Tips For Finding the Perfect Reins for Your Horse

close-up of horse's mouth - tips for finding the perfect reins

Finding the perfect reins for a horse can be a challenge for novice horse riders. With numerous options, selecting reins that suit their needs and preferences can take some work. However, fret not! This blog post will provide tips to help riders find the perfect horse reins, enabling them to ride confidently and comfortably.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Reins

These quick tips should help new riders get a good idea of what to purchase:

Know the Various Types of Reins

To begin, it is important to familiarize oneself with the various types of horse reins available on the market. These include flat reins, laced or raised reins, rubber reins and webbed reins. The choice is often based on the specific requirements of a discipline and whether one is an adult rider or a child rider.

Set a Budget

Setting a budget is necessary since horse riding is an expensive sport. Spending all your money on expensive reins might compromise the quality of other necessary equipment. Searching for new accessories within one's budget is a good starting point.

Look for Quality

When deciding which reins to purchase, it is crucial to prioritize quality. While high-quality reins may seem more expensive initially, they last longer than cheaper alternatives. Fortunately, most areas have a thriving second-hand market for tack, so you can often pick up a great set of reins without paying full price.

Check Reviews

Before making your purchase, checking product reviews from riders who have previously bought them is advisable. You can ask folks you know or look online. Amazon or dedicated equestrian websites provide valuable insights into other customers' experiences, helping buyers make informed decisions.

Don't Forget About Comfort

Comfort plays a vital role when purchasing any piece of equestrian equipment. The reins should be comfortable for the rider and give them a secure feel. Before making a purchase, hold the reins and test whether they feel good in your hands. Sufficient grip and comfortable material contribute to a smoother riding experience.

Choose the Right Material

Riders often favour leather reins for their aesthetic appeal, durability and longevity. Using leather reins requires extra time for conditioning and cleaning, however. Nylon webbing is popular for its strength and ease of maintenance, making it perfect for home schooling. Rubber reins are also easy to maintain, and can give novice riders a greater sense of grip.

Go Beyond the Big Names

One should not be swayed solely by big brand names when purchasing horse reins. Smaller vendors may offer quality products comparable to higher-priced ones. Seek recommendations from fellow riders in local communities, and at shows, exhibitions, clubs or other barns. They can provide insights into affordable yet reliable reins. Your riding instructor should be able to make some suggestions, too. 

Try Them Out

When possible, test the reins out in-store or borrow some from a friend to get a sense of how well they fit and operate. Reins made of a different material or texture than a rider is used to may seem appealing, but need some getting used to. Try several types of reins to find the ones that enable you to hold on securely without slipping.

Check the Ease of Attachment

Examine the reins' attachment to the bit. While some reins have clips or snaps that link to the bit, others have buckle ends that buckle into the bit rings. Make sure that you'll be able to easily detach and reattach the reins for regular maintenance. 

How to Hold Your Reins Correctly

woman holding horse - tips for finding the perfect reins

Now that you know what to shop for in a pair of reins, let's quickly go over how to hold them once you have them on your bridle.

Mounting Your Horse

Horses are typically approached from the left and mounted from the left, regardless of the riding discipline you practice. With your left hand holding the reins, take up the reins before you mount. Keep them short enough that you could stop the horse from walking off as you're swinging yourself up if you needed to, but loose enough that there's slack in the reins and you're not pulling on the horse's mouth.

Hand Position

In English riding, your first three fingers should be wrapped around the rein. You'll make a fist with your thumb on top (but not sticking up!). The reins will go through your fists such that they lie between your thumb and the palm of your hand at one end of your fist and between your ring finger and pinky finger at the other. 

The distance between your hands should be between 10 and 15 centimetres (3.9 to 5.9 inches), but never more than the width of your horse's neck. Your hands must be raised above the withers of your horse high enough that you aren't resting your hands on the horse's neck, but low enough that you could touch the top of your horse's mane with your pinky finger if you extended it down. 

Keep your hands at a comfortable distance in front of the saddle pad, slightly above the saddle. Your elbows must be bent so that there's a straight line starting from your elbow, running down your forearm and the reins and ending at the horse's mouth.

Maintaining Proper Contact

Without unduly limiting the horse's movements, you want just enough contact to keep control. Because horses' mouths are sensitive, it is preferable to hold reins too loosely rather than too tightly. Always use reins that are fastened to a soft bit for beginners, like a snaffle bit with D rings. If the reins are pulled too hard, horses with harsher bits or sensitive muzzles may react with shock and discomfort. 

Wrap Up

Lastly, it is important to remember that finding the right pair of reins may not be an overnight process—it sometimes requires time and patience. However, following the tips above, riders can enhance their riding experience and make an informed purchase. 

It is crucial to consider specific requirements, such as material type and grip, to ensure the reins can withstand hours of riding without needing replacement. Happy riding!

Feature imageRaquel Elise de Moraes; Image 1: Gustavo Fring


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