The Horse Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might be an odd statement, but I don't feel like my reins have enough weight to them. As a result, I can't give release as quickly as I'd like to. My horse does his best to oblige every command I give him, but sometimes he'll keep doing what I asked of him even after I thought I have enough of a release, such as bending his head or yielding his hindquarters.

I use English reins, but I ride with them very loose since he's green and hasn't really been introduced to the whole "contact" thing.

I was looking into mecate reins and slobber straps, since that seems to be their purpose in part. But mecate reins themselves are thick rope, I'd much prefer to keep using my flat leather english reins if possible. I'm very fussy when it comes to my reins.

Another possible solution would be to add metal snaps to the end of my reins, but I'd rather not go down that route. The metal on metal clanking of the snaps against the bit rings might be too much noise for a greenie to effectively learn from.

So what other ways could I add weight to my reins? In a perfect world, I'd like flat leather reins with leather bit ends, but I'm certainly open to suggestions. I don't show, and have no problem being the least fashionable person ever if it means my horse is getting clearer communication.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,496 Posts
A really nice pair of leather split reins aren't cheap but they are intended for what you want. They have weight and feel.
The good ones are thicker towards the bit ends and usually have water loops and weighted on the ends as well so you're not loosing rein to your horse constantly.
You can feel the difference with a well weighted, balanced split rein.
On a snaffle bit setup I prefer a 3/4" × 8'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,859 Posts
I love the heavy weight of a good pair of split reins, but do not like the way one must hold them. I guess it just takes getting used to.


I agree with you that metal snaps create too much 'signal noise' by vibrating and clanking on the metal bit ring.. You might try a draft size rein; longer reins are often heavier.
There used to be a member here who made bridles and reins. He used the best leather and I had him custom make me a pair of longer reins for the big horse I rode then . Those things felt like heaven in my hands!


Are your reins webbed? plaited? flat?



I honestly think that your horse not stopping doing the thing you asked when you removed the cue is not about the reins, or your release, per se. I think it's more about him 'taking over' in the sense that he is doing what he thinks you want him to do, but is not really 'listening' . He may not really be thinking through each thing that he does. Or, maybe he is just absorbed in it. Either way, he isn't tuned in to you as well as you want.


Consider how tuned in he is when he begins the action requested. Is he jumping the gun? anticipating? or , is he not 'hearing' your request at first, then he starts in to his answer late, and doesn't listen to your response. If you only ask him to flex the tiniest bit to one side, will he just decide to fling his head way over to the side and touch your knee? meaning, his response is not to the level of your ask, but it up to the level that he thinks you want, (based on what you asked many times ).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,361 Posts
Can't say I've ever had an issue with a horse being bothered by snaps. However...you could try a roper rein. They tend to be thicker than the English leather reins I've used before. Typically 8' long and 1/2 or 5/8 inch wide. Some - I learned the hard way - have thicker leather in the middle of the rein which I dislike.


Could be used without snaps. Romal reins might also be an interesting option:


I'll admit, though, I never quite got comfortable with them:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
I am agreeing with the posts above. I personally hate snaps. Every horse has their own pair of reins that are adjusted for their liking. Kind of off topic but I get PO'd when someone messes with my reins. (Lol)

I am a big fan of Martin Saddlery's reins. I like their plaited ones. They're pretty heavy. https://martinsaddlery.com/Details/Latigo Laced Barrel Rein/BR58BLPL .
I also like using their 5-plaited ones, but it takes some time getting used to because of the knots in your hands. https://martinsaddlery.com/Details/Braided Barrel Rein/BR78B5LK
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,134 Posts
Whether or not you'd like heavier reins, agree with Tiny - your horse's behaviour has nothing to do with the weight of reins. And no, heavier reins don't give better release or such either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,095 Posts
Slobber straps are an inexpensive way to try weighting your reins to see if it helps.

But if it was me I would try to get more in contact with his mouth, so he can more easily feel what you are thinking about. Loose reins teach a horse that there is usually no information there. They are a line of communication, so use them.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,419 Posts
You are referring to riding with English tack so using western reins to me defeats the purpose.
Onn a green horse who doesn't accept much contact, I too would be working with the animal so they do accept more contact and feel of your hands on the reins since that is how English ridden and trained ride.
Take a gentle feel does not mean it has to be heavy contact...the lightest of feel but make it a soft touch of continual contact will allow the horse to understand what is being asked of it.

As for English reins that are heavier than your laced, or plaited reins...try rubber reins.
They weigh quite a bit more than laced or plaited when you just lay them across your palm..bulkier too.
English reins are commonly 54" long with extra-length ones being 60" long
.

Its fine to use western reins too, but when you refer to split reins you are referring to 2 pieces of leather not connected, that are long and drape not at all like English tack is used or appears.
My split reins are each 8' long so they have "the drape" effect... Or contest reins {2nd picture} are laced and 7'6" long.

