NRHA Futurity Judges Selected

As entries and added money are on the rise during summer horse shows and elite 3-year-old horses begin their futurity careers, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is eagerly looking ahead.

The NRHA Futurity Judges Final Selection Subcommittee met on August 2 to finalize the list of judges for the 2023 NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships (NAAC). The subcommittee unanimously voted to accept the following judges and alternates.

The non pro team in the Coliseum will include Bob Kail, Van Luse, Terry Thompson, Patrick Wickenheiser, and Buddy Fisher. The open team in the Coliseum will include Bub Poplin, Maik Bartmann, Kelly Sapp, Cathy Luse, and Mark Turner. Coliseum alternates include Ryan Kail, Rick Lemay, and Enrico Righetti.

The equipment judge will be Greg Darnall, with Tom McBeath as an alternate.

The Adequan® arena judges will be Todd Arvidson, Mack Weaver, Ryan Kail, and Jan Hay, with Rick Weaver and Jan Dublin as alternates.

“I am so pleased with the selection of judges for the 2023 NRHA Futurity,” said NRHA Sr. Director of Education & Officials Patti Carter. “The judging process is crucial to ensuring fairness and accuracy in evaluating the performances of our great equine athletes and their riders. This is a top-shelf group of judges and monitors. Kudos to the judges committee for their commitment to excellence in judge selection.”

We look forward to a successful 2023 Futurity & Adequan® NAAC.

The selection process for judges at each major NRHA event begins several months before the first horse even enters the pen. Here is how they are chosen for the NRHA Futurity and NRHA Derby:

  • Each eligible judge is contacted for their availability for the event.
  • All available judges are compiled into a list and sent to each member of the Judges Committee.
  • Judges Committee members make selections from the list to fill the allotted slots for the event.
  • These names are compiled into a shortlist and discussed on a conference call with all members of the Judges Committee. Nominations are allowed on this conference call.
  • The committee members, except for the chair, then rank their choices, and each ranking equates to a certain number of points. The points are compiled and submitted to the committee chair.
  • The committee chair reviews and makes recommendations based on the outcome of the vote and the needs of NRHA.
  • The ranked list with the Judges Committee Chair recommendations is submitted for final selection.

This process is set in place to ensure that the Futurity and Derby will be well-judged competitions with the quality and professionalism of the selected judges.

For more information, visit

Updates from the 2023 NRHA August Board Meeting

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) held its annual August Board Meeting virtually on August 23. The efficient meeting reviewed event conditions and other committee initiatives, and the Board also heard updates from multiple departments.

NRHA Chief Financial Officer John Foy gave an extremely positive, in-depth financial overview of the association. Not only is NRHA in its strongest financial position to date and boasting stable membership numbers, but the industry is also experiencing the highest purses in history. Additionally, reining is experiencing more media coverage than ever, adding to the good positioning. An official budget for the fiscal year was unanimously approved.

Following the Board meeting, the Judges Committee presented a review of the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Each judge made 840 decisions during the Open Finals, 2,079 decisions during the Open go-round, 768 decisions during the non pro finals, and 2,051 decisions during the non pro go-round. Their dedication throughout the event showed impressive consistency and a wide use of the judging scale.

The following items were also discussed:

2024 NRHA Elections

Following the deadline for NRHA elections, three North American regions had only one candidate nominated. The board unanimously accepted the following candidates by acclamation for the 2024-2025 term: East Central, Margaret Fuchs; North Central, Mike Davis; and Northeast, Ed ‘Hoot’ Bricker. The remaining seats are up for election September 1-15, 2023; Director-at-Large: Paulus Beurskens and Sebastian Petroll; Northwest: Nicole Renick and Kylie Warn; South Central: Andrea Stillo and Brooke Wharton. Voting information is located at Members will be emailed a link to the voting portal along with their information to log in to vote.

NRHA Dues and Fees Policy

In 2022, the Board approved a multi-year plan to proactively ensure member fees kept up with NRHA’s expenses of providing services to those members. Roughly, the plan set a path for small incremental increases in membership and competition license fees in 2023, 2025, and 2027. Additional fees were approved, including raising the medications fee at European events in an effort to address increased costs, as this fee has been the same for over a decade.

North American “AA” events and North American Affiliate Regional Championships will also see a medications fee increase to $35 to support increased testing and the overall program. Statistics from the past five years can be found online at

Additionally, there was support to enhance the fees and fines related to show approvals and results as NRHA nears the release of show approval and show results programs within ReinerSuite to improve the efficiency with which results will be available to riders, breeders, and owners, creating a more accurate picture of standings.

Eligibility Policy

The NRHA Worldwide Eligibility Policy for show year 1/1/2024–12/31/2024 was unanimously approved. The policy features Category 7 being counted toward Categories 1 & 5 eligibility and the addition of amateur eligibility as previously approved for 2024 implementation. The 2024 NRHA Mexican, Oceania, and Israeli Restricted Eligibility policies were also approved, which are all tracked and managed by each affiliate, not by ReinerSuite. Additionally, the 2024 NRHA Restricted European Eligibility Policy was approved. View all of the policies at

2024 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel and NRHA North American Futurity Conditions

The Board approved conditions for both events, including fee schedules. The events will be held June 11–June 23, 2024, and November 26–December 7, 2024, respectively.

