Italy To Host the 2023 NRHA/RHF/IRHA World Youth Reining Cup

Following the inaugural edition held in Avaré, Brazil, last year, the 2023 World Youth Reining Cup is yet another opportunity created and brought to our reining family by Joao Marcos through his love of the sport and knowledge that the youth are our future. Organized by the Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) and supported by IRHA President Eleuterio Arcese and the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF), the event will take place in Cremona, Italy.

The 2023 WYRC event will be held in Cremona, Italy, where the first Global Youth World Cup took place in 2019 and will run during the NRHA European Futurity (May 23-27). To date, the following countries will be represented: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay, USA. We are expecting worldwide youth to join us in making history once again – join us!

The details:

The selection criteria of the youth representative are up to the affiliates. All youth must be NRHA members and will be issued a FISE (Italian Equestrian Sports Federation) guest license which includes an insurance policy for the riders at no extra cost.

Open to youth age 18 and under (18 years old on January 1, 2023) with the exception of youth who had put their name forth to compete in the 2022 WYRC which did not take place in Cremona, Italy.

The horses will be supplied by local contributors and a random draw will be done for ALL entries to select which participant will be riding which horse.

If you, your trainer, or someone you know has a horse that they would like to submit to be part of this event, please notify Simona Diale at or Manuela Maiocchi

Each affiliate needs to put forward their country’s representative by April 15. Submissions must be sent to Once representative names are received, communication will be sent to them for entry by April 30.

A companion is required to travel with each youth participant and it is recommended a coach travels with the. NRHA nor the host of the event is responsible for any participant, coach, or traveling companion. Participants are responsible for their own airfare, hotels, food, entry, and competition fees, and transportation to, during, and from the event.

Airports that you can fly into are Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Milano Bergamo Airport Orio Al Serio, and Verona Valerio Caputo Airport.

A list of hotels may be found here:

Tentative Schedule & Entry Fees:
WYRC participants may arrive at CremonaFiere on Monday, May 22The WYRC Welcome Party and Draw will be held on Tuesday, May 23WYRC Youth may ride their horses starting Wednesday 24 The WYRC competition will be held in the morning Saturday 27Entry fee into the World Youth Reining Cup: $250Stall fee: $50

Coordinating the youth participants during the week will be FISE Lombardia Regional Reining Representative and NRHA Judge Laura Quaglia.


1^ Place $3,000 + NRHA Trophy for rider and horse owner + Champion buckle

2^Place $2,000 + Reserve Champion buckle

3^Place $1,000

Prizes and gifts to all participants.

Certain that the event will once again be a huge success, for all other details regarding the event, please contact Simona Diale at / Cell. +39 340 5354629.

“There was a lot of work behind these events and I have to thank the super teams that put it together,” said RHF, and ANCR Board member Joao Marcos. “It was wonderful in Brazil and I am certain it will be in Italy. My goal, since I first came into this world over ten years ago, was to promote the youth worldwide and my motto has always been ‘globalization.’ We should all carry on in this direction and the first World Cup in Brazile was another step forward in that direction. Italy hosted the event in 2019 and this year we look forward to having close to 30 countries represented in Cremona. A huge thank you to NRHA, RHF, ANCR, IRHA, the riders, the owners that loaned their horses, and to all those that make it happen.”

“We are so thrilled that Joao Marcos has created these events for our youth to showcase their talent on a global scale,” said NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter expressing his gratitude to Joao Marcos.

Leslie Baker, RHF Executive Director added: “The Reining Horse Foundation proudly supports youth leadership development through the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA). The Youth World Reining Cup is a unique event that promotes global connection and awareness for our reining community. We are excited for everyone who is involved.”

The inaugural 2022 NRHA/RHF/ANCR World Youth Reining Cup was held in the beautiful Parque de Exposições Dr. Fernando Cruz Pimentel horse show facility set in Avaré, Brazil. Winning the Championship was Gabriel Cordeiro Martins riding Evando de Oliveira’s Doc San Whiz.

