US Equestrian Names U.S. Reining Squad for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has named five athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Reining Squad for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) Tryon 2018. Following the USEF Selection Trial, 10 athlete–and-horse combinations were recommended to the US Equestrian Board of Directors for consideration to be named to the Nominated Entry List, from which the following five horse-and-athlete combinations were selected for the U.S. Reining Squad, listed in alphabetical order:

Casey Deary (Weatherford, Texas) will ride Heavy Duty Chex, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Hilldale Farm

Dan Huss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) will ride Ms Dreamy, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare owned by Frederick R. Christen

Jordan Larson (Valley View, Texas) will ride ARC Gunnabeabigstar, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by HDC Quarter Horses USA LLC

Cade McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) will ride Custom Made Gun, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Tim and Colleen McQuay

Tom McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) will ride The Wizster, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse gelding owned by Turnabout Farm, Inc.

The following are the reserve combinations, listed in alphabetical order: 

Emily Emerson (Elbert, Colo.) will ride Wind Er Up Wimp, a nine-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Susan Geiger

Jeremy Gates (Bloomingburg, N.Y.) will ride Lil Dreamin Magnum, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Kathy Biesecker

Gabe Hutchins (Joseph, Ore.) will ride FM Shine N Tag Chex, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Tamarack Ranch

Cameron Meissner (Manhattan, Mont.) will ride Gold Flash Whiz, a 13-year-old Quarter Horse gelding owned by Ardyce Swain

Matt Mills (Scottsdale, Ariz.) will ride Wimps Cool Breeze, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Janice Dickson

For complete selection procedures for the U.S. Reining Squad for the 2018 WEG, click here.

Stay up to date on U.S. Reining by following US Equestrian on InstagramTwitter, and the USEF Reining Facebook page. Use #USAReining.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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Opportunities for Youth at the 2018 NRHA Derby

For Immediate Release – May 17, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The 2018 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby has a fantastic lineup of events for its youth members. From parties to specialty contests, there is an activity for everyone in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!

Kicking off the 9-day event is the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) welcome party. Held at NRHA Headquarters, this fiesta-themed event is your chance to welcome IEA to the Horse Show Capital of the World. Join us at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 22 and enjoy inflatables, food trucks and more!

Learn more about delegate and officer responsibilities at the NRHyA Delegate Retreat and Officer workshop will on Tuesday, June 26. All current NRHyA Delegates are invited to attend. Time and location are coming soon. Check the Derby schedule at for updates.

The CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest is an opportunity to make your voice heard. The contest begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, and has competition categories of: prepared public speaking (leadership or equine topics), community service presentations or “A: General” delivery from the NRHA Handbook. Entry forms can be found on and should be sent to Lerin Thomas, NRHA Youth Programs Advisor, by June 1.

June 1 is also the deadline for entering the NRHyA Art & Photo Contest. Put your paint, drawing, photography and other artistic skills on display by entering any of the following categories: photography, artwork and graphic artwork categories.

Ride some of the industry’s top equine athletes in the NRHA Collegiate Catch Ride on Friday, June 29 at 1:30 p.m. in the Jim Norick Arena. Submit your application to Lerin Thomas, NRHA Youth Programs Advisor, by May 18 for your chance to compete on the NRHA team.

Enjoy a hands-on experience with the equine industry at Hay Day Horse Day—an equine experience and community service project. Learn more about horses, equipment, tack and more while interacting with students from Oklahoma City’s public-school system. Date, time and location are coming soon. Check the Derby schedule at for updates.

Finally, all youth are invited to attend the NRHyA meeting on Thursday, June 28 at 3 p.m. in the Platinum Zone. It will be a fiesta, so bring your maracas and come mingle with your fellow NRHyA members and learn more about the youth programs NRHA offers.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the 2018 NRHA Derby! For more information on schedules, hotel accommodations, sponsors, and more visit

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Time To Ride® Announces 2018 Challenge


Time To Ride® is pleased to announce that the popular Time To Ride Challenge is on for 2018! The purpose of the Challenge is to support individual equine businesses and organizations in attracting newcomers to horses by hosting an event at their facility. This grassroots approach gives barn owners the opportunity to grow their business by introducing non-horsey people to the beauty and benefits horses bring to our lives, while simultaneously growing the horse industry overall.

