OK, my leather split western reins broke for the 2nd time yesterday causing me to the accident (not fun). Looks like that piece which connects rein to the bit is really crappy. So I'd appreciate any opinion (and pics or internet stores if possible :) ) on western reins.
I actually want one piece reins (like english), as I don't find split ones to be very comfortable (the only reason I got pair in 1st place was because they matched my saddle and bridle really well).
You have several viable options if you don't want to go back to split reins.
The first is a pair of "gaming" reins. A one piece leather rein that typically has snaps on both ends to attach to your bit.
The second is a simple one piece rope rein that works the same way.
The third, and my favorite, is a Mecate attached to your bit either by themselves or with a slobber strap. I like this one because you get a one piece rein and a lead line all in one: Training ~ Mecates
Thanks a lot, iride! I actually have seen mecates around and was really wondering about them. Good to know the name! I'll check them out. My feeling about roping rein is that it's too short (I may be wrong though).
I do have a nice hand-made western leather reins (like english, and it's not roping or gaming), but I use it on my other horse (they have different bridles). I'd LOVE to find the same reins (it was a present from friend of mine), but never seen anything like that in stores or on-line.
You can go to a marine (boating) store, buy yacht line and make them any length you want - and in any color. There are different weights and thicknesses to choose from so anything that feels good for you is what you buy. You buy them by the foot so that should work for you.
Here is a site that sells good quality mecate reins. And they have them in 10 ft length. Most roping or sport reins that you find will be 8 ft or shorter so you can see that these would be much better. I have been using mecates for a little while and the only problem I have run into is the extra is a pain when I am riding. I either have it looped in my belt or on the saddle horn and it just gets in the way and makes the bit feel unbalanced in my hands.
One other question, do you ride with a snaffle or curb? Mecate reins or anything with a slobber strap really don't work with a curb. Did your reins just break while you were riding? Do you have a picture of them that I could see?