NSW Reining Horse Association
The NSW Reining Horse Association, Inc., started in the mid eighties when a group of western horse people in the Sydney area got together to run reining and cow horse shows. In fact the association started as the N.S.W. Reining and Reined Cow Horse Association. In the early days of reining, classes were run by the Quarter Horse clubs who were more interested in the Pleasure, Trail and to a lesser extent, Cutting classes.
Reining was known as the Cinderella event as it was always run last and quite often not run at all as time would not permit. The idea was that this group had to raise the profile of reining and to give failed cutting horses another avenue to enter the performance arena. In this period the Sydney Cutting Club was in full swing and the western horse scene in the greater Sydney area was very vibrant with shows most weekends. After the formation of the RHAA in 1988, reining in Australia had at last a national body to champion the cause of reining on a national level. The club changed its name to the N.S.W. Reining Horse Association to better reflect the direction its members were taking.
In the early years the club ran a full show program, including Western Pleasure, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle and Cow Horse classes every month. As the reining horse industry matured in Australia, so the focus of the club became more specialised and the numbers involved dictated a rationalising of the sport. In the early nineties, Dave Gardner started running the Western Showcase Series of shows at Horseworld near Windsor in western Sydney. These shows were a huge success and really showed what reining could be if it was promoted correctly. It was after these shows that the decision was made to start having shows at this venue. A combination of a large arena and good surface made it the perfect place to have out State Show.
1993 was the first year that the NSWRHA held its State Show at Horseworld and although our show program was too ambitious with the show running 'till 3am the show was deemed a success with the standard being set for years to come. Because of the specific needs of the reining horse for good, consistent ground, the club became renowned for repairing the Horseworld surface and other users of Horseworld came to appreciate the efforts of the reiners in improving the quality of ground at the complex.
In 1995 a decision was reached between the NSWRHA and the Horseworld management to update the surface so that it would not require continual maintenance. A group of members got together and stripped the base of the arena and repaired all the holes. A new base was laid and rolled and then with the addition of a courser sand the arena was put back into use, and that is the surface that we ride on today.
The NSWRHA has a long and colourful history with many personalities of the reining industry having been involved with the club over more than 20 years. Reining in Australia is moving into a very exciting period with the advent of World Equestrian Games reining competition, a truly international competition driving reining into a high profile equestrian sport.
The NSWRHA is well placed to be in on the ground floor and direct the growth in the sport with the possibility of WEG qualifiers and EFA competition taking place in NSW. With a long history and a bright future it makes sense to be part of the NSW Reining Horse Association, Inc.