American Pharoah and reining horses?

“Stacy, is Smokey (This Whiz Shines), Bob Baffert’s stable pony, any relation to Roxy or your other horses?”-Linda L. Yes…Roxy, Jac, and Newt would all be related. It gets kinda complicated but, for the most part, it would be a different versions of ‘cousins’.  Not sure what we’re talking about? Keep on reading. If you have been keeping up with American Pharoah’s races and workouts you may have noticed the buckskin  Quarter Horse that is often with him. His name is ‘This Whiz Shines’ aka Smokey…and he was a reining horse before becoming a well known pony horse at the track. The AQHA did a great article on both Bob Baffert and his Quarter Horses that you can read online. It turns out that This Whiz Shines isn’t the only reining-horse-turned-pony-horse out there. Will you be watching today? 2015 BELMONT STAKES Television time: 3:30-6 p.m. on NBC. Post time: 5:50 p.m. Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra   Will American Pharoah join this elite group? The 11 previous Triple Crown winners: 1919: Sir Barton 1930: Gallant Fox 1935: Omaha 1937: War Admiral 1941: Whirlaway 1943: Count Fleet 1946: Assault 1948: Citation 1973: Secretariat 1977: Seattle Slew 1978:...

Listen to the crowd: cheering styles during reining horse events

Last night while watching the finals of the reining futurity at the All American Quarter Horse Congress I had fun listening to the crowd. I decided to video the reining…but with the emphasis on how the crowd sounded. Can you identify the maneuver based on the cheering? Watch the video and see if you can guess what the crowd is cheering for…then watch to see if you were correct. What is your favorite cheer? Whoops, woos or whistles? What other cheers can you identify?...

How are reining horses scored when they show?

“Stacy, I’ve been watching the live feed from Congress, can you tell us a bit about the scoring… I’ve also been watching a bit and I’d think one rider wasn’t as good as someone who had received 203.5 and they got 209. They didn’t look as smooth and leaning forward more??? How do they score?” Jennifer W. The scoring system in reining is one of the things I like best about it…but it won’t be easy to cover completely here. I’m not sure what two runs you saw but one of the easiest explanations could be that the horse that looked smoother may have had penalty points. That could explain one ride looking generally smoother and yet, if they missed going past a marker or the horse slipped out of lead for just one stride the penalty points would have drastically changed the score. A very basic way to look at the way the reining is judged is that each maneuver, lets say 4 spins to the right, gets a score and also could have penalties. In the example of the spin a horse could do a good spin and get a +1/2 but if they don’t stop where they are supposed to they could get a penalty -1/2. The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) has a great DVD that shows examples of horses and their scores. I also found this page that has some of the NRHA’s ‘Inside Reining’ videos on it which will help further explain the judging. The paragraph that explains the general idea of reining, inside the NRHA rulebook is called A. General and I...

Freestyle choreography: Reining, dressage, do it yourself or hire a pro

“I have recently thinking about trying freestyle reining. One of my stumbling blocks is the actual choreography of the routine. I know some of my dressage friends hire professional freestyle dressage choreographers. How do you choreograph your routines? Do you do it yourself? Do you hire someone to help?”-Janna L. I have watched dressage freestyle and can see the benefit of having a professional choreographer. The routines are amazing and for most of the performance the maneuvers they execute are VERY timed with the music. In general the reining freestyles are not as precisely timed to the music. The reiners also tend to pick popular songs and dress to fit the music, often ‘acting’ out their interpretation of the song. Dressage riders are more likely to mix and create the music…but skip the costume. I choreograph my own freestyles. All of the reiners I have talked to, as well as several of my friends, have choreographed their own with input and suggestions  from friends. I don’t know any professional freestyle reining choreographers, maybe if reining makes it into the Olympics this will become a profession. Whether the routine is choreographed by a pro or by you, here are some common themes you will see among great freestyle. the tempo of the song must match the horse– in dressage they match the music precisely to the step. In reining keep in mind that a horse with short strides will probably look out of time if the music is long and flowing. strong maneuvers win-you are still being judged by the maneuvers you perform-keep them clean and precise. Something may sound fun to do...

What should you look for in your first horse?

“How do you know what a horse is really suited for in the way of a discipline? I am new to riding and looking at a beautiful 8 year old palomino mare… walker…. She has not been worked in awhile but we connected immediately! These are naive questions, but can you train for barrels, reining, or what breeds are more suited for particular disciplines? She is really smart and special!! Thanks so much” …. Rozanne Buying a horse is a big deal, especially if you are new to riding. This generally means that you will have less experience and, like any other area of life, less experience means your direction is probably not as clear. It is good that you are asking questions like this one but at the same time it is possible that a year from now you will have a better idea of the direction you are headed. I am going to answer your question from several different angles. First, many breeds can compete at lower levels in a variety of disciplines. When you look at the high levels in specific disciplines you will tend to see certain breeds that excel. Sometimes breeds are lumped into categories because they have similarities. For example, if someone says that the ‘stock breeds’ tend to excel in reining they are lumping Quarter Horses, Paints and Appaloosas together under one title. If you are looking at a walking horse it would be good to look at what areas they excel in and see if those appeal to you. When considering what appeals to you think about what the majority of...