Reining Horses Take Center Stage

NRHA Derby Lets Reining Horses Take Center Stage

With the Belmont Stakes behind us, horse enthusiasts like us are turning their attention to the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby. While major thoroughbred racing events focus on speed, the NRHA Derby showcases a reining horse’s athletic ability to run specific patterns willingly guided with precision, agility, and control.

The NRHA Derby at a Glance

So what happens at the NRHA Derby? Riders guide their horses through a precise pattern, which includes an exciting mix of small (and slow) circles, large (and fast) circles), roll-backs, flying lead changes, 360˚ spins and sliding stops. Similar to athletes like divers or figure skaters, the riders and their horses are judged on technical and stylistic merits, along with the degree of difficulty.

As one of the NRHA’s premier events, the Derby welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels, including 240 middle school and high school Western riders. We’re excited to see what this next generation has in store for us—even at their young ages, they’ve already dedicated so much to their sport and their relationships with their horses. As fans of all things equine, we applaud their passion!

The Hallmarks of a Champion Reining Horse

Reining horses are typically quarter horses—a breed that’s quick but sturdy, and extremely responsive to their rider. A reining horse needs both powerful hindquarters and impeccable coordination. Their chances of becoming a champion begin with their genetics, which is responsible for the conformation traits that give a horse the ability to stop quickly, spin, and complete a rollback.

Maximizing a Reining Horse’s Potential

While you can’t change a horse’s genetic makeup, you can certainly ensure it lives up to its genetic potential through proper nutrition. And at Hallway Feeds, we know a lot about proper equine nutrition!

Overall, a reining horse—or any performance horse—needs enough calories to keep them going. Calorie-boosting feeds like Hallway Feeds Fibrenergy ensure horses in training get the calories they need so they won’t tire out.

These horses also need protein and essential vitamins and minerals. At Hallway Feeds, we’ve enriched many of our feeds for reining horses with Buffered Mineral Complex (or BMC). This research-backed complex acts as a buffer in the stomach and large intestine to lower the acid load, helping improve both gastric and hindgut health. Less acid in the stomach can mean a lower chance of developing gastric ulcers; less acid in the large intestine can help prevent hindgut acidosis.

The Formula for Success

Over the last 50 years, we’ve invested a lot in research for horse feed and developing customized feed programs. One breakthrough we’re especially proud of is our exclusive Edge Technology, which we include in many of our reining horse feeds.

Why do we call it Edge Technology? Simple. It gives the horse a (completely legal!) edge: enhanced competitive focus.

The custom feeds with Edge Technology use “super fibers,” which give a reining horse readily accessible forms of digestible energy—about 90% of the energy of oats. These super fibers can’t take all the credit, though. They’re complemented by vegetable oil, which is more than twice as energy-dense as cereal grains. With the fiber and oil replacing traditional cereal grains, the horse doesn’t have that spike in glucose that’s common with cereal grain-based feeds. Research and practical field applications have repeatedly proven that Edge Technology is the answer to the demands placed on athletic horses, whether they’re training for racing or reining.

The Countdown is On

As a leader in premier equine nutrition, we’re naturally drawn to world-class events like the NRHA Derby. We can’t wait to see who comes out on top and will be cheering on all these amazing athletes—both horses and their riders.

If you’d like to find out more about the NRHA Derby, click here.