Roaring crowds and a sea of cowboy hats at the Kentucky Horse Park! The wildly popular, high-energy sport of Reining returns to the Kentucky Horse Park alongside the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, April 28 to May 1. This comes hot on the heels of Reining’s popularity at last fall’s 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, also in Kentucky. The writing was on the wall for this entrée; reining is a bonafide spectator sport and a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Those who have been fans for years are thrilled to see it gain entry next to this English discipline-exclusive event. Even those who have been steadfast in their beliefs that Reining is better suited for Western shows and ro-day-os are catching Reining fever.
The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup will include an FEI CRI5*competition (the sport’s highest level) and the first-ever World Championship Freestyle event. The Kentucky Horse Park is expected to draw 100,000 spectators this year, and it is anticipated that all the Reining events will take place before sell-out crowds.
Reining has been around for several decades and is one of the fastest growing equestrian sports. The sport enjoyed steady growth throughout the 1970s and 1980s and then exploded on the international scene when Brazil, Germany and Italy got in the game. There are now some 40 countries with Reining organizations. Reining became an FEI sport in 2000 and has been a full-medal sport at the WEG since 2002. There is much talk about it becoming the next Olympic equestrian discipline.
Team Ariat has Reiners who will be competing in the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup, including Shawn Flarida, Lyle Lovett (yes, the Lyle Lovett) and a soon-to-be announced third Reiner. Shawn is Reining’s superstar. He is the NRHA’s all-time leading money earner and the only rider to reach the $4 million mark. He represented the U.S. at the 2002 WEG, winning both the individual and team gold medal, and he led the U.S. Reining Team to another team gold medal at the 2010 WEG. Lyle is a true horseman and accomplished Reining competitor, whatever he has planned for the Freestyle Reining World Championship will certainly bring the house down!
Hope to see you in Kentucky!