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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! I'm an avid reader that has been pushed to the point of necessity. There are hardly any contemporary fiction books that revolve around reining or western sports in general-- it's always english or working ranch's-- and I'd like to change that. While I've never had the chance to get into reining, I did grow up riding quarters and paints on trail and worked for a few barns that did allrounders at breed shows. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to sleuth from the internet, and would really appreciate responses from reiners that would like to help me portray an accurate representation of their sport in a fictional western romance that's heavy on the horses. I've gotten a lot of research from the NRHA website already, and I'm hoping someone will have answers for my more nuanced questions.

1) What's the difference between a Rookie Pro and Pro other than the obvious?
2) So anyone can show in Open, right? Like, anyone no matter their skills? And if so, are they going against the top trainers in the country as well?
3) What shows are the most important to NRHA members and how do either they or their horse(s) qualify for them?
4) How often are horses going to shows throughout the year when there isn't a raging pandemic?
5) Are breed specific shows important, too, or are trainers and riders mostly wanting to show through NRHA or affiliates of NRHA?

Any answers to these questions will really, really help me out as I can't seem to find any information on it. I'll also be asking my trainer who used to show cutting, I'm hoping the showing system is similar enough that she can also help me with this insight, but information from those who show in reining is invaluable to me, and I really appreciate any insight that can be afforded. So, Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited by Moderator)
I have sent a few emails, but I am hoping for more immediate responses by posting to a public forum. I understand that everyone is very busy this time of year, and I won't expect a response from them via email because I'm not actively looking to be a part of their business. It's one thing to want to be a reiner and putting my money towards becoming one, but right now the funds aren't there which is part of why I'm wanting to write a book in the first place. When I haven't been able to participate in something I really wanted to be a part of, I always found solace that I could read about it through the eyes of a main character and their rises and falls. This isn't the case for reining or even western pleasure, barring Carly Kade's series In The Reins, which I wasn't a fan of. I don't like insta-love and I wanted more of the show experience.
 

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I am not a straight reiner; I ride cowhorses, which has a "reining" component to it. I've been showing 10-11 years now. Made it to the NRCHA world show this year (Feb.), so have a little basis to respond.


(1) What's the difference between a Rookie Pro and Pro other than the obvious?
A professional is one who is paid to ride/train horses. We don't have "Rookie Pros" in Reined Cowhorse. Our "pros" are in our Open division. I image a "rookie pro" is similar to what we term as Level 1 or Limited or Intermediate Open riders - it is based on the amount of earnings an Open Rider has as to what division they fall into and can compete in. This page should give you specific NRHA eligibility requirements.


(2) So anyone can show in Open, right? Like, anyone no matter their skills? And if so, are they going against the top trainers in the country as well?
Yes, anyone can show in open no matter what their skills are. Yes, they would be going against all the trainers who enter in that particular show.


(3) What shows are the most important to NRHA members and how do either they or their horse(s) qualify for them?
I don't know. If it is like Reined Cowhorse (and listening to Andrea Frappani's podcast), I image it is the Futurity and the Derbies for Trainers which depends on the horse's age. In other horse show classes, it could depend on money earned & are probably geared toward getting qualified for their World Show. Check out this page.


4) How often are horses going to shows throughout the year when there isn't a raging pandemic?
Depends on the goal of the rider/owner & the soundness of horse. With Pros, they will probably try to hit all shows in their area (region/district) that the owners are willing to fund, especially premiere shows (Futurities/Derbies, specialty shows sponsored directly by the NRHA not just approved NRHA shows). A non-pro will be looking for as many shows as they need to qualify for the world show, usually in their region (if NRHA is like NRCHA only the top set number in a region are qualified for the world show in a regular year [i.e., non pandemic year]).


5) Are breed specific shows important, too, or are trainers and riders mostly wanting to show through NRHA or affiliates of NRHA?
Depends on the goal of the riders/owners. If the Breed specific shows are NRCHA approved (unlikely unless they allow NRHA qualified horses to enter the reining), they would be important to perhaps for schooling purposes, depending on the money offered.

