NRHA Open Futurity

Two 3-year-olds earn co-champion titles in 2014 National Reining Horse Association Futurity open finals.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Shawn Flarida, left, and Jordan Larson share champion honors at the 2014 NRHA Futurity after riding Shine N Spook and ARC Gunnabeabigstar to a tie. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the event, scroll to the slideshow below.

After 10 days as teammates in France, Shawn Flarida and Jordan Larson found themselves joined again in Oklahoma City as co-champions of the 2014 National Reining Horse Association Futurity.

Shawn rode 23rd in the draw to score a 224.5 on Shine N Spook for Clark Reining Horses of Catlettsburg, Kentucky.

“I knew Jordan was after me, Craig Schmersal was after me, some great guys who went later than I did,” Shawn said. “When you’re in the lead and those guys go after you, you just sweat bullets. I’ve got the utmost respect for my peers and Jordan is the best showman there is in the industry right now. We talk a lot and help each other

So Shawn waited, sweating bullets and listening to the crowd scream as Jordan, last horse in the drawn on ARC Gunnabeabigstar, matched his 224.5 for HDC Quarter Horses of Coral Gables, Florida.

“He ran in there and just stopped about as good as I could’ve asked him to,” Jordan said. “The crowd didn’t bother him at all. And then he backed up and turned around as fast as any horse I’ve ever had before. He lay down some great circles. I got quick on the first rollback and probably cost myself a little bit. The second stop and rollback were pretty good, and then the last one was good. He was just with me the whole way and gave everything he had, so I couldn’t ask for more.”

Shine N Spook is a 2011 sorrel stallion by Smart Spook and out of Ebony Shines by Shining Spark. He was bred by Rosanne Sternberg of Aubrey, Texas.

“He’s just a great horse,” Shawn said. “I’ve been so fortunate to have him. I purchased him for Rick Clark. He’s special to me because I rode his father, Smart Spook. I rode his brother, Shine Chick Shine, so I felt I knew him quite a bit. That horse gives you his heart. He tries so hard. He’s fun to train every day. It’s been an honor to be around him, and honor to ride him, and I look forward to the future.”

Owner Rick Clark was at the in-gate, screaming for his horse.

“He’s bred great,” Rick said. “He has the bloodlines to be a good one. We were hoping for that when we bought him.”

Ebony Shines is an NRHA leading dam. She has earned $25,399 and has produced foals with more than $447,800 in NRHA earnings and more than $16,470 in AQHA World Championship Show earnings.

Smart Spook was the 2005 AQHA world champion in junior reining. His foals have earned more than $2.3 million in NRHA competition.

“(With) that pattern and those judges, which you come in, you’ve got to make a big splash,” Shawn said. “The first three maneuvers in that pattern decide your winner, so I knew I needed to go in there and do my job and it worked. My thought was it’s going to work or it’s not. I was so thankful that it worked. My horse stayed with me. In that last stop, his little butt was in the ground so deep. I’m just really proud of him. I’m so happy for the owner. I can’t thank Rick Clark and the owners that I’ve had in the past for supporting me and helping me. I couldn’t do it without them.”

Jordan said his palomino colt had been having problems earlier in the week with his rundowns.

“Mike Flarida fixed him for me and then showed me what to do and (the horse) was the champion, so thanks to Mike,” Jordan said. “It was incredible what he did for me. He came out of his way to come here at 3 o’clock in the morning and help me. I just can’t say enough about him.”

ARC Gunnabeabigstar is a 2011 palomino stallion by Gunnatrashya and out of Wimpys Little Chic by Wimpys Little Step. He was bred by Arcese Quarter Horses of Weatherford, Texas, and Jordan has had him in training for a little over a year. Brent Loseke of Aubrey, Texas, started the colt.

The matching 224.5 scores overtook the earlier leader, Gabriel Diano of Purcell, Oklahoma. His ride electrified the crowd, with screams and stomps punctuating his stops and rollbacks. After the ride, an emotional Gabriel told Inside Reining’s Jennifer Reynolds that the ride was a dream come true for him.

“This horse makes me so happy every time I ride him, and he builds my confidence,” Gabriel said.

The ride made him the Level 2 and Level 3 champion on Wimpy Chic, a 2011 sorrel stallion by Wimpys Little Step and out of Chics Fancy Lady by Smart Chic Olena. He was bred by The Right Ones of Gunter, Texas, and is owned by Thales Rocha Bordignon of Brazil.