Each Time To Ride participating barn and organization (host) is provided with direct marketing support to promote a one-day event for newcomers.  The support includes marketing materials that the host barn can use locally, and suggestions for holding a successful event.  New this year, Time to Ride will implement and pay for a personalized digital marketing campaign specific to the host’s event and location for the first 100 barns that register to hold Challenge events, investing $500 in each campaign.

Time To Ride will once again award cash and other prizes to participating barns who introduce the most newcomers to horses. There will be two phases to the Challenge again this year: Phase 1 – Acquisition; and Phase 2 – Activation; with prizes awarded for both phases.  During Phase 1, host barns hold one-day events for newcomers.  For Phase 2, hosts invite participants from the Phase 1 to return for a more in-depth horse experience, such as a riding lesson.

Host enrollment for the 2018 Time To Ride Challenge opened May 15.  The Phase 1 dates are June 1 – November 15, and the Phase 2 dates are June 15 – December 15.  The dates for both phases have been extended to take advantage of the opportunity to work with Scouts, faith-based and other groups that typically have a hiatus during the summer months, as well as accommodate the hotter climates in the southern tier of the country.

For more information, please visit, email, or call 512-591-7811.

About Time To Ride

Time To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance.  The Marketing Alliance was founded by a consortium of equine-related corporations and organizations to encourage and support the growth of the U.S. horse industry. Current members of the Marketing Alliance include: Active Interest Media, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Horse Council, Boehringer Ingelheim, Farnam, Merck, Morris Media Network, The Right Horse Partnership, Platinum Performance, Purina, US Equestrian, and Zoetis.  Additional support is provided by Absorbine, American Paint Horse Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Colorado State University, Equibrand, Horse Illustrated and Young Rider, and National Reining Horse Association.

For more information contact Molly O’Brien, Time To Ride Program Manager:; 512-591-7811.

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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New Opportunities for NRHA – Futurity and Derby Dates

New Opportunities for NRHA – Futurity and Derby Dates

For Immediate Release – May 15, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Board members discussed several topics related to NRHA-owned events during their May 2018 meeting. Among those topics was the opportunity to secure more dates for the NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show starting in 2019, as well as to shift the NRHA Derby up one week in the calendar.

Futurity Discussion
The Barrel Futurities of America recently announced plans to move their December event, which has followed the NRHA Futurity since the 1980s, to the Lazy E Arena starting in 2019. This date cancellation opened up a very rare and time-sensitive opportunity to expand the dates for the NRHA Futurity.

Presented with an unusual offering, the board talked at length about many scenarios including pros and cons to the option. In the end, they were excited about the potential.
“Doors like this don’t open very often, so we took a good, hard look at how this could help us further solidify the event for the future. What could we do to help exhibitors, owners and fans have a better experience? What possibilities could we explore that we can’t today because we just don’t have enough days or hours in those days? Let’s take this opportunity and see what we can make of it for the sport and the horse,” said NRHA President Mike Deer.

NRHA Vice President Mike Hancock continued, “Since moving the Futurity to Oklahoma City, the schedule, number of entries, number horses and other needs have grown. We’ve not had the opportunity to expand the schedule based upon the fact that we were sandwiched in between two events. This opportunity allows us to have a clean canvas to develop the schedule that suits our expanded needs better than ever. Our aged events committee will now take this opportunity to fill in the blanks on what the schedule would look like.”

The date change can help NRHA address the following needs and maximize the event:

  • More time for general move-in
  • More time to settle in horses after travel
  • More time to familiarize horses with the facility prior to showing
  • Starting the show later (i.e. several days later, not on Thanksgiving)
  • More down time between go rounds
  • More flexibility to adjust the schedule to avoid over-booked, long days
  • Options to avoid class cross-over in the schedule
  • More alternatives for fun, social parties and events that are a part of the NRHA Futurity experience
  • More time for facility clean up before it is released to NRHA

The NRHA Aged Events Committee will consider these concerns and create a recommended schedule for the board to review at an upcoming meeting. The available 2019 dates, which include move-in days, are listed below.


