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Riding a reiner?
Hi friends - I know its been quite some time since I have been on but I thought maybe my friends at DE could offer some insight. I am going to start riding a horse who is a trained reiner. I am wondering if reiners are cued any differently? All I know about him is that his only real job has been as a reiner but that was years ago. He's been here quite a while and he can't really be used as a lesson horse due to him being "too broke", most of the lesson kids here are strictly walk-trot. So basically he stands around doing nothing. Since I have nothing to ride and he needs something to do it was suggested that I start riding him. I don't intend to start reining, just riding around the arena once in a while. Every website I have looked at is filled with information on how to train a horse various reining manuevers, but nothing about what to do when the horse knows them and the rider does not. I want to make sure I push all the right buttons and none of the wrong ones. Any insight would be appreciated!
I'm going out on a limb since I've never ridden a reining horse but I don't think you'd have any trouble just riding him. The manuevers a reining horse does...roll backs, sliding stops, flying lead changes, etc. are requested using specific cues via hands, seat & legs with the help of bits and spurs.

I'd think if you ride him as if he was a pleasure horse, he'll respond as a pleasure horse. Depending on his training, he might respond more quickly but I don't think he'd spin if you ask him to turn or slide on his butt if you ask him to stop.

As with any new horse, you'll have to get used to him and he'll need to learn what you want. Just take it slow and easy till you get to know each other. Keep us posted on the progress and we'd love to see pictures!

Karen ~ Trails  
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

As PG said, I'm no expert either, but I would think as she does that riding for pleasure would not be all that much different from riding any other well-trained horse. However, I think you should be ready for quicker reactions to your cues than you would get with other horses. For example, if you put him up into a lope and then ask him to stop, I would be ready for a quick stop! Otherwise, you might end up going over the handlebars!
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer

Hi elizNY - I have a horse who was recently at a trainer that taught him some basic reining moves. When I ride my horse at home, I start out walking and getting him to collect into a nice frame and relax. Once we have reached this I will begin using specific cues to ask for turns to the left and right using either the front or hind end, stopping, forward motion and backing up with my seat. The trainer is a very accomplished rider and of course my horse is used to his refined cues. I have noticed that when I begin asking for the specific moves, I am 'clumsy' and sometimes ask for more than one move at a time [:O] It's like Nakota becomes super sensitive to my weight and body postion in the saddle once I start asking for specific movements and 'reads' my clumsy attempts to keep my weight even in the saddle, etc. In a long winded way, I guess I am trying to say that I think as long as you don't ask for specific movements, the horse will be fine for pleasure riding. If that even makes any sense....
You will love riding a finished reiner. You do need to use your feet for guidance and not rely on the reins for steering. Look at how the pro reiners have their stirrups shortened to help them stay seated during stops as they use the bent legs for leverage. Like someone else mentioned, you can fly forward if this one puts the breaks on too fast without you being prepared. There are lots of video clips of reiners and working cow horse people on the internet that can show you some cues.

Overall, they are so supple and just like other well trained horses he should recognize you are not looking for +1 spins and stops! Have fun.
South West Illinois

When someone shows you who they are,...believe them. ~Maya Angelou
Lucky, lucky you!!!

I took a couple years worth of lessons on a finished (showing) reiner. What an incredible horse. Riding a reiner is like driving a very high performance sports car - they can go from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds and stop just as quickly!!!

My advise is to sit in the center of the saddle, keep your shoulders square and your butt in the saddle, and basically throw your reins away. The horse I rode, rode off body language, with very little leg and rein. Shift your weight onto the outside seat bone, push down and you were into a lope. Keep your butt still and you got a nice soft slow lope, move forward just a bit and he kept picking up speed. Sit and push down and you got a stop with no reins.

One thing to NOT do, is put your weight on your outside seatbone, look in that direction and casually lay your inside leg on him. After you have spun a dozen circles and you finally figure out what is happening to you, take your legs off and say WHOA!!!

