The first National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Summit was held in Brussels, Belgium, on Jan. 16-17. Thirty-two representatives from 13 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands) met in the capital of the European Union. By the end of the two days, “unity” was the meeting’s key word.
The summit brought together NRHA European Affiliate Council members, NRHA professionals, NRHA judges, non-professional riders, owners, breeders, event sponsors and show organizers. Welcoming those taking part in this historical meeting was NRHA Vice President Mike Hancock, along with NRHA Senior Director of Events Shianne Megel, NRHA Manager of Competition and Education Samantha Oldfield and NRHA Senior Director of Publications Simona Diale.
A long-term program for reining in Europe was the intent, and thanks to the expertise and input of those present, it was possible to look at the sport in Europe from all angles. Participants addressed four main goals — uniting the European reining affiliates, better communication at all levels, growth and promotion of the sport with a focus on youth activities, and the restructuring of the NRHA European Affiliate Council according to the NRHA’s governance structure.
“I believe the outcome of the summit was very positive,” Mike Hancock said at the conclusion of the meeting. “An important number of projects are in the works, thanks to the enthusiasm and will to work of all those present. I am certain that the outcome will further promote our sport in Europe thanks to the foundation laid during this historical occasion.”
A special meeting of the NRHA European Affiliate Council was convened. The agenda consisted of discussions regarding the Council structure and the European Federation of Reining Horse Associations (EFRHA). At the conclusion of the meeting, a new structure had been approved, with a task force appointed to oversee the details of the transition, and a vote was taken to not support any further work concerning the EFRHA.