The annual National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Winter Meeting concluded on February 6 following three days of productive meetings of the board, executive committee, Reining Horse Foundation Board of Directors, and various advisory committees.
After three consecutive years in Texas, the meeting relocated to Oklahoma City, a refreshing change that was well-received by those in attendance. For members unable to attend, links for various presentations have been conveniently provided in this article.
The general theme throughout the NRHA Winter Meeting was the overall current strength of the association while simultaneously looking to the future to build on the momentum.
The NRHA Board of Directors convened for two days of meetings, tackling typical business matters while also addressing new items.
Election procedures were updated to include slight changes in affiliate reallocations, which were unanimously approved. You can read more about the opportunities to run for a 2025 leadership position here.
An updated schedule for the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel was approved, and it features a few member-friendly changes, which include moving the Para Reining Championship to take place following the NRHA Invitational Freestyle presented by OKC CVB as well as the addition of the Open Level 4 and Level 2 Maturity division to run concurrent with the second slate of Open ancillary classes on Monday, June 17.
Take a look at the full schedule here.
A recommendation from the NRHA Bylaw Committee was unanimously approved to add an additional Director-at-Large seat to the executive committee, which rounds out the group to seven. The NRHA Nominating/Governance Committee will meet to put forward a candidate to fill the position, which will help alleviate issues with filling leadership positions, specifically the role of Vice President, which has been difficult to find candidates for in recent years. Additionally, this will avoid having an even-numbered committee and bring the number of seats closer to the original eight that served on the Executive Committee prior to 2017.
The board of directors also approved a new code of ethics, elevating their leadership by holding themselves to a higher standard along the same lines expected of NRHA judges and stewards.
Chief Financial Officer John Foy delivered the association’s financial report, highlighting that the association is in its strongest financial position in history, that purse trajectory continues upward with the largest total purses awarded last year, that worldwide membership totals remain stable, and that NRHA’s media reach have grown exponentially. NRHA’s annual audit was completed without issue and has been available to the members on ReinerSuite since January. He emphasized to members that the reining industry is extremely strong and is experiencing continued growth through membership numbers and purses. You can review the full presentation here.
The Adequan® North American Affiliate Champions (NAAC) conditions were approved, with a small update from the last three years. Based on member feedback, to compete at an Affiliate Regional Championship (ARC), a rider must show proof of membership to an affiliate within the region they are qualifying in at the time of entering. Proof of affiliate membership is the responsibility of the exhibitor and will be verified by the show office. Riders who score higher than a zero at an ARC are qualified for the NAAC on that class, on that specific horse. Read more here.
In addition to the meetings, the well-attended Futurity Judges Review provided an opportunity for members to discuss the NRHA judges program and to look back at runs from the 2023 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel and NRHA Futurity alongside members of the teaching panel. The panel shared video from additional camera angles to demonstrate how maneuvers can be viewed and marked differently from different vantage points.
The panel also showcased HorseIQ, the online equine learning platform that can be utilized whether you are an exhibitor tuning up your skills or a judge who needs a refresher. Check out HorseIQ here.
The Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM) was especially poignant as it marked President Mark Blake’s last in his official role and Billy Smith’s first as NRHA Commissioner.
Blake highlighted 2023 and the records broken- including over $24 million awarded (up from $23 million in 2023), over 9,046 Non-Pro members, and a Nomination Program foal crop of 3,203, breaking the record set the year prior.
A full statistical overview of 2023 can be downloaded here.
Commissioner Smith spoke about the recently approved strategic plan and the importance of association alignment moving forward. He also stressed the need to focus on strategic plan-based decision-making and to celebrate the association’s storied history. The association will refocus energy through this discipline to produce more creativity, simplicity, forward-thinking, accountability, and data-driven decision-making.
Various NRHA Advisory Committees then met to round out the Winter Meeting to tackle current projects and look ahead at ways to implement the new strategic plan. A full highlight of this approved plan will be announced in coming days at news.nrha.com.