Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 5/7/98; 2:00:00PM.

NRHA: USET Adds Reining As Sixth Discipline

The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Board of Trustees has voted to assume responsibility for the international riding discipline of Reining. At its January meeting in Wellington, FL, the USET Board voted to add Reining as the sixth discipline in which the USET fields teams for international competitions. Previously, the USET has been responsible for fielding teams in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing, as well as Combined Driving and Endurance Riding.

The three Olympic disciplines have been under USET jurisdiction since the USET was founded in 1950. Combined Driving was added to the USET roster in 1979 and Endurance Riding was added in 1992.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the USET," said USET Executive Director Robert C. Standish. "The level of interest in Reining is staggering. Reiners going to international events will now be representing the USET and this is sure to have a significant impact on our membership and donor support."

Reining, one of the most popular western equine events, is open to all breeds of horses and is designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena. Horses are judged on specific movements, mastery of prescribed maneuvers and attitude as they are guided through particular patterns. Enthusiastic cheers are elicited from crowds as horses perform slow circles, large fast circles, lead changes, spins, rollbacks and the hallmark of the reining horse- the sliding stop.

In administering its newest discipline the USET will work closely with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), which first approved Reining as a recognized event in 1949, and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), which has governed the sport of Reining since its inception in 1966. Headquartered in Amarillo, TX, the AQHA is the world's largest breed organization with some 315,000 members worldwide. The NRHA, located in Coshocton, OH, is responsible for enforcing the sport's standards of competition, promoting the sport and educating about the proper performance of the Reining horse in the show arena. In 1997, AQHA approved 5329 reining classes in 17 countries and NRHA approved 265 shows paying $2.3 million in prize money and had members in 30 countries. Both organizations welcomed the association with the USET.

"We are extremely excited about Reining becoming the first western discipline within the United States Equestrian Team, and we look forward to Reining someday being introduced into Olympic competition," said Ginger Hyland, President of the American Quarter Horse Association. "Reining is a popular western-style activity and one in which the American Quarter Horse excels. We are confident our members will enjoy this new level of exposure for reining and for the American Quarter Horse."

According to NRHA President, Frank Costantini, "No equine sport has been on a faster track than Reining in the past 10 years. With the liaison established with the USET, Reining will begin a new era in international equine competition."

The USET will appoint a nine-member Reining Committee. As with the USET's other discipline committees, the Reining Committee will make recommendations to the USET Executive Committee and Board of Trustees regarding all matters pertaining to reining.

Additionally, Reining riders will elect an active riders committee. This committee, as do the USET's other active rider or driver committees, will advise the Reining Committee as to their concerns.

As was the case when endurance riding was added in 1992, the USET Board will review the new relationship with Reining two years from now and after that vote on whether or not to make the relationship permanent. As part of the agreement, Reining will make its USET debut at the 1998 Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions, June 18-21 at the USET's headquarters and Olympic training center in Gladstone, NJ. It is hoped that a new arena designed specifically for Reining will be completed in time for the exciting debut.

"Each year people come to Gladstone for the Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions to see our nation's top horses, riders and drivers compete in exciting world-class competition," said Standish. "There is no doubt that once they see reining at this year's Festival that they will become hooked on this discipline and support it as they do our other USET disciplines."

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