Can't see the pros getting excited about about them, unless it is an AQHA or APHA show. For the pros, it's all about putting $$ on the horses. Most Breed Specific Shows don't offer enough $$ to entice the big name reiners to go. However, some do offer added money.

For Non Pros, they are most likely looking for shows that would qualify them for the world show, so NRHA approved. Of course, a pay check is always welcome. Non Pros may look more for non-approved Breed specific shows, if the end goal is attractive - if winning would get them breed points, etc., in reining and their horse can be recognized. Some pros may enter for this reason too, if the owner funding the horse wants this for their horse.
 

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I have questions that I’ve posed to reining riders or trainers here to see if they could give me better insight as a rider who has only participated in breed shows.
There are quite a few people on this Board who have show experience, some more than others. You were fine in asking your questions. I'm sure the others who have shown, trained or even dabbled in reining will respond. :) Lots of experience here, lots of people who don't mind you picking their brains. Ask away ... even questions that you may think are basic or mudane are fine ... we love to help out!
 

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Hi there! I'm an avid reader that has been pushed to the point of necessity. There are hardly any contemporary fiction books that revolve around reining or western sports in general-- it's always english or working ranch's-- and I'd like to change that. While I've never had the chance to get into reining, I did grow up riding quarters and paints on trail and worked for a few barns that did allrounders at breed shows. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to sleuth from the internet, and would really appreciate responses from reiners that would like to help me portray an accurate representation of their sport in a fictional western romance that's heavy on the horses. I've gotten a lot of research from the NRHA website already, and I'm hoping someone will have answers for my more nuanced questions.

1) What's the difference between a Rookie Pro and Pro other than the obvious?
2) So anyone can show in Open, right? Like, anyone no matter their skills? And if so, are they going against the top trainers in the country as well?
3) What shows are the most important to NRHA members and how do either they or their horse(s) qualify for them?
4) How often are horses going to shows throughout the year when there isn't a raging pandemic?
5) Are breed specific shows important, too, or are trainers and riders mostly wanting to show through NRHA or affiliates of NRHA?

Any answers to these questions will really, really help me out as I can't seem to find any information on it. I'll also be asking my trainer who used to show cutting, I'm hoping the showing system is similar enough that she can also help me with this insight, but information from those who show in reining is invaluable to me, and I really appreciate any insight that can be afforded. So, Thank you!
I’m quite sure anyone can show open but in some places the horses age can’t exceed a certain number.
My coach shows every 2-6 weeks but with covid has only done about 6-7 shows this year. When he does equitana or something big like world equestrian games he won’t show for a few months before and just perfects as much as he can. Next year if covid settles down I’ll be going once every two months
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’m quite sure anyone can show open but in some places the horses age can’t exceed a certain number.
My coach shows every 2-6 weeks but with covid has only done about 6-7 shows this year. When he does equitana or something big like world equestrian games he won’t show for a few months before and just perfects as much as he can. Next year if covid settles down I’ll be going once every two months
Thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am not a straight reiner; I ride cowhorses, which has a "reining" component to it. I've been showing 10-11 years now. Made it to the NRCHA world show this year (Feb.), so have a little basis to respond.


A professional is one who is paid to ride/train horses. We don't have "Rookie Pros" in Reined Cowhorse. Our "pros" are in our Open division. I image a "rookie pro" is similar to what we term as Level 1 or Limited or Intermediate Open riders - it is based on the amount of earnings an Open Rider has as to what division they fall into and can compete in. This page should give you specific NRHA eligibility requirements.


Yes, anyone can show in open no matter what their skills are. Yes, they would be going against all the trainers who enter in that particular show.


I don't know. If it is like Reined Cowhorse (and listening to Andrea Frappani's podcast), I image it is the Futurity and the Derbies for Trainers which depends on the horse's age. In other horse show classes, it could depend on money earned & are probably geared toward getting qualified for their World Show. Check out this page.


