There are many different types of competition available for Western riding and all test both the horse and riders skill, balance, movements and finesse.
Reining competitions originated from the need to test working cattle horses. During competition horse and rider have to perform a series of movements in a set order according to the pattern they have chosen these movements are judged and marked accordingly with points being both awarded and taken away according to the smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority
From the year 2000 Reining has been a recognized sport of the FEI (Federation Equestre International) and holds competitions such as World Equestrian Games (WEG) every four years, the FEI World Reining Masters which are held every year and the FEI European Championships which are held every two years.
- Walk - in
This marks out the start of the test and brings the horse and rider into the very center of the arena.
This is where the horse slows down and brings its hind legs well underneath the body and locking them into position will cause the horse to go from a lope to a sliding halt.
This is where a series of complete circles are to be ridden by causing the horse to quite literally spin on the spot around one of their hindquarter legs the spin should form a complete 360 degree circle.
Ridden at the lope pace at a set size and speed a high degree of control is required to guide the horse and make the circle accurate.
This is where the horse approaches and runs straight into a halt which is followed by a smooth half turn of 180 degrees which turns the horse around and is then followed by a transition straight off into a canter.
The horse must remain completely still and relaxed for a set time before being asked to move on.
- Lead Change
The horse in a lope is asked to change its leading legs.
- Run-down And Run-around
This demonstrates the horses ability to increase the speed going towards a stop.
Competitors must wear a western hat or safety helmet as well as long sleeved shirt with a collar and cowboy boots. The horse must have on the correct western tack complying with biting regulations.
Other Western Competitions
- Western Pleasure
This where the horse is judged on his paces and transitions as well as how attentive he is to ride.
This is an obstacle course designed to test the horses turning, reversing and gate opening skills.
The rider has to separate a calf off from the herd and drive the calf to the opposite end of the arena whereby the horse will help to prevent it from rejoining the herd.
- Working cow horse
A cow is maneuvered around an area to show off the horses talents and pace and movements.
- Barrel Racing
A course of three barrels has to be raced around in a clover leaf pattern, as quickly as possible without knocking any over.
- Steer wrestling
This originates from when sick or injured calves had to be roped quickly to have veterinary treatment before further injury followed, in steer wrestling a calf is roped and tied as quickly as possible.
- Calf Roping
A calf is roped as quickly as possible.