him, but once we clicked, the chips fell into place, and you could tell it was meant to be and it took off from there.”
In cutting competitions, the judges are mostly looking at the horse’s ability, she explained. “The horse pretty much does most of the work. The rider can get points deducted, depending on what they do.” The rider is not supposed to pick up his or her hand while working a cow, but cue the horse with his or her feet, said Regan.
Each member of the family agrees that starting, training and showing horses helps them bond as a family.
“We really enjoy it. It’s something we have done as a family for several years,” said Regan.
Michele says TSLN GM of Sales and Marketing, Dennis Ginkens, Mitchell, South Dakota, who raised and trained cutting horses for many years near Washington, Iowa, put the girls on their first cutting horse when they were 9 years old.
Dad, Rick said, it is because of his brother and other family members that he and his wife and daughters are able to leave the farm and feedlot on occasion to take part in cutting competitions.
“I have family members who step in and take care of things. We are really fortunate to have a really nice family operation,” he said.
Both Regan and Reyly developed a work ethic on the farm that has spilled over into the show world, says Rick.
“Through their lives, growing up, they have helped us, they have had responsibility even before they were showing horses. They have self discipline to do multiple things whether it be help process cattle or help with field work. Then they still have the discipline to work horses every day,” said Rick.
At the level of competition they have moved into, the girls have to “stay on top of their game,” he said, which requires working with horses nearly every day.
“That is part of our daily chores,” he said, adding that the girls taking online classes has actually made that aspect of their lives easier.
“We do our work, then we do our barn work after all our other work. They’ve both learned to have responsibility,” he said.
Dual Rey and High Brow Cat are the family’s favorite bloodlines and they tend to cross those back and forth, producing trainable and athletic offspring.
The Dual Reys might tend to be more athletic while the High Brow Cats are trainable and smart, he said.
The Plendls aren’t really looking to market their horses, they just love the thrill of the competition.
“A lot of people do it to sell horses. We just do it because we love it,” said Regan.
Cowboys and cowgirls from 4 to 18 years old came from Montana, North and South Dakotan Wyoming, gathering in Newcastle, Wyoming to vie for Championship titles in the Weston County Mini Roughstock Rodeo.
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