Reining in the Romal

Reining in the Romal

Learn the proper way to use romal reins on your reining and reined cow horse.

Romal reins

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Romal reins are an extension of braided material attached to closed reins and can be found in many western events from reining, working cow horse and ranch riding to western pleasure and trail.

Trainer Jay McLaughlin regularly uses romal reins with his reining and reined cow horses.

“The biggest thing about romals is people pick the wrong ones,” says the Clarendon, Texas, trainer. “I like a soft, pliable romal that is a little smaller. There are a few men out there with ginormous hands, and they prefer the bigger romals. But if you have smaller hands, you should pick a smaller romal.”

How to Hold Romal Reins

Riders who are not accustomed to using a romal are sometimes not aware of the penalties awaiting them if they don’t hold it properly.

  • The romal should go across the palm and around the thumb.
  • The hand should be closed into a fist over both reins with no fingers in between, and the thumb must be on top.
  • The rein hand should always be in front of the romal’s knot, where the two reins meet.
  • The free hand must always be to the side (whether left or right), 16 inches from the rein hand.
  • The rein can be adjusted with the free hand in all classes but reining. In reining, if the romal length needs to be adjusted, the rider may do so any place the horse is completely stopped during the pattern.
  • In all western classes, the end of the romal – also known as the "popper" – may be straightened or disentangled anytime during the class, provided the rider’s free hand used to straighten or disentangle remains behind the rein hand.

Protection for Your Reining Horse

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