View Full Version : Advice on comfortable reins for trail riding

May. 5, 2010, 03:00 PM
I am looking for a pair of reins for trail riding that will be comfortable for my achy hands. I prefer synthetic for ease of keeping it clean. Any suggestions?

May. 5, 2010, 03:19 PM
Do you want western-esque or english style?

Do you want western style split reins or a closed loop of rein like english reins or barrel type reins?

May. 5, 2010, 03:29 PM
I use English reins for trail riding. No worries about dropping a rein. Even if they are knotted, sometimes the knot becomes undone.

I'm sure you could fine something in a synthetic form.

May. 5, 2010, 03:32 PM
I prefer my Wintec Reins with the rubber grip for English: http://www.chicksaddlery.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CDS&Product_Code=WRG555
And my Braided Barrel Racing Reins for Western: http://www.kotrading.com/8106-braidedbarrelracingreins.aspx

Heart's Journey
May. 5, 2010, 03:33 PM
I like soft rope reins 8-9' long and connected, though I also like English leather and parachute reins as well.

the various endurance catalogs offer a wide selection of reins

www.runningbear.com www.parrytack.com


there used to be another endurance company called Sportack, but I can't seem to find their website anymore

May. 5, 2010, 03:57 PM
I love, love, love my reins: http://www.thedistancedepot.com/Beta_Biothane_Reins_p/bbt-bgro.htm

May. 5, 2010, 04:51 PM
Thank you for all the good sources of tack. I think that closed reins are probably more practical, I am used them. Biothane reins feel a little slippery and I was wondering if it would not cause me to grip them too tight. They also feel stiff and this is why I looked at the rope reins. Gotta go out there and try some out, I guess!

May. 5, 2010, 04:52 PM
I use knotted barrel reins like PRS. I can neck rein with one hand and not worry about losing a rein plus I like the knots. I also have 2 pairs of cotton roping reins that are super soft in your hands and don't get slippery even when wet.

May. 5, 2010, 06:08 PM
I have one set of reins that is braided cotton, really soft, with snaps at the bit ends. Under $20

If you prefer nylon take a look at Paso Fino tack. They have nylon reins with snaps at it ends in varying width. They are round like leadropes but not slick feeling. I have small hands so I like the thinner reins, some folks like the thicker reins

May. 5, 2010, 06:58 PM
I love my cotton rope reins. I toss 'em into the washing machine (in a net bag designed for lingerie :winkgrin:) when I wash the saddle pads with Woolite, let 'em dry on the line on a sunny day, and they turn out beautifully.

May. 5, 2010, 09:26 PM
I second the suggestion to get beta reins from www.hought.com. Gail Hought makes great tack!
The reins are grippy, soft, and easy to clean. Just wipe them off after use - they'll last forever.

May. 6, 2010, 12:34 AM
I have flat rope reins that are about 10' long with buckles on each end(like roping/barrel reins) I like the extra length as they come in handy if you need to get off and lead horse, enclip one side and you have a nice lead.

May. 6, 2010, 08:53 AM
I ride English-style in snaffle bits (French links, actually), so I ride with varying amounts of contact.

I love my biothane reins--they've got good grips that are a comfortable thickness for my arthritic fingers. I bought the longer ones for my original TB to do endurance, and they have too much bight when riding a smaller horse. However, I'd rather have too much bight than not enough length!

I recently purchased synthetic round reins, shorter than my biothane reins, that I thought would be good for my current TB (I'd like to teach him to neck rein, and the heavier weight was recommended so he could feel them). I hate them--need gloves and have to grip them too hard compared to riding the same horse in the biothane reins (with rubber grips). Made my fingers sore when my horse was feeling rowdy--some days he remembers racing a bit too fondly. I keep them in my truck for a back-up in case I have a rein failure.

I don't like to have to wear gloves to ride. I also have osteo arthritis in my fingers and some rotation in the joints, so a thick rein is better than thin ones. I've ridden other people's horses, and they've brought out little thin reins that I've had to sub out for my biothane reins. It is not worth the pain in the hands if a horse pulls.

You can also get synthetic reins for racing that are nice and wide, with grips, but the problem is that the grips are too far forward for regular riding on some of them. I buy snaps separately to attach them to the bit for easy removal. I've also got a couple pairs of these--the grips don't last real long but the reins are inexpensive.

May. 6, 2010, 09:06 AM
I have ridden with yacht rope reins and don't like them - I have very small hands and it is just too much to hold onto. Like another poster, I really like the Wintec padded reins. Keep in mind that I ride with a snaffle and I like the feel of standard English reins. The Wintecs have a soft feel that doesn't bother my hands, don't get slippery when wet, and of course are easy to clean.

May. 6, 2010, 12:18 PM
Depending on your horse's conformation one issue you may find with rope reins is they are usually only 8 or 9 feet long.

My Paint has a long low-set neck so most rope reins are too short for a comfortable hand position when riding on a loose rein.

I finally found some nice 10' rope reins, they're made by Silver Tip:


May. 6, 2010, 02:40 PM
I don't like plain biothane reins but love my beta reins. Mine are laced and that gives them very good grip.

Painted Horse
May. 7, 2010, 06:19 AM
Ditto on the Beta.. It's my favorite and easy to clean.

