Reining ChampionshipsSport Logo 2

Competition Banner Photo

The EQUITANA Australian Open Reining Championship promises a morning of action and athleticism at its very best. Watch as 5 Non-Pro, 5 Youth and 10 Pro trainers guide horses through an exciting pattern of circles, spins and sliding stops, showcasing the seemingly effortless movements of the elite western trained horse to fabulous, foot stomping music!

AO Logo Black Red Transparent

With an event prize pool of $30,000 the Australian Open Reining Championships attracts the best horse and rider combinations from across Australia.

The EQUITANA Australian Open Reining Championship is the opening event for EQUITANA's Super Sunday! Featuring all things reining, western and horsmanship including international reining superstar from the USA, Stacy Westfall, in her unmissable masterclass on Sunday afternoon. The day will finish with a huge bang, with the finale of All-Star The Way Of The Horse 'Champion of Champions'. You don't want to miss this!

Additional Photo


Reining traces back to cattle horses in the United States of America, with an extra dash of Spanish style. The horse’s duty was gathering, moving and holding cattle on the wide open spaces of the new territories. The cowboys also liked to show off their skills. The ability to move quickly, change direction and speed, and be willingly directed in movements whilst on a loose rein are trademarks of the Reining horse. The meteoric growth of this sport has led it to be the first Western Discipline to gain full FEI (Féderation Equestre Internationale) recognition.

There are eleven Reining patterns with slightly different levels of difficulty. The patterns are divided into seven or eight groups and always include: circles and transitions between small slow and large fast circles, two flying lead changes, 360 degree spins done in both directions, and the amazing sliding stops that have become synonymous with the sport of Reining. Judging begins when the horse enters the arena; all competitors begin with 70 points in credit. The judges then add or deduct points for each manoeuvre group in the pattern. A score of 0 (no deductions, no credits) indicates a judge’s evaluation of “correct”.

The evaluation scale has increments of ½ point, from a low of -1 ½ (extremely poor) to + 1 ½ (extremely good). Separate, wholly objective penalty scores apply for errors such as an incorrect lead, a break of gait from lope to jog, touching the saddle or the use of two hands on the reins. Credit is given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority, as well as degree of difficulty. Controlled speed in the pattern raises the degree of difficulty for the competitors while making the Reining horse competitions so exciting for the public to watch.


Aqualuma Grand Pavilion
Sunday 9:30am - 12:30pm
EQUITANA Australian Open Reining Championships

Aqualuma Grand Pavilion
Sunday 1:30pm - 2:45pm
Stacy Westfall Horsemanship/Reining Masterclass

Past Champions

2016Shaun Saunders riding Whiz Destiny

2014Shaun Saunders riding Ruf Major