The first international event under FEI rules for the sport of reining takes place this month in Italy.

Developed from the training required to produce a horse for cutting cattle, reining is a form of western ‘dressage’.

The horse is controlled mainly from the rider’s legs and seat, with subtle shifts of weight to speed up or slow down, move left or right.

As in a dressage competition, all riders ride the same test or “pattern” – one of 10approved by the National Reining Horse Association, which may include circles at a fast or slow canter, lead changes and “sliding stops”, in which the horse performs a transition from a fast canter to halt, sliding with its hindquarters.Marks are awarded or deducted for the movement itself and the way in which it is executed.

The Quarter horse is considered to be the ideal mount for the sport of reining as its stocky physique and biddable temperament enables it to perform the series of turns and stops with ease. However, a number of other western breeds are also used, and with the correct training, aficionados maintain that most horses could benefit from the “effort and reward” techniques involved in schooling horses for the discipline.

For more information visit the FEI website at www.horsesport.org or contact the American Quarter Horse Association UK (tel: 01303 814879).