Are you new to reining? Briefly, here’s how this magnificent equestrian sport that you will admire in the Elementa Master competitions was born.
Once Upon a Time there was “the West”. And there were cowboys with horses. When the time came to round up the herds of wild cattle for branding, vaccination and treatment, the ranch-horses that were used to separate animals from the herd were required to be fast and athletic, but also hard-working and calm as their rider guided them through a series of almost acrobatic movements: sliding forwards to cut off the calf as it attempted to run, sudden turnarounds all performed at a flat- out gallop.
This is how reining originated. The sport is a stylized recreation of those movements – dating back through time and yet so modern – that in a certain sense have contributed to making the United States the nation that it is today. Indeed, the breed of horse identified with reining, the Quarter Horse, is a national monument in the USA: they call it “The horse that built America”. The movements described above were then codified in the sporting arena as a series of manoeuvres that make up the “pattern”, that is the succession of actions that must be performed in the show pen. The whole run is performed at high speeds, with the most spectacular manoeuvres being the so-called “spin”, a swirling series of pirouettes that the horse performs by pivoting on its hind legs, and the discipline’s hallmark, the “sliding stop”: the horse stops after accelerating along a straight line and then blocks its hindquarters while advancing with his front legs: the sand of the arena flies up to scenically frame a long, smooth slide.