Hayden rider wins national Arabian competition in Scottsdale | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden rider wins national Arabian competition in Scottsdale

Hayden resident finishes first at national Arabian horse show

Medora Fralick, of Hayden, rides her horse Gizmo in Arizona at the February Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in which they took first place in the Reining Horse Futurity Non-Pro Half Arabian class. Known by Fralick as "the Super Bowl of reining competitions."

— Each day, when Medora Fralick enters the arena with her horse Gizmo, she has a goal in mind.

The 2-year-old horse is still learning the ins and outs of reining techniques — the fast, sliding stops, the flying lead changes and pivoting circles — that challenge rider and horse, mentally and physically.

"As an adult, once I got back into riding, I realized that I really liked setting goals, and the only way to see if I was meeting those goals was to show," said Fralick, of Hayden. "Reining is an individual sport. It's about me, my horse and what can we accomplish today. Every time I ride, I try to set a goal of one or two things I want to get right."

A few months ago in Arizona, Fralick's hard work paid off. She and Gizmo (show name, RCC One Trick Pony) took first place in the Reining Horse Futurity Non-Pro Half Arabian class at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

“On that day it was about clearing my head and not worrying about what everyone else was doing,” Fralick said.

This particular reining class is for young horses, ages 4 and 5, who are judged on their future abilities, the horse's breed standards and disciplines. Reining is a competition in which riders guide their horse through a pattern of circles, spins and stops. All work is done at a lope — a relaxed version of the horse's gait also know as a canter — or a gallop — a fast canter or a sprint.

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"The Futurity is like the Super Bowl of reining competitions," Fralick said. "It's the biggest show we have all year. For these baby horses to handle 11 days at a show that brings a total of 2,400 horses, with five to seven show rings going with competitions at any given time, is a lot to take in."

Fralick said she has attended the show for the past 15 or 16 years and has seen some success with a few of her horses but never at this level with a younger horse.

"I love the younger horses and the challenge of it," she said. "This is the first time that I felt like I could go and be competitive. I never thought I would go down there and win."

Gizmo started his training when Fralick bought him as a 2-year-old and has worked with professional trainer Michelle Chapman from Eaton. Fralick said much of her success can be attributed to Chapman.

"It's a big accomplishment because riding young horses for non-pro riders is a difficult thing," Chapman said. "You have to get the horse broke enough to compete with, and you have to have two solid runs to make that happen. Consistency is key, and Medora worked really hard to get that."

According to Chapman, building confidence and progressing the skill set of both horse and rider takes a strong connection and good communication.

"This horses is my once-in-a-lifetime," Fralick said. "There is just something about him. Mentally and even physically, I just knew he was the horse I could count on."

In September, Fralick plans to show Gizmo in the same Half Arabian Non-Pro Futurity class in the Las Vegas High Roller Reining Classic. If training in the next few months goes the way she and Chapman hope, Chapman will also show the horse in the professional division at the show.

"Every time I think about it I'm just so humbled by the experience," said Fralick. "I am grateful of the support from friends and family and to have a horse like Gizmo. For me the showing is about the measuring and accountability of the goals. You can never conquer it — the speed, precision, the physicality of these horses. There is so much going on, and it comes at you so fast. There will always be that next level to work toward."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1