Reining is a sport designed to show the athletic ability of a western type of horse in a show arena. It is included in a World Equestrian Games every four years and has either a World or European Championship in every other year.
In reining, competitors are required to run one of several approved patterns; each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs, 360 degree spins, back ups and exciting sliding stops (the hallmark of the reining horse). Horse and rider combinations perform the ‘patterns’ in front of 5 judges at different positions in the arena, the International Federation specifies the pattern for each stage of a competition.
The Team Championship and Individual Qualifiers run over the first two days, with the team medal decided on the second day of competition. Each combination perform the same ‘pattern’ (as specified by the FEI) in front of five judges. All riders start on a score of 70 - individual manoeuvers are scored (based on correctness and difficulty) in ½ point increments, from a low of -1 ½ to a high of +1 ½ - a score of 0 indicates a correct movement with no degree of difficulty.
The second individual qualifying competition is for riders ranked 16-35 after the team test (the top fifteen placed riders from the team competition qualify automatically for the Final and therefore do not contest this round). The format and scoring for this competition works in the same way as the team test but they perform a different pattern (specified by the FEI). The top five qualify for the individual final.
The Final sees the twenty qualified combinations come forward (from the qualifying rounds); competitors compete in reverse order to their qualifying results. All combinations compete the same pattern (again specified by the FEI); the winner is the combination with the highest score.