Category Archives: NRHA News

Southeast Region Elections Start October 1

The NRHA Executive Committee and Board of Directors are responsible for managing the business of the association and for representing the best interests of its members and the Association as a whole.

For this year’s elections, one 2017-2018 Southeast Regional Director seat is set to be filled by a vote of members to be held October 1 – November 1. The two members nominated by affiliates for this year’s elections are Jesse Chase and Shannon Rafacz. More information on these candidates can be found below to help you determine how to cast your vote.

How do I vote? Who can vote?

Eligible voting members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina are encouraged to look in the Members Only section of or to page 140 of the September NRHA Reiner magazine for voting details. Additionally, Southeast region members will receive an email reminder later this month, or will receive a post card reminder if NRHA does not have an email on file for a member. NRHA PIN information as of September 1, 2016 will be needed to access online voting. To retrieve this information so you may vote, please contact Christa Morris-Stone ( or 405-946-7400, ext. 105).

Please note that Associate, Youth and joint/corporate members are not eligible to vote.

Southeast Regional Director (Seats Open for Election: 1  /  Term: 2017-2018)

Jesse Chase • Wendell, North Carolina

jesse2 PREFERREDJesse Chase is a lifetime member of the NRHA and has also been an NRHA judge for the last thirteen years. Jesse earned a degree in 1994 in Equine Science and Management from Morrisville State College in New York and since then has been building himself a solid business and reputation along the east coast within the reining industry.

He owns and operates his farm with his wife and three sons, Jesse Chase Performance Horses, just outside of Raleigh in Wendell, North Carolina.  Jesse has close to twenty years of experience in training, colt breaking and coaching people of all levels in the reining discipline. (READ MORE HERE)

Shannon Rafacz • Citra, Florida

Shannon-Rafacz_0396SMHello, fellow members. Like many of you, I started in NRHA as a competitor and fell in love with the challenge, the horse, the people and the competition. It has always been “For the Love of the Game.” I am seeking re-election to my Southeast Regional Director seat for 2017 and 2018. I LOVE my role within the NRHA board and I am asking that you vote to let me continue my work with committees, task forces and board representation! As many of you know, our board structure has changed and the regions only have space for one representative. I want to be your representative!

I rode my first reiner in 1987, which means I have grown up in NRHA. I tend to speak about NRHA and family in the same sentence because for me it really has been. (READ MORE HERE)

The elections timeline and procedures can be found in the Members Only section of or by clicking HERE.

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Call for Candidates and Nominations

Deadlines to nominate Regional Director and Vice President candidates are approaching.

All regional director online elections for the Mountain, Southeast, Southwest and South Central regions will be held concurrently with Vice President elections October 1 through November 1, 2016.

Please make note of the following important deadlines:

July 1 – Affiliate nomination deadline for regional directors. Elections will be for one director from the Mountain, Southeast and Southwest regions for a 2017-2018 term. The South Central region will elect two directors for a 2017 term. Find out how these numbers were determined.

August 1 – The write-in deadline nominations for regional directors and Vice President is August 1, 2016. This process involves obtaining a minimum of ten member signatures from within the region.

More details on the Nomination Process and Elections can be found in the Members Only section of

Questions? Please contact Elections Administrator Christa Morris-Stone at or (405) 946-7400 ext. 105.

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New Governance Structure and Bylaws Approved

On May 10 and 11, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Board of Directors came together in Oklahoma City to discuss business and identify opportunities to advance the sport of Reining. Among those business discussions was a follow-up item related to the Association’s Certificate of Incorporation (COI), in addition to changes to the bylaw amendment process and governance structure.

Changes to Bylaw Amendment Process

On May 10, the board reviewed and unanimously approved proposed changes to NRHA Bylaws (Article XV. Amendments.). The approved changes kept in place member’s ability to submit bylaw amendment proposals. The approval process for bylaw amendment proposals was modified to comply with Oklahoma state statutes officially giving the board the authority to adopt, amend or repeal the bylaws of the Association. Click here for information on NRHA’s Certificate of Incorporation.

Governance Structure Changes

In June of 2014, NRHA convened its first Long Range Planning Committee in Columbus, Ohio, The group agreed on four areas of NRHA that needed considerable effort and focus. One of those was NRHA’s governance structure. Subsequently in May 2016, the board received and approved a proposal to streamline the structure including the creation of regional councils, adjustment of regional director allocations and establishment of term limits.

