What is Reining?
Reining is a Western riding discipline where horses are guided through a series of circles, spins and stops. It’s all done at a lope and gallop. When competing, each horse has to complete a specific NRHA reining pattern precisely, or they loose points. The horse should be calm and relaxed and can lose points for pinning its ears back, running sideways or appearing agitated in any way. The horse and rider can either plus or minus each maneuver, depending on how well they perform it.
Needless to say, training a reining horse takes an incredible amount of skill and patience. Dany is passionate about the sport and has worked to improve his skills from a young age. He uses that passion and experience to train reining horses and aspiring riders for professional competitions.
(Regulations below are adapted from: "2012 NRHA Handbook")
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. All deviations from the exact written pattern must be considered a lack of/or temporary loss of control and therefore a fault that must be marked down according to severity of deviation. After deducting all faults, set here within, against execution of the pattern and the horse’s overall performance, credit should be given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority of performing various maneuvers, while using controlled speed which raises the difficulty level and makes him more exciting and pleasing to watch to an audience. The official guideline for the application for the rules for judging shall be as specified in the NRHA Judges Guide.
The scoring will be on a basis of zero (0) to Infinity, with seventy (70) denoting an average performance. The individual maneuvers are scored in one-half (1⁄2) point increments from a low of -1½ to a high of +1½ (one and onehalf) with a score of zero (0) denoting a maneuver that is correct with no degree of difficulty. Scores will be announced after each horse works.
(1) The (walk-in) into the ring: The horse enters and goes to the center of the arena . The horse should appear relaxed and reassured. Any action which may produce an appearance of intimidation, which include the (checking ) of the face is a fault, which is annotated according to severity, with the score of the first maneuver.
(2) Sliding Stop: Is the action of the horse, running to a complete stop, bringing the hind legs to a locked position and sliding . The horse must start off by arching the back and bringing the hind legs further under his body while maintaining forward motion and keeping contact with the ground. Throughout the duration of the sliding stop, the horse should continue in a straight line while maintaining the posterior in contact with the ground.
(3) Spins: Have a series of pivots 360 °, while keeping the hind leg stationary. The position of the hindquarters should be fixed at the beginning of the maneuver and be hand held during spins. This maneuver is evaluated based upon speed, attitude and, finesse. Penalties are given for in over and under spinning based on severity.
(4) The Roll-Back: Is a 180° reversal of the forward motion, made after stopping. The Horse must not step forward, not backward before executing the maneuver.
(5) Circles: Are maneuvers gallop with designated size and speed. They must demonstrate control, acceptance (by the horse) to be guided and degree of difficulty in speed and transition speed. The circles should be run at any time to the specific location or as specified in the description of the pattern and must have a common central point. There must be a clear difference between the speed and the diameter of a circle small and slow speed and diameter of a circle large and fast.
(6) The back: Is a maneuver requiring the horse to back in a straight line for a distance required for at least 3 meters (10 feet).
(7) The hesitation: Demonstrates the ability of the horse to maintain a position released at a designated place in the pattern. The horse is required to remain still and relaxed. All reining patterns require a hesitation at the end of the maneuvers to demonstrate to the judge (s) that the pattern is complete.