NRHA Year-end Statistics Reflect Impressive Growth

In recent years, the planet has been in a state of upheaval and change. COVID-19 had a staggering impact. Some marginal businesses thrived and grew. Other long successful companies couldn’t survive and people lost jobs as well as lifelong enterprises.

For the equine industry, facing a pandemic was especially challenging. In early 2020, the National Reining Horse Association Board and Executive Committee scrambled along with the rest of the horse world to make correct decisions – to plan, predict, and survive. Now, with two years of history, the state of the reining industry shows very positive statistics according to the data released during the NRHA Winter Meetings, held Feb. 13-16 in Denton, Texas.

Thankfully, along with the pandemic, the reining industry and the entire western performance industry has enjoyed the unprecedented publicity created by Taylor Sheridan.  “The impact on the reining world, through Yellowstone and The Last Cowboy, along with The Run For The Million, can’t be calculated. It’s been incredible for our industry,” said NRHA President Rick Clark. He continued, “These are exciting times and overall, the Association is thriving.”

Money won at NRHA events worldwide hit an all-time high in 2021 at $19,157,953, as did added money at $12,621,353. Total annual entries, at 112,929, were also the highest ever.

The number of shows recovered last year, as well, after a drop of more than 50 percent in the number of events in 2020 at the peak of the COVID restraints. 

As far as entries, both ends of the spectrum, from entry level Ride & Slide classes to aged events, set records in 2021. With the all-time high of 10,465 entries in entry level classes to the record-breaking 28,959 entries in Aged Events – Categories 2 and 6, the growth was overwhelmingly positive. The number of unique horses shown, 10,211, was also the highest in the past five years.

Membership numbers tend to correlate to the amount of people showing, so it was not surprising that NRHA membership numbers fell off in 2020 when there were fewer events to attend. But the indomitable spirit of reiners showed in the 10+ percent upwards recovery in 2021. The number of NRHA professionals was at the highest in ever, at 1,833, and Non Pro numbers were the highest in the last three years, with 8,841 Non Pro members.

At the NRHA produced shows, the news was overwhelmingly positive in 2021. The 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel was a record-breaker in number of entries, number of stalls, added money, and payout. The Four Sixes Ranch was joined by Yellowstone and Bosque Ranch in naming the event and along with Markel, the Story Book Stables Amateur Derby, the Tamarack Ranch Open 4-Year-Old Stakes, the GlycoGuard Novice Horse Derby, and the Colston Paving Inc. Non Pro 4-Year-Old Stakes headlined the variety of opportunities for reiners.

The 2021 NRHA Futurity paid a record $350,000 to L4 Champion Casey Deary on Ten Thirty, thanks to the efforts of the Futurity Challenge Sponsors and increased commitment from the Association. The show also boasted a 16 percent increase in total entries and paid out a record $2,668,910 – more than $400,000 above the previous year

The NRHA Markel Futurity Sales were once again held on Thursday of Futurity week for an all-in-one-day sale spectacular. The event boasted the second-highest net income in history with $4.9 million in horses sold.

Another key function that takes place during the Futurity, the Reining Horse Foundation Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch, set attendance and fundraising records. The charitable arm of the NRHA announced major scholarship expansion through 2024. In addition, it was announced that 2021 show entry donations totaled $26,000 and Professionals’ donations increased 22 percent over the program’s first year.

Support for NRHA continued to grow as the year went on and over the past four months eight new Corporate Partners have come on board: Foals R Us, Enjoy LLC, Cinder Lakes Stallion Station, Oswood Stallion Station, Tenda, White River Ag Products, Teton Ridge and Priefert.

Another set of statistics indicates that people are planning ahead for the horse business of the future. NRHA Foal Nominations reflect upward growth with North American nominations, at 2,675, the highest in three years, and European nominations at 1,339, the second-highest in five years.

Competition licenses surged to a new 5-year high, with 4,656 new horses licensed.