Just don't know if you want to deal with all that extra length hanging around...
:runninghorse2:...
 
  • Like
Reactions: boots

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I suppose I have some explaining to do...

When I ask for a command, he will oblige. In the context of bending his head around, he will bend around just enough to take the slack out, and then just sort of keep his head there. Sometimes for up to a minute if I give any less of a release than holding onto the buckle.

I asked my boss (a long time horse guy) to ride him for me to see what he thinks, and he was the one who mentioned heavier reins. He asked my horse to back up, and my horse casually backed up until he physically threw the reins away, citing the reason my horse didn't stop was because he thought he was still being asked to back up.

We hooked up my horse to the driving lines, and he would back up one step at a time, as asked. When I asked my trainer, she seemed to agree that my piddly little English reins probably weren't great for riding sans contact. That's not really what they're built for, so that's understandable.

Now I can ride him with soft contact, and have for short intervals. The hangups over contact are largely my own, I'd like to try only picking up contact when asking for something. If my horse decides he prefers I use soft, constant contact, at least I'll be able to say I tried to work around it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,361 Posts
FWIW...Bandit likes almost no slack in the reins, including in a curb bit. That is when he acts most forward and most confident. It isn't really how I like to ride, but it seems to be how HE likes to ride. So...that's the way we're doing it, although I hope he will someday feel comfortable enough with some genuine slack in the reins. Gotta ride the horse you have until you have the horse you want - or become the rider the horse wants. IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,023 Posts
As others have said, some horses like contact and some don't. How was this guy broke? To ride on contact or not? I've found that USUALLY if you train a horse to go on contact he will want to keep contact, and if he is trained first to ride without contact he will want to keep it that way. USUALLY.

You can try mecate reins. A nice good yachting rope rein and slobber straps will have a lot of feel and will definitely get you the weight you want. You said you don't like the thicker rope in your hand, and there are some mecate reins out there that are a thinner rope so you could try those. They aren't cheap though, and you will likely have to get special slobber straps unless you want to tie the reins on as the hole for slobber straps is usually fairly thick, to be used with thicker mecates. I will tell you that, while I generally start all of my colts in a snaffle/slobber strap/mecate setup, I don't really like riding in them for too long because a thick rope rein with a lot of feel like that will get to swinging pretty good while you're loping, and too much swing will interfere with signaling as well as slap your horse in the neck and face on occasion. So usually by the time we're done with the first week or so, I've moved on to a different setup.

I think, for what you want, a nice thick pair of splits is the way to go. They have the weight and the feel, aren't as thick and bulky in your hand as the average mecate, and don't swing around and muffle your cues. Can't go wrong with a good thick pair of split reins, in my opinion.

-- Kai
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
When training in the snaffle bit rig I prefer a mecate made of braided paracord with slobber straps. This combination adds some weight and the slobber straps provide a nice quick release.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,859 Posts
If you want to ride with a loose rein, ala Western style riding, a yacht rope rein with slobber straps will work quite well. The horse actually feels the rein being lifted. There may be no increase in contact with the mouth at all, but the horse feels the change in teh way the weight falls through the rope rein.
Your horse will get to the point where all you do is slide your hand down the rope, in preperation for lifting one rein, and the hrose feels THAT and starts to think toward the side you are signalling on. Couple that with seat cues , the horse becomes more and more responsive.


I would not ride with yacht rope reins if I expected to be riding on contact most of the time, though. Ive used both types of riding, though I've spent much more time riding on contact, in a English style. I may have a set of yacht reins with slobber straps I could sell. They are not a true Mecate, though. Just a roper type loop.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
27,086 Posts
I have the mecate reigns with slobber straps but they are stuck on one bit. I can't seem to get them off. I will have to try to jam a screw driver in to loosen it from the snaffle - not crazy about that. I just bought these "Stacy Westfall" reigns (and no - I didn't buy them for her name - I bought a headstall from the look and description that turned out to be a "Stacy Westfall" (Who I do actually think is pretty awesome - I love watching her ride) I've had them for about two weeks now and love them. The buckles make them easy to change and they are a good weight and very soft in my hands.

https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=41FB305E-EC74-4DAA-96D0-45B3DE82EBC5

PS - I know I spelled Reins Reigns... I do it EVERY time....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,134 Posts
Buying a heavier set of reins wont hurt(aside from your pocket) but I think it is unlikely to be the answer. Horses can feel light reins be picked up just fine, if you're wanting to ride on a loose rein, and if you ride with 'contact' then heavy reins can *inhibit* feel.

It sounds like his training perhaps just taught him to continue something until asked not to. I like to do it that way, to a large degree - I don't want to keep asking, keep asking all the time for what the horse is already given me, so I teach the horse it's his responsibility to keep doing, until told to stop/change.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top