  • Previous Available Dates (Including move-in days): Tues. Nov. 26 – Sat. Dec. 7
  • New Available Dates (Including move-in days): Fri. Nov. 29 – Sat. Dec. 14

NRHA Derby Dates
In a similar situation, the week prior to the NRHA Derby became available starting in 2019. The board agreed to shift since it will separate the show further from the July 4 holiday. In addition, July is historically the hottest month in Oklahoma, so a move earlier in the year may help in that regard. The shift also allows an extra day to be used as needed for the best schedule possible. 2019 show dates are provided below:

  • 2019 NRHA Derby (move-in included): June 13 – 23

For the latest information on the NRHA Futurity and NRHA Derby, visit them online at:

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Larson and Huss Tie for Gold, USA Takes Top Three at the FEI World Equestrian Games

Larson and Huss Tie for Gold, McCutcheon Bronze at FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 Reining Test Event and USEF Selection Trial

From the US Equestrian Communications Department

Mill Spring, N.C. – In an important step towards being named to the U.S. Reining Squad for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018, U.S. reining athletes contested the WEG Reining Test Event and USEF Selection Trial this week at the Tryon International Equestrian Center on Thursday, May 10 and Saturday, May 12.

Jordan Larson

With scores compiled from both evening’s rounds, it was Jordan Larson and Dan Huss leading the way for a gold-medal tie and ending on a combined score of 450.0. Larson (Valley View, Texas) and Arc Gunnabeabigstar, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by HDC Quarter Horses USA, LLC, sat fourth after Thursday’s round with a score of 222.0. Huss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Ms Dreamy, an eight-year-old Quarter Horse mare owned by Christen R. Frederick, won Thursday’s round on a score of 224.0.

Larson was part of the gold-medal U.S. Reining Team for WEG in Normandy, France in 2014 and is excited about the possibility of representing the U.S. again. “It was cool to go to France, but I think it is even more pressure to represent well here. We have our work cut out to get ready. That horse is a good one. [Arc Gunnabeabigstar] has been really good to me and it seems like he just keeps getting better. When it counts, he’s his best. When I ask him for everything, he’s his best.”

Dan Huss

“For me, I was just waiting for a nice horse,” laughed Huss. “She is a Magnum daughter out of a Gunner mare. It would mean a lot to me [to represent the U.S. at WEG]. I’m not a guy with a big ego, but I came here to win this and I want to win the WEG. I have some room to improve. I have to beat my fellow teammates, because they are tough.”

A third-generation reiner and on the cusp of his 18th birthday, Cade McCutcheon claimed the bronze medal at the USEF Selection Trial. McCutcheon (Aubrey, Texas) and Custom Made Gun, a seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion owned by Tim and Colleen McQuay, were tied for second after Thursday’s round. The combination held their own in the second round to end on a score of 446.0. Should McCutcheon’s place on the U.S. Reining Team for WEG be finalized, he would become the youngest U.S. athlete to represent reining at the Games.

Cade McCutcheon

“It means a lot to come here with the likes of Jordan [Larson] or Casey [Deary], my dad, and Shawn [Flarida],” said McCutcheon. “I’ve always been in the non-pro, which isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier than this. It is a big honor to get to show here and a bigger honor to be where I am at. It means a lot to be able to do this sport with my family; it makes it way more fun. My parents don’t put any pressure on me. It wouldn’t make a difference to them if I marked a 208 or a 220, as long as I am having fun.”

Full results for the WEG Reining Test Event and USEF Selection Trial can be found here.

Following the USEF Selection Trial, 10 athlete-and-horse combinations will be recommended to the USEF Board of Directors for consideration to be named to the Nominated Entry List, from which, the U.S. Reining Squad for WEG will be named. Full selection procedures can be found here.

Stay up to date on U.S. Reining by following US Equestrian on Instagram, Twitter, and the USEF Reining Facebook page. Use #USAReining.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.

Photos: Larson and Arc Gunnabeabigstar (Photo by Waltenberry); Cade McCutcheon and Custom Made Gun (Photo by: Kim MacMillan/MacMillan Photography)

USA Takes Top Three at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 FEI CRI 3* Reining Test Event

For Immediate Release – TRYON, NC, USA – May 13, 2018 – The all-American podium stood tall after the completion of two days of FEI CRI 3* competition hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), in Tryon, North Carolina, alongside the first installment of the Carolina Classic at TIEC. The week served as the eighth and final Test Event ahead of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 coming to the venue this fall, from September 11-23.

