Young Guns – Amanda Antifaev

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I'll reveal one every week or so! 

Amanda has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the reining pen, but credits her horses and mentors along the way.

Amanda Antifaev

(Nominated for Entrepreneurs)
Age: 25
Nanton, Alberta

The reining industry in Canada has seen Amanda Antifaev’s name at the top of the competition for many years. First in the youth and non-pro classes and now in the open, competing against the best horse trainers Canada has to offer.

Antifaev decided to go professional when the National Reining Horse Association came out with their Apprenticeship program, making it possible for her to try training and showing in the open pen for a year before taking the full leap and committing herself to a career in training horses professionally. This young woman however, was made for open competition and a life of training horses. So, at the young age of 19, Antifaev turned in her Non-Pro card and took on the challenge of training and showing full-time.

Antifaev’s success in the open pen started out with some great horses she got from mentors Wayne and Duane Latimer. Lokota Chic, Shiners Lena Dust and Mambos Whiz helped carry Antifaev to multiple championships throughout Canada and the United States, including winning the North American Affiliate Championship at the NRHA Futurity in 2009 and 2010 aboard Lokota Chic. Her success in the show pen continued with her accomplished show skills and training program, taking young horses she started and trained to multiple wins for their owners.

“My next was Sugarplum Nic, owned by Larry and Deb Manley who have been long-time supporters for me. The mare and I were co-champions at the Reining Alberta Fall Classic in the Open Futurity and made the finals in the level one and two at the NRHA Futurity – a first in my career.”

“My success has also been on horses that I have started and trained which has proved that not only can I show a broke horse, but that I could train one to do all the right stuff too,” says Antifaev. “My first was Hard Times Sailor who I was reserve champion on in two futurities and went on to more wins as a derby horse. My next was Sugarplum Nic, owned by Larry and Deb Manley who have been long-time supporters for me. The mare and I were co-champions at the Reining Alberta Fall Classic in the Open Futurity and made the finals in the level one and two at the NRHA Futurity – a first in my career.” Antifaev had one of her best years in 2012 as an open rider, showing the young stallion Conchicador to the Wild Rose Reining Classic Open Futurity Championship, Montana Big Sky Classic Open Futurity Championship and a reserve championship at the Silver slate Reining Classic Open Futurity, winning over $13,000 for the year.

Antifaev wouldn’t trade her profession for anything. “I love the horses, everything about them. I love starting them, bringing them along and seeing how they learn and progress. I love maintaining broke horses and getting inside their heads to understand how they think and what makes them tick so I can get the best out of them so they also enjoy their job.”

Antifaev gives a little advice to those looking to become an open rider, “Learn from a trainer and stick with them for as long as you can. I believe that experience takes time and can be expensive, but no one can learn all there is to know about horse training and showing in a short time. If you learn from someone experienced such as I did from Wayne Latimer, you can learn from both their successes and their trials and errors.”

~ Deanna Beckley