Reiners Slide into OKC for 2022 NRHA Futurity & Adequan® NAAC

The futurity season for reining horses is nearing completion, and on Thanksgiving Day, the best riders in the world will begin the intense preliminary competition at the National Reining Horse Association’s premier and most prestigious event, the NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.

The event, which begins Nov. 24 and runs through Dec. 3, draws exhibitors from around the globe, who will vie for a piece of a purse that exceeds $2,000,000, highlighted by a life-changing $350,000 check for the Level 4 Open Champion.

Under the lights of the historic Jim Norick Coliseum, the mettle of talented 3-year-old reining horses will be tested as they navigate through the signature circles, spins, and sliding stops the event is known for. At the same time, top riders and horses of all ages from across North America compete for major titles in the Adequan® Arena, hoping to nab a coveted championship and take major strides to clinch a year-end title as well.

While there are several futurities throughout the year, only one is known simply as “The Futurity.” Since its debut in 1966 in Columbus, Ohio, the show has grown from a handful of entries to more than 600 in the main event alone.

The payout has expanded, and to say it has done so significantly would be an understatement. This year’s L4 Open Champion will leave Oklahoma City $350,000 richer and in possession of one of the largest limited-age event championship check in the western performance horse industry. Not only that, but the L4 Open Reserve Champion will win a guaranteed $150,000, and third will take home $100,000.

Winning the Level 4 Open Championship is a three-step process. All Open entries compete in the first round, with the top 75 (plus ties) advancing to the L 4 Open Semi-Finals sponsored by Not Ruf At All on Nov. 30. There, the top 30 (plus ties) move on to the clean-slate MS Diamonds TX L4 Open Futurity Finals on Dec. 3.

Some big changes have happened in the payouts for Open Levels 3, 2, and 1. The L3 Open Champion will receive $70,000, the Reserve titlist will take home $50,000, and third $35,000. The guaranteed payouts continue in Levels 2 and 1, with the L2 Champion pocketing $50,000, the L2 Reserve Champion winning $25,000, and the third-place finisher in the L2 pocketing a cool $15,000. The L1 Open winner will win $13,000, and the L1 Reserve will receive $7,000.

Open riders in Levels 1, 2, and 3 who are in the top 75 of their levels (but not in the top 75 of the Level 4) will compete in the Semi-Finals on Nov. 29. The top 30 in each of those levels (plus ties) will earn a spot in the first section of the Open Finals on Dec. 3.

Non Professional riders will also win big, with the L4 Non Pro title being accompanied by a check for $75,000, the Reserve Champion winning $45,000, and third taking $35,000! The top three in the L3 Non Pro will also be guaranteed big checks, with $40,000 going to first, $25,000 awarded to second, and $15,000 to third. The CINCH Non Pro Finals will be held Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. with Levels 1, 2, 3, Youth, and Prime Time, and the CINCH Non Pro L4 Finals beginning at 4 p.m.

In addition to world-class competition, the NRHA Futurity boasts an impressive trade show with vendors ranging from clothing to furniture, western tack, décor, and more. In fact, the first three days of the event feature free admission so that everyone can come to enjoy some post-holiday shopping to prepare for Christmas.

One of the best, largest, and most exciting shopping opportunities will be on Dec. 1. That’s because the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales will be held in the Sale Arena. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the best horses the industry has to offer, from prospects to producers and everything in between. Last year the high seller – a yearling mare named Deja Vue (Gunnatrashya x Dun Its Déjà vu) commanded an impressive $170,000! Find more information about the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales at

Tickets for the 2022 NRHA Futurity & Adequan® NAAC are on sale now and can be purchased here.

Complete information, including draws, results, and more, can be found at

Electric Code Becomes an NRHA Million Dollar Sire

Fifteen years ago, NRHA Professional Jared Leclair accepted a raw-boned 2-year-old into training. With a royal pedigree and phenomenal confirmation, the colt showed outstanding promise as a performance prospect, but that is where Leclair’s plans for the colt ended. Even still, Leclair made a deal with the colt’s owner, Danny Dugan, and joined in a partnership for the ownership of Electric Code.

“You could just tell that he was special,’ Leclair explained. “He was a great mover, a huge stopper, and really good-minded. If you ride enough of these horses, the special ones stand out. It was pretty early in my career to show one of my own, but I knew I needed a horse like that to get me on the map.”

As the colt’s training progressed, he continually impressed his owners with his intelligence, athleticism, and willingness. “He was just a really cool horse to train,” Leclair said. “He was really strong and could handle pressure really well. He was obviously a show horse and enjoyed doing his job.”

Electric Code, by NRHA Three Million Dollar Sire Jacs Electric Spark out of Hot Coded Candy, went on to claim multiple futurity titles, including winning the 2008 NRHA Level 3 Open Futurity Championship and placing 3rd in the level 4 with Leclair in the saddle. He was the #1 Reining Horse All Ages/All Divisions in 2008 and the highest-scoring stallion at the NRHA Open Futurity! The horse and rider team went on to win multiple major event championships during the stallion’s derby years, bolstering his lifetime earnings to more than $204,000.

