Please Explain Different Types of Reins

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Please Explain Different Types of Reins

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    02-28-2011, 09:58 PM
Please Explain Different Types of Reins

Hi all,

It occurred to me as I was shopping online for a set of reins for my new bridle, that I have a myriad of choices, apparently! I've always ridden with looped leather reins, either flat or laced, sewn or buckled. I've ridden English and Western but I've never given this much thought. I'm also familiar with leather or biothane split western reins, and I've seen Clinton Anderson's mecate reins with the spanker at the end.

Can anyone talk about other kinds of reins? What are they for, and how are they different in construction, purpose and/or use than the kind of reins I've been using. For example, what are "roper" reins? And why do some reins have a buckle on one side of the bit and a snap-type clip on the other side of the bit? I'd love to see information about what all is out there and what it's used for.

I appreciate any insight you're willing to share!
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    03-02-2011, 03:52 PM
"Roper" or "contest" reins are 7-9 foot loop reins used in the western world, generally for gaming or roping.
Some reins, especially western, have a clip on one side so you can use the reins as a lead rope easily, though leading your horse by the bit is not something I personally recommend.
Do you have any other specific questions?
    03-02-2011, 10:38 PM
Thanks! So, are all reins with a snap-clip on the end of them roper/contest reins? Does it matter whether they are leather, cotton or poly, thin or fat, one clip or two? Is it just a matter of personal preference? Are there any advantages to one or the other?
    03-02-2011, 10:48 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by AspendaleFarm    
Thanks! So, are all reins with a snap-clip on the end of them roper/contest reins? Does it matter whether they are leather, cotton or poly, thin or fat, one clip or two? Is it just a matter of personal preference? Are there any advantages to one or the other?

Not all clip reins are gaming reins. I ride endurance and use a 9-foot single-loop biothane rein with clips on both ends. The clips make it easy to switch between the hack and the halter, etc.

I think what rein works for you is a combo of function (what are you n your horse doing) and personal preference. Personally, I prefer a thinner, synthetic rein because my tack gets used hard and I am too lazy to clean leather. A thinner rein is easier on my hands (carpel tunnel issues), so I try to stay away from very fat reins.
    03-02-2011, 11:15 PM
...and I've seen flat, braided barrel reins. Is the fancier, flat braiding just for looks They mostly seem very colorful.
    03-03-2011, 06:06 AM
I hear that that nylon/poly reins are generally not recommended because they tend to give rope burn in the event that anything causes them to be yanked through your hands rapidly.

I also hear a lot that split reins are generally best if you trail ride because sometimes your reins can get caught on something out on rough trail and it's better for you to lose a rein than for your horse to get caught tangled up by the mouth. Not something I'd ever thought of before I saw this mentioned here on the forum someplace so I'm switching over.

A lot of useful advice already. Really I'd go with whatever seems best to you (unless you show, in which case it would be best to go with what is standard for each discipline). Kind of get the feel for how the different styles, shapes, and materials fit in your hand and go with what feels right.
Personally I think I prefer leather/biothane split reins (for Western which is primary for me), not too long a length. I like them because they can be used almost just like a single loop rein but also have a lot of other options and also have the safety for trail mentioned above. Not to mention I just really like the look of them!

However for English riding of any kind, I've never seen anyone in anything but a shorter loop style, either braided, rubber, or plain, always flat, either leather, biothane, or leather/cotton combo. I never really see anybody riding English in any Western-style reins at all, and do personally own a set of those, too.


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