Lessons With the Master

Non pro Lizzy Creek, Nuevo, Californa, won two lessons with NRHA Five Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani through the NRHA Buy-A-Pro Auction.

By Lizzy Creek

NRHA Professional Andrea Fappani poses with non pro rider Lizzy Creek before beginning the lesson she won through the Buy-A-Pro Auction (photo courtesy of Lizzy Creek).

If you’ve ever thought about bidding on lessons from the NRHA Buy-A Pro Auction, this first-person account from Lizzy Creek will convince you to take the plunge during the next Buy-A-Pro Auction. If you’d like to share your Buy-A-Pro experience, please send it to reiner@nrha.com.

Pulling into Rancho Oso Rio, it felt so surreal. 

I instantly thought back to a couple months ago when I was waiting anxiously in front of my computer screen making sure I outbid anyone who tried to beat me, refreshing my screen every five seconds. At 11 a.m., I won the opportunity to ride with Andrea Fappani. THE Andrea Fappani. It was a dream come true, just as I imagine it would be for most non pro reiners. Tish Fappani contacted me and helped figure out the best time to make sure I’d get the best experience possible. Restrictions caused by COVID-19 forced us to reschedule a few times, but it ended up being perfect timing. Not only did I get to take two lessons with Andrea, I got to take those two lessons while prepping for our first show back after quarantine, the rescheduled AzRHA Mother’s Day Slide.  

When I got to the ranch, I was greeted by one of the staff members, and my mare, “Sadie,” had a nice, fluffy stall waiting for her. Because I came from out of state, I drove in the night before my lessons so Sadie could settle in. The next morning when I got to the barn, it was time to saddle up and ride.

Rancho Oso Rio is such an amazing facility. Everything was neat and clean, the team was friendly, and I felt welcome. I was nervous, but also excited because I knew it was going to be great. Every moment of the experience far exceeded my expectations.

Before my trip, I had brought Sadie home from my trainer’s barn for about a month. My mare usually stays about 7 hours north from where I live, and I wanted to be able to practice so I didn’t fall before the show season was able to start back up. So, when Andrea first asked me about my horse and if there was anything in particular I wanted to work on, I wasn’t sure what I was going to need help with. “A little of everything, I guess,” was my response. I thought Sadie was feeling really good at home by myself, but I didn’t know what it looked like from the ground.

Lizzy’s mare, Sadie, settled in her stall at Rancho Oso Rio (photo courtesy of Lizzy Creek).

On the day of my lesson, Andrea was so nice and patient. If you’ve watched his training videos, he really gives away his training secrets. He just makes everything so simple you might not believe it could all be that easy. We all know reining isn’t easy by any means, so I was just waiting to see his magic trick. It turns out, he doesn’t use magic—just training tools. 

It was so fun to be able to apply things I’ve watched on his training videos, with the help of the master himself. Andrea really took time to help us with each maneuver. With everything we worked on, he explained the why, how, and when, making it easy to follow along and retain. As we worked through everything, it all just flowed and made sense. Both lessons felt like they flew by, but they were about an hour and a half each. As they say, time definitely flies when you’re having fun. 

I absolutely loved this opportunity, and I’m very thankful for NRHA’s Buy-A-Pro Auction that made it all possible. I’m even more thankful that Andrea was willing to volunteer his time to the program. This wonderful experience was one for the books! 

Calling all NRHA Professionals! YOU can make a difference for a non pro like Lizzy by donating your time to the Buy-A-Pro auction. Contact Sara Honegger at shonegger@nrha.com for more information. 

If you’re a non pro rider interested in winning a lesson with an NRHA Professional like Andrea Fappani, you’re in luck! Make plans to bid in next year’s Buy-A-Pro Auction. More details will be available soon—follow NRHA on Facebook for the latest updates.