NRHyA Members Must Apply for Reining Horse Foundation Scholarships by March 1

Early in 2022, the National Reining Horse Association’s Reining Horse Foundation announced the expansion of its scholarship program, and the deadline to apply for one of the scholarships is quickly approaching.

The RHF Board of Directors approved increasing the number of RHF scholarships from eight to 10, while at the same time growing the annual funding support for these awards from $13,000 to $28,000. In addition, several scholarship amounts are rising, including the three top awards, which will increase from $2,500 to $5,000 each effective this year.

The scholarships will be structured as three at $5,000; three at $2,500; three at $1,500 and one at $1,000. Selection is based on financial need, academic record, involvement in the school and community, a special essay, and references.

The scholarships can be used for college, trade, or technical schools, but to be considered, all applications must be postmarked by March 1.

To apply for a scholarship, an applicant must be a current NRHA member and must have been a member for at least 24 months prior to applying. The applicant must also be a senior in high school. A student selected for an RHF Scholarship as a senior may then reapply for a second scholarship if she or he meets all other criteria.

“One of the benefits of maintaining NRHyA membership is eligibility for these scholarships. RHF donors are pleased to support youth reiners, whether you are attending a trade or technical school, junior college or a university program,” noted Leslie Baker, RHF Executive Director.

The NRHyA now offers more than $60,000 in scholarships annually. In addition to the RHF Scholarships, members can earn NRHyA Affiliate Regional Scholarships and scholarships through the Varsity Reining Club and activities such as the annual CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest. “Continuing education is incredibly valuable, but at the same time can be costly. I encourage all NRHyA members to pursue any scholarship opportunities available, especially these that are dedicated to youth in the reining industry,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Manager of Youth, Professional, and Affiliate Programs. 

The RHF Scholarship application can be found here.

More details about the numerous opportunities for NRHyA scholarships can be found here.

For details on contributing toward youth programs, contact Baker at (405) 946-7400, ext. 106 or email

Cinder Lakes Ranch Expands Support of Reining with NRHA Corporate Partnership

Cinder Lakes Ranch has long been a supporter of not only reining, but the western performance horse industry as a whole. The facility, which focuses on reproduction and horse sale services, has been a National Reining Horse Association Corporate Partner in the past. In late 2021, Cinder Lakes Ranch once again joined NRHA’s Corporate Partner family.

“It is an honor for NRHA to join with Cinder Lakes Ranch on a corporate partnership level, once again! Thank you to Rick and Jade for continuing to support NRHA in service and sponsorship,” noted Sammi Miller, NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Communications.

Cinder Lakes Ranch, located in Whitesboro, Texas, is owned by Rick Ford and ran by Rick and his wife, Jade. “Our primary focus is stallions, and we are a full-service management company. We export all over the world, and cover every continent. I think the only major country we haven’t shipped to is China,” Ford explained. “We also do mare management, sale fitting, and just try to be full service for our clients.”

In fact, Cinder Lakes Ranch shipped more than 750 shipments of frozen and just under 3,000 shipments of cooled semen in 2021. “It’s kind of funny, we had a meeting with FedEx recently and have an in-person account manager that came to visit.” He laughed, and added, “Apparently we bumped up to a higher shipping bracket.”

Rick has been involved with horses his whole life, beginning with 4H. “I guess I’m kind of old school with how I got into it. My first trainer was Darren Stancik when I was a youth. I kind of wanted to do something a little more, and then my parents actually got the breeding part of it going. When we moved to Texas, I took that over,” he recalled.

The Cinder Lakes Ranch business model has evolved over the years. “In the beginning, when we were first a Corporate Partner, we were more of a private operation. Now that we’ve come back, we’re more of a commercial operation. That has allowed us to better service our customers,” Ford explained.

Cinder Lakes Ranch stands several heavy-hitting stallions from the reining, cow horse, and barrel racing industry, headlined by NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Spooks Gotta Whiz, whose NRHA lifetime earnings exceed $346,000. Joining Spooks Gotta Whiz in the lineup are ARC Gunna Sparkya, PS Mega Shine Chic, Snip O Lution, Wimpys Littlecolonel, Hey Joe, Jacs Electric Spark, Reysin On The Rocks, Spatatino, What A Wave, and Shiners Voodoo. Other stallions in the lineup are A Dash Ta Streak, A Streak Of Fling, Al Cappone, Barue, Bullseye Bullion, Heavenly Firewater, Jets Smashin Cash, JKL Raynin Firewater, JL Dash Ta Heaven, and Tres Fortunes.

