NRHA Board of Directors May Meeting Recap

The NRHA approved several rule changes and made other decisions when the executive committee and board of directors met in early May.

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) hosted meetings for the Executive Committee and Board of Directors in Oklahoma City on May 1-2. The members, elected by the membership annually, reviewed and prepared for discussion of agenda items; raised issues and spoke of opportunities; and voted to make decisions to guide the progress of the association. In total, the board members committed nearly 250 hours of effort to the NRHA over the course of two days.


The largest topic on the agenda was 2018 rule change proposals. A brief overview is provided below, along with information on other important discussions.

2018 Rule Change Proposals

The Board of Directors reviewed 37 rule change proposals submitted by members, committees and staff. Prior to their vote, they considered feedback from NRHA Committees and from members via the online survey. Unless otherwise noted, approved rule changes become effective Jan. 1, 2018. More details on what was approved, along with the new rule verbiage, can be found in the Members Only area of nrha.com.

Some of the most significant items include the following changes or additions to NRHA rules:

  • Beginning in 2019, memberships will last for a complete 12-month or 36-month period and will no longer expire on Dec. 31.
  • Non-Pro Conditions were changed with the approval of 27-01-18. The largest change came from the addition of this text: Even without remuneration, a non-pro may not train or participate in mounted preparation of a horse not owned or leased by the non-pro or the non-pro’s immediate family, at or for a show. It is the intent of the NRHA to limit the ability of a non-pro to assist a trainer or other person in the training or preparation of the horse while mounted for a show if that horse is not owned or leased by the non-pro or the non-pro’s immediate family.
  • World Para-Reining, USA Reining and approved breed restricted para-reining classes were added for Category 4 approval.
  • Event approval deadlines for BB and Top Ten events changed to 60 days prior to the entry closing date.
  • Added money limits were removed from Category 7 Affiliate Championship classes.
  • The Single Purse Payout structure was approved for optional use in aged and closed aged shows.
  • NRHA Lawson bronzes must be presented when $2,000 or more in added money is offered and other special NRHA Lawson bronze qualifications are met.
  • Show results now can be sent electronically as long as some requirements are met.
  • Guidelines were added for breaking first place ties.
  •  Allowances for touching the horse with the free hand and holding the saddle horn in Freestyle Reining, Entry Level and Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup classes
  • Additional guidelines were added to determine when judges may judge an unapproved reining class.
  •  Random equipment checks in classes with added money of $500 or less are allowed.
  • A 5-point penalty was added for a horse that loses forward motion and falls to its knees or hocks while showing signs of disobedience, intimidation, exhaustion and/or distress.

Equipment clarification

The NRHA Executive Committee recently made a clarification to Rules for Judging.

B.(4)(b) and (i) concerning belly bands and belly wraps. This type of equipment, or other materials wrapped around the belly, can cover abuse prior to and during exhibition, and can give an unfair advantage. Therefore, the use of this type of equipment in pre-check or in the show pen is not allowed and will result in a no score.

2017 NRHA Futurity Updates

  • Addition of the new Level 4 Open Semifinals (approved in Feb.).
  • Open Futurity horses will not show on Sunday, November 26. This gives one-day off between the first go round and the semifinals.
  • Sunday’s Non-Pro first go, first section will be longer than the other sections. This allows the go-round to end one day earlier and helps manage the overall length of days.
  • The Non-Pro Consolation will be held one day earlier than usual on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
  • Freestyle Reining will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30.
  • Adequan North American Affiliate Championship and ancillary classes have been rearranged to avoid conflicts and to move the Silver Spurs Equine Rookie of the Year to later in the schedule.

Affiliate Regional Championship Trophies

If a class at an Affiliate Regional Championships does not offer the level of added money required to award an NRHA Morrison trophy ($1,000), the host can award an NRHA Morrison trophy for that class.

Collegiate Judging Contest

The NRHA will work with the Horse Judging Team Coaches Association to implement a collegiate contest during the 2017 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Semifinals.

European Council Bylaws

Bylaws for the European Region were presented and approved. They consisted of definitions and guiding principles for the council and its executive board. It also included a list of responsibilities specific to the European Region.

IT Project

The Board was given an update on the IT project. Testing on tools for joining and renewing memberships has begun. These tools will become available to members when testing is complete.

Member Survey and Long-Range Planning

Approximately 1,000 members participated in the online survey. Results of the survey have been shared with the Long-Range Planning group and the Board of Directors. A plan, based on those responses and the group’s discussion, is being finalized at this time. It will be presented to the Board at a later date for review and approval.

Regions and Elections Procedures

The procedures were updated to better clarify voting regions for California, Nevada and Idaho residents. The voting region will be based on a member’s affiliate designation. If an affiliate if not designated, it will be based on the member’s state of residence. See the NRHA Regions and Elections Procedures for details.

Task Force Appointment

A task force was appointed to optimize the benefit of International Affiliate Program funds for affiliates and the NRHA. The previously appointed Nomination/Payout Task Force will meet in Oklahoma City in the coming weeks.