What is Reining

What is Reining

“The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely.”
Jim Willoughby
NRHA Hall of Fame Inductee

What Is Reining?

Reining as a sport was first recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in 1949. Then, nearly two decades later, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) was formed in 1966. The NRHA developed a worldwide membership and standardized rules and patterns.  Now, these rules and patterns are accepted worldwide.

The origins of Reining date back to the Spanish settlers in Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. The settlers included cowboys who needed a quick horse that could maneuver swiftly. While these reining horses had to be able to “stop on a dime”, they also had to change directions quickly and sprint after a cow. Since the cowboy had his own work to do while he was mounted, the horse needed to be able to take cues from its rider without having to place a heavy hand on the reins. These cowboys who pioneered Reining as a discipline, were also known as vaqueros.

It was these very impressive reining horses and their nimble maneuvers that formed the sport of Reining that we know and love today. Though, the sport has evolved significantly from the early days of vaqueros, the light touch of the reins, the agile maneuvers and the suppleness of the Reining horse is still what makes the Reining horse so special.  Reining in Florida is a part of the cowboy history of America.

Showing In Reining

Today, Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena. In NRHA Competition, contestants are required to run a pre-selected, approved pattern.

Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs, 360-degree spins done in place, and exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse. The Reining horse is highly athletic and expertly trained. When choosing the sport of reining, one is choosing a discipline where the reining trainer has put numerous hours into making sure the horse understands and executes every maneuver with precision.

The NRHA Judging System is recognized as the leading format for judging an equine event that combines technical and stylistic elements coupled with consideration of “degree of difficulty.” Many segments of the equine judging discipline have openly embraced the NRHA Judging System.

Throughout the world, the Reining is loved and embraced by over 15,000 NRHA members. With over 1,200 NRHA approved shows throughout the world, there’s no shortage of events! The NRHA shows payout more than $13 million in competition purses each year. It’s clear that the NRHA is doing their part to grow this fantastic sport.

What’s Available at Reining Events?

There’s a program for every level of rider and every age of horse at the NRHA events. You’ll find entry level for those who are learning reining, rookie, youth, non pro and open level reining. Aged events, such as the NRHA Futurity, which is for 3 year old horses is the most prestigious annual event. It’s also the toughest competition and only the very best make it to the finals. The NRHA Derby for 4, 5 and 6 year old horses, typically offers a generous purse and the most competition. Don’t worry about the competition in these events, there are plenty of levels in the sport of Reining for everyone!

The comradery in Reining is appreciated by all.  You’ll find the most supportive reining trainers, non pro riders and show staff at the NRHA reining events. Everyone cheers, lends a hand and is ready to help a fellow Reiner ride his way to a win!

Where the Shows Take Place

If you’re looking to get started with Reining in Florida, you’ll find that Florida Reining Shows are the friendliest of all horse events in the U.S. The Florida Reining Horse Association (FRHA) and the South Florida Reining Horse Association (SFRHA) are dedicated to hosting FUN, FRIENDLY shows for every rider of every level.  Whether you’re looking to be a serious competitor or find a fun new horse hobby to show and make new friends, Reining in Florida has it all.  Many of the best NRHA Professionals make their home in the Sunshine State. Reining Training in Florida is easy to find and easy to get started with! Most of the Reining events in Florida are held in Ocala, Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. With great weather, friendly people and fun events, many Florida Reining Trainers make their home here.

Ready to Get Started in Reining?

Want to learn Reining? The first thing you’ll want to do is buy a good pair of western riding boots, a comfy pair of jeans and look for an NRHA Professional. NRHA Professionals are all qualified to teach you how to be a Reiner, so the most important factor in finding a trainer is to be sure that they understand YOUR goals for the sport and that they have a reputation for honesty and integrity.  There are many options for Reining Trainers in Florida to choose from.


Video courtesy of the NRHA