AQHA Meets with the European Commission

By AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines

On January 11, AQHA Chief International Officer Dr. Anna Morrison, Federation of European Quarter Horse Associations President Dr. Andrew Dren and I met with Dr. Alf-Eckbert Füssel, deputy head of animal health and welfare for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The purpose of this visit was to clarify items related to the EU laws that went into place on November 1, 2018, including requirements for zootechnical certificates, so that AQHA could ensure it is following the appropriate steps to support AQHA members and facilitate trade with members in the European Union.

I’ve put together a summary of important information that AQHA learned, as well as updates to the process AQHA has undertaken to support zootechnical certificate requirements.

Zootechnical Certificates

Beginning on November 1, 2018, the European Union adopted new regulations related to animal breeding organizations and processes. Among these regulations was the requirement for zootechnical certificates for breeding animals and their germinal products (semen, embryos, etc.). While it was originally understood to be a requirement of import, AQHA has learned that the primary purpose of the zootechnical certificate is to ensure the breeding animal or the resulting offspring of the breeding animal or germinal products will be eligible for entry into the studbook of origin (AQHA), and therefore any daughter studbooks of AQHA in the European Union. The implications of zootechnical certificates for live animals versus germinal products vary slightly, and are summarized as follows:

Live Animals: Zootechnical certificates are not required as an import document, except to identify the animal as a registered animal, therefore exempting the importer from certain customs taxes. EU law1 allows registration certificates from recognized breeding bodies, such as AQHA, to be utilized in place of the model zootechnical certificate form. However, in order to create a uniform set of information that can be easily understood at various import locations throughout the EU, AQHA will translate an animal’s registration information into the model zootechnical certificate form to accompany live animal exports to the EU.

Exporters in need of a zootechnical certificate for live animals can contact AQHA by email at export@aqha.org to make this request. Included in the request should be the breeding animal name, registration number and name of the facility/individual facilitating the export. In turn, AQHA will provide by email a completed zootechnical certificate for the animal.

Semen and other Germinal Products: Zootechnical certificates are not required as an import document by the EU, but rather provide a guarantee that the resulting foals may be eligible for entry into the studbook of origin, and therefore daughter studbooks in the European Union. Because of this, zootechnical certificates might be required for semen that is already being stored in the European Union. Completing zootechnical certificate requirements in conjunction with an export to the EU might help make the process smoother. Because zootechnical certificates for semen and other germinal products include information that AQHA cannot attest to, such as semen storage/identification information, semen collection and storage centers are authorized to complete the certificates utilizing the supplemental information provided by AQHA.

Exporters in need of registration and genetic test information for zootechnical certificates for semen and other germinal products can contact AQHA by email at export@aqha.org to  request information. Included in the request should be the breeding animal name, registration number, an indication of whether the certificate is for semen or other germinal products, and the name of the facility/individual preparing the zootechnical certificate. In turn, AQHA will provide by email a letter attesting to the validity of the registration and genetic test information provided, as well as the purpose for which it is provided, a four-generation pedigree and genetic test results for the breeding animal.

While the European Commission has expressed its support of the process AQHA has enacted for zootechnical certificates, some AQHA affiliates in the EU are still navigating questions and concerns with their in-country competent authorities. AQHA continues to support open communication with its affiliates and their competent authorities to ensure that AQHA members in and outside of the EU do not experience trade disruptions.

Questions regarding zootechnical certificates and AQHA’s commitment to support American Quarter Horse breeders in meeting EU regulations can be directed to export@aqha.org.

Questions regarding AQHA’s international programs or EU support can be directed to international@aqha.org. 

1Official Journal of the European Union, L171, Volume 59, Chapter VII, Article 31.2.a

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

2018 NRHA Professionals of the Year Named

For Immediate Release – January 24, 2019 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Each year, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) affiliates are invited to nominate their favorite NRHA Professionals for top honors in one of the following categories: Professional Horseman of the Year, Professional Horsewoman of the Year, Non Pro Coach of the Year, Youth Coach of the Year, and Up-and-Coming Trainer of the Year. Nominees must exemplify excellence in the reining community and are chosen based on their mastery and contribution to promoting the sport of reining and NRHA. Below are the winners for each category, who will receive their award at the 2019 NRHA Convention & Awards Banquet held February 6-9 in Oklahoma City.

NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year – Dan Huss

Dan Huss’ career in the saddle began over 30 years ago. Pursuing his passion, he double majored in science and equestrian studies at the University of Findlay, where he stayed to teach for 20 years. It was in the early 2000s when Huss and his wife, Wendy, decided to instead pursue the training process he had developed at Findlay (breaking down each maneuver into a few steps, allowing a client to master it, and then moving on to the next). Their first stop was Double Run Farms in North Carolina, where Huss trained Wimpys Little Step, a well-known sire in the reining industry who went on to win the 2002 NRHA Futurity. The adventure didn’t stop there; Chicago, Illinois was where they then spent the next three years, developing a successful training program for non pro rider, Jose Vasquez.

