Thursday, January 20, 2011


Since I have a whopping $30 in my checking account, I am doing the most logical thing I can think of: online tack shopping. Izzy just got the most beautiful dressage bridle ever, but it didn't come with reins. (Hint: that is not Izzy wearing it. That is a much more expensive horse. I will take pictures of Ms. Mare later today.)

I've been reading up on different types of reins and what people like, and I've come to realize something. There are people out there who have ridden with enough different types of reins that they actually have favorites. Insane! Cathy liked leather braided reins, so I just grew up always using those and never thought twice about it. When I got my jumping bridle, it came with normal rubber reins, which was my first foray into things not braided. I love them. So grippy and easy to hold... "huh", I thought, "maybe there is something to this fancy rein business".

Naturally, I have spent plenty of time looking at all the cool different options. A general consensus among the people of the internet is that thinline reins are the most amazing thing ever. I have two objections:
1) I need something with stops. I have a nasty tendency to hold my right rein shorter than my left and this is an easy artificial way to correct it.
2) I hate hook studs. I have learned the way of buckle ends and I am NEVER GOING BACK unless it is for when I get myself a pretty hunter bridle.

So. After perusing both internet and local tack store(s?), I have come to this realization: I want these reins for my jumping bridle. In havana with brass. It's not really set in stone. I need to hold some in person first and make sure I like how they feel in my hand, but I love the soft grippiness.

Which brings us back to the dressage bridle. I could get those (or similar) reins in black, but they don't have stops. I could get leather reins with stops, but people of the internet assure me those are super slippery. I have a pair of the world's cheapest, nastiest web reins with stops that I don't love. Basically, web is hard to clean and the "leather" is so cheap that I'd worry about using it if Izzy felt strong at all.

I did find one interesting thing: yummy reins. If you scroll down the page, they have the lovely soft grip reins WITH STOPS. Yeah... for the tiny price of $130, I could have dream reins. Of course, the reins would then have cost as much as the bridle (which I got used), but really.

I'm still deciding. I know I don't want web with rubber and stops, because, how would one go about CLEANING that? Yeah. I guess you just buy new $200 reins every time they get dirty. Also. Who on earth pays $200 for nasty web reins? Seriously. That's 10 times what I paid for mine and two feet of leather certainly isn't worth $180.

As an aside, I didn't even know I needed a new dressage girth until Five Star Tack released their new line. It's not on the website yet, but check out their blog. Yeah... pretty pretty pretty dressage girth.

Anywhoodle, I'm off to ride the lovely mare this afternoon with my new bridle and... either mismatched havana rubber reins or nasty web reins. Tomorrow, I leave for Seattle, where I will meet up with Denali's Mom, who has promised a grand tour of tack stores. That's right folks: I will be touching expensive stuff (but unless I get paid today, I won't be buying much of it).


  1. I think you have posted some false info. In fact, I actually have the world's cheapest and ugliest web reins :)

  2. I prefer plain leather with stops. I find the rubberized reins too bulky. I have some nice web reins with stops for schooling, but on two of my schooling bridles--three horses--I use the leather. I agree about the buckle end. If the cheekpieces are buckle end too, that's perfect.

  3. Ah! A subject near and dear to my heart. I used to just use leather laced reins, but now I am a converted rein snob. There are two sets of reins I have that I am obsessed with, and will never own anything else.

    I have small hands, so regular rubber reins are too big and uncomfortable for me. But... then I found these, which I use for schooling, and I will never own anything else. They are thinner than regular rubber reins and grippier. I love them! When they wear out, I will replace them with the same ones. I pray they never stop making them.

    And for shows, I have these, which look like regular laced reins from the outside, but have a strip of leather sewn into the inside. Love them! Will never have to worry about reins slipping through my hands on course again.
    They now make knock-offs of the laced ones:

    Love a good set of reins!

  4. Here....let me help you :)

    Thin, grippy rubber reins - not bulky in your hands. Soft, soft, grippy rubber. $35. With stops. Black or brown.

    My dressage trainer uses them and I LOVE them. I am about to order a brown pair and a black pair so I can have one for dressage and one for jumping.

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  6. I have to say that bridle is beautiful. Can't wait to see it on Izzy.

    Reins- two words. Just Bridles. Another blogger posted a link to them on my blog a while back. $3.95 flat rate shipping, buy the pieces you want, brands you want and the size you need to build your own or buy one complete.

    You may also try Tack Trader. Plenty of things to be found there. It's where I found my bridle, loose ring snaffle and new girth to fit my mare. Haven't found a bad deal yet. All like new and way under the 'brand name, brand new' price.

    I just bought a bridle with the web reins and leather stops. Never used them before so we shall see...

    Before this it was always the laced reins. Don't care so much for them, but they come with the package so I can deal. Braided leather reins? When your hands are cold, the reins feel like they are biting and taking chunks. Not a fan. Everyone likes something different though.

    Good luck in your hunt and I hope you find something you love and get a good deal on it.

    *Sorry, blogger ate half the post and deleted a link. *

  7. BAH!!! FUNNNNN, I'll make Denali's Mom text me or something JUST in case I need to go perusing for some new toys... The mare DOES need a German Martingale..... hmmmmmm I smell Olson's!!!

  8. I like the Nunn Finer type you showed, the super thin grippy rubber. I really like the feel of the Thinline, but haven't ridden in them and wonder if they are just a hair bulky, as I have grown used to the super htin rubbery ones.
    As for stops... you probably should try to fix the problem you mentioned if possible ;-) Besides, it's the even contact with the mouth, and even, balanced, body position that matter to the horse... rein length doesn't matter side to side (will in fact be even) if your contact is even and you are square on the horse through your body. You'll see kids riding their rainbow reins to the same place, but one rein in effect is looser, because of a twist to the body or uneven hands.

    One other reason I don't like stops that might pertain to you and Izzie; when riding cross, it's a lot harder to slip rein if your reins have stops, possibly hitting her in the mouth (or accidentally drop the rein altogether when you feel it hitting the mouth and it doesn't slide).


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