There is a lot of controversy in the horse world about reigning and dressage. In many aspects, they are very similar, although riders tend to have a preference for one over the other. When it comes to horse and rider dynamics, there is a lot of overlap between them.
Dressage, according to the USDF, is a French word for “training.” While the horse’s innate athletic talent is being developed, the rider is also ensuring that the horse is calm and eager to follow orders.
In a similar fashion, reigning is the same. But it’s geared more toward the working horse, which requires specialized training in order to work with farm animals. Competitors for ruling horses can show off their precision and athleticism, according to the USEF.
There are numerous parallels between dressage and reining, but possibly the difference is just in the rider’s intentions.
According to the Perfect Horse, it is possible to build a strong relationship between the horse and rider through both styles of riding, and both methods can be utilized to educate the horse to move correctly.