matt mills reining horse vlog

Horse Vlog: Matt Mills Reining

About the Vlog

Reining champion, Team SmartPak’s million-dollar NRHA rider, coach, clinician, trainer, husband, and father: this cowboy is as down-to-earth as he is successful. Matt Mills started riding various western disciplines during his youth in Southern California.

After finding wild success in the reining world, Matt established his YouTube channel to help aspiring horsemen and horsewomen to achieve their goals by producing super-digestible videos. Matt takes viewers behind the scenes to show you how care, training, and a whole lot of fun are all essential to being a successful rider.

Matt is a World Equestrian Games Gold medalist, consistently ranks in the NRHA Top Twenty Professional Riders list, and has won several NRHA titles. He lives out his passion for the sport in training incredible futurity and derby horses, coaching both pro and non-pro riders of all ages, and sharing his wealth of knowledge online.

Watch the Vlog


Key Players

  • Matt: Meet your new reining coach! He’s an NRHA champion teaching you the basics of reining, how to troubleshoot technical issues in riding, and how to care for your horse the best way possible. Follow Matt through his daily life at Ruckman Ranch with his family and his horses, or follow his journey to NRHA Futurity.
  • Karen: With the Mills, riding is a family sport. Matt’s wife, Karen, is just as involved with the horses and a talented reiner in her own right. Follow her journey through finding new horses and fine-tuning their genius on the vlogs.
  • Lee: Lee (“Bruce Lee”) is the “everything guy” at the ranch. He knows what’s going on at all times, ensures the training program run smoothly, and is Matt’s partner for countless adventures.
  • Rio: It’s hard to narrow down key horses at Ruckman Ranch, but Rio is a consistent star on Matt Mills Reining. This trusty “senior” horse knows the ropes and helps Matt show off the mechanics of reining in some of his Tip of the Week videos. Plus, this palomino is utterly swoon-worthy. 
  • Tuff: Tuff is a legend at Matt Mills Reining, and rightly so. Not only has he won the most money of all the horses, but his first two foal crops were NRHA Futurity winners, and he was even Matt’s trusty steed on an episode of Yellowstone.

“In reining, we use the phrase ‘willingly guided.’ The connection between horse and rider becomes so deep in your blood, it becomes a part of your DNA…There’s no perfect ride, but you can master it for moments. And that’s why we do it.” – Matt Mills

10 Reasons to Subscribe

  1. Tip of the Week: Other than ogling all the gorgeous quarter horses, what we love most about the Matt Mills Reining channel is the vast amount of educational content. Check out the Tip of the Week playlist for both riding tips, as well as horse care education. Coming from a rider who attributes a lot of his success to the care of his horses, these episodes are invaluable.
  2. Hanging with Matt: This channel features vlog-style episodes called Hanging with Matt. These episodes range from day-in-the-life ranch content, to sharing Karen’s journey of finding a new horse, to an incredible trail ride in Sedona.
  3. The Road to Futurity: The NRHA Futurity, or the “Superbowl of Reining,” is a competition where 3,000+ three-year-old horses compete for total competition earnings of $150K. After one Futurity competition is over, the next year’s season begins, as riders need that much time to prepare their new horses. The Road to Futurity episode playlist is a full series of Matt picking his next three horses for futurity and training them for the competition. It reminds us of a Netflix Original Series for horse junkies.
  4. NRHA Million-Dollar Rider: As of September 2020, Matt passed the million-dollar mark for NRHA competition earnings. Can you imagine how much practice and how many competition days went into that accomplishment? Matt has also been a Team SmartPak rider for more than ten years.
  5. World Equestrian Games Gold Medalist: In 2006, Mills won the USEF Open Reining Championship on Easy Otie Whiz in Lexington, Kentucky with a score of 231.5 — a career best. This ride qualified him to be a member of Team USA that went on to win the gold medal from the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen, Germany.
  6. Attention, Yellowstone Fans: Not only is Matt Mills schooling his Scottsdale students, but he’s also schooled the ranch hands at Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Check out Season 2, Episode 5, where Matt schools Jimmy on sliding stops, and behind the scenes teased Cole Hauser (Rip) into doing his own cowboy stunts.
  7. Team Matt Mills Membership: Do you love all the tips that Matt shares on his channel? If you’re looking for more in-depth virtual learning about reining, the Team Matt Mills Membership has exclusive video content. There is a 7-day free trial, and new videos are added every month.
  8. Questions Answered: The very technical, easy-to-understand tutorials that we learn so much from aren’t by chance. Matt answers questions posted in his communities, especially from Team Matt Mills Membership.
  9. #BarnEnvy: Ruckman Ranch is something equestrian dreams are made of. This year-round training facility with a state-of-the-art stables, well-footed indoor arena, covered horse walker, round pen, and outdoor arena is filled with details to give the horses the very best care possible. Get a full tour of the ranch and the vision behind it with the with the owner, Tim Ruckman.
  10. Reining is a Family Sport: Matt’s wife, Karen, is also a competitive reiner and their son, Ryan, helps out around the stables when he’s not at school. Matt considers his family his biggest partner in success.

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Horse Rookie’s Top 5 Playlist

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 videos that help give you a sense of the content and decide if this channel is right for you.

  1. Come With Us on a Trail Ride in Sedona AZ
  2. How to Teach a Reining Horse to Circle
  3. How to Get Inflammation Out of Your Horse’s Legs
  4. The Proper Way to Hold Your Reins
  5. The Road to Futurity Episode 1

Sample Video

How to watch

If you’re interested in watching this channel, click below to see it on YouTube.

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