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  1. #1
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    Default Riding in romels?

    Does anyone have an experience? What to do and not to do?

    I have a 10 year old Morgan gelding who is progressing fantastically in his western frame and gait. Right now we're using an older curb bit (that he loves) and regular split reins. My riding instructor has mentioned a few times the difference in split reins vs riding in romels, especially for Morgans and Arabs.

    I found some training romels in a catalog that I'll probably buy and try before investing a ton of money. Just curious what everyone's thoughts are on them?



  2. #2
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    I ride my horses in a romel. The bit and romel are very balanced together. My romel is slightly weighted -- I trail ride and compete in this combo. Having that long end is great for letting him drink on the trail. ;-)



  3. #3
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    Romal reins in other than the West are not that common in quarter horses.
    Most use split reins.

    I don't know today, but many years ago, you used split reins for most riding and training, except speed events/arena roping, those used closed reins, or with horses that were up in the bridle and moving like those do, there you would use romal reins.

    Both were acceptable for showing, as long as the horses were traveling adequately for that kind of tack, as per some judges I talked to.
    Today, I don't know how they are judging.



  4. #4
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    Bluey, I ride a Morgan and they do still show in romels. For regular riding or trail riding I'd prefer the split reins and will use them, but to show and train WP, I'm thinking the romels might make it a little easier for Remy to maintain his headset.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tee View Post
    Bluey, I ride a Morgan and they do still show in romels. For regular riding or trail riding I'd prefer the split reins and will use them, but to show and train WP, I'm thinking the romels might make it a little easier for Remy to maintain his headset.
    Yes, other breeds have different standards and traditions than quarter horses.

    In general, morgans and arabians are shown more up in the bridle, so romal reins are appropriate for them, if we follow the old traditions.

    I remember watching different western classes with both, horses traveling low and loose with split reins and up in the bridle with romal reins, in the same class.
    As long as your judges knew the difference and how to place each horse for what type it was, against each standard, not each other, that would be fine.



  6. #6
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    I started riding in romel reins for cowhorse shows where they are mandatory. I like them alot and feel very comfortable with them. I ride them in all shows now (unless of course I have a horse in a snaffle). I also have split reins, but don't like them as much.



  7. #7
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    Is the point of romel reins that they are weighty and help set the head, when paired with a curb, and that the buttons make the horse more sensitive to the rein aids....'nuther person who knows very little here. Are they just for shows, or used for working horses?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Is the point of romel reins that they are weighty and help set the head, when paired with a curb, and that the buttons make the horse more sensitive to the rein aids....'nuther person who knows very little here. Are they just for shows, or used for working horses?
    In a word, no. Romel rein is the last step for a finished bridle horse. It has been trained with graduated bosals (heavy to light) with a spade bit worn for the last couple of bosal changes, and with two sets of reins on the last change, the mecate on the bosal, and the romel rein on the bit and 'steering' is gradually taken over by the bit. I know, I am well out of spade bit country but we had quite the group of old timers here that trained that way, and I was lucky enough to have one teach me but how much I remember is uncertain, been years now.
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  9. #9
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    I have always heard those called romal, not romel reins.

    Wikipedia agrees, for what that's worth

    :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romal

    While googling for the correct spelling I found some that spelled them romel here and there also, but it is not the spanish name.

    It is my understanding that yes, romal reins are used for up in the bridle, vaquero type riding mostly.

    Every time I tried to use those, for any other more active riding, they seemed to be unhandy, too much stuff in the way.
    I guess it is partly what you get used to.



  10. #10
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    Thanks for the spelling check on that, Bluey. I KNEW it didn't look right but did nothing about it.
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  11. #11
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    Romel (and yes, they can be spelled either way), came about when snaffle bit futurities and working cow horse classes became popular on the West coast. You rarely saw these types of futurities/classes in the mid-West or East coast until the last 20-30 years or so. Reining yes, working cow horse, no. For YEARS, West coast trainers dominated the working cow horses at the World Show (both open and youth).

    I think another factor was that the romel was brought by the Spanish to California and they just plain stuck as a piece of equipment that worked well for the vacqueros that rode the vast ranches in the West.

    It's much easier to lengthen and shorten reins in a hurry by sliding the romel with your right hand. This is a pretty big advantage when turning a cow on the wall and circling it in the middle each direction. If you ride with splits, you cannot reach up and grab reins with the off hand - your off hand cannot touch the reins in any way. It's a real skill and a real trick to shorten and lengthen splits. If you're not good at it, your cow has left you in the dust.
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  12. #12
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    Well, in English you may call it whatever you want, but if you go by the spanish name, romal it is.

    I never saw it called romel until this thread and have been around my share of CA trainers.



  13. #13
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    Very important things about riding in romal reins:

    You must hold them California style. The bight must come out of the top of your hand, the bight falls to the off side of the horse and the quirt is held in your off side hand. You my never put a finger between your reins when riding in romal reins, if you do so and a judge catches you they should automatically disqualify you from the class. You must maintain at least 16" of rein between your 2 hands. You may hold your quirt either so that it dangles or in a coil, although usually one only coils it if it bounces too much or bothers your horse.

