2022 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel adds to its Lineup of Youth Activities

There is never a dull moment for youth at the 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel. In addition to showing their horses, NRHyA members can look forward to fun times with friends at the CINCH Youth Speaking Contest, the CINCH Youth Gathering, and recently, a Regional Food Bank volunteer opportunity and NRHyA Dance has been added to the lineup.

Any NRHyA or NRHA members are welcome to join the NRHyA Officer team at the Oklahoma City Regional Food Bank on June 21 at 9 a.m. Please send an email to youth@nrha.com by June 14 if interested in assisting with the Food For Kids Backpack Program or assembling boxes full of food for seniors living on fixed incomes.

“The NRHyA Dance was a huge hit at the 2021 Futurity, so having one at the Derby was an easy decision,” Director of Youth Programs Sara Honegger said.

There are tons of fun activities scheduled in the Platinum Zone on Wednesday, June 22 during the Derby. First thing in the morning, it will be the venue for the Youth Speaking Contest, which contestants must enter by June 1. Then, at 5:30 p.m., the Platinum Performance Welcome Party featuring the Non Pro Finals Draw will commence. At its close, Reiners Rope will begin its Reining Horse Foundation benefit dummy roping. After the champions have been crowned, the NRHyA Dance will begin at approximately 8 p.m.

Just like at the Futurity, the dance will again be presented by “DJ Sammy Olds,” also known as NRHA Sr. Director of International Affairs & Development Samantha Oldfield, and attendees can expect to jive to their favorite hits and learn some new jams.

“Our youth officer team and NRHyA delegates have worked hard to come up with new, fun ideas for youth activities for this event, along with keeping their favorites,” Honegger shared, “I encourage parents and youth members to follow NRHyA on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest activities, times, and locations.”

Since 2001, young reiners in the National Reining Horse Youth Association have benefited from their memberships through college scholarships, learning experiences from some of the top Reining trainers, life-long friendships, and a whole lot of fun along the way. NRHyA fosters leadership qualities and provides young members with a roadmap for success to guide them along their future career paths. For information, visit NRHyA.com.

Event Sponsor Mental Athletics Offers Workshops to NRHyA Members

The National Reining Horse Youth Association is proud to continue the second year of partnership with NRHA Professional Gil Friedman of Mental Athletics. Mental Athletics became an NRHA event sponsor in 2021 to impact the lives of NRHyA members, in and out of the show pen, and continues with big plans in 2022.

“I am excited for the opportunity to sponsor the NRHyA,” Friedman shared. “This is a lifetime journey. I believe that every opportunity that we have to educate and put the attention into the well-being of our youth, the future NRHA professionals and non pros, and leaders of our industry, is the most unique and fulfilling opportunity. This builds the future foundation of NRHA, which will be fruitful due to efforts like these.”

Mental Athletics is a mindset coaching program practiced around the globe, and Friedman will be offering two separate three-part online workshops free of charge exclusively to NRHyA members. The first workshops will be May 8, 15 and 22 at 9 a.m. CT.

The three-session workshops will provide knowledge, techniques and training tools for the personal development of every competitive rider leading up to the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

The scheduled dates for the Mental Athletics Online Workshop are:

  • Sunday, May 8 at 9:00 a.m. CT
  • Sunday, May 15 at 9:00 a.m. CT
  • Sunday, May 22 at 9:00 a.m. CT

There will also be a second workshop will be held in the fall leading up to the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.

To sign up for the workshop email youth@nrha.com
For more information about Mental Athletics, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/mentalathletics.il/ or the website at Mental-Athletics.com.

NRHyA CINCH Speaking Contest Returns to 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

Brush Up on those Speaking Skills

At the 2022 6666 National Reining Horse Association Derby presented by Markel, reining will not be the only competition occurring at the prestigious event. The CINCH National Reining Horse Youth Association Speaking Contest returns this year, cultivating and encouraging leadership and life skills amongst reining’s talented youth.

In the CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest, participants will be divided into two age groups, 13 & Under and 14-18. Members compete for not only bragging rights, but also impressive $500 scholarships in three different categories: Delivering A: General, Prepared Public Speaking and Community Service Presentation. In the Delivering A: General, contestants recite A: General, which is a guide to judging reining horses and a hallmark of the NRHA Handbook. Prepared Public Speaking involves contestants delivering a five-to-eight-minute speech on either a leadership or equestrian topic. Lastly, the Community Service Presentation allows participants to create an eight-to-10-minute presentation that showcases a community service project they have completed.

The competition will be held on Wednesday, June 22, at 9 a.m. The location for the contest will be announced closer to the event.

“The CINCH NRHyA speaking contest is a wonderful opportunity for our youth kids to pick a topic and speak publicly about it,” said NRHA President Rick Clark. “Many times, it is the first time they have attempted public speaking. This experience educates our youth for the career choices they make in the future!”

