Reins are what allows the rider to give aids to the horse from the hand, and so are a significant component of riding a horse safely and effectively. At Houghton Country we stock a range of reins to suit every preference, such as rubber reins for enhanced grip, continental reins for maintaining precise rein length, or plain leather reins and half lined reins in line with a more traditional aesthetic.
The right pair of reins can make it easier for the rider to work the horse into a secure, elastic contact, maintain control and allow the horse to stretch. At Houghton Country we stock a range of reins for horse riding to give the rider extra grip, fine tune their rein length to change their horse’s way of going, encourage the horse to stretch and maintain traditional appearance, with an option to suit every price point and shades of brown or black to match every bridle, from brands such as LeMieux, Shires, and PS of Sweden.
Rubber reins enhance grip in wet conditions, while continental (or webbed) reins also make it easier for the rider to ensure the length of their reins does not change. Plain leather reins are sourced for showing where a traditional look is important, or by riders who do not feel they need the extra grip from rubber or continental reins. Half lined reins, where one side features rubber grip and the other is plain leather, give the best of both worlds, providing security as well as a traditional appearance.
What length reins should I ride my horse in?
Reins generally come in sizes 48”, 54” and 60”, although some brands may vary slightly. Most horses will take 54” reins, while ponies will be best off in 48”. Those riding a big horse or one with a longer neck may choose 60” reins. The risk of the reins being too long is that the loop that the excess rein forms can become caught in the rider’s stirrup, which could be dangerous. If the reins are too short, the rider may not be able to slip their reins as needed over a fence, or may run out of rein when asking the horse to stretch. Dressage riders may therefore opt for a longer set of reins to be able to lengthen the rein sufficiently to encourage the horse to stretch down and out, while eventers may be conscious of the need for the reins to be long enough to slip over a drop fence. Showjumpers probably do not need to vary their rein length as much.
What thickness of reins should I ride my horse in?
The answer to this depends on the size of your hands and personal preference. Riders with small hands or children may prefer a thinner rein, such as 1/2”, while a man or a rider with bigger hands is likely to feel more comfortable holding a thicker rein such as 5/8” width. Some riders feel that a thinner rein is ‘flimsy’ and they do not feel secure with the feel these reins give, while others find a thicker rein cumbersome and feel that they cannot close their fingers around them as desired. Once you are accustomed to a certain width of rein, you will probably favour this rein thickness.
What length are full size reins?
Full size would usually equate to 54”, while pony size reins would usually be 48”, however some brands can vary by an inch or two.
Do I need martingale stops on my horse's reins?
Martingale stops prevent a running martingale from sliding up the reins and becoming so short that it does not allow the horse freedom of movement, or interferes with the horse’s bit. If you are going to use a martingale, you must have martingale stops on your reins, and they should be positioned a few inches down from the bit. If you do not plan on using a martingale, you will not need martingale stops. Some reins come with martingale stops attached to them already, while others do not, and separate martingale stops will have to be attached by threading the end of the reins through the middle and sliding the stops down until they are in the desired position.
Reins are essential if you want to ride your horse, and at Houghton Country whatever your preference we will have a pair to suit you. Do you need a new bridle or bit? We have a huge range of saddlery to meet every horse’s needs.