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Silva Sweeps the Non Pro Derby at the Stallion Stakes

NRCHA :: By: Jennifer Bishop


In September 2022, Professional Justin Wright, called long time customer Stephen Silva to tell him he had finally found the right horse for him. As it turns out, Justin could not have been more right. After making the Open Finals of the Snaffle Bit Futurity, and finishing 12th, Wright turned the 2019 gelding over to Silva to go show in the upcoming derby’s of 2023.


Stephen Silva piloted his horse DT Shiny N I Know It (Hickory Holly Time x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark) to win NRCHA’s Non Pro, Intermediate Non Pro and the Limited Non Pro, Teton Ridge Stallion Stakes in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pair marked a total of 646 (H: 211/Rein: 218.5/Cow: 216.5) to win a total of $15,587.92 (NP: $10,000/INP: $3582.00/LNP: $2005.92).


Since 2016, Silva has taken it easy and backed off of showing while he worked on his business, invested time in his family and tuned into his favorite hobbies of music, wine and cooking, all while waiting for the right horse to come along. He enjoyed watching Justin show his horses in the open and he still showed some in the Non Pro Bridle, but overall he was regrouping. “In years past, I put so much pressure on myself to do well, and you know it got to be pretty stressful and I would put so much weight on winning or losing,” Silva said. “Coming into this year, I really just want to be a better horseman and keep coming to the shows,” he continued.


In 2023, if Wright is going to a show, Silva wants to attend as well; he just wants to keep showing up, and doing the work to improve.


Silva’s motivation to show in the cow horse is the passion of the non pro’s around him. “I drew a ton of inspiration at the 2023 Celebration of Champions, talking to fellow non pros in the warm up pen just hearing their stories. It’s inspiring, it makes you want to be part of this group of people who are so enamored with cow horse and competing, yet want everyone to do well,” Silva said, “It’s a unique family.”


When asked what he is most proud of in the horse show world, he commented on his new found positivity and his journey in the cow horse. He wants to compete in NRCHA events for a long time and to do so, he recognizes that his horsemanship will need to improve, his physical fitness will be important and his mental game may be the key piece of the puzzle. He’s proud to have acknowledged the things that will ultimately lead him in the right direction.

In 1998, Silva competed in his first show of NRCHA record and earned $172. To date, his journey has garnered over $80,000 in earnings and the 2023 Stallion Stakes win is the pinnacle of his success! When asked about success, Silva spoke of building relationships, not dollars and prizes. “Where I’m at in my life, I’m 45 years old, I think this was the vision I had for myself at 20 years old. To have it actually happen and be where I want to be, not just with the horses and showing, but with all aspects of my life that are really starting to come together is kind of unbelievable. I feel incredibly fortunate.” He recognizes that reaching this point in his life has been a lot of work and taken perseverance. Moving forward he wants to focus on building relationships and that is his new found focus. He wants to help the people he cares about find success as well.

Silva looks forward to showing DT Shiny N I Know It through his derby and bridle years. He enjoys riding the gelding because he is easy to prepare to show and overall, Stephen wants to learn how to be a better showman. This horse, with his casual demeanor, should allow Silva to work on fine tuning his arena performance and continue his cow horse journey.

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