Navigating NRHA “Categories”

What Are NRHA Categories?

The National Reining Horse Association currently recognizes 13 categories of classes. Each category represents a segment of classes with similar characteristics. Categories aren’t normally listed on schedules or entry forms, but they are used as part of the recordkeeping process so riders’ and horses’ earnings can be easily and logically grouped. This is important for year-end eligibility calculations and for determining the winners of NRHA year-end awards.

The categories, described below, include divisions for professional and non pro exhibitors as well as for various special classes or events.

Category 1: Ancillary Classes

“Weekend” classes eligible for NRHA Year-End Awards

Category 2: Aged Show Classes

E.g., futurities, derbies, maturities, etc. based on the age of the horse and open to any horse of that age

Category 3: Youth Classes

For members 18 years of age and younger as of January 1 of the current year

Category 4: Breed or Alliance Classes

E.g., AQHA, APHA, World Para-Reining, USA Reining Para-Reining

Category 5: Ancillary Classes

“Weekend” classes not eligible for NRHA Year-End Awards

Category 6: Closed Aged Shows

E.g., futurities, derbies, maturities, etc. based on the age of the horse and closed to horses that meet certain nomination, enrollment or other conditions

Category 7: NRHA Affiliate Championship Classes

Category 8: Internationally Governed (National Governing Body and FEI) Classes

Category 9: Freestyle Reining Classes

Category 10: Entry Level Classes

Category 11: Other Approved Classes

Category 12: NRHA Nominator Incentive Earnings

Category 13: Other Approved Classes With Earnings and Status Limitations

E.g., the Run for a Million Invitational; classes not corresponding to other NRHA Categories. Do not count toward lifetime earnings, NRHA Million Dollar (sire/dam/owner/rider/breeder) status, rider/horse eligibility, Top 20 Program, or World Champion and Top Ten Awards.

What classes will I most often see at weekend NRHA events?

Category 1: Ancillary Classes
OpenIntermediate OpenLimited OpenRookie Professional Non ProIntermediate Non ProLimited Non ProPrime Time Non Pro
Novice Horse (Level 1 and Level 2, also in Open and Non Pro)

Category 3: Youth Classes
Youth 10 & Under Short StirrupYouth 13 & UnderYouth 14–18 Youth Rookie 18 & UnderUnrestricted Youth

Category 5: Ancillary Classes
Rookie (Level 1 and Level 2)Prime Time OpenPrime Time Rookie
(Category 5 has other classes, too, but they are used less frequently)

Category 10: Entry Level Classes
Entry Level Ride & Slide (Level 1 and Level 2, also in Open, Non Pro, and Youth)
Green Reiner (Level 1 and Level 2)

If I compete in an aged event (e.g., a futurity, derby, or maturity), in which category is that money counted?

In Category 2 (Aged Show Classes) or Category 6 (Closed Aged Shows), depending on the show conditions.

Which categories are used the least?

Category 4: Breed or Alliance Classes
Category 7: NRHA Affiliate Championship Classes
Category 8: Internationally Governed (National Governing Body and FEI) Classes
Category 9: Freestyle Reining Classes
Category 11: Other Approved Classes
Category 13: Other Approved Classes with Earnings and Status Limitations

Where can I find the NRHA Eligibility Policy to see how categories impact which classes I can enter?

Go to nrha.com, click on the Events tab, and then click on Eligibility. You’ll find the NRHA Worldwide Eligibility policy there. It lists which categories count toward class eligibility for each given category. For example, if you want to enter Category 1 classes, your (or your horse’s) previous earnings in category 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 are added together to determine your eligibility. If your earnings in those categories exceed the earnings cap for a certain class for the time period listed, you are not eligible to enter that class.