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The FEI is introducing an international series for reining next year, with the inaugural World Reining Masters Series Finals held in conjunction with the 2004 NRHA Futurity & Championship Show in Oklahoma City, USA.

The series will include qualifying events – with significant prize money on offer – for individual riders competing on horses that are six-years-old and older.

“It is hoped that the World Reining Master Series will encourage the continued growth of reining internationally, perhaps leading up to Olympic participation,” says FEI Reining Committee Chairman Frank Costantini.

“One of the goals of the program is to introduce reining to even more countries than participated in its debut at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain. We are hoping that a minimum of fifteen countries will participate in the Reining Masters Series in 2004.”

Reining was first accepted by the FEI for international competition in 2000, and was included in the 2002 World Equestrian Games.

“The FEI is very proud to announce these opportunities for reining,” says FEI sports director Michael Stone. “Building on the momentum reining created during the 2002 World Equestrian Games, the Reining Masters Series will be an effective tool in the continued development and promotion of international reining events.”

The 2005 World Reining Masters Finals are likely to be held at a venue in Europe.

Boost for British reining

Britain’s Francesca Sternberg is lying second in the world non-pro rankings with her six-year-old stallion, Smart A Little, after a successful European campaign in which she competed in seven events in six weeks, netting £50,000 in prize-money.

It is believed to be the first time that a European rider has reached such a high level in the rankings, which are dominated by the Americans.