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A Reining By The Bay competitor awaits his turn in the ring. • Photo by Lillian Kent

NRHA Gives Amateur Trial the Green Light

Reiners with less experience have a new place to play in 2020.

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) announced Jan. 10 it has approved a trial phase for an Amateur division. The new class is intended to provide a level in which riders with less experience are more competitive.

Similar to Amateur classes in other Western performance horse industry organizations, the NRHA Amateur excludes certain individuals. Those who are ineligible for the division include legal dependents of equine trainers, spouses or legal partners of equine trainers, youth and anyone with lifetime earnings exceeding $100,000 in NRHA Category 2, 6 or 8 as of Dec. 31, 2019. Those who are only eligible for the Level 4 Non-Pro are also excluded. 

“We’re glad to be able to provide an opportunity for flexibility in our programs to allow growth in NRHA competition,” NRHA President Mike Hancock said. “We’re approaching this trial phase with anticipation that it could grow into something big for the sport of reining. We appreciate the original supporters and backers of this program for their interest in the sport and its expansion.”

One of the most outspoken advocates for the Amateur reining class is show producer Amanda Brumley of Brumley Management Group (BMG). She helped spearhead the explosively popular The Run For A Million, and annually produces three other top 10 reinings: Cactus Reining Classic, Reining By The Bay and High Roller Reining Classic.

“I always thought we really needed this division,” Brumley said. “If you look at the industry in general, the people who are really supporting the event, the sport, are people who are true ‘non-pros’ … you know, not related to a professional. They’re buying the ranches, they’re buying the horses, they’re breeding horses, they’re [standing] stallions; they’re really the ones that are really funding the [reinings].”

With the help of a sponsorship from Story Book Stables, Brumley added Amateur classes to all three of her main shows in 2020. That will debut in March at the Cactus Reining Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“It [the Amateur] is not punishing the trainers’ wives or kids; they still have their divisions to compete in,” Brumley emphasized. “It’s just providing an [extra] avenue for these people.”

The conditions for the NRHA’s trial Amateur division, which is considered a Category 11 event at this time, state that only one level will be recognized and the added money for that class can be a maximum of half of what is offered in the Level 4 Non-Pro. In addition, riders must cross-enter into the Derby Non-Pro in order to compete in the Amateur. All amateur riders must also meet Non-Pro requirements outlined in the NRHA Handbook, including horse ownership rules.

Visit the NRHA’s website for a complete list of the conditions for the new Amateur class.