April 15, 2015 | By: Holly Wiemers

Shawn Flarida, National Reining Horse Association’s leading rider, all-time money earner and member of the NRHA Hall of Fame, will speak at the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs’ next Distinguished Industry Lecture Series at 6 p.m. EDT April 27 in the Gluck Equine Research Center’s auditorium on the UK campus.

Sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, the event is free and open to the public.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to our students. It’s a real privilege to be able to learn from one of the most decorated reiners ever and a top-notch horseman to boot,” said Jill Stowe, director of UK Ag Equine Programs, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Plus, we are excited to expand the breadth of the lecture series by hosting our first guest representing western riding disciplines.”

Flarida is the first-ever Five Million Dollar Rider. He has five NRHA open futurity championships to his name and has won the All-American Quarter Horse Congress futurity 11 times.

Additionally, he was an individual and team gold medal winner at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, riding for Team USA. In 2010, he was the high scoring rider in the World Equestrian Games team competition and led team USA to the gold medal.

“How I feel about this opportunity to showcase the sport of reining to our students and my fellow western horse enthusiast is beyond words,” said Bob Coleman, director of undergraduate studies in equine science and management and current Kentucky Quarter Horse Association president. “If you want to feel the hair on your neck rise, come and see what this world-class athlete has done and learn more about those folks who ride and slide. It will be worth every minute."

Flarida knew from a very early age what he wanted to do when he grew up. In 1988, he graduated from high school and went to work for his brother, Mike Flarida, who had an established and successful business as a reining trainer. In 1989, Flarida branched out on his own.

Notoriously superstitious—always showing in a green shirt—Flarida’s stated focus is on working hard at home and being the best horseman he can be. His official website can be found at http://www.thegreenshirt.com/.

“On behalf of the college, we welcome Mr. Flarida to a line of superstars who have given time to our program through this special lecture series,” said Dean Nancy Cox. “UK Ag Equine Programs is lucky to be located in the horse capital of the world, where both equestrian and equine luminaries come to show and race. The college is dedicated to this industry and appreciates the sponsorship of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute for making this event possible.”

The Distinguished Lecture Series began in the fall of 2009 and has become a signature event of UK Ag Equine Programs. It is designed to showcase important figures from the equine industry in an informal setting.

Previous series speakers included Keeneland’s Nick Nicholson, accomplished equestrienne Nina Bonnie, Keeneland’s Ted Bassett, Zenyatta owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Olympian Reed Kessler and a double header featuring both Thoroughbred trainer Graham Motion and three-day eventer Buck Davidson.


Jill Stowe or Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226

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