President Rick Clark commented, “NRHA governance has unique challenges. These include a complex, far-flung operation with a global board; maintaining engagement of a board separated by geography, local issues, language, culture and customs; communicating in a timely manner with a large group that cannot meet face-to-face; and finally, volunteer time commitment. Many boards face some of these challenges, NRHA faces them all.”

He continued, “In August of 2014, the NRHA Board of Directors approved a Global Governance Task Force to tackle these issues and to create a global governance structure and process that optimizes growth of the sport. Since that time, this task force has had several conference calls and at least four in person meetings. All of these issues received considerable attention and deliberation.”

More Details on the Changes

On May 10, 2016, the task force presented two options to the board. These options tackled the previously mentioned topics, as well as addressing board size to have a structure to have board members that are fully engaged, well-qualified, effective and focused on the strategy and direction of NRHA. As noted above, the board approved (27 to 1 vote) one of the options. Furthermore, they instructed the Bylaw Committee to develop proposed bylaws to implement this structure. The board will review and vote on proposed bylaws in August 2016.

Following a transition year in 2017, the 2018 board will include:

  • 20 total board members
    • 15 Directors to represent global membership*
      • 11 North American directors, two European Council directors, one South American Council director, one Oceana Council (ex. Australia and Japan) director and one Reining Horse Sports Foundation President (ex-officio)
      • These will be elected by the membership
      • *One of these directors will be elected to the Executive Committee
    • 5 Executive Committee members
      • President (2-year term), Vice President (2-year-term), two members elected by the membership (2-year terms) and one member elected from the board to the executive committee (1-year term)
      • Members can be re-elected to three consecutive, 2-year terms, and may be re-elected after a one-year hiatus.

2017 Transition Year

The task force presented a bylaw amendment proposal to add a provision to allow for a special transition term of one year through 12/31/17. The board approved the proposal unanimously. Therefore, NRHA will follow the new guidelines that will result in an overall reduction of the board from 38 to 27 for the transition year in 2017:

  • 22 Regional Directors
    • Western Canada (1), Eastern Canada (1), Mexico (1), Mountain (1), North Central (1), Southeast (1), Southwest (1), South Central (2), Northeast (2), Northwest (2), East Central (3), European Council (3), South American Council (1), Oceana Council (1), Reining Horse Sports Foundation (1)
    • Regional directors with terms expiring 12/31/17 will serve the remainder of their term
    • 5 Executive Committee
      • President (Mike Deer) and Vice President (to be elected in October), as well as three directors at large (Mike Hancock, Brian Welman and Casey Hinton to serve the remainder of their terms)

President Rick Clark commented after the meeting, “I am proud of our directors for thinking of our future, and excited to see how these changes will move us forward globally. This work was done with the membership and our future in mind. The past 50 years of our association have been great, and the next 50 promise to be even better.”

Elections of directors and Vice President will be held in October as approved at the 2016 Winter Meeting. The deadline for nominations and specifics on the voting period will be published in the NRHA Reiner and on The board will review and vote on proposed bylaws in August 2016. Following their approval, the updated bylaws also will be published online.


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Inaugural 2016 NRHA Winter Meeting deemed a success

Oklahoma City, Okla. – For the first time in recent memory, a gathering of directors, committee participants, members, and leaders of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) came together for business, education, and fun at its Winter Meeting, held January 20-24 at the historic Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City proved to be a wonderful location, in particular since the opening of NRHA’s new international headquarters gave members the opportunity to visit the new office and NRHA Hall of Fame.

A huge outpouring of support from the various NRHA committees meant that extensive, positive work was accomplished. In addition, the five days included two educational summits, a youth leadership symposium, the annual general membership meeting, and a comprehensive business review by the board of directors – all with a focus on benefiting NRHA members and their horses, and advancing the sport of reining.rickclark

“This has been one of the most successful meetings I have attended with NRHA,” said the association’s president, Rick Clark. “It is so humbling to work with a team of board members, committee chairs and committee members who truly have a passion for the sport and want to make the right decisions for NRHA. I can tell they all want to improve the sport of reining and help grow the horse industry.”

