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Take the Reins

Learn the ins and outs of the four different types of western reins.


Reins are the key to communicating with your horse from the saddle. Used to cue and control direction and speed, the right set of reins can make the difference between a good ride and a disaster.

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Professional Horsewoman Carol Metcalf breaks down the four most commonly used types of reins in western disciplines, with tips on proper usage and how to find a pair made with lasting quality.


What they are: Although typically made from two strips of leather, split reins can also be made of braided cotton rope. Widths vary. Metcalf prefers a width of 3/4-inch for most riding and 5/8-inch with a snaffle bit.

Used for: The current trend sees split reins used in most western events, particularly western pleasure, horsemanship, reining and cutting.

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