Learn more about Cinder Lakes Ranch, its services, and stallion line up at

White River Ag Products becomes New NRHA Corporate Partner

At the urging of industry peers, White River Ag Products has joined the lineup of National Reining Horse Association Corporate Partners. White River Ag Products is owned by a trio of Vernon brothers: Richard, Todd, and Craig. Richard Vernon met Kevin Colston of NRHA Corporate Partner Colston Paving, and the two hit it off.

“Kevin asked me why we weren’t a Corporate Partner, and I said that I didn’t know enough about it and that I didn’t see anywhere it could benefit our businesses,” Richard explained. White River Ag is a grain and feed producer serving mostly Northern Wisconsin. He continued “After Kevin mentioned it to me, I discussed it with Frank Costantini [of Markel Insurance] who explained to me that there is much more to NRHA Corporate Partnership. Frank introduced me to Sammi [Miller], and that’s how it all went. My brothers and I had a sit-down and said, ‘let’s do it!’”

Miller, NRHA Sr. Director of Corporate Relations and Communications, said, “It is with joy that NRHA welcomes White River Ag as a new Corporate Partner. Richard Vernon’s solid attachment to our sport will make for a strong partnership. We look forward to growing with White River Ag!”

Led by their mother, Louise, a Western Saddle Clubs Association and 4-H judge, the Vernon brothers grew up showing pleasure horses and gaming, but once they discovered reining, they were hooked. Richard shared, “Larry Kasten introduced my brother, Todd, to reining when my kids were little. We followed his lead and fell in love with it. We like the competitiveness, and the way it is judged by points, but, mostly, we like the people. When you have a good ride, people cheer you on. They’re happy for you.”

Richard’s daughter, Allana Vernon-Michol, and daughter-in-law, Jenna Vernon, show reiners, as does Craig’s daughter and daughter-in-law, Paige Vernon-Zebzyck and Molly Vernon.

Through White River Ag Products, the Vernons now own more than 60 reining horses. “We have some with our resident trainers, Tanner and Christina Boyes. We also have some with Tom McCutcheon, Brian Welman, Dallas Cunningham, and Jeff Kasten,” Richard explained. “We put seven in the Futurity this year, and three made it back to the finals: one each with Tom, Tanner, and Christina. It was super exciting. We had a great year!”

The Vernons know that sponsorships are important. White River Ag Products has been a longtime supporter of their local North Central Affiliate shows including the derbies, futurities, and rookie shootouts. “We also sponsor some youth stuff, for the affiliate and for the club,” Richard added.

“I am looking forward to meeting more people and growing our network through this NRHA Corporate Partnership,” he said. “We are pretty excited about this sponsorship. I think it’s going to be fun, and I look forward to learning more about the industry.”

Located near the shores of Lake Superior, White River Ag Products is situated on 2500 acres of prime farmland where a wide variety of grains are harvested for energy and animal feeds. The business began in 2011 on 800 acres in Mason, Wisconsin, and was grown by the Vernon family to include a seed cleaning and packaging facility, complete equipment servicing shop, a machine storage building, straw storage facilities, and pellet mill factory, and a retail store. For more information about White River Ag Products, visit

Using the Eligibility Tool on NRHA ReinerSuite™

Gone are the days of long, extenuating lists of member ineligibility lists thanks to an online, member portal: National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) ReinerSuite™. All it takes is an email address, NRHA member number, and PIN for reiners to gain access to their eligibility and that of their equine partners.

To check eligibility, members need to have an account with ReinerSuite. Click here for the three easy steps to registering with the online portal.