(Photo – Foto Perigo)

In 2019, an amazing 19 countries were represented in the NRHA/RHF/IRHA Global Youth Reining Cup held in CremonaFiere during the IRHA Derby. Tying for first place was Andreu Nogue Puig of Spain riding A Whiz N Cash and Italy’s Matteo Bonzano riding High Point Reiner. Winning the Invitational Global Cup was USA’s Grace Wilson aboard Jokin Whiz.

(Photo – Foto Bonaga Communication)

Media Contact:
Simona Diale/International Horse Press

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

University of Findlay, Midway University and Black Hawk College Teams Top the IHSA Western Semi-Finals, Sponsored by NRHA

Teams and individuals qualify for the IHSA National Championship Horse Show in Lexington.

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Gladys, Va.– March 22, 2023 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held its Western Semi-Finals, sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), March 18-19. Hosting the events were the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, hosted by Western Area 61, Mississippi State University, hosted by Western Area 52, and at Grand Oaks, Florida, hosted by Western Area 50. Western Semi-Finals is the qualifying event to determine which Western teams and individuals will compete at the IHSA National Championship Horse Show in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, May 4-7.

From each Semi-Finals, the top-four individuals per division and the top-four teams advance to Nationals. In previous years, the top-three teams qualified, but new this year, the top-four teams from each will comprise the top-12. Alumni Athletes placing first through fourth qualify for the Alumni Tournament of Champions to be held at the USET Foundation headquarters at Gladstone, New Jersey, May 21.

Semi-Finals Hosted by the University of Findlay
At Semi-Finals hosted by the University of Findlay, the host team, coached by Spencer Zimmerman, clinched the overall team win with 40 points. Ohio State University (Columbus), coached by Abbie Noble, took the second spot with 32 points. The Lori Jaixen-led University of Nebraska-Lincoln squad was third with 22 points and SUNY Morrisville was fourth with 18 points. All top-four teams are National Championship-bound. Gretchen Mathes and Charlene Carter officiated the Ohio Semi-Finals.

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The University of Findlay team won their hosted Western Semi-Finals. Photo courtesy of the University of Findlay team.

The University of Findlay won the trophy and Western team honors in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2018 and 2019. In 2022, individuals qualified but the Findlay team did not qualify to contest their 2019 championship at Nationals (the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancelation of the 2020 and 2021 Nationals). This Semi-Finals win shows that they are back in a big way.  

“Our riders were prepared,” Zimmerman said. “They’ve been working hard. They always work hard. Unfortunate things happened that kept us back last year. But this year we put all the pieces together at the right time and it worked out for us.”

Zimmerman said that his students put in so much time to host the show, getting the facility and the horses ready. They were pleased with the response from the visiting schools.

“Our home program, all of our team of coaches and support system, the students that aren’t on the team, parents ¬– everybody plays an important role,” Zimmerman said. “We couldn’t do all of it without their support. It’s a team effort.”

In NRHA Individual Reining, the judges’ top pick was Sarah Eberspacher, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The second-place prize went to 2022 IHSA Western High-Point Champion Nigel Lancaster from Ohio State University, who contributed to the Ohio State team’s second position by winning the Team Open Horsemanship. Maggie Herbert from SUNY Morrisville was third and Ashton Knerr of the University of Findlay team was fourth.

In Individual Open Horsemanship, the University of Findlay’s Knerr earned the top podium finish. Lancaster was the second-place finisher for Ohio State University, Hannah Belich from Lake Erie College was third and Eberspacher took fourth. All punched their tickets to Lexington.

Semi-Finals Hosted by Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University hosted its first IHSA Western Semi-Finals competition. Judges Kendra Weis and Tom McBeath presided over the event.

The overall Team championship went to the Conner Smith-led Midway University. The reserve honors went to West Texas A&M University, coached by Amanda Ellis. The Middle Tennessee State University team, coached by Ariel Higgins, finished third and Berry College, led by Head Coach Margaret Knight Ellington, was fourth. These four teams are all IHSA Nationals-bound.

