Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reining Show Manners

(Picture- Trainers, Lynda Smyth and Sherri Thomson, with AQHA Genuine Jeepers)

One of the most intimidating experiences for someone new to reining, is to go to a show for the first time, and have no idea of what the basic "Rules" are. The following information was taken from Reining Trainer Lynda Smyth's website "forum page. Lynda is a professional reining trainer in Maple Ridge and long time WCRA member. If you are looking for some good solid information on reining and training reining horses, check out Lynda's forums at http://www.manestreamreining.com/forums/index.php?act=idx

Reiner Ring Rules
The reining warm up pen can be tough for both beginners and experienced reiners. Here's some basic rules to follow, to help you survive the warm up pen.
Courtesy and awareness must prevail, so that everyone gets their fair chance to safely warm up their horses. I believe it's up to coaches and trainers to teach their students the proper warm up ring rules, long before show day. 

Just before I get into the ring rules, I'd like to remind everyone that the "warm up" is just that...a warm up. It's a chance to get horses' muscles moving, a chance to let your horse feel the ground, a chance to see the surroundings and a chance for the rider to find her bearings (center and so on).  

Paid warm ups are chunks of time that you can purchase in the main arena to be alone. These "mock" sessions are the reiner's best friend when it comes to schooling in a show environment.

1. Heads Up!! Be aware of everything that is happening around you or else you will literally run in to trouble!
2. Always run your circles towards the judges chair.Do not lope around the perimeter of the arena or in the opposite direction of the flow.
3. Spin during the circling phase, inside the circles that are being run
4. ABSOLUTELY no spinning at the center mark!
5. Avoid stopping at the center mark. Many other riders are trying to hit this spot, keep it clear!
6. Heads up during lead changes or counter canter changes of direction.
7. DO NOT suddenly stop or back up without checking behind you first.
8. Rest your horse in the corners of the arena, walk to perimeter to cool out.
9. Socialize with friends in the corners of the arena.
10. The fencing phase starts about half way through an allotted warm up time,
11. DO NOT lope circles when people are fencing
12. DO NOT fence your horse when people are loping circles.

If you happen to enter the warm up pen and all the rest of the horses are fencing, do not start loping circles. This would be very rude and dangerous. Wait until the fencing is done and then join in the circling. 

The same is true during the circling phase, don't start fencing until the rest of the crowd is ready. Parking your horse against a wall, in rundown preparation, is usually sufficient hint to the rest of the riders that fencing is about to begin.

Lack of knowledge in the warm up pen can cause huge frustration for people who are trying to get their warm up done. If someone is new to reining, and obviously doesn't know the warm up rules, politely explain them! 

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