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The Two Rein

Updated: Jun 29

The two rein stage of training has got to be one of the most exciting times for the aspiring Bridle horseman/women. After all the dedication, hours, miles and exercises you feel your horse is finally ready to pack (carry) that silver bridle.



In the vaquero horsemanship tradition horse's are started in the Hackamore (which consists of a Bosal, Hanger and Mecate rein), once they have learned the basics the horseman continues to advance their horses education in the hackamore to refine the lateral maneuvers, work cattle and possibly roping. Once the horseman/women feels they are ready to advance to the two rein they then select a smaller bosal with accompaning sized mecate that will fit under the bridle (the bit and the headstall) they have selected complete with rein chains and romal reins. The Mecate rein and the Romal rein make up the two reins that this stage is named for. The idea of this stage is to still ride the horse what is familiar to them (the hackamore) while also being able to introduce something new (the bit). The rider then continues to advance their horses education spending more and more time riding one handed and gradually introducing the bit to the horse with the familiarality and security of the hackamore rein always near by.





A few of the most common questions I get asked about the two rein stage are,


When will I know when my horse and I are ready to move up to the two rein?


"In my opinion you can start to consider moving up to the two rein when you and your horse can do the things you enjoy doing with relative ease in the hackamore and with very little issue communicating with each other. Other things to consider are that you have trained your horse to operate off the cues of your seat, your horse already has an understanding of the maneuvers you would like them to know and you have already explored doing them one handed.


Is it ok to go back to the Hackamore if I start having challenges in the two rein?


"Absolutely! That is another benefit of this system, if at anytime you feel your foundation could use more work or refinement simple remove the bridle until you think you are ready to give the two rein another try"

What do I do with the Romal rein when I first start riding in the two rein?


"Because the two rein stage is designed to be a gradual transition period at first I don't do anything with the Romal Rein other then hang it on my saddle horn. I primarily just use the hackamore rein and just let my horse pack the bit while we go about our business. One day an ideal situation appear where I can hold the bosalita rein and the romal rein together in one hand and try some basic maneuvers such as walking a figure eight, backing up, the turn on the forehand, the turnaround (turn on the haunches), the leg yield, Travers, etc. And gradually over time the romal rein will start to spend more and more time in my hand exposing the horse to the feel of the bit.



As first a working cowboy and now a teacher/instructor Vaquero horsemanship appeals to me because of its progressive nature, each step leads to the next, with the two rein stage bridging the gap between the hackamore stage and straight up in the bridle. The other reason I like this system is that it focus's more of our attention on becoming a better horseman with better timing and feel rather then switching between numerous bit designs and fads.


In my studies of horsemanship I have only found only 2 other training systems other than the vaquero system in which there is tack in place that provide a transition phase to allow time for the horse to move from foundation headgear to advanced headgear. They are the,


*French Classical, The Bit and Bradoon known as "The Weymouth Bridle"

*Spanish Doma Vaquera, The Seretta and the Curb



If you're interested in learning more about this topic or possibly riding with Marty please email us at flatttophorsemanship@platinum.ca



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