In 2006, Dan and Wendy Huss were able to set up Even Odd Farms, their own training facility. Here, they made a name for themselves before moving to Scottsdale, Arizona for its potential to grow their business in the reining industry. Huss continues to coach top level non pros and youth riders at Huss Performance Horses while also bringing home big NRHA titles himself. His NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) exceed $550,000 with many championship titles and finalist qualifications in the NRHA Derby, NRHA Futurity, All American Quarter Horse Congress, and many more. He also helped the U.S. Reining Team bring home a gold medal in the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2018 where he also took home an individual silver medal. To top off his accomplishments, not only a reiner but also as a horseman, was his crowd-wowing, bridleless run on Ms Dreamy at the AQHA World Championship Show in the Senior Reining. That moment will remain a part of reining history.

NRHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year – Abby Lengel

Abby Lengel’s passion for reining was sparked by a chance lesson taken on a reining horse with Drake Johnson, a Colorado NRHA Professional. Since 2007, when her reining career got its start in youth 14-18 and rookie competitions, the Colorado native has had great success in the show arena as an assistant trainer and as a non pro coach.

Lengel graduated with a degree in Equine Industry and Business at West Texas A&M University. Shortly after she started working as an assistant trainer for NRHA Million Dollar Rider Casey Deary. Between the trust Deary instilled in her early on with training high-end prospects and the passion she brings into the sport – from mucking stalls to training a horse off of the release of pressure – her talent is evident. She credits a great deal of success to the “corrective criticism” and encouragement Deary has provided since 2014. She continues to excel, placing high in the biggest NRHA competitions, all while keeping the trust of the horse as well as the horses’ mental health front of mind.

NRHA Non Pro Coach of the Year – Dave Moore

With over 20 years of experience and dedication to the sport of reining, Dave Moore has been said to “exemplify what NRHA stands for.” This is demonstrated through his promotion of reining from the local to national levels. Moore and his wife Kim live in Southwest Ranches, Florida where their ranch, Sheridan Oaks Stables, exists as a hub to many reining clinics and lessons.

Moore has coached numerous youth, open, and non pro circuit champions; however, he “does not place emphasis on winning, but being the best that you and your partner can be on any given day.” His nomination said, “He teaches his students to respect the sport and their partner.” His talents extend past teaching the skills needed to be a good horseman and successfully show in reining. The passion Moore holds for horses and reining show every time he is with a student as “he has no clue what a one-hour lesson is.” The time spent with his students always exceeds the allotted time; he even makes himself available on his days off from work. He “is very selfless and is always encouraging all exhibitors, not just the members in his barn, to be the best they can be.” During his involvement within NRHA, Moore has had much success in the show ring as an exhibitor, a judge, and most importantly, a coach.

NRHA Youth Coach of the Year – Dean Latimer

Dean Latimer of Marietta, Oklahoma first showed with NRHA in 1985. With over 30 years dedicated to the sport as an exhibitor, judge, and trainer, Latimer’s knowledge of NRHA Rules and Regulations accentuates his credibility in teaching youth reiners. As an “excellent, patient mentor,” the lessons taught in the arena by Latimer carry through to other parts of life for many. His ability to never miss a step on top of his “articulate and detailed” explanations cause him to be an impeccable coach. He is known to talk his students through each maneuver of the pattern they are about to run, provide encouragement before go-time, and end with “’now go have some fun.’”

Latimer not only excels in coaching, but also in being a skilled rider in the show pen. Boasting an NRHA LTE in excess of $160,000, he has worked for both Loomis Ranch and Arcese Quarter Horses as well as shown in the NRHA Futurity, NRHA Derby, and many more elite shows. Latimer has also had individual success at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and has had many students achieve accolades in prestigious events as well—an exhibition of his premier coaching abilities! His passion for the sport doesn’t stop there. He raises, trains, and sells his own horses, sits on the NRHA Judges Committee, assists with the NRHA Judges School, and has been a large advocate in NRHA’s Respect the Horse. Respect the Sport. campaign.

NRHA Up-and-Coming Trainer of the Year – Trent Harvey

Trent Harvey became a member of NRHA in 2013 and has had much success within the industry as both a trainer and rider. Spending a combined five years working as an assistant trainer to NRHA Million Dollar Riders Casey Deary and Jordan Larson, he has learned from some of the best in the industry. Not only does his training combine the finest techniques from Deary and Larson, but his family’s longstanding roots in the sport ignite a separate passion altogether. Dale Harvey, Trent’s father, was an NRHA Member for over 20 years, and remains a big inspiration to the reining community as a whole, even after his passing in 2017. “Following the death of his father, [Trent] has easily stepped into his shoes.”

