What kind of bit were you using? If you were using a curb/shanked bit, imo, the second, longer, rein length is appropriate and just fine. In my opinion, if the horse was wearing a curb bit, the shorter reins would be too short. However, if you were riding in a snaffle (no shanks), I don't think that longer length is necessary. I don't think it's ridiculously excessive, just because most horses, in my experience, can differentiate between flapping reins and rein signals.
But, I can see where you're coming from. Personally I like to ride my mare with super long reins just because she's calmer like that (bitless), and therefore, she understands what is a cue and what is the rein. But, that's just me and I do a lot of "strange" things with my mare because they make her more comfortable. Haha Most of the horses I ride get ridden with a rein length between those two. For me it depends on how well the horse neckreins (or doesn't) and what kind of bit they're in.
Fabio - 13 year old Arab/QH gelding
Hazel - 14 year old Angora goat
Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
Last edited by Wallaby; 04-02-2011 at 01:18 AM.