Holding an insurance license became a big asset for Frank Costantini when NRHA needed him to bridge the gap with Markel, which is now an NRHA Corporate Partner. But Markel is more than just the presenting sponsor of the 2020 NRHA Derby; their vested interest in reining runs deep.
“People think we’re providing a service for them, which we are at the surface level. But they [customers] allow me to get excited every time they have a foal or buy a new horse. That goes for everyone from the green reiners to the Andrea Fappanis, Craig Schmersals, and some of the other highest-level riders in the industry.”
These flourishing friendships first started out simply as clients. Perhaps that’s Frank’s favorite aspect of his job and a big part of why he’ll answer his phone 24/7.
“As I tell people at Markel, being involved in the reining horse business is a lifestyle. It’s a passion that I’ve been able to convey to Markel.”
Not only does Markel participate at the corporate level, they’re also known to sponsor reining, and other Western discipline, events in all corners of the world.
“We sponsor almost all major organizations, including the AQHA, APHA, NRHA, and everything in between. I like to think I was somewhat involved in making that happen.”
NRHA was organized into a formal entity in 1966 and Frank got involved in the early 70s. He’s essentially watched reining grow from the ground up and played several key roles in making that happen.
With more than 40 years in the reining industry, it’s easy to expect that Frank’s equine foundation is rooted in the sport. Surprisingly, it’s not.
“When I started showing horses, I didn’t even know what reining was. I did the Western pleasure, showmanship, horsemanship, and all that in 4-H and some Quarter Horse shows.”
Frank compares the buckstitched tack paired with collared shirts and sharp ties to “Old West films” in black and white.
As many reiners at heart do, Frank got bored quickly. He dabbled in contesting (rodeo) before finding his niche.
“The horse industry has provided a guy from northeast Ohio one heck of a life and one heck of a lifestyle.”