Update to NRHA Amateur Division Conditions

Pictured is 2021 NRHA Derby Story Book Stables Amateur Champion Lauren Love.

The National Reining Horse Association Board of Directors recently updated the NRHA Amateur Conditions for those events wishing to host a trial of the proposed division. This move extends the existing trial that was set to end April 1, 2022.

These amended conditions are effective April 2, 2022 and will extend through December 31, 2023. During that time frame, NRHA events may apply to host an Amateur division with an approved non pro derby. Amateur division added money cannot exceed half of the Level 4 added money, and also cannot exceed the Level 1 added money.

“Continuing with the trial will give members, committees and the board of directors more examples to evaluate before officially adding it as an aged event division. This also aligns with the timing of a 2024 rule change proposal that will be voted on in 2023. The advocates for the division feel it encourages participation by giving another option to non pros who may not have consistent access to training programs but are ready to move into aged event competition.

To compete in the Amateur division, the same horse and rider must be cross-entered into the NRHA-approved non pro derby. The show conditions will govern which level or levels must be entered. For the NRHA Derby, for example, this would be the eligible level plus one up.

There is only one level of Amateur, and riders who enter the Amateur division must be Non Pros and abide by the NRHA Non Pro ownership rules.

Youth, legal dependents of professional equine trainers, spouses or legal partners/mates of professional equine trainers, and anyone who has exceeded NRHA lifetime earnings of $100,000 in Categories 2, 6, 8, and 11 in the previous year, or is currently only eligible for L4 Non Pro, or only L4 and L3, are excluded from competing in the Amateur division. NRHA judges and breeders are eligible to enter the Amateur division if they meet the required criteria.

Shows wishing to have an Amateur Division must submit a written request, and a confirmation that the division will be run using the approved Amateur conditions must be included in the event’s approval application.

For more information, contact the NRHA Non Pro Committee Liaison Christa Morris-Stone at cmorris@nrha.com.

NRHA Apprentice Program Lets Potential Trainers Test the Professional Waters

It’s long been a tough decision for any Non Pro rider who contemplates a career as a horse trainer. In the past, if they tested the waters, so to speak, they would be ineligible to go back to being a Non Pro for three years. The National Reining Horse Association’s Apprentice program was put in place years ago to give reiners the opportunity to be more confident about their choices for the future.

The program allows current NRHA Non Pros who are at least 18 years of age to learn, train, and show under an NRHA Professional as an Open rider. This gives Non Pros the opportunity to decide if becoming an NRHA Professional is a fit. If it turns out to not be the right career path, the Non Pro can return to Non Pro status without facing the three to five-year wait.

An apprentice can do so under one or more members of the NRHA Professionals concurrently or consecutively during a 12-month period. All earnings that an individual has on record will be used to determine his or her eligibility while participating in the Apprentice Program. At any time during the 12 months should an individual decide not to continue with his or her apprenticeship, he or she must continue to sit out of Non Pro competition until the end of the 12 months. At the end of the year of apprenticeship, individuals can do one of two things:

  • Choose to remain an Open rider and completely relinquish Non Pro status. If this is the case, all previous Non Pro earnings will be backed out and any Open earnings accumulated during the apprenticeship will be used to determine eligibility.
  • Re-apply for Non Pro status. In this instance, all earnings accumulated during the apprenticeship will be used to determine eligibility.

During the apprenticeship, individuals may not show in Non Pro classes. For more details about the Apprentice Program, please contact the NRHA Member & Show Services Department at (405)946-7400 or memberships@nrha.com. Complete rules can be found in the NRHA Handbook under the “NRHA Apprentice Program” section.