4-H’ers ex­pe­ri­ence Rein­ing horses June 18

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

DA­M­AS­CUS — Mem­bers of the Dream Rid­ers 4-H Club of Queen Anne’s County trav­eled to Da­m­as­cus in Mont­gomery County, Satur­day, June 18, to ex­pe­ri­ence rid­ing Rein­ing horses. They vis­ited “Sum­mer Wind Farm”, owned by na­tion­ally renowned Rein­ing horse train­ers Bob and Deb­bie LaPorta. Bob LaPorta has been train­ing Rein­ing horses for nearly four decades, the past 12 years as a pro­fes­sional, pro­duc­ing many win­ners, both rid­ers and Rein­ing horses.

The 4-H’ers who at­tended were Rachel Grabowski, Macken­zie Miller, Heather Arscott, Sofia Kolobow, Abbi Wal­ters, Leah Van­der­hoff and Ashlee Dilling — who was in­vited from the Pony Ex­press 4-H Club.

Rein­ing is a western rid­ing com­pe­ti­tion for horses where the rid­ers guide the horses through a pre­cise pat­tern of cir­cles, spins and stops. Orig­i­nat­ing from work­ing cat­tle, rein­ing is of­ten de­scribed as a Western form of dres­sage rid­ing, as it re­quires the horse to be re­spon­sive and in tune with its rider. A good cow­boy needed a quick and nim­ble horse, one that could change di­rec­tions quickly, stop “on a dime,” and sprint af­ter an er­rant cow.

Rein­ing as a sport was first rec­og­nized by the Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse As­so­ci­a­tion in 1949. The Na­tional Rein­ing Horse As­so­ci­a­tion was formed in 1966 in the U.S. and devel­oped a world-wide mem­ber­ship.

LaPorta told the 4-H’ers, “There are Rein­ing horses and com­pe­ti­tions in Poland, and Ja­pan, and over 40 na­tions around the world. If the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee was to add a new eques­trian sport, I am con­fi­dent it would be Rein­ing.”

The 4-H’ers watched as long­time Laporta stu­dent, Tri­cia Till­man, 16, of White Hall, demon­strated the ba­sic moves of a well-trained Rein­ing horse, which in­cluded large and small cir­cles while lop­ing the horse, both left and right pi­lot­ing spins, and an ac­cel­er­at­ing lope that con­cluded with the clas­sic slid­ing stop — the mar­qee move of Rein­ing horses. All of these moves are judged in a com­pe­ti­tion to de­ter­mine the win­ning horse and rider. Tri­cia has been train­ing with LaPorta since she was 4 years old. Both Trisha and her mom, Kim­berly Till­man help LaPorta with his Rein­ing stu­dents, and Tri­cia is na­tion­ally ranked Rein­ing horse rider with the NRHA.

Wear­ing re­quired 4-H safety hel­mets and rid­ing boots, each of the 4-H’ers were al­lowed to ride LaPorta’s well­trained Rein­ing horses, per­form­ing the large and small cir­cles and pi­lot­ing spins. They were not al­lowed to do the slid­ing stops, as that move re­quires more than a novice rider to per­form it safely.

All of the 4-H’ers said they had fun and wanted to come back for LaPorta to give them a more in­tense les­son.

4-H’er Rachel Grabowski said, “I thought it was very ed­u­ca­tional. Mr. LaPorta, Tri­cia and Ms. Kim­berly all re­ally know what they were talk­ing about with Rein­ing horses, that was clear.”

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Mem­bers of the Dream Rid­ers 4-H Club gather out­side Sum­mer Wind Farm in Da­m­as­cus, Satur­day, June 18, where they trav­eled to learn about Rein­ing horses. From the left, as­sis­tant trainer Kim­berly Till­man, Deb­bie LaPorta, Ashlee Dilling (of Pony Ex­press 4-H Club), trainer Bob LaPorta (wear­ing cap), 4-H’ers Sofia Kolobow, Macken­zie Miller, Leah Van­der­hoff, Heather Arscott, 4-H leader Karen Marx, Abbi Wal­ter, Rachel Grabowski, and as­sis­tant trainer Tri­cia Till­man of White Hall.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

From the left, with Rein­ing horse as­sis­tant trainer Tri­cia Till­man, 16, look­ing on, Dream Rid­ers 4-H mem­ber Macken­zie Miller of Gra­sonville prac­tices a pivot turn on one of na­tion­ally renowned Rein­ing horse trainer Bob LaPorta’s well-trained horses. LaPorta hosted a Rein­ing horse clinic at his Sum­mer Wind Farm in Da­m­as­cus, Satur­day, June 18.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHP

Tri­cia Till­man, 16, of White Hall, demon­strates a Rein­ing horse “slid­ing stop” Satur­day, June 18, at the barn where she has trained since she was 4 years old.

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