Reining is About More Than Just Horsing Around

Park Cities family finds lasting bonds with equines and each other

While Yellowstone has spurred popularity in the Western equestrian discipline of reining, Kimberly and Faith Horner’s history in the sport dates back much further.

In fact, a love of horses, and reining in particular, has been passed through the generations of their family — to Kimberly from her mother and now to Faith, a senior at Highland Park High School.

“We’re a couple of country girls who live in the Park Cities,” said Kimberly, who grew up showing quarter horses in Dallas. “We ride every weekend. If we’re not riding, it’s probably because we’re at a horse show.”

Their horses are stabled about 70 miles north of the Park Cities near Whitesboro, where they are trained and exercised during the week in preparation for weekend shows.

Mother and daughter frequently compete alongside one another in events sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association and National Reining Horse Association, and each has won prize money and earned coveted saddles for the family trophy room — sometimes at the expense of the other.

“It’s definitely something I grew up with,” said Faith, who has garnered awards in youth and open divisions. “I’m way closer with my mom than a lot of kids are just because of all the time we spend together with our horses.”

Reining has been described as figure skating on dirt, with horse and rider as partners. Competitors must execute a pattern of maneuvers — such as spins, sliding stops, and circles — with judges awarding points or deductions for precision, style, timing, and transitions.

“It’s the bond you build with these horses. It’s a great release from work and stress. You have to focus and be in the moment,” Kimberly said. “Once you get involved with it, you’re hooked.”

The Horners typically travel to about eight to 10 shows annually, mainly in Texas and Oklahoma, but as far away as Tennessee and Las Vegas.

Faith’s commitment requires balancing academics and her schedule as a shortstop for the HP softball team each spring. In November, she signed a scholarship to join the equestrian program next year at Oklahoma State.

“It’s a very precise and technical sport,” Faith said. “It’s just been a love that I’ve had since I was little. The love connection you have with your horse is very rewarding. Every time I get in the saddle, I feel at home.”

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