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The Midway University team won their Semi-Finals hosted by Mississippi State University. Photo courtesy of Midway University
“First and foremost, I have to thank my team,” Smith said. “You know, this is because of them. It’s not because of me. I also credit their teamwork, their energy, togetherness, work ethic and everything behind it!”

Smith says that he is fairly confident that this is Midway University’s first-ever IHSA Semi-Finals championship.

“I want to thank Midway University, the support from our administration and so many different departments at the university,” he added. “They’re an integral part of the success.” Smith also noted that he uses mentors and guests lecturers and tries to raise their standards by networking with the industry to strive to be the best they can be.

“Mississippi State did an exceptional job,” Smith said. “I was very proud to be there to see a new host take this on and to see their commitment to the IHSA and the dedication it takes to make a good horse show. We saw it from the moment we got through the gates, with them helping us unload, to the late nights, staying with horse selection through the stewards’ meetings. They were very hospitable and a great host all the way around.”

Middle Tennessee State University’s Jordan Martin won the first-place slot in the Individual Open Horsemanship at Mississippi State University Semi-Finals. She will be joined by second-place finisher Kaitlyn Praisler from Morehead State University at Nationals. Third-place finisher Olivia Williams from Purdue University, and fourth, Rette Solomon, from Berry College, will also make the trip to Lexington.

Athletes from three Kentucky universities rocked the NRHA Individual Open Reining, with Midway’s Kaylee Tingle nabbing the win and Brook Sullivan from Western Kentucky University in second. Madison Gales, from Texas Tech University, repeated her third-place finish from 2022 and Shelby Carrico from Morehead State University, also a Kentucky school, was fourth.

Semi-Finals at Grand Oaks, Florida
The IHSA 2022 Western Champion Team, Black Hawk College, coached by Rebekah Irish, won their second consecutive Semi-Finals in a third event held at Grand Oaks, Florida. St. Andrews University, coached by the venerable Carla Wennberg, was second. Adrian College, in their first-ever team representation at Semi-Finals, according to Coach Jody Prime, reached another milestone by qualifying their team for IHSA Nationals. Oregon State University competition, led by Coach Dawn Ross, will progress to the IHSA National Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Allen Mitchels and Bonnie Miller judged the event.


The 2022 IHSA National Champion Western Team won their Semi-Finals held at Grand Oaks, Florida. Photo by Caitlynn Marit

“I credit the success of this team to each member’s dedication and hard work, their continued belief in themselves and their team, and their ability to hold each other to the highest standards in and out of the arena,” Irish said. “This is a team sport. The horse and rider team, the team of riders from each institution, and the team of coaching colleagues that continue to drive the mission of the IHSA and collectively work to grow this amazing association.”

Irish commented on her experience in Florida. “The Black Hawk College Equestrian Team is incredibly grateful to all of the horses and the providers who worked tirelessly to prepare them,” she said. “This sport would not be possible without the horses who allow us to compete on them.

“It was wonderful to see IHSA founder Bob Cacchione (who attended the Florida Semi-Finals),” she continued. “His vision so many years ago created a place for all of us to compete, no matter our level of experience or our socioeconomic background. We are grateful for the opportunities that are made available through the IHSA.”  

She expressed thanks to Black Hawk College graduate Caitlynn Marit for making the trip to Florida and their support network at the college.

Belle Sand from the University of Minnesota, Crookston brought her game to the hotly-contested NRHA Individual Open Reining division, finishing in front. Second place went to Hannah Wright-Riley from Delaware Valley University. Both Lauren Johnson from Missouri State University and Black Hawk College’s Autumn Carey, finishing third and fourth, will also compete in NRHA Individual Open Reining at IHSA Nationals.

In Individual Open Horsemanship, Lori Girrbach from Adrian College took the blue ribbon. Michaela Long from North Dakota State University earned red ribbon honors. St. Andrews University’s Sarah Beth Felker was third and Jessica Theobald from Iowa State University was fourth.

