Change of Discipline at X

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    My equestrian life took a fast spin into a new direction today, and I’m seriously contemplating putting up my tall boots for a pair of cowboy boots. A sweet chestnut horse named Lenas Taxman (Taz) and past American Quarter Horse Association Horseman of the Year Pete Kyle planted a seed of love in my heart for the sport of reining when I participated in the National Reining Horse Association’s Ride a Reiner opportunity at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. (Lenas Taxman was once ridden by 2010 WEG individual reining gold medalist Tom McCutcheon, by the way!)

    In front of a large crowd (that’s in my opinion, of course), I and two other dressage riders tried our hand at “spins, fast circles and sliding stops.” Note: the quotation marks represent the fact that my attempts at these maneuvers just slightly resembled what you might see Shawn Flarida or Tom McCutcheon do. But it sure was fun!

    Kyle, who competed for the United States at the 2008 world championships in Manerbio, Italy, gave us encouragement and helpful pointers along the way. And the horses were willing and responsive but also cognizant of the fact that while we have riding experience, we are not reiners.

    In addition to wanting to gallop Taz out of the arena and several miles down the highway to the barn where I ride, I couldn’t wait to call my western riding instructor and demand that he start teaching me how to be a real reiner. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

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