Perhaps the most significant single issue to be resolved during the meeting involved steps taken by the NRHA Board on January 23 concerning the bylaws. To wit:

During the NRHA Board meeting held on January 23, 2016, NRHA’s legal counsel, Michael Joseph, presented an update on the Oklahoma General Corporation Act (OGCA), wherein the legislature has revised the statutes on corporations that have an impact on our association. Joseph advised the board that when the NRHA submitted its Certificate of Incorporation (COI), which was accepted by the State of Oklahoma in December of 1999, the COI did not contain any language relating to the members’ rights to amend the bylaws of the association. In the absence of this wording within the certificate, the legislature’s revision of the statutes grant specific responsibility to a non-profit corporation’s board of directors to adopt, amend or repeal the bylaws of the association and to manage the affairs of the association in a manner that is consistent with the statutes and the COI.

After after being presented with this update, the NRHA Board of Directors noted their obligation to comply with Oklahoma state statues (OGCA, Title 18, Chapter 22, Section 1013) relative to the bylaws.

In turn, the NRHA Board agreed to review the existing bylaws for any inconsistencies with the OGCA and to discuss the findings. The NRHA Board voted to ratify all bylaw amendments passed by the membership since 2004, the date the above revision to the statutes was effective.

Furthermore, pursuant to the requirement within the current bylaws to establish the election date during its first meeting of the year, the NRHA Board voted to hold the annual elections during the month of October 2016.  The deadline for nominations and the voting period will be published in the NRHA Reiner and on the website.

NRHA Professionals Educational SummitNRHA Professionals

The week began with the NRHA Professionals inaugural educational summit hosted by NRHA Corporate Partner, Merial. Summit topics included: personal health insurance, marketing a business, legal advice on communicated contracts and expectation with clients, and enhancing NRHA’s brand by becoming involved with the American Horse Council’s “Time To Ride” program, a comprehensive effort to get more people exposed to horses.

Additional educational seminars are planned for 2016 to provide NRHA’s more than 1,700 professional members with opportunities to learn more about marketing, advertising and protecting their businesses. For more information, please go to:

Professionals & Judges Summit

Following the Professionals Summit, the members of the Professionals Committee and the Judges Committee met with the expressed intent of enhancing communication and developing new ways to collaborate for the sport. An open discussion ensued, covering judging practices, the education of members concerning current judging practices and standards, and how NRHA members, as a whole, can work together to continue to improve one of the best judging programs in the horse industry.

“I moderated the discussion, and was overwhelmed by the positive conversation and major steps forward made by all the parties involved. Reining is making all the right steps and we have the individuals involved to continue to make reining a popular sport,” said President Clark.

Additional MeetingsRHSF-Clr-RGB-Logo

Besides the two summits, more than one dozen of NRHA’s committees met, as did the Reining Horse Sports Foundation Board of Directors. NRHA also hosted a fun and informative youth leadership symposium, a successful annual general membership meeting and a Medications Education Seminar.

Further Business Matters

Among the actions taken during the Winter Meeting were the following items which were addressed and approved:

  • The FIRST PAYMENT for the NRHA Futurity deadline has been extended for 2016.  The first payment is now due (postmarked) on February 15, giving members two additional weeks to complete entries.  Payments that are sent to NRHA should reference NRHA’s new address: 3021 West Reno Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
  • 361DearyAll Open Futurity entries must have a designated rider by November 1. If a rider is not designated by November 1, that entry will be moved to the top of the draw. If the designation is not made by noon two days prior to the first go, the horse will be automatically scratched from the draw. This move will create a more professional structure, while adding special consideration to other riders who have already designated. This change also creates new opportunities for the show staff to communicate a more accurate draw to competitors and owners.  The same practice will be followed for the NRHA Derby, with a June 1 deadline.
  • Additional Open Semifinalists will be eligible to compete at the 2016 NRHA Futurity:
    • Level 4 Open – Top 150 Horses
    • Level 3 Open – Top 125 Horses
    • Level 2 Open – Top 100 Horses
    • Level 1 Open – Top 75 Horses
    • The 2016 NRHA Derby will now include a Non Pro Masters competition. The winner of the Non Pro Masters will receive a buckle, and this specific class will be operated in a jackpot format. Entries will be accepted for $200, with an entry in any Level 1-4.
    • The NRHA Board held its first reading of 2017 rule change proposals during the Winter Meeting. The directors will discuss the proposals again and hold a vote during their May 2016 meeting. In the meantime, members are encouraged to read the proposals online at and in the March issue of the NRHA Reiner magazine. Member comments also can be submitted on the “members-only” section of, starting later this month through April 10.
    • NRHA offers more than 50 programs to support the sport of reining. Some of these are highly utilized while others are not. The NRHA Board, like many non-profit boards, is charged with reviewing its activities for effectiveness and long-term health of the organization. With this mindset, the board appointed two task forces to continue with a review of NRHA’s programs. These include the World Champion program, the International Affiliate Program and the Affiliate Incentive Program. In an effort to gain a variety of opinions, members of these task forces include NRHA members from diverse geographic locations and levels of participation. These task forces are challenged with making a recommendation to the NRHA Board on what actions are in the best interests of the sport and NRHA. This may include finding ways to enhance or improve those programs for the long-term.
    • The recently approved $7 medications testing fee (per horse/per event) will be applied only at NRHA events held in the United States and Canada. Events located in Europe will continue with the policy for events with more than $15,000 in added money. As a reminder, all NRHA approved events are now subject to testing. Any questions regarding NRHA’s Medications Policy should be directed to NRHA’s Headquarters at (405) 946-7400.
    • Many other recommendations and changes to enhance NRHA were discussed and approved. Members are encouraged to log in to to learn more about how the NRHA Board is working to improve the association and enhance the sport of reining.

