“He told me that he was a really, really nice horse and goodminded and that I ought to take a look at him,” recalls Flarida. “I saw Dan Huss riding him at Raleigh, North Carolina, in the opening round and thought he looked really good. He was just so big and strong and confident, even as a young horse. He really made a lasting impression on me.” Flarida called his long-time friend and client Mark Schols, saying, “I’ve got a horse, but the dang thing is yellow!”
Just months before, Schols lost a very good futurity colt that Flarida had in training. Both felt depressed about the untimely death, and Schols wanted a new horse that would help lift them both out of their funk. He called Watson and entered into a protracted negotiation.
“We went back and forth for 30 days,” says Schols. “It was the first reining horse she’d bred, and she didn’t want to give him up. Finally, I said, ‘Monica, I really don’t need the horse, and I think you really don’t need the money. But Shawn needs the horse. Let’s at least do the horse justice and get him to Shawn.”
Wimpys Little Step started his training with Shawn Flarida...
Many breeders spend a lifetime trying to get one NRHA Futurity open champion, yet come up short. Astoundingly, Wimpys Little Step was among the first foal crop for Monica Watson of Double Run Farm of Leland, North Carolina.
She’d acquired five mares from Hilldale Farm and bred the mare Leolita Step to (Million Dollar Sire and Hall of Fame inductee)
Nu Chex To Cash, then also standing at Hilldale. Wimpys Little Step was the first of the bunch to breathe the sweet spring air—and the best.
Watson chose “The Andy Griffith Show” as the theme for bestowing barn names on the five foals, giving the first-born palomino the nickname “Andy,” after the show’s star. Watson described Andy (who is now more commonly called “Wimp” or “Wimpy”) as “a sweetheart from day one.”
“He never acted like a stallion, as some do even when they are babies. He was trail ridden around like any ol’ farm horse. Whenever someone came by and wanted to ride, they’d ride him,” she said. One of those riding guests was actress Katie Holmes (now
Cruise), who’d stop by for visits with actor Chis Klein.
But Wimpy’s destiny was not to be merely a farm horse to the stars. As a colt, Wimpy was richly-colored, well-proportioned, balanced, and strong. He never went through an awkward phase, says Watson. As a two-year-old coming three, his looks, disposition and athleticism caught the eye of Mark Flarida, who shoes horses for Double Run Farm. He called his brother, Shawn, and encouraged him to come take a look.
Shawn started training Wimpy in August, firstly entering the Tradition Futurity where they came in 2nd and then onto the All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity where they slid in to take the championship bringing home a check for $25,000.00.
Just one month later the pair were in Oklahoma entered in the 2002 NRHA Futurity which showcase's the industry’s finest three year olds. With 426 entries the winner is guaranteed $150,000, along with other prestigious prizes from the NRHA's various sponsors.
They became the firm favorites after earning the top composite score in both qualifying go rounds.
The finals, held Saturday evening, showcased the top 30 scoring horses. Flarida drew 29th in the field of very talented three year old reining horses.
The high score to beat was a 227.5 earned by Brent Wright, riding Custom Mahogany. No stranger to the NRHA winner’s circle, Wright has been a consistent player in NRHA Futurity and Derby competition, however 2002 was a spectacular year for Flarida and Wimpys Little Step.
Both Horse and rider performed flawlessly. There were five judges marking each run. The high and low scores were dropped while the remaining three were tallied for the final score. Flarida’s average was a phenomenal 77.5 plus from each judge for final score of 233.
The win made NRHA history twice, the highest score ever recorded within the NRHA and it also marked the first time an NRHA Open Futurity Champion had ever been sired by another NRHA Open Futurity Champion.
RODE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
SHAWN FLARIDA REFLECTS ABOUT HIS CAREER AND THE IMPACT OF WIMPYS LITTLE STEP ON THE REINING INDUSTRY
Wimpys Little Step stands as a stud
Due to the immense popularity of the stallion and the advance bookings he had received, Mark Schols had decided to retire Wimpys Little Step from the show pen and thus began his career as a sire began. Obviously the sire was in demand and the offspring were closely watched by trainers, each anticipating another great competitor in the showpen. He was booked to some of the most impressive mares in the industry. However, no one could anticipate the amazing turnout of offspring at the 2007 Futurity. Wimpys offspring had arrived...
2007 - FIRST FOAL CROP
WIMPYS LITTLE CHIC
RC FANCY STEP
WIMPYS LITTLE BUDDY
2007 NRHA FUTURITY
Wimpys Little Step sired: Open Champion and 5 L4 Open Finalists
The 2007 NRHA Open Futurity Champion wasn’t decided until the very last run of the night when NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida edged out the highest score of the evening, aboard Wimpys Little Chic. When his score of 231.5 was announced on Saturday night you could hear the cheers, whistles and applause throughout the barns.
RC Fancy Step, winner of the All American Quarter Horse Congress Futurity, also ridden by Shawn Flarida, placed 4th in the finals, followed by Wimpys Little Buddy, ridden by Andrea Fappani and Wimpys Little Boss, ridden by Todd Sommers.
The first foal crop is well on its way to $1 million in earnings!
WIMPYS LITTLE BOSS
DOCS STEPPIN OUT
NRHA MILESTONE -
WIMPYS LITTLE STEP IS THE YOUNGEST MILLION DOLLAR SIRE, MAKING HIM THE QUICKEST PRODUCER OF EARNING OFFSPRING IN THE INDUSTRY WITH ONLY 2 CROPS TO SHOW.
NRHA MILESTONE -
WIMPYS LITTLE CHIC, BY WIMPYS LITTLE STEP, BECOMES THE FIRST HORSE TO WIN NRHA FUTURITY, NRBC AND NRHA DERBY CONSECUTIVELY
WIMPYS LITTLE STEP
2008 #1 Junior Reining Sire - Equi-Stat
Wimpys Little Step sired: Open Champion and Open Reserve Champion and 6 L4 Open Finalists
Including: 14 money earners across all the divisions
The crowd saw its share of memories made when Shawn Flarida delivered a 1-2 punch by earning the NRBC Open Championship on Wimpys Little Chic and the Reserve title on RC Fancy Step. This guaranteed their sire, Wimpys Little Step, the NRBC Leading Sire Award. Together, Wimpys Little Step’s foals earned over $218,000 at this year’s NRBC.
2008 NRHA DERBY
Wimpys Little Step sired: Open Champion
History was made on the night of June 28, 2008, in the historic coliseum at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Okla., as NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida maneuvered Wimpys Little Chic to the NRHA Derby Championship. The win made the 4-year-old mare the first horse in National Reining Horse Association History to ever win the top three events the sport has to offer; the NRHA Futurity, the National Reining Breeders Classic, and the NRHA Derby - what is essentially reining's version of a Triple Crown. Flarida and Wimpys Little Chic, dominated the event all week, beginning by winning the preliminary go-round with a 227. All eyes were on the flashy mare by Wimpys Little Step and out of Collena Chic Olena as she entered the pen for the finals. With her trademark precision, she maneuvered through Pattern 5 with the ease and grace that have become her distinctive style. As the pair blazed on to the pattern-ending three stops, the crescendoeing crowd bellowed its approval. As the pair exited, many fans rose for a standing ovation, paying homage to the mare that many have called one of the most talented horses in reining history.
2008 NRHA FUTURITY
Wimpys Little Step is crowned the youngest Million Dollar Sire with ony 2 foal crops to show