Equestrians With Disabilities

New classes including para-reining roll out for the AQHA Equestrians With Disabilities program.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Paralympian Rebecca Hart rides Zins Smart Wrangler in a para-reining demonstration at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos of para-reiners, scroll to the slide show at the bottom.

For 2014, the AQHA Equestrians With Disabilities program has added 11 classes, including para-reining, which was demonstrated at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

The changes rolled out January 1, and the Chisholm Challenge is the first show to include the full slate of new classes January 13 at the Fort Worth Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas.

The new rules were a year-long collaborative effort with the National Reining Horse Association, National Snaffle Bit Association, United States Para-Equestrian Association, AQHA and USA Reining, says AQHA Professional Horseman Cindy Chilton-Moore, who was on the task force that worked on revamping the rules.

Spectators at the World Show got a sneak peek at a few of the changes during the first para-reining demonstration/clinic.

Three international-level para-dressage riders, as well as experienced EWD exhibitor Reyna Taylor of Houston, demonstrated the sport.

Paralympian Rebecca Hart, Freddie Win and Derrick Perkins Jr. all took their first spins on reiners and came away all smiles after the experience. While Rebecca, Freddie and Derrick are all trying to earn berths on Team USA for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, after that, they’ll likely all give reining another try.

Organizers hope that para-reining will be internationally contested, just as para-dressage is at the Paralympics and the World Equestrian Games.

The four exhibitors at the World Show used some of the adaptive equipment that is allowed under AQHA’s new EWD rules. Rules on EWD begin with SHW 760 in the AQHA Handbook of Rules and Regulations.

You can see some of the new EWD classes and equipment at these AQHA shows in the next few months.

2014 AQHA EWD Opportunities
January 13 – Chisholm Challenge, Fort Worth, Texas
February 4 – Dixie Nationals, Jackson, Mississippi
February 13 – Run From the Border – Gifford, Illinois
February 15 – Gordyville USA, Gifford, Illinois
March 1 – No Bling Novice, Lumberton, North Carolina
March 8-9 – Ozark Quarter Horse, Carthage, Missouri
March 20, 22 – Cottonwood Classic, Valley Center, Kansas
April 12-13 – Ozark Quarter Horse, Carthage, Missouri