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 that are 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. Each rider has a starting score of 70 and the individual manoeuvres are scored in ½ point increments from a low of –1 ½ to a high of +1 ½ with a score of 0 denoting a manoeuvre that is correct with no degree of difficulty.
Riders scores count towards team and individual competitions.
Meet the British Reining squad
- Stops from a lope (canter) to a stop position by bringing the hind legs under the horse, lock into position and slide on the hind feet. The front feet should maintain ground contact, forward motion, and cadence.
- Spins are a series of 360 degree turns executed around the pivot (inside) hind leg. The hindquarters should maintain their position whilst the front legs and outside rear leg provide cadenced propulsion.
- Rollbacks are 180 degree reversals of forward motion – the horse stopping correctly from a canter and in one fluid motion executing a 180 degree turn and departing at a canter.
- Circles are large fast and small slow with the horse maintaining form and willingness to be guided. There must be a clearly defined difference in size and speed, and the circles on one side should be mirrored by those on the other side as to size and speed.
- Lead changes are the act of changing the leading leg of the horse when changing direction. There should be no change of pace or speed, and must be performed in exact geographical position of the arena, as specified in the pattern, and in the same stride.
- Back up requires the horse to be moved backwards in a straight line, a minimum of 10 feet (3 metres).