Reining is an equestrian sport that originated in the United States as a way to showcase the skills of ranch horses. It is a Western riding discipline that requires a horse and rider to perform a precise pattern of circles, spins, and stops. The horse must be responsive and in tune with its rider, and the pattern is judged on its accuracy, smoothness, and athleticism.
The most common breed of horse used in reining is the American Quarter Horse, but any breed of horse can compete. Quarter Horses are known for their athleticism, speed, and agility, which are all essential qualities for reining. Other breeds that are commonly used in reining include Appaloosas, Paints, and Arabians.
A reining pattern typically includes eight to twelve movements, which are performed at two gaits: the lope (a slow, three-beat gait) and the gallop (a four-beat gait). The movements include:
- Circles: The horse must perform large, fast circles at a near-gallop and smaller, slow circles at a lope. They should be perfectly round, with the rider dictating the pace of the horse. There should be an easily seen change of speed as the rider transitions from the large, fast to the small, slow circles. Most circles incorporate changes of direction that require a flying change of lead.
- Spins: The horse must spin 360 degrees in either direction. The spin should be smooth and controlled, with the horse's head and neck held high.
- Stops: The horse must come to a complete stop from a gallop in a controlled manner. The stop should be so sudden that the horse's hindquarters slide on the ground.
- Figure-8s: The horse must perform a figure-8 pattern, alternating between circles and spins.
- Rollbacks: The horse must perform a rollback, which is a 180-degree turn from a lope to a stop.
Reining is a challenging and exciting sport that requires a high level of skill and training from both the horse and rider. It is a great way to showcase the athleticism and beauty of Western horses, and it is a popular spectator sport as well.
Here are some additional facts about reining:
- The sport was first recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association in 1949.
- Reining was an Olympic demonstration sport in 1960 and 1968.
- The highest governing body for reining is the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).
- The most prestigious reining competition in the world is the NRHA Futurity, which is held annually in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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Reining: Boemil Twin Robotop - the only Appaloosa in the Individual Finals
Reining competition is open to all breeds of horses. Though the American Quarter Horses dominate the field, American Paint Horses, Arabians, Morgans and Appaloosas are among some of the breeds seen at reining shows world-wide.
Appaloosas have competed successfully in the sport for many years and have made their presence known winning many classes and earning worthwhile purses and prizes. In 1986, Gunsmokes Skeeter became the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) all-time leading Appaloosa money earner. Barbara Mazziotta’s 1983 mare (Boss Nowata Star x Mr Gunsmokes Doll) was shown exclusively by Terry Thompson to win $30,174. During the 2011 National Reining Breeders Classic, Frank Marley’s Some Kinda Shine (Shine Of A Kind x Precious Lady D) topped that mark with NRHA Professional Matt Mills aboard. The Appaloosa stallion racked up more than $30,517 in NRHA LTE.
2014 welcomed another change. The highly sought-after title now belongs to Boemil Twin Robotop with $32,570 in NRHA LTE. Boemil Twin Robotop, bred by Emilio Bonoperti, is by Topsail Speckles and out of Boemil Valentwin. Lara Lorengo, of Italy, has owned and shown the 2006 stallion for almost four years earning many a prestigious event. The duo was on the Italian Young Riders team that conquered the Gold medal at the FEI European Reining Championshipin 2013. All of the stallion’s earnings have been accumulated at NRHA shows in Europe only.
In the 1st Individual qualifier during the 2014 Games, Giuseppe Prevosti, riding for Team Italy, qualified the talented stallion, aka ‘Raiden’ for the Individual finals. “I’ve had this amazing stallion in training ever since he was a 2-year-old. He belongs to my fiancé, Lara, and has always been shown in non pro competition by her. This year we decided to try to qualify him for the Games and I must admit that she was the one that really believed this dream could come true. Here he proved that he was able to step up big time,” says Prevosti. “He’s the best minded horse I’ve ever been around and even though he’s been in the breeding barn, it never comes out when he’s in the pen. My goal here was to do the best we could and hold high the Italian flag – we now look forward to the finals!”
The much awaited for individual finals count 21 horse-rider combinations. All are Amercian Quarter Horses except for Boemil Twin Robotop!