Class 10. Advanced Reining
Information about the class!
Reining classes are designed to show off how well a horse can perform maneuvers they will use when doing herd work. The patterns are designed to test control, speed, lead changes, stops, and turns. At higher levels, a horse should have more variation in speeds (fast and slow circles), should be able to stop with more gusto (longer slides), and should be able to perform faster spins. Throughout the pattern, the horse should look willing and eager to work. At lower levels, horses will be asked to perform the same maneuvers but with less difficulty.
What judges look at in your post.
1. Quality of Post - content, literacy (lack of errors), length (long enough, but concise)
2. Depth of Post - how well it shows personality and development/growth of character
3. Realism - in other words, does your character perform at a reasonable level?
4. Creativity - make it your own! just because there are guidelines doesn't mean it has to be boring!
We are not looking for the longest post or the character who performs the most flawlessly (especially if it's unrealistic for them). Be original, have fun, and use this as a tool for character development!
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Aoife Callaghan and Blue
Boy, it had been a while since Aoife'd had a chance to do anything like this for fun. She'd taken great pleasure in saddling Blue up and getting him warmed up for the classes she'd decided to enter them in. The gelding had been feeding off of Aoife's excited, positive energy all morning, and he was raring to go. God, she had missed this, and apparently so had he. Lately he hadn't been getting as much use as he was accustomed to, with a smaller herd to round up on a daily basis and less land to move them around on. Aoife's go to had become the dogs and the farmhands more often than not, but she was more than ready to show everybody that she and her boy still had it.
Just as she was called into the ring, Aoife took a deep, steadying breath and gave Blue a firm pat on the neck. "You ready for this?" she whispered.
He shifted forward in reaction, ears pricked and alert, but he didn't stride forward without the cue.
"'Atta boy. We've got it."
She urged him forward into the ring at a walk. Blue could be just as eager as she could sometimes, and Aoife needed to be sure he'd listen to her in this class and not dash off as he pleased. They reached the center of the arena and came to a quiet halt facing the left fence. One more moment of calm, collected focus passed, and then Aoife was ready to begin.
Blue surged forward, propelling himself with his powerful hindquarters. Aoife shifted her weight slightly to the right, bringing the rein against the left of his neck. He reacted, bringing them in a wide looped circle around the one half of the arena. Upon completing the second loop, Aoife brought him down to a smoother, slower stride and they tightened up the turn.
Blue anticipated the hesitation at the close of the first pattern, bringing them to a clean stop. His sides rose and fell beneath her: Aoife felt grounded by the sound of his breathing. She rolled her shoulders and then reined him to the right. Blue darted into a tight spin, and then another, and another. By the end of the fourth spin Aoife was nearly breathless with pride for her dear old gelding.
They repeated the first two patterns in the opposing direction, only having a bit of a hiccup on the third turn when Blue decided he'd much rather keep going at a faster pace and a larger loop. She resolved to give her signals a little more firmly in the next set of directions, but she was nonetheless pleased with how they were doing.
Blue settled back into her control on the figure eight when Aoife made her cues more strongly. She felt the familiar lead change both times. And then it was time for the straight runs and rollbacks. He slid and hesitated a bit on the first turn, but Aoife wasn't cowed and kept him going to the second one.
It was over far too soon when they came to the sliding stop and the finish, with Blue's sides heaving underneath her. Aoife herself was breathless and pleased. She dismounted at the Judge's request and looped the reins over Blue's neck before she brought the bridle down for them to check. Once she was dismissed, she slipped the bit back into her gelding's mouth and walked him out of the arena.
"Good job, my beautiful boy," she said and gave him a hearty pat on the shoulder.