The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) hands out five awards this year to deserving trainers. These professionals not only had an exceptional 2019, but they’ve been working hard in the reining industry their entire careers. It’s time they’re recognized on a national level for all that they’ve accomplished!
Horseman of the Year—Craig Schmersal
Craig Schmersal began competing in the reining industry as a youth member. He hasn’t missed a NRHA Futurity finals since 1997. He’s trained and shown multiple NRHA Futurity and Derby winners. More recently, he won the 2019 Run for a Million co-champion.
Schmersal is also can active member of the Judge’s Committee. Not only does he coach riders, but he has created training videos for futurity prospects, finished horses, and tack tips.
Becky Hanson Horsewoman of the Year—Abby Mixon
Daughter of NRHA Professional Don Boyd, Abby Mixon grew up in the reining industry. She started showing at the age of 8 and held several NRHA top 10 titles. Mixon launched her career by training with Craig Schmersal and Duane Hicks. Currently, she trains reining horses at her farm in Marietta, Oklahoma. She’s earned more than $391,480 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings.
Non Pro Coach of the Year—Jared Leclair
Jared Leclair has a lifetime earning over $798,000. He started off by working for Steve Simon then became an assistant trainer for Tim McQuay. In 2007, he went out on his own under Leclair Performance Horses. You can find his non pros at the top of the NRHA Top 10 standings, AQHA World Show standings, and North American Affiliate Championships.
Youth Coach of the Year—Mark Guynn
Born in Manitou Springs, Colorado, Mark Guynn attended and graduated from Lamar Community College with a degree in horse management and training. He went on to intern with Joe Taylor before coming home to start Guynn Training Center.
Currently, Guynn coaches two teams of 30 riders with trainers Jimmy Daurio, Nancy Nemmers, and Caylee Parrish. He is deeply committed to the Interscholastic Equestrian Association. His biggest accomplishment is his youth and non pro clients.
Up-and-Coming Professional of the Year—Cade McCutcheon
Cade McCutcheon is the 3rd generation of his family to become a NRHA Million Dollar Rider, at just 19 years old. His parents are NRHA Million Dollar Riders Tom and Mandy McCutcheon. And he’s the grandson of Tim McQuay and Collen McQuay.
McCutcheon became the youngest U.S. reining athlete to compete on the 2018 U. S. Reining team. He helped the USA team secure gold with a score of 229 on Custom Made Gun. He was also a wildcard entry on the Run for a Million and The Last Cowboy series.
Learn more about reining at ‘A Brief History Of Reining‘.