• Photo by Waltenberry.

NRHA Updates Medication Policies

The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) this week updated its medication policies.

The policies, which were announced after The Run For A Million horse show, include enhanced penalties for rule violators as well as inclusion of the drug romifidine, commonly known as Sedivet, as a permitted medication on show days.

“The NRHA Medications Policy has been reformatted to make it easier to understand and contains amended definitions and examples to fall in line with our industry peers. It is important to have a policy that will allow our horses to be shown safely without creating an unfair advantage,” NRHA President Rick Clark said in a statement.

The revised Welfare & Medications Policy was voted on and approved at an NRHA Board of Directors meeting held on Aug. 21.

Officials with the NRHA say in the Spring of 2021, the NRHA Executive Committee began discussions on updating the current Animal Welfare & Medications policy. Since then, the executive committee, board of directors, and staff consulted with experts in the field, committee members, and current competitors. Officials say there were conversations aimed toward developing a revised policy to ensure fairness of competition by leveling penalties to those who knowingly violate NRHA rules, regulations, and policies.


The new rules allow Sedivet to be administered at 0.5 cc, 30 minutes prior to competition. This must be declared on the medications report.

The policy now outlines penalties, which vary depending on the type of violation and increase in severity with subsequent offenses.

Penalties include monetary fines and, depending on the violation, also may include disqualification, publication and a suspension.

Source: NRHA Animal Welfare and Medications Policy

Other changes:

  • The association will no longer allow competitors to combine more than one NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) on their horse, also known “stacking,” under the new rules.
  • It will implement procedures for those who refuse testing and/or demonstrate unsportsmanlike conduct during the process.
  • There is an increased medications testing fee from $7 to $10 for all approved events. Officials say this is to combat inflation and allow for additional testing.
  • The association has already implemented a change to plasma testing, saying it allows for faster turnaround.

According to Clark, it was a goal of all who contributed to the recommended policy changes that the policies and penalties should align with other Western performance industries. Another goal was simplification.

The penalty chart and classification system have been restructured to include increased penalties such as publication of offenses, suspension and disqualification. Officials say the updated policy is designed to be easier to understand and more transparent to the NRHA membership – even those who are just getting started in reining.

Increased Testing

Exhibitors will notice increased testing at leading events and NRHA-owned events, as well. An official change in the Welfare & Medications Policy that has already been implemented is plasma-only testing, which has a quicker turnaround time.

“The NRHA Executive Committee and staff have worked to learn new and better practices to keep our horses healthy. We invested both time and research to better understand medications that can help our horses in a safe manner, and also to find what is best for the industry and horses using today’s knowledge and technology,” noted Clark.

“I am proud of the NRHA Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and staff for their work and leadership in taking this step toward presenting reining at its best on the world stage,” Clark added.

The complete, revised Animal Welfare and Medications policy, which will go into effect at the 6666 NRHA Derby presented by Markel in June. Click here to read the new policy.