NRHA Announces Updated Animal Welfare & Medications Policy

In the Spring of 2021, the NRHA Executive Committee began discussions on updating the current Animal Welfare & Medications policy. Since then, the executive committee, board of directors, and staff have consulted with experts in the field, committee members, and current competitors. There have been countless conversations aimed toward developing a revised policy to ensure fairness of competition by leveling penalties to those who knowingly violate NRHA rules, regulations, and policies.

At the August 21, 2022, NRHA Board of Directors meeting held in Las Vegas, a revised Welfare & Medications Policy was voted on and approved.

“The NRHA Medications Policy has been reformatted to make it easier to understand and contains amended definitions and examples to fall in line with our industry peers. It is important to have a policy that will allow our horses to be shown safely without creating an unfair advantage,” said NRHA President Rick Clark.

According to Clark, it was a goal of all who contributed to the recommended policy changes that the policies and penalties should align with other western performance industries. Another goal was simplification.

The penalty chart and classification system have been restructured to include increased penalties such as publication of offenses, suspension and disqualification. The updated policy is easier to understand and more transparent to the NRHA membership – even those who are just getting started in reining.

Exhibitors will notice increased testing at leading events and NRHA-owned events, as well. An official change in the Welfare & Medications Policy that has already been implemented is plasma-only testing, which has a quicker turnaround time.

“The NRHA Executive Committee and staff have worked to learn new and better practices to keep our horses healthy. We invested both time and research to better understand medications that can help our horses in a safe manner, and also to find what is best for the industry and horses using today’s knowledge and technology,” noted Clark.

“I am proud of the NRHA Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and staff for their work and leadership in taking this step toward presenting reining at its best on the world stage,” Clark added.

The complete, revised Animal Welfare and Medications policy, which will go into effect at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel in June, can be found here.

Answers to common questions about the Revised Animal Welfare and Medications policy can be found here