Syracuse, NY - Para-reining is catching on at shows around the country and with NHRA and USA Reining classes offered at the Central New York Reining Horse Association’s Fall Classic riders had the chance for viable competition for the first time in the Northeast. Cole Jacobs earned top score the first day riding his own Ruf N Loaded, an 8-year-old gelding. Cole has been the pioneer Para-reiner in the New York area, along with his trainer Jennifer Hoyt who approached the NRHA four years ago about creating such Para classes.
“Cole was my first experience working with a handicapped person but I was so impressed with our horses’ response to him and the joy and gratification he felt that I pursued the creation of NRHA Para Reining,” says Hoyt.
Originally, Jacobs came to Hoyts Training Stables in Manilus, NY, looking for a safe, reliable trail horse that neck reined but when Jennifer and her husband, Tom Hoyt, saw how relaxed and capable he was on one of their reining horses, new goals emerged.
In the past year, Jacobs and his family have traveled to FL, KY, and OK to participate in USA Reining, NRHA and World Para Reining sponsored classes. “We’re going to need a tour bus soon,” Cole jokes but he’s very glad to see para-reining growing close to home. For Hoyt, it’s gratifying to be part of the joining of USA Reining and NRHA Reining to expand opportunities to a variety of riders.
“I just wanted to create a place for disabled persons to be able to enjoy the sport I love so much and to show the world how wonderful our reining horses are.”
Ruf N Loaded is a prime example of the Quarter Horse breed’s versatility. Every year, they take off his sliding plates and the family camps at Otter Creek for several weeks. Frederick Win won the USA Para-reining event on Friday with his recently purchased 5 year old mare Rem N Trash.
"I’m excited to be part of this show, as it’s the first ever Para-reining event on the East Coast with my new horse Remi,” he said. “It’s close to my home state of NJ and show organizer Jennifer Hoyt did a great job helping riders every step to insure any needs. I expect next year more riders will be joining this show.”
With only a short time to get to know each other, Win credits his trainer, Dean Brown at Santa Hill Ranch in Campbell Hall, NY for getting up to speed. “It would not be possible to achieve this win without Dean. He worked with me intensively, studied my weakness and strength, to perform the best as possible with my new horse.”
Remi, he says, likes to please her rider, yet is sensitive and has her own mind (a typical mare). Noting the clean rides ahead of him, Win focused on riding the pattern precisely without risking penalties. Showing in both Green Reiner and Rookie divisions, Win also claimed reserve champion in Green Reiner against able-body riders on Saturday.
Catch riding two mounts, Nics Sailin owned by Madison Slacktish and Cataskeeto loaned by Cooper G Hicks, Holly Jacobson from MA, put in two solid efforts over the two days. “Admittedly, it was coordinated on the fly but I’m just continually impressed by the welcoming attitude of the reining community and the awesome rideability of these horses.”
Para-reining is a discipline that is currently evolving. “I would like to see NRHA include levels of Para for different levels of disabilities and I will keep working towards that,” says Jennifer Hoyt. Ultimately, one goal is to see Para-reining included at the FEI level as Para-reining’s popularity gains traction worldwide.
The American Quarter Horse’s versatility and temperament opens the door to sport for a great diversity of riders, and reining offers such a cool combination of skill and thrill.