About Us

Event Officials Resource Page

Welcome to the Event Officials Resource Page. The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) mission is to promote the reining horse worldwide, while celebrating and advancing the finest traditions of western horsemanship. NRHA show officials, judges and stewards are an integral part in accomplishing this mission throughout the reining industry. 

Event Officials Program

The mission of the Event Officials Program (EOP) is to accredit, certify, and provide continuing education to all event officials, stewards and judges, for NRHA sanctioned events. The resources available within the EOP webpage are designed to assist NRHA judges & stewards in their official roles. By doing so, the EOP is enhancing and upholding the integrity of reining at all levels. This level of excellence and professionalism is an inherent and integral part of our program and our industry. 


In NRHA competition, reining horses are judged individually as they complete one of nearly two dozen specified patterns. One or more judges score each horse between 0 and infinity with 70 denoting an average score. Each horse automatically begins the pattern with a 70. The judge can either add or deduct up to 1½ points on each maneuver in half-point increments based on the "quality" of the maneuver. Penalties are also allocated for minor deviations from the pattern; major deviations result in a zero score for the go. As the judges watch the horse’s execution of the pattern, a scribe keeps track of each judge’s maneuver scores and penalty marks. Scores are then tabulated and announced at the end of each run. The judge’s sheets with individual maneuver scores and total scores are then posted for the benefit of the exhibitors following each class.

In scoring, credit is given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority when performing the various maneuvers. Controlled speed in the pattern raises the level of difficulty and makes the reining horse more exciting and pleasing to watch. Increased level of difficulty is rewarded with higher scores if the maneuvers are performed correctly. 

The NRHA Handbook states:
"To rein a horse is not only to guide him, but to control his every movement."

Unchanged since 1966, that statement serves as the definitive guide to the judging of reining events.