Beyond helping future generations of reiners in Marietta, Oklahoma, Harvey continues to make big marks in the show pen. He has won many awards and titles at NRHA events such as the NRHA Derby and NRHA Futurity with over $100,000 in NRHA LTE. There is no doubt that he is qualified to earn the Up-and-Coming Trainer of the Year title as “a knowledgeable horseman and all-around good guy.”

For more information about the NRHA Professionals program or to find a Professional to help with training or lessons, visit nrha.com/professionals.

UPDATED – Category 2 & 6 Worldwide Eligibility Clarification

Each year in August, the NRHA Board of Directors approves eligibility for the following year and this policy is made available for members a nrha.com. At the beginning of the year, rider lists are posted to inform members of who can compete in certain levels. Since the 2019 lists have been posted, members have expressed confusion over the ambiguity in wording pertaining to Category 2 & 6 events. In response to this, the NRHA Executive Committee met to clarify the topic, removing the words “after factoring.” Revised ineligibility lists will be posted on nrha.com in the next few days.

1/21/19 UPDATE – LISTS NOW AVAILABLE: After taking additional time to address members’ questions about wording in the 2019 eligibility policy and related NRHA rules, the executive committee has now completed its discussions on implementation of the policy. Worldwide Category 2 & 6 lists are now available at nrha.com.

NRHA Announces Affiliate Ambassadors in New Program Sponsored by Toyon Ranch

For Immediate Release – January 11, 2019 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) recognized volunteers from 14 regions around the world as special guests during the Sliders’ Night Out event hosted by the Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) on November 28. This new program is made possible by NRHA Heritage Partner Toyon Ranch, owned by John & Nancy Tague of Pilot Point, Texas.

The volunteers were selected for the special recognition which includes complimentary reserved seating at the fundraising banquet, a certificate, and free admission for the NRHA Futurity. Those who attended Sliders’ Night Out also received a travel award.

The inaugural program resulted in the names of 40 volunteers submitted for recognition and a person or couple was selected for each of eight U.S. and six international regions. The selection committee was impressed with the quality of volunteers. In 2018, every person who was submitted will receive a certificate acknowledging appreciation for their contributions. Among the group are NRHA Pros, Non Pros, judges, secretaries, and stewards.

“Reining at the grassroots is made possible through members who volunteer at our NRHA affiliates,” said Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner. “The volunteers who joined us at Sliders’ Night Out and the NRHA Futurity are representative of our diverse NRHA members. We expect they will enjoy this experience and then turn around and go back to their affiliates and get to work, carrying with them many positives happening through the Reining Horse Foundation and NRHA.”

Toyon Ranch has a commitment to present Sliders’ Night Out and the Affiliate Ambassador program for three years. The event is a fundraiser for the 501(c)3 nonprofit Reining Horse Foundation, whose mission is caring is caring for the reining community and honoring the sport’s legacy. Core programs include the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund; youth scholarship and leadership development; and perpetuation of the NRHA Hall of Fame.

For more information or to make a donation, visit reiningfoundation.com or call (405) 946-7400.

2018 NRHA Affiliate Ambassadors
Sponsored by Toyon Ranch

Northwest Region
Stephanie Porath
Great Western RHA

Southwest
Kim Niven
Arizona RHA

Mountain
Guy & Valerie Vernon
Eastern Plains RHA

North Central
John & Lacy Zimmerman
North Central RHA

South Central
JD Badertscher
West Texas RHA

East Central
Kris Hansen
Michigan RHA

Southeast
Terri Mainey
Southeastern RHA

Northeast
Shawn Reynolds
Eastern Pennsylvania RHA

Europe
Paulus Beurskens

Western Canada
Bonna Jean Bateman
Central Canada RHA

Eastern Canada
Bob Gleeton and Marilou Paradis
Quebec RHA

Mexico
Mariano Pedrero
ANCR Mexico

South America
Debora Frisch
ACR Argentina

Australia
Lynda Gray
Reining Australia

The NRHA Affiliate Ambassadors were guests at the Reining Horse Foundation Sliders’ Night Out philanthropy event. Some were also on hand for arena introductions during the NRHA Futurity including: (left to right)


Kim Niven
John Zimmerman
Lacy Zimmerman
Kris Hansen
Terri Mainey
Bonna Jean Bateman


Paulus Beurskens
Marilou Paradis
Bob Gleeton
Debora Frisch
Nancy Tague and John Tague, owners of NRHA Heritage Partner Toyon Ranch and sponsor of Affiliate Ambassador recognition
Mike Deer, NRHA Board President
Mike Hancock, NRHA Board Vice President

2019 Convention & Awards Schedule Available

This year’s NRHA Convention & Awards is scheduled for February 6-9 in Oklahoma City. The event includes a Show Secretary & Management Seminar, Annual General Membership Meeting, NRHA Professionals Development Sessions, NRHyA Leadership Development, and the NRHA Awards Banquet. Also for those members looking to be more involved in the discussion and decision-making process, the event includes committee and board meetings which are open to members.

A complete schedule is available online, as well as online registration. Make plans to attend today!