As all look forward to everything 2016 entails, NRHA members can be assured their leaders have made an excellent start on the next chapters of success for the sport of reining.

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Officer Elections & Bylaw Amendment Voting Results

Voting for 2016 National Reining Horse Association officers and proposed bylaw amendments ran August 10 through September 9, 2015. Three positions on the NRHA Executive Committee were up for election with five candidates in the running. Additionally, four bylaw amendment proposals were on the ballot for member consideration.

Voting results have been verified and are posted online for members to view. To access the results, log on to the Members Only section.


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NRHA Show Steward School to be hosted in Kreuth

Provided by Simona Diale – For the second year running the NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) Show Steward School will be hosted at the Osbayernhalle in Kreuth, Germany,  open to both new applicants and to those re-certifying.

The school is scheduled for Saturday, April 18th, and will start at 8.30 a.m. Theory will be covered, as well as situations stewards need to address during a horse show. Following the school, applicants and those re-certifying will be tested.

For information regarding NRHA Show Stewards, please refer to the information you will find in the NRHA Handbook – pages 103-105.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nick Cornelissens at +32(0)477 572 589 (Phone) or

Show Steward Application-April 18

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Jordan Larson Hits a New Milestone

By Carol Trimmer, Oklahoma City, Okla., January 29, 2015jordan larson headshot ­­– Jordan Larson, Whitesboro, Texas, just became NRHA’s newest Two Million Dollar Rider. This milestone caps off Larson’s 2014 achievements.  Not only was the NRHA Professional the 2014 NRHA Futurity’s Level 4 Open Co-Champion riding HDC Quarter Horses’ ARC Gunnabeabigstar and banking $139,916, but he was also the 2014 NRHA Top 20 Professionals’ highest money earner with $387,545, adding to his already robust earnings. His Futurity experience was made even more poignant when his wife, Taylor, won the 2014 Cinch NRHA Non Pro Futurity Levels 2 and 3 on Larson Performance Horses’ Wimpys Dolled Up. Larson was also a member of Team USA, competing at the 2014 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games (WEG) and earning a Gold Medal in the team competition.

Other highlights of Larson’s enviable career include 2001 NRHA Open World Champion riding Amber N Oak for owner Lisa Maberry, 2010 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion riding Michell Anne Kimball’s Spooks Gotta Whiz, 2011 AQHA Senior Reining World Champion aboard Custom Harley owned by Rancho El Fortin, 2013 NRHA Derby Level 4 Open Champion riding HF Mobster for Heritage Farms, 2013 AQHA Junior Reining and Senior Reining World Championships partnered with Stoney Russell’s High Roller Whiz and Luga, LLC’s Custom Cash Advance, respectively.

Larson earned Million Dollar Rider status in 2011.  Today his NRHA Lifetime Earnings total $2,004,892.  Larson joins the elite Two Million Dollar Rider club, which includes Tim McQuay, Shawn Flarida, Craig Schmersal, Andrea Fappani, Duane Latimer and Mandy McCutcheon.

