NRHA and AQHA Announce Cooperative Agreement Between Farnam AQHA World Championship Show and NRHA Futurity

Following discussions between American Quarter Horse Association Director of Competition Scott Neuman, National Reining Horse Association Commissioner Gary Carpenter, and NRHA Show Manager Cheryl Cody, an agreement has been reached regarding event dates. This pact will benefit the Farnam AQHA World Championship Show and the NRHA Futurity, both held at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

The two organizations tackled a problem together and, beginning in 2023, tremendous changes will be made. The World Show will finish up with its reining world championships on Thursday, November 16, and the NRHA Futurity move-in will begin on Friday, November 17.

For NRHA, enhanced growth for the massive futurity show had created scheduling difficulties, and for AQHA, increasing participation in the reining classes was a goal.

“We value our long-time relationship with NRHA, and leasing two days over to them during the Farnam AQHA World Championship Show made sense for both associations and our exhibitors,” said Karl Stressman, AQHA chief executive officer. “We are proud to support growth in the equine industry and opportunities for American Quarter Horse owners, especially, to exhibit their American Quarter Horses. In turn, we are optimizing our own Farnam World Show schedule and are excited about the improvements we are making to our pinnacle event.”

The alliance creates sponsorship support for the AQHA World Championship Show from NRHA and will enhance the added money in AQHA World Show reining classes. It is hoped that this will begin a growth in participation.

Carpenter lauded AQHA leadership for the decision. “The long line of AQHA/NRHA partnerships began with our founding. This is a continuation of that rich history, which will benefit the members of both organizations,” Carpenter said. “As we both become more creative and flexible, I see a brighter and brighter future of cooperation.”

Horses will move in for the Futurity early Sunday morning, November 19, and NRHA Futurity competition will begin on Tuesday, November 21. The two additional days that will be added to the event will give relief to a schedule that has been bursting at the seams.

“We appreciate AQHA’s willingness to work together on this, and we are very excited to offer NRHA members an improved schedule with extra days of competition,” Cody said.

Further details will be forthcoming, but the new schedule is expected to have a positive impact on both events.

$20,000 Invitational Freestyle Reining Will Be Held at the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is excited to host the $20,000 Invitational Freestyle Reining held at the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Sponsored by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, this must-see event will take place on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m., is free to the public, and is sure to have the whole family on the edge of their seats!

Hava Vital

Often compared to figure skating, the performances also use choreographed music and are paired with astounding costumes, props, or often additional characters! Freestyle reining allows one to creatively use core reining maneuvers (circles, spins, stops, flying lead changes, etc.) and magnify them with music and choreography. The fan-favorite freestyle reining has been an NRHA tradition since 1986, with the first-ever freestyle reining held at the NRHA Derby in St. Paul, MN. Veteran spectators of the event may mention it is always a surprise who may show up to compete.

The 2022 NRHA Invitational Freestyle Reining Champion, Hava Vital, blew away the competition last year with her breathtaking performance to the “Moulin Rouge” hit song “Lady Marmalade.” Coming in two points behind Hava as Reserve Champion, Abby Budd paired a bridleless routine with the song “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” Watch her performance here!

Abby Budd

“As the horse show capital of the world, we are always excited to host reining events here in OKC,” said Zac Craig, Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau president. “We look forward to welcoming these participants and showing them all there is to do in the Modern Frontier.”

Confirmed 2023 Freestyle contestants include Karen Knight, Gabe Garrison, Ari Mischo, Brogan Hill, and Caitie Holtzman.

The 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel is full of other events throughout the week, including a tradeshow, Non Pro and Open Finals, and more. Visit or Facebook for the latest updates.

NRHA Para Reining Championships to be held at the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is honored to host the 2023 Para Reining Championships. The event will be held in Norick Arena on the last day of the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel on June 25, 2023, just before the Non Pro competition. Classes for this event include Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, and Grade 5.

USA Para Reining, a branch of the United States Equestrian Federation, created the grade level system. This program gives riders with varying physical disabilities the opportunity to compete in reining. World Para Reining celebrated its inaugural year in 2015, and since then, it has worked to incorporate approved Para Reining classes into existing shows and host independent events and classes.

“With the inception of first the rookie class followed by prime time and then the Entry Level Green classes, NRHA has always strived to live up to its ‘A place for all’ motto,” said NRHA Professional, USA Para Reining board member Jennifer Hoyt. “In 2015, NRHA approved the first rules for Para Reining, letting even more reining enthusiasts compete and enjoy the thrill of riding a truly exceptional equine athlete. The inclusion of this Championship in the NRHA illustrates more than ever how the NRHA has a place for everyone.”

NRHA is excited to have an additional Para Reining Championship sponsor, Dechra Veterinary Products, located in Overland Park, Kansas. Dechra will provide added money to all classes and is the U.S. sales and marketing division of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, a UK-based company dedicated to the animal healthcare market.

Hart Trailers, NRHA’s Official Trailer and Para Reining Sponsor, will award halters to all championship participants. Additional awards will also be given. The overall Championship will be decided from the high scores of all para exhibitors’ rides regardless of grade.

To gain more insight about para reining, follow USA Reining Para-Reining on Facebook. For more details about the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, visit

Dechra Veterinary Products:

Dechra’s equine product line includes Osphos® (clodronate injection), Orthokine® vet irap 10 and 60, Osteokine® (PRP), Equidone® (domperidone) Gel, the Vetivex® line of parenteral fluids, Phycox® EQ, and a comprehensive line of topical dermatologic products. The recent additions of ProVet APC™ (Autologous Platelet Concentrate) system, Zimeta® (dipyrone injection), Rompun® (xylazine injection), Butorphanol Tartrate Injection, Isoflurane, USP Inhalant Anesthetic, and SucroMate® Equine (deslorelin acetate) further expand Dechra’s equine offerings.

2023 6666 NRHA Derby Presented by Markel Judges Have Been Chosen

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) proudly announces the group of judges chosen for the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel, held June 13-25, 2023. As the second largest NRHA-approved event of the year, preparation for the prestigious show has started, including finalizing who will evaluate each run.

Kelly Hedges, Jan Hay, Dean Bogart, and BJ Riberio have been chosen for the Adequan® Arena classes. The Judges Monitor will be Bob Kail.

The Jim Norick Coliseum will be judged by Bub Poplin, Ollie Griffith, Mack Weaver, Gabe Davide, and Manu Maiocchi, with Jeff Buckley as equipment judge. The Judges Monitor is Eugenio Latorre.

“The selection of judges for an NRHA Event is thorough, fair, and rigorous,” said Patti Carter, Senior Director of Education and Officials. “The NRHA Judges Committee is confident this group of judges will represent NRHA and its athletes with consistent and accurate maneuver and penalty application throughout the event. We look forward to working with this amazing group of selected NRHA Judges.”

The NRHA Derby and Futurity judges are recommended by the Judges Committee, submitted to a sub-committee appointed by the NRHA President, and given final approval from the Executive Committee. The recommendations are made by the following criteria:

  • 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.
  • 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 to the subcommittee for final selection.

For more information, visit