When Shawn Flarida calls a horse “the best he’s ever ridden,” it is not a statement that is taken lightly. After all, the five-time NRHA Futurity Champion has been on the backs of many of the most talented and successful horses in reining history.
Yet, it is no secret that Wimpys Little Chic, otherwise known as “Lexi,” holds a special place in the trainer’s heart. The flashy 6-year-old palomino mare has a resume that speaks for itself, as she is the only horse to ever follow up an NRHA Open Futurity Championship with an NRBC Open Championship, but it is her endearing personality that has earned her fans around the globe.
“She’s just so sweet,” Shawn says of the mare. “She does anything I ask her to do and tries her best every single time. She’s the kind of horse you wake up thinking about riding every single day”.
Wimpys Little Chic was bred and raised by Double Run Farm owner Monica Watson, who named the filly after the “Dynasty” character Alexis Carrington.
“She always had this ‘look at me’ attitude that reminded me of Alexis Carrington, so that’s how she got her name,” Watson explained.
For Watson, who also bred and raised Lexi’s sire, Wimpys Little Step, who became the first horse to carry Flarida to an NRHA Open Futurity Championship, there was no question about where Lexi would be trained. She went to Shawn as a 2-year-old, and when Watson sold her to Arcese Quarter Horses, it was with the stipulation that she stay in training with Flarida.
In the fall of 2007, Flarida took Lexi to the Ariat Tulsa Reining Classic, where the flashy mare dominated the competition, winning the event. She went to the Congress Futurity, but a stumble kept her out of the winner’s circle. However, it didn’t take long for Lexi to prove her talent. The world stood up and took notice after the mare won the first go-round at the 2007 NRHA Futurity, and she remained consistent by scoring a 226.5 in the second go. But the night of the finals, Flarida and Lexi drew up last – and obviously, the pair knew they’d saved the best for last. With graceful maneuvers and powerful stops, Lexi and Shawn stole the hearts of the crowd and judges as she maneuvered through Pattern 10. As Shawn rode out of the arena, his family was already streaming toward him when announcer Keith Bradly announced “theeeee score” – a 231.5.
Lexi continued her winning ways at the National Reining Breeders Classic the following April. After an uncharacteristic break-of-gait in the preliminary round, Lexi came back to the finals to prove she is the real deal. The result was a 233. After riding out of the ring, Flarida, with his trademark grin, called her the best horse he’d ever ridden.
But it was at the NRHA Derby that Lexi made history. She scored a 233 in the finals to take an early, commanding lead. And despite a field of extremely talented horses, it was once again Shawn and Lexi at the top of the leaderboard when the scores were tallied and the dust settled. She is now a reining “Triple Crown” champion, and will forever live in the history books as the first reining horse to ever win all three major events.
The 2009 show season saw Lexi continuing her winning ways. She was the NRBC reserve champion and won the Open mare incentive for the second consecutive year. Just two months later she and Shawn headed to Oklahoma City for the NRHA Derby where they earned a third place pay check and Lexi earned the distinction of becoming the first horse in NRHA history to exceed lifetime earnings of $400,000.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Lexi was back at the NRBC in 2010 and was once again named co-reserve champion and picked up her third Open Mare Incentive championship. This show put her with in striking distance of the half million dollar mark in NRHA earnings.
Shawn was excited about showing Lexi at the NRHA Derby and felt she had enough to win it all again. Although they fell a little short of championship, Lexi finished the event in a tie for fourth place with her barn mate, RC Fancy Step. Taking home a check in excess of $15,000 put Lexi over the $500,000 earnings mark and once again she rewrote NRHA history. She continues to be the NRHA all-time leading money earning horse.
Shawn and Lexi made there final appearance at the 2010 $100,000 Open Shootout at the NRHA Futurity. Together they marked a 225 and earned over $12,000 for that run. “I had hoped to win it on her so that she could retire with a win, but that wasn’t in the cards,” Shawn said after the show. “She was great though and I couldn’t have asked her to be any better after all of the runs we have had together.”