Reining it in

TARWIN Lower horsewomen and teacher Beth Winterhalter travelled to Tamworth recently to compete in the Reining Australia National Futurity and Continental Affiliate Championships.

Perfect partnership: Beth Winterhalter from Tarwin Lower with her horse Grand Day Out, affectionately known as Bundy. The pair recently competed in Australia’s national reining event in Tamworth.

Perfect partnership: Beth Winterhalter from Tarwin Lower with her horse Grand Day Out, affectionately known as Bundy. The pair recently competed in Australia’s national reining event in Tamworth.

It was Ms Winterhalter’s first time competing on the national stage, in her first year of competing in sanctioned National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) events.
“I was so happy with our results, because it is a major step to go from local shows to competing at a national level against the best reiners in Australia,” she said.
“It is also a real eye opener, because you get to see what is out there and how much more work there is to do.”
At the championships Ms Winterhalter and her six year old Quarter Horse gelding Grand Day Out, better known as Bundy, competed in four events.
“I compete non-pro in rookie levels one and two, novice horse levels one and two, limited no-pro and intermediate non-pro,” she said.
“In novice horse level one, we came sixth with a score of 202 and in the limited non-pro we came seventh with a score of 201.5.
“In the rest of our events, we came in the top 10.”
In the novice horse event, Ms Winterhalter was up against more than 30 of the country’s best non-pro riders and was thrilled to come home with sixth spot.
“This year’s national event had the biggest numbers in attendance ever,” she said.
“It’s a big plus for reining in Australia. It is the fastest growing horse-sport in Australia and has recently leapt ahead in leaps and bounds.”
Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a horse within the confines of a show arena. In NRHA competitions contestants are required to run one of 10 patterns.
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 horses need to have a good mindset, calm, collected and very supple. They need to come to ground in their stops and have cadence in all their manoeuvres,” she said.
“To be successful at reining, the rider must be able to willingly guide their horse with little or no apparent resistance.
“The combination of horse and rider must also have finesse. A combination with finesse will always place higher than one without.”
To qualify for the national stage, Ms Winterhalter and Bundy had to attend several Australian Continental Affiliate Qualifying shows throughout the year.
“You only need to qualify at one show, but I ended up qualifying at the four shows I attended in all four of my events,” she said.
“At this year’s state show in March, we won reserve champion novice horse in level one and two and third in the non-pro derby.”
In 2012, Ms Winterhalter and Bundy attended the Victorian Reining Horse Association show at Werribee in March, where she was rewarded with two buckles.
“The ultimate thing in reining is to win a buckle,” she said.
In the lead-up to an event, Ms Winterhalter aims to train six days a week, including a weekly session with John Woods in Tooradin.
“We work on the separate manoeuvres, softness and cadence. In the lead up to the nationals, we focussed on creating a big grounded stop,” she said.
“When training, you are constantly looking for improvement.”
In November, the 2013 VRHA high point awards will be announced, for which Ms Winterhalter currently holds equal first in rookie level one and first outright in novice horse level one.
“For my first year in sanctioned events, I am totally thrilled with how we are going,” she said.
“I want to compete again next year in the VRHA in March and the NRHA event in September. I would also like to go to Sydney for the NSW state championships.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=9094

Posted by on Oct 22 2013. Filed under Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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