The Reining Horse Foundation and the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) are partnering to offer a $2,500 college scholarship benefiting the competitor marking the highest reining score in reined cow horse at the 2017 National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR), July 17-23 in Gillette, Wyoming.
The collaboration led to the inaugural award presented in 2016 to Jayde Atkins, of Broken Bow, Nebraska, riding the 2003 gelding Sonitas Last Dual (Dualin Jewels x Sonitas Ann x Sonita’s Last). Atkins bested a field of 112 reined cow horse contestants to win the national championship. She also received the prestigious Morrison bronze, courtesy of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA).
In late 2014, the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) began offering reined cow horse as an event. It joined a lineup of bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and cutting for boys, and breakaway roping, barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, cutting, team roping and the queen contest for girls. NHSRA, NRCHA and NRHA acknowledge that reined cow horse can elevate the riding ability of NHSRA members who choose to learn and take part in the event.
NRHA and the Reining Horse Foundation anticipate the scholarship may entice more students to be introduced to reining through the reined cow horse event. As part of the reined cow horse competition, contestants complete a reining pattern, commonly referred to as dry work.
Based in Oklahoma City, the Reining Horse Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the NRHA. Core programs for the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization include youth scholarships, the Dale Wilkinson Memorial Crisis Fund and the NRHA Hall of Fame.