Friday, November 30, 2012

Slo-Mo Reining Horse: What They Won't See in Oklahoma City

You have to love the sport of reining, but you also have to admit that it is all sort of a blur when those horses pick up the tempo. During the spin and slide I always wish I could see their legs and hooves. Good luck with that!

There's no doubt these horses get a workout in the biomechanics department so when I saw that Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics had videotaped a reiner with his high-speed video camera, I knew it would be worth watching in slo-mo.

So let's toast the beginning of the big weekend for the sport of reining.

What's going on? It's the most elite reining event in the world--with about 3,000 entries, $2 million in cash and prizes, and over 100,000 visitors from nearly 20 countries--also known as the National Reining Horse Futurity in Oklahoma City. It's as big a deal as you'll find in western performance sports.

The little horse is carrying a heavy saddle and rider, and he's on the forehand. And then he turns inside out to slide and stop.

This is one of those videos that you should watch once or twice, then go to full-screen mode and watch it while toggling the stop/play buttons. Watch the neck, the shoulder, the back and the hocks.

It makes it a little easier to understand why Adequan is one of the chief sponsors of the Futurity.

The ironic thing about this video is that it was shot in Great Britain, where Russell Guire's Centaur Biomechanics consultancy focuses (normally) on the FEI disciplines. An early pioneer with Haydn Price's Equinalysis team, he's been advising the Team GB High Performance Squad for the past six years. 

The rider is Shane Borland, an accomplished European-circuit reiner; he represented South Africa in reining at the 2006 and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

I'm sure everyone who watches Russell's video will see something different. But maybe after watching it, you will notice more than you did before the next time you watch a reining horse slide, and maybe you'll look at some different parts of the horse.

Thanks to Russell Guire for making this video available...and good luck to everyone at Oklahoma City!

--written by Fran Jurga

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