All you need to know about the new FEI sport of reining

Reining began as a way for ranch hands to showcase the skills used when handling cattle. The aim was to have the best-trained horse performing the required manoeuvres smoothly with the least effort from the rider. This is also the spirit of modern reining.

Today, reining competitors perform one of a series of 10 set “patterns” or tests, which include eight accepted manoeuvres in different sequences. The judge awards or deducts points according to how well each movement is performed.

The manoeuvres

Circles: From the lope (canter), the rider executes two successive large circles followedby one small circle. There should be a visible difference between the speed of the large (fast) and small (slower) circles and the transition to the more collected lope should be smooth and effortless. The circles are performed on both reins and should be of equal size in each direction.

Lead changes: when changing direction in the lope, the horse performs a flying change without altering pace or speed. The change must be performed at a specified place in the arena. A reining arena does not use letter markers, but has four corner posts and two centre markers at either side.

Back ups: like a rein back, the horse is moved backwards in a straight line for at least 10ft (3m).

Rollbacks: The horse pivots around its quarters 180ø to change direction from canter. The horse stops correctly from the lope, turns in one fluid movement and departs at a lope.

Spins: a series of 360ø turns executed around the inside hind leg. The hindquarters should maintain their position, while the front legs and outside hind leg provide a cadenced propulsion.

Stops: from the lope to a stop position by bringing the horse’s hind legs underneath its body, after which the legs lock into position and the hind feet slide along the ground. The front feet should maintain ground contact, forward motion and cadence.

  • Four Nations Cup reining events are being held around the world during 2002. The first is at Warensdorf in Austriaon 24-28 April which will be followed by the two World Equestrian Games qualifiers at Reggio Emilio, Italy (16-19 May) and Gladstone, USA (20-23 June). Germany will be hosting the final event at Offenburg from 26-28 July.

    For more information on reining contact Bill or Carole Archer at the British Reining Horse Association on (tel: 01342 892203) or visit www.britishreining.co.uk.

  • Click here to read about reining gaining FEI status.
  • Click here to find out how to start riding Western.