New rein design hopes to improve safety in equestrian sport

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  • A new design of safety reins have been launched in a bid to further reduce the risk in equestrian sport. The innovative Free Reins feature a quick-release connector that replaces the traditional rein buckle. When sufficient force is applied, the connector is designed to unclip automatically, allowing the reins to come apart and release the horse or rider. Once activated and the risk has passed, the reins can be reassembled.

    Free Reins connector studio image

    The new connector replaces the traditional buckle

    It’s not uncommon for reins to be accidentally stood on by a horse, caught on a gate or become entangled in the event of a fall. All of these scenarios put horse and rider at risk of injury and tack at risk of damage.

    Founder of Free Reins Laurie Williams came up with the concept after witnessing a child becoming caught in the reins during a fall.

    “From our recent survey in partnership with Dr David Marlin, 61% of riders had experienced a horse catch his reins on an object,” Laurie said. “There is no doubt in my mind there is a need for Free Reins and I’m so delighted with the product.

    “It’s really important to me to make riding as safe as possible for both horse and rider without compromising on style and comfort,” Laurie explained.

    Free Reins in use

    The reins feature a soft grip

    Manufactured in the UK, the reins are made of high-quality English leather with a soft grip. They are available in three lengths in black or havana leather, while the connector is available in chrome or gold in three sizes, which is relevant to rider weight.

    The Free Reins safety system has undergone extensive testing at an advanced manufacturing research centre in Wales.

    Dr David Marlin, Equine Scientist said: “Safety is incredibly important and we support innovation and science-backed products. This appears to be a well-designed product that we hope will decrease injury risk for both horses and riders.”

    Elite showjumping coach Mark McCourt said: “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of riders fall and keep hold of the reins or pull off the bridle. It’s really important that we have safety devices, such as Free Reins, that will help prevent accidents.”

    The reins are available at freereins.co.uk, priced from £159.99, and will be available at retailers in the near future.

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