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Reining Questions

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  • Reining Questions

    Hello all,
    I have ZERO western experience so was looking for insight after watching the new "reality" series about reiners. I am NOT trolling, I'm curious and want to educate myself a bit.

    I'm wondering why the horses are so young when the begin competing, it looks like seriously hard work and I wonder about long term soundness if they begin that hard work so early. (I come from dressage land, so I know that long term soundness issues cross all disciplines).

    I also am curious if the daily work of the horses always includes the intense spins and stops or if that is reserved for brief tune ups and show prep and most of the daily schools are just regular flat work rides.

    Finally, I was watching the work to (I assume) lighten the front end, which to my VERY UNTRAINED eye looked to be done by very short contact with a high hand set and a rather strong bit versus training the sit through other methods.

    The horses are truly beautiful, and clearly are very well trained, so I really am just asking to increase my knowledge about a discipline I know nothing about. I saw a day of reining this year at WEG and found it fascinating..

    thanks in advance ..

  • #2
    Originally posted by islgrl View Post
    Hello all,
    I have ZERO western experience so was looking for insight after watching the new "reality" series about reiners. I am NOT trolling, I'm curious and want to educate myself a bit.

    I'm wondering why the horses are so young when the begin competing, it looks like seriously hard work and I wonder about long term soundness if they begin that hard work so early. (I come from dressage land, so I know that long term soundness issues cross all disciplines).

    I also am curious if the daily work of the horses always includes the intense spins and stops or if that is reserved for brief tune ups and show prep and most of the daily schools are just regular flat work rides.

    Finally, I was watching the work to (I assume) lighten the front end, which to my VERY UNTRAINED eye looked to be done by very short contact with a high hand set and a rather strong bit versus training the sit through other methods.

    The horses are truly beautiful, and clearly are very well trained, so I really am just asking to increase my knowledge about a discipline I know nothing about. I saw a day of reining this year at WEG and found it fascinating..

    thanks in advance ..
    Impossible to answer so many questions in a few words.

    When you are building an athlete, if you start when young and they grow up geared for that task that will require talent and adaptation to it, think gymnasts/basketball/football/tennis players, those that start very early acquiring that motor memory and fitness for that task will end up being the best at it, horses included.

    There have been plenty of studies now showing that with race horses.

    Now, the down side is, as you train, you have to train properly for the stage of growth and fitness and maturity as is happening or you may not use that adaptation to the task properly, not training hard enough or too hard.
    Not hard enough, you won't be as competitive as those that do.
    Too hard, you may cause injuries.

    If you don't train early and appropriately, then you won't achieve those goals of best possible athletic performance and won't be at the top of the game you are playing.

    That is true for everyone, reining horses included.

    Watching trainers start plenty of colts, they know which ones are coming along, which are still a little too green to ask much from, which are early maturing ones and you can push early and be further ahead when they start competing.
    Reiners start showing at the middle and end of their three calendar year, the big futurity first of December, a few smaller ones in the summer.
    Plenty of those showing in the earlier futurities are still ridden two handed then, others are already one handed, all are there by the big futurity.

    Plenty of trainers scratch a colt the first few shows if it is not ready, maybe has trouble concentrating in the show venue.
    Even when competing, if they come out of a qualifying class a little too tired and did qualify, they will scratch the horse or just give it a seasoning run, not ask much of the colt.

    No one expects a futurity horse to perform at the level they will when older and more seasoned.
    If you watch futurity runs, you will see many mistakes, along with brilliant execution also.
    You won't see the precision an older horse will show.

    Any one that has trained seriously for a hard task knows what it takes, the goals and risks.
    We bred and raise and train horses for just that, compete with them, if it is racing, jumping, reining, whatever we do with them.
    The horses we use for their intended discipline that demands a top athletic effort, they need to be started as is best for that task.
    For many of those, starting them early has been shown to be best.

    On the other end, as a horse is getting more mature, older, as humans do also, their competition powers diminish and youngsters will shine then against them.
    Those top horses if they show in their later years are then participating at lower levels, but their talent and seasoning can make them tops there also, many as junior mounts.
    Two I had years ago are still sound, happily showing in their twenties and winning, at their now appropriate lower, less demanding level.

    As always, no matter what you do, is how you do it that counts.
    When you start a youngster is not as important as that it be done sensibly, for that individual.
    There are bad trainers that will not do right for their horses no matter when they start or compete with them.
    Those are the ones that we need to object to, not the date a horse is started, trained or competed with.

    Hope that helps with that question.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks Bluey. Really great info!

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey! Thanks for the questions. I do not show Reining but ride Reined Cowhorse and ride with an accomplished Reining trainer. Yes, they are started early, usually the beginning of their two year old year. As Bluey stated, studies have shown early work helps strengthen the tendons and ligaments. A Reining horse and cowhorse have the biggest opportunity to make money in their 3-5 years when they compete in futrities and derbies. I personally am a bigger fan of derbies than futrities. As far as long term soundness, you would be surprised! NRHA has started 7 and up derbies to highlight the older horses. The older ones are gererally extremely broke, know their job and make fantastic bridle horses for non pros.

