Muehlstaetter Reaches NRHA Million Dollar Rider Status

For Immediate Release ­– November 7, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – At just 12 years old, Martin Muehlstaetter knew he wanted to train reining horses for a living. He is now, unofficially, the newest National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Million Dollar Rider.

Originally from Villach, Austria, Muehlstaetter’s first official mount was a warmblood on a lunge line. As the years passed, he would continue riding everything from warmbloods to haflingers and all other breeds in between until he became an assistant trainer for NRHA Million Dollar Rider Rudi Kronsteiner in 1999.

After three years of tutelage under Kronsteiner, Muehlstaetter was set to become an assistant trainer in Italy. Fate had other plans and he ended up in Texas before working for some of NRHA’s founding fathers: Bob Avila, and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dell Hendricks, and Todd Sommers.

“When I told my mom I wanted to be a reining horse trainer, she told me there was no such thing,” said Muehlstaetter who now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Ever since then I’ve always been focused on reining horses. That’s where my heart and soul is at.”

In January 2007, Muehlstaetter moved to Scottsdale to be with his future wife, Kim, and then stepped out on his own as a professional. One of the first horses Muehlstaetter trained from the ground up as his own boss was Country Custom (Custom Crome x Calatrava).

“We bought Custom as an early yearling and I did all the work from there until he hit the show pen,” Muehlstaetter said. “He was a special horse and now he’s living out retirement in our front field.”

Together, Muehlstaetter and Country Custom finished in the top ten at major NRHA events across the country in both the Open Level(L) 3 and 4. Muehlstaetter’s biggest payday to date came at the 2014 National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC). Marking a 226, Muehlstaetter and Blue Collar Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Kachina Oak Olena) finished in the number one spot for both Open L3 and 4.

Another one of Muehlstaetter’s top finishes was at the 2017 NRHA Futurity where he placed fourth in the Open L4 finals riding Seven On Seven (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Anne Get Your Gunner). Muehlstaetter humbly credits his success in the reining industry to his team standing on the sidelines for every run.

“I want to thank everybody who’s been part of this journey, from my family and my wife to all the shoers, vets, grooms, assistant trainers,” Muehlstaetter said. “Without the right people in your corner, a trainer can only reach a certain level. And it doesn’t matter how good you are if you don’t have clients to supply horses. I’ve been especially lucky in that regard.”

Muehlstaetter’s wife tracked the numbers closely for her husband as he made his way to the million-dollar milestone. During the 2020 Arizona Reining Horse Association (AzRHA) Best of the West show, Muehlstaetter reined Spooks Grand Slam (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Shiney Diamond Lady) to a 224. This was the top score in the Open L4 Friends of Reining Horse Foundation Open Derby.

“Reaching this goal was so emotional,” Muehlstaetter said. “Being such a crazy year, achieving this accomplishment felt good. I’m really proud of my wife and my whole team because without them I couldn’t have done it.”

2020 NRHA Markel Futurity Sales Combine into One-Day Super Sale!

The annual National Reining Horse Association Markel Futurity Sales have long been recognized as venues that present only the finest horses to an always appreciative group of buyers. Each year, records are broken, and sale alumni often go on to greatness in high stakes reining competition. In 2020, the sales, which have previously been spread over three days, have been combined into a one-day super sale, set for Dec. 3.

This year’s sales will take place in Arena 6, and the day will start at 8 a.m. with a breakfast sponsored by Q Stallions, the American Quarter Horse Association’s All Stallions Directory. Auction action will begin promptly at 9 a.m. with the National Reining Horse Youth Association Stallion Auction. Breedings to 12 top stallions will be auctioned this year, and NRHyA officers will be presenting each of the stallions for bidding. These available breedings are listed in the Futurity Sale catalog.

Leading off the horse sale will be the Futurity Prospect Sale, an incredible showcase for two-year-old reiners. Buyers will have the opportunity to see these horses ridden the evening before in Norick Coliseum, where groups of six are presented to the audience.

Following the Futurity Prospect Sale is the Select Yearling Sale, presenting yearling reining-bred horses by top reining stallions. Then the focus moves to the Select Breeders sale which showcases broodmares, stallion, weanlings and even embryos. Wrapping up the day of incredible horses will be the Marketplace sale featuring horses from yearlings to show horses.

Although the sale ring action will not pause, lunch and hospitality will be provided during the sales, sponsored by Vaughn Zimmerman’s Not Ruf At All, Cinder Lakes Ranch and Paramount Network’s Yellowstone.

Bidders have a choice of bidding in person, at ringside, or online. Interested bidders can visit to register prior to the sale. To be able to bid at sale time, they must be pre-approved by 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. This online bidding is sponsored by Cinder Lakes Ranch.

Doug Carpenter, longtime member of the NRHA Futurity Sale Committee, is excited about the quality of the horses offered in this year’s sale. “I have never seen the depth of the horses we are selling – not only in how well-bred they are but also in their conformation. It is an incredible set of horses! I think we are seeing the breeding coming together – throughout the industry people are breeding great mares to great stallions and it really shows,” he said.

Carpenter continued, “I think it’s fantastic that we are doing the sale in one day on the non-showing day for Futurity. People can come to the sale and focus on that without the sale schedule conflicting with the Futurity competition. In the past, we have had complaints from buyers and consignors because of the sale overlapping the show, and this year that is not going to happen.”

For more information about the sale and to view the online catalog visit

Excitement Builds for Historic Payouts at 2020 NRHA Futurity

When the 55th National Reining Horse Association Futurity begins Nov. 26, it will launch a new chapter in its history. In early February of this year, the association made the landmark announcement that, thanks to the support of a committed group of donors, the 2020 NRHA Futurity champion will receive a quarter of a million dollars – a hundred thousand dollar increase from the previous year!

