One piece reins a NO NO

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One piece reins a NO NO

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  • Are split reins better or one piece
  • One piece horse reins

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    01-18-2010, 08:50 AM
One piece reins a NO NO

I often clean and oil headstalls for people. I have a good method of doing this. I did a ladies this week and gave it back to her on Sunday when she went for a ride with me.
To clean and oil it I take the knot out of the reins. They are long western reins and she likes to knot them.
As we were crossing a field I saw her reknot the reins and warned her that it is a dangerous habit and could lead to trouble.
I hate long heavy western reins but will nide in nothing else for safety reasons.
A one piece rein can become tangled around your body in the even of the horse going head over heals trapping you.
A one piece rein can not be hung onto if the horse bucks or spooks throwing you off.
A one piece rein will not fall to the ground if the horse gets loose. I want the horse to step on the rein and if the rein is heavy enough, the horse trained enough he will ground tie.
Heavy reins cue the horse under their own weight.

Now back to the accident.
We had a nice ride in snow only about 4-6 inches deep but came to a big drift about 4 feet deep but only about 30 feet wide.
I was leading and got off saying I would test it and led Rio. I could walk on the top of the snow but the horse broke through forcing him to struggle.
The big danger was a page wire fence burried in the snow to our left about 10 feet away and an open field right behind the fence. If the horse lunged in that direction it would become entangled in this wire fence.

I had no problems and when my lady friend saw the way the horse was forced to struggle she agree to get off and lead her horse.
Her reins are knotted.
She fell down almost immediately and the horse in his lung in the deep snow put his FRONT leg through the loop, no big deal but he make a second lung and put his hind leg through the loop and the knot caught around this hind fetlock. As his hind foot broke through the crust allowing his leg to drop deep in the snow the reins pulled tight forcing his head down into the snow. So here he was trapped with his hind foot pulling his head down hard against his chest which at the same time was burried in the deep snow.

The only thing that saved her was her good horse. He did try lunging to his left, the open field, the one blocked by the burried wire fence but he stopped short by his own pull of the reins.

She frantically tried lifting his foot to free the reins but that was impossible. She ended up digging down with her hands to get to the knot, unknotting it and freeing the horse. How many horse would hold still for that?? Head pulled down into the snow while he patiently waited for his mom to dig down in the snow and struggle with a knot??????
Not many

It might only happen once in a life time or it might never happen but I always always ride now with free long reins.
For many years I rode in one piece gaming reins and had my horse go head over heals many times on the thousands of miles we covered but he always just stood and waited.
I won't risk another horse to gaming reins while running trail

The lady now understands why I suggest open reins.
Hope it never happens to you.
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    01-18-2010, 09:25 AM
Green Broke
Hmmm, something to think about. I've always ridden in one piece reins that have snaps on the ends so when I get off I always unsnap one side.

I have a story where my reins saved me. Yesterday I took Stella for a ride for the first time in two months (I'm not much of a winter rider anymore). After such a long break she was pretty jittery and as we were riding past a house a big chunk of snow broke loose and fell off the roof. In the blink of an eye she spun around and took off full force toward home. I dropped my reins while grabbing mane to keep my seat, but was able to pick them back up off her neck to pull her to a stop. If I had split reins they would have fallen on the ground which for me would have made it a lot more difficult to get control of her.
    01-18-2010, 09:37 AM
I agree with both! That's why I ride with single reins and a bow tie with the lead trough my belt loop just in case of a storm!
    01-18-2010, 09:45 AM
Interesting thought RD.
In training young horses, I usually use the long Mecante style rope reins where you have a 7' loop and the long lead tucked under your belt.

As my horses mature, I move them out of the full checck snaffle and to a curb or correctional bit usually with a beta endurance style rein. If I dismount I unsnap one end as mentioned by 3Neighs and lead with a single, usually snaped to the halter under my headstall.

Both of these seem to be extremely popular styles. As there are lots and lots of Cowboys schooling horses along the trails with the mecante, and I can even guess how many miles have been accured in Endurance rides with the one piece set up.

I like the convience of a one rein when I'm packing and leading other horses. I don't have to fuss with adjusting the rein lengths of dual reins. While I have a lead rope in the other hand.

Now when I do ride with long western leather split reins, I don't knot the reins. I cross the reins just over the horse neck and hold the cross in one hand.

I'll have to give your reasoning some thought.
    01-18-2010, 09:50 AM
I definitely see what you mean RD. I agree with 3neighs that if I do use a single reinI have snaps so I can get it off in an emergency like the one you described. She is very lucky that she did have such a patient horse. I know a few of mine who would wait, and one that would completely lose his mind if that happened.
    01-18-2010, 10:02 AM
I can think of a number of times while trail riding that having split reins saved what could have been a nasty wreck. I also cross my split reins over my horse's neck and hold on to the cross. I find that I can make adjustments quickly that way.

While I like to use a single rein for arena work with cattle (such as team penning and sorting), I never use then on the trail.
    01-18-2010, 10:08 AM
Originally Posted by SmoothTrails    
I definitely see what you mean RD. I agree with 3neighs that if I do use a single reinI have snaps so I can get it off in an emergency like the one you described. She is very lucky that she did have such a patient horse. I know a few of mine who would wait, and one that would completely lose his mind if that happened.
I don't like snaps on my reins. I want a good solid buckle. My head stall is all heavy duty as are the reins and how they are attached to the bit. In the event of an emergency I totally trust my birdle and reins to hold .
I also feel that snaps jiggle the bit which in turns irritates the horse. I want a soft contact between the bit and reins.

That said a person on this forum had a bad experience when she flew forward on her horse.
I will PM her and maybe she will tell her story.
    01-18-2010, 10:19 AM
Wow thank goodness horse and rider are okay. I would agree that sometimes things happen and sometimes they don't however I like to try and make everything as fool proof as possible won't always happen but the safer the better. I think reins are something that we could debate forever because it almost comes down to personal preforance. I like split reins but that's because short of speed events that is all I have ever used. There are reins for different events and what people like. I work for a trail riding facility and we tie their reins because they barely hang on anyway let alone if they let go of split reins would be a problem. I think you can have accidents with both kinds, I think it comes down to what is comfortable for you and horse and then think about safety and maybe you will try to make a change. GOOD LUCK
    01-18-2010, 10:28 AM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
While I like to use a single rein for arena work with cattle (such as team penning and sorting), I never use then on the trail.
I use two hands for working cattle - thus spilt reins.

I prefer roping/gaming/single reins on trail for green riders. If they 'drop' the rein, it stays on the horses neck vs falling to the ground and the potential for the horse to step on the rein and wreck their mouth - or take off out of control. I also put them on horses the beginners are riding in the arena.

As was mentioned - it boils down to personal preference. There can be very valid points made on both sides.
    01-18-2010, 10:44 AM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
I also cross my split reins over my horse's neck and hold on to the cross. I find that I can make adjustments quickly that way.
I do the same. I like have a lot of options with my reins when I'm on the trail, loose, tighter or right in the middle. For me, this is accomplished wonderfully by having long split reins held in a cris-crossed position.

I've never liked the feel of a single rein, there's just not enough leeway for my preference, but that's just me.

I worked at a dude ranch for several years when I was in high school and college and as one would assume we had to use single reins or knotted split reins for the dudes. I've seen accidents much like what you described RD, minus the snow. It takes a good headed horse to not freak in that kind of situation, I'm glad neither her or her horse were injured.

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