NRHA Announces Creation of Oceania Youth Council

The reining bug is catching on in the land down under, and that was evident during the 2021 National Reining Horse Association Oceania Affiliate Championships, which were held February 27–March 5 in Weribee, Victoria, Australia.

It was during that inaugural event that National Reining Horse Youth Association members formed the first-ever Oceania Youth Council with the goal of promoting the sport of reining and increasing the number of youth members in the Oceania Region.

“The Youth Council will educate members at their local shows about NRHyA programs and create stronger bonds throughout the year, not just at the state shows or Oceania Championships,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Director of Marketing and Youth and Affiliates Programs. “I’m very excited to watch the Council grow and spread their knowledge about reining.”

The first-ever NRHyA Oceania Youth Council was created during the 2021 Oceania Affiliate Championships. Pictured left to right are Jhi Watts, Minna Baxter, Tahlia Noonan, Hope Kelderman, Katia Sonsini—Photo by Sara Honegger

Elected to the Council were:

  • President: Tahlia Noonan; Lancefield, Victoria, Australia
  • Vice President: Minna Baxter; Newham, Victoria, Australia
  • Treasurer: Hope Kelderman; Glenburn, Victoria, Australia
  • Secretary: Katia Sonsini, Donvale, Victoria, Australia
  • Historian: Jhi Watts; Briagolong, Victoria, Australia

Honegger and Sam Oldfield, Director of International Affairs and Development, had traveled to Victoria for the Oceania Affiliate Championships and was able to spend time with the numerous NRHyA members. “From the moment we arrived at the Oceania Affiliate Championships, their desire to learn everything they could about NRHyA was apparent,” Honegger said. “They are incredibly passionate young men and women who want to make a difference in their region. We felt the creation of the Oceania Youth Council, much like the European Youth Council, would be a great next step.”

Read more about the Oceania Youth Council in the May issue of the NRHA Reiner to learn more about each member.

To keep up with the latest information, follow NRHyA on Facebook and Instagram. Additional information about the Oceania region can be found at

NRHyA Members Must Apply for Reining Horse Foundation Scholarships by March 1

Early in 2022, the National Reining Horse Association’s Reining Horse Foundation announced the expansion of its scholarship program, and the deadline to apply for one of the scholarships is quickly approaching.

The RHF Board of Directors approved increasing the number of RHF scholarships from eight to 10, while at the same time growing the annual funding support for these awards from $13,000 to $28,000. In addition, several scholarship amounts are rising, including the three top awards, which will increase from $2,500 to $5,000 each effective this year.

The scholarships will be structured as three at $5,000; three at $2,500; three at $1,500 and one at $1,000. Selection is based on financial need, academic record, involvement in the school and community, a special essay, and references.

The scholarships can be used for college, trade, or technical schools, but to be considered, all applications must be postmarked by March 1.

To apply for a scholarship, an applicant must be a current NRHA member and must have been a member for at least 24 months prior to applying. The applicant must also be a senior in high school. A student selected for an RHF Scholarship as a senior may then reapply for a second scholarship if she or he meets all other criteria.

“One of the benefits of maintaining NRHyA membership is eligibility for these scholarships. RHF donors are pleased to support youth reiners, whether you are attending a trade or technical school, junior college or a university program,” noted Leslie Baker, RHF Executive Director.

The NRHyA now offers more than $60,000 in scholarships annually. In addition to the RHF Scholarships, members can earn NRHyA Affiliate Regional Scholarships and scholarships through the Varsity Reining Club and activities such as the annual CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest. “Continuing education is incredibly valuable, but at the same time can be costly. I encourage all NRHyA members to pursue any scholarship opportunities available, especially these that are dedicated to youth in the reining industry,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Manager of Youth, Professional, and Affiliate Programs. 

The RHF Scholarship application can be found here.

More details about the numerous opportunities for NRHyA scholarships can be found here.

For details on contributing toward youth programs, contact Baker at (405) 946-7400, ext. 106 or email

2021 NRHyA Buy-A-Pro Auction is Open for Bidding

For immediate release — December 11, 2021 — Oklahoma City, OK — The National Reining Horse Youth Association recently kicked off one of the biggest fundraisers of the year, the 2022 Buy-A-Pro Auction. This year the auction runs through 9 a.m. CST on February 1 and offers buyers a chance to purchase a two-lesson package with their choice of nearly 60 NRHA Professionals.
The all-star lineup includes several The Run For A Million Champions, NRHA Million Dollar Riders, stars from The Last Cowboy, NRHA World Champions, NRHA Horsemen and Women of the year, expert non pro coaches, and other proven professionals.
A winning bid grants riders an exceptional opportunity to travel to their chosen professional’s facility and polish their riding skills, their horse’s training, or, in some cases, try reining for the first time on a horse provided by the professional. From beginners to accomplished riders, everyone can gain from acquiring one of these private training packages.
“Dave Moore was so awesome, and it was great to have the opportunity to take a couple lessons from him,” said 2021 Buy-A-Pro participant, Heather Maxwell. “My husband owns a home not too far from Dave’s barn in Florida and the two of them really hit it off. Charlie will be bringing his horse down to Dave for the winter so he can train year-round. All in all, I have to say winning your auction was truly fantastic for all of us!”
Each of the participating NRHA Professionals donates two training sessions per package, with 15% of the proceeds benefiting their designated NRHA affiliate. The remainder of the funds are allotted directly to NRHyA to provide scholarships and other opportunities for young reiners.
Historically, this fundraiser has generated significant funding to support NRHyA. With participating professionals located all over the country, there are options to best suit the needs of each buyer. Before bidding, be sure to check if your selected Professional offers the amenities you need, such as lesson horses, stalls, or RV hook-ups.
With the interest generated from The Last Cowboy and the Run for a Million, the members and Board of NRHyA hope new reining fans from across the country will take advantage of this unique opportunity to take a reiner for a spin while also benefitting a great cause.
To view the NRHA Professionals available and place your bids today, visit

