Horse Showing: Reining Pattern No. 10

AQHA Professionals walk you through reining pattern No. 10.

Reining pattern 10 comes with its own challenges to keep in mind while in the warm up pen.

The Warm Up

I will only work speed control on the right side, because I don’t have to worry about it on the left side in this pattern. Also, I’m going to work on my stop some. I don’t want to wear my horse out; I just want to make sure he’s listening to my cues to stop. I’ll then make a decision on whether to run him through the gate or walk him through it.

In The Pen

The run-in is nice and long, past the middle cone, just past the center of the arena. If you don’t have a horse who stops well, only go two or three strides past the middle. Back your horse’s hip to the middle cone. Let the horse stand and settle, preferably on a loose rein so he can relax.

Spin to the right. Hesitate again.

Any spot for a hesitation is a good time to evaluate where your horse is at and how things are going.

After the hesitation,spin to the left four and a quarter times, stopping square with the judge. If you happen to over- or under-spin, don’t get in a hurry to try to straighten out. If it happens, accept it, straighten your horse out slowly, then get ready to go into the next maneuver.

Getting ready to lope off on the right lead, I’m going to take my time and really push the horse’s hip in to make sure he takes the correct lead. I still see it all the time, riders taking the wrong lead, and most of the time, it’s because the horse was not in perfect position to lope off.

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Once I’ve loped off, I’m going to wait until about the quarter mark to determine how fast I want to run. If I know my horse is really laid back and a great circler, I might start a little early. But if I have a horse that’s a little bit on edge, I’m going to proceed with caution until that quarter mark and slowly step on the accelerator pedal.

Once through the first large fast, determine where your horse is at. If you feel like he has come back to you, then you might go get a little bit faster on that second large fast to try to get yourself in a plus situation.

Coming into the middle, slow the horse down just a bit by letting off the gas a couple of strides before the center. Really sit down on your horse and keep your outside leg close. Slow him down on a straight line and then steer into your small slow.

It’s important on this small slow to not get ahead of yourself and think about the left circle. In pattern 10, a lot of hind leads get dragged because the rider is already thinking about the left circle.

Come through the middle nice and straight on the right small slow and get the lead change. If your horse is relaxed, you can go with a little looser rein. With most horses, if you loosen the reins just a few inches, even when you think they are running off, they will typically relax. Usually they are reading the rider’s body language, and when we show, we tend to tense up. Small slow circles are a good time to remind yourself to stay calm and relaxed.

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Once I finish that left small slow, I’m going to be pretty aggressive on the left side for the two large fast because I don’t have to worry about slowing down anymore or popping out of lead.

Go through nice and straight for the second lead change and follow through that circle past the judge. Once my back is to the judge, I’ll slow the horse down. If he’s not paying attention, I’m going to slow the horse back down with my hand.

Coming around on the right lead for the first stop, look down and find a target. If you have a horse that wants to take off a little on a rundown, this is the perfect pattern for him to do that because the gate is right in front of him.

The first stop is a good one to use a little hand cue. If you don’t normally pick up and pull on your horse a little, it’s probably a good spot to do that just to ensure that he’s paying attention. After the horse nails the first stop, I might be a little more aggressive and not use my hands so much in the next two stops.

After the stop, really make sure you hesitate on this one because you’re rolling away from the gate, which most horses don’t like to do. Stand there, hesitate and then get the left rollback. Go around on the left lead, find a target down on the left side of the arena, run down, hit that stop, stand, hesitate. Again, pass the end marker.

Rollback to the right, come around on the right lead, look down to find a target and run down as far as you can on the last stop.

After the final stop, be very quiet with your body. The horse is thinking a rollback or backup is coming next, so sit as still as possible until you’ve demonstrated that hesitation.

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Watch This Video

Check out Pattern No. 10 in action at the 2011 AQHA World Show - Senior Reining Champion