NRHA Chief Executive Officer John Foy summarized, “In March of 2020 the NRHA Finance Committee, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors reacted swiftly and decisively to implement a pandemic response plan. This was successfully executed by NRHA Staff and with the help of NRHA independent contractors and service providers. Oklahoma State Fair, Inc. has been a loyal partner throughout, as have NRHA’s Partners and Sponsors who supported the association during this time. As a result, the NRHA and the reining industry have thrived together, leveraging NRHA’s most strategic assets and strengthening NRHA events and programs. The NRHA today has no debt and is stronger than it was prior to the pandemic. We are excited to see what the future holds.”

NRHA Sire & Dam Auction Open for Bidding

Overflowing with benefits for stallion, mare, and offspring owners, the Sire & Dam Program Online Auction is a win-win for all involved. This auction features 70+ of the top stallions in the industry, but the opportunity to purchase a breeding ends on January 10.

Created in 1966, the NRHA Sire & Dam program provides significant benefits to participants while helping support the NRHA. Featuring benefits for both stallion and mare owners, this program is the perfect addition to any breeding program. Mare owners have the opportunity to purchase breedings that they may not otherwise have access to at reduced rates.

The Sire & Dam Auction is a valuable asset for mare owners, who can purchase breedings to an impressive lineup of stallions, often at reduced rates. Resulting offspring from the program have quite a bit of added value before they even hit the ground. Some of those benefits include:

  • No nomination to the NRHA Futurity and Derby required; resulting foals are automatically eligible.
  • Reduced entry fees (up to 50%) for the NRHA Futurity and Derby, as well as later entry deadlines.
  • Sire & Dam offspring eligibility remains with the foal even after it is sold.

“The NRHA Sire & Dam Program is the greatest thing going. It’s cost-effective and benefits everyone involved. From a mare owner’s point of view, the money we save for the resulting foal is worth its weight in gold. It’s the only deal in town,” shared Clint Haverty.

Stallion owners donate a breeding to the Sire & Dam Auction and reap the benefit of enhanced promotion through program advertising. They also become eligible for NRHA Futurity & Derby Sire incentives, including cash awards. There is still time to enroll a stallion in the Sire & Dam Auction, and anyone interested in doing so should contact NRHA Sire & Dam Program Director Haley Carmen at

“We are so excited to be able to offer these incentives to those who purchase a breeding through the Sire & Dam stallion auction,” Carmen said. “The added value and benefits to the resulting foals are unparalleled in the industry.”

To view and bid on participating stallions, visit the Sire & Dam Auction at You must be registered to place a bid, and that can easily be completed by clicking the “My Account” link.

There may be additional fees for the mare owner, and mare owners are encouraged to contact the participating stallion owners and agents to ask about such fees prior to purchasing the breeding through the Sire & Dam Auction. Winning bidders will be notified by email after the auction closes on January 10.

To see the stallions still available, go to, and visit the Sire & Dam Auction at

For more information on the program, including how to purchase a breeding, visit the Sire & Dam page or contact Haley Carmen at

NRHA Director of Education & Officials Search to be Conducted by MJM Global Search

 For Immediate Release – Oklahoma City, Okla. – November 29, 2021
The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Executive Committee has hired Jim Harlan, President and CEO of MJM Global Search, Inc., to support its efforts in filling a new full-time position of Director of Education and Officials. MJM Global’s search will begin immediately with analysis of the position and identification of candidates. The primary purpose of this hands-on position is to serve in an educator role while continuing to advance the NRHA Judges & Stewards Programs to ensure they remain the best in the western performance horse industry.
NRHA, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., is the standard-setting body for the sport of Reining with more than 15,000 members worldwide. “It is crucial for NRHA to locate a highly-skilled and respected individual for this position and one who will help bring consistency and accuracy to the programs by evaluating the ongoing performance of Judges and Stewards. I am confident that MJM Global Search will help us find the right fit for NRHA and its members,” said Rick Clark, NRHA President.
“The NRHA Judges Program has been widely respected as one of the finest programs in the industry, and NRHA has seen substantial growth within the last few years, so we want to ensure we continue to invest in the program and the first step is hiring a Director of Education & Officials,” added Dean Latimer, NRHA Judges Committee Chair.
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.
The detailed position description can be viewed here.
Persons interested in the position may contact:
Jim Harlan
MJM Global Search, Inc.
P.O. Box 883
Franktown, CO 80116
(303) 660-0766

