About the NRHA

Founded in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is an organization dedicated to the promotion of the reining horse. It serves as the standard setting body for the sport of Reining worldwide. Check out our Historic Milestones and 2017 Statistic Overview.

NRHA Mission Statement

Title: This organization is incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma and shall be known as the National Reining Horse Association, and shall at all times be operated as a not for profit association in accordance with the laws of the State of Oklahoma and the United States of America.

Objective: To promote and encourage development of and public interest in agriculture and ranching through the promotion of public Reining Horse Shows; the development of suitable and proper standards of performance and judging intended to govern all Reining Horse Contests sponsored and approved by the National Reining Horse Association; to encourage the development and breeding of better Reining Horses; and to develop and disseminate informational material deemed desirable to provide contestants and spectators a better understanding of a proper performance of the Reining Horse in the show arena.


The National Reining Horse Association is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting and encouraging the development of and public interest in the sport of reining. The focus is on developing and maintaining suitable standards of performance and judging and in providing a fun filled, family-oriented atmosphere.

What Is Reining?

Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena. In NRHA competition, contestants are required to run one of thirteen approved patterns, included in the NRHA Handbook.

Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs over the hocks, 360 degree spins done in place, and exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse.

The NRHA Judging System is recognized as the leading format for judging an equine event that combines technical and stylistic elements coupled with consideration of "degree of difficulty". Many segments of the equine judging discipline have openly embraced the NRHA Judging System.

Reining Worldwide

NRHA has flourished over the past two decades. Membership numbers have continued to grow and now surpass 15,000; including more than 1,400 youth members. There are currently over 1,200 NRHA approved shows and more than 150 Entry Level Reining events held around the world each year. NRHA shows pays out more then $13 million in competition purses annually with the winner of the NRHA Open Futurity taking home $150,000.

The NRHA Executive Committee has aligned with other worldwide equine associations to accomplish common goals and to move the sport of Reining into the international arena. In 1988, Americana became the first show in Europe to be NRHA approved. Gaining acceptance as the first Western Discipline of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) in 1998 marked an important milestone in the history of Reining, the western horse, and the NRHA. In 2000, the Federation Equestre International (FEI) accepted Reining for International Competition, and Reining was approved as the first Western Discipline to be inducted into the World Equestrian Games in 2002. Today, NRHA is continuing their efforts to expand the sport of Reining across all borders.

NRHA Hall Of Fame

Over the years since NRHA's inception, many individuals have contributed to its growth. Some are human and some are equine. All have been exceptional! Exceptional in their individual accomplishments and exceptional in their contribution to the sport of Reining.

In recognition of these individuals, NRHA instituted the NRHA Hall of Fame as a continuing acknowledgement of the contribution of these exceptional contributors. The Hall of Fame can be visited in person at the NRHA headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Million Dollar Earners

In 1993, Hollywood Jac 86, a leading NRHA Sire for many years, was the first sire to accumulate over $1,000,000 in offspring earnings. In 1995, Bill Horn, one of the sports founding members and leading riders, became the first person to win over $1,0000,000 in NRHA competition. These were astounding milestones for the sport of reining and prompted the association to institute a program that will continue to recognize individuals that achieve this level of accomplishment. Since then, a small number of others have joined this elite group - the NRHA's Million Dollar Earners.

Our Premier Events

The NRHA Futurity - NRHAFuturity.com

3-year-old horses ride for their chance to win $150,000 in total championship earnings, with a total purse and prizes totaling nearly $2.3 Million to exhibitors! Nearly 3,000 entries competing in all classes, three special reining horse sales and approximately 125,000 spectators from more than 20 countries... NRHA's finest million dollar event held in late fall in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The NRHA Derby - NRHADerby.com

4, 5 and 6-year-old horses competing for more than $600,000 added in purse money. Held in the late spring / early summer in Oklahoma City, the Derby hosts the Collegiate Reining Championships and Interscholastic Equestrian Association Reining Championships, and so much more.

Competitive Levels For All

In addition to our two premier events, there are multiple divisions of competition offered at approved shows to enable competitors at all levels to participate, learn, and improve as they master the intricacies of one of the most exciting equine competition events. NRHA offers the following approved divisions in competition:
  • Open
  • Intermediate Open
  • Limited Open
  • Rookie Level 1 & 2
  • Non Pro
  • Intermediate Non Pro
  • Limited Non Pro
  • Prime Time Non Pro
  • Rookie
  • Snaffle Bit
  • Novice Horse Open Level 1 & 2
  • Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1 & 2
  • Youth 14-18
  • Youth 13 & Under
  • Youth 10 & Under Short Stirrup
  • Unrestricted Youth
  • Freestyle
In addition to the various divisions of competition, NRHA offers a number of different Categories of competition that separate specific types of events, horse ages, and special programs offered by the Association.

As riders progress in NRHA competition, they move through a series of limited events that help "level the field". NRHA maintains an extensive data base of statistics to enable exhibitors to understand which events they are qualified to enter. Eligibility Lists are published by NRHA to help exhibitors know which events they are no longer eligible to enter.

In order to ensure integrity of the NRHA programs, participation in approved NRHA shows requires membership in the NRHA for exhibitors and owners and a valid Competition License for horses. Check out Before You Show to see what you need to do to compete in this hot equine sport.