Horse Previews Magazine website - Posted on 05/07/2001; 2:00:00PM.

Welcome To The World of Reining

You sit on the sidelines of a perfectly groomed arena. Two judges are seated in chairs along one side of the arena with a scribe setting next to each judge. A single horse and rider team enters the arena and proceeds toward the center; they pause at the center, and without any detectable effort, the rider guides the horse into spins to the right. The spins start out slow and correct, and gradually gain momentum, just when you think the pair can't spin any faster, the horse stops perfectly straight on facing the judges just as accurately as they started. You hear various whoops and "yeas" emanating from the crowd. The rider then guides the horse into four spins in the opposite direction, and with as much speed and correctness as the first set of spins the pair stop again dead on facing the judges.

The crowd rewards the horse and rider team with more verbal appreciation. The team pauses again and then departs to a lope and into large circles that engulf one half of the arena, each circle coming precisely through the middle of the arena where the spins occurred, and even though there were two circles executed at great speed, there are only one set of tracks in the arena. At the center of the arena, the pair comes into what appears to be a third circle, and magically, the horse slows down still in a lope, but the lope is so slow, you would swear the horse is crawling. Again, more hoots resound from the audience. A second size of circle now appears in the arena, this circle being very small in comparison to the first two. At the conclusion of this small circle, the rider guides the horse through the center of the arena and into large circles in the opposite direction, the flying lead change that just occurred, so the horse could change direction, was so smooth and quiet, you didn't even detect the lead change transpired. The team quietly continues on, and circles just as precise and in the same variation of speed appear in a mirror image to those circles the pair first completed.

Again, the pair come through the center of the arena after the small, slow circle is completed, the horse changes leads so quiet, the rider could have been carrying a glass of water and would not have spilled a drop. The team begins what appears to be another circle, yet once the pair has rounded the end of the arena, they continue straight down the arena, parallel to the wall. As the team lopes down the arena, the pair gradually gain speed, and just before the end of the arena the horse melts into the most perfect sliding stop you have ever witnessed. The horses front legs keep loping while the back feet are sliding over the ground, his tail flowing behind and puffy clouds of dust billow from around the horses almost seated haunches. The crowd erupts into cheers and applause.

The pair pause momentarily, just before they execute a rollback over the horses haunches and lope out in the opposite direction from which they just came, but again in the same set of tracks that brought them to the maneuver initially. The team then lopes up and around the end of the arena, and slowly builds speed as they lope down the opposite wall of the arena, again steadily building more and more speed, and magically melt into another sliding stop, leaving long parallel slide marks in the perfectly prepared ground of the arena. The crowd responds by cheering even louder. One last time, the pair rollback over the haunches of the horse, and lope off in the opposite direction from which they came, again in the same set of tracks that were laid on the journey to the just executed stop. The horse and rider then round the end of the arena one last time and build speed to the final stop. The final stop is as soft and perfect as the previous two have been, the horse slides for what seems to be forever, when the pair come to a complete stop, the horse and rider then back straight up at a lightening pace and in a perfectly straight line. The audience rises to their feet, the applause and cheers are deafening, and the rider rewards her horse with a well-deserved scratch upon her steed's neck. She rides to the judges where she dismounts and takes the horses bridle off to have one judge check the bridle. As the team is walking from the arena, the announcers voice booms over the speakers: the score is a 73 from judge one and a score of 73 from judge number two for a total of 146! The winner of this evenings class is........................................and that's when my daydream ends as I am snapped back to reality by the loud speaker that announces that my horse and I are now "in the hole" ; a term that simply means, be paying attention as there are only two riders remaining before it's your turn in the arena to show.

Reining is a sport in the horse world that has a long history, but is growing with popularity in leaps and bounds. Reining is, in it's simplest form, a pre-determined pattern that is to be executed, with very specific components, in which a horse and rider earn or lose points for each specific portion of the said pattern. The most points a team can earn for each maneuver is 11/2, in increments of 1/2 points, depending upon the quality of the executed task. Conversely, the horse and rider can also lose up to 11/2 points for each maneuver. Everyone entering the arena starts with a base score of 70, and then points are added or deducted from that base. Penalty points may also be "accrued" in addition to the scores of each maneuver. The entire goal of the sport is to stay away from accruing the penalties, and earn as many additional 1/2 point increments as you can. Sounds easy and straightforward, you say to yourself. Yes it does, however in all of my years of participating in this sport, this simple goal still eludes me on a very regular basis. In fact, I'm very happy on the days (which are few and far between) that I simply neither gain nor lose any maneuver points, and have zero penalty points, thereby making my final score a 70. Now you can see why the previous narration is a HUGE daydream upon my part, as scoring a 70 is tough for me let alone scoring a 73! Ah, but a girl must have her goals in life, and this is but one of mine. A goal I may never reach, but a goal just the same.

So you would like to adventure into the world of reining. What do you need? Where do you start? You of course need a horse, and some basic understanding of the terminology involved in the sport. It would also be worth your time to do your homework by attending some reining shows as a spectator to see what is available in your area. One of the best ways to start out in this sport is to find a local club that you can join so that you have a place to ask questions, where the questions can be answered and you can learn the ins and outs of the sport. There are many excellent grass roots reining horse clubs here in the Inland Northwest. The Reining Horse Association of the Northwest and the Columbia Basin Reiners are two such organizations. Either of these clubs are an excellent place to break into the reining horse world. These clubs have places for the greenest of horses and/or riders, as well as a place for the advanced horse-person. Both clubs have a series of shows each year with a finale of year end awards. The best attribute of such clubs is the camaraderie that you will experience with your fellow horsemen. Some of my greatest friendships have started via meeting and showing with the people in each of these clubs. Listed at the end of this article are various contact names for the two aforementioned groups. Happy Reining!

Reining Horse Association of the Northwest

2001 RHANW Officers

President-Wayne Tippett, Clarkston, WA 509.758.9179

Vice Pres- Debbie Fortner, Waitsburg, WA 509.337.6324

Secretary-Diana Tippett, Clarkston, WA 509.758.9179

Treasurer-Candis Claiborn, Moscow, ID

2001 RHANW Show Dates

May 19, Lewiston, ID * 8:45am warmup, 10am show

Contact Wayne Tippett 509-758-9179

June 23, Dayton, WA * 8:45 warmup, 10am show

Contact Debbie Fortner 509-337-6324

July 21, Spokane Equest. Center * 8:45 warmup, 10am show

Contact Robin 509-456-0321

Sept 15, Pasco WA * 8:45 warmup, 10am show

Contact Steve Jasper 509-582-3317

Oct 6, Finals, Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds

8am show Contact Robin 509-456-0321

Columbia Basin Reiners

2001 CBR Officers

President-Steve Jasper, Pasco, WA 509.582.3317

Vice Pres-Keith Johnson, Pasco, WA

Secretary-Shirley Requard, Kennewick, WA

Treasurer-Linda Brockman, Kennewick, WA

2001 CBR Show Dates and Locations

May 5, Pasco, WA, Keith and Lois Johnson's arena

June 8, (Fri night) Pasco Saddle Club, Summerfest

Aug 4, Location to be announced

Sept 15, Pasco, WA, in conjunction with RHANW show

Contact for all shows: Steve Jasper 509.582.3317

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