Romal Reins-When, Why & How to Use Them

Romal rein use continues to gain in popularity in the show pen, on the ranch and on the trail. Follow along on the video as Dennis visits with cow horse trainer Christian Lybbert of Lybbert Performance Horses in Whitesboro Texas to learn some interesting facts about using romal reins.

A Romal Rein is a closed rein composed of 2 distinct parts: the reins and the romal. The reins are attached to the bit with rawhide or leather loops, snaps, or rein chains. They make up approximately half the length of the entire piece of equipment. The romal is a single cord equal in length to the reins and joined to them with a connection strap. A popper, that can serve as a quirt, is attached at the end of the romal. It is made of a flat doubled piece of leather, so it makes a pop when it touches a surface.

Christian explains, to hold romal reins “use your right (dominant) hand to hold the romal down by your hip and your left hand to hold the reins.” He says by making a fist around the reins and keeping your thumb up you will be prevented from getting any fingers between the reins which is a disqualification at most shows. Christian also advises “keep your elbows in and keep the romal close to your leg.” Dennis says, according to National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) rules “there should be at least 16 inches between your hands.”

Christian explains that “when competing in NRCHA events, romal reins are used on bridle horses. Bridle horses are advanced horses that are 6 years old and older. Christian also explains that rules about particular requirements for holding and using romal reins between organizations are often similar but there are some differences. He says its good advice to always know the rules for the organization you are competing in because slight differences in the rules can result in large penalties.

Dennis says romal reins can help improve your posture on your horse. “If you’re using split reins (held in one hand) they can pull you forward. With romal reins held in your fist with your thumb up-it straightens you up. It helps you do what your mother always told you to do-to sit up straight.”

Buttons (knots) are braided onto the first 18 inches of each rein. Dennis says “these buttons have a purpose. They add weight and balance to the reins. They also help to keep the body of the rein off the neck of the horse to protect the rein from sweat. They put a little extra pressure on the side of the neck the rein lays against when cueing for a turn with the rein. The horse feels the buttons and responds better than with plain leather reins.”

Romal reins allow for minimal movement of the rider’s hand and create more precise, light cues to the horse through the bit. Christian explains “there’s a lot of tradition behind using romal reins. When you use them, it shows the quality of your horse and the quality of the rider.”

Dennis Moreland Tack builds high-quality, dependable romal reins. Whether you need a new set for the upcoming show season, a set to use on the ranch, or just for comfort and convenience for any kind of riding you do, we offer romal reins in rawhide, leather, kangaroo and nylon that will meet your needs. Call 817-312-5305 or email dmtack@vrfmail.com to find the romals that will best suit you.

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