Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Lara Oles of Heber City won the inaugural Para Reining Championship at the 2014 National Reining Horse Association Futurity in Oklahoma. She rode Western Wiz, a 12 year old quarter horse owned by Bob Thompson of Alberta, Canada. The Para Reining class featured physically disabled riders from all over the United States and Canada.
Reining is a western style of riding where horse and rider must accurately perform a series of circles, spins and stops. Reining began in the United States, but has become popular around the world. Oles spent the week before at a Para Reining Clinic conducted by Lisa Coulter, a professional reining rider and trainer. Coulter donated her time, effort, and horses to instruct the participants in para reining.
Oles is well known in the Utah horse community as a determined competitor and as the state’s first internationally classified Para Dressage rider. Oles was in a freak skiing accident in 2006 that damaged her spinal cord, leaving her right arm permanently paralyzed and stroke- like symptoms in her right leg.
Currently dressage is the only Para Equestrian sport at the Paralympics. Oles hopes that reining will be added as a Paralympic sport in the future. Her ultimate goal is to represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Paralympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Oles thanks Lisa Coulter, Bob Thompson, the NRHA, Mike Moser, all the volunteers, and the other riders for the support and comradery.