FEI combinations took to the newly constructed Indoor Arena, located at the main entrance of TIEC, to test their skills against some of the discipline’s biggest names from Thursday, May 10-13. The first day of competition saw 22 competitors contest the USEF Selection Trial First Go on Thursday, May 10, before welcoming back 20 of the original entries. Ultimately, Jordan Larson (USA) and Dan Huss (USA) both walked away with the blue ribbon, tying on a composite score of 450.

Photo: Dan Huss and Ms Dreamy

Huss entered the second round sitting in first place after scoring 224 points aboard Frederick Christen’s Ms Dreamy, a 2010 Quarter Horse mare (Magnum Chic Dream x A Gal With A Gun). Larson improved upon his first-round score of 222.0 to share top honors riding ARC Gunnabeabigstar, a 2011 Quarter Horse stallion (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic) owned by HDC Quarter Horses, to an impressive second-round score of 228. The young Cade McCutcheon (USA) followed just behind on a total score of 446 points aboard Custom Made Gun, a 2011 Quarter Horse stallion (Colonels Smoking Gun x Custom Made Dunit) owned by McQuay Stables, after receiving a 222.5 in the first round and a 223.5 in the final competition.

All three riders are hoping to return to represent the United States at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) in September and Huss commented that he’s been waiting for the right horse to come along in order to pursue contention.

“Basically for me, I was just waiting for the right horse,” he explained. “I usually share [Ms Dreamy] with a Non-Pro, but obviously the mare is too old to do the derbies, so Fredrick [Christen] said I could show her at the FEI level. It would mean a lot to me to represent the U.S. I came with the intention of winning here. I’m not a guy that has a big ego, but I wanted to win here and I want to win at the WEG. I have some room to improve yet and I’d have to beat my fellow teammates because they’re tough.”

Huss, of Scottsdale, AZ, complimented the TIEC show organizers for hosting the venue’s first reining event. “I think Tryon did a great job hosting their first reining competition. From what I understand they’re putting stalls in here in the Indoor Arena, so it’ll all be under one roof and I think it’ll be pretty nice.”

Larson, a seasoned WEG competitor based in Valley View, TX, echoed Huss’ sentiments about what a USA-hosted Games means, stating, “It’s awesome to have the WEG return to the US. It’s really cool to be able to represent our country here at home. It was awesome to go to France, but there’s even more pressure I think to represent well here, so we’ve got our work cut out to get ready for the next one and be even better.”

Commenting on his significant improvement in score between the first and second round, Larson had nothing but praise for his mount. “This horse is a good one,” he emphasized. “He’s been really good to me. It seems like he keeps getting better and better and when it counts he’s at his best. In the first round I tried to play it safe and he was kind of messing around with me a little bit, but when I call on him for everything he is great.”

The pressure of the USA team selections definitely weighed heavily on all competitor’s minds, Larson explained, saying, “There’s always a lot of pressure. We have really high expectations of ourselves and because we’re hoping to be on the team to represent the USA, the pressure goes up,” he admitted. “But, that’s what we thrive on, so we have fun doing it.”

Cade McCutcheon, whose 18th birthday is in a few short weeks, is also looking for the chance to represent his country, with his sights set on being the youngest reining competitor to ever compete in the history of the WEG.

The Aubrey, TX, native ran the stallion Custom Made Gun, whom his family raised and his grandparents own, to third place after putting in a near perfect round. “It means a lot to come here with the likes of Jordan [Larson], Casey [Deary], my dad [Tom McCutcheon], Shawn [Flarida] – I’ve never had to do that. I’ve always been in the Non-Pro, which isn’t easy, but it’s easier than this. It meant a lot and it was a big honor to just show here, and a bigger honor to be where I’m at.”

Riding beside his father, WEG Gold Medalist Tom McCutcheon this week, the young talent commented, “It’s a cool deal being a third generation reining competitor. Not a lot of people can say that. I just hope I do as well as they did if I make it on the USA Team. It means a lot to me to be able to do this sport with my family. It makes it way more fun, and they have the experience that will help me get through the team and the individual phases.”

