Journal on the Road

NRHA Derby – Open

June 26, 2010

During the open finals Saturday at the National Reining Horse Association Derby, scores started high before climbing higher.

Shawn Flarida slides Gunnatrashya to a stop during the NRHA Derby open finals.

First to work was Tom McCutcheon on SL Lenas Chick with a 223. Next up was Brent Wright with Wimps Quixote Cody and a 225. Jordan Larson, riding Out Shinin Wimpy, topped that with a 226.5 before Shawn Flarida entered the ring on Wimpys Little Chic.

Their rendition of pattern 10 was good for a 228.5, a score that held until Shawn entered the ring on RC Fancy Step and tied himself.

One drag of the arena later, Craig Schmersal loped Boom Shernic in and slid to pounding stops and dynamic spins for a 234. From the crowd’s applause and screams, the evening could have been over, but Shawn came in on Gunnatrashya and lit up the board, scoring a 235 for the Derby win.

Shawn was confident in his horse, owned by Arcese Quarter Horses of Weatherford, Texas, and Eleuterio Arcese of Italy.

“I knew he was a good enough horse to – I didn’t know if I could beat (Craig), but I could dang sure challenge him,” Shawn says. “He’s easier to show fast.

“I ran him in on the right lead. The first stop was great. The turn to the right was good. The turn to the left was perfect in when he got shut off. He was good there. He’s hard to shut off because he spins so fast. We circled to the right, and the rest of it just flowed. He’s so physical when he runs circles and rolls back. .The first stop and rollback, he was so smooth.”

The horse’s kindness plays a part in his performance, Shawn says.

“He’s got so much energy that he rolls back and he just waits on you, which is very hard for a horse like that because he is really intense, but he’s really kind,” he says. “He’s a great horse in the show pen, but if people got to know him, he’s like a big dog. He’s a very kind horse.”

Gunnatrashya is a 2006 sorrel stallion by Colonels Smoking Gun and out of Natrasha by Trashadeous.

To read more about the NRBC Derby, see the August issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.