First Ever Western Riding and Breed Association Convention

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - The first-ever Western Riding and Breed Association Convention was held in Pieve del Cento, Italy February 15-17. The event brought all the Italian Western Equestrian Discipline and Breed Associations together to hold their respective annual general meetings as well as board meetings and year-end awards banquets.

National Reining Horse Association Executive Director Dan Wall was the Italian Reining Horse Association's guest of honor. During the Western Equestrian Discipline and Italian Reining Horse Association (ANCR) general meeting he outlined the format of the first NRHA European Championship Show.

Wall explained that the event will give the European countries a stronger incentive to have their shows approved by the National Reining Horse Association and will provide additional opportunities for European owners and riders. Not only will all money earned be added to the horses' official NRHA earnings records but also to that of their sires and dams. These earnings will not only qualify them for the NRHA European Championship but also give them a better opportunity to earn NRHA Year End Top Ten Awards. This is the first step toward creating a worldwide record system for the reining industry and gives the European reining community a voice in molding the future of the sport of reining.

“The goal of the NRHA International Committee is to create a unified and open market for reining horse competitions. This type of market place will provide an excellent promotional tool to help each country market and grow its individual organizations and activities," Wall emphasized.

“It is thanks to the support and efforts of the AQHA, NRHA and the FEI that our sport is where it is today," said Eleuterio Arcese, President of the ANCR, pointing to the inclusion of reining in the World Equestrian Games and the ‘ultimate goal’ of the Olympics. He continued, "It is with these associations and the FEI that the Italian Reining Horse Association will continue joining efforts, as it has ever since its inception, in order to pursue the goals set forth both at the grass roots and at the elite top of our reining community. The European Championship is yet another important step that the NRHA and the ANCR are making together.”

The qualifying period for the 2002 NRHA European Championship Show ends May 31st, 2002, and each country will qualify five riders per class. Any NRHA Show approved in Europe will qualify exhibitors who are NRHA members to the finals. Riders will compete for individual and team awards at the first European Championship Show in Bolzano, Italy, on July 4-7.

During the ANCR General Meeting, Wall was joined by Italian Equestrian Sports Federation International Activity Director Marco Danese and developments regarding Reining at the World Equestrian Games were discussed. Wall announced that the Classic S Ranch of Reichling, Germany has signed on to be the presenting sponsor of the Reining Division of the WEG. Wall explained that, due to this sponsorship, the added money for the reining competition at the WEG has been raised to $50,000. He concluded by extending all the best to those countries planning to participate at the Gladstone, New Jersey and Reggio Emilia, Italy, qualifying events.

A National Reining Horse Association Judges School and the first European-held Federation Equestre Internationale Judges Course was held February 12-14 in Pieve del Cento, Italy, prior to the Western Riding and Breed Associations’ Convention. Attended by 85 applicant judges and 15 NRHA Judges from throughout Europe, the school was conducted by NRHA Director of Judges and FEI Reining Judges Course Director Allen Mitchels. The school was also highlighted by an address by Wall, who covered specific FEI rules and requirements.

After the European trip, Wall was enthusiastic about the future of reining in Europe. "I think we're on the threshold of a new era for the reining industry." He was also quick to voice his appreciation of the ANCR and President Arcese for hosting him at this event. "I'm grateful to Mr. Arcese and the entire Italian Reining Horse Association for the opportunity to attend and I commend them for the great job they're doing in expanding our industry."