        Just as a for instance, I have two myself. Both were started as two year olds and shown in the Snaffle Bit Futrity. I just retired my favorite horse at 14. He is physically sound(in fact was just injected at the age of 14 for the first time). I “retired” him because I needed a more competitive horse. He is now my practice/fun horse. I bought a 14 year old bridle horse that was only shown by a professional. He is fantastic! Again, he has yet to need injections. They are built to work and the amount of breakdowns is way overhyped.

        The way a trainer works his/her horses is really individualized. Some trainers drill everyday, some do not. It depends on the trainers program, the horse and what their plans are for the horse. In my experience, the younger ones are drilled on maneuvers that are sticky. The older horses are kept in shape and conditioned. Before a show, the maneuvers are practiced outside of the pattern but that is about it. The goal for most trainers is long term mental and physical soundness.

        As far as the training method you saw, it may have been to pick up the shoulders. If the horses shoulder is not up, it will dump on its front end. That particular method is usually just a reminder to the horse (if that was the part you were talking about.)

        You should go take a lesson! It is a ton a fun and the horses are so well trained!

        Comment


        • #5
          Good post Bluey and spotnnotfarm .

          To expand, there is a growth period in a young horse's life where exercise and progressive loading builds a very strong and athletic body, and you won't get that same strong physical foundation if you miss that growth period. You have to stress the body, and the body responds by building stronger tissues and bones. The art of training and horsemanship is hitting that sweet spot, and pushing the horse hard enough to build a strong body, but not break it down. That is across ALL disciplines. You do not wait until the horse is "mature" or "done growing."

          The tv editors will focus on the flashy stuff like stops and spins. Most trainers know that it's all the stuff leading up to the stop or spin that makes the stop or spin good, so most people are doing exercises to fix the issues the horse stuggles with on a daily basis, and they don't do much stopping, spinning or lead changing. As in all disciplines, you want your horse balanced front to back, side to side, and moving off your leg and soft in your hand. And you want the horse to keep this balance when you turn, go, stop, transition, etc. For every stop or spin you see, there is probably 30+ minutes of not stopping and not spinning.
          "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by islgrl View Post

            I also am curious if the daily work of the horses always includes the intense spins and stops or if that is reserved for brief tune ups and show prep and most of the daily schools are just regular flat work rides.
            Great responses to your questions so far but I just want to add that yes, spins and stops are worked on most every ride but keep in mind (for example) that they might only stop them like that 2 or 3 times on one ride and that's it. They are not doing it repeatedly, over, and over. The rest of the time is spent teaching body control, leg aids, rein aids, etc etc and just getting the horse really really broke. (what a dressage person would call "flat work")



            It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by spotnnotfarm View Post


              You should go take a lesson! It is a ton a fun and the horses are so well trained!
              I wish I could! There isn't a western barn within 100 miles of me I would wager...

              I went to Wyoming a couple years ago and tried desperately to find a place I could take a cutting horse lesson but didn't succeed. The western stuff looks super fun to me. While I will never give up dressage, which is part of my soul, if I had all the money in the world I've always said I would have a string of horses ranging from dressage to eventing to western disciplines so I could do all the things!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by islgrl View Post

                I wish I could! There isn't a western barn within 100 miles of me I would wager...

                I went to Wyoming a couple years ago and tried desperately to find a place I could take a cutting horse lesson but didn't succeed. The western stuff looks super fun to me. While I will never give up dressage, which is part of my soul, if I had all the money in the world I've always said I would have a string of horses ranging from dressage to eventing to western disciplines so I could do all the things!
                You may be surprised, try this:

                https://nrha.com

                There click on resources and see if you can find someone close by that could help you.
                They have some very active reining stables in the East.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                  You may be surprised, try this:

                  https://nrha.com

                  There click on resources and see if you can find someone close by that could help you.
                  They have some very active reining stables in the East.
                  Awesome, there is one in my state!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    On that TV show, which I really liked. It’s honest with both horses and people, there’s a scene that answers your question in episode 1. Trainer is on a 3 year old palomino colt starting to evaluate it for consideration as a top priority this season. Thing has a real life brat moment and started hopping around and popping up.

                    Trainer sits on him saying “Really”. Steps off, pats him on the butt and says “ He needs another year”. This despite heavy pressure to find a third primary competition horse ready to go on the road within a month.

                    Other main question is, just like Jumping, Racing or any other disciple, you mainly work on building the skills to develop the competition requirements rather then the complete movement. Mastering these skills allows the desired result when you put everything together in competition. It’s a long slow building process. Some ‘“get it” and the physical ability faster then others, some might wash out along the way or divert to a lesser competition level if they show that's where they fit best.

                    Have to say the overhead shots of the spins were amazing on the top horses. Really see them holding the bend through the revolutions and stopping right on target instead of over rotating. Insert shot of a figure skater was a nice analogy. That’s some riding. Also clearly shows where pluses and minuses occur.

                    So far, good show to watch and learn. I even learned a few things, like the leg protection they use today and what a tight hamstring actually looks like and a little lecture on how to avoid it.

                    Keep in mind you aren’t going to like every little detail. Try to look through that, sometimes you’ll get an explanation that answers your questions. Kind if reminds me of the Road to the MacClay reality show over in HJ land, same caliber of rider within their peer group and competition..
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment

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