    Here is the Morgan Western Pleasure horse Cavalli, the 2011 UPHA Morgan Western Pleasure Horse of the Year, with reins being held California style
    http://www.uphaonline.com/images/201...an/Cavalli.jpg

    Split reins may be held California or Texas style. When holding reins Texas style the bight comes out of the bottom of your hand and stays on the near side of the horse. You may put one finger between the reins when riding in split reins and holding them Texas style. If you opt to hold split reins California style you may not put a finger between your reins.

    And here is a Morgan reining horse, Disco Patricia, with reins being held Texas style
    http://www.wilgaparkmorgans.com.au/i...-Patricia2.jpg

    Its all in the rulebook:
    SUBCHAPTER MO-7 MORGAN WESTERN PLEASURE SECTION.
    MO131 General.
    5. When the end of the split reins fall on side of reining hand, one finger between the reins is permitted. When using a romal or when the ends of split reins are held in the hand not used for reining, no finger between the reins is allowed. Rider may hold the romal or the end of split reins to keep them from swinging and to adjust the position of the reins provided there is at least 16 inches of rein between the hands.



  14. #14
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    Those rules on how to hold the reins were explained to me also in AQHA shows, except I don't remember the 16" distance or no more than one coil.
    Hard to make more than one coil.

    I know that when I tried riding with romal reins, I felt very stiff, but I think with more practice or if that is how you learned, that would change.

    I thought riding with romal reins any more, that was several decades ago, was more of a competition style, for the arena, not many any more used them, other than some few vaqueros that had horses on the bridle and there were not that many of them.
    I would say it is hard to rope with that much else in your hands.
    I don't know how you would handle romal reins and a rope without sooner or later getting something in the way.
    I think romal reins would be of limited uses.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    I thought riding with romal reins any ore, that was several decades ago, was more of a competition style, for the arena, not many any more used them, other than some few vaqueros that had horses on the bridle and there were not that many of them. I would say it is hard to rope with that much else in your hands. I don't know how you would handle romal reins and a rope without sooner or later getting something in the way. I think romal reins would be of limited uses.
    I suppose it's all what you are used to. I know quite a few working cowboys who ride in romels and rope. And they have the annual Californios contest which is roping in romel reins. Of course it is different type of roping - much slower and deliberate - like the whole vaquero tradition in general. It's certainly not team roping. Only time the romel gets in the way is when inexperienced ropers like me try to do it. Although even then, it's not the romel that gets in the way it's ME that I seem to want to rope.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kewpalace View Post
    I suppose it's all what you are used to. I know quite a few working cowboys who ride in romels and rope. And they have the annual Californios contest which is roping in romel reins. Of course it is different type of roping - much slower and deliberate - like the whole vaquero tradition in general. It's certainly not team roping. Only time the romel gets in the way is when inexperienced ropers like me try to do it. Although even then, it's not the romel that gets in the way it's ME that I seem to want to rope.
    I tried to be subtle, but some times, that doesn't go over that well, does it, so here is the bludgeon.

    Seems that we have already established the proper spelling is romal.
    Why would anyone insist on misspelling it?
    If you are around real CA vaqueros, do ask them.
    Especially if they also speak spanish, I think they will make it clear why romel hurts the eyes of those that know how it should be written.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    I tried to be subtle, but some times, that doesn't go over that well, does it, so here is the bludgeon.

    Seems that we have already established the proper spelling is romal.
    Why would anyone insist on misspelling it?
    If you are around real CA vaqueros, do ask them.
    Especially if they also speak spanish, I think they will make it clear why romel hurts the eyes of those that know how it should be written.
    I don't speak Spanish and I have seen it spelled both ways in many different publications, etc. If that's what gets your panties in a twist, so be it.



  18. #18
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    During the 1970s and early 1980s when I was on the west coast (CA, OR, WA) EVERYONE rode in a collected frame with a curb bit and romAl. Moving east and seeing everyone riding in a longer, muuuuuch lower, doggier frame with split reins looked very, very strange.

    So, yes, definitely a regional thing.
    Last edited by betonbill; Aug. 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM. Reason: hit the wrong key; hadn't finished



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kewpalace View Post
    I don't speak Spanish and I have seen it spelled both ways in many different publications, etc. If that's what gets your panties in a twist, so be it.
    Even if others misspell a word regularly, once you know how it is spelled, do you not think it is worth trying to remember the right spelling?

    I don't know that much English, but when I see gate for gait and such, while I understand better than most that phonetics is the downfall of the English language, it is mine also, I make an effort to learn what is correct and so do most people I know.
    Why not learn, when information is out there?

    To me, to purposely misspell words is like being on the wrong lead but not caring, when we know better.



  20. #20
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    Bluey I too have seen the word spelled both romal and romel many times from many different sources. Chill out. It is like lunge or longe. Spell it either way, people still know what you are talking about.

    Here is Dale Chavez spelling it romel http://dalechavezsaddles.com/reins.htm and I think if he spells it that way it is an acceptable way to spell it.

    Also Bluey why do you keep talking about Quarter Horses and AQHA? The OP said in their first post that they have a Morgan!



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