On A Roll

Bring precision to your rollbacks with this drill from 2020 NRHA Level 4 Open Derby Reserve Champion Nathan Piper.

Article & Photos by Abigail Boatwright

Fluid, snappy rollbacks are an important element in every reining pattern. While the sliding stop may garner the loudest cheers from the audience, the rollback is the actual completion of certain maneuvers.

The NRHA Handbook states, “Rollbacks are the 180-degree reversal of forward motion completed by running to a stop, rolling (turning) the shoulders back to the opposite direction over the hocks and departing in a lope, as one continuous motion.”

A willing response to the neck rein, an athletic move over the hocks and sure step into the correct lead – the rollback’s multiple steps can make or break your score. A good rollback earns credit and sets you up for the next maneuver. A poorly executed rollback can cost points and seriously derail your pattern.

NRHA Professional Nathan Piper marked a 226 with Patriot in June’s NRHA Level 4 Open Derby finals to finish as the Reserve Champion. He received plush-half maneuver scores on at least one rollback from all five judges.

Piper credits NRHA judge and fellow NRHA Professional Terry Thompson for introducing him to a rollback drill that has become an important part of his training program and non pro instruction. With this drill, he’s encouraged both precision and responsiveness in the horse, as well as a deep-seated confidence in the rider – traits he said pave the way to a high-scoring maneuver.

Flip to page 54 of your September 2020 Reiner to get these step-by-step instructions or click here.