Our initially sceptical reviewer is now a massive fan of these reins, which have become her rubber reins of choice for jumping, hacking and schooling.
Having ridden a friend’s horse in reins similar to these and not been too keen on the feeling in my hand, I was a little sceptical when these were passed to me to test. However, I have been totally converted by riding in them regularly and now far prefer them to other rubber reins in my tackroom.
The reins are extremely light and flexible in your hand, which does give a different feel if you are used to riding in traditional rubber reins with leather running through them. The rubber grip has a nylon core, which is securely stitched on to quality English leather at both ends.
When riding on the flat, my horse can drop behind the contact at times and when he did this the rein went complete slack in my hand. With my traditional rubber reins, the weight of the leather used to hide this slightly. The clear and immediate feedback in my hand offered by these reins has helped me to focus on keeping him forward to the bridle and I believe his general way of going has improved as a result.
While out hacking in poor weather, the reins have provided me with excellent grip during fast work (when my former Flat racer has absolutely no problem taking the contact forward!) and I also find them very easy to gather up quickly if necessary. I have quite small hands (size 7 glove) and find the lack of bulk makes them extremely comfortable in my hand.
The reins are a good length for me and my horse. Whether working in an outline, or relaxing on a long rein, I do not find myself holding on to the area where the rubber joins the leather. I haven’t yet been cross-country schooling with them, but I believe they are long enough to allow my horse to use his neck off a step or drop without my hand accidentally interfering with his mouth, but the slack doesn’t gather down around my stirrup when I have my stirrups and reins short during fast work.
I’ve now been riding in the reins for schooling, jumping and hacking five days a week for 10 weeks and there is no sign of wear on the grips. The leather is of good quality and cleans up well. If the rubbers become dirty, a quick scrub with a tooth brush brings them up like new. As yet they haven’t rubbed my horse’s clipped neck, while he is showing some hair loss in other areas where his tack fits closely. It will be interesting to see if this continues to be the case as his coat changes.
These reins are available with buckles, hook stud fitting or clips to attach to the bit, plus leather martingale stops. I had a pair in black leather with hook studs, which is my preference, and leather martingale stops. Personally I would have prefered the buckle at my hand end to have been silver coloured, rather than brass, because it would then have fully matched my bridle, but this is my only issue and it’s purely a matter of asthetics.
Due to the leather martingale stops, which could be cut off if necessary, I wouldn’t wear these reins in competitive dressage (and I don’t show), but I will use them for any jumping competitions I attend in the future, as well as at home.
Update: twelve months on and these reins are still going strong. The leather work is in excellent condition. The rubber bobbles on the reins have worn down where I hold them, but I still find I have a fair grip. I’m using them for schooling at home and competing in all three phases when eventing. I haven’t changed my original verdict: these are a great pair reins that are well worth the investment.
I would choose these reins for all my riding at home, plus while out competing in showjumping and cross-country. Not cheap, but good quality and worth the investment