I really envy you, I am still riding babies - they are getting there - but it would be so nice to have a finished horse again.

If SBower sees this she should be able to give you more help. She has taken over her daughters finished reiner.

Good luck and let us know your experiences.
Biggest thing to remember is to sit on your pockets and keep your legs relaxed as squeezing with your calves is in fact the gas pedal.

Best thing you can do is get on him and go get a feel for him at the walk, jog/trot and lope. You can practice getting a feel for his stops from the walk first, jog next, so on and so forth until you're proficent at the slower gates I would not attempt it from the lope . Drop you weight in your seat,lean your shoulders back behind vertical, push your feet forward, ankles turned (toes turned out),stop riding and say wwwwwwhhhhhhhhhoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, very slowly. You may or may not need to pick up on the reins slightly as that depends on the individual horse.

Additionally this horse should be able to transition down from the lope to a jog and walk, so until you get your feel and timing down from the walk/jog/trot to the stop, I would transition his down to one of those when first loping him, rather than going from the lope to the stop otherwise the below tends to happen.

What you don't want to do is to tense up,squeezing him with your feet/legs and pull on him when asking for the stop. That illicits what I call the "whoa..go" response and what happens is the horse will start to stop, then leap forward (as per the accidental leg cue) and you'll be kissing him between the ears.

The great thing about a finish reiner, (depending upon if they're stingy or lazy) is that he will equalize his tallent with your skill level. As you progress and get more proficient at riding him, his skill level will continue up the scale to whatever training/proficeincy he had in the showpen, provided your skills and abilities are at that level. He'll never give you more than what you ask.

So go swing a leg over that sucker and get a feel for him. Be VERY light with your hands and you leg cues, sit in the middle of him and get comfortable and most of all enjoy!
Well, I have heard he is a bit lazy from a few people who have ridden him (I have not ridden him yet). I guess I am trying to figure out if this is just his nature, or if he is just responding to how he is being ridden. The general consensus is that he is hard to get moving, and you have to keep at him to keep moving, but they "ooh and aah" about once he gets moving. No one at this barn has any experience reining so I don't really have anyone to explain how a reiner is trained and what they respond to. I have seen him ridden at the WTC but it was a long time ago and I really didn't pay any attention. He is everyone's first choice for a rock-solid trail horse so in the last year and a half or so, I have only seen him plod along around the property occasionally. When I get up on a new horse, I tend to "take ahold of" the reins, and then start with a heel bump to move forward (progressing to the "thump" and the "whomp" as needed). Is it safe to say start with a loose rein and calf squeeze rather than rein contact and heel bump/tap?
...I would ask the folks who HAVE ridden him or been riding him how he responds to the bit contact, leg squeeze etc. They must be able to share something I would think.

Most reining horses are very sensitive to any aids such as seat,leg, body, that it shouldn't take much. If he is considered "lazy", it is probable that the "plod along around the property" has bored him silly or he has come to ignore any cues due to the inexperienced rider.

I would...GET ON HIM AND TRY HIM YOURSELF.... just a thought. [Big Grin]

It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.
Karen-Anchorage, Alaska
Reiners are used to having their faces picked up on to shape them. But don't take a tight hold. I'd just get on him and see how much pressure it takes to get him to drop andflex at the poll and get soft in his chin, then make sure you release it. He should do it at the stand still, then squeeze with your calves and ask him to walk forward.

We had one at the ranch in CA that was called Little Joe. He was an absolute slug and pretty numb from all the novices having ridden him over the years and he wasn't going to go any faster than you MADE him. But I could get on him, or someone else who had experience and get him light and responsive within just a few minutes. His laid back lazy ways belied his registered name by in large, which was Lethal Lena... nothing lethal about him... lol

If you get his buttons figured out and in the right sequence, he'll get responsive again. So I'm with KB... get on him and feel him out.

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