April 5, 2008

The international popularity of reining has led the National Reining Horse Association to develop the first NRHA European Futurity and derby to be held in 2009.

The NRHA European Futurity "Open to the World" will be held March 9-15, 2009, in Manerbio, Italy. The event will showcase four-year-old reining horses and riders will compete for close to half a million dollars in prize money. The event is made possible through a generous offer from NRHA Hall of Fame member, Eleuterio Arcese, of Verona, Italy. Mr. Arcese has promised backing for four years to the NRHA European Futurity and the NRHA European Derby.

Frank Costantini, NRHA Executive Board member and Chair of the RHSF International Development Committee, has worked closely with Arcese to bring this major NRHA event to Europe. "The European Futurity has been a goal of Eleuterio Arcese for a number of years. Mr Arcese's desire was to include the whole world and not just the continent of Europe. To do that, we devised a plan so it would not impede any other futurities, especially the NRHA Futurity." Riders can show their three-year-olds in other futurities and then they can compete in the NRHA European Futurity in early spring of the following year when they are four year olds.

The dates for the 2009 NRHA European Derby have not been finalized yet. Both events will be NRHA approved and run under NRHA rules.

The NRHAs European membership has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2003, there were 1,283 members in Europe and in 2007 that number has more than doubled to 2,877, a 124 % increase in the past four years. The number of NRHA approved shows in Europe has also doubled. In 2003, there were 61 NRHA approved shows compared to 120 in 2007.