Through an unfortunate turn of events, the L & D Partnership was dissolved, and Leclair retained ownership. He found himself deciding on the future of the promising young stallion alone. “A horse has to prove himself to be a stallion. There are a lot of them out there that shouldn’t be studs. Cody had to prove to us that he was capable to produce babies that people are going to want to go horse show, and he did that,” Leclair said.

Once Electric Code had done his part, Leclair felt the pressure to do the horse justice as a stallion. “I tried to pair him with really good mares and actively invited people to breed to him. I stood him with the McCutcheons because I believe they are the best at what they do. I put my customers on his offspring, and they would breed mares to him, too. I just tried to be as involved as I could possibly be,” he said.

Electric Code’s first foals became performers in 2011 and quickly made a name for their sire. The stallion produced 195 NRHA money earners that carried the stallion to the elite rank of NRHA Million Dollar Sire in 2022. His top five money earners are:

Coded N Karma out of Whiz N Snap – $78,347.44

Electro Star out of RG Miss Starlight – $70,011.09

Fille Code out of Smartest Sister – $56,641.55

Codalicious out of Custom Easy Breezy – $54,034.32

Darlins Cody Boy out of Darlins Not Painted – $47,219.34

Leclair thanked everyone who has supported him and Electric Code on this journey, including the McCutcheons, the owners, customers, and his friends. He also thanked his wife, Karla, for helping him get Cody to where he needed to be. Then he added, “I’m glad to be a part of it because I don’t think there are very many horse trainers who own Million Dollar Sires, so it’s pretty cool.”

Arno Honstetter Passes $1 Million in NRHA Earnings with Recent Wins

In the fall of 2022, Arno Honstetter rode the talented mare Ms Dreamy, owned by Frederick Christen, to finish fifth place at The Run For A Million presented by Teton Ridge. The $60,000 prize – the second largest in the German native’s career, was enough to push him to the precipice of a major milestone – a million dollars in earnings.

Just two months later, the talented professional passed that marker and joined an elite group of million-dollar earners in the National Reining Horse Association.

“Reaching a million dollars in earnings hasn’t always been the goal. When I came over here in the beginning, I never thought I could be a million-dollar rider,” Honstetter admitted. “But when I started getting closer, maybe to a half-million in earnings, I thought maybe I could do it.”

He added, “So this accomplishment means a lot. It’s what I do all day long. I love to ride, train, and raise horses. I gave up everything in my home country to come over here to try to be a horse trainer, so it’s pretty special.”

Honstetter grew up in Liggeringen, Germany, in the southern part of the country in the Bodensee on the Lake of Konstanz. His family didn’t have horses, but he’d always wanted to ride one. His parents purchased his first horse when he was eight years old, and while he tried his legs in an English saddle at first, he soon set his sights on western disciplines.

He was introduced to cutting, and when he was 16 years old, his father began asking where he could send his son to learn more about training horses. That’s when he met National Reined Cow Horse Association Hall of Famer Ken Wold and spent several years working with Wold in the United States, honing his skills in multiple disciplines, including cutting, cow horse, and reining.

“I learned everything about training, showing, and breeding horses there. We did everything on that ranch,” Honstetter recalled. “Kenny, his wife Ramona, and his mom were like family. It was probably the best time of my life.”

After spending four years with the Wolds, Honstetter moved back to Germany. “I started showing, and Andrea Fappani saw me show. I can’t remember what year it was – maybe 2004. We had a big show over there, and all these guys from the United States came over. Andrea asked me if I wanted to come work for him, and long story short, I ended up being there for several years.”

Honstetter spent eight years total with Fappani, the NRHA’s All-Time Leading Rider, but he also took a year to ride with NRHA Million Dollar Rider Randy Paul, as well.

Eventually, he went out on his own for several years before accepting the position of head trainer for Brenda Joyce and Rick Christen’s Story Book Stables, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2020.

“I thank Brenda and Rick for the opportunity they have given me, as well as all the owners over the years who have trusted me to ride such nice horses,” he said. “I thank Andrea Fappani, Randy Paul, and Ken Wold for what they’ve done for me, as well.”

Arno and his wife, Laura, welcomed daughter Tatum nine months ago. He added that he hopes to help Story Book Stables become even more successful in the future.

“My biggest goal is to train and raise nice horses and do a good job running the ranch. I want us to produce really nice horses here at the ranch more than just buying and training them,” he said.

Honstetter’s Top 10 Wins:

  • 2011 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Champion – $113,176 – Show Me The Buckles
  • 2022 The Run For A Million 5th Place – $60,000 – Msdreamy
  • 2013 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open 5th Place – $50,947 – Holier Then Thou
  • 2010 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open 5th Place – $47,642 – Chicsdundreamin
  • 2016 NRHA Futurity Level 3 Open Champion – $28,061 – Whizkey Chaser
  • 2010 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion – $23,789 – Chicsdundreamin
  • 2014 NRHA Derby Level 3 Open Champion – $22,302 – Colonels Splashy Gun
  • 2021 High Roller Reining Classic 4-Year-Old States Reserve Champion – $18,534 – Electric Whizkey
  • 2016 NRBC Level 4 Open 8th Place – $16,625 – Gunners Special Glo
  • 2015 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open 14th Place – $15,873 – See U Saturday Night

For more information about Arno Honstetter, visit or

The Last Cowboy Season 3 Premieres November 18, 2022

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is eager to share the announcement of the Season 3 premiere of The Last Cowboy from Academy Award® nominee and “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan, returning on Friday, November 18th at 10 p.m. EST on CMT.

