ERCHA Board of directors

Markus Schopfer, born in 1965, in one of the very first pioneers of the cow horse discipline in Europe. Well known and successful professional trainer of reining, cutting and cow horse, Markus started to act in this discipline since the early beginning in the year 2001, when cow horse was first brought to Italy thanks to the innovating ideas of Maurizio Di Simone. Schopfer was therefore one of the founders of the Europen Reined Cow Horse Association. . As a professional rider, he had achieved all the top titles in all the cow horse event he took part in: Schopfer is multiple ERCHA Futurity Open Champion and Reserve Champion, Multiple Ercha Derby champion and Reserve: he never missed a single Ercha Special Events and Show, all over Europe, collecting all the most prestigious titles and trophies more than once in his career. He has LTE over usd 280.000 in Nrcha, 170.000 in Nrha, and 28.000 in NCHA shows. He is the President of Ercha since 2006, and he has always been part of the association Board of directors, since its foundation.
‘Ercha has grown constantly in the last years, and we are always working on the development of the association and the promotion of this exciting discipline. For the new year 2018, we will work in order to find new, nice locations for the Ercha shows in Europe, in order to organize competitions with high Added money and nice prices.
OTTO DE FAZIOVice President
Augusto De Fazio, better known with his nickname Otto, is a 45 year old sales representative, and he is riding in western disciplines since 1997. In 2005 he started showing in cow horse, under the supervising and training of Markus Schopfer, and since 2010 he became active part in the Ercha Board Of directors. Since the year 2017, he’s also Secretary of the association, and plays a major role in the organisation of all ERCHA shows and activities. Being also Cow Horse Judge, in 2017 he had the great opportunity to see and judge several cow horse competitions, which allowed him to have a clear overall idea of the discipline level, all over Europe. ‘I saw a great increase in interest for cow horse in many countries of the Easter Europe, such as Czech Republic, Poland and especially in France, where the quality of cow horses and riders have growth sensibly. I was called to judge a cow horse event also in Spain, where a found a nice and enthusiastic group of riders, and I was really pleased about that. Therefore, personally, I would like to continue to help these countries to develop cow horse, and improve their quality of the discipline, and also to let other countries know and love cow horse as we do, through the work of ERCHA.
Mike Bartmann was born in 1973 in Worms, Germany. He showed his first cow horse class in 1990 at the youth quarter horse World Cup in Calgary, Canada. He kept on showing in Cowhorse ever since. He became a member of ERCHA pretty much right away when the association was founded in the late 90s. Batmann also became an NRHA and AQHA judge in 1999 and an NRCHA judge in 2011.
His how record is a proof of his interest and talent in the discipline: Youth World Cup Champion Working Cowhorse 1992, Tamworth, Australia; Multiple AQHA and APHA European Champion and German Champion; ERCHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion 2009;
ERCHA Limited Open Futurity Champion 2012; ERCHA Nations Cup Team Reserve Champion 2016.
As member of the Ercha Board of directors, Maik is convinced about the development of cow horse in Europe: ‘I believe we should put a lot of effort in more growth of European regional shows, to get more people involved that will fortunately join the major events later as well. We should Support the youth kids and make it more attractive for them to show, also. It represent the ERCHA and the unique spirit of our association to attract riders of other events/ disciplines to join our family
Maurizio Di Simone, from Bergamo, is a professional Media Marketing promoter, and Breeding Trader in his own activity In Foal Partners. He works as a professional in the horses industry since 1990, and he is the creator of the best and most known horse and breeders logo’s in Europe. Maurizio can be considered the ‘father’ of cow horse in Europe. Pushed by his own interest and passion, he started asking informations about cow horse to the NRCHA, at their stand during the Oklahoma Nrha Futurity in 1998, where he met Mauro Taccia, sharing his same interest in this particular discipline. In the year 2000 the very first cow horse Futurity in Europe was organised in Germany, and since then, with the cooperation with Leonardo Arcese, Grisha Ludwig and other passionated professionals such as Markus Schoepfer, the ERCHA road was set. ‘ I have always followed ERCHA since the very beginning, being one of the founders of the association’ states Di Simone. ‘Then, thanks to the action of some great professional trainers and horsemen, such as Markus Schopfer, Ricky Nicolazzi, Mauro Taccia, the energy of the association and of the discipline started to attract much more people, and helped to increase the number of associates and enthusiastic of cow horse’ said Di Simone. ‘I have also cared about the creation of the unique Ercha Logo, and the development of the Ercha Merchandising, as a way of spreading the cow horse style, and symbol of membership: ERCHA is a family, something people wants to be part of, something dealing with great horses, great sport, passion and great fun. This is what we will work on for: developing all over Europe the sense of membership through all cow horse riders, breeders and enthusiastic, being open to the less experienced riders at regional level, without losing the European identity and top level for experienced riders.
Mauro Taccia was born in Cervignano del Friuli in 1966, and he’s an experienced horses and livestock breeder, in his own facility, and also a professional farrier. He is the perfect ranchman, with a great passion for horses, and cow horses in particular. He started his interest in cow horse in the ‘80s, following the discipline in the States, and he was among the first promoters and founders of the Europen Reined Cow Horse Association, together with Maurizio Di Simone. ‘ I remember when I met with Maurizio during the 1998 OKC Futurity, at the NRCHA stand in OKC, and there we started to think about a project of bringing cow horse in our home country’ told Taccia. In 2001, there was the first cow horse clinic with Grisha Ludwig, sponsored and organized by Arcese QH, and thereafter the very first cow horse Event in Italy was organized, in the old arena of Manerbio. Taccia has been involved in Ercha since then, and he is also Nrcha Judge One A. Taccia is also an experienced rider, who shows the horses he breeds and train, to increase their skills and potential. He is Aqha Congress Futurity Champion and has been showing horses in cow horse, reining and Aqha shows in his whole life. ‘In the last few years the interest in cow horse has grown up quickly, also at a regional level. ERCHA is working to maintain its European and International identity, thus giving space and possibility to learn and show also to riders at a regional level. The final goal for the year 2018 is to spread over France, Spain and other European countries, and at this stage, the idea of the NATION CUP is great: the final aim is to have a show for experienced and finished horses, and this will lead to a better attention to horses, in order to have them fit and sound thru their all life, not only for Special Events, but also afterwards, as elite cow horses, well broken and trained, ridden one hand in bridle.