Reining Explained

Reining is a judged Western Performance event that demonstrates the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena.

At NZRHA competitions, contestants are required to run a pre-selected approved AQHA-NZ / NZRHA pattern.

Each pattern consists of...

Small & Large fast circles

Flying lead changes

360-degree spins done in one place (both directions)

and the iconic Sliding Stop

catherine ace

How Reining is Judged

Each approved pattern is divided into manoeuvres which are individually scored. Each competitor enters the show pen with a score of 70. The judging system analyses the technical and stylish elements of the manoeuvre will taking into consideration the "degree of difficulty".

Manoeuvre Scoring

Each manoeuvre is scored in 0.5 point increments from a low of - 1.5 to a high of + 1.5, with a score of 0 denoting a manoeuvre that is correct with no degree of difficulty. A horse scoring 0 throughout the pattern will complete the pattern with a retained score of 70.

In addition to each manoeuvre being scored individually based on the judges opinion and degree of proficiency shown, other factors can alter the riders score. Points can be deducted for faults depending on the severity.

Examples of serious faults incurring penalty points are:

  • Running on the wrong lead
  • Jogging
  • Under or over spinning anything up to a quarter circle
  • Freezing in a spin
  • Failing to run beyond pattern markers
  • Failing to remain at least 6 metres from a wall of fence when approaching a stop or rollback

Some faults are serious enough to result in a final completion score of 0 (zero).

  • Running off-pattern (performing movements in the wrong order, wrong way, adding manoeuvres not stated in the pattern etc)
  • Backing more than 2 strides
  • Turning more then 90-degrees where not specified in the pattern
RFAT 2022

Competitive Levels For All

There are multiple divisions of competition offered at approved shows to enable competitors at all levels to participate, learn and improve as they master the intricacies of one of the most exciting competition events.

NZRHA offers the following grade levels at all NZRHA approved shows...

Rider Classes:
(Classes based off Rider winnings)

  • Youth Rider
  • Green Rider
  • Novice Rider
  • Open Novice Rider
  • Non Pro
  • Prime Time Non Pro (50 years +)
  • Open

Horse Classes:
(Classes based off Horses winnings)

  • Novice Horse
  • 5 years & Under Snaffle Bit
  • Derby (5 - 8 year old)
  • 9 & Up
Trophies 2

NZRHA Class Classifications

NZRHA offers a large range of classes at approved shows. To find out more information on each of the classes and what the bit requirements are please check out the link below.

Upcoming Events

Keen to check out a NZRHA reining event near you?
Check out our events page.

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