Nikki Egyed and Casanova - Ultimate X Showdown

Nikki Egyed and the Ultimate X Showdown OTTB Barrel Race

I’m excited to get to share with you this week about SLO-local trainer Nikki Egyed and her newest adventure – the Ultimate X Showdown. With a new horse, Casanova, and myself, she’ll venture to Ohio to compete in an OTTB only barrel race to raise awareness for these awesome horses. Nikki’s cause is to help Thoroughbreds transition from the track life and assist them in becoming useful horses. Even more than that, her cause is to help change the commonly held false opinions of OTTBs.

This is a great opportunity for all of us here in SLO County to come together and support one of our own trying to make the world a better place for horses. Read on and find out more about the adventure and how you can be involved.

Ultimate X Showdown

The Ultimate X Showdown is a 100 Day Trainer Challenge / Barrel Racing Competition for Off the Track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs). Nikki is one of 15 trainers that were selected from a pool of 47, by a panel of 5 judges, to compete at a barrel race event in Ohio in September. The competition will consist of 2 round of Barrel Racing for an average, in addition to a 5 minute freestyle, scored by 3 judges, where any earned points will allow time deductions from the average. A total purse of over $10K will be paid out to the Champion, Reserve, and Third, along with prizes / awards for 4th – 15th.

The rules are simple, but strict – trainers must select a Thoroughbred with a minimum of 1 race start, and no post-race training off the track. Each horse & trainer has approximately 100 days to retrain, which will conclude on September 5th in Ohio.

Nikki Egyed and Casanova Cowgirl Photo

Nikki and Casanova

This is Nikki’s second major OTTB makeover event in the last two years, the first being selected as one of 26 trainers, from a pool of over 140 applicants, for the RRP Makeover and Training Symposium that was held at the Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland. It was an amazing event and there are tons of awesome stories from that trip, so feel free to ask if we ever meet. For now, let’s just say Maryland isn’t California and leave it at that.

After being selected for the Ultimate X Showdown Nikki’s first step was to find a horse. After a relatively short search she found ‘Dunbar’ on the Northern CA CANTER Trainer Listings just down the road from us in Templeton. Dunbar, now ‘Casanova’ or ‘Nova’ around the barn, is a 2010 KY Bred Gelding by Breeders Cup champion Artie Schiller and out of Annapolitan, by Runaway Groom. Nova boasted 9 Starts on Dirt and Turf, with 3 wins and earnings of $49,770 before he retired.

Casanova Dunbar Win Photo


Nikki has been working with Nova for almost two months now and he’s coming along quite well. He really enjoys working in the arena and is starting to nail down a pretty good pattern. That’s all I’ll say just in case there are any of the other trainers reading this ;)

The Trip

I’ll be tagging along with Nikki and Nova traveling across the country for two weeks. It’s going to be a blast and we’ll do our best to share it all with you. I will be taking lots of pictures and we’ve created a special page on SLOHN to capture everything – see it at Over the course of two weeks we’ll venture to Ohio staying nights at KOAs and taking the horses for trail rides in the woods of the midwest. We both have family in the MO/IL/IN area, so it should be exciting seeing everyone after being out here in CA for nearly 5 years.

Join Us to Support Nikki

Nikki Egyed and Casanova - Ultimate X Showdown Benefit Show

On Saturday, July 26th, Nikki will be hosting and open show / play day at Paloma Creek park in Atascadero to help raise funds for the trip. There will be lots of great events like Speed trail, barrel racing, and pole bending for riders of all ages and a $100 winner takes all single stake race.

Beautiful rosette ribbons for 1st through 5th place have been supplied by The Tack Room and there will be lots of great prizes & raffles like a saddle rack from Hide ‘Em Cowgirl, gift cards from Riding Warehouse, and goodies from Well-Horse, Whitehorse Tack, Boot Barn, Mane n Tail, Noble Equine, Tough 1, Vassar Photography, and more. High Point awards will be given to each age division, courtesy of Tractor Supply Co. There will also be some wicked good food from Smokin Oakie BBQ!

For more info, check out the flyer, download the premium, and find the event on Facebook. Pre-enter by 7-23 or RSVP on Facebook and receive 5 extra raffle tickets!


The SLO horse community has been really generous in supporting and Nikki would like to thank her sponsors The Tack RoomWell-Horse, Riding Warehouse, Silver Star Creek Custom Tack, Robbie Richardson Farrier Services, Reinsman, Wind Rider Therapies, Hide ‘Em Cowgirl, Tractor Supply, Boot Barn, and Whitehorse Tack, Betsy Bayha & Dave Guzeman, the Williams family, and Stacy Potter.

If you come out to the event or see Nikki and Nova out barrel racing at Spurr Ranch, Jones Ranch, or at local shows, say hi and tell her good luck!



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