The RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining event at the National Western Stock Show has many skilled horses and riders competing for a prize of $15,000.In the show there was a gingerbread man, a
The RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining event at the National Western Stock Show has many skilled horses and riders competing for a prize of $15,000.In the show there was a gingerbread man, a lone ranger, a chicken, and even Peyton Manning, despite the fact that he was supposed to be playing against the Chargers.
Freestyle Reining is when the competitors choose a song and make up a pattern. The pattern must include spins in both directions, a change of lead in both directions, large fast circles, small slow circles, and sliding stops. These characteristics of the pattern are what the riders are judged on. “Making up the patterns is like dancing in your room to music,” says Rylee Justus, a 15 year old girl from Larkspur, CO.
The horses that show are worth $20,000, and take years to train. Reining horses have to be agile, fast, and responsive to the owner’s commands.
Rylee rode in this reining event for the second time. She dedicated her ride to her grandfather. In 2012 at the Stock Show Rylee rode to the song, “These Boots are made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra. She rode the horse Bright Lil’ Gun. This year Rylee did her performance to the song "Save a Place for Me” by Matthew West. She rode Bay Be Mag, one of her favorite horses.
“Reining is all about show sportsmanship and skill,” says Rylee. Reining shows off the athletic ability of your horse and how easily it responds to your gestures.
For beginners Rylee recommends, “Get a trainer and from there your trainer will tell you how everything gets put together.” Riding horses is a fun thing to do for a hobby.
Rylee was the youngest rider competing, but there were a couple of families competing together. The RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining was a show of creativity and exceptional skill, and was enjoyable for everyone in the family.