2021 NRHyA CINCH Speaking Contest Winners:

Becca Schaffhauser: 13 & Under Delivering A: General

McKylie Ivie: 13 & Under Prepared Public Speaking

Justin Eddy: 14-18 Prepared Public Speaking

Youth members interested in competing in this year’s CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest can find more information, including the entry form at NRHyA.com. The entry deadline is June 1. Please email entries to youth@nrha.com.

NRHyA Members Can Become Working Students Beginning in 2022

Young riders in the National Reining Horse Youth Association enjoy being part of the reining world. It’s all about competition, camaraderie, and the fun of reining. They develop a love for reining and create friendships and long-lasting ties. Most plan to continue competing as they attend college and embark on their careers. Others dream of reining fulltime as an NRHA professional.

The NRHA Non Pro Committee has worked to provide opportunities for youth riders on a variety of levels. One that began in 2022 was a rule change to allow youth to work for professional reining trainers.

Relaxing the restriction to allow youth riders to work for NRHA Professionals provides multiple benefits. It creates a pathway for young riders who want to hone their horsemanship skills, plus they can offset the financial obstacles of showing or pursuing a career in training while learning more about the industry without sacrificing their Non Pro status. When youths reach the age of 19, they can make the decision to retain their Non Pro status and abide by the Non Pro conditions or become an NRHA Professional.

NRHA Non Pro Committee Chair Ginger Schmersal shared, “Horses and horse shows are expensive, which means that reining might not be an option for some youth. By relaxing these restrictions, we can welcome even more youth into the industry who want to ride or learn to ride without having to worry about losing their Non Pro status.”

The lack of available assistant trainers and barn help is another aspect the Non Pro Committee hopes to address with the change. Many professionals experience difficulty finding training assistants, especially those with show experience. It is hoped that this program will create more riders with the skills necessary to go on to that next level and eventually have careers of their own.

Although this rule is new to the reining industry, it is common practice in other disciplines. For example, in the English industry, many people would not be where they are today if they had not had the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge as working students.

Any rider who is a current youth member of NRHA is eligible to reside with and/or work for any NRHA Professional in good standing. Remuneration can include housing and food. Youth riders are allowed to have their personal horse or horses with the trainer, and details of board and training shall be decided between those parties.

Youth riders are allowed to ride any horses both at home and at horse shows while working for the trainer. Youth riders are allowed to compete in the youth and non pro based on current NRHA ownership rules. In classes that do not have ownership restrictions (Rookie 1 & 2, Green Reiner 1 & 2, Youth Rookie, Unrestricted Youth, and all open classes, except Rookie Professional), youth riders may compete on any horse regardless of ownership.

For more information, please contact the NRHA Member & Show Services Department at (405) 946-7400 or cmorris@nrha.com. Complete rules can be found in the NRHA Handbook under the “Non Pro Membership Conditions” in the Allowances section.

NRHyA Art & Photo Contest Returns in 2022

National Reining Horse Youth Association members most often show their skills horseback, but many have other special talents. A showcase for some of those is the annual NRHyA Art & Photo contest.

The contest will be sponsored by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for the third year in a row. This partnership allows the first-place piece in each category to be displayed at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum during the 2022 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Insurance.

“This contest has grown so much in the last three years due to this incredible partnership,” said Sara Honegger, NRHA Director of Marketing who oversees the Youth and Affiliate programs. “It is so fun for the artists to get to take their families to see their work on a museum wall next to some of the most renowned Western artists.”

Last year there were nearly 50 entries in the contest and organizers expect more growth in 2022.

Already on board as judges for this year’s contest are NRHA Commissioner Gary Carpenter, Michael R. Grauer, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture/Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Other judges will be announced.

“I encourage all youth members, especially those who submit pieces for Varsity Reining Club, to participate,” said Honegger. “We encourage our youth to ask their friends to participate with them and give it a go!”

The categories for the competition will be Photography and Mixed Media. Due to low numbers of entries, the Graphic Design category was removed, but a new age division, 10 & Under, has been added due to rising interest.

2021 NRHyA Art & Photo Contest Winners:

Photography 14-18 – Faith Horner
Photography 13 & Under – Kynlee Cohlmia
Mixed Medium 14-18 – Alexandra Nicole Mueller
Mixed Medium 13 & Under – Cassandra Hacking
Graphic Design 14-18 – Raeanna Thayn
Graphic Design 13 & Under – Cassandra Hacking

The entry forms for the 2022 NRHyA Art & Photo Contest can be found here. Entries will be accepted until May 1.

For information on the NRHyA, visit the website at NRHyA.com or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/nrhya or Instagram @NRHyA