Reining is one of the most demanding disciplines of western horse-riding. Both rider and horse must master different manoeuvres: fast and slow circles, flying lead changes, spins, sliding-stops, rollbacks and rein back, all in combinations of patterns. There are 10 Reining patterns, in which individual parts must be ridden in a fixed order. The tasks must be memorised. Horses of all breeds are accepted.
The rider holds the reins in one hand and guides the horse with as little obvious input as possible, which requires sensitivity and intense training. Reining means not only guiding a horse but controlling his every movement. Any divergence from the detailed tasks is counted as a mistake and is penalized accordingly. Smoothness, finesse, attitude and quickness, however, are rewarded with advantage points.
The name Reining comes from the English word “reins”. Like most classical types of sports, Reining has its roots in the everyday life of people, in this case of American cowboys. To lead big droves through adverse and undeveloped areas, cowboys had to be in the position to change directions with the horse in a flash, to stop abruptly or to race off out of the blue to catch lost cattle.
Western horse-riding is the fastest growing equestrian discipline worldwide. Its popularity has crossed the Atlantic in recent years, extending from the USA to Europe. Western dressage is since 2000 an officially approved discipline of the FEI and a component of world equestrian competitions.