2024 Nomination Conditions

In February, the Board announced the official addition of a 4-year-old component to the North American nomination program to begin with 2023 foals. NRHA is proud to provide new and significant additional investment in the industry by committing $100,000 in added money for the next three years to elevate the 4-Year-Old Derby, grow the entire event, and add further value to horses. Approximately $285,000 in total added money based on a 3-year average of nominated weanlings will be provided to the purse once the 2023 foal crop is of derby age.

This is an exciting and unique opportunity for this specific group of horses as they progress in their show career from futurities to derbies. The support of this program will also draw more participation in the NRHA Derby, creating supplementary event success.

The existing North American weanling fee increase of $100 has been incorporated to supplement this program, which you can read more about here.

2024 NRHA Rule Changes Approved—NRHA Board of Directors Spring Meeting a Success

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Executive Committee and Board of Directors met via Zoom in early May to discuss and vote on 2024 Rule Changes and other topics relating to the future of reining.

Before diving into rule changes, NRHA Chief Financial Officer John Foy provided a financial overview of the current fiscal year’s nine months ending on March 31, 2023.

NRHA anticipates positive net income for the full fiscal year. NRHA’s balance sheet is strong, and cash flow continues to strengthen the Association. The NRHA has made significant investments within the industry over the last three years, highlighted by $1.165M in additional added money to the NRHA Futurity. The Association continues to focus on leveraging NRHA’s most valued assets to create incremental cash flow to be invested by the Association in our most valued assets while maintaining an adequate rainy-day fund.

Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner, also gave an update to the Board. As most exhibitors know, Oklahoma State Fair Park has begun constructing a new $126 million coliseum. NRHA and event staff are working closely with the State Fair Park to keep inconveniences to NRHA Derby exhibitors as limited as possible. You can learn more about the new coliseum and the project timeline to be completed in 2025 here.

Carpenter also shared that the NRHA Board and Executive Committee will participate in a strategic planning session in July. This will continue to build a plan to update the Association’s vision and goals for the future and consider the membership survey responses received earlier this year.

At the Winter Meeting in February, a committee was appointed to assist in the search for a commissioner to replace Carpenter when he retires at the end of this year. Jim Harlan, with MJM Global Search, has interviewed NRHA’s executive committee and senior staff to determine the qualities and qualifications needed. The committee will meet with candidates in the next few weeks with the intent to come back to the board with a recommendation.

The Board also discussed an additional change to fund NRHA’s medications program expansion. A $35 medications fee and a 5% retainage increase will be instated at the 2023 NRHA Futurity to reflect increased testing throughout the event.

Each year, NRHA Members and committees may submit rule-change proposals for addition to the following year’s official handbook. The NRHA Board of Directors discusses the proposals, sends them to NRHA Committees for feedback, reviews opinions shared by the membership, and casts votes after two readings of the proposals, typically at their mid-year meeting.

The rule change meeting is always one of the most tedious, and it can be a hard meeting to go through because it only occurs every two years, so it builds up, but I thought the discussion we had was good,” said NRHA President Mark Blake. “The Board looked at the member and committee suggestions, and they did a good job of taking that into account when they made their decisions, and it went very well! We read the proposed changes at the Winter Meeting first. After that, it is up to Board members to do their research on what the impact of those rule changes would be. At this meeting, we spent four hours of intense talks, but, in total, this is a three-month process.”

The board considered and voted on the following proposals. To review a full list of rule changes, comments, and details, visit the members only section at

Approved/Approved as Amended

43-1-24: Amateur Derby Division for Category 2 & 6 – Approved as amended to follow current trial conditions.

42-1-24: Masters Non Pro – Approved

42-2-24: Legends Non Pro – Approved

44-1-24: Maturity Definition – Approved as amended

47-1-24: Updating the Definition of Category 8 – Approved as amended

51-1-24: Less Than 8 Horses Between Runs – Approved

53-1-24: General Show Conditions – Approved

54-1-24: Certified Show Secretary – Approved

54-2-24: Show Secretary Showing at Events – Approved

54-3-24: Official Videographer – Approved

54-4-24: Judges Monitor – Approved as amended 

56-1-24: Judge’s Score Sheets – Approved

56-2-24: Option to Require Jog In – Approved

60-1-24: Prime Time Non Pro Added Money Approved

61-1-24: Requiring a Level 4 Open and Level 4 Non Pro Class for Aged Shows – Approved

95-1-24: 65 and Older Holding Saddle Horn in Category 2 & 6 – Approved

99-1-24: Modified Patterns – Approved

132-1-24: Adding Lope In Pattern 17 – Approved as amended

No Action Taken

20-1-24: Tail Alterations

33-1-24: Adding an Amateur Division

37-1-24 Definition of Immediate Family

45-1-24: Change “Ancillary” to “Traditional” in All Instances

50-1-24: Block Draws

66-1-24: Removing the Requirement of Ordering the Lawson Trophy

67-1-24: Ties in Classes With $2,000 Added, Category 2 & 6, and NAAC

173-1-24: Removing Youth Points from the Eligibility of Rookie Levels 1 & 2

TBD-1-24: Soundness Check Before Showing