When interviewed 33 years ago in 1984 at age 15 about his dream of becoming a reining horse trainer, Shawn Flarida – today’s leading reining showman – admitted to the reporter that he had “quite a ways to go” before he would become a full-fledged professional.
Fast forward to 2018, and Flarida has unquestionably reached a level of expertise that even he never thought possible. Following the 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity, in which he rode two horses to total earnings of $73,554, Flarida became the first rider in NRHA history to win $6 million in lifetime earnings.
An NRHA Hall of Fame inductee, Flarida began showing reining horses as a youth. After graduating from high school in 1988, he worked for his older brother, two-time NRHA Futurity Open Champion Mike Flarida, and then he went out on his own in 1989.
Flarida won the first of his 11 All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity Open championships in 1994 aboard Dun Its Easter Bunny (Hollywood Dun It x Squaws Rockaway x Squaw’s Bar Bob), bred by Rodney Rosenauer, of Waco, Texas.
A six-time NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion and two-time Futurity Open Reserve Champion, Flarida won his first NRHA Futurity aboard Equi-Stat Elite $9 Million Sire Wimpys Little Step (pictured) in 2002 when he marked a whopping 233 in the finals. Five years later in 2007, he rode Wimpys Little Chic, a daughter of Wimpys Little Step, to victory at the event.
Flarida has also won six NRHA Derby Level 4 Open championships, three Derby Level 4 Open Reserve championships, three NRHA World championships and three Fédération Equestre Internationale World Equestrian Games gold medals.