Horse Showing: Reining Pattern No. 2

An AQHA professional walks you through this action-packed AQHA-approved reining pattern.

In Pattern 2, it’s really important that your horse guides well because you’re loping right off in the first maneuver, and you’re demonstrating how well your horse can steer. If your horse is not willingly guided, then this particular pattern is not a good one for you.

You begin this pattern loping off to the right in a slow circle. Because this is the first maneuver in this pattern, it should be the last thing you do in preparation in the warm-up pen, practice that small slow lead departure.

If your horse doesn’t steer well, then when you walk to the center of the arena on this particular pattern, don’t stop at the center before moving into your slow circle. You have forward motion already initiated, and it’s simply easier to get the horse to steer. Just walk to the center and lope right off into a small slow. The pattern does not say you have to stop. It says you have to walk or stop prior to starting the pattern.

However, if your horse steers well, stop in the middle before officially starting the pattern.

In that first small slow circle, try to keep your reins nice and loose and try to stay relaxed.

Experienced judges and trainers Bob Loomis and Bobby Ingersoll discuss reining in "The Reining Horse" DVD. Each discusses his philosophy of a good reining horse including the basics of training and the differences between styles of reining.

This particular pattern is easy as far as circles go. You run your two large fast, and then you’re going to slow down and go right into a small slow to the left so you don’t have to really worry so much about a horse popping out of lead.

I tend to be really aggressive on this pattern just because of the way the circles are written. I think it makes it very easy. On the second set of circles on the left side, you don’t have to show a change of speed at all. Whether your horse slows down well or not, there’s no real good reason why you shouldn’t go as fast as you’re comfortable.

After changing leads the second time, that space between the center of the arena to the top of the circle where you’re going to make your approach to run down is a good place to sit back and relax. If your horse feels like he’s a little hot, that’s when you should use your slowdown cue on the horse. Maybe pump the reins a couple of times.

I typically think you’re better off in little spots of the pattern like that to maybe handle your horse just a little bit and get him back in line. Some people think the judge doesn’t want to see that, but as a judge, I’m going to forget about that space from the lead change to the top of the circle if you run down and have good stops.

If you keep your hand down the entire time and do nothing and then your horse goes down and doesn’t stop three times, that’s going to hurt you a lot more than getting your horse in the right frame of mind before you turn and run straight.

When you turn and run down to stop, you really want to sit back. I like to look up and pick out a landmark. A lot of times, I’ve picked that mark before I start showing, and I’ll run straight at it.

Experienced judges and trainers Bob Loomis and Bobby Ingersoll discuss reining in "The Reining Horse" DVD. Learn about variations in styles of reining, training basics and biting styles including the differences between snaffle, hackamore and bit reining.

Don’t start building too early. It really depends on the arena you’re in, but in arena like the one in Oklahoma City, you want to wait a little bit. You’ve got a long ways to go.

Run down and stop. Let that horse settle and stand back up. Roll back. Go down, stop the other way and then roll back. It’s basically the same, up and down the middle as Pattern No. 1. However, on this pattern, that center stop says you do not have to get to the middle when you back up. A lot of times on this particular pattern, that last stop, I’ll run to the last cone because I only have to back up 10 feet. In Pattern No. 1, you’d be way off to start your circles to get back in the center. This one isn’t that way. Take the chance to run as long as you can. It’s always better to run long and then back up 10 feet.

Let that horse really settle and relax. Move your hand really, really slowly on this pattern. You’ve done your circles and your stops; now your horse is going to be worked up, and you will be, too. So you want to move your hand even slower than you think you should. Then just ask your horse to do the spins in both directions.

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