Dan Huss, Jordan Larson, and Cade McCutcheon in their presentation ceremony with Anna Milne of the FEI and Eric Straus of the WEG Organizing Committee.

Further discussing his family legacy, McCutcheon also noted the incredible accomplishments of his multi-generational equestrian family. Despite being the youngest rider in the FEI CRI 3* this week, McCutcheon commented on the benefit of the experience as he looks towards a bright future.

“Maybe there’s a little more pressure coming from a reining family, but I don’t think very much. My parents don’t put any pressure on me, and it wouldn’t make a difference to them if I marked a 208 or a 220, as long as I’m having fun.”

Like the @Tryon2018 Facebook page to stay informed on the most recent news.

To start planning a trip to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, visit

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries about the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, please contact one of the following press officers:

National Press Officer – Carly Weilminster at or +1 (828) 863-1144

International Press Officer – Niki McEwen at or 0044(0) 203 176 0355

For more information from the FEI, please contact Shannon Gibbons at or 0041-78-750-6146.

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

Tryon International Equestrian Center at Tryon Resort, host of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018, is one of the world’s premier equestrian lifestyle destinations. From carousel to competition, the mission of Tryon Resort is to celebrate the magic of the horse, grow equestrian sport, and increase access to this majestic animal. With first-class facilities for hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing competitions, the facility will accommodate all eight equestrian disciplines. Tryon Resort is a spring, summer and fall haven for equestrian competitors and enthusiasts, and a year-round destination for connoisseurs of diverse cuisine and shopping, lodging getaways, and family entertainment. Learn more at

About the FEI World Equestrian Games™

The FEI World Equestrian Games™, held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is the property of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the world governing body for horse sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining World Championships in the Olympic disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, the Paralympic discipline of Para-Equestrian Dressage, as well as Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.

The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA), which attracted more than 500,000 on-site spectators and a worldwide television audience of 350 million, as well as delivering an economic impact of €368 million to the French economy.

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ History Hub can be viewed here:

For more information, visit and

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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Hall of Famer Becomes NRHA’s Newest Ten Million Dollar Sire

For Immediate Release – May 11, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Not even five full months into the 2018 show season, a fourth individual has crossed a historic National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar Milestone. The 2011 NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee Wimpys Little Step has hit the record books once again, becoming the association’s third Ten Million Dollar Sire.

Bred by Hilldale Farm, Wimpys Little Step is by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Nu Chex To Cash and out of Leolita Step. The 19-year-old stallion is owned by Mike and Michelle Miola’s Silver Spurs Equine, LLC and stands at Xtra Quarter Horses, LLC in Purcell, Oklahoma.

Although he only competed for one year, “Wimpy” earned great success in the show pen and boasts NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) of more than $185,756. In 2002, the palomino stallion and NRHA Six Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida took second place in The Tradition Level (4) Open Futurity in Lexington, Virginia. The pair went on to claim top honors at the All American Quarter Horse Congress L4 Open Futurity and the NRHA L4 Open Futurity.

Wimpy continued his success through his time in the breeding pen. The stallion has produced 18 NRHA Open and Non Pro Futurity Champions and 6 NRHA Open Derby Champions. He also sired Wimpys Little Chic—a mare currently boasting NRHA’s highest LTE with $516,555.71. In the 2018 show season, Wimpy’s offspring have earned more than $26,000, helping to push the legendary stallion over the NRHA Ten Million Dollar Sire mark.

His most notable offspring include:

  • Wimpys Little Chic (out of Collena Chic Olena): NRHA LTE over $516,555
  • RC Fancy Step (out of Sonita Wilson): NRHA LTE over $364,454
  • Wimpyneedsacocktail (out of Seven S Mimosa): NRHA LTE over $280,379
  • Wimpys Little Buddy (out of All Thats Dun): NRHA LTE over $278,490
  • CFR Centenario Wimpy (out of Miss Hollywood Whiz): NRHA LTE over $173,740

Photo by: John Brasseaux

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IHSA National Championship Horse Show Western Wrap Up

University of Findlay and St Andrews University’s Connor Smith Take Top Honors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Harrisburg, Penn.—May 9, 2018 — The 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) began Western and reining competition Friday, May 4, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, featuring AQHA Team Open Reining and Individual Open Western Horsemanship. All teams demonstrated their school colors and team spirit as they participated in the Parade of Teams.



