NRHA Welcomes Newest Affiliate: South Africa

For Immediate Release – February 25, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) welcomed South Africa as the newest international affiliate this fall. Greg and Lizelle Garland, NRHA members from South Africa, toyed with the idea of starting an affiliate for about three years before diving in headfirst.

Officially recognized in July 2019, the South African affiliate hosted three shows in a span of just two months: the first in August and two more in October.

“Within three months of inception, we’ve had three shows; it’s been amazing,” Greg said. “We’re still small, with a limited number of members, but it’s definitely something that everyone is excited about, and we’re looking forward to growing.”

Historically, to begin the process of starting a new affiliate, 25 NRHA members had to support the undertaking—a daunting task for a country where reining-ready horses are extremely hard to come by.

“When some of the staff from NRHA came to visit us, we found out about a new rule that said we only needed 10 NRHA members to get started since we are a developing country,” Greg said.

That’s all Greg and Lizelle needed to kickstart the process. The Garlands carry the torch for reining in South Africa as they bring in clinicians and horses to generate interest in the sport.

“With the creation of the developing affiliate level, we were able to introduce reining at the grassroots level to countries that may not have been able to jump in with 25 members,” said Samantha Oldfield, director of competition & education and European liaison at NRHA. “This level gives them a chance to introduce the sport to potential members and to grow and build a strong base they can expand upon to their other affiliate levels.”

NRHA currently recognizes more than 90 associations representing 16 different affiliates around the globe. Competing in an affiliate is truly reining at the grassroots level. To find an affiliate in your region and to learn more about the program, visit nrha.com/affiliate.

NRHA EU Futurity Postponed

The NRHA European Executive Board has decided to postpone the 2020 NRHA European Futurity due to the spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Northern Italy, particularly in Cremona, where the NRHA European Futurity was to be held. Several surrounding towns have been shut down, and a case of the coronavirus was diagnosed in Cremona itself. The show management team, as well as NRHA, wish to err on the side of caution for the safety of members and their horses.

The NRHA European Executive Board will review potential dates to reschedule this event, and communication will be sent once those dates are finalized. The Italian Reining Horse Association will refund any fees that have been paid for the European Futurity.

We thank you for your patience in these times and look forward to a successful event later this year.

Rosanne Sternberg: NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner

For Immediate Release – February 19, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Congratulations to National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame inductee Rosanne Sternberg for becoming the second-ever NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner. After reaching the NRHA Million Dollar Owner milestone in 2010 and being inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame in 2017, she’s remained dedicated to producing quality reining horses while consistently striving for the next level of achievement.

During the 2019 show season, Sternberg’s horses earned more than $77,000 in combined NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE), culminating at the NRHA Futurity. The success of Shines Like Spook (Smart Spook x Ebony Shines) at the NRHA Futurity, ridden by NRHA Professional Martin Larcombe, pushed Sternberg past the $2 million mark. Larcombe topped the Prime Time Open Futurity finals, finished third in Level(L) 3 Open, and placed 10th in L4, earning more than $42,600 toward Sternberg’s milestone.

“I knew Rosanne when I lived in Europe and worked with reiners,” Larcombe shared. “I continued that relationship when I came to the U.S., and she’s had horses with me for the past few years. She understands the game because she’s been in it that much. She knows how it can be—the highs and the lows. She’s been a great support, and she trusts me with her horses.”

Sternberg splits her time between Sterling Ranch in Aubrey, Texas, and her home in Great Britain. Her European-based mare—Ebony Spook (Smart Spook x Ebony Whiz)—was the 2014 NRHA Open World Champion under the guidance of NRHA Professional Ann Fonck.

“I am thrilled that after 34 years of owning, riding, breeding, and enjoying reining horses I’ve passed the milestone of becoming the second NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner,” Sternberg said. “I’ve been lucky enough to own many exciting and talented horses and have enjoyed seeing not only family show and enjoy my horses, but also have had the privilege of working with some of the world’s top trainers based in both the U.S. and Europe.”

With over $86,000 in personal NRHA LTE, Sternberg has competed as a non pro rider at the highest levels, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Sternberg anticipates continuing her tradition of excellence of owning, breeding, and showing reining horses as she pursues her next milestone: becoming an NRHA Three Million Dollar Owner.

Standout horses throughout Sternberg’s career include:

  • Nijomi Sonny Reb (Sonny Brownburn x Marina Del Reb): over $63,700 LTE; her mount as part of the British team at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain
  • Smart Spook (Smart Chic Olena x Sugarplum Spook): over $403,100 LTE; NRHA Hall of Fame inductee and NRHA Six Million Dollar Sire; winner of the 2004 NRHA L4 Open Futurity and 2005 NRHA L4 Open Derby championships
  • Tinsel Nic (Bueno Chexinic x Holly Tinseltown): over $165,600 LTE and over $381,000 offspring LTE)
  • Ebony Shines (Shining Spark x Ebony Whiz): NRHA Hall of Fame inductee and first-ever NRHA Million Dollar Dam

2020 NRHA Futurity Champion to Win a Quarter Million

For Immediate Release – February 7, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) made the landmark announcement today that the 2020 NRHA Futurity champion will receive a quarter of a million dollars! The news came during the association’s Annual General Meeting and was accompanied by the additional announcement that the NRHA Non Pro Futurity Champion will receive $60,000, and added money for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship (NAAC) will be doubled.

The stunning hat-trick announcement came after a special task force formed and met during the Annual NRHA Winter Meeting in Denton, Texas, to discuss a pathway to increasing the payout at the NRHA Futurity, beginning with the 2020 event. Chaired by NRHA Vice President Rick Clark, the task force was created to answer a challenge that he, along with NRHA Past President Frank Costantini and former NRHA Board Member Doug Carpenter, had given the board to begin to grow the NRHA Futurity winners’ rewards.

Serving on the task force along with Clark are John Tague, Mike Hancock, Mark Blake, Ginger Schmersal, Rosanne Sternberg, and Shane Brown.

The NRHA Futurity has seen many significant milestones in its storied past. This included the move to a guaranteed $100,000 prize for the Open Futurity Winner in 1983 and the creation of the nomination program, which now helps fund all levels of the event. Since then, the first-place check for the Level 4 Open Champion had increased to $150,000.

The named increases are, according to the task force, based on independent funds raised from individuals interested in boosting the industry and shining a brighter light on the NRHA Futurity. Those funds came from five-year support commitments from Tim Anderson and Kim Niven, John and Nancy Tague, Rick Clark, Bob Santagata, Craig and Ginger Schmersal, Mark Blake, Joao Marcos, and Mike Hancock, and are, in the words of NRHA President Mike Hancock, a starting place in the goal of establishing the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® NAAC as one of the most prestigious events in the horse world. It has certainly done that, boosting the NRHA Futurity winner’s payment to exceed those of all other futurities in the Western performance horse industry.

“This was spontaneous combustion in the best way,” said NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter. “It came together because the right people were in the right place at the right time. So many factors around the world influenced this development. We all recognize that the horses bred for the NRHA Futurity will become the horses of the future for all levels of competition. The increased purse in both the Futurity and the Adequan® NAAC illustrates our commitment to these horses and the people who breed, own, train, and ride them.”

Hancock agrees about the positive ripple effect of this evolution of the sport.

“This year’s quarter of a million is just the first step,” Hancock said. “This committee foresees additional support opportunities becoming available for this endeavor in the future. We don’t know where it is going to end yet, but we are excited for the future.”