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Your favorite trail reins

I wear gloves on the trail when otherwise my hands would be too cold. I wear gloves in the arena, of various weights; my dressage teacher believes gloves should be worn at all times. I tried her method on the trail and they always ended up stuffed in a saddle bag within an hour.

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I use old fashioned split leather reins, 9 feet long (I think). Quite long at any rate. And I don’t knot them. And they have a clip at the bit end.

That way I can always tie my horse, lead my horse, smack my horse with the end when necessary. If I lost or broke one rein, the other would be just long enough to form a loop so I could get home. They are weighty enough for me to not tire my hands, but not insubstantial either.

Personally, I can’t stand the round loop rein. It’s neither long enough to be out of the way, nor short enough not to be in the way.

When I was a kid riding western I used those plain leather split reins. But now, they fall out of my hands so much I can’t stand them! I just can’t keep from dropping them.

What do you do about your hands being wet all the time when trail riding? Between sponging, sweating, going through water, horse sweat and if you ride in the morning everything being soaked with dew, any gloves I wear in the warmer months end up soaked and then you get blisters or rubs


I rode with these on long trail rides in Texas summers, with temps hovering around 100 F. My hands never felt hot, and the crochet-back was sun-protective. I always rode in long sleeves for sun protection. They are truly a great trail-riding glove invention.

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This. My hands NEVER sweat in these gloves.

Well, I got my Distance Depot reins last night and rode with them this morning. They are black nubby rubber with royal blue Beta (matching my headstall) ends. I am now very matchy.

9 feet instead of the 10 foot ones I’d been using work better for my Morgan. Makes the difference between having to ride with a bight on a loose rein (which is most of the time), and not.
No buckle: yes! I never unbuckled that buckle so what’s the point?
The weight is great. Not as heavy as laced leather but not as light as braided nylon. Nice swing and easy contact.
Did I mention matchy?

I wore my lightest gloves with them just in case they were abrasive and predictably was too hot, but after I took them off, no problems. It was just a short ride, an hour was all I had time for. Remains to be seen how they do on a real ride but – promising!!


matchy is def part of the fun!

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My absolute favorite so far are these, though they’re also laced:
The leather is of high quality harness leather, and so nice and soft!

I also love old school braided/plaited English reins, but those are even harder to clean! The grip and feel of a nice quality pair of those is unbeatable, though.

If laced/braided aren’t your thing and easy to clean is, I my recommendation would be a pair of smooth, plain leather reins. I don’t prefer most of the Western ones due to the short length, but would prefer a thicker rein than the typical thin English curb reins as well (and they’re out there, just harder to find it seems, though I’ve seen nice used pairs on sites like eBay).

They also make them with stoppers for added grip, as well as rubber reins (though IME, whether or not these will melt or get gummy is very hit or miss, and any contact with fly spray or leather products will absolutely cause this; some of them tend to be way too bulky and stiff for my taste as well).

Here is what the leather w/ stops look like. They seem to be the best of both worlds, being both easy to clean and having added grip:

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I have a pair of Tory leather reins that I’ve been riding with for over 10 years, and they look like new. They are 10’ long, which is great since you can let your horse graze without having to lean forward. Even though they are smooth leather, they offer plenty of grip with bare hands, and I’ve never gotten a blister from them, even in 20 miles of trail riding. The buckle ends make it easy to switch them from bridle to bridle, but they’ve never come unbuckled. You can also select different rein widths - I think my are the 1/2".


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