Reining champion

By Margaret Gerwin

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The National Reining Horse Association’s leading rider and all-time money earner, Shawn Flarida, visited the Gluck Equine Research Center on UK’s campus Monday night.

Flarida took part in a lecture sponsored by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, which was moderated by the director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council, Norm Luba.

The lecture was part of the 2015 Distinguished Industry Lecture Series, put on by UK to let students be educated by the best in the equestrian industry.

Flarida, a member of the National Reigning Horse Association Hall of Fame and the first-ever Five Million Dollar Rider, met those qualifications.

When asked by Luba about his most prestigious win, Flarida went into detail about his gold medal win at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.

“Several (wins) have been very memorable, but when you compete for the gold medal, that’s something special,” Flarida said. “I’ve been very lucky and very fortunate.”

The lecture began around 6:15 and continued until almost 8:30 p.m. Luba asked questions that had been submitted from the audience about the basics of his job and day-to-day lifestyle.

Equine science junior Sarah Robertson attended and enjoyed the lecture.

“I actually saw the reigning cup here in Lexington at Rolex,” Robertson said. “After seeing a couple reigning cups, I’ve actually become very interested in the sport.”

Flarida spoke about his daily routine, which begins at about 6:30 in the morning and ends around 6 at night, followed by time with his three children. But some questions were of a deeper nature.

“My dad helps and watches me ride every day,” Flarida said. “He knows how to motivate me, and has known how since I began riding at age four. Also, if I didn’t have my wife Michelle, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.”