What Is A Reining Saddle?
Reining saddles are made for competing in the sport of reining, which involves precise sequences of circles, spins, and sliding stops. A reining saddle gives the rider the intimate contact he needs to transmit such motions to his horse in a way that is so delicate that the audience will not notice.
Reining is a competition designed to showcase a horse’s athleticism and excellent communication skills. The horse, not the rider, takes center stage in reining. The reining saddle will maintain the rider in a proper, balanced position and out of the way of the horse.
Reining Saddle Features
- To avoid interfering with the rider’s hands or reins, the saddle horn and saddle fork are set at a medium height (lower than on a cutting saddle).
- The saddle seat is built to allow the rider to roll their pelvis back for the major stops and sits low on the horse’s back.
- Cutout saddle skirts allow the rider’s leg to be close to the horse’s mouth for better communication.
- Free-swinging saddle fenders hanging from the saddle tree‘s center to give the rider the most latitude in communicating cues.
- Stirrup leathers that are thinner to reduce bulk and bring the leg closer to the horse.
- Only the front cinch.
- There is no flank cinch.
- Saddle rigging was dropped to reduce the mass under the rider’s legs.
- At contests, silver trim is commonly used to add some flash.
The reiner is a particularly event-specific saddle that is meant to give the rider as much contact with the horse as possible for subtle communication cues.
Although a reiner is not a suitable working saddle, some riders choose to use reining (and cutting) saddles as a general training saddle due to the tight contact and communication they provide with the horse.