Event Sponsor Mental Athletics Offers Workshops to NRHyA Members

Since 2001, young reiners in the National Reining Horse Youth Association have benefited from their membership through college scholarships, learning and leadership experiences, life-long friendships and a whole lot of fun along the way.

That’s why NRHA Professional Gil Friedman of Mental Athletics is now a proud event sponsor of the National Reining Horse Association and is focusing on the association’s younger membership.

“I truly believe that the youth of the NRHA are the future of our industry and will frame the competitive culture for years to come,” Friedman shared. “This group of young and passionate riders will one day be the leaders of our sport. Mental toughness is widely considered a foundation for the development of successful athletes and leaders in the world of competitive sports. The reining industry deserves those kinds of athletes and leaders.”

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 workshop is set and scheduled to begin May 22, giving youth members the opportunity to complete training prior to the NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

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

The three-session workshops will provide knowledge, techniques and training tools for the personal development of every competitive rider. “We have two major goals. We want to help riders reach their peak performance and achieve a high level of wellbeing, all while living a competitive life,” Friedman said. “We hope to encourage every young rider to overcome unseen barriers and mental challenges, all while chasing their dreams.”

NRHA Manager of Youth and Professional Programs Sara Honegger says she is excited for the opportunity available to NRHyA members. “I believe it will be such a benefit to NRHyA members. The skills they will gain from Mental Athletics extend far past the show pen and I feel that our members will still use them long after their days as youth members. Gil is brilliant at what he does, and I cannot wait for NRHyA to experience it,” she said.

The scheduled dates for the first Mental Athletics Online Workshop are:

  • Saturday, May 22 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Thursday, June 3 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Thursday, June 10 at 12:00 pm CT

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

Creativity Comes to Life in NRHyA Art & Photo Contest Sponsored by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Reining Horse Youth Association boasts a skilled group of members. Not only do these youth compete in the show pen, many have other talents. Thanks to a partnership with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, some of the more creative members can compete for major recognition.

“We are thrilled that the NRHyA has once again partnered with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for the 2021 Art & Photo Contest. Last year this partnership not only created prize incentives for the winners but also allowed young artists to get exposure in a public setting,” explained Sara Honegger, NRHA Manager of Youth & Professional Programs. “Last year 17 NRHyA members participated with more than 30 entries. We hope to have even more of our members enter the contest this year.”

NRHyA President Olivia Klug entered the contest, finishing first in the Mixed Medium division for the 14-18 age group. “I chose to participate in the art contest last year because I thought it was a good opportunity to show something I am passionate about. I have always loved art, but have never had the chance to display my work. The NRHyA Art & Photo contest was the perfect way for me to share that part of me,” Klug said.

As in 2020, first place in each age group of each category will be displayed June 17–27 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for visitors to see during the 2021 NRHA Derby presented by Markel Insurance.

“Having my work displayed at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum was a surreal feeling. The museum is one of my favorite places to visit in Oklahoma. I felt extremely fortunate to have my work there along with that of many other talented artists. I cannot describe how grateful I am to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for providing the NRHyA this opportunity,” Klug noted.

Judges for this year’s contest include 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; and Steve Miller, vice president, event marketing at NRHA Corporate Partner Montana Silversmiths.

Entry forms for the 2021 NRHyA Art & Photo Contest can be found at bit.ly/2021NRHyAArtPhoto. Entries will be accepted until May 14.

Klug added, “I would tell anyone considering entering the Art & Photo contest to do it! For a while I was nervous about entering my work, but I am so thankful I did. I enjoyed being able to see everyone’s entries, and I would love to see yours too! Each piece entered has a special story behind it, and NRHyA would love to be able to help display it.”

NRHyA European Youth Council Gearing Up for 2020

The European Youth Council of the National Reining Horse Association was launched in 2019 to support young reiners in Europe. Members of the European Youth Council work closely with the National Reining Horse Youth Association officers to promote the sport of reining and represent the needs of youth reiners on the continent.

“Even though this year is different in so many ways, the NRHyA hopes to provide a sense of optimism as we look towards the remainder of the year,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Manager of Youth and Professionals Programs. “One of the ways we can do so is through our European Youth Council. Although it’s only in its second year of existence, it is a program we look forward to watching grow and flourish, especially focusing on involvement and leadership opportunities.”

The 2020 European Youth Council is fortunate to have three familiar faces returning from the inaugural year, with Pia Boonstoppel, Netherlands, serving as President; Nanina Staub, Switzerland, as Vice President; and Erin Wielsma, Netherlands, in the role of Historian. Joining them will be Treasurer Isabeau Keiser, Sweden, and Secretary Elena Wuorimaa, Finland.

“I think our team this year is a really strong one. We can make anything happen together, and have already created a strong bond by video-calling and talking through our ideas. Now that we are in this Council for the second year, we know our way better and have gained some valuable experience,” Boonstoppel said. “I’m very proud of our team because everyone is now, in these difficult times, more motivated than ever.”

