The European Youth Council is working to promote reining in Europe. * Photo by John O'Hara.

NRHA European Youth Council Gearing Up for Big Year

In spite of the unusual times for the world, the European Youth Council (EYC) of the National Reining Horse Association continues to work hard to promote the sport of reining and represent the needs of youth reiners in Europe.

The Council was launched in 2019 to support the needs of young European reiners.

“Even though this year is different in so many ways, the NRHyA hopes to provide a sense of optimism as we look towards the remainder of the year,” noted Sara Honegger, NRHA Manager of Youth and Professionals Programs. “One of the ways we can do so is through our European Youth Council. Although it’s only in its second year of existence, it is a program we look forward to watching grow and flourish, especially focusing on involvement and leadership opportunities.”

The 2020 European Youth Council is fortunate to have three familiar faces returning from the inaugural year, with Pia Boonstoppel, Netherlands, serving as president; Nanina Staub, Switzerland, as vice president; and Erin Wielsma, Netherlands, in the role of historian. Joining them will be treasurer Isabeau Keiser, Sweden, and secretary Elena Wuorimaa, Finland.

“I think our team this year is a really strong one. We can make anything happen together, and have already created a strong bond by video-calling and talking through our ideas. Now that we are in this Council for the second year, we know our way better and have gained some valuable experience,” Boonstoppel said. “I’m very proud of our team because everyone is now, in these difficult times, more motivated than ever.”

Boonstoppel said the youth reining programs in Europe have seen tremendous growth. 

“With Europeans being able to get involved with programs like the Varsity Reining Club, it gets really attractive to be an NRHyA member. We are always trying to get people to join the NRHA, because the more the merrier,” she said.

The EYC is currently organizing an Instagram Horse Show together with their counterparts in the United States. 

“This way people will still be able to ‘compete’ against each other since most of the events in Europe have been canceled,” Boonstoppel said. “As for the rest of the year, we are focused on getting a stable base for our council. We want to work closely with the U.S. Council so we can support and help each other.”