Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse in the confines of a show arena. Contestants work individually. In reining competition, contestants are required to run one of several approved patterns. Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, rollbacks over the hocks, a series of 360 degree spins done in place, and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse. To rein a horse is not only to guide him, but also to control his every movement. The best reined horse should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely. Any movement on his own must be considered a lack of control. Any one of the 12 AQHA-approved reining patterns may be used and is used by all contestants in the class. Reining is offered in Open-, Amateur-, and Youth divisions.

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