NRHA Statement Regarding Reining’s Removal as FEI Discipline

During the Fédération Equestre Internationale General Assembly which began on November 14 and concludes today, November 17, reining was removed as an FEI discipline. According to former National Reining Horse Association President Mike Hancock, it was not an unexpected move.

Hancock chaired NRHA’s FEI Task Force that was created in 2019 and has been involved with reining internationally in one capacity or another since the nineties. “We’ve had many conversations with FEI including face-to-face meetings in 2018 and 2020. Both entities recognize the value of and interest in reining and reining horses worldwide. However, we were never able to blend the two organizations and their business models,” Hancock explained.

He added, “Also with the difficulties during the 2018 World Equestrian Games as well as the ensuing announcement that there would be no multi-discipline WEG going forward, you might say the bloom came off reining as an international event for the reining community. For NRHA, there was less attraction, but we continued with an International Competition Task Force created in 2020, and just days before the General Assembly we had conversations and tried to reach a working agreement with FEI officials. Unfortunately, this was not possible.”

Current NRHA President Rick Clark was quick to thank Hancock and the International Competition Task Force and noted that he would repurpose it to address the possibility of future NRHA competitions in an international format. He said, “The NRHA still has an interest in International and Continental championships and will research resources that might allow them to take place. We are glad to hear that FEI and a good number of National Federations are supportive of us proceeding in that direction. The International Competition Taskforce created in 2020 will address this to determine if it is feasible.”

NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter added, “All of us who have been involved thank the friends we have made at FEI for the years of support in jointly promoting the sport of reining.”

Along with Hancock, the NRHA International Competition Task Force is comprised of Rick Clark, Rosanne Sternberg, Adam Heaton, Mark Blake, Andre DeBellefeuille and Paulus Beurskens.

NRHA Ceases Negotiations with FEI

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) collaborated for more than 20 years to showcase and expand the sport of reining worldwide while creating historic memories valued by many.

Unfortunately, countless impediments throughout the relationship – legal, cultural, structural, and financial in nature –  presented numerous hurdles over that time, and include recent FEI actions. Therefore, the NRHA leadership made the decision not to move forward with a new FEI agreement.

Although it was announced that FEI had terminated the original agreement in 2020, a new Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations was approved by the FEI Board of Directors in June 2021. The NRHA Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Task Force members were comfortable with that agreement, which would have created a framework for a limited group of international championships.

Then, an entirely different agreement was drafted and submitted to NRHA on September 15, 2021. “We are unsure of what led up to this development, and why NRHA was not consulted,” noted NRHA President Rick Clark. “At this time, the Executive Committee, with the support of the NRHA Board of Directors, has made the decision to not move forward with a new agreement with FEI.”

NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter expanded on Clark’s statement. “NRHA has worked diligently over the past two years to collaboratively negotiate a new agreement and made it a top priority for the association. Through our Executive Committee, Board, FEI Task Force, and staff, we remained fully committed to working closely with the FEI, and were excited for what the future held,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lack of direct and clear communication from FEI has been one of the biggest hurdles. We have constantly seen the goal post move further out of reach, to the point where a relationship is no longer feasible or beneficial to our members.”

Both Clark and Carpenter noted there is no ill will towards the FEI, its leadership, staff, and members. “We are thankful for everything the FEI has done for reining and the reining horse over the years, and proud that reining was able to contribute excitement in the form of an alternative discipline in the FEI World Equestrian Games™. We hope that in the future we may be able to work together in some capacity,” Clark shared.