Archive for March, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Screaming with my Reins

I have a secreat reason which I won’t go into right now because its a fault on my part, on why I want to ride with Romal Reins.

The public reason to want to ride with Romal Reins is:  Romal reins means you are riding a finished saddle horse. 
 I like it when Nova and I look like a finished saddle horse!  Romal reins is a sign of being a very accomplished horseman with a finished saddle horse.  Have I said Finished Saddle Horse too many times in this paragraph?

A Romal (pronounced ro-MAHL), is a type of long quirt attached to the end of a set of closed reins that are connected to the bridle of a horse. It is not to be used to strike a horse, but rather was a tool used to assist in moving cattle.

A romal is usually made of leather or rawhide, is about four to five feet long, flexible and somewhat heavy, to prevent excess swinging and to aid control.

It is historically associated with the vaquero tradition of western riding, and today is most often seen in western pleasure and equitation classes at horse shows for certain horse breeds that are shown in the “California style” of western riding, or in other western events in regions of the United States and Canada that are most influenced by the vaquero style.

I have a beautiful set of Romal reins that are leather with silver settings.  I wouldn’t want to use this set of reins for everyday riding. This is a horse show set of reins.  So, I looked all over the internet stores for Romal Reins.  I didn’t even notice that some of them came in different lengths.

I got my reins today and it took me two hours to draw them out of the package.  I think that I could more easily ride a camel with that long neck and head than my horse.  They are long.  I compared them to my beautiful leather reins and they are only about a foot longer.

But wait!  The end is missing on my beautiful pair of Romal reins!  I had leathered the reins up and left them by my chair. Some little innocent doggie was chomping on my reins when I came home one night.  My old reins were there too. That’s what she was chomping on.   I said, “Thank Goodness, she just chewed the old reins!”  Turns out, she had also ate the end of my show reins!  I need a leather man…saddle maker, Help Me!

I called Tackrus tonight and someone just answered…”hello”.  I said, “Is this Tack R Us.  “Oh yes”, he said.  I told him I was a new Romal Rein user and I just got my reins.  I told him that they were way more beautiful than the picture, but they were too long.  Did he have a shorter set.  Silence. Then he said, “No, he said, “we only make that size”.  “Oh”, I said.  “OK.”  Then he said, couldn’t you bend the rein and tie it to make it shorter”?  “Huh?” I said.  He repeated.  “Oh, I said, probably yes.”

I need some tan bread ties.

PostHeaderIcon BFO DOG WALK!

BFO = Blinding Flash of the Obvious.  We horse people have them every now and then. That’s why our foreheads often get dented. Check out  my forehead the next time you see me.  Does it have a dent?

Warning:  Non horse people and horse people with non-gaited horses are going to find this exceedingly dull. Gaited horse people are going to hang on every word and probably not breathe until I run out of words.

I have an IQ over 100.  I’ve been understanding why the dog walk is so good for gaited horses.  Let me tell you:  It builds up the muscles that the gaited horse needs to gait. It increases their stride. An increased stride at the faster gaits makes us humans smile bigger and smoother!

I understand what it looks like:  The human’s stomach area is rocked forward and backward.  It looks like it hurts.  And it’s not what I would describe as comfortable.

About 100 years ago, Jenny told me that she developed her champion Tennessee Walking Horse’s stride over the winter by having him do a dog walk.  Doing that for a long winter wore out a pair of Jenny’s pants and increased his stride by a whopping long amount.  I’ve always remembered that.

When I had JR, I could never get him to dog walk.  I gave up in about 5 minutes or anytime Jenny’s back was turned. We sped up into the wonderful smooth flat foot walk.

With Nova, every now and then I can accidentally get a dog walk.  I try and fool Jenny all the other times and then try to speed up into the flat foot walk any time I can get away with it in a lesson.

After all, the dog walk is slow, it’s uncomfortable and I couldn’t get it. What better reasons do you want?  I want to go fast with that wonderful gaited horse’s rhythmic gaits.  I love speeds up to a gallop!

At the recent gaited horse clinic with Jenny and Tony Vaught, again I got to hear about why the dog walk was so important.  I tried to care and I did for a while.

I went for a trail ride on Velvet last Saturday. Velvet has spent two years with the Vaughts.  Her stride is a lot longer than it was the last time I was riding her.  On the trail, we went on a fast dogwalk for about the entire distance.  It was fast and her stride was long.  Amazing, I thought!  This is why her fox trot stride has increased.

Tonight I rode Nova.  I learned how to get her to dog walk! This is incredible.  She has to put her head down, relax and walk faster than a real walk and not as fast as a flat foot walk.


So, tonight Nova and I practiced patterns at the dog walk. She was pretty surprised to have the evening end without her doing her faster gaits.

It’s all about feel. Tonight I felt it and understood it.  I am “one with the dog walk”!


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