Not the popular Carrie Underwood song but an essential part of our horse gear! AND…Let’s face it .. there are sooo many different kinds of reins out there and rein preference is just like horse or event preference…..everyone has their favorite breed or activity on horseback and many times it is just trial and error to see what fits your style… The same with reins! Since I have a good sized lesson program I have tried most every rein out there and my students for sure have thier favorites… and I hav mine… and often change things up depending on what I am doing each ride. But here is a list of a few of my favorites and … not so favorites that may help you narrow down what reins you may prefer. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
SNAP….. we also tend to change our reins often! I frequently hear….”I need shorter reins”; “I Hate these reins!” ; I want the PINK reins!” I want the “grippy” reins”
So… I prefer to have snaps on BOTH ends of my reins for fast and convenient changing. AND buy several of these.. they do tend to disappear and they do break as well.
Let’s start with split reins! We ride in roping reins that vast majority of the time since we primarily rope and run barrels. I also give alot of lessons and like the rein being one piece for students so they cannot drop their reins. While you can get away with tying a knot in split reins… it is not great for the reins so I prefer not to. I prefer reins that are 5/8′ wide and 7 feet long. These are not too thick.. but have enough weight in them and a nice feel when working your younger horses still in snaffles. They can also bre repaired if the ends of the reins or the ties break. These are a great rein!
The next great rein is the braided leather roping rein. We by far prefer this rein for when we rope since is has enough texture with the braids to not slip through your hands, but do not offer the grip that many of the barrel racing reins provide. These reins come with one snap.. but again I prefer putting a snap on both ends. You also need to make sure to keep these oiled as the small strands of leather in the braided portion can dry out and break.
I would say these reins are by far are the next fan favorite at the barn. They are just the right thickness of leather and the rubber grip portion has a good feel in your hands. Many of my lesson kids really like the feel of these! For my lesson kids that have trouble keeping the reins even, i place a piece of colored duct tape right at the middle as a visual for them. They are adjustable but do not go as short as some of my students like. The other cool thing is they come in several different colors.. green, pink, purple and turquoise.
These are the next favorite! Biothane reins! These are a bit thinner rein and some of my students really like that light feel. These have a great grip across the whole length of the rein and are 100% adjustable so you can make them as short as you need to. These are also very easy to maintain, just wipe clean! The other great thing is if they break.. they usually break near the snap ends and you can just put new holes in and continue to use them.. just a little shorter! Also come in cool colors: Black, brown, orange and LIME!
.These reins are very popular among barrel racers. They already have a few strategically placed knots for your hand, have a good feel to them, can be shortened to some degree (until you hit one of those knots) and come in a variety of colors. The down side with these reins tends to be that they get very stiff over time making in nearly impossible to change the rein length or snaps if they break. NOT Impossible.. but it will take some effort as these reins get older!
Megan, this one is for you!! We have had several pairs of these reins in the tack room. Soft and comfortable in your hands and you can shorten them by tying knots in places where you want to position your hands (this is great for students just learning..instruct them to hold on the knots!). They come in GREAT colors and already come with 2 snaps on the reins. The only downside is if you break a snap… the reins are now useless. BUT they do make a great dog leash or makeshift lead rope when that does happen.! We are thrifty here and we use everything as long as possible!
Waxed reins??? I am on the fence about these reins. I have a few pairs. One pair is a braided waxed rein with a nylong cord running through the middle that Karrie has recently STOLE! (green cord of course!) This makes the reins a bit thicker and the cord gives them a better feel in my opinion. I do like these reins. This is my other pair. These may be great for casual trail riding as they are light, but for arena work they have no grab, slip through my hands too easily… especially if you have a bit of a chargy horse and almost are painful to ride with in that circumstance. They are economical though! The choice is yours??
These reins are the western version of english plaited reins. Shorter than enlish reins and no buckle in the middle… but similar feel due to the plaited rein. And they added a flair of color.. which makes them flashy! We have English reins a the barn but do not have a pair of these yet. Who knows maybe they are the next roping rein?
These reins, along with vaquero style reins (not pictured) are at the bottom of my list. Often times the poly reins are very economical so they do make sense if you need a large number of reins.. or your horse is the REININATOR and breaks reins often. The downside is these cannot be repaired if the snaps break… and they tend to break easier than the other reins listed here. The alternative .. is again to use these as dog leashes or make shift lead ropes or truck ties or anything else you need a rope for!
Hopefully that gives you a bit of insight to the different types of reins out there and the good, the bad and the ugly about them! For you seasoned horse folks… do you agree with my analysis? What are your favorite reins??? #CommissionsEarned