Van Luse

NRHA Professional of The Year Awards Announced

Van LuseNRHA Professional Horseman of the Year, Van Luse • Photo courtesy of the NRHAEach year the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) allows current NRHA members to nominate their peers for five NRHA Professional of the Year awards. Nominees must exemplify excellence in the reining community and are chosen based on their mastery and contribution to promoting the sport of reining and NRHA. These individuals should set an example of integrity and sincerity within the reining community and to the public. In addition, ensuring the welfare of the reining horse should be the top priority for an NRHA Professional.

The five categories for NRHA Professional of the Year are as follows:

  • NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year
  • NRHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year
  • NRHA Professional Non Pro Coach of the Year
  • NRHA Professional Up-And-Coming Trainer of the Year
  • NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year

NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year

Residing on Hidden Springs Ranch in Gainesville, Texas, Van Luse and his wife, Cathy, train 365 days a year and it has been said that reining is a true passion in the Luse houshold. According to his nominators, Luse sets an example of integrity with how he handles his horses.

Many would describe training a horse as a journey from start to finish for Luse. A nominator said, “He recognizes that showing horses is an emotional journey.”

With his patience, respect, passion, and humor, Luse’s uplifting and unique ability to build teams that trust and support each other is seen throughout the industry.

Luse’s accolades include, winning the All American Quarter Horse Congress Limited Open Futurity, in addition he took home the championship title in the Intermediate Open Futurity and placed third in the Open Futurity Finals. Luse’s training caters specifically to the rider and horse, no matter the level of skill. Luse exudes passion both in and out of the show pen. His training motivates members making them feel like they never want to quit. With 23 years in the business, Luse has created a successful training program for himself, his family and his clients. 

NRHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year

With 16 years under her belt in the reining industry, Mirjam Stillo, from Rome, Italy, currently resides in Tioga, Texas. Her hard work and dedication to the industry is evident.

“Mirjam is an incredibly talented horsewoman!” said one of her nominators. “She is a great example of a hardworking and dedicated young professional horsewoman.”

Speaking four different languages, Stillo sets herself apart from other professionals in the industry. Working primarily with futurity and derby Prospects, Stillo’s training program also caters to open and aged show horses in addition to colt starting and organizing clinics for her clients.

 Many of Stillo’s peers look up to her not only as a remarkable trainer, but also as a role model to women in the industry.  One reining competitor described Stillo as, a strong female role model, who is encouraging and uplifting those around her.

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