Our Condolences – Jeff Petska

The reining community lost Jeff Petska after a long battle with cancer on March 5. Petska was a past National Reining Horse Association Board member, avid reining supporter, chef d’equipe for the United States Reining Team, and most of all, a friend and mentor to many.

The Nebraska native operated Petska Performance Horses of Whitesboro, Texas for more than 20 years, trained horses for over 35 years, and held a judge’s card with both NRHA and the American Quarter Horse Association along with participating on different Boards.

Days before passing away, Petska took to Facebook with a post that more than 500 people commented on, just a small testament to the many lives he impacted.

“I hope your memory of me is not these final weeks or days of me as my body prepares to meet my maker, I hope my memory is carried on thru the spoken stories of the times we had, thru the following of the dreams we shared,” Petska said. “But mostly I hope my memory is kept alive by all of you continuing to have my family be a part of your lives. For you to share some of the parts of our lives that have made my life so full.”

Petska’s philosophy at Petska Performance Horses was “take a unique approach to the training of our horses. My philosophy is based upon the desire to help each horse to achieve their optimal performance.” This approach proved successful many times throughout his career, notably while starting NRHA Hall of Famer Shining Spark. 

Along with launching careers of four-legged athletes, Petska was pivotal in the careers of many while serving as chef d’equipe for the gold medal-winning teams at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. The impact he had on the lives of these athletes, and junior teams, lived on far past the Games.

Jeff leaves behind his wife, Lisa, and their children, Tanner and Chelsea.

Memorial services and opportunities to support the Petska family will be updated as information is provided.

NRHA Begins Search for New Commissioner

Following the announcement of NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter’s impending retirement at the end of the year, the search for his replacement is officially underway. 

A subcommittee tasked with interviewing different executive search firms recently hired Jim Harlan, President & CEO of MJM Global Search, Inc.

“We wanted to ensure we did our due diligence since this will be one of the hardest positions NRHA has ever had to fill, and we are confident in Jim’s ability to find the best candidate for the association,” said NRHA President Mark Blake, who led the subcommittee.

“Jim was who we utilized when we hired Gary, and his expertise and experience within the equine industry is unparalleled. We also used his services last year to fill two positions, and they have been outstanding hires,” Blake added.

Harlan, an avid horseman in his own right, is responsible for the strategic leadership necessary to ensure the achievement of MJM Global Search’s performance goals and preservation of the core values established more than 25 years ago.

MJM Global Search, Inc. and its executive search specialists have decades of hands-on experience as senior managers, ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to small, fast-growing start-up companies. The firm has completed placements with more than 12 equine industry associations.

“Our goal is to have a hire made by this Summer to allow for the new individual to begin working alongside Gary for the remainder of the year,” Blake continued. “This will allow for a smooth transition of power and to allow them to hit the ground running in 2024”

The NRHA Commissioner’s primary role is to serve as the Chief Executive Officer responsible for leading the NRHA Office while reporting to and working with the NRHA Executive Committee and Board of Directors to ensure the association’s needs, goals, and objectives are met.

A detailed position description can be found here.

Qualified candidates who are interested in the position will need to contact Jim Harlan directly at:

MJM Global Search, Inc.
P.O. Box 883
Franktown, CO 80116
(303) 660-0766

NRHA Celebrates Official Alliance with the National Reined Cow Horse Association

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) welcomes the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) as an official alliance partner of the NRHA. Through this partnership, the NRCHA and NRHA will work together to offer promotional and educational opportunities to their members. In addition, NRHA will donate the coveted Lawson trophy for the high score in the reining at the annual NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity®.

“NRHA is proud to have an official alliance agreement with the NRCHA,” says NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations Christy Landwehr. “Western performance sports are growing at a terrific rate, and it is so important that NRHA and NRCHA can work together for our members and their horses.”

The NRHA is excited about the possibilities for continued alliance opportunities with the National Reined Cow Horse Association during the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel and NRHA Futurity as well as the NRCHA’s Celebration of Champions, World’s Great Horseman and the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity® presented by Metallic Cat.

“We are already seeing a crossover between the two associations in our competitors and members alike,” said Emily Konkel, NRCHA manager of operations. “The NRCHA is excited to see how this partnership will continue to help foster that crossover and grow both associations.”

To learn more about the NRCHA and become a fan of the industry, visit nrcha.com.

About the National Reined Cow Horse Association

Based in Pilot Point, Texas, the National Reined Cow Horse Association was formed in 1949 in California, with the goal of preserving and educating the public about the rich history of this traditional horsemanship. The NRCHA is responsible for promoting the sport and ensuring high standards of competition and continuing to work to keep the Vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. The NRCHA also supports numerous affiliate clubs across the United States, Europe and abroad. These groups serve as the association’s backbone, holding many NRCHA-sanctioned competitions and events each year. For more information on these events and reined cow horse, visit nrcha.com.

NRHA Joins Horses in the Morning Podcast

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) announced its partnership with the Equine Network owned podcast Horses in the Morning. This podcast is a part of one of the longest-running independent podcasting networks (Horse Radio Network) in the world, and NRHA is enthusiastic to see what opportunities will be produced from the partnership.

The National Reining Horse Association show on Horses in the Morning will be released on the second Thursday of every month. Fans can listen on any podcast player while in their cars, riding, or even grooming their horses. The first show is set to premiere Thursday, April 13, 2023. Search Horses in the Morning on your podcast player.

The podcast will be co-hosted by NRHA Senior Director of Corporate Relations Christy Landwehr and NRHA Marketing Director Sara Honegger.

“I am thrilled to be a host again on Horses in the Morning in my new role at the National Reining Horse Association,” shares Landwehr. “Our NRHA Marketing Director, Sara Honegger, and I are thrilled to bring you the expertise of our amazing riders, trainers, owners, breeders, and partners who will share our sport and the wonderful horses they work with every day with you!”

The daily show includes entertaining conversation, fun and educational guests, contests, giveaways, and more.

“We are so excited to have the NRHA as part of Horses in the Morning,” said Director of Podcasting Horse Radio Network Glenn Hebert. “Reining is not an area we have covered much on the show, and we are all looking forward to learning more about this amazing sport.”

To learn more about the “Horses In The Morning” podcast, visit horseradionetwork.com/shows/horses-in-the-morning.

Equine Network’s membership services are designed to entertain, support, and inform the equine community. They include unique tech-enabled services for horse owners, live equestrian events, innovative content, and engaging digital experiences. For more information, visit equinenetwork.com.

About Horses in the Morning:

Horses in the Morning is the leading daily morning podcast for the horse world, with listeners in over 90 countries. A light, lively, entertaining look at the horse world and the people in it. The show includes entertaining conversation, out-of-the-ordinary guests, numerous regular horse-related segments, training tips, health segments, contests, giveaways, and so much more.