Boonstoppel added that the youth reining programs in Europe have seen tremendous growth. “With Europeans being able to get involved with programs like the Varsity Reining Club, it gets really attractive to be an NRHyA member. We are always trying to get people to join the NRHA, because the more the merrier!” she said.

The EYC is currently organizing an Instagram Horse Show together with their counterparts in the United States. “This way people will still be able to ‘compete’ against each other since most of the events in Europe have been canceled,” Boonstoppel explained. “As for the rest of the year, we are focused on getting a stable base for our council. We want to work closely with the U.S. Council so we can support and help each other.”

Honegger stressed the importance of the fledgling European program, noting, “The council is an important volunteer opportunity for youth to represent NRHA at events, help spread the education and promotion of reining, and network with other youth members that have similar passion for the sport. They will also work closely with the NRHyA Officers.”

Boonstoppel added, “The EYC is a great initiative to let us European kids become close and grow together. We are becoming a closer community every day. We are very thankful for every opportunity we get from the NRHA, and we will definitely work hard this year to make it happen.”

For more information about the opportunities available to youth reiners, visit NRHyA.com.

NRHyA Art & Photo Contest

For Immediate Release – June 13, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – After much deliberation, the winners have been selected for the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) 2020 Art & Photo Contest sponsored by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The novel partnership with the museum not only created new prize incentives for the winners but also allowed these young artists to get exposure in a public setting. First place in each age group and category will be on display at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for visitors to see during the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. Seventeen NRHyA members participated with over 30 entries.

“We were so impressed with the entries,” said Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner. “They each showed considerable talent and artistic expression. We encourage you to enjoy these works of art at an iconic Oklahoma location.”

The contest judges consisted of Carpenter; Michael R. Grauer, McCasland Chair of cowboy culture/curator of cowboy collections and western art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and Steve Miller, vice president, event marketing at NRHA Corporate Partner Montana Silversmiths.

A fan favorite will be voted on through the NRHyA Facebook page starting June 13 and ending June 21 at 5 p.m. CDT. The fan-favorite will receive a gift certificate for a pair of boots from NRHA Corporate Partner Anderson Bean Boot Company.

Here are the final placings for each category and age group:

1st Place: Lydia Bell
2nd Place: Haylie Tomlinson
3rd Place: Morgan Ritz

13 & Under
1st Place: Reed Selner
2nd Place: Isabelle Hildebrandt
3rd Place: Name: Isabelle Hildebrandt

Graphic Artwork:
1st and 2nd Place: Campbell McLeod

Mixed Medium
1st  Place: Olivia Klug
2nd Place: Sam Helms
3rd Place: Madison Wigen

13 & Under
1st and 2nd Place:  Isabelle Hildebrandt
3rd Place: Josselyn Mumm

Auction Including Bob Avila’s NRHA Futurity Saddle to Benefit NRHyA

For Immediate Release – October 23, 2019 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) is set to auction a piece of history: National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Professional Bob Avila’s 1994 NRHA Futurity champion saddle.

Won riding Lenas Wright On, the saddle was donated by Avila to benefit NRHyA programming. It will be auctioned during the Reining Horse Foundation’s premier fundraising event, Sliders’ Night Out presented by Toyon Ranch, on December 4 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

“In the last couple of years, I have participated in a few things with youth programs and it got me thinking about this,” Avila said. “I have had the saddle for a long time, and I thought it would be a neat thing for the kids. I would rather help them than anyone else.”

Funds generated from the saddle will help provide scholarships, leadership opportunities, and programming to the youth members of NRHA. NRHyA is funded through RHF, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

“Winning the NRHA Futurity is incredibly special, and there are only 30 people in the world who have ever won it,” Avila said. “It is a dream that every trainer in the world, young or old, has. He [Lenas Wright On] was a special horse and a great athlete. You don’t get a lot of those in your lifetime. It is a very special saddle to me, and I want it to help the kids.”

Not only can spectators bid on this commemorative saddle and other items offered in the live auction, but they will also enjoy an event where RHF recognizes former and incoming NRHA Hall of Fame inductees, honors the 2019 Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and presents the first-ever NRHA Reiner of the Year award. It is a night celebrating the sport’s legacy and bright future.

“I am getting older, and I would like to see the stuff I have end up with people who will appreciate it,” Avila said.

Advance reservations are encouraged to ensure a chance to attend Sliders’ Night Out and enjoy the steak dinner and celebration. The benefit is held in conjunction with the NRHA Futurity & Adequan® North American Affiliate Championship Show.

To make event reservations or bid by proxy on the saddle, contact Leslie Baker, RHF Executive Director, at (405) 946-7400 ext. 106, or email rhf@nrha.com.