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Has anyone used ultra light/ultra thin reins? I mean like 1/4 in of light and strong material with breakaways at the bit. What is your opinion of them?
 

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I personally don't much care for anything smaller than 1/2 inch. Not that I have a problem with using smaller, I just don't like the way it feels in my hands. I like to have something with a bit of substance to hold. However, if your horse is responsive enough for it and you want to try it, then go ahead. It is more of a personal preferance thing. :D
 

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Has anyone used ultra light/ultra thin reins? I mean like 1/4 in of light and strong material with breakaways at the bit. What is your opinion of them?
I think I've seen Pat Parelli use a setup like that for what he calls Finesse work. He puts thin ties between the rein and the bit, and if the rider exceeds the pressure rating for the tie, it breaks. It was a really interesting demo, showing how the horse responds to minimal pressure on the reins, and I can see it as a good way to polish rein aids, but as a matter of daily use, I don't think I would use them. When I'm out on the trail miles from home the last thing I want is a tack failure, and riding out with equipment that's built to fail seems silly to me, in that type of situation. I'd try riding with them to test myself every now and again, though. I've never seen reins like that available commercially, either (although I never looked on Mr. Parelli's website for them).
 

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I don't like them. I ride in a heavy 3/4 inch rein so the horse feels the weight of the rein. I ride with no contact whatever and relie on the horse feeling the reins when I pick them up and responds by either neck reining again with the weight of the rein, slowing down when he feels both reins picked up or stop from my shift in weight.
No I do not like them.
 

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If your riding western your horse relies on feeling the shift in the balance of your reins before they come tight. If your reins are too light it is harder for your horse to feel the change of balance. I have a horse that I ride in a spade bit and the reins rarely have the slack taken out of them because I have chains between the reins and the bit that signal the horse that a change is coming so he gathers himself and breaks at the poll. The same philosophy is behind the use of slobber straps on a snaffle bit. It gives the horse some warning that a change is coming.
 
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