NRHA Names Professionals of the Year

Among the National Reining Horse Association honorees is AQHA's new executive director of shows and judges, Pete Kyle.

National Reining Horse Association

Pete Kyle, the new AQHA executive director of shows and judges, earned the 2013 NRHA Professional Youth Coach of the Year award. (Credit: Journal)

The National Reining Horse Association Professionals Committee approved the following NRHA professional awards of 2013 during a meeting in National Reining Breeders Classic in Katy, Texas.
NRHA Professional Youth Coach of the Year

Pete Kyle of Whitesboro, Texas, has been an NRHA professional since 2003. With NRHA lifetime earnings of nearly $557,000, Kyle serves many roles worldwide in the reining community such as United States Equestrian Foundation chairman of the reining committee, president of USA Reining and he serves on the Sweden-based Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) reining committee. Kyle serves as the FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championship team coach at the competition in Lexington, Kentucky.

“The experience Pete cultivated was much more than just winning gold medals and representing Team USA on the podium. The youth were given the opportunity to interact with the international equestrian community, cultivate an appreciation for the diverse equestrian disciplines, become skilled with the usage of media and communication skills to promote the sport of reining and become part of all the ‘team spirit’ that grew from the experience,” expressed one nominator.

Find out more about Pete Kyle at

AQHA announced April 16 that Pete Kyle will begin his duties as the AQHA executive director of shows and judges in June.
NRHA Professional Horseman of the Year 

Josh Visser of Whitesboro, Texas, has been an NRHA professional since 2007. With NRHA lifetime earnings of more than $177,500, he was elected to the NRHA executive committee, where he currently serves. Visser is also a member of several other NRHA committees. Visser has several finalist accomplishments in NRHA major events. Outside of the show pen, Visser donates countless hours to working with NRHA to grow the sport of reining. At the 2013 AdequanNorth American Affiliate Championships, Visser Reining Horses (Josh and his wife, Carri) donated bikes to third place in all 15 NAAC classes.

Over the past couple of years, Visser has donated his time working with firefighters and police officers who competed during the NRHA Futurity in the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation benefit. Recently, he volunteered to assist a reining para-athlete during the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. In addition, Visser donated his expertise to countless clinics and other fundraising events to benefit the youth of NRHA and National Reining Horse Youth Association.

Find our more about Josh Visser at
NRHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year 
Carol Metcalf of Pilot Point, Texas, has been an NRHA professional since 2005 with NRHA lifetime earnings of nearly $200,000. In 2004, Metcalf was the intermediate and limited open champion at the NRHA Futurity. She also has won innumerable AQHA world championships and was the 1996 AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year.

According to Metcalf, "Every student has his or her own individual qualities. We appreciate the good qualities, but focus on the weaknesses and try to bring them up to the same level as their best qualities. Then, it all balances out." 

Read more at 

Carol operates Metcalf Quarter Horses with her husband, Steve, and their son, Carter.
NRHA Professional Non-Pro Coach of the Year
Mark Rafacz of Citra, Florida, has been an NRHA professional since 2004. With NRHA lifetime earnings of more than $168,000, Rafacz's nominations were filled with accolades about how much he loves the sport of reining. Having coached many top 10 and NRHA world champions, Rafacz still finds time to donate his time to NRHA regional clinics that benefit the NRHyA. Along with his wife, Shannon, the Rafaczs sponsor many shows around the Southeast region.

One nominator said, "Mark is truly unlike any other non pro coach in the country. He is kind, determined, competitive and he has a special talent for riding reining horses and coaching non pro clients."

Find out more about Mark Rafacz at
NRHA Professional Up-And-Coming Trainer of the Year

Jimmy Van Der Hoeven of Whitesboro, Texas, has been an NRHA professional since 2012 and an NRHA member since 2002. With NRHA lifetime earnings of more than $250,000, Van Der Hoeven came to the U.S. from Holland in 2010 virtually unknown and he has grown into one of NRHA’s top professionals. Riding Black Hails Gold, Van Der Hoeven was the 2013 NRHA Futurity Level 3 open champion and Level 4 open third place. Van Der Hoeven donates his time as well returning to Holland and providing a free clinic there.

A nominator said, “He has a great work ethic, he works until the job is done no matter how long it takes. I feel that it will not be very long before we see him among the ranks of million dollar riders.”

Find out more about Jimmy Van Der Hoeven at

NRHA Professionals Award Program

The NRHA Professionals Award Program was established by the NRHA Professionals Committee to recognize outstanding individuals in their profession. To be eligible, each individual had to be a member of the NRHA Professionals Program during 2013. With a deadline of March 1, NRHA members nominated candidates in all five categories, including information regarding the nominee’s character, professionalism and the reason(s) he/she deserved the award. The committee then reviewed the nominations and selected the award winners.

Award winners will be honored at the NRHA Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Banquet June 26, 2014. NRHA Professionals of the Year will receive custom Montana Silversmiths spurs. The banquet will be held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Banquet tickets may be purchased at or 405-946-7400.

Before a horse can spin and slide, he needs the basics. Build the right foundation with "A Focus on Fundamentals" in the May American Quarter Horse Journal.