“This year’s Semi-Finals included exciting results from all across the country,” said IHSA Executive Director Peter Cashman. “It’s great to see schools like Adrian College take their teams to Nationals for the first time. Strong programs, great coaching, hard work and a little luck of the draw all play a part. Many thanks to our title sponsor, NRHA. A special shout-out to SmartPak and Back on Track and all our sponsors. Thank you to all the host schools, judges, riders and coaches. We look forward to Zones for our hunter seat riders and our National Championship Horse Show in Kentucky the first weekend in May.”


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

Fernando Salgado Becomes NRHA’s Newest Million Dollar Rider

This past month, the warm Florida sunshine served as icing on the cake during the Florida Reining Classic for Fernando Salgado, National Reining Horse Association’s latest Million Dollar Rider. Salgado laid down fantastic runs aboard Vinny Gun, owned by Guillermo De Anda Martinez, and Bob Reiner, owned by Kristen and Rodion Cantacuzene; both pushed Fernando Salgado over the million dollar total in NRHA lifetime earnings.

“I started joking around with my friends and people that work at the barn; last year, I was Level 3 and 4, and I said this year I am going to win a million,” said Salgado. “At the beginning, I was even kind of joking about it, but every horse show went to worked well, and towards the middle of the year, I was like, I can do it. I kept going, and it really happened that fast from then on, so that was something that made me really proud.”

Salgado is a Brazilian native who grew up at the forefront of the performance horse world, with his close family members also being professional trainers. He began training horses professionally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he became a well-known reiner. He worked with his uncle Jango Salgado, who previously worked under NRHA Hall of Famer Doug Milholland, and his late brother, NRHA Professional Eduardo Salgado. He rode in Eduardo’s memory at the 2022 NRHA South Central Affiliate Regional Championship & Tulsa Reining Classic aboard FS Inferno (Inferno Sixty Six x FS Smart Doc Chic). The ride added more than $125,000 to Salgado’s earnings and FS Inferno’s earnings for owner Gilberto Leal.

With the experience and expertise gained while competing in Brazil, he decided to make his way to the United States to broaden his education and opportunity in the training profession. In 2010, Salgado moved to work with NRHA Professional Thiago Boechat as an assistant trainer. After working at the Xtra Quarter Horses facility, Salgado pushed his horizons further by working for NRHA Seven Million Dollar Rider Andrea Fappani.

Salgado is sure to thank those who helped him along the way to this success.

“The list is very big, but for sure, my family,” he said. “I think that the way I was raised with my uncle Jango as a horse trainer and my older brother Eduardo as a horse trainer as well, I got to live that lifestyle from the beginning. My whole team that allowed me to go to many shows and especially my wife, Sabrina, who keeps up with my craziness. I would not be able to do it without her. A big thank you to all my customers who believed in me and continue supporting me. We have big goals we are going after, for sure.”

Salgado mentioned in his recent social media post to share the coveted news, “There are not enough words to express my gratitude to all the owners of the horses that got me here. I came to this country with a dream, and because of all of you, I get to live it every day. Here’s to One Million and many more to come!” He also shared a list of the many great horses and owners who took part in this success, such as his first horse, Sting Melodys, owned by Jefferson Abbud, and his most recent horse, Swoon, owned by Coma Ranch.

Now located at his own facility in Gainesville, Texas, alongside his wife Sabrina, Salgado’s career has taken ablaze with championships, top professional recognition, event qualifications such as Teton Ridge’s The American Performance Horseman, and so much more.

