What is Reining?
Reining is designed to show the athletic ability of the ‘ranch type’ horse in the confines of a show arena. Contestants are required to run one of ten approved patterns, divided into seven or eight manoeuvres, including small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, 360 degree spins done in place, and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse. Despite the seemingly relaxed attitude of both horse and rider and the loose reins typical of the discipline. Reining competitions take place within an arena where markers are used to enable riders to better follow pattern proportions. To allow top performance and ensure soundness, special footing is required.


Required Movements

Walk-in: brings the horse from the gate to the centre of the arena to begin its pattern; should appear relaxed and confident.

Stop: the act of slowing the horse from a lope to a stop position by bringing the hind legs under the horse in a locked position sliding on the hind feet.

Spin: a series of 360-degree turns, executed over a stationary (inside) hind leg; location of hind quarters should be fixed at the start and maintained throughout the spin.

Rollback: a 180-degree reversal of forward motion completed by running to a stop, turning the shoulders back to the opposite direction and departing at a canter, as a continuous motion.

Circle: done at the lope, of designated size and speed; demonstrates control, willingness to guide and degree of difficulty in speed and speed changes.

Hesitate: act of demonstrating horse’s ability to stand in a relaxed manner at a designated time in the pattern; horse should be motionless and relaxed.

Lead change: act of changing the leading legs of the front and rear pairs, at a lope, when changing direction.

Run-down and Run-around: demonstrate control and gradual increase of speed to the stop.


In addition to the required movements, Freestyle Reining provides the opportunity to use manouvres creatively but to expand them to music by means of choreography. Competitors are required to use musical scores, which permit them to show the athletic ability of the horse in a crowd-appealing way.


Reining horses are judged individually. Each horse automatically begins the required pattern with a score of 70. One or ½ points are given or taken away for each manoeuvre. Credit is given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority. Controlled speed in the pattern raises the level of difficulty and makes the reining horse exciting to watch.


Major Competitions
FEI World Equestrian Games
FEI World Reining Masters
FEI World & Continental Championships

Upcoming Events

Jul '21 25
Longines EEF Series

25 July 2021, 11:00 (CEST)
CSIO4* Warsaw
Watch live

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