The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) welcomed South Africa as the newest international affiliate this fall.
Greg and Lizelle Garland, NRHA members from South Africa, spearheaded the campaign for affiliation.
The South African affiliate, officially recognized in July 2019, hosted three shows in a span of just two months, the first in August and two more in October.
“Within three months of inception, we’ve had three shows. It’s been amazing,” Greg Garland said. “We’re still small, with a limited number of members, but it’s definitely something that everyone is excited about, and we’re looking forward to growing.”
The process of starting a new affiliate has historically required 25 NRHA members lending support to the undertaking — a daunting task for a country where reining-ready horses are rare.
“When some of the staff from NRHA came to visit us, we found out about a new rule that said we only needed 10 NRHA members to get started since we are a developing country,” Garland said.
That’s all the Garlands needed to kick-start the process. The Garlands carry the torch for reining in South Africa as they bring in clinicians and horses to generate interest in the sport.
“With the creation of the developing affiliate level, we were able to introduce reining at the grassroots level to countries that may not have been able to jump in with 25 members,” said Samantha Oldfield, director of competition & education and European liaison at NRHA. “This level gives them a chance to introduce the sport to potential members and to grow and build a strong base they can expand upon to their other affiliate levels.”
NRHA recognizes more than 90 associations representing 16 affiliates around the world. To find an affiliate in your region and to learn more about the program, visit nrha.com/affiliate.