Reining on
the Rise

28 September 2018

Since being recognised by the FEI in 2000, Reining has become a competitive discipline practiced all over the world...

With the help of the FEI Solidarity Programme, Reining is increasingly being established across Asia. Here, we put the spotlight on Reining’s growth in popularity and development in Thailand…

 

With wide fast circles, flying lead changes, 360-degree spins and signature sliding stops, Reining is one of the most thrilling equestrian sports to participate in or witness, particularly for those seeking to fulfil their childhood ambitions of becoming cowboys and girls.

 

That was how it all started for Peumpoon Piamprasop, who became interested in horses at a young age after watching a western movie, despite none of his family coming from a riding background.

"There is a lot of
good work
and willingness"

Explore new opportunities with Reining

Having progressed from pony classes to riding with the military, then trail riding to competitive Reining, Peumpoon has become one of the leading practitioners of the discipline in Thailand, and is the proud owner of a stable and riding school two hours west of Bangkok. Now, he is eager to communicate the sport’s excitement with more people – and more young people – throughout the region.

 

“I like the style and smoothness of Reining, and the way that you’re training a horse to do the job all by yourself,” explains Peumpoon, 34, who runs the stable with his wife.

 

“We teach both children and adults, and we have seven horses now. But this is still a very limited number to share with all of the people who want to start moving along the path of Reining.”

Indeed, given the logistical problems of importing the breed most suitable to Reining – the American quarter horse – and the prohibitive costs involved, it can be difficult to attract people to what is still a new and localised pursuit in Thailand, with most Reining activity taking place within a small radius of its sprawling capital city.

 

But now, recognising the burgeoning interest in Reining in Thailand, and the potential for it to spread across the region and continent, the FEI is helping to develop, maintain and sustain this growth as part of its global Solidarity programme.

 

In September 2016, the country’s first national level FEI Reining Course, focused on coaching and judging, was held at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club in Pattaya, attracting 20 participants. Little more than a year later, nearly twice as many people attended the second course, which sought to raise the level of potential coaches in Thailand so that they have the technical knowledge required to educate riders.

 

Both of the four-day workshops, which included a mix of theory sessions, video analysis, practical demonstrations and competition environments, were organised in partnership with the Thailand Equestrian Federation (TEF) and delivered by FEI experts Pierre Ouellet (coach) and François Zurcher (judge).

 

Ouellet saw untapped potential in Thailand despite some localised challenges.

 

“To start with, it was not very easy in Thailand, because although [the participants] know about horses, they don’t have much knowledge in the western disciplines. So the first workshop was more based on the basic skills in western riding, and how to do the manoeuvres,” he said.

 

 

“But there is a lot of good work and willingness that many people are putting into this discipline in Thailand, and we are very proud to help them to start the FEI Reining pathway.”

 

By the end of the second course, Ouellet had identified seven potential Reining coaches, and has since been in regular correspondence with them, giving them a step-by-step programme to follow ahead of his return to Thailand for the third course in December.

 

“This time, it will be a lot more based on coaching,” he says. “I will show them how to teach, and how to get the athletes ready for the competitions. After that, they should be able to go on by themselves.”

“They’re just getting started in China, but in Japan they’ve been doing Reining for 20 years, and it’s very popular there ”

Reining received a significant boost in publicity from the international broadcast coverage of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon.

The discipline's growth was illustrated by 20 National Federations sending riders to compete in exhilarating Individual and Team events earlier this month.

 

At the same time, there has been an noticeable increase in appetite for the discipline in Southeast Asia, with the TEF recently staging its second-ever national show for Reining, and inviting several other Asian countries to Ouellet’s clinics in December.

 

For Peumpoon, who has been invited to give a physical demonstration at each of the three FEI Solidarity workshops in Thailand, this could be the first step towards a continental event involving nations such as Japan, China and Singapore. 

 

“They’re just getting started in China, but in Japan they’ve been doing Reining for 20 years, and it’s very popular there too,” he says. 

 

“I want to bring them to compete in Thailand. Maybe, we can join together and stage an Asian Cup competition, in 2019 or 2020.”

 

Indeed, with the involvement of enthusiastic participants like Peumpoon, inspirational coaches like Pierre, and dedicated National Federations like the TEF, these exciting next steps look increasingly achievable, as FEI Solidarity continues to promote the development of Reining and equestrian sport across Thailand, Asia and the world.

 

For more information about FEI Solidarity, and the work it does across the world, click here.