Reining Today

 

Reining Today

Reining Today in the World Competitions is like watching a Formal Rodeo.

 
Lusitano-008In reining today the horse and rider perform a set of moves which are done perfectly and within a specific time frame.   The horse and man are supposed to think and act as one.   The use or abuse of natural or artificial aids is not approved. Both parties in the team are supposed to go through the exercises in an orderly fashion, maintain the required speed without too much communication between them.   The horse should not only be able to complete the exercises but he must not show any signs of discomfort or resistance.   In a few words, he should be happy to be doing whatever he is doing.
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Lusitano-028FEI recognized reining today as an equestrian discipline in the year 2000.   It was first introduced into the World Equestrian Games in the year 2002.   Since then it has grown in Europe and other parts of the world.   Riders have become very enthusiastic about the sport.   Reining is also a sport that has attracted many followers who enjoy the speed and excitement with which each move is done.

The FEI Reining World Competition requires that the man and horse team complete between eight and twelve routines which vary in difficulty and speed.   Some of the exercises or parts of the exercises are done at the canter and others at full gallop.   These are the types of routine that must be included:
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  • Circles- The team must first execute a series of large circles in the arena at a fast gallop.   The horse must maintain the same size on each circle and the tracks must be within the same range too.   They should be completely round and the rider is responsible for changing the pace or travel speed.   After the large circles are finished the team must complete another series of smaller circles but these are done at the canter.   The same rules apply, the circles must be perfectly round and the horse must canter over the same track.   In professional competitions a flying change must be executed to change the direction in which the horse is going a couple of times without losing the rhythm and sequence of the ride.
  • Flying Lead Change- Several flying lead changes must be executed at different speeds.   These must be done in mid-stride and both the front and hind legs must change lead.   If only the front changes the lead, the team is penalized.   The change of lead must not be noticed by the judge and the horse may not lose its timing nor speed while doing it.   If the horse changes the lead ahead of time or after the right moment or requires more than one stride to do it, the team is also penalized.
  • Rundown- A rundown is a burst of sudden speed that the team executes on the long side of the arena for approximately six meters.   The horse must stop suddenly in the exact spot he has to without sliding for too long or losing composure.   Once it stops completely it must regain its footing and stand at a halt.   Stopping the horse must not be seen as requiring an effort from the rider.   It must be a natural act.   Neither horse nor man should change their position or balance while stopping.   The rider must remain erect on the saddle with the reins tight but without pulling the horse’s mouth back.   Excessive pressure on the reins and horse’s mouth is penalized and may lead to elimination because of cruelty or harm to the animal.
  • Back or Backup- The horse is backed up smoothly for approximately three meters in a straight line.   There must be no hesitation from him and he must simply walk without turning his head or making any attempts to leave the straight line it is following.   The rider must not jerk on the reins or apply excessive force either.   The horse must perform this exercise willingly and with confidence.   This move is judged by the cooperation of the horse and the straightness of the track line it leaves behind.
  • Pause or Hesitate- After some of the most exciting and fast events the horse is required to stand at a halt without moving.   He must just wait for the rider’s next command.   The horse must stand at ease without moving its head or legs in any way.   This exercise is done almost always after the spin exercise where the horse spends a lot of energy and moves a lot.   This is used to determine the horse’s obedience and patience towards the rider.   Horses that are uncomfortable or angry because of what they are doing do not stand still for too long waiting for commands.   They simply try to move on or act nervously.   If the horse does not remain at a complete standstill the team is penalized.
  • Sliding Stop- This one of the favorite moves performed during a reining competition.   The horse starts at full gallop and suddenly when it is going full speed, leans backwards on its hind quarters and breaks to a stop sliding forward while dust flies all around.   The front legs are kept straight in front of the horse and must remain so until the slide stops.   The slide should be done in a straight line while the horse and rider hold their position without changing or moving sideways or any other way.   The hind quarters must be tucked almost under the horse while the front legs remain straight and even.   When the slide stops the horse must remain in position for a few seconds before standing.   The standing process must be gentle and even while the rider keeps his seat unperturbed.
  • Spins or Turnaround- This is an interesting event too, the horse stands still and then begins a three hundred and sixty degree turn while pivoting on its inside hind quarter.   Depending on the type of competition the horse may have to do up to five complete turns around the pivoting foot.   The circle must remain close and correct.   The pivoting leg may be raised a little but it must land within a given area each time.   The spins are measured and the landing must take place within a given area.   If the horse over or under spins penalties apply.   The horse must spin both ways several times to complete the exercise and he must change directions in the designated area always.   If again, the team over or under spins, penalties apply.   The judges look at consistency, smoothness and the speed in which the horse spins.   The faster it does the better score it will get.
  • Rollback- Right after completing a slide the horse turns one hundred and eighty degrees and immediately takes off at a canter.   The horse must turn on its hindquarters and its legs must be well tucked in under the body.   There should be no hesitation or pause between the slide and the one hundred and eighty degree turn.   The transition must be smooth and without hesitation.   The rider must swing with the horse as if they were one and not hang on either side as the horse turns.   The rider must at all times remain erect and poised on his seat while the horse executes its moves.

Lusitano-047This is a very interesting event where even though the riders are all dressed up with regulation equestrian gear.   They are not dressed as cowboys.   The audience feels like it is sitting on a wooden fence watching cowboys play around with their horses in the corral.   Many equestrian schools around the world have now started training children and young adults to perform this feat in an attempt to increase its popularity in competitions.
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