The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) strives to recognize excellence amongst its members. The NRHA Professionals of the Year awards are just one avenue for showcasing the accomplishments of reining trainers in the industry.
Horseman of the Year—Craig Schmersal
A staple in the industry since competing as a youth member, Craig Schmersal hasn’t missed the NRHA Futurity finals since 1997. His most recent major win came when he was crowned the 2019 Run for a Million co-champion. The NRHA Four Million Dollar rider not only specializes in training, showing, and selling futurity and derby horses, but also breeds prospects that regularly become champions in the arena. He’s trained and shown multiple NRHA Futurity and Derby winners, including winning the 2017 NRHA Futurity on his homegrown mare Face The Attitude. He’s earned multiple FEI team and individual medals, and multiple AQHA World Championships. He trains every horse as an individual and finds ways to maximize their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
Not only is Schmersal known for his contributions within the arena, but outside of it as well. As an active member of the Judge’s Committee, Schmersal is committed to the industry and continually trying to better it for horses and riders alike. He is often seen teaching Secrets of Judging courses to increase education for riders, as well. Along with educating in this way, he’s also created training videos to help demonstrate techniques for finished horses and futurity prospects and even covers proper tack tips.
Schmersal also promotes NRHA Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit (Gunner x Lena Dun It), who he also showed for most of his career in the show pen, further demonstrating his commitment to each aspect of the reining industry, from breeding to showing, at the highest level.