The Last Cowboy takes an inside glance into the lives of the NRHA Professional cowboys and cowgirls as they compete in the high-stakes sport of reining and gear up for the incomparable event, “The Run for a Million.”

The Run for a Million, presented by Teton Ridge, is the richest event in the history of reining. Sixteen riders, including some of the most accomplished NRHA Professionals in history, will compete for a purse of $1,000,000, with $500,000 awarded to the champion.

The upcoming season dives deep into the intense preparation and training riders experience as they elevate and preserve cowboy traditions in this challenging athletic event. Sixteen riders will test their mental, physical, and emotional strength.

This year’s NRHA professionals include:

Casey Deary
Andrea Fappani
Shawn Flarida
Arno Honstetter
Francesco Martinotti
Jordan McBurney
Sean McBurny
Cade McCutcheon
Matt Palmer
Nathan Piper
Fernando Salgado
Craig Schmersal
Josh Tishman
Dany Tremblay
Jason Vanlandingham
Billy Williams

The inaugural Run for a Million in 2019 generated excitement that spread beyond the world of reining to all western performance horse disciplines. Learn more about this awe-inspiring event and get to know the NRHA riders better at

Wind Her Up Shiner Becomes 6th NRHA Million Dollar Dam

The late Wind Her Up Shiner posthumously joined the short but elite list of National Reining Horse Association Million Dollar Dams in 2022. The 1998 mare by Shining Spark out of Wind Her Up Doc was purchased by NRHA Million Dollar Rider José Vazquez as a 3-year-old through a series of events that look a lot like fate.

Wind Her Up Shiner lived in NRHA Professional Ed Fear’s barn, where Vazquez rode as a non pro. The mare was offered to him as a 2-year-old, but he passed her up because he already had all of the coming 3-year-olds that he wanted. A tragic incident changed that when one of Vazquez’s futurity prospects died suddenly. With a spot open for another youngster and the mare up for sale again, Vazquez sealed the deal.

“I ended up lucky one more time,” Vazquez said with a laugh. “When the spot for another 3-year-old opened up, I was lucky that she was the right one.”

As far as the mare’s show career goes, Vazquez says that she was great but laments that he didn’t do her justice as her showman. “Unfortunately, I was too green, myself, showing. I was a rookie. I had a guy come to me and say that I should send her to him to show, and she could win $100,000 or more. I joked with him that if I gave him my best horse, how could I be as good as I wanted to be? I wanted to beat Mandy [McCutcheon], you know?

“We were always joking around about her, and he said one day, ‘You know, with more earnings, her babies will be worth a lot of money, too.’ I said, ‘Will they ride different?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, well then, I’ll keep the babies, too!”

This, he staunchly held true to, only selling the geldings and keeping and showing all of the mares. “I probably let her down as a producer, also,” Vazquez mused. “If I had put those horses in the right hands, we would probably be celebrating two million right now instead of one!

“I do feel bad for the mare, though,” He continued. “She had potential to win way more money than she did, but she put me on the right track to show. She taught me what it takes to win. I think it was bad for her that I kept her to show myself, but it was very good for me. She taught me a lot. She was an amazing mare.”

Despite Vazquez’s perceived shortcomings, Wind Her Up Shiner earned nearly $34,000 in her own show career, and as a producer, she certainly shined. Interestingly, the mare has only been bred to the late Smart Like Juice, an NRHA $4 Million Sire that was also owned by Vazquez. The magic pairing produced 25 living foals, and 24 of them are NRHA money earners thanks to Vazquez’s faith in the breeding. There is no doubt that Wind Her Up Shiner’s prepotency contributed much to Vazquez’s achievements as a $2 Million Owner (under Smart Like Juice, Inc.)

The first foal of the magic cross, SLJ Smartlikewhinny, suffered a major injury when her leg got caught in the round pen fence. A veterinarian said that she would never be shown; however, Vazquez saw to the filly’s rehabilitation and earned more than $53,000 on her. The twenty-fifth foal is currently two years old, and Vazquez looks forward to making the most of her show career when she comes of age to ensure the offspring of Smart Like Juice and Wind Her Up Shiner are 100% money earners.

Wind Her Up Shiner’s top five earners are:

Like Shiner – $187,483

Moonshine Juice – $122,366

Moonshine N Juice – $$113,776

Wound By Juice – $112,369

SLJ Corazon Valiente – $108,216

Vazquez thanked all of the trainers who have helped him over the years so that he and his horses could reach such notoriety, along with his NRHA family with whom, over the course of his 25 years in reining, he has had the opportunity to have a lot of fun and secure many friendships.