Sire Spotlight: Wimpys Little Step

This famous palomino stallion slid his way into reining history and left a mark everywhere he went. Shawn and Sarah Flarida reflect on how Wimpys Little Step impacted their career and always gave them the ride of a lifetime.

Just as Wimpys Little Step’s palomino coat still gleams in the sun like a newly minted coin, the famous reining stallion’s 2002 National Reining Horse Association Futurity winning run still glows in the memory of every reining fan who witnessed it. The cheers and whistles started as soon as rider Shawn Flarida and Wimpy picked up the left lead for their first large, fast circle, and continued until the run ended and Flarida raised his hat in delighted salute to the crowd. The pair scored a 233, simultaneously winning the Open Futurity by five and a half points and solidifying Wimpy’s place as one of the greatest show horses in reining history.

“Everyone has a horse in their lifetime who puts you over the top,” recalled NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida. “At that time, I was close, and I’d been knocking at the door, but I just hadn’t had the right horse to throw me up over that hill. Then Wimpy came around. He fit my training program. He fit my brain. All the stars and the moon lined up.”

Courtesy of Sarah Flarida

Bred by Monica Watson at Double Run Farm in Leland, N.C., Wimpy is a 1999 palomino Quarter Horse stallion by Nu Chex to Cash and out of Leolita Step. Shawn Flarida still recalls the first time his brother, Mark Flarida, mentioned the yellow stud colt to him.

“Mark was shoeing all of Monica’s horses at the time, and he told me about this palomino stud. He said, ‘I think he’s special. I think you really need to look at him,’” Shawn Flarida recalled. “And that’s how it all started. When I saw him, I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. Then I got a chance to lope him around and I loved the way he felt and the way he moved. I thought he’d fit me.”

So did Mark Schols of Ocala, Fla., who decided to purchase the colt in 2002 for Shawn to train. With Schols’ blessing, Wimpy and Shawn launched their show career. First, they entered the Tradition Futurity in Ohio and came in second. Next, they entered the All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity, winning the championship and earning $25,000.00. Then came their date with destiny at the 2002 NRHA Open Futurity.

“The first time I ever saw Wimpy was the Friday before the finals at the Futurity,” Schols said. “When I got there, the buzz was all about Wimpy. Everyone told us we had the best horse, and it was ours to lose. There was a lot of pressure. Just before it was time to enter the pen, I walked down to the warm-up pen, and I whistled Shawn over. I said, ‘I don’t care if you win or not. The only thing that matters to me is that you go in there, show your horse and have fun.’ He took a big, deep breath, and it was almost like the weight of the world went off his shoulders. And then, of course, they marked what they marked.”

Courtesy of Sarah Flarida

With just three shows to his name, Wimpy’s lifetime earnings came to $185,757. Then, after the Futurity, Schols officially retired Wimpy to stud, and the stallion’s real work began.

Read More: How to Select a Reining Horse Prospect

“I knew we had a chance to make him one of the top sires in the industry,” Schols said. “Anyone who has been around Wimpy knows he’s got a way about him. He’s great-minded. His every maneuver was so athletic, and yet when you dropped the reins, he’d go to sleep like a 20-year-old gelding. What else could you want? I knew if we crossed him with the right mares, he’d be a great breeding horse.”

Under Mark Schol’s watchful eye, Wimpy stood at Green Valley Ranch in Aubrey, Texas, until 2010, when he was sold to Lorenzo Vargas and Thiago Boechat of Xtra Quarter Horses in Purcell, Okla. Then, in 2017, Michael Miola of Silver Spurs Equine acquired Xtra Quarter Horses as well as Wimpy.

“When I bought Wimpy, many people were worried that I’d move him to Scottsdale, Ariz., where the bulk of our stallions are. But I said no, Wimpy’s home is Oklahoma. I wouldn’t dare move him,” Miola said with a laugh. “Silver Spurs has been successful in the breeding business for many years because I don’t treat any of my 38 stallions as a business. I love them. They’re extremely talented and I promote them in their own right. My goal for Wimpy is that he lives a long and happy life and that his legacy to reining lives on through his offspring for many years to come.”

Now 22, Wimpy continues to stand at Silver Spurs Equine’s Purcell, Okla., location. Today, he is an NRHA $12 Million Dollar Sire, a member of the NRHA Hall of Fame and the sire of such reining titans as NRHA Million Dollar Dam Wimpys Little Chic, RC Fancy Step and Wimpysneedsacocktail, among many others.

According to NRHA Professional Thiago Boechat, who served as Wimpy’s breeding manager from 2010 until 2020, Wimpy’s success is due to his mind and personality.

“He is my all-time favorite horse, and I think his offspring are some of my favorite horses to ride,” Boechat said. “He’s also just great to be around. When my son was just 5 years old, he could go get Wimpy out of his stall and go ride him even during breeding season. Wimpy was just as good for that kid as he was for anybody else. He has the best mind. Reining horses can have all the talent in the world, but if they don’t have the mind, they’re not going to perform.”

Read More: The Man Who Invented Reining

Along with his athleticism and talent, Wimpy passes on his great mind and gentle personality to his offspring. Although the bulk of his offspring competes in reining, he has money-earners in just about every Western discipline, including reined cow horse, barrel racing, and roping, says Sarah Flarida, ranch manager for Silver Spurs Equine’s Oklahoma location.

Courtesy of Sarah Flarida

“There are so many Wimpys who just want to be show horses,” Sarah Flarida reflected. “Some horses just pass on one or two special abilities, but a well-rounded individual like Wimpy goes a lot further. You see so many aged horses by Wimpy still showing for years and years and doing well at it. His horses want to show, and they want to do their job.”

For Miola, Wimpys status as a reining legend was cemented years ago by his 2002 NRHA Futurity win, but it’s his longevity and potency as a sire that prove he’s one of the greats – as well as his gentle spirit.

“Wimpy has proven time and time again that he’s one of the greatest sires that reining has ever known,” Miola said. “But I can tell you things about Wimpy that have nothing to do with the great mind, talent, and athleticism that he stamps his foals with. That’s what makes him a great sire, but what means the most to me is when Wimpy and I are alone together. He’s an old soul, and when he looks at me, I feel like he’s imparting the wisdom of the ages. People who spend more time with horses than other people know exactly what I’m talking about.” 

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