Signs of Hope and Togetherness

The April issue of your NRHA Reiner was produced just as the U.S. began witnessing the drastic effects of COVID-19, but this global pandemic can’t dim the hope that’s evident throughout this issue.

By Jennifer Paulson, Reiner Editorial Consultant

April Reiner magazine cover
The April issue of the NRHA Reiner showcases the 2019 NRHA Non Pro and Youth World champions.

On Friday, March 13, when we started the process to upload the April 2020 issue of the Reiner to the printer, the U.S. teetered on the edge of life as usual and a life we’ve never known. One with shutdowns of businesses, remote working situations, and ever-climbing numbers of COVID-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations—even deaths. Situations our international friends had experienced ahead of us. 

On that fateful Friday—with the unfortunate tie to a folkloric date—we had no idea that reining across the world would stop, gates to training facilities would close, horses would move from full training to basic care, and we’d lose almost all physical contact with the members of our reining family.

It was a lot to process. I was looking forward to a trip to Arizona for the Cactus Classic, as were many of you. My kids learned that evening that they’d be home-schooling for the foreseeable future (and now until the end of the school year), as I’m sure many of you also experienced. It all seemed like too much—how would we do it?

Yet, we did. And we continue to. We’re adjusting to this new normal and showing resilience, strength, and togetherness—from a minimum 6 feet apart. 

Looking at the April issue today, just after it arrived in my mailbox, the stories about the non pro and youth NRHA World Champions seem even more poignant. They illustrate just how far our sport reaches across the world, with winners from Belgium to Florida, the UK to Kentucky. On the journeys to achieve those titles, I can only imagine the support that came together to rally behind each horse-and-rider pair and think how today, though from a distance, we’re all coming together to rally behind each other, our sport, and the horse industry as a whole. 

There are signs of hope in this issue, too, that we might not have identified as such before March 13. The spring vaccine checklist is a keeper and will help ensure that your horses stay healthy during this hiatus as well as are ready to hit the ground running once we resume competition. You’re probably gearing up to breed your mares, so insights on breeding soundness exams come at just the right time. (Speaking of breeding, have you seen some of the ways stallion owners and managers are working with mare owners to ensure that we have a solid foal crop next year? Read here.)

If you’re lucky enough to have access to your horse, NRHA Professional Mirjam Stillo has hot tips for you to fine-tune your horse’s speed control so you can make your circles and rundowns stand out in the show pen. Even if you’re currently horse-less, plan to apply her advice once you do get back in the saddle.

Perhaps you’re spending quarantine honing in on nutrition—that of yourself and your horses. (Or maybe you’re committed to gaining the “Quarantine 15.” We don’t judge.) Fitness expert Kelly Altschwager is here to help you get your personal supplement plan on track, and a few experts come together to discuss the right supplement balance for your horse, too. 

While you spend time with your Reiner this month, be sure to provide feedback and insight into what you’d like to see in the future. Just as you’re working on yourself during this time, we’re looking at ways to improve our offering, too. We feel like we have a good start with the new site and this blog, and you’ll see further evolution of the content in each upcoming issue of the Reiner, too. Send your comments to

Stay healthy.

—Jennifer Paulson, Reiner Editorial Consultant