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History of the Northeast Reining Horse Association

As an Affiliate of the NRHA, NERHA contributes  to the National programs providing many opportunities for Youth, the Reining horse Sports Foundation, The North American Affiliate Champion program, future FEI programs, World Champion Titles, and so much more.  NRHA has over 15,000 members and is spreading across the globe, including Europe, South America, Australia, and beyond!

Here in the Northeast, the NERHA hosts multiple reining events offering several divisions of competition thereby enabling riders to compete at all levels, from NRHA Hall of Fame Riders to World Champions, FEI (Olympic) contenders, Youth, Prime Time, Rookies, Green Reiner's and Short Stirrup. Our reining shows also offer multiple levels of horse divisions, making certain that all level of horses from Green, to Novice, Futurity, Derby, Maturity and everything in between are represented.  Our goal is to welcome all riders, and their horses, to have a family friendly, fun filled show experience.

Reining is not your typical horse show, if you are looking for a fresh new experience, where competitors cheer each other on while enjoying a common yet individual goal of improving their horsemanship and their horses, be sure to check out one of our shows.

Reining began as a way to show what the "western" horse could do in the absence of a rope or cow. By the late 1950's Reining had seeded itself in the Midwest. Under the personal influence of Dale Wilkinson (hailed as the father of Reining) of Findlay, OH, this event was fine tuned with style, finesse and elegant horsemanship. It has emerged as the premier western horses show event.

In 1966, the National Reining Horse Association, also based in Ohio, was formed to promote the sport of Reining to all breeds of horses. The NRHA has since moved to Oklahoma City, OK, and remains today as the governing body of worldwide Reining.

New England owners were anxious to bring their nationally renowned reining horse’s home to compete. New England trainers (Bill Waterman, Tom McDowell, Joe Delano - all who trained under Dale Wilkinson) were anxious to have careers locally as reining trainers. Together they formed a strong association amongst themselves to promote reining in the Northeast.

In 1975, with the support of family, friends and reining enthusiasts new and old, the NERHA was born. In the beginning NERHA used the format of the NRHA, organizing and subsidizing classes at AQHA and other interstate shows. NERHA began midweek "money night" Reining events. Clinics and demonstrations were also offered, open to all interested. Reining classes already existed for the seasoned reiner but there was need to reach a wider group of riders. NERHA used a little Yankee ingenuity and, in a bold move, created reining classes for the beginner. Today the vision from the 70's has evolved into the well-received "Rookie" division of the NRHA. By 1979 Reining interest had grown enough to allow the NERHA, with the support of the NEQHA, to add a reining futurity.

During the 1980's Reining grew rapidly and became an industry of its own. One could easily find reining horses, trainers and breeders throughout the Northeast. The NERHA began offering large sums of money to class prizes.

By 1984 the NERHA was still sponsoring reining classes and hosting its own reining show, the Super Slide-In. The Super Slide-In is still the largest Reining event hosted by the NERHA.

As the NERHA evolved, club members unselfishly gave their time and expertise to the promotion of reining. From an NERHA founder, Dave Hodges, came the idea of the NRHA Affiliate Circuit Championships inaugurated in the early 1990's. It continues to be a strong goal for many reiners.

NERHA members continue year after year to receive national honors. Today NERHA can boast to be not only one of the first NRHA affiliates, but one of the largest and most influential. NERHA is strong and growing and our contributions to Reining continue today.


Last Update 01/19/2015 - Copyright 2014 Northeast Reining Horse Association   
Site Management Susan Feldman - web/Graphic Design Karin Hinzmann