The APHA will award buckles to the highest-scoring or high-point Paint horses in the Non-Pro Levels 4-1 at the NRHA European Derby. • Photo courtesy of the NRHA European Derby

APHA Paint Reining Buckle Program Heads Overseas

For the first time, the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) will offer custom awards to top Paint Horses at the 2017 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) European Derby, taking place Nov. 1-5 in Lyon, France, during EquitaLyon. Handcrafted in the U.S., these uniquely-designed award buckles will be presented to the highest-scoring or high-point Paints in the following classes:

  • Non Pro – Level 4
  • Non Pro – Level 3
  • Non Pro – Level 2
  • Non Pro – Level 1

APHA Acting President Craig Wood and APHA Executive Director Billy Smith will be on hand to present the award buckles at the historic event.

“European members make up about 10 percent of our total membership,” Smith said. “Combined with the growing worldwide interest in reining and Paint reining horses, it’s only natural that we include the European Derby in our awards program. We’re excited to provide added recognition to Paint reiners at such a significant event.”

This marks the first time EquitaLyon is hosting the NRHA European Derby, Europe’s championship event for horses age 4-7. Approximately 130 horses are slated to compete for more than $120,000 in prize money. The event is expected to attract exhibitors from France, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

EquitaLyon is one of Europe’s premier equine fairs, attracting 3,500 horses and 158,000 visitors over five days, with 11 arenas and 130,000 square meters of exhibit space. In addition to reining, the Western hall features some of the best competition in Europe with barrel racing, cutting, an Extreme Cowboy Race and an APHA-approved four-judge show.

To be eligible to win a Paint reining buckle and other APHA awards and incentives, the horse must be registered with the APHA and both the owner and exhibitor must be current members. You can join and register your horse at the APHA booth at EquitaLyon, or visit today and click on “Register a Horse” at the top of the page.

This year, APHA also awarded buckles to the highest-placing Paint Horses at the National Reining Breeders Classic, Tulsa Reining Classic, High Roller Reining Classic and Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity. For more information, visit To learn more about the NRHA European Derby, visit