What is a Reining Horse Saddle?

Leather Horse Hand Carved Reining Trail Saddle

          The western sport of reining is a competition where riders guide their horse through a pattern of circles, spins, and stops. Often called the western equivalent to dressage, reining became a FEI-recognized sport in the year 2000. Now the sport is competed worldwide, including at the World Equestrian Games. All the work that is done in the pattern is done at a lope and a gallop. For the challenging movements, such as the sliding stop and the spin, horse and rider must be harmoniously in tune with each other. Much like with dressage, the reining rider’s aids should not be easily seen.  The pattern consists of eight types of movements including circles, flying lead changes, rundowns, sliding stops, backups, rollbacks, spins, and a pauses.

          The circle is performed at the lope and the gallop. Incorporated within the circles are the flying lead changes. The rundown is when the horse gallops along the length of the arena, this is usually done prior to a sliding stop or after rollback. The sliding stop is when the horse suddenly stops from a gallop, planting their hind feet in the arena and then allowing the hind feet to slide forward several feet. The rollback is an immediate 180 degree turn after a halt. Spins start from a standstill and horse spins 360 degrees around a pivoting hind foot (which essentially stays in the same location). This movement is always a crowd pleaser. The pause is a hesitation asked of the horse for a few seconds between certain movements. The scoring of reining is based on how well each movement was performed. The sport of western reining is open to all breeds, however the quarter horse remains the top contender in this field.

So if you are going to be reining, you need the proper equipment and tack. Consider a western saddle designed for reining to aid in your endeavors. To find the best Reining saddle, visit Saddleonline now!


          A reining saddle is designed with the movements of reining in mind, circles, spins, speed, and sliding stops. The saddle horn of a reining saddle is of medium height and the fork is lower. This enables the rider little interference with the reins. The saddle seat sits low on the horse’s back, so that the rider is able to roll their pelvis back when performing the sliding stop. The skirts are close contact to allow for better horse to rider communication. This aids in the harmonious picture of horse and rider. The fenders are free-swinging to provide the rider with the most range of motion. This helps the rider to maintain proper position while performing the more difficult movements.

           The stirrups/ fenders are narrower to allow better horse to rider contact, this removes a lot of extra bulk. Rarely, do you see a reiner who uses the back cinch, usually only the front cinch is used. The rigging is situated to minimize the extra bulk between horse and rider, thus the dropped rigging is most commonly used.  Silver trim and tooling are not uncommon on a reining saddle. This is to provide a little extra flash when in the show arena. The reining saddle is designed to provide the rider with the most contact to the horse for better communication. So if you are about to begin your career as a reiner, be sure to buy a Reining Saddle that will aid you and horse in the patterns.