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November 15, 2008 | | Comments 0

Ideal Reining Horses

Reining Horses

Reining Horses

Reining Horses

Among horse riders and owners, reining is considered the American version of the English dressage. This is simply because reining horses, like dressage horses, are required to execute precise movements as prompted by the riders. The movements performed in reigning however differ from those in dressage. The stops and spins performed by reining horses are typically of a Western flavor and are necessary for cattle work.

Reining and the horses used for it were developed from actual practical needs. Cowboys and cattle herders needed horses that could move fast, respond to subtle orders, stop immediately when ordered and quickly change direction. These trait requirements were born out of the challenges and difficulties of cattle handling and herding. Horses had to run after cattle, help direct them and move appropriately even when riders couldn’t hold the reins because they were busy with roping, waving or other tasks.

Reining Horses

Any horse can be trained for reining. The preferred breeds however are of the warmblood and stock type. Horses used for reining must be agile, powerful, intelligent and willing. Some of the most preferred reining breeds are:

  • American Quarter Horse- These horses were particularly developed by early American settlers for short racing purposes. They are ideal reining horses because they have been known to be one of the fastest horses at short distances. This is crucial for chasing after cattle. Quarter horses are also muscular and compact and are neither too short not too tall at a minimum of 14 hands and a maximum of 16 hands.
  • Appaloosa- This breed is an old American horse breed. It was developed by the Native American Nez Perce tribe from the first Spanish horses that came to the continent. Appaloosas are best known for their spotted coats. It is not their characteristic color however but their strong and lean bodies that make them perfect for reining. They are also very sturdy and enduring horses which means they can best survive the rigors of cattle handling.
  • Arabian- This horse breed is one of the oldest and most spirited of the warmbloods. They can make great reining horses though because they are naturally hardy. They are also solid and sturdy but light enough for quick movement. Although they may sometimes have a willful nature, a skillful and respectful rider will always be able to develop gentleness and willingness in an Arabian.
  • Morgan- Morgan reining horses are another all American breed. They are typically fast, strong and enduring which makes them perfect for reining and cattle work. Morgan horses are also generally more manageable and have milder temperaments than some warmbloods.

Reining horses truly posses some of the most desirable horse traits. Although many horse breeds can be trained for reining, it only seems right that horses used for traditional Western disciplines be used. Reining is after all a Western event.

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