Sliding stops, spins, circles, roll backs, and lead changes. A reining pattern is three whole minutes of thrill. To the novice viewer it may look simple however the hours of training that it takes to get horses ready to compete in the reining class, and especially if they are going to succeed, takes months and maybe even years of initial training then followed by hours of schooling to keep horses at their peak of performance. Now you may ask why would you even be interested in showing in reining? For one there is a bunch of money up for grabs. To date there are over 20, million dollar sires, 12 two million dollar sires, and it doesn’t stop there, Topsail Whiz is a nine million dollar sire! Now these sires didn’t win all of the money, their offspring has shown and won hundreds of thousands and even a million dollars to help get these sires to the stature that they are at.
So what is reining even about? There are a total of twelve patterns all with the same maneuvers just asked for at different times. To score well the horse must stop well, spin and stop on a mark with one foot planted, circle correctly, roll back sharply and with finesse, and perform a minimum of two flying lead changes in the center of the pen. All while the horse responds to the rider at the exact moment the rider asks without fuss or hesitation and most certainly without anticipation. Pictured is Custom Satisfaction a 2005 sorrel mare whose sire Custom Crome is a three million dollar sire.
A horses hooves are the base on which he walks, therefore healthy hooves are important in keeping a healthy horse. Part of good horse husbandry is to clean out your horses hooves every day. This eliminates feces and other debris such as rocks that can get embedded in the horse’s hoof and cause an abscess or thrush, both of which can cause the temporary, or if severe, permanent loss of use of the horse if not treated. Also just as important as keeping hooves clean is to keep the hooves regularly trimmed or shod. Horses should be shod or trimmed every 6-8 weeks and some times more often if they are heavily exercised causing rapid hoof growth. Pictured is a horse that suffered an abscess that came out the coronary band and caused a weakening of the wall of the hoof to the point that the wall broke off. The dead hoof wall was removed further to allow for new growth to occur and prevent further breakage.
Every day we spend hours communicated with one another. Would you have ever guessed that horses do the same? Although they may not talk or text horses still communicate with each other to maintain herd dynamics. Most horse communication is done through body language. For example in the picture below the horse closest to the camera (Joker) is driving or telling the horse in front of it (Slick) to move. By pinning his ears and moving towards Slick’s hindquarters Joker most effectively moves Slick wherever he wants him to go. This is just a very brief example of how horses communicate. Ears and the tail give very clear signs of what a horse might be trying to tell you. For a more detailed look into the world of horse communication click here.