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.

NRHA Reiner Receives Awards and Recognition at 2021 AHP Equine Media Awards Banquet

The annual American Horse Publications three-day conference features the Equine Media Awards Banquet. Held September 16 – 18 in Irving, Texas, this year, AHP’s Equine Media Awards competition featured nearly 600 entries for materials published in 2020. After the entries were reviewed and the judging was complete, the National Reining Horse Association’s monthly publication, the NRHA Reiner, and the marketing department received multiple awards.

Sara Honegger, Manager of Youth, Professional, and Affiliate Programs, helped create one of the award-winning entries. She also works closely with the production team of the Reiner. “These awards are such an honor to be a part of, and we couldn’t be successful without such a strong team. Between our marketing, media and Reiner departments, we have such passion and talent, and I am proud to be part of the team,” she said.

Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner, reflected on the awards received by NRHA. “As proud as I am of what our Reiner and marketing staff accomplished in this competition, the key to me is that competition helps us stay sharp and keep our edge. Ultimately, it’s the value we bring to NRHA members that matters.”

Top NRHA Placing Entries


Megan Arszman, Author – Jennifer Paulson, Editor

The Breeding Game: To Show or To Sell? June 2020

Judge’s Comments – This was a great article that easily rose to the top of this class; it was clear, concise, and incorporated a variety of quotes from varied breeders in the industry. All of that input and variability is what made this story so interesting.


Together, We Rein On

Sara Honegger, NRHA Youth & Professionals Programs Manager – Lindsay Humphrey, NRHA Public Relations and Communications

Judge’s Comments – This touching, bittersweet short video conveys the plaintive status of the reining horse world in pandemic times. Great footage and stills and the soft background music come together with the voiceover. A good script with a natural delivery that sounds as if it’s spoken by a rider. That much narration is often way too much, but it works here as a special message to the reining horse world.

For more information about the American Horse Publications, visit

NRHA Official Commentators to Call the Action for the All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity Open Finals

Get ready to watch the live internet feed of the All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity Open Finals on October 2. The free webcast will feature the National Reining Horse Association’s premier team of Steve Ross and Rocky Dare, who will call the action and provide insights drawn from their long tenure within the reining industry.

Steve Ross has become a strong voice for the NRHA, doing live interviews and explaining the intricacies of reining. An NRHA Judge who also worked NCAA sports and other broadcast gigs, he recently partnered with The Cowboy Channel’s Jeff Medders on multiple broadcasts of the NRHA Derby presented by Markel and the National Reining Breeders Classic.

NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee and Million Dollar Rider Rocky Dare purchased his lifetime NRHA membership while he was still a struggling neophyte horse trainer because he knew he wanted to ride reiners for a long time. Purchasing the membership, which represented more than two weeks of his salary at the time, was a prophetic move because he’s now been involved in reining in five different decades!

You can view the action and hear the commentary from these elite experts by clicking here or you can click on the link on the NRHA website to take you directly to the webcast, which is provided by the Congress through Bryan Morgan’s National Sports Broadcasting. A great feature of Morgan’s technology is that you can rewind up to four hours, as long as the event is still streaming.

The NRHA and its event management team have tapped Steve and Rocky to help add production value to the sport’s major events, and plans are in motion to grow this important facet going forward. NRHA Events Manager Cheryl Cody said, “Reining is an important sport, and we are poised to begin showcasing the industry and the people in it in a new light. With all the momentum in the industry now, we’ll be stepping up to a new ‘Game Day’ level at the 2021 NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships, set for November 25 – December 4.”