Career Highlights:

2023 Teton Ridge The American Performance Horseman: Team Championship and 3rd place in reining

2022 NRHA South Central Affiliate Regional Championship & Tulsa Reining Classic – The Invitational Level 4 Open Champion

2022 National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Level 3 Open Champion

2022 Oklahoma Ride & Slide Derby and Novice Horse Derby Level 4 Open Champion

2022 6666 NRHA Derby Level 3 Open 3rd

Ranked 3rd in 2022 Top 20 NRHA Professionals

Major event finalist, including the All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity, NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, NRBC, and The Run For A Million – Million Dollar Competition

NRHA Para Reining Championships to be held at the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is honored to host the 2023 Para Reining Championships. The event will be held in Norick Arena on the last day of the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel on June 25, 2023, just before the Non Pro competition. Classes for this event include Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5.

USA Para Reining, a branch of the United States Equestrian Federation, created the grade level system. This program gives riders with varying physical disabilities the opportunity to compete in reining. World Para Reining celebrated its inaugural year in 2015, and since then, it has worked to incorporate approved Para Reining classes into existing shows and host independent events and classes.

“With the inception of first the rookie class followed by prime time and then the Entry Level Green classes, NRHA has always strived to live up to its ‘A place for all’ motto,” said NRHA Professional, USA Para Reining board member Jennifer Hoyt. “In 2015, NRHA approved the first rules for Para Reining, letting even more reining enthusiasts compete and enjoy the thrill of riding a truly exceptional equine athlete. The inclusion of this Championship in the NRHA illustrates more than ever how the NRHA has a place for everyone.”

NRHA is excited to have an additional Para Reining Championship sponsor, Dechra Veterinary Products, located in Overland Park, Kansas. Dechra will provide added money to all classes and is the U.S. sales and marketing division of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, a UK-based company dedicated to the animal healthcare market.

Hart Trailers, NRHA’s Official Trailer and Para Reining Sponsor, will award halters to all championship participants. Additional awards will also be given. The overall Championship will be decided from the high scores of all para exhibitors’ rides regardless of grade.

To gain more insight about para reining, follow USA Reining Para-Reining on Facebook. For more details about the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, visit

Dechra Veterinary Products:

Dechra’s equine product line includes Osphos® (clodronate injection), Orthokine® vet irap 10 and 60, Osteokine® (PRP), Equidone® (domperidone) Gel, the Vetivex® line of parenteral fluids, Phycox® EQ, and a comprehensive line of topical dermatologic products. The recent additions of ProVet APC™ (Autologous Platelet Concentrate) system, Zimeta® (dipyrone injection), Rompun® (xylazine injection), Butorphanol Tartrate Injection, Isoflurane, USP Inhalant Anesthetic, and SucroMate® Equine (deslorelin acetate) further expand Dechra’s equine offerings.

Our Condolences – Jeff Petska

The reining community lost Jeff Petska after a long battle with cancer on March 5. Petska was a past National Reining Horse Association Board member, avid reining supporter, chef d’equipe for the United States Reining Team, and most of all, a friend and mentor to many.

The Nebraska native operated Petska Performance Horses of Whitesboro, Texas for more than 20 years, trained horses for over 35 years, and held a judge’s card with both NRHA and the American Quarter Horse Association along with participating on different Boards.

Days before passing away, Petska took to Facebook with a post that more than 500 people commented on, just a small testament to the many lives he impacted.

“I hope your memory of me is not these final weeks or days of me as my body prepares to meet my maker, I hope my memory is carried on thru the spoken stories of the times we had, thru the following of the dreams we shared,” Petska said. “But mostly I hope my memory is kept alive by all of you continuing to have my family be a part of your lives. For you to share some of the parts of our lives that have made my life so full.”

Petska’s philosophy at Petska Performance Horses was “take a unique approach to the training of our horses. My philosophy is based upon the desire to help each horse to achieve their optimal performance.” This approach proved successful many times throughout his career, notably while starting NRHA Hall of Famer Shining Spark. 

Along with launching careers of four-legged athletes, Petska was pivotal in the careers of many while serving as chef d’equipe for the gold medal-winning teams at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. The impact he had on the lives of these athletes, and junior teams, lived on far past the Games.

Jeff leaves behind his wife, Lisa, and their children, Tanner and Chelsea.

Memorial services and opportunities to support the Petska family will be updated as information is provided.