Event Sponsor Mental Athletics Offers Fall Workshops to NRHyA Members

After the success of the summer workshops, NRHA Professional Gil Friedman of Mental Athletics is looking forward to the three additional sessions this fall that are aligned to be great preparation for the NRHA Futurity and Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships.

The workshops will be free of charge to all NRHyA members thanks to the event sponsorship provided by Mental Athletics, aimed to benefit the youth of the association. The sessions will provide knowledge, techniques and training tools for the personal development of every competitive rider.

“The journey starts now and it is a journey of learning,” said Friedman. “This is an opportunity to explore ourselves and open new doors that can empower us as competitors, youth and future leaders. Teamwork isn’t just between us and our friends, but us and our horses. This workshop will build upon the idea that you need to be the leader of that team as well.

“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.”

This will be the second three-part virtual workshop provided by Mental Athletics this year. The mindset coaching program practiced around the globe was thoroughly enjoyed by NRHyA members in June as a precursor to the NRHA Derby presented by Markel.

NRHA Manager of Youth, Professional and Affiliate Programs Sara Honegger says she is excited for the second series. “I believe all of the members who joined in the first sessions found so much benefit in and out of the show pen,” she said. “Gil has a great way of connecting with the youth and simplifying mental toughness to where it seems very attainable to everyone. Leading into the NRHA Futurity and Adequan®  North American Affiliate Championships is a perfect time to sharpen that skill set.”

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

  • Sunday, October 31 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Sunday, November 7 at 12:00 pm CT
  • Sunday, November 14 at 12:00 pm CT

To sign up for the workshop email

For more information about Mental Athletics, visit their Facebook page or the website at

Feedback from participants from the June session with Mental Athletics:

“The mental athletics workshop helped me look at my mindset inside and outside of the show pen. It allowed me to find areas to improve, helping my overall performance in the show pen. I enjoyed getting to learn more about myself, as well as having the opportunity to work to better my mindset. I would highly recommend everyone to attend the workshop as it can help you improve yourself in all areas of life.” — Olivia Klug, 2021 NRHyA President

“I liked them very much because they help you to be mentally and physically prepared. They help you realize that when you’re at a horse show you can notice how your body is, what your mind is thinking at that moment, and with several tips, you can change your mindset and at the same time relax your body to be ready for the competition.

Another thing I liked was that they help you when you’re walking for the show and if you’re very nervous and stiff because people will see you or because something can go wrong, well, with these techniques and tips you can concentrate and be relaxed all the time and so you will see better results.” — Diego Marquez, NRHA Mexico Delegate

“I enjoyed the workshop because it made me think about a lot of the things I tend to neglect. The expectations aspect really struck a chord with me. It reminded me I need to stay in my own game, and I do not need to overthink everything I hear. Being able to think through that stuff for some of my recent shows has come in very handy!!” — Jenna Woody, NRHyA member

“The youth years are really about building a foundation for the rest of your horse show career. In our household, we try to focus on our own mental game (because that’s 75% of showing horses). Gil’s approach to thinking through your mental game and potential roadblocks in a factual way really helped to approach the show pen in the right way! It was great to come to realize that your horse show mindset starts WAY before you get to the show pen, and you have to be careful how to let your thoughts wander.” — Jeanna Schaffhauser, Youth Committee Chair

CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest Returns to 2021 NRHA Derby presented by Markel

At the 2021 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 will return 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, and have the option to compete for $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 from the NRHA Handbook, which is a guide to judging reining horses. 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.

“I am excited for this scholarship opportunity for youth members to return to the 2021 NRHA Derby presented by Markel. I encourage NRHyA members to grab a friend, get out of their comfort zone, and try this contest. It’s a great way to practice a life skill around people who want you to succeed, all while having the potential to win a scholarship,” NRHyA Youth Programs Manager Sara Honegger said. “First place in each category of each age group will receive a $500 scholarship, which is such a fun way for youth at any age to start stacking up scholarship dollars. Youth members and their parents would be amazed at how much they can accumulate if they start early in their NRHyA careers.”

Youth members interested in competing in this year’s CINCH NRHyA Speaking Contest can find more information, including the entry form at Entry deadline has been extended to June 9 at 5 P.M. CDT. Please email entries to