Injecting a reining horse

New NRHA President Sets New Path for Welfare

The new president of the NRHA, Mark Blake, has set a new path forward to address the issues of drug use in reining horse events. The change of one key person on the board brings hope for the horses. If the remaining board would do the sport the honor of resigning too, as Gary Carpenter former president did, the sport could remove its stained, even ugly, reputation and provide full and transparent management of a drug-free and abuse-free sport.

The letter below is very clear::

Dear NRHA Membership:

As I began my presidency, one of my top priorities was to be as transparent as possible with the membership and always keep an open dialogue.
With that being said, as we get closer to the implementation of our updated Animal Welfare & Medications policy this June, I wanted to ensure our members were aware of two developments that occurred after the policy’s August approval.
First, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) sent a letter that was later publicly shared, expressing their concerns over the permittance of Romifidine. They have also since provided us with research to support their objections. You can read the letter.
Secondly, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF), whom we have shared a long-standing relationship with, formally notified us they could no longer partner with us to conduct our medications testing at NRHA-approved events due to our allowance of Romifidine in competition. You can read the letter here.
The significance of these decisions and communication pieces has weighed heavily on me, and I continue to take them very seriously. That is why, at our February meeting, I asked the NRHA Board of Directors to support my appointment of an Animal Welfare Task Force. This group will consist of a variety of members from different sectors of the industry, including at least one veterinarian, to focus solely on the safety and welfare of our horses.
I felt it was imperative we have a formal group to review not only what NRHA is doing but what we should be doing and to keep apprised of what is going on not only in the western performance industry but the entire equine industry. We need to work harder on being proactive so that we can be best prepared. This group will be responsible for helping to review statistics, rules, policies, and procedures and bring forward recommendations to the board as needed.
Additionally, the 2023 NRHA Member Survey is now available online as a platform to provide valuable feedback to our board. The responses will be carefully reviewed at our Strategic Planning Session held later this year and will help guide the future of the association. I strongly encourage you to take the time to respond thoughtfully, and I hope you tell your fellow reiners to do the same.
Our 2022 Medications Testing statistics are now available online. You can view them here, and as you can tell, we have provided additional detail as requested. Our board of directors will now regularly review testing statistics and the policy yearly.
Finally, you will soon begin seeing additional educational resources and communication from NRHA regarding our updated Animal Welfare & Medications policy. Please take the time to make sure you are up-to-date on the changes.
As always, if you have a question or a comment or would like to get more involved with NRHA, please pick up the phone and give me a call. I will always be available to speak with our members.
Together, I strongly believe NRHA will continue to be the premiere discipline in the western performance horse industry.
Sincerely yours,
Mark Blake
NRHA President
3021 West Reno Ave
Oklahoma City OK 73107