Reining horses are a breed apart, known for their power, precision, and athletic ability. These magnificent animals are among the most talented and versatile horses in the world, capable of performing complex maneuvers with ease and grace. In this article, we will explore what makes reining horses so special and why they are beloved by horse enthusiasts around the globe.

The History of Reining Horses

Reining horses have a rich history, rooted in the traditions of the American West. The sport of reining is based on the movements of the working ranch horse, and the goal is to showcase the horse's agility and athleticism. It is believed that reining can be traced back to the early 18th century when Spanish cowboys were tasked with herding cattle in the vast plains of the Southwest.

Over the years, reining evolved into a sport, and in 1949, the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) was founded to regulate the sport and promote the breeding of reining horses. Today, reining is a popular equestrian sport, with competitions held around the world, including the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics.

The Characteristics of Reining Horses

Reining horses are known for their exceptional athletic ability and trainability. These horses are bred for their quickness, agility, and intelligence, making them ideal for the complex maneuvers required in reining competitions. They are typically between 14 and 16 hands tall, with a muscular build, and are known for their incredible speed and power.

Reining horses are also highly intelligent and trainable. They possess an innate ability to understand and respond to their rider's cues, which is essential in the sport of reining. These horses are taught to perform a range of maneuvers, including spins, sliding stops, and rollbacks, with incredible precision and control.

The Training of Reining Horses

The training of reining horses is a highly specialized process that requires patience, skill, and dedication. The training process starts when the horse is young, and it involves building a strong foundation of basic skills, including stopping, turning, and backing up. As the horse progresses, it is trained in more advanced maneuvers, such as spins, rollbacks, and sliding stops.

Reining horses are also trained to perform these maneuvers at high speeds, with incredible control and precision. This level of training requires a great deal of skill and patience from the rider, as well as a strong bond between the horse and rider.

The Competitions of Reining Horses

Reining competitions are a thrilling showcase of the horse's athletic ability and precision. In a reining competition, horse and rider perform a pattern of maneuvers that are scored by a panel of judges. The horse and rider are judged on their precision, control, and athleticism, with penalties given for mistakes or errors.

Reining competitions are divided into different levels, from novice to professional, and there are also competitions for youth riders. The NRHA hosts several major competitions throughout the year, including the NRHA Futurity, Derby, and Affiliate Regional Championships.

The Future of Reining Horses

Reining horses continue to be a popular breed among horse enthusiasts, with the sport of reining growing in popularity around the world. The NRHA is dedicated to promoting the breeding of reining horses and ensuring that the sport continues to grow and evolve.


Reining horses are truly masters of precision and athleticism, with a rich history rooted in the traditions of the American West. These magnificent animals are bred for their exceptional athletic ability and intelligence, making them ideal for the complex maneuvers required in reining competitions. With their speed, power, and agility, reining horses are a true marvel to behold and will continue to captivate horse enthusiasts

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