Following extensive discussion with its European Executive Board, the National Reining Horse Association announced plans for the future of the 2020 and 2021 NRHA European Derbies. The eleventh-hour cancelation of the 2020 Derby previously set for October 28–November 1 in Lyon, France had been made in consideration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following that decision, the goal was to create a pathway to maintain the ability of derby age horses to compete in four derbies in their careers and to create a plan in the best interest of European members, riders, owners, breeders, nominators, and fans. Ultimately, it was decided to go forward with the events with the following modifications.
The 2020 NRHA European Derby will be held in Wels, Austria May 13–16, 2021. It will be open to NRHA nominated horses that are 6 to 9 years old in 2021.
The 2021 NRHA European Derby will be held in Lyon, France in conjunction with Longines Equita Lyon October 27–31, 2021. This event will be open to NRHA nominated horses that are 5 to 8 years old in 2021.
“I have always believed in the NRHA European Futurity and Derby and have been a keen supporter of both events since their inception,” said NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee and NRHA European Council president Roberto Cuoghi. “In 2009, my good friend [NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee] Eleuterio Arcese took it upon himself to provide financial support for the first three editions of the Euro Futurity. In 2011, as I was serving on the NRHA BoD, I did the same for the Euro Derby.”
Cuoghi continued, “The NRHA European Council and I are thrilled to acknowledge that great organizers such as renowned GL events of Equita Lyon, France, and Otto Ziehfreund of Western Horse Show Wels, Austria, are willing to host the prestigious 2020 and 2021 NRHA Euro Derby next year. We truly appreciate their support and enthusiasm.“
NRHA Commissioner Gary agreed, “Both Otto and Christine Rigolet with GL events have been understanding throughout this process. I appreciate the flexibility of both the event organizers and the riders and commend their willingness to be innovative on solutions.”