Danielle Paulson from the University of Wisconsin River Falls has been on the team for two years and qualified for Nationals for the first time this year.

“Last year I had a rough go at Semi-Finals and making it back to Nationals this year was an incredible opportunity,” said Paulson, who is from Rochester, Minnesota.

While watching the warmup, she spied Juice, a cute chestnut mare owned by St. Andrews University. “I liked Juice when I saw her warming up. Her spins were great, her stops were awesome,” she said. “She was a heck of a mare to ride.”

Though Paulson has shown American Quarter Horses for 10 years, this is her first year competing in reining. Paulson also competed in NRHA Individual Open Reining and AQHA High Point Western Rider.


The third time is a charm for Codi Uecker from Rocky Mountain College who piloted Terrell, owned by the University of Findlay to the win in the Individual Open Western Horsemanship. Uecker hails from Lewistown, Montana, and is a junior studying biology. She has qualified and competed at Nationals every year of her college career. “I’m so excited,” said Uecker. It’s taken three years, so it’s good.”



Morgan Knerr from University of Findlay and her best friend, Tyler Kirby from Ohio State University were tied at 148 points after their first reining run. The judges asked the two top contenders to swap horses and return for a showdown. Knerr, who rode Karen Black’s Brie in the first round mounted up on Gunny, also owned by Black. In the end, the judges gave Knerr the top prize.

“She was so good,” Knerr said about her mount. “I knew it was a tough competition with Tyler. I know he’s a good rider. I was excited to go back in the arena and do it again.”

Knerr is a freshman studying pharmacy. She hopes to have a career in hospital pharmacy and continue riding. “Both my parents are involved in reining and I’ve grown up in the reining industry,” she said.

Before joining the University of Findlay, Knerr and Kirby rode at Autumn Rose with the Griffiths and competed together in the NRHA.



The final day of the 2018 IHSA National Championship Horse Show featured the conclusion of the Western divisions. Young men and sparkle-clad women sat tall in the saddle to compete at the Pennsylvania Farm Complex in Harrisburg. The AQHA National Champion Team University of Findlay took home the trophy after a stunning victory over talented teams from across the country. Ohio State University was named reserve champion.

In his first year at the helm as head coach, Spencer Zimmerman led the Findlay Oilers to the win, but he credits his students and the Findlay program for their success.

“The team’s dedication to one another set them apart—helping each other get to the pen, schooling each other at home, hours of practice to come out here and shine,” Zimmerman said. “I am proud of my riders for putting it all out there in the pen and remembering everything we practiced at home. It really showed.”

Zimmerman, who is from Newport, Pennsylvania, not far from Harrisburg, has spent the last two years as assistant coach to his predecessor Cindy Morehead, who retired last year. And he knows what it is like to walk in his students’ boots. During his time on the team Findlay earned two national championships.

“I was on the team for four years and I got to compete under Cindy, Clark Bradley and Jake Bowman,” he said. “It has come full circle close to my hometown.”

He explained that most of the 30-member team ride on the equestrian program as well. They ride a couple of horses a day, five to seven days a week. In addition, they have more practice. The riders that are not in the program practice as much as the others. The students have access to a depth of horses available to help them learn.

This is the University of Findlay’s sixth IHSA AQHA Team National Championship.


It was a big day for Connor Smith. The polite and humble St. Andrews University senior from Gastonia, North Carolina, won the Team Open Western Horsemanship and earned the AQHA High Point Western Rider.

Smith’s coach Carla Wennberg fought back tears of excitement and pride in her student who she described as a leader for the team. He went from the Intermediate division to Open under her tutelage, but she credits other trainers for helping to develop the talented rider.

“He’s put a lot of effort in with other trainers to help him with reining,” Wennberg said. “I can’t take all that credit.”

“You know I just took what Carla always says, ’You can never wait, you just have to start from where you are and learn from what happens as the days pass and build from that,’” Smith said.

Smith complimented Jade, the horse he drew on the final day of competition and described her as sensitive, very correct and a good mover.

Smith has been a member of the IHSA for four years and this is his second trip to Nationals. In his sophomore year, he placed third in Team Advanced Horsemanship. After graduation, Smith has a job in Charlotte with a company that does search engine optimization and web design.


