No Reining in Reine: Shelby Reine rides to spot at Texas A&M

Published 12:06 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

LAPLACE — It was senior night at St. Charles Catholic High School, the night the school officially says “farewell” to its many seniors who participated in fall sports.

Of course there were the usual football players and managers, cheerleaders, a swimmer or two and a couple who ran cross country (the volleyball players got their own night on the court).

Then there was Shelby Reine.

Shelby Reine, a senior at St. Charles Catholic High School, recently signed to compete for the Texas A&M University equestrian team.

Shelby Reine, a senior at St. Charles Catholic High School, recently signed to compete for the Texas A&M University equestrian team.

Shelby, 17, the daughter of Mike and Alisha Reine of LaPlace, is the sole member of the St. Charles Catholic equestrian team. Her “teammates” were back in their barn.

Shelby actually competes as an independent athlete, but the school recognizes her accomplishments.

Specifically, Shelby competes in the sport of Reining and Ranch Riding, a competition in which riders must guide their horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops in an arena.

Although there are no state championship trophies in her school representing her  achievements, Shelby is a champion.

She is currently ranked No. 6 in the world in Reining by the American Quarter Horse Association.

She was the first Ranch Pleasure Riding world champion in 2013, and won it again in 2015. She was a Ranch Riding finalist this year, a Futurity finalist Level 1 at the NRHA Futurity in 2015 and a Derby finalist in Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 at the NRHA Derby in 2015.

In 2013, she placed fifth in Reining at the AQHYA World Show and was Reserve Champion in Youth 14-18 Reigning at the NRHA Southwest Affiliate finals. She was the Level 1, 2 and 3 champion and Level 4 Reserve Champion at the 2014 Heritage Futurity.

Next week Shelby will compete in the NRHA non-pro Futurity for 3-year-old horses, all competing for the first time. She will be riding A Long Dreamin’ Whiz, a horse she bred and trained all by herself.

“This is the big one for her,” mom Alisha said. “She’s been working toward this one for a long time. It’s been a bucket list kind of thing for her.”

Shelby checked off another item on her bucket list earlier this month when she signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Equestrian team at Texas A&M University as one of 14 incoming freshmen. Alisha said it is believed that Shelby is the first signee from Louisiana.

It has been a dream for Shelby since she was just a little girl.

She was 18 months old when her grandfather, Mack Reine, first put her on a horse in his barn.

“It was just me and him,” Shelby said. “He put me on a horse and I just started going around by myself.”

They were gone a long time when Alisha finally went looking for them.

“I got there and she was up on a horse by herself in a saddle,” Alisha said. “I just asked, ‘Is that safe?’”

When she was 2, Mack bought her a pony.

“That was all she wrote,” Alisha said. “That was all she wanted to do.”

At the age of 5, Shelby began competing in Western Pleasure riding — “easy stuff,” she said. “You just kind of lope and trot around the rails.”

At 7, she got a barrel horse and began competing in timed races.

At 8, she got a Reining horse, and that’s what she’s been doing ever since.

“I started getting serious about it,” Shelby said. “That’s when I found out equestrian teams existed. There was a girl at my barn who signed with Texas A&M and, when I heard that, I just thought it was the greatest thing in the world. I set my goal to do that, to be good and to be able to compete.”

Alisha said her daughter has followed that path of determination.

“We’re not from Texas, we’re not Aggies,” she said. “She totally got that from hard work and dedication. She definitely has a strong work ethic. She’s given up Mardi Gras parades, beach trips, parties at her friends’ houses. Last year she gave up prom. She had a show that week and she said she wanted to show her horse instead.”

Shelby said it hasn’t been a sacrifice.

“It really doesn’t bother me,” she said. “I guess when I’m off training in the summer, I miss my friends, but I have friends there too. It’s what I like to do so it’s not that hard for me to miss things.”

Two weeks before Shelby signed her scholarship papers, her beloved grandfather passed away. A few days later, she showed her horse in a competition.

“He knew I was signing,” she said. “Then he passed away on a Sunday and I had a horse show that week. I made sure I was there because he would have wanted me there.”