How to check eligibility on ReinerSuite:

  1. Log into your account
  2. On the main, Dashboard, page, the “Eligibility Tool” will be at the very top (pictured above). If you’re on a mobile device, scroll down until you see the tool.
    1. CLASS: Choose what class you would like to check your eligibility for
    2. RIDER: Input your name in the “Rider” search bar
    3. HORSE: You can also search for the eligibility of a horse, but a rider will need to be listed
      1. Pro tip: You don’t have to input a horse name to search for rider eligibility, but you do have to input a rider name to search for horse eligibility
    4. EVENT DATE: Since your eligibility remains the same from Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2021, you don’t need to include the exact event date. BUT you do need to make sure the event date is some time in 2021
    5. ELIGIBILITY AREA: Click the dropdown menu to choose your eligibility area or keep it listed as “WorldWide”
    6. After you’ve checked your information, click “Submit” or hit “Clear” if you need to start over

After hitting “Submit,” you’ll see a screen similar to this with either green or red to indicate the status of your eligibility. One unique feature of this tool is its ability to give you reasons why you might not be eligible for a certain class. If your membership is not active, you may see this listed as a reason, and if that is the only reason, check back after your membership is renewed and you will see that you are eligible for the class.

You might find you are not eligible for the class selected, and if so, hit “Clear” and search your eligibility for a different level. In this case, NRHA Professional “John Doe” is not eligible for Category 2 – Level 3 Intermediate Open Aged Event (2200) because he’s in the Top 35 Pro Riders for the 2020 show season.

“John Doe” is, however, eligible for Category 2 – Level 4 Open Aged Event (2100). After hitting “Clear,” the Eligibility Tool will take you back to the previous screen and will not clear your information so all you have to do is change the class and submit again.

The Eligibility Tool also takes membership status and declarations into consideration when calculating your eligibility. Remember, all memberships (both horse owner and rider) need to be up-to-date before entering the show pen to avoid disqualification and penalty fees when the results are submitted to NRHA.

Our Condolences – Shining Spark 1989-2021

On New Years Eve 2021, Carol Rose announced that National Reining Horse Association Four Million Dollar Sire Shining Spark had been laid to rest on December 27.

NRHA Hall of Famers Carol Rose and Shining Spark. Photo by Cam Essick.

Immediately, condolences and memories began to flood the pages of social media, telling how the palomino stallion, by Genuine Doc out of Diamonds Sparkle, had affected their life.

Shining Spark became the cornerstone of Rose’s breeding program for decades, but before he left his indelible mark in his progeny, he proved his prowess in the reining arena.

He began his career with NRHA Hall of Famer Bob Loomis, who piloted the colt to a sixth-place finish at the 1992 NRHA Futurity, and followed that with a reserve title at the Lazy E Classic in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Then, NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Tim McQuay took the reins, and the duo won the 1993 American Quarter Horse Association Junior Reining Horse World Championship. The next year, they followed that up with the NRHA Derby championship. All totaled, Shining Spark won $62,674 in NRHA and AQHA competition.

McQuay and Shining Spark had incredible chemistry, so when Rose was deciding who to send Shining N Sassy (out of Sassy O Lena), there was no question who would be first choice. The mare, who would become Shining Spark’s highest money earning, and McQuay won the 2008 NRHA Open Futurity Championship.

Shining Spark was not only a Four Million Dollar sire for NRHA, he held the same title for the National Reined Cow Horse Association. His offspring excelled in a variety of disciplines, including reining, reined cow horse, cutting, barrel racing, halter, pole bending, breakaway roping, heading, heeling, ranch sorting, team penning, steer stopping, and more.

Shining Spark will be inducted to NRCHA’s Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022.

The passing of Shining Spark December 27 at the age of 32 did signal the end of a charmed life but thanks to modern science a whole new generation of Shining Spark foals have been born or will be born in future years. (Having been born before an AQHA Rule modification which limited the length of time foals of deceased stallions could be registered following the stallion’s death, he is still a viable option for breeding.)

Certainly, his legacy lives and as Carol Rose has often said, “You just never know where the next champion will come from.”  

Shining Spark’s Top Five Money Earners:

  • Shining N Sassy (out of Sassy O Lena) $232,672.33
  • Miss Rey O Shine (out of Miss Rey O Lena) $159,714.73
  • Shine On Line (out of Oaks Little Diamond) $110,660.29
  • Just Gotta Shine (out of Zans Pretty Penny) $104,078.90
  • Sailing Spark (Topsail Maid) $94,282.23