Jamming for the Reining Horse Foundation

Lance and Terri Griffin and Gunny Mathison Team Up for a Cause

Fans of reining and fans of music alike will want to attend a jam session at 902 Bar & Grill in Lake Kiowa, Texas. The night of fun will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 9.

Headlining the session will be National Reining Horse Association Two Million Dollar Owner Lance Griffin and his wife Terri, along with NRHA Professional Gunny Mathison, who is a new bass player. Although the group doesn’t have a formal name, it is sure to provide entertainment and fun.

Plus, it’s all for a good cause. Donations will be encouraged to benefit the Reining Horse Foundation.

“This will be a fun get-together with friends and will also be Gunny’s debut on the bass guitar,” Lance Griffin noted.

Lance and Terri have been playing together for more than eight years. The couple recently began riding their horses in Texas and introduced Mathison to the bass guitar.

“Gunny has been enjoying the music and learning how to play,” noted Mathison’s wife, Monica. “Not only will this be an enjoyable evening; it is also a great opportunity to raise funds for an important cause.”

Leslie Baker, executive director of the Reining Horse Foundation, noted, “We love when we learn of outside fundraisers that will benefit the Reining Horse Foundation, and this is no exception. We certainly appreciate the broad support for the RHF. Reiners talk often about this tight-knit community that knows how to show together, have fun together, and help each other.”

There will be guest performers and music will range through a variety of genres. It is a great opportunity to enjoy friends and music while being entertained.

902 Bar & Grill is located on FM 902 across from the Lake Kiowa entrance. For information, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/902grill.

Formally established as a recognized nonprofit organization in 2001, the Reining Horse Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the National Reining Horse Association. A renewed focus is driving efforts to expand fundraising so that the Foundation can do more to support the reining community. Donations of all sizes are relevant when it comes to helping reiners in need through the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund, providing educational scholarships and youth leadership development through the National Reining Horse Youth Association, and perpetuating the sport’s history through the NRHA Hall of Fame. For information visit the website at reiningfoundation.com.

New NRHyA Youth Affiliate Liaisons Announced

New NRHyA Youth Affiliate Liaisons Announced

At last year’s May meeting of the National Reining Horse Association Board of Directors, a proposal from the Youth Committee was approved that created a new, optional position for youth who want to pursue a leadership role in the National Reining Horse Youth Association. Called the Youth Affiliate Liaison, this new position was created for affiliates.

Beginning in 2022, an additional delegate position may be filled by each NRHA Affiliate. This allows a delegate for each specific affiliate instead of just two delegates per region.

The decision was made because the committee felt that the delegate voting during the NRHA Futurity and Adequan NAAC is essentially a popular vote for candidates attending the show. There are many youth members at local levels who are deserving of a leadership role who are unable to attend those meetings.

NRHA Director of Marketing and Youth and Affiliate Programs Sara Honegger explained, “We also see that there is sometimes a communication breakdown between delegates and local affiliates if the elected delegates live in different states or end up not showing throughout a season. The Youth Affiliate Liaison position has been created to bridge any potential voids that might occur.”

This role was also suggested for youth members who ran for an NRHyA Officer position the previous year and were not elected. Allowing them this opportunity is a great way to keep them engaged and reward them for their hard work.

Although not mandatory, affiliates that have a youth member who fits the description and would be extremely involved in delegate meetings/conversations are encouraged to have their Youth Coordinator name someone for this position.

Honegger announced the new Youth Affiliate Liaisons in early March. Serving for the 2022 show season will be:

Kayden Kellmer
Washington Reining Horse Association

Aubree Leyva
Arizona Reining Horse Association

Talia Bertrand Meadow
Central Canada Reining Horse Association

Isabella Hildebrandt
South Texas Reining Horse Association

Emma Zgrebnak
Central Ohio Reining Horse Association

Chase McInteer
Kansas Reining Horse Association

Emma Klug
Central Plains Reining Horse Association

Ava Welman
North Central Reining Horse Association

Raeanna Thayn
Southwest Reining Horse Association

Kynley Bell
Oklahoma Reining Horse Association

Becca Schaffhauser
Tennessee Reining Horse Association

Youth Affiliate Liaisons will also be eligible to run for NRHyA Officer positions once they have served for a year. This again will create more leadership opportunities for youth members who want to be involved.

Since 2001, young Reiners in the National Reining Horse Youth Association have benefited from their memberships through college scholarships, learning experiences from some of the top Reining trainers, life-long friendships and a whole lot of fun along the way. NRHyA fosters leadership qualities and provides young members with a roadmap for success to guide them along their future career paths. For information, visit NRHyA.com.

RHF Dale Wilkinson Crisis Fund Assistance Available to NRHA Members Impacted by Recent Disasters

When a member of the National Reining Horse Association experiences catastrophe and demonstrates financial need, the Reining Horse Foundation stands in the gap to assist through its Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund. The nature of a qualifying catastrophe may be medical, accident or illness, or natural disasters such as fires, floods, and tornadoes.

With the recent widespread and devastating tornadoes and fires, there is a possibility that an NRHA member could have been affected. “At this time, we have not gotten word of any members who were impacted, but we want members to know that the Crisis Fund is available,” explained Reining Horse Foundation Executive Director Leslie Baker.

