Doug Carpenter to Join NRHA Hall of Fame

The late Doug Carpenter, a man known for his dedication to helping the National Reining Horse Association in numerous ways, is going into the Hall of Fame.

Carpenter and fellow new NRHA Hall of Famer Jose Vazquez – a successful non-pro rider, owner and breeder Jose Vazquez – will be recognized at Sliders’ Night Out. Also recognized at the ceremony on Dec. 1 will be 2020 NRHA Hall of Fame inductees: the late Sally Brown and the late Jerry Kimmel.

“It would be hard to find many NRHA members who would not recognize the contributions of Jose Vazquez and Doug Carpenter, even though they earned their spot in NRHA’s Hall of Fame by different avenues,” noted Past NRHA President and Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Mike Hancock. “While a lot of our newer members might not be as familiar with Charles Vaughan, if you look back over the years, he has continuously supported the industry in a variety of ways. I look forward to honoring all three of these individuals in December.”

Doug Carpenter

The equine industry mourned the loss of Doug Carpenter when he passed shortly before the 2020 NRHA Futurity. Friends and acquaintances remember the man as a mentor, a representative for the discipline, and the quintessential horseman.

“Doug made incredible contributions to NRHA in numerous ways. He served on the NRHA Board of Directors and Executive Committee for several years. While contributing as a Gold level donor to the Reining Horse Foundation, Doug created revenue and recognition for the Foundation through the Celebrity Slide with the Professional Bull Riders and the ‘Make a Wish’ Foundation in Oklahoma City,” recalled friend, fellow NRHA Hall of Fame member and former NRHA President Frank Costantini. “He was instrumental in the push for global recognition of our sport, including reining’s acceptance as the first Western discipline recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale.”

Tales of Carpenter’s love for horses abound. He was born in the late 1950s in Rhode Island, and always loved horses. When he was just 13 years old, he hitchhiked to Columbus, Ohio, to attend the All American Quarter Horse Congress. He knew he was hooked.

Eight years later Carpenter took a job with trainer Tommy Manion, and that fall, showing at the Congress for the first time, he rode 2-year-old Good Lookin Babe to a reserve title.

Carpenter continued to show successfully in the National Snaffle Bit Association, earning more than $70,000. He moved to the Western performance horse world in the early 1990s, representing and selling standout individuals such as 1992 NRHA Futurity Open Champion Boomernic, 1999 National Reining Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion Smart Zanolena, 2003 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion Chics Magic Potion and 2007 World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Light N Fine. He also bought or sold other top performers including Jac Be Quick, Roosters Wrangler, Hes Dun his Time, and Bueno Chexinic.

In 2018, Carpenter began providing support to the NRHA Markel Futurity Sales, which flourished under his long-time relationships throughout the horse industry and vision for achieving big goals.

“His knowledge, guidance, and leg work to promote the NRHA Sales resulted in an improved sale and stronger market for yearlings, broodmares, and show horses,” noted Melanie Smith, one of the many who nominated Doug to the NRHA Hall of Fame.

Smith also recalled Carpenter’s little-known contributions to the sport. 

“Doug liked to work behind the scenes. The contributions he made to this association and its members may never truly be seen,” she said. “He was a mentor to so many people in the industry, and a true ambassador for the sport.”

Carpenter was also one of the visionaries behind the NRHA Futurity Challenge, the goal of which is to substantially increase the purse at the NRHA’s most prestigious event. In 2020, the group managed to double the added money for the Adequan® North American Affiliate Championships, guarantee $60,000 to the Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro winner, and awarded a historic $250,000 to 2020 Futurity Level 4 Open Champions All Bettss Are Off and Andrea Fappani. Thanks to the momentum he helped create, the 2021 NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion will win an unprecedented $350,000.

Carpenter, the quintessential horseman with an eye for greatness, continues to impact the industry through the many horses he bought and sold, and with his legacy of working tirelessly to promote reining, and reiners.