WPR Classes Added to High Roller Reining Classic

WPR-rider-Lauren-Barwick-and-Western-WhizLauren Barwick & Western Whiz • Photo courtesy of Christy EganThe 2015 High Roller Reining Classic (HRRC) is pleased to announce that it will be hosting two divisions of World Para Reining (WPR)/American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) approved Para Reining on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6:00 p.m. during its annual show at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Bob Haley of Bob’s Custom Saddles is providing two trophy saddles to be awarded to the winners of each class.

“We’ve worked with Arizona veterans and wheelchair-bound riders in the past,” Bob noted. “I plan to be in Las Vegas to award these saddles personally, and Bob’s will also be customizing them individually to suit the WPR class winner’s particular disability.”

When WPR creator, Canadian Lisa Coulter, was asked to chair the Para Reining board for Equine Canada, she was intrigued and interested.

“We had been talking about Para Reining as a potential organization for a number of years,” she said. “It wasn’t a new idea for me. However, in 2013 when I was asked to coach the Para Reining demonstration at the AQHA Championships in Oklahoma City, and then a second demonstration at the Kentucky Cup in 2014, I knew that it was time to get to work and really make this happen.”

By the beginning of 2015, the World Para Reining Organization was born. Coulter is a horseman with a great background as a coach and competitor. A National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Champion and multiple Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Master, she was ranked number one in the FEI World Ranking and Standings in 2010 and was a Silver Medalist at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) trial Kentucky Cup. At her ranch in Pilot Point, Texas, Coulter put together a 5-day “boot camp” for disabled riders last winter and then persuaded the NRHA to add a Para Reining class to their schedule at the 2014 Futurity. Coulter’s own reining horses, NRHA champions and winners in excess of $180,000, were utilized to train the riders. She said that the horses connected to their riders and were “amazing in their reactions and in the way they took care of their partners.”

A number of NRHA shows in North America are planning WPR classes this year, though none of them with greater anticipation than the Las Vegas HRRC show. WPR classes at the HRRC are already attracting entries and attention from all over the world. Riders have expressed interest in competing from the United States, Canada, Australia and all over Europe.

“The High Roller Reining Classic is committed to its ultimate goal of joining forces with groups like the World Para Reining Organization,” Amanda Brumley, the show’s organizer and manager, said. “The WPR has assisted many physically handicapped individuals in their quest for confidence and to achieve that very sense of freedom on a horse that many of us take for granted because we are not challenged by physical limitations. We are very grateful to be in a position to host such a worthwhile event and to increase awareness of the WPR and help them grow globally!”

The HRRC in Las Vegas will be held Sept. 11-20 this year. Hosted by the South Point Hotel and Casino, the HRRC is ranked at number four of the NRHA’s leading events. The 2015 HRRC is offering prizes and cash payouts of more than a half-million dollars. This world class reining competition attracts horses from all over the United States, Canada, South America and Europe. The event has also been recently awarded the coveted Host of the 2015 Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship, with $25,000 in added prize money, sure to draw the best-of-the-best reiners in the world. For additional information contact Amanda Brumley at (602) 677-3774, or at [email protected].

“The WPR classes now being held at NRHA events engage the riders and help them to make that important transition from therapeutic centers to competition,” Coulter said. “Just because someone loses a limb or is challenged by loss of flexibility or partial paralysis doesn’t mean they can’t ride and compete. These riders prove the amazing possibilities to us every single day. Our next clinic is May 8-10 at Apex Ranch in Pilot Point, Texas. The clinic is free to WPR members and open to non-members as auditors.”

Contact [email protected] for additional information.