Reining is defined on the NRHA web site as a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena. In NRHA competition, contestants are required to run one of ten approved reining patterns, included in the NRHA Handbook.
Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs over the hocks, 360 degree spins done in place, and exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse.
The Reining Horse Defined
The NRHA handbook further describes the reining horse. It says “To rein a horse is not only to guide him, but also to control his every movement. The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely. Any movement on his own must be considered a lack of control…”
The Art of Reining
Reining originated from the moves that cattle horses adopt when on the job. It was first recognized as a sport in 1949 by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the world’s largest equestrian organization currently counting more than 320,000 members and some four million horses. Its members, be they competitors, coaches, breeders or horse owners, greatly contributed to giving the western ranch type horse the international recognition it enjoys today. The managing body of reining is the NRHA, which originated in 1966. The organization now consist of over 15,000 members and over $1.3 million dollars in prize money being paid out in 2007. In 2000 reining was added by the FEI as its seventh discipline, the only western discipline to be a part of the World Equestrian Games. Reining became a full medal sport in 2002 at the World Equestrian Games in Spain. It is the hope that reining will be included in the 2012 Olympic games in England. In 2010, Lexington, Kentucky will be host to the World Equestrian Games.