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SnowCowgirl 04-11-2013 06:00 PM

getting started in reining - clinic or lessons?
(working the job that I do currently aka sitting at a computer all day, I'm going to have 10 million horseforum posts in no time!)

I want to get started in reining. I have a 12 year old mare (will be 13 in August) who is an arab/draft mix... not exactly your classic reining horse but I know she'll be fine at the lower levels.

I could probably figure some of it out on my own but in order to avoid training her the wrong ways and picking up bad habits I want to start out with lessons or a clinic.

my question is - should I opt for a few lessons, or do a reining "school"? There is a JP Forget reining school at the end of June that will be within driving distance for me. I *believe* it's 5 days, but I think it costs around $850 (I heard that from someone but it could be more or could be less). That includes I think 2 or 2.5 hours in the saddle each day.

My other option is to do lessons. HOWEVER, I will probably need to trailer between 2 and 3 hours ONE WAY for each lesson as I don't think there are any instructors/trainers where I'm going to be living. But, if lessons were $50 *(I know that could be a low estimate) I could take 17 lessons for the same cost as that clinic :shock: ... course, I'd have to factor in gas mileage on top of that, and maybe have to camp overnight too.

I'm sort of wary about the reining school because I just don't know how much info my mare and I can absorb in just 5 days... I feel like it might be rushed, with so much learning packed into a short time. BUT it'd be pretty darn convenient rather than driving back and forth to lessons once every two weeks or whatever.

PLUS, we're beginners. I've been riding for my entire life but have never taken lessons or been very competitive so I really only have basic knowledge of collection, working off the hind end, etc. Would the school be sort of a waste of money for me at this point?

Muppetgirl 04-11-2013 06:04 PM

Hmmmm I think the reining school would be a real challenge for both you and your mare....kind of like jumping in with both feet hey?

Have you thought about sending your mare to a rening trainer t get some basic turns and stops put on her? That would really help, because training the maneuvers and learning how to sit them at the same time would not be advisable.....

It's a really neat discipline, hope you enjoy it as much as me!!!

SnowCowgirl 04-11-2013 06:19 PM

yeah that's sort of what I was thinking.... though the description of the school/clinic said that it's meant for all levels of horses and riders.

I hadn't considered sending her to a trainer, but it's definitely something to think about. I'm not planning on getting super serious about the discipline because I'm also into jumping, dressage, gymkhana, etc. I'd probably only ever compete at the local show level. But that is a good idea that I'll put some more thought into.

Muppetgirl 04-11-2013 06:22 PM

Yeah a trainer who can get her started properly with stops and spins would be your best bet.....then you can go from there!:lol:

franknbeans 04-11-2013 06:32 PM

Reining IS fun. I will say that even at the "local" level, at least where I am, it is tough to be competitive in the NRHA with a cross like you (and I) have. I am in sort of the same situation, geographically, and all lessons are at least 2 hours one way, away. I elected to send my guy to one of the top trainers in the area for 8 months. While he was there, after the first 60 days, during which I could NOT ride him, I could go and ride with their guidance. I did this rarely, as he was 5 hours away, near where I live in the winter. I did take some lessons on their trained reiners, which helped immensely. Anyway-after 8 months of the trainer riding him 6 days a week, I took him to a show-his one and only. He has all the elements, and can do them properly, and so can I, but it is SO competitive, that it really was a waste of about $500 (for the fees, etc for the weekend) to show him. I will most likely never do it again. I will go with a friend who has a competitive horse, and have fun with that. If your goal is, like mine, just to have fun-go and do it-it is a blast, and the people are so supportive and a great group. Quite different from H/J who "eat their young" so to speak. Greenies are helped and supported. Even with my obviously non-QH-all were really nice. I will never regret the reining training as it is so god for so many things, and I may now do some really little ranch shows or reined cow horse. I would probably go the trainer and lessons route-it is really helpful if you can ride a broke is SO easy to train reiners wrong.....imo. Worth the $$ to do it like I did, IF you can find a reining trainer to take your horse. That can be a challenge, since some only want to take the prospects that are going to be star pupils.

SnowCowgirl 04-11-2013 06:53 PM

that's exactly why I'm considering reining to be honest - I have no desire to be competitive above the local level (like I said, but I think my "local" is probably below yours because I've never spent more than a couple hundred dollars at a multi-day show haha), but I really feel like I could learn a lot from the collection, cadence, bending, independent working of the front and hind, and all the other things that come along with reining as a whole. Most of those elements could be applied to many other different disciplines too I'm sure!

I was just searching around and actually found a reining trainer in the next-closest town to me (still about two hours, but my boyfriends parents are there so we'll likely be back and forth often anyway). I don't want to send her away for long because I have lots of other "horsey" plans this summer, but I wonder if two weeks or a month would be a total waste of time? Because if he could do anything with her in that period of time then I could continue taking lessons from him throughout the summer.

Muppetgirl 04-11-2013 06:58 PM

I'd be inclined to send her for a month, just to atleast get something solid on her......two weeks is a very small time frame to get anything solid like a spin/turn around on her.....thoughts on that?

SnowCowgirl 04-11-2013 08:37 PM

I'm going to call the guy tomorrow and see if he's even taking horses at the moment. I'm crossing my fingers that he is (and that it's affordable) becauuuuuuse I was actually going to have to leave my mare at my uncles place for two weeks at the beginning of May ANYWAY because I'm not sure where I'm going to be keeping her when I first move to that new town. So, really, if he could take her then she may as well go for a month of training starting at the beginning of May.

SnowCowgirl 04-11-2013 08:38 PM

it'd be pretty ideal then - after I get her back, I could trailer to him a couple times a month and be able to take lessons with someone who already knows my horse :)

franknbeans 04-11-2013 08:44 PM

It will depend on the trainer. As I said, my trainer, as well as the one a friend uses, do not accept the horses for short periods of time, and I was not allowed on my guy at all for a minimum of 60 days. IF you can get a trainer to take you horse, you are sort of at their mercy. You either accept the terms, and go with it, or you don't and are back where you started. Both of the trainers I am talking about are NRHA judges, one is being inducted to the hall of fame this year. You do have to be careful, and make sure the trainer comes well recommended, just like any discipline-some are rougher than need be. Like I said-I committed for the entire winter. Best thing I have done in a long time.

IMO, not much will be accomplished in 30 days. My horse was broke prior, and honestly-that makes it tougher. It is harder to Retrain than to train it "right" in the first place.

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