A complete list of million dollar earners can be found at

Incorporated in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is the standard-setting body for the sport of Reining. NRHA, with their International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, is responsible for promoting the sport of Reining and working to ensure the highest standards of competition. To learn more about the NRHA, its programs and family of corporate partners, visit

Photo Credits: NRHA File Photo

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New – NRHA Buy A Pro Program

New – NRHA Buy A Pro Program

By Christina Brezack & Hayley Lewallen  – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is excited to announce that the Buy A Pro Program officially starts in 2015! Buy A Pro is an innovative online auction that connects riders with one-on-one lessons from NRHA Professionals, and replaces Regional Clinics as the primary funding mechanism for National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) activities.

Bidders will have the opportunity to bid on NRHA Buy A Pro training packages from January 15 until March 1 at NOON CST. Participants can bid and have a chance to win as many packages as they would like. In an effort to introduce more people to the sport of Reining, an NRHA membership is not required to bid!

These Top 20 Riders* have lesson packages up for grabs!

Participating NRHA Professionals have donated training packages consisting of two training sessions to be auctioned, and all of the proceeds will help provide scholarships and new opportunities for NRHyA’s young reiners. Currently, there are more than 60 packages up for grabs from NRHA Professionals ranging from NRHA Million Dollar Riders to beginning professionals.

Winning bidders will have an exceptional opportunity to polish reining skills or be introduced to a new hobby with some of the industry’s top professionals.

“It is fascinating to see NRHA Professionals actively involved in growing the sport of Reining. Beginners and accomplished riders alike will benefit from attending one of these private training packages on location at a professional’s facility,” said Hayley Lewallen NRHA Sr. Coordinator of Marketing and oversees the NRHyA.

Each package will include:

  • 2 (two) training sessions
  • 1 (one) stall free of charge for buyers horse to use during the training sessions

For more information about this groundbreaking effort to introduce tomorrow’s reiners to the sport of Reining, visit

About NRHyA
Since 2001, young reiners in the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) have benefited from their membership through college scholarships, learning experiences from some of the top Reining trainers, life-long friendships and a whole lot of FUN along the way.

NRHyA fosters leadership qualities and provides our young members with a roadmap for success they can use to guide them through their future career plans.

*NRHA Top 20 Riders are from the completed 2013 list.

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NRHA Expands Medications Testing for 2015

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Board of Directors voted on November 3, during meetings in Oklahoma City, to maintain its Animal Welfare and Medications Policy for NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe.

Medication testing will continue in 2015 at NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe. The association’s Animal Welfare and Medications Policy, enacted in 2011, is a two-part program which also includes a protocol for events held in Europe and one for events held anywhere else.

Per the desire of the European membership and the European Affiliate Council, a specific European policy that provided for testing and disciplinary penalties was implemented on January 1, 2013. Simultaneously, the original policy outlined a multi-year plan for events held outside of Europe.

The first three years consisted of research testing at selected events, plus discussion and evaluation of disciplinary procedures and penalty structures. The research phase included four major events in the United States and one in Europe.

During the research phase, 50 horses were tested with only two samples testing positive for a forbidden substance. Since 2013 when the disciplinary phase began in Europe, 148 samples have been tested with zero samples testing positive for a forbidden substance.

The time-line for the fourth year (2015) stated that testing will be implemented and disciplinary procedures enforced. For NRHA events held in locations outside of Europe, the following events are subject to testing: AA events ($100,000 or more in added money for the entire event), Category 2 and 6 (aged event) classes. With the vote to maintain the Animal Welfare and Medications Policy, testing is now slated to begin in May 2015. The policy, as approved in 2011, can be found in the Members Only section of

“Over the past year, I have talked to a lot of members about this subject. There have been some passionate discussions, but throughout, it was very clear that, despite differences in opinion on specific aspects, everyone held the welfare of the horse in the forefront,” said Rick Clark, previous chair of the Medications Task Force and NRHA Vice President.

“The intent of the NRHA Animal Welfare and Medications program is to enact a process that carefully considers all aspects of the issue, its impact on our horses and its impact on our industry. A task force has been created to evaluate it and to bring any suggested changes to the board next year,” said Beth Himes, NRHA President.


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The November Digital Reiner is Ready!

With the NRHA Futurity and the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships around the reinercovernovembercorner, the NRHA Reiner would like to wish everyone safe travels and good luck! While you’re traveling be sure to check out the November issue which is full of competition highlights from around the world. The South Central RAF, the European Derby and the High Roller Reining Classic are just a few of the shows covered.

Some of the feature stories include saddle care tips and an introduction to a few Green Reiner competitors from across the county.

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