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• Photo by Waltenberry.

NRHA Apprentice Program Allows Non-Pros to Try Out Open Competition

It’s long been a tough decision for any Non-Pro rider who contemplates a career as a horse trainer. In the past, if they tested the waters in the Open, so to speak, they would be ineligible to go back to being a Non-Pro for three years. The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Apprentice program gives reiners the opportunity to be more confident about their choices for the future.

Officials say the program, which has been in place for several years, allows current NRHA Non-Pros who are at least 18 years of age to learn, train, and show under an NRHA Professional as an Open rider. This gives the Non-Pros the opportunity to decide if becoming an NRHA Professional is a fit. If it turns out to not be the right career path, the Non-Pro can return to Non-Pro status without facing the three to five-year wait.

An apprentice can train or show under one or more members of the NRHA Professionals concurrently or consecutively during a 12-month period. All earnings that an individual has on record will be used to determine his or her eligibility while participating in the Apprentice Program. At any time during the 12 months should an individual decide not to continue with his or her apprenticeship, he or she must continue to sit out of non-pro competition until the end of the 12 months. 

At the end of the year of apprenticeship, individuals can do one of two things:

Choose to remain an Open rider and completely relinquish Non-Pro status. 

  • If this is the case, all previous Non-Pro earnings will be backed out and any Open earnings accumulated during the apprenticeship will be used to determine eligibility.

Re-apply for Non-pro status

  • In this instance, all earnings accumulated during the apprenticeship will be used to determine eligibility.

During the apprenticeship, individuals may not show in non-pro classes. For more details about the Apprentice Program, please contact the NRHA Member & Show Services Department at (405)946-7400 or [email protected]. Complete rules can be found in the NRHA Handbook under the “NRHA Apprentice Program” section.