Behind the Slide – Steve Tyner 

What a Ride!
Written by Steve Tyner

I’ve always been thankful that as a beginner rider in 2009 at the age of 56, I had the opportunity to start in the great sport of reining, riding in the Green Reiner 1 and 2 classes. These classes allow you to use one or two hands, and you compete with riders who are just getting started in this sport like I was back then. Some people are blessed to start riding very young when growing up in rural areas with horses. I did not, so for me to start out reining with one hand would have been like trying to ride a 750 lb. Harley Davidson motorcycle with one hand – it would have been pretty hard. The NRHA Green Reiner Program gave me the opportunity to start competing at a level that makes the transition into reining one handed so much easier, safer and enjoyable, which I did workup to later on that first year. I’m now in my late 60s and retired from my day job, so don’t think you’re too old because reining is a sport for both the young and the young at heart. The NRHA has many different categories and levels that push you to sharpen your riding skills so you can attain the success you choose. These include Green Reiner 1 and 2, Rookie, Youth classes based on age, Prime Time Rookie, Master, Limited, Amateur, Intermediate Non-Pro and Non-Pro to name a few. There are options for both young and older riders with many different additional classes based on the age of the horse as well. That has really helped us with the resale of our horses too.

 When I started in the sport of reining, it looked so easy when I first watched all the riders competing in the show pen. They made it look so simple, almost effortless, and so controlled. But what I quickly found out was that it is anything but as easy as it looked. Reining is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life and once I started, I became almost obsessed with trying to improve. This sport is evolving so you are constantly learning new techniques and ways to improve. The horse breeding is also evolving and making these horses better and better every year.

As a retired person, my family and reining give me a driving force every day to get up, work out and get to the barn. When you get going in this sport, you’ll find that it’s really a family-oriented sport. Most riders’ families quickly get involved and come to the shows for support, which I think creates a great atmosphere for all. They get together at some point during the shows and talk about like-mined things. There are parties, clinics, dinners, Cowboy Church on Sundays, horse auctions, raffles and lots of vendors. Reining is a special sport where everyone supports one another, even when competing against each other.

You have to work hard at reining to be successful, but I can tell you that it pays off if you do. Benefiting from this opportunity, I have now been in at least the top three in the local shows and in the top 10 in a lot of the higher end, bigger shows. In 2022, I finally won the Non-Pro and Intermediate Non-Pro high point classes at the annual banquet awards from the Intermountain Reining Horse Association. It’s those kinds of things that keep you wanting more. Also, I have to say that the people who run the NRHA are so kind and helpful while at the shows, especially when first starting out. At the local shows, I felt like the show coordinators and secretaries were with us beginners and taking us under their wing to protect us from some of the stresses.

I currently ride at Heritage Farms in Farr West, Utah, owned by Steve and Andy Fishburn. They have an extensive breeding program with just about any kind of horse you could want to own. The trainers are invested in my successes and are the best in the business, including NRHA Professionals Ethan Willey, Marie O’Neal and Dan Mayer. It is a real team effort here. These people are so eager and happy to help me with my journey. If there’s anything they, or I, can do for you to make your journey spectacular we would love to help.

Long live the sport of reining!