May. 7, 2010, 06:27 AM
Another vote for cotton western reins. I ride english but always trailride with the wider soft ones especially in the summer. I like the ones with clips on the end for easy removal. Longer ones can be knotted anywhere you want so neck length isn't a factor. They are usually quite cheap! Even if they get wet/sweaty they still are grippy. The washable aspect is super. There are 2 kinds; the cotton ones that are made with cotton string woven and some that are softer/wider made with something akin to yarn or a cotton blend. Those are softer and come in wider widths. No need for hot gloves in the summer either w/cotton.

Flyspray can ruin plastic & leather so during fly season I switch to cotton.

May. 7, 2010, 09:53 AM
they have come out with these new "Grip Beta" synthetic reins, a soft, thick, rubbery substance with little bumps. Totally awesome. http://www.hought.com/endr.grip.html

May. 7, 2010, 11:28 AM
Wendy - Distance Depot has the same reins for less than 1/2 the price.

May. 7, 2010, 12:04 PM
I like the 10' closed loop yacht reins or flat nylon woven reins. The 8' loop is standard length and way too short.

I do not like cotton reins- they are soft but in AL they get GROSS with sweat and heavy and nasty. I have a pr, they get used only when it's nice and cool LOL.

My SO loves is skinny little yacht rope el cheap Stacey Westfall Weaver reins- they have little water ties for safety/AKA the end will break off the rein if the horse got loose and stepped through the loop- but they are so small in diameter they'll hurt your hands if you ride w/ contact.

My personal fave? The wintec reins, padded and non padded alike.

at the end of the day some sort of beta or biothane rein is ideal for the easy clean up and no care other than rinse 'em off.

chancy deal
May. 7, 2010, 12:24 PM
I buy yachting rope at a local Gander Mountain and make loop reins at whatever length I want them to be.
I attach the reins to my snaffle bit using slobber straps.
Put a flame to the ends of the rope, after cutting them, to melt & seal the ends.
You can buy different colors of rope too!

May. 7, 2010, 02:24 PM
Zilco makes the best soft reins for endurance. look at Toklat.com for Zilco. They come in lots of colors and are extra long and have clips on the ends and a buckle.

May. 7, 2010, 03:38 PM
I agree with Chancy Deal.

I do alot of trail riding and I use nylon rope with slobber straps
and big snaps. The rope is about the circumference of my
pointer finger and the length I want. Got the rope at Lowe's,
straps from eBay and husband put it together.

May. 7, 2010, 05:11 PM
I have leather reins, round cotton rope, round braided synthetic reins and I just was given a pair of hand crafted flat 9 strand plaited rope reins that are fabulous.

My friend's husband plaited these and he gave them to me. They are about and 1.25" wide or so and are not stretchy but feel cool in my hands - not too wide - not too thin. They have a loop on the end that you thread a snap through so you can change the snap without unplaiting it so they can be washed. Right now they are dirty and need to be cleaned! She said she washes them and they come out snow white. Love them.

May. 7, 2010, 05:58 PM
I use plain leather English reins that have the little stopper thingies every few inches. Gives me something to rest my fingers around and helps prevent slipping the reins if the horse makes a big move or dives for grass or something. They're thin, but I'm not death-gripping them (usually!! :D ) so no biggy. They're leather, but I've never found them high maintainence. I clean and oil them every few months and that's plenty.

May. 8, 2010, 10:59 AM

These folks are very nice to deal with, are prompt, answer emails and phone calls, and are real live trail riders. I bought their 10' flat braided rope reins, which are near as I can tell identical to what longriders offers.

I have horrible osteoarthritis in my right hand and very little grip strength as a result. I can hang on to these reins fairly well even gloveless. My hands are small and these are much more comfortable than round rope reins. They are soft, and come in pretty colors and with good brass hardware.

I had some really nice webbing english reins that the horse broke for me on his first ride with a bunch of other horses. I loved those reins, but the flat polypropylene no-core rope reins have supplanted them in my affections. I've only been searching for perfect reins for the past four years. I have plenty of used reins if anybody wants 'em!

May. 9, 2010, 09:42 AM
I have Wintec Cushion Grip Reins and I love them! So comfortable on my hands!

May. 9, 2010, 10:00 AM
I got my round woven closed-loop nylon reins from Liberty Bell Tack and had them add 18" to their standard 8' length for a very nominal extra fee (can't remember how much it was, but it wasn't much). I LOVE these reins, the price was definitely right, and there's a nice choice of colors:

They have great deals on other stuff too and are excellent to deal with.

painted spirit
May. 9, 2010, 09:33 PM
I've used the nylon type of reins for the past couple of years and my only issue is it has broken the mane hairs of my horse that you can trace along the path where the reins lie. He's a walker so has a full mane. I'm switching back to leather for the next year to see if I can salvage the damage. Roping or barrel reins are too short so I'll go to my local amish tack store (so lucky they are local!) to get some custom length ones.

May. 10, 2010, 02:15 PM
I second the wintec cushion grip.....love them!

May. 11, 2010, 01:53 PM
I use the heavy rope reins by John Lyons and now offered by others as well. I like the ease of holding them and the weight as well. Other reins feel too light and flimsy after all these years.

May. 11, 2010, 03:45 PM
I like reins in rope.
I ride with a side pull.

May. 11, 2010, 08:39 PM
Split leather reins with weighted ends...super long,from Dan's Albequerque NM.Awesome,well balanced reins that get better and better with age.