horse sliding in the dirt
The NRBC has voted to change its eligibility rules to allow 7-year-old horses to compete in the NRBC Classic. The competition held in Katy, Texas, annually draws some of the top riders in the sport, including Andrea Fappani (pictured aboard Shine Plum Shine). • Photo by Kristin Pitzer.

NRBC Votes To Include 7-Year-Olds In Classic

The National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) will enact a major change in 2020. It will allow 7-year-old horses to compete in the Classic.

The NRBC Board of Directors unanimously voted at its April 25 meeting to include 7-year-olds in the Classic, as well as to change the eligibility age for the Classic Challenge horse to age 8 and older.

NRBC President Tom McCutcheon said the decision provides an extra year of eligibility for horses – something the NRBC felt was wanted by non-pro riders – and puts more value on the horses.

“Second, it allows owners and riders to put the welfare of the horse first – taking away the need to rush horses that might develop more slowly or that might need time to recover from an injury,” McCutcheon said a statement issued by the NRBC. “Overall, we think it’s the right decision at the right time.”

The NRBC is a stallion-incentive program for reining horses.  After a stallion becomes part of the program, his foals may be enrolled. Those foals, as 4, 5, 6 and now 7-year-olds, can then compete at the prestigious week-long event which has paid out more than $22 million in the past 22 years.

The show is considered, along with the NRHA Futurity and NRHA Derby as a show that makes up reining’s prestigious triple crown. For more information, visit