Harley from Middle Tennessee State was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Western Horse and the Triple Crown High Point Horse award went to Sarah from Alfred University. Harry Hurd, coach of the Alfred team and Kendall Woellmer from West Texas A & M University were both honored with the AQHA Sportsmanship award. Bryan Bradley from Penn State University was named Volunteer of the Year.

Thanks to the generous IHSA sponsors, the competitors, teams, coaches, volunteers and horses for a successful National Championship Horse Show. We look forward to the 2019 season and next year’s Nationals in Syracuse, New York.


Young men and women from the U.S. and Canada qualified to represent their colleges and universities in hunter seat equitation and Western horsemanship in a range of levels from Walk-Trot through Open, alumni championships, the USEF/Cacchione Cup, the NRHA Individual Open Reining final and the AQHA Western High Point Rider national final.


The IHSA was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione while he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The organization was established so that any full-time college student could participate in equestrian competition regardless of economic status, gender or riding level and offers Hunter Seat and Western competition at eight levels from Walk-Trot through Open divisions for both male and female college athletes. The IHSA emphasizes learning and sportsmanship and fosters teamwork. The organization has grown to include 400 member teams and 10,000 members encompassing 39 Regions, 8 Zones and 45 states and Canada. College or university teams, individuals, alumni and coaches may become members.

For more information go to or contact

High-res photos available upon request.

Media Contact:
Carrie Wirth
EQ Media
(612) 209-0310

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.

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2019 NRHA Rule Changes Approved

For Immediate Release – May 9, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Each year, National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) members have the opportunity to submit rule change proposals for addition to the next year’s official handbook. The NRHA Board of Directors then discusses the proposals, sends them to NRHA Committees for feedback, reviews opinions shared by the membership and casts votes at their annual May meeting. At this year’s meeting, the board considered 34 proposals and ultimately approved 29 to become effective in 2019.

“The board is extremely serious about this process and does their best to consider members’ opinions on these proposals as well as look for opportunities to grow the sport and to be aware of anything that might have a detrimental impact,” said NRHA President Mike Deer. “I’m proud to say all of the proposals the board approved were supported by a majority of members who participated in the online survey.”

A listing of approved rule changes is shown below with details available on in the Members Only section.

Also approved for 2019 during last year’s rules change meeting is the move to a true 12-month membership. Starting January 1, 2019, NRHA memberships will no longer expire on December 31; memberships will now expire one year after purchase. See page 29 of the 2018 NRHA Handbook for details.


SECTION 1                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Competition // 31-01-19 – Non Pro Conditions
Competition // 37-02-19 – Category change for Prime Time Open
Event Management // 47-01-19 – Event requirements for chair judges
Event Management // 47-02-19 – Show officials requirement
Event Management // 56-01-19 and 56-02-19 – Ancillary and Jackpot show judge’s fees
Event Management // 59-01-19 – Green Level entry fees
Event Management // 61-01-19 – Show secretary deadline for submitting results to NRHA
Judging // 45-01-19 – Helmets in Para-Reining
Judging // 56-04-19 – Use of hands (Aged shows)
Judging // 59-03-19 – Simple lead changes for Entry Level Ride & Slide
Judging // 81-01-19 – Freestyle time limit
Judging // 88-01-19 – Judges’ guidelines (unapproved events)
Judging // 96-01-19 – Two-point reviews (Related to 96-02-19)
General // 07-01-19 – Rule change procedures
General // 07-02-19 – Re-establishing an annulled affiliate
General // 35-01-19 – Horse naming requirements

SECTION 2                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Competition // 59-04-19 – Move the “Green Point Scale”
Judging // 91-01-19 – Tie-Breaker
Judging // 92-01-19 – Standard western bit (one point of pull)
Judging // 92-02-19 – Rein hand (use of fingers)
Judging // 93-01-19 – Use of hands (mane)
Judging // 93-02-19 – Closed Reins in Ride & Slide and Para
Judging // 93-03-19 – Belly wraps/bands
General // 07-03-19 – Affiliate Compliance

SECTION 3                  
Sub-section // Proposal
Judging // 86-01-19 – Judges’ guidelines
Judging // 97-01-19 – Add Para-Reining Allowances from Policy to Handbook
General // 07-04-19 – Move fines to policy
General // 08-01-19 – Move part of IAP rules to resolution

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Mid-Year NRHA Board of Directors Meeting Successful

For Immediate Release – May 4, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –  Members of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Executive Committee and Board of Directors spent two days this week at the international headquarters for their mid-year meeting. Over the course of those two days, significant discussions regarding a variety of topics took place, all with one goal in mind – improving and growing the sport of reining.