Depends on the goal of the rider/owner & the soundness of horse. With Pros, they will probably try to hit all shows in their area (region/district) that the owners are willing to fund, especially premiere shows (Futurities/Derbies, specialty shows sponsored directly by the NRHA not just approved NRHA shows). A non-pro will be looking for as many shows as they need to qualify for the world show, usually in their region (if NRHA is like NRCHA only the top set number in a region are qualified for the world show in a regular year [i.e., non pandemic year]).


Depends on the goal of the riders/owners. If the Breed specific shows are NRCHA approved (unlikely unless they allow NRHA qualified horses to enter the reining), they would be important to perhaps for schooling purposes, depending on the money offered.

Can't see the pros getting excited about about them, unless it is an AQHA or APHA show. For the pros, it's all about putting $$ on the horses. Most Breed Specific Shows don't offer enough $$ to entice the big name reiners to go. However, some do offer added money.

For Non Pros, they are most likely looking for shows that would qualify them for the world show, so NRHA approved. Of course, a pay check is always welcome. Non Pros may look more for non-approved Breed specific shows, if the end goal is attractive - if winning would get them breed points, etc., in reining and their horse can be recognized. Some pros may enter for this reason too, if the owner funding the horse wants this for their horse.
This is a lot of information to go through, so thank you so much for the in depth information as it's answered several other questions I was considering!
 

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This is a lot of information to go through
Yes, it can get pretty involved for sure. For people who don't show it can be a whole other language! Be prepared for other board members to weigh in; your question is still "young". Others may not have seen it yet. :)
 

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My main passion is reined cowhorse but I have worked for a reining trainer for the past year and so I’ll try to answer your questions and if you have more I’ll go ask my trainer.
1.) A rookie pro is someone new to being a professional. They usually compete at lower open levels (there’s levels 1-4 with 4 being the highest). They can be a new trainer just starting out or an assistant trainer for a bigger trainer trying to get show experience. You’ll also see people that are technically non-pro competing in the open that might be classified that because they’ve made enough earnings they’ve gotten kicked out of the non-pro.
2. Yes anyone can technically compete in the open. That’s not to say the non-pro isn’t insanely tough though. I was reading a discussion just a few weeks ago where people considered the level 1 open to be easier competition than the non-pro.
3. Your aged events (futurity, derby, classics) are your huge ones. I’m actually not totally sure about qualifying for it so I can go ask. I think for the futurity a horse has to be nominated by their sire or breeder and it can be a hefty fee. NRBC (national reining breeder’s classic) is a huge show as well and your horse does have to be nominated by its side or breeder for that. I hear Reining By The Bay is a pretty huge show as well out west. Breed shows can be huge as well.
4. I’m not totally certain about finished reiners since most big time open trainers do not spend a lot of their time with those. In reining, reined cowhorse, and cutting your bread and butter as a trainer is the aged events. Thus, trainers spend a LOT of time at home with their babies getting them ready. For two and three year olds they’ll haul them out to shows, maybe not ride them there but to give them the experience. Sometimes they’ll ride them at small little schooling shows to get them ready for the futurity. They’ll compete a bit more as a four year old to get seasoned but even then it’s not a whole lot. I’ve seen owners show as well during this time. It might just be once a month maybe twice in showing. Five and up is the same. For young horses, there’s a lot of training and seasoning them to shows than going balls to the wall competing from what I’ve seen.
5. Yes! Absolutely! Especially here in the east, quarter horse Congress is huge and a big favorite. I know a lot that go to AQHA World’s and I also know a ton of people that go to APHA World Show as well.
If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask. I can also hook you up with a big trainer local to me who is very responsive to email and I’m sure wouldn’t mind answering any more questions at all.
 

