Musician Lyle Lovett in 3* reining event

Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett

Country music legend Lyle Lovett will join a world-class field of Reining riders competing in the second annual Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Four-time Grammy Award winner will take part in the event, on April 27 to 28, which is run during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup (AKRC) features a CRI3*, the only three-star reining competition currently scheduled in the United States for 2012, along with the popular $25,000 World Freestyle Championship. It is expected to draw some of the best horses and riders from around the globe.

Lovett’s participation adds to a musical theme for the weekend. Much like the Freestyle performances in figure skating, the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup’s $25,000 World Freestyle Championship features top reiners riding choreographed programs set to music. Additionally, the famed country music group Exile will perform as part of a free two-hour concert on Saturday, April 28 from 3:30-5:30 pm. The show will be free to anyone holding a ticket to either the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event’s Cross-Country competition, 9am to 3:30pm, or the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup’s World Freestyle Championship, 5:30-7:30 pm.

Lyle Lovett has been a fixture of the country music scene for 25 years. He released his self-titled debut album in 1986, and has released 14 albums. He has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Country Album for The Road to Ensenada (1996) and Best Country Male Vocal (1989). He has acted in several films and television shows and he recently contributed a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Well … All Right” for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, released on September 6, 2011.

In addition to his music career, Lovett has made a name for himself in the horse world as a horse breeder and reining competitor. He raises about a half dozen foals a year, keeping some, selling others and just giving some of his “babies” away. Reining is one of his particular passions. As a horse owner, he was present to see one of his horses emerge with a Gold Medal in the Reining World Championships at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Last year, he competed alongside all four members of the 2010 World Championship Gold Medal team in the inaugural Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup. He looks forward to his return for this year’s Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup competition in Lexington.

“I was here for the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and when I was invited to ride in the reining event at Rolex last year, nothing was going to keep me from doing that,” said Lovett, who rode his horse Smart and Shiney in the CRI5*, the sport’s highest level, at the 2011 Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup.

Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a western type horse in a show arena. In reining, competitors are required to run one of several approved patterns. Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, roll backs, 360 degree spins done in place, back-ups and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse.

“It is so exciting to have Lyle Lovett come to compete in the $100,000 CRI3* at this year’s Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup,” said Brad Ettleman, show manager of the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup. “Last year he proved that he is capable of riding at our sport’s highest level and I know that his many fans join reining fans in looking forward to seeing him ride at this year’s event.”

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