For more info on reining, go to the National Reining Horse Association at www.nrha.com
Shaylin's sport is reining - the newest Olympian equestrian sport! Reining is a judged event designed to show off the athletic ability of a ranch type horse in the confines of a show arena. In reining competition, contestants are required to run one of several approved patterns. Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs over the hocks, 360 degree spins done in place and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse. Reining takes place in a specially marked arena so that the competitors can follow the pattern proportions. One marker is set in the center of the arena, and the other two are set at least 50 feet from each end wall. Special footing is also required to protect the equine athletes from injury. The National Reining Horse Association is the governing body for the reining sport. Reining horses can be of any size or breed and are not required by the NRHA to be registered with any breed association. In competitions, reining horses are judged individually as they complete one of several specified patterns. One or more judges will score each horse between 0 and infinity, with 70 denoting an average score. Each horse automatically begins with a score of 70, and points are given or taken away up to 1.5 points on each manuever. Penalties are given when there are incorrect performance manuevers, i.e. a missed lead change. Credit is given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority when performing. Controlled speed in the pattern and the difficulty of the pattern is rewarded with higher scores. The NRHA has ten approved pattern; each pattern is divided into 7 or 8 required movements, or manuevers. These manuevers are: the walk-in, the stop, spins, rollbacks, circles, a hesitiate, lead changes, and run downs and run-arounds. Free style reining is reining set to music, and is often intricately choreographed. In freestyle reining, there must be a minimum of 4 consecutive spins to the right, a minimum of 4 consecutive spins to the left , a minimum of three stops, a minimum of 1 lead change at the canter from right to left and a minimum of 1 lead change at the canter from left to right.