The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is now offering a new Youth 10 & under Short Stirrup class. The name of the class mirrors those offered in hunter shows for kids who ride in small saddles, thus the term “short stirrup.” According to the NRHA, the class was created to give very young riders a chance to participate in reining. The very first NRHA-approved Youth 10 & under Short Stirrup class was held in March at the Cowboy Capital Classic Show in Stephenville, Texas.
According to NRHA Executive Board member Colleen McQuay, the association saw the need for a class for riders who might still be too small to comfortably handle the traditional reining patterns. She notes, “The special Short Stirrup pattern eliminates speed and flying lead changes and keeps the event safer and easier. Not only does that make for an easier pattern for the kids, it also brings more horses to the event because kids can use [horsemanship mounts] or even older, semi-retired reiners.”
The Short Stirrup class uses NRHA Pattern No. 11, which was especially created for the new class. Youth riders in this new class are not required to own their own horses and it does not count for NRHA Top Ten standings. With the new class gaining in popularity, it may be time to saddle up that semi-retired reining horse in your barn and put an aspiring cowboy or cowgirl in the tack.