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Craig Schmersal


Born and raised in Ohio, Craig Schmersal followed his passion for horses to become the 3rd all-time leading rider in the National Reining Horse Association.  Craig, a 5-million-dollar money earner, is the only Level 4 Open champion of all five major events: The Run for a Million, The NRHA Futurity, The NRHA Derby, The National Reining Breeders Classic, and The Quarter Horse Congress. Craig was a multiple-time gold and silver medalist for Team USA at the World Equestrian Games in 2002, 2006, and 2010. Craig was also named the 2019 Horseman of the Year.

Not only is Craig 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. Craig teaches the NRHA Judges School to increase education for judges and 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 two stallions, NRHA Two Million Dollar Sire Pale Face Dunnit (Gunner x Lena Dun It), and No Smoking Required (Gunner x Icing Required), who he showed for most of their careers, further demonstrating his commitment to each aspect of the reining industry, from breeding to showing, at the highest level.


Craig currently resides in Scottsdale, AZ with his wife, Ginger, and their 4 kids, Chris, Nick, Brendyn, and Addisyn. 

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NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider Craig Schmersal has only missed the finals once since 1995. On Saturday night last to enter the Jim Norick Arena in Oklahoma City he burst into the pen knowing he had a nice enough horse to challenge for the lead. He knew he needed a 225 or better to win the coveted title. He focused on performing a clean pattern and trusting his mare for the rest. As the run built, the crowd sensed this could be the one. It was.... READ MORE >>> 

2019 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.

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