NRHA Handbook turns back on horses again in 2017

The new 2017 National Reining Horse Association – NRHA Handbook is now available online

Unfortunately, they have let the horses down once again with their lackluster approach to animal welfare and no changes being made from 2016.

The Animal Welfare and Medications Provisions is focused on medications demonstrating they believe they have a greater drug problem than abuse. All we can say is the drug problem must be astronomical as the abuse is extremely noticeable in warm-up pens across the globe.

Some interesting extracts from the handbook are:

  1. The Show Steward should be knowledgeable of accepted reining schooling practices and should take necessary action should he/she witness or be made aware of misconduct or abuse on the show grounds.

There remains no documented standards that need to be abided to as like in the American Quarter Horse Association rule book. If the Show Steward accepts that excessive jerking, spurring, fencing and over spinning is all part of the training process, then they immediately condone the behavior and set a self-belief standard at any event.

  1. The Show Manager is required to receive complaints from NRHA members related to cruel, abusive, or inhumane treatment of horses on show grounds.

Once again, nothing is documented so how is cruel, abusive or inhumane substantiated. A knowledgeable person does not mean they are sufficiently emotionally intelligent enough determine this. A quick look back over some training videos by the greats stands testament to that with wire nosebands, tie arounds and many other barbaric methods. It is an ambiguous statement that is open to interpretation to benefit trainers, not horses.

  1. New Professionals members must complete a Code of Conduct and submit it with the membership form and fee.

There is no other mention of the Code of Conduct, and it remains totally unenforceable as they only take action on what is set out in the Handbook.


The questions need to be asked:

Q1:  Is the National Reining Horse Association tolerant of abuse?

!2:  Is the National Reining Horse Association reluctant to make changes as they may upset their primary money-making source – trainers bringing horses to shows?

The American Quarter Horse Association are able to define more about welfare of reiners than the reining association itself. Extract below.

Please vote on our pole for change located on the website.


© 2016  All Rights Reserved.

4 replies
  1. Disgraceful NRHA
    Disgraceful NRHA says:

    Just came across this site. Great website – you are really putting it out there of what really goes on. Interesting the NRHA says nothing and they continue on in their arrogant way. The trainers own the NRHA not the members. I decided to get out after lodging a protest and received threats and was fearful for my horses safety. Not nice people if you buck the system.

  2. Peter Wilkinson
    Peter Wilkinson says:

    The drug problem is huge and the trainers are getting smarter on how to beat the system. It is no longer about talent and ability, its about drugging them to eyeballs and winning at all costs. The spurring and jerking is a means to an end – as long as they get the check and fill their barn for many of them. The futurity is coming up – bet there are no complaints about anything – or that we hear about. I got out of reining for those reasons.

  3. Majorie Cohn
    Majorie Cohn says:

    The AQHA have been making more effort in ‘reining in’ the reiners at shows. They were getting alot of complaints at the shows and had to do something. The NRHA seem to not want to have to handle the complaints and leave everything open to interpretation that can go in their favor. The trainers are protected and everyone is scared of upsetting them. The NRHA is an ol’ boys club. Sack the board and start again I say.

  4. kim Fisk
    kim Fisk says:

    I agree with the need for change. My own experience with abuse while trusting a trainer and having numerous friends watch a reining event and leave in disgust dur to watching the treatment in the warm up prn. This is a wonderful sport that involved amazingly skilled horses and talented riders. I agree that treatment of these beautiful animals must change for the better.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *