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.
“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 NRHA.com website.
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: NRHA.com/findapro.
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.
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.
- All 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 NRHA.com and in the March issue of the NRHA Reiner magazine. Member comments also can be submitted on the “members-only” section of NRHA.com, 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 NRHA.com 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.