USA’s biggest reining groups kicked out of FEI

Horse sport’s world governing body the FEI has terminated its agreements with the American Quarter Horse

Association (AQHA) and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA).

FEI Secretary-General Sabrina Ibáñez told delegates to the FEI General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain, that the two US-based reining bodies were in breach of the terms of their cooperation agreement with the FEI.

“In order to ensure the integrity of the discipline and maintain a level playing field for all athletes competing in FEI Reining, the agreement with these two bodies has now been terminated.”

Both the AQHA and NRHA have been informed by the FEI that a binding commitment to implement the FEI rules on anti-doping, stewarding requirements and the age of competing horses are prerequisites for any future cooperation.

Ibáñez advised delegates that FEI Reining events will continue, and invited National Federations to provide feedback to the FEI on how they see the future of the discipline at international level.

Reining became an FEI discipline in 2004, and the FEI signed a cooperation agreement with the NRHA and the AQHA in 2014.The agreement covered areas of common interest including horse welfare, FEI Rules and Regulations, FEI Clean Sport, stewarding, education and FEI recognition.

Under the agreement, the FEI had sole jurisdiction over reining competitions for horses aged seven years and over, and the NRHA and AQHA managed all competitions for horses of six years and under. An exception was made for WEG 2014 in Normandy, where six-year-old horses were eligible to compete.

The NRHA, based in Oklahoma City, was formed in 1966 and brings together more than 19,000 members, including 1400 youngsters.

The AQHA, in Amarillo, Texas, was created in 1940 and is the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organisation. It first recognised reining as a sport in 1949.