When the lights went out on Tuesday evening at State Fair Park during the 2019 NRHA Futurity, Lisa Winburn used skills she acquired as an endurance rider. It’s something she never anticipated needing at a reining show, but she was glad she had that skill at the ready.
“I used to ride in the FEI. I would compete for six months in the winter and then go back to Kentucky in the summer where my husband and I lived.”
On Lisa’s first day as a nurse in the Air Force, she met her husband. He was a pilot then and continues to spend his time in the sky, now with Delta.
“When my endurance horses got older, I decided I wanted to try something different. I started out with sorting, and then I bought a young horse and had a reining trainer help me. I thought to myself ‘well, that looks pretty cool.’”
Now, Lisa has been reining for the last three years, and she’s found her way to OKC for the NRHA Futurity for the last two. Surprisingly, there are plenty of similarities between reining and endurance.
“Learning how to keep a horse fit and sound is important in both, although it’s a little different. If they aren’t sound, they can’t perform.”
In endurance racing, horses must pass a vet check and soundness exam before and after a race. If they don’t trot off sound after a 100-mile race, then they get disqualified.
“I rode a lot of spooky horses going down the trail, which gave me a good seat. Speed is the hard thing for me in the reining.”
Lisa is used to a steady 10–12 mile-per-hour lope, rather than the varying speeds of reining.
“I’ve had to get used to the run downs, going really fast. That’s been the hardest thing for me. Knowing how to ride has been coming in handy.”