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Cowboy Dictionary - Letter R

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Rear - When a horse stands up on its hind legs.

Below: A black horse rears with a young rider.

Horse rear

In some cases, such as with trick horses, a rear can be a controlled, trained movement performed by the horse when asked for by its rider or handler.

In most other cases a rear is a wild, unpredictable movement that is dangerous for both the horse and its rider, or other people on the ground nearby.

Below: A roan horse rears above his fallen rider.

Rearing horse

Reins - Reins are a piece of equipment used for communicating with a horse while it is being ridden.

Reins are attached to the bridle and extend from the bridle to the rider's hands while the horse is being ridden. Reins are used to communicate such things to the horse as when to stop, turn, speed up, slow down, and more.

Reins can be made of leather, horsehair, nylon, or a variety of other materials. They can be one rein (that extends from one side of the bridle, over the horse's neck, and down to the other side of the bridle), or two reins (one rein on each side of the horse's neck). What reins are made of and whether or not there is one or two depends on the riding discipline and/or the personal preferences of the rider.

Below: Leather split reins (two separate reins, one on each side of the horse's neck).

Split reins

You can shop for leather split reins here.

Remuda - A group of horses on a ranch that make up the supply of riding horses for the cowboys. The term is also sometimes used to describe any group of horses put together by someone for a specific purpose. For example, some people refer to a ranch's band (group) of broodmares as a remuda.

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Return Gate - In a rodeo arena, the return gate is a gate near the bucking chutes that the broncs and bulls use to exit the arena.

The location of the return gate plays an important role in how well the roughstock (broncs and bulls) perform when bucking. You can read more about the return gate here: What Is The Rodeo Return Gate?

Below: A bronc exits the arena through the return gate.

Rodeo return gate

Rimfire - In roping, a rimfire is when the rope that runs from the mounted roper to the roped animal comes into contact with another horse(s). Rimfires are considered dangerous and most good ropers try to avoid them.

Below: The rope runs from the mounted rider, around the hindquarters of another horse, and to the roped steer on the other side. The horse between the roper and the steer is being rimfired.


In competitive roping, the rules as to what constitutes a rimfire vary, and may be different than the definition above. Frequently, a rimfire is grounds for disqualification.

Rimfire is sometimes spelled "rim fire" (two words).


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