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When you write your book, could you please put it on the section titled "Official Photo Contest, Art, Crafts, Photos, Video in the section labeled "Horse Stories and Poems"? Many Horse Forum readers enjoy these entries, and I am sure I would enjoy your book. It is true that most of the romances that are supposed to have horses in them really have little or nothing to do with the horses, and many times there are such obvious errors that the writer clearly does not know horses. It would be so great to read one that is accurate . . . and a good read as well. And there are some good ones in that section. We have some dang good writers on this forum.

If you want to read some good stories that accurately portray horses and they are central to the plot, I recommend eventing author Natalie Keller Reinert. Pride and Ambition are two I read which were really good. Jody Jaffe writes horse mysteries and so does Carolyn Banks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My main passion is reined cowhorse but I have worked for a reining trainer for the past year and so I’ll try to answer your questions and if you have more I’ll go ask my trainer.
1.) A rookie pro is someone new to being a professional. They usually compete at lower open levels (there’s levels 1-4 with 4 being the highest). They can be a new trainer just starting out or an assistant trainer for a bigger trainer trying to get show experience. You’ll also see people that are technically non-pro competing in the open that might be classified that because they’ve made enough earnings they’ve gotten kicked out of the non-pro.
2. Yes anyone can technically compete in the open. That’s not to say the non-pro isn’t insanely tough though. I was reading a discussion just a few weeks ago where people considered the level 1 open to be easier competition than the non-pro.
3. Your aged events (futurity, derby, classics) are your huge ones. I’m actually not totally sure about qualifying for it so I can go ask. I think for the futurity a horse has to be nominated by their sire or breeder and it can be a hefty fee. NRBC (national reining breeder’s classic) is a huge show as well and your horse does have to be nominated by its side or breeder for that. I hear Reining By The Bay is a pretty huge show as well out west. Breed shows can be huge as well.
4. I’m not totally certain about finished reiners since most big time open trainers do not spend a lot of their time with those. In reining, reined cowhorse, and cutting your bread and butter as a trainer is the aged events. Thus, trainers spend a LOT of time at home with their babies getting them ready. For two and three year olds they’ll haul them out to shows, maybe not ride them there but to give them the experience. Sometimes they’ll ride them at small little schooling shows to get them ready for the futurity. They’ll compete a bit more as a four year old to get seasoned but even then it’s not a whole lot. I’ve seen owners show as well during this time. It might just be once a month maybe twice in showing. Five and up is the same. For young horses, there’s a lot of training and seasoning them to shows than going balls to the wall competing from what I’ve seen.
5. Yes! Absolutely! Especially here in the east, quarter horse Congress is huge and a big favorite. I know a lot that go to AQHA World’s and I also know a ton of people that go to APHA World Show as well.
If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask. I can also hook you up with a big trainer local to me who is very responsive to email and I’m sure wouldn’t mind answering any more questions at all.
This is so in depth! Thank you! I got in contact with a lady on FB and she explained the futurities and the nominations for me, and it's all coming together!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
When you write your book, could you please put it on the section titled "Official Photo Contest, Art, Crafts, Photos, Video in the section labeled "Horse Stories and Poems"? Many Horse Forum readers enjoy these entries, and I am sure I would enjoy your book. It is true that most of the romances that are supposed to have horses in them really have little or nothing to do with the horses, and many times there are such obvious errors that the writer clearly does not know horses. It would be so great to read one that is accurate . . . and a good read as well. And there are some good ones in that section. We have some dang good writers on this forum.

If you want to read some good stories that accurately portray horses and they are central to the plot, I recommend eventing author Natalie Keller Reinert. Pride and Ambition are two I read which were really good. Jody Jaffe writes horse mysteries and so does Carolyn Banks.
Absolutely! And I love Natalie Keller Reinert, too. If you have the chance, I really recommend Karen McGoldrick who wrote the dressage chronicles. It's a really great series as well.
 

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Yes anyone can technically compete in the open. That’s not to say the non-pro isn’t insanely tough though.
True that! NRCHA Non-Pro fence classes are extremely competitive. Even the boxing classes have become way more competitive since I started - better horses and better riders. It's exciting to watch the NonPros, too!
 
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