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 or with the thumb on top

  • 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 or you’re considered to have 2 hands on the reins

  • The reins can be adjusted with the free hand at any time, except in the NRHA reining where the rider may only do so while the horse is completely stopped during the pattern. To adjust while “on the move” in the NRCHA, you pull the reins with your right hand to shorten what’s being held in the left hand

  • In all western classes, romal or 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.

  • Riding in romal reins is different, but with a little practice, I think you’ll enjoy the feel.


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