Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: An hour north of Dallas, Texas in Texas Horse Country!
• Horses: 0
I'm coming from a slightly different direction, because we've shown western pleasure and reining for years (AQHA/NRHA) and we've got different horses for each of those events (a luxury that took us years to achieve, after eating a lot of beans and rice! LOL). And our reiners, while they can lope a slow circle, just can't compete against our pleasure horses in AQHA competition, and vice-versa. They're just different creatures, bred differently and thus physically and mentally capable of different athletic events.
Sometimes, we get a reiner that's exceptionally smooth and almost 'pleasure' like, but you can just look at them out in the pasture and identify which horse does which event, by their look and movement alone.
My advice to you is to let the horse guide you, as you get to know it and train it to a higher level. Some horses like to turn around, stop hard and rein in general. Some of them love to chase a cow and get moved into a working cow horse classification, and others love to move slow. Sometimes we get a royally bred reining horse that flunks out at the sport, and we move him into something else that he's both good at, and enjoys. One of our 'sure thing' reiners is now a dressage horse in New York? Who would have thought.
In short, we let the horse decide because over the years, we've found that if the horse is a round peg and we try to push him into a round hole, he doesn't love his job and in the end, isn't all that good at it (especially compared to a horse that's loving his sport!). You'll find out if your horse is a natural-born reiner, when you start to school him in the fundamentals of reining. The same goes for a pleasure horse. If you have to 'make' him into either one or the other, it'll never be the same as if you let him do what he's naturally good at and enjoys.
Have fun with your new horse! Congratulations on the new adventure. :)