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Onya Gunnagetthecash: 2024 Open Derby Winner

with Ashleigh and Warren Backhouse

Warren and Jake during their winning futurity ride. Photo: Ken Anderson

Warren and Jake during their winning futurity ride. Photo: Ken Anderson

"The futurity year can either make or break a horse,” says Warren Backhouse, but for his own Onya Gunnagetthecash this was certainly not the case, who has backed up his futurity win by winning the 2024 Open Derby with daughter Ashleigh Backhouse in the saddle. Horse Deals finds out more about this talented reiner.

Stable Name: Jake
Height: 14.3hh
Age: 5yo
Breeding: Quarter Horse
Owner: Warren and Carol Backhouse
Rider: Warren and Ashleigh Backhouse

Top 3 results: 
2023 Gold Buckle Futurity Champion
2024 PCRS Open Derby Champion
2024 PCRS Lachlan Bell Memorial

How did Jake come into your life? Jake came to us as a two-year-old to start his reining career.

What was he like as a young horse? Jake was a very quiet, easy-going horse. He never showed a lot of energy unless you had food.

What was your first ride on him like? Jake started very quietly but was a very strong-built horse, so you never know what they are going to do on their first ride. Jake was very laid-back and took it all in his stride, showing everything we want to see in a first ride.

Did you have any training issues? Unfortunately Jake’s three-year-old and four-year-old fell in a time when we were moving properties. Throughout this time, we also had a lot of wet weather, which made both moving and training horses very difficult.

At the end of 2023, we had moved but had no arena to train in. This put a lot of pressure on us and the horses, especially Jake, who was a futurity horse and was still learning. We had to play a lot of catch-up at shows, which put Jake behind at the early shows, but thankfully it all came together in time for the big one.

What was your first competition together, and how did it go? PCRS Futurity. Unfortunately it was not very good for us. His run started out very well, but unfortunately we had a big stumble, which led to a lot of penalties and put us out of the money.

When did you realise his talent? Jake showed a lot of talent very early on. He was quite a laid-back horse and needed a little encouragement to evolve. He has a great mind and takes everything we throw at him.

Most treasured moment together? Definitely winning the 2023 Open Gold Buckle Futurity horse.

Warren and Jake after winning the 2023 Futurity. Photo: Ken Anderson

Warren and Jake after winning the 2023 Futurity. Photo: Ken Anderson

What were your expectations going into this event? I go into every run with the intention of doing the best I can for the horse. I knew Jake had what it took to win it; we just had to have it all come together when it counted. Naturally, our end goal is to win the big events.

In your view, how does the futurity set up young reiners? The futurity can either make or break them. Not all horses handle the training and pressure the same. Training a futurity horse is a long, slow process that requires making sure the horse is solid and confident in each manoeuvre. Some horses don’t make the futurity, but come out the next year as great derby horses. Some just need more time. The most important thing is to ride each horse for its own abilities and to its own full potential.

Ashleigh, you then took the reins. Why? Mum and Dad loved Jake, so they purchased him. I did not have a Derby horse for 2024, and Dad had a clients horse. He felt it would be a conflict of interest to show his own horse against a client’s horse, so he asked if I would take the reins.

Ashleigh and Jake. Photo: Indiana Hart Photography

Ashleigh and Jake. Photo: Indiana Hart Photography

Onya Gunnagetthecash then backed up his 2023 Futurity win by taking out the Open Derby in 2024. What does this win mean to you all? This means a lot for us with any horse we train, but to own the horse and achieve this is very special. It is a big ask for a horse to win the futurity and back it up the next year. It takes solid training and a great-minded horse to do this.

What is the key to his consistent success? His good mind. You wouldn’t even know he was a stallion. It is easy to train a horse, but even harder to maintain one. Having a horse with a great mind makes the job a whole lot easier.

What makes him different from your other reiners? Jake is not that different to other reiners. He is very well put together and very sound. He has a great mind and is easy to do everything with.

What is he like to ride? Jake is a stallion, so he can be a little playful when he is fresh, but other than that, he is a very quiet, easy ride. Jake is very comfortbale and very talented, making training easy. You just have to be able to sit in the middle and hang on when spinning him.

Most annoying habit or quirk? Jake likes the taste of his own rugs. Thankfully, he has improved as he has grown up.

How does he handle the big occasions? Jake takes everything in his stride. Being so laid-back, there is a fine line between not having enough work down and too much work down. He is in a good routine and has a great work ethic. We get to the shows as early as we can to prepare our horses. We spend the full week preparing our horses for their one big run.

Weekly training regime? Well, the weather has made it very hard to be consistent with any horse. In a normal week, Jake would have 3 to 4 days riding. Being a trained horse, he does not need as much time spent on him. We just check over him and keep his fitness up.

What is the first thing on your shopping list for him? Rugs!! He likes his rugs a bit too much. His favourite thing would be his showtorque. He is very food-oriented. Since Ashleigh has taken the reins, he has quite a few new show saddle pads thanks to Black Label Equine.

When was the last time he made you laugh or cry? Winning is always very emotional for us. We put so much into the preparation, and when you come out with the win, it means a lot to us.

What celebrity does he remind you of? Owen Wilson.

What has he taught you as a rider? You learn something from every horse. Jake has taught us to be patient and wait for him to work it out.

What are your long-term goals with Jake? Jake’s next big show is ARBC. We are hoping he can pull off another nice run. He will continue his show year onto RA Reining Nationals and then run for 100K at Equitana. After this, we plan to stand Jake at stud. He is currently the only performed Lil Joe Cash Stallion in Australia.

Backhouse Training Stables is proudly sponsored by: Thomas Arena Products, Equissage, Hygain Feeds, Kay Bits and Spurs, Cannard Hats.
Ashleigh Backhouse is sponsored by Blue Creek and Trails Ends Saddle, Black Label Equine, Hold Your Horses Promotional Embroidery.

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