The news came during the association’s Annual General Meeting and was accompanied by the additional announcement that the Cinch Non Pro Futurity Champion would receive $60,000 and that the added money for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship classes would be doubled.

Now, as the momentous event approaches, the task force created to increase the futurity payout continues to plan ahead. Under the leadership of NRHA Vice President Rick Clark, the task force, which also includes NRHA President Mike Hancock, John Tague, Mark Blake, Doug Carpenter, Ginger Schmersal, Roseanne Sternberg and Shane Brown, is looking forward to even more growth in the next five years.

Clark said, “This is the beginning. We want to grow to awarding a half-million dollars to the open champion in the next five years and this will come from a combination of resources.”

Tague added, “The growth will initially come from supporters until we bridge to a more permanent and stable funding plan. There are many ways to build structural support for the purse. The most positive of all would be entry growth as a result of bigger purses. The work the association has done to become more efficient, along with the insights of its Board and the Executive Committee could well position the NRHA to be able to increase the added money in the years ahead.”

While the highlighted goal of the committee is the $500K Level 4 Open purse, its members also want to impact other open levels and the Non Pro divisions as well as funding additional improvements to the NAAC portion. In the coming weeks, members will reach out to other industry stakeholders, owners and trainers to join the effort.

It seems that this futurity, the exclamation point to an admittedly challenging year for the equine industry, is a perfect place to celebrate a new record payout for the Open and Non Pro Champions. With 344 entries in the Open Futurity and 176 in the Non Pro Futurity and the level of talent seen in earlier competitions, it promises to be an incredible show.

These numbers came in spite of the unfortunate cancellation of 20 international entries due to riders or horses not being able to enter the country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter noted, “Our hearts are with our international members who have devoted the last two years to preparing horses for this event. We share their disappointment in having their dreams delayed.”

The NRHA Futurity, although closed to the general public, is open to all horse people, who may enter through the barn areas to attend performances, the Futurity Trade Show held during the entire show and the NRHA Futurity Horse Sales, set for Thursday, Dec. 3. The event will follow whatever health mandates are in place for Oklahoma City at the time of the show, currently including masks being required and restrictions pertaining to social distancing.

2020 NRHA European Futurity Postponed to 2021

The 2020 National Reining Horse Association European Futurity has been postponed to 2021 due to complications and restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Futurity, originally set for November 20–28 in Cremona, Italy, will be rescheduled and new dates for the event will be announced as soon as details have been finalized.

President of the NRHA European Council, Roberto Cuoghi, along with the Italian Reining Horse Association, made the decision based on current health considerations and government restrictions. The number of COVID-19 cases in Europe has risen significantly and new mandates have forced border closures, imposed strict quarantine regulations, and limited events.

NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter said, “Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to a world where plans change and then they change again. As the virus continues to run its course, we must respect local conditions, government restrictions, and follow the guidance of health authorities who are striving to protect their families and friends.”

Pale Face Dunnit Crosses NRHA Two Million Dollar Milestone

For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – November 2, 2020 – Two million is the lucky number for many National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) riders, owners, and horses as 2020 winds down. Pale Face Dunnit is unofficially the newest NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire.

Fondly referred to as “Gold Digger,” this 2007 palomino stallion is by NRHA Twelve Million Dollar Sire Gunner and out of Lena Dun It. Bred by NRHA Two Million Dollar Owner Rancho Oso Rio, LLC, this prolific stallion is now owned by Schmersal Reining Horses and Silver Spurs Equine of Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Gold Digger is a big part of our family and we couldn’t be more excited for this monumental achievement at such a young age,” said owner Ginger Schmersal. “I have loved that horse since the first time I saw him. For Craig to get to show him and win and then go on to win the Futurity on one of his babies [Face The Attitude] is just phenomenal. And now Addi is showing that mare as a non pro.”

Boasting over $70,000 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE), Pale Face Dunnit was an open Level (L) 4 finalist at major NRHA events across the country. He also finished in the top ten at the AQHA World Championship Show in Junior Reining and is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Open Reserve Champion.

After a star-studded reining career, first under the guidance of NRHA Million Dollar Rider Randy Paul and later NRHA Four Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal, Pale Face Dunnit retired to the breeding shed. He’s sired 628 foals to date and 170 of those are competing, but his top-earning offspring is Face The Attitude (out of Miss Lil Addy Tude).

The 2014 mare was the Open L4 champion at the 2017 NRHA Futurity with Craig Schmersal at the reins. And her hot streak has continued in the non pro arena with Craig and Ginger’s daughter, Addisyn Schmersal. During the 2020 National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC), Addisyn reined Face The Attitude to a $25,500 payday after winning the Non Pro L3 and taking reserve in L4. The NRBC proved pivotal for Pale Face Dunnit’s two-million-dollar status when his offspring earned more than $60,000 combined.

The trend continued for Pale Face Dunnit’s progeny at both the High Roller Reining Classic (HRRC) and the Arizona Reining Horse Association (AzRHA) Best of the West show.

“His foals won a lot in Arizona, well over $20,000,” Ginger Schmersal said. “I knew we were close to the two million after the NRBC and High Roller.”

First named an NRHA Million Dollar Sire in late 2018, Pale Face Dunnit reached his two-million-dollar milestone in just two short years. Pale Face Dunnit’s top-earning offspring include:

• Face The Attitude (out of Miss Lil Addy Tude) – $197,390 NRHA LTE
• Phantom Face (out of Gorgeous Like A Star) – $140,198 NRHA LTE
• Pale Face Whiz (out of Lady Naskiia Whiz) – $106,159 NRHA LTE
• Pale Black Gun (out of Blazing In Black) $99,010 NRHA LTE
• Gold Digging Dunnit (out of Dun It Reining) – $92,012 NRHA LTE