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What You Need to Know About the National Snaffle Bit Association

Updated: Feb 14, 2021

Governing Association for the World Equestrian Center Winter Spectacular

Gurnee, Illinois - November 3, 2020 – Hunter jumper riders and trainers are, no doubt, intrigued and excited about the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida that will be hosting the 2021 World Equestrian Center (WEC) Winter Spectacular running January 5 – March 28, 2021 at the brand-new facility. The talk is not only about the glamorous facility, which includes a 248-room hotel and spa, shopping, 22 outdoor arenas, four climate controlled indoor arenas, 23 barns and more, but also brings a new governing association to the hunter jumper industry, the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA). Here’s what you need to know about the association, what programs it offers to competitors, and what differences you will notice.


The NSBA was formed in 1983 and is currently headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois. When the NSBA first started, it was a Western Pleasure based association only. They welcomedJune Warrenonto the board in 1986, who advocated for the hunter under saddle horse. Not long after, she had lassoed cowboys and a hunter under saddle division was born. For every addition to Western Pleasure, she made sure a commensurate addition was made for hunter horses. (1)

The association continued to grow with a Stallion Incentive Fund and then a Breeders Championship Futurity. (1)

Today the association includes numerous breed associations, including the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), and they are a strong supporter of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).

The mission of NSBA is to grow the horse show community through programs that benefit the horses, owners, breeders and exhibitors alike. As the hunter jumper division develops within NSBA, stakeholders can look forward to programs that enhance and celebrate success at every level. (2)

NSBA President Johne Dobbs. Photo AQHA Website

At the helm of the organization is President and 2019 AQHA Hall of Famer Johne Dobbs, a former president of the AQHA and life-long competitor. Dobbs also runs an established equine insurance agency affiliated with Markel Insurance, the Johne Dobbs Insurance Agency. 

“NSBA has a longstanding history with the Roberts family, they have been a part of our family for decades,” stated Dobbs. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome the hunter jumper community through the support of the World Equestrian Center. They continue to produce world class events and we are proud to be included as we grow the sport together."

The NSBA consists of nine appointed Officer positions and 12 members on the Board of Directors. The organization plans to add more hunter jumper spots on the board in the future. 

The NSBA hustled to bring this new program to the association with the NSBA Rule Book becoming available around December 1, 2020 with the new parameters.

Executive Director Stephanie Lynn said, “We look forward to complimenting the existing organizations and encouraging hunter jumper participation at all levels. Our goal is to provide alternate opportunities and to grow the show horse sport."

The NSBA works with affiliated organizations to fine tune the horse shows, grow participation, and expand beneficial programs.


For example, NSBA recognized shows will approve United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) judges, AQHA special event judges and American Paint Horse Association (APHA) special event judges. NSBA has a continuing education program for judges and will proceed to fine tune the program as expansion occurs. 


All owners, trainers and riders must be members of the NSBA to compete at NSBA recognized shows including WEC Ocala shows. A regular membership is $65.00 or lifetime of $1,500. Youth (junior) memberships are $35.00. 

Horses must also be registered to participate for a one-time fee of $35.00 ($36.40 online) with a transfer required upon a change of ownership. Exhibitors may register and join at the horse show or pre-register online

Your membership helps to fund the numerous programs offered by the organization.


The NSBA offers many incentive programs for riders, breeders and owners. They continue to put money back in the pockets of competitors through these programs. Some examples include…

NSBA Smart Points

Youth (junior) riders can participate in the Smart Points program, which is a scholarship fund paid out by points accumulated. Riders pay a one-time fee of $25 to enter, then just accumulate points. The scholarship pot is split among the riders turning 18 years of age with 2019 paying out $32.72 per point to recipients. 

Stallion Incentive Fund and Breeders Championship Futurity

The program offers paybacks for those who register and participate. 

Youth Program

The youth program encourages and recognizes participation and achievement of young members and provides valuable service to community organizations and programs through their efforts. (Photo NSBA Website)


The NSBA will reveal the complete award program for Hunter Jumpers in the coming months. Although the NSBA does not have a championship horse show planned for Hunter Jumpers in 2021, the WEC will host a championship show. The NSBA will continue to work on future award programs and championship horse shows. Current award programs include...

  • The NSBA Hall of Fame honors individuals, breeding horses, and show horses annually.

  • Horse of the Year

  • The Quarter Million Dollar Club for riders earning $250,000 or more.

  • Top Money Earners

  • National Division Awards

  • Youth of the Year

Drug Rules

The 2021 Rule Book will list the specific details of allowed substances. The NSBA utilizes the University of Kentucky Lab in Lexington for the testing results. The current drug rules are available in the NSBA Rule Book with the final details available in the 2021 revisions in December.

Horse Show Management

The NSBA works closely with horse show management to develop classes and divisions needed for specific areas of the country. Management can include FEI events as part of the competition and FEI rules would then apply to those events. The NSBA organizes points and standings of recognized competitions, classes and divisions. Stand-alone events are allowed with approval of the NSBA. Many competitions have a dual approval by the NSBA and other organizations. The NSBA welcomes horse show managers to work with the NSBA and apply for shows to be recognized by the association.

Classes and Divisions

Classes and divisions will look the same as the traditional hunter jumper divisions with some added special hunter and jumper classes and plenty of prize money. The prize-list for Ocala will be coming out soon to see the lineup of classes available for the World Equestrian Center (WEC) Winter Spectacular. 

Safe Sport and Suspensions

The NSBA does honor suspension lists of its affiliates, including AQHA, and will abide by suspensions on the USEF list. The NSBA does not require Safe Sport training to participate as they are not a National Governing Body. 


The NSBA has its own foundation, The NSBA Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 organization that provides

funding to support the efforts of the Association through programming specific to the equine industry and the NSBA Membership. The foundation supports the following programs…

  • Equestrians With Disabilities 

  • Heroes on Horses

  • Sponsor A Rider

  • Education

  • Coaches Summit

  • Crisis Fund

  • Tomorrows Horsemen

  • Animal Welfare

  • Championship Fund

NSBA Foundation Chair Jennifer Hulcher. Photo NSBA Website

Jennifer Hulcher, of Pilot Point, Texas, leads the foundation and its outreach programs. Her experience in the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) since the early 70’s along with her community involvement in a variety of charitable organizations such as the United Way, Angel Tree, and the Humane Society of Flower Mound, make her well suited for the position. 

In Summary

The NSBA is a fresh new perspective and option for the hunter jumper industry. While some programs may have a different look, the organization is dedicated to providing the best horse show experience possible and programs that benefit the members directly. Those who have participated in World Equestrian Center Events recognize the enthusiasm and quality the Roberts Family brings to the table and are eager to participate.

The NSBA looks forward to an exciting 2021 and the new program made possible by The Roberts Family and the World Equestrian Center. Information will continue to be provided as it becomes available. 

For more information, visit the website at  Questions can be emailed to the NSBA at

Keep up to date with the news by subscribing to the NSBA news.

National Snaffle Bit Association, Inc.

1391 St. Paul Avenue

Gurnee, IL 60031

Phone: (847) 623-6722

Fax: (847) 625-7435


  1. National Snaffle Bit Association, Wikipedia,, Retrieved October 30, 2020.

  2. NSBA Hunter JumperNational Snaffle Bit, Retrieved October 30, 2020.

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