On June 18, a press release announced the formation of the European Federation of Reining Horse Associations, but by mid-September, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) had scrapped its plans to work with the new group.
The original press release, which featured a logo but lacked contact information for the fledgling association, stated: “The European Reining Associations are in the process of creating an umbrella organization – European Federation of Reining Horse Associations (EFHRA) – for all NRHA European Reining Affiliates. The implementation of the new European Federation is in close cooperation with NRHA and embedded in the restructuring of NRHA.
“The goals of EFRHA are to:
- Provide a platform for the European Reining Affiliates to cooperate for the future growth of Reining in Europe
- Creation of a common European Reining Horse Breeding Program
- Funding the main European Futurities and Derbies
- Introduce a European Reining Maturity Circuit
- Introduce a European Reining Horse Sale
“The European Federation of Reining Horse Associations (EFRHA) will be registered in Switzerland as [a] NonProfit organization. Representatives of the European Reining Affiliates will meet in the near future to finalize the formation of EFRHA.”
Questions regarding the EFRHA began circulating on social media and by mid-September, the NRHA responded. On Sept. 13, NRHA President Rick Clark released a statement on the association’s website that stated: “With regard to our activities in Europe, NRHA is having what might affectionately be called growing pains. The good news is that there is a desire among many members in Europe to foster greater growth and activity. Better still, our board recently approved an NRHA affiliate in Spain. While not everyone agrees on the proper course of action to foster growth, this has become a very robust conversation. Toward this end, NRHA’s board received a proposal to support continued growth at the May board meeting.
“Unfortunately, the proposal presented to the board in May, which called for the formation of a European Federation of Reining Horse Associations, will not go forward as presented. Sometimes the first attempt does not succeed, but it can sow the seeds of a future triumph. We hope that this is the case.”
You can see Clark’s entire letter here.
Clark’s letter comes on the heels of an Aug. 22 announcement by Nick Cornelissens, who resigned his position as the NRHA’s European Programs Advisor. His letter of resignation, sent to the NRHA board of directors and the European affiliate council, stated in part: “My function with NRHA for 6 years now has been the NRHA European Programs Adviser. Some events and decisions that happened the last few months surprised and worried me. But the main reason I starting thinking about my position in the NRHA structure was that, when NRHA was making an important decision regarding the future of Reining in Europe the NRHA board did not consult with their staff and the people they hire to advise them in this areas, what the effect and what consequences all of this changes could have for NRHA. So I can only come to the conclusion for myself that NRHA doesn’t want and or need my knowledge and experience any more. I also believe that in the current circumstances I will not be able to do a good job for the future of Reining in Europe and I won’t do a job that I can’t find the motivation and give 100% effort or better. If I add on top of this the fact that I’ve ignored the needs of my family several times so that I could be available for NRHA, I can only come to one conclusion it is time for me to go on early retirement from NRHA.”
Watch www.quarterhorsenews.com for further updates as they occur.