Split reins - pros & cons, what is the proper use - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 51 Old 09-25-2013, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southwest Virginia
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I prefer very thick and heavy split reins. Mine are 105" long. And very soft. I ride with my reins crossed. Left rein over the right side and right rein over the left side. I have, sadly, been thrown a few times and I have to say, all three times my horse never got away because my reins were long enough that I could keep a hold of my horse and jump up off the ground before they could panic.

I also, love my mecate reins though. I use the tail hair ones but I only use those when I am working on keeping my hands soft and working on getting a horse to respond faster to neck reining.

BTW, BSMS, I absolutely love Mia....She is just plain beautiful.

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post #32 of 51 Old 09-25-2013, 03:49 PM
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I use good quality 5/8" weighted harness leather reins. I have a pair of hot double oiled pair that are amazing. Legally to show you need split reins. I find it way easier to ride with splits especially young horses. I can teach them to bend and tie them around with splits - no way could I do that with roping reins. I have roping reins for Gymkhana and my bf prefers braided leather roping reins but that is all the use I have for roping reins.
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post #33 of 51 Old 09-25-2013, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Location: southern Arizona
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Originally Posted by toosexy4myspotz View Post
...BTW, BSMS, I absolutely love Mia....She is just plain beautiful.
I'd pass your compliment on to Mia, but she already has enough ego for 6 horses...
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post #34 of 51 Old 09-26-2013, 03:31 PM
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Grew up with long split reins. My Father is a rancher from away back and taught all us kids split reins. They are safer for riding in crazy bush cow country and are way too handy! I've taught my nephews and nieces and cousins the same way. Lol I used round reins a few times and was kinda lost trying to use them. Mine are long with good poppers on each end for get up a go. But each to his' or her's own.
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post #35 of 51 Old 09-26-2013, 11:20 PM
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My brother and I both started out with roping style reins when we were kids. It was basically sacrilege to tie a knot in split reins in my family (I still cringe when I see it LOL) so we didn't get to use them until we had proven we were able to use a simpler type of rein properly...and by "simpler", I mean more foolproof, not necessarily handier LOL. There were still plenty of dropped reins while we were learning to handle 2, but we were fortunate enough to have really good horses that could be ridden with one rein and either get them stopped to get off and retrieve the other or lean way over to pick it up.
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post #36 of 51 Old 09-27-2013, 12:52 AM
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I rode with a knot in split reins when I was little...an to this day I don't know how the heck I managed!

I started working with a gal's horse, and her bridle has split reins with knots. I untie them every time I go, and every time I come back and the owner's tied them again.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #37 of 51 Old 09-27-2013, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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Finally got out with Mia and the split reins. The bit we used today:

My thoughts from this afternoon:

1 - She necks reins much better with split reins. As in maybe 3-4 times more responsive for a given movement of my hands. My theory is that when I move my hand the the left, the left reins that goes over and hangs down her right side is pulled up along her shoulder, so even a small movement of my hand sends a big signal to her.

2 - Since she was more responsive to neck reining, it made it easier for me to ride with one hand. However, I used two several times and she seemed relaxed either way.

3 - I tried using the free end as a whip to hit MY leg, not her - figured popping her would get more of a reaction than I wanted. The result? Instead of a canter, I got a gallop...but only for about a 1/4 lap. Then she slowed into a canter. That means she is much calmer than she used to be, but that I really don't need to think about smacking her on the rump! If I had tried that, we might have jumped our first fence...and gone exploring in Mexico.

4 - Overall, she acted quite content with herself at the end of the ride. Of course, Mia is usually quite content with herself at the end of the ride. She may figure I screwed up, but never her.

I was thinking of removing the metal snaps and attaching the bit directly to the leather, but when I took the bridle off, I think the extra weight surprised her. She jerked her head and smacked her teeth against the bit. It didn't seem prudent to stop there, so I used the rope halter to hold her head and PRIED her mouth open and put the bit back in. We did a few in & outs to make sure she understood that it wasn't a monster in her mouth, and called it a night:

Overall, I liked riding like that and need to try her on a trail. I'll leave the metal snaps for now and detach them before removing the bridle. One of the LAST things I need is for her to get nervous about dropping the bit!

Also - I was trying out an extra-thin rope halter. I liked it. It is very thin under her bridle, but helps out if she decides to jerk her head and pop her teeth on bit removal. It was nice to just turn her head back to me and say, "Let's try that again...". It would also work for when I need to pull cactus spines out of her leg on a trail ride.
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Last edited by bsms; 09-27-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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post #38 of 51 Old 09-27-2013, 09:32 PM
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I love using split reins, especially when schooling horses. You have so much more flexibility. I cross mine over the neck. The end of the left is on the right side and the end of the right rein is on the left side. I grew up riding in split reins, so I've been using them for 17 years now. Where you put the ends doesn't really matter in the end. That's more of a personal preference kind of thing.

I prefer the length that split reins offer. I can move my hands out as far as I want and not have to worry about being limited by the length of the single rein. I can use the end of the reins as an extra impromptu schooling tool. Single reins certainly have their place, but I find school and training horses so much easier with split reins.

Oh yeah, the snap on the reins is something I couldn't live without. I like being able to change bits easily and make adjustment to the bit and bridle without worrying about the reins.

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb

Last edited by SEAmom; 09-27-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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post #39 of 51 Old 09-27-2013, 09:39 PM
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I show western on a stock horse (paint), so I have to use split reins, I would look silly using romels. Advantage of using split reins? Being able to steer and communicate to your horse? I think you mean over a single looped rein though, lol, none unless you drop your reins I guess.

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post #40 of 51 Old 09-27-2013, 11:06 PM
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I used to ride with the reins attached directly to the bit. But I recently attached snaps to the ends and don't think I will ever go back! Its way too convenient to just snap the reins on the rope halter and use them as a lead.

And I can swap them out on each headstall for different horses without having to buy multiple pairs or untie each time. I really like them.
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