If it wasn’t the opening notes to the newly iconic Disney song, it was the costume unveil that let this Kentucky Horse Park crowd know that they were in for a special Frozen performance. 23-year-old Laura Sumrall expertly combined theatrics with superb skill in a routine that not only won her the World Freestyle Reining championship title, it won over the Internet as well.
Laura Sumrall had audiences captivated as soon as she entered the Lexington arena in an event known as reining. The purpose of this specific section is to showcase the athleticism of ranch horses to the judges. Sumrall and her horse, Wimpys Top Model, added a dash of magic to their performance by paying tribute to the wildly popular Disney film, Frozen.
Sumrall removed her cape to reveal a dazzling Elsa costume as the film’s hit song “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel filled the arena. The soundtrack prompted the routine which showcased the horse’s incredible ability to negotiate a series of controlled tricks before the judges and audience.
The crowd erupted in applause after Sumrall’s final trick and even the announcer stating that the performance gave her chills. The judges expressed the same level of approval after giving her an outstanding score that put her well ahead of her competition. While Sumrall may have anticipated some praise for her hard work, she could have never expected the universal acclaim she’d eventually receive.
Laura Sumrall and Wimpys Top Model’s equestrian routine was uploaded to Facebook after her big win. The video catapulted Sumrall into becoming a social media sensation with her performance being viewed over 18 million times.
Sumrall’s routine earned her the title of the World Freestyle Reining champion after she won the “crown jewel” of the annual FEI Reining schedule, the $120,000 Kentucky Reining Cup. However, the true prize ended up being how much Sumrall’s performance inspired other little girls.
“I had all kinds of mums from all over the world email me and say, ‘I love your video and my daughter really, really loves it and now all she wants to do is put on her Elsa costume and ride her pony,’” Sumrall told CNN Equestrian. “I’ve inspired a lot of little girls to really go out there and ride their ponies which makes me really happy.”