2020 NRHA European Derby to Be Held During Equita Lyon 2020, France

For Immediate Release — Oklahoma City, 03.23.20 — The unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has significantly affected National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) approved and owned shows across the globe. The NRHA European Derby, scheduled to be held during the Western Horse Show in Wels, Austria, on May 21-24, has been postponed due to the cancellation of the Austrian show.

In an effort to best accommodate horses, riders, breeders, and owners, the NRHA European Executive Board reviewed potential dates and venues. After careful consideration, the decision was made to host the Euro Derby on October 28 through November 1 during Equita Lyon 2020, the renowned international equestrian trade fair show — organized by GL events Equestrian Sports — held in Lyon, France.

For updates and further information nrhaeuropeanderby.com

NRHA European Derby Media Contact:
Simona Diale/International Horse Press

NRHA Announces Judge’s Rating System

For Immediate Release – March 5, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – During the 2020 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) winter meeting, members learned about a new judge’s rating system that’ll be used on a trial basis during 2020. The rating system aims to serve as a guideline for show management in regard to hiring judges.

The proposed system will rate judges from high to low on the following scale: AAA, AA, and A. The ratings will be generated from seven areas of criteria: years of judging, number of shows judged, number of major events judged, lifetime earnings (LTE), personal conduct, ability as a horseman, and performance at judging schools.

“During my first year as chair of the NRHA Judges Committee, I asked everyone what their number one priority was and they all agreed it was developing a rating system for judges,” said Mike McEntire, former Judges Committee chair and NRHA Professional. “There are several reasons we needed this rating system, but one of those is to give show committees a better idea of who they are hiring.”

Many shows already have a preference for who they hire, but what if that pool of candidates got a bit bigger? Higher-ranking judges—AAA—are typically hired for events such as the National Reining Breeder’s Classic (NRBC) or the NRHA Futurity. NRHA hopes the rating system will provide judges with more opportunities to work in the industry.

“The biggest thing we want to do is know who the judges are and track their work better,” McEntire added. “With the rating system, we feel like we can do that better and be able to educate the judges. We’ve had a lot of A judges that get their card but don’t get any work. Hopefully, with this program, the show’s management can look at the list and use the A and AA judges more. We are also hoping that we can pair our AAA judges with our AA and As to get them more experience.”

Since 2020 is a trial period for the rating system, judges will be re-evaluated at the beginning of 2021. For a complete list of judges by rating, visit nrha.com/judges.

2020 NRHA Futurity Champion to Win a Quarter Million

For Immediate Release – February 7, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) made the landmark announcement today that the 2020 NRHA Futurity champion will receive a quarter of a million dollars! The news came during the association’s Annual General Meeting and was accompanied by the additional announcement that the NRHA Non Pro Futurity Champion will receive $60,000, and added money for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship (NAAC) will be doubled.

The stunning hat-trick announcement came after a special task force formed and met during the Annual NRHA Winter Meeting in Denton, Texas, to discuss a pathway to increasing the payout at the NRHA Futurity, beginning with the 2020 event. Chaired by NRHA Vice President Rick Clark, the task force was created to answer a challenge that he, along with NRHA Past President Frank Costantini and former NRHA Board Member Doug Carpenter, had given the board to begin to grow the NRHA Futurity winners’ rewards.

Serving on the task force along with Clark are John Tague, Mike Hancock, Mark Blake, Ginger Schmersal, Rosanne Sternberg, and Shane Brown.

The NRHA Futurity has seen many significant milestones in its storied past. This included the move to a guaranteed $100,000 prize for the Open Futurity Winner in 1983 and the creation of the nomination program, which now helps fund all levels of the event. Since then, the first-place check for the Level 4 Open Champion had increased to $150,000.

The named increases are, according to the task force, based on independent funds raised from individuals interested in boosting the industry and shining a brighter light on the NRHA Futurity. Those funds came from five-year support commitments from Tim Anderson and Kim Niven, John and Nancy Tague, Rick Clark, Bob Santagata, Craig and Ginger Schmersal, Mark Blake, Joao Marcos, and Mike Hancock, and are, in the words of NRHA President Mike Hancock, a starting place in the goal of establishing the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® NAAC as one of the most prestigious events in the horse world. It has certainly done that, boosting the NRHA Futurity winner’s payment to exceed those of all other futurities in the Western performance horse industry.

“This was spontaneous combustion in the best way,” said NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter. “It came together because the right people were in the right place at the right time. So many factors around the world influenced this development. We all recognize that the horses bred for the NRHA Futurity will become the horses of the future for all levels of competition. The increased purse in both the Futurity and the Adequan® NAAC illustrates our commitment to these horses and the people who breed, own, train, and ride them.”

Hancock agrees about the positive ripple effect of this evolution of the sport.

“This year’s quarter of a million is just the first step,” Hancock said. “This committee foresees additional support opportunities becoming available for this endeavor in the future. We don’t know where it is going to end yet, but we are excited for the future.”

Amateur Division Conditions Approved for Trial Year

The Cactus Classic received a one-time waiver from the NRHA Executive Committee. They will be allowed to have a $10,000 Added money Amateur class and the $100,000 lifetime earnings cap will not be imposed. The other previously announced conditions will apply.

The full Board of Directors will review the conditions for other trial Amateur events at its meeting in February. The Non Pro and Eligibility committees will provide input for the Board to consider.

During the trial period, any organizers interested in holding an Amateur division should contact the NRHA office.