The meeting agenda included items such as:

  • Voting on 2019 rule change proposals. A detailed report will be available on in the near future.
  • Update on ReinerSuite, the NRHA information technology re-build project.
  • Budget and financial overview.
  • Fees policy reviewed with details forthcoming.
  • Southern Australia was approved as an NRHA Affiliate.
  • Update on medications testing. 247 tests were conducted last year with 14 positive tests received. Of those 14 results, 12 were for controlled substances which are deemed to have therapeutic value and/or commonly used in equine medicine.

Board members discussed several topics related to NRHA-owned events. They were presented with a new opportunity for the NRHA Derby with further discussion to take place at the fall meeting. They also received an update on the changes to stall sponsor guidelines to take effect this year. Additionally, the 2018 NRHA Futurity schedule and dates for the 2019 NRHA Futurity and Derby were approved. More information here.

When asked about the meeting NRHA President Mike Deer had this to say: “The hard work, thoughtfulness on tough questions asked at this meeting have set us up to have an even more productive meeting in August. I am very optimistic that this momentum and dedication will only continue to grow each time the executive committee and board of directors meet.”


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Spooks Gotta Whiz Hits the NRHA Million Dollar Mark

For Immediate Release – May 3, 2018 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Many successful riders, owners and horses in the reining industry spend a lifetime chasing an illustrious National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar title. For Spooks Gotta Whiz, however, it took only seven years in the breeding shed to reach the million. After a spectacular run at the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) by many of his offspring, Spooks Gotta Whiz is unofficially an NRHA Million Dollar Sire.

Spooks Gotta Whiz is by NRHA Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Gun and out of Prettywhizprettydoes. Bred by Clint Haverty, the 2007 stallion is owned by Michell Anne Kimball, who purchased the horse from Duane Hicks in 2009 after meeting him at the High Roller Reining Classic. “Baby” currently stands at Cinder Lakes Ranch in Valley View, Texas.

The bay stallion may have crossed the NRHA Million due to his success in the breeding pen, but Spooks Gotta Whiz had his fair share of glory within his competitive career, accumulating NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) in excess of $345,147. His prominent wins include:

  • 2010 NRHA Level (L)4 Open Futurity Champion ridden by Jordan Larson
  • 2012 NRBC L4 Open Classic Champion ridden by Shawn Flarida
  • 2012 NRHA L4 Open Derby Champion ridden by Flarida
  • Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) 2014 Normandy Individual and Team Gold Medalist ridden by Flarida

Baby began his breeding career in 2011 and has produced offspring who have achieved much notoriety within the show pen. The young stallion sired the 2016 NRHA L4 Open Futurity Champion, the 2016 NRHA L3 Non Pro Futurity Reserve Champion and the 2017 NRHA L4 Non Pro Derby Reserve Champion, in addition to numerous finalists within many of the industry’s top tier shows

The stallion’s most notable offspring include:

  • Spooky Whiz (out of Myo Starlight): NRHA LTE over $181,727
  • Gotta Twist It Up (out of Make It With A Twist): NRHA LTE over $90,105
  • Thebettertohearuwith (out of Chex Out The Cowgirl): NRHA LTE over $75,670
  • Spooks Grand Slam (out of Shiney Diamond Lady): NRHA LTE over $42,768
  • Night Time Spook (out of Custom Night Time): NRHA LTE over $42,579
  • KR When In Rome (out of Crome Shiner): NRHA LTE over $40,737

Founded in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting and encouraging the development of and public interest in the sport of reining. The focus is on developing and maintaining suitable standards of performance and judging and in providing a fun filled, family-oriented atmosphere. 

Media Contact:
Hayley Eberle
Manager of Marketing & Outreach
National Reining Horse Association
(405) 946-7400 x 103


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