We all have our bug-a-boos, or things that will stop us from reading a story. For me, it’s certain words related to horses. I’ll own that I might be a little sensitive when it comes to my favorite animal. However, I’m jerked out of a story when it’s clear that the author is attempting to write something about which they haven’t a clue and haven’t bothered to research. It offends me, especially when online dictionaries are so easy to use.

Disclaimer: I have no issue with the writer who makes a simple mistake or one whose computer does auto correct. My smart phone is capable of making me look not very smart!

These 3 Little Words

Confusing these three little words is a dead give away, so I thought I’d make them clear using pictures with the help of canva.com and pixabay.com.

horse reins words

These pink lines highlight this horse’s reins which run from his bit (in the horse’s mouth) to the rider’s hands and are used to control the horse’s direction and speed. There are two, one on each side.

When referring to the horse’s equipment the correct word is rein or reins

The Other Words

words reign
Queen Elizabeth reigns even when she rides a horse but reign and rein are not interchangeable
words rain
The rider who uses this word for a piece of horse equipment is all wet.

Certainly all of these words could be included in a story about a king who rode his horse in foul weather, but not so much when we are only speaking of a piece of horse equipment.

Other uses of REIN

In case you think I’m making a lame attempt at being funny, I haven’t made this up. I have come across the words reign and rain used referring to horse’s reins more than once.

Rein can be used as a verb when you are turning or slowing your horse. He reined the horse to the left or he reined in his horse to slow his speed. It’s a strong verb to replace turn or check.

Reining is also an exciting equestrian sport. Rather than try to explain it to you, I’ve included a video of the competition at the end of my post today. Reining horses are exciting to watch.

What About You?

Do you have a bug-a-boo? What tops your list for things that jerk you out of a story?

Barbara Ellin Fox


Lifetime horsewoman, Barbara weaves her extensive background with horses and their people into exciting stories about happily ever after for men, women, and horses. Barbara also enjoys helping others with horses and writing.

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