Behind the Slide – Bailey Fleming

Bailey Fleming’s competitive journey with horses began in pleasure classes, but that did not bring her the joy she was seeking. Eventually, she found a love for reining while taking lessons at a barn near her home in Texas with Arabian horses.

Fleming purchased an Arabian mare, Arezzona Bound, affectionately called ‘Zara,’ and the two competed in horsemanship and ranch riding before beginning their reining journey.

Fleming and Zara are competing at their first 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel in the Classic Equine Green Reiner classes in preparation for next month’s Arabian Youth World Show at the OKC Fairgrounds where they will compete against other Arabian reining horses for a world title. Zara has NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) of $15,082 with NRHA Professional Crystal McNutt at the reins.

The 16-year-old praises Zara for her level-headedness and willingness to be a partner in the show pen—all traits she enjoys about reining.

The history of the Western horse industry and NRHA are based on those qualities Fleming respects about the sport. NRHA Judges evaluate all runs against a guiding principle penned by NRHA Hall of Famer Jim Willoughby: “A. General.” It reads, “The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely.” Spectators may not see many Arabians at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, but Fleming and Zara are a testament to how any “willingly guided” horse can succeed in reining.