The fund is not intended to totally alleviate a member’s distress, but to provide some relief. This is done in the spirit of reiners helping reiners.

To apply for assistance, the applicant must be a current member in good standing for two consecutive years. Applications are subject to approval by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and all names are removed from the application and materials prior to submission for confidentiality purposes and to honor the member’s privacy. Grants are awarded to NRHA members from around the globe.

“While we hate that there is always a need for assistance, we are proud that the Reining Horse Foundation has helped to lessen the burden experienced by our members. Since 2002, the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund has awarded more than $250,000 and helped nearly 100 families during their time of need,” Baker shared.

NRHA Professionals have committed to voluntarily supporting the Reining Horse Foundation’s Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund when purchasing or renewing NRHA membership. The Crisis Fund is accessible to any NRHA membership category, yet most often stands in the gap for NRHA Professionals during times of significant need. Many other individuals and businesses also make contributions.

For Crisis Fund guidelines and criteria, click here.

Apply for Crisis Fund assistance here.

More information about the Reining Horse Foundation and its focus on supporting the reining community can be found at ReiningFoundation.com.

NRHA Announces Creation of Oceania Youth Council

The reining bug is catching on in the land down under, and that was evident during the 2021 National Reining Horse Association Oceania Affiliate Championships, which were held February 27–March 5 in Weribee, Victoria, Australia.

It was during that inaugural event that National Reining Horse Youth Association members formed the first-ever Oceania Youth Council with the goal of promoting the sport of reining and increasing the number of youth members in the Oceania Region.

“The Youth Council will educate members at their local shows about NRHyA programs and create stronger bonds throughout the year, not just at the state shows or Oceania Championships,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Director of Marketing and Youth and Affiliates Programs. “I’m very excited to watch the Council grow and spread their knowledge about reining.”

The first-ever NRHyA Oceania Youth Council was created during the 2021 Oceania Affiliate Championships. Pictured left to right are Jhi Watts, Minna Baxter, Tahlia Noonan, Hope Kelderman, Katia Sonsini—Photo by Sara Honegger

Elected to the Council were:

  • President: Tahlia Noonan; Lancefield, Victoria, Australia
  • Vice President: Minna Baxter; Newham, Victoria, Australia
  • Treasurer: Hope Kelderman; Glenburn, Victoria, Australia
  • Secretary: Katia Sonsini, Donvale, Victoria, Australia
  • Historian: Jhi Watts; Briagolong, Victoria, Australia

Honegger and Sam Oldfield, Director of International Affairs and Development, had traveled to Victoria for the Oceania Affiliate Championships and was able to spend time with the numerous NRHyA members. “From the moment we arrived at the Oceania Affiliate Championships, their desire to learn everything they could about NRHyA was apparent,” Honegger said. “They are incredibly passionate young men and women who want to make a difference in their region. We felt the creation of the Oceania Youth Council, much like the European Youth Council, would be a great next step.”

Read more about the Oceania Youth Council in the May issue of the NRHA Reiner to learn more about each member.

To keep up with the latest information, follow NRHyA on Facebook and Instagram. Additional information about the Oceania region can be found at facebook.com/oceanianrha.

2022 Oceania Affiliate Championships Location & Dates Announced

The city of Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, is the birthplace of Mary Poppins’ author Pamella Lyndon Travers. It’s fitting that the picturesque and historical town has been chosen as the location for the 2022 National Reining Horse Association Oceania Affiliate Championships, where magical moments and memories will be plentiful. The Championships will be held October 25–30.

The inaugural event, which had been slated for 2021 but was postponed due to the worldwide pandemic, was hosted by the Victorian Reining Horse Association and held at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre in Victoria.

Despite adversity due to the pandemic and weather, the event was phenomenal. “It was a massive success,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Director of Marketing who oversees the Youth and Affiliate programs. “There were more than 500 entries, and the atmosphere was incredible.”

Sam Oldfield, NRHA Director of International Affairs and Development, echoed that sentiment. “The VRHA did an excellent job in not only taking on the challenge of running this event in this format for the first time but also in creating a successful and safe environment where our reining family could come and compete and also have fun,” she said. “The success of this event has given much hope and light to the future of reining in the Oceania region, and the NRHA Oceania Council is proud to announce that the 2022 NRHA Oceania Affiliate Championships will be held in Queensland by the Calliope Sliders Reining Horse Club.”

The Affiliate Championships for 2022 will be held with the NRHA Oceania Queensland State Championships hosted by the Calliope Sliders Reining Horse Club.

The CSRHC was formed in 2013 by Ed Smith of Ed Smith Reining and Performance Horses. “We are a not-for-profit club based in Calliope Queensland, inland from Gladstone,” noted Tracee Sharp, CSRHC secretary. “We are passionate about reining and are committed to the growth of reining throughout Queensland and Australia. The Sliders are a hardworking, fun-filled, family-oriented organization. We are proud to be a part of the NRHA family and hold a seat on the Oceania Council.”

The CSRHC management committee includes President Ed Smith, Vice President Paul Sharp, Secretary Tracee Sharp, and Treasurer Katrina Beale.

For more information about NRHA Oceania, follow the group on Facebook here.

Connect with the CSRHC on Facebook here or find them on the website here.

Action photos by Stephen Mowbray Photography