Reining: The judging system

Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena. Contestants are required to run one of thirteen approved patterns included in the NRHA Handbook. Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs over the hocks, 360 degree spins done in place, and exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse.

Reining:  The judging system
© Sindy Thomas

The NRHA Judging System is recognized as the leading format for judging an equine event that combines technical and stylistic elements coupled with consideration of "degree of difficulty". Each horse-rider combination starts with a 70 score and each maneuver is judged on a scale from -1 ½ to + 1 ½, with increments of ½ points.  Penalties, where they incur, are also deducted from the score.  Five judges are in the chair at the 2014 Games with the highest and lowest scores discarded. The total score is the sum of the three remaining ones.

For the first time in international competition, during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, not only are the judges’ final scores shown to the public on the big screen: all the scores and penalties of each maneuver from each of the five judges is shown on the adjacent screens. 

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