From Endurance to Dressage
This is definitely a little premature as I've only used the rubber reins three times. Other than not knowing a thing about their longevity, I can say that there really wasn't anything that I disliked about them. After reading the comments on my post about needing new reins, it seems that I am in a minority when it comes to my rein preference. So why do I like rubber reins when most everyone else gives them the stink eye?
I actually like a couple of different rein styles. It really depends on which horse I am riding and what we're doing. For trail riding on Speedy, I love my beta reins. They're extra long so that he can graze while I still hold the reins comfortably. They're impervious to sweat, and they clean up with a quick dunk in a bucket of water. I have two pair of them.
From left to right: leather on the top/rubber underneath (never used); three pair of web reins with button stops (last pair never used); Wintec rubber reins; beta English reins with buckle ends; plain leather reins (never used); still in the plastic web reins (never used). Please make me an offer (I'll entertain ALL offers) and any one of these can be yours!
For schooling Speedy in my dressage bridle (all three of them), I prefer laced reins. Speedy is light in the bridle, but in the past, I allowed the reins to slide through my fingers. With the web reins, I found that the ideal length was always between two buttons, but the reins would invariably slide to the next button stop. Laced reins were easier for me to hold so now they're what I prefer.
As for riding Izzy, thick, rubber reins have been my preference from the beginning. Izzy's not nearly as light in the bridle as Speedy is. Sometimes he's fabulous, but most of the time, I feel much better having something thick and sturdy to hold on to. The rubber also keeps the reins from sliding through my fingers which is a good thing when you're riding a rocket on a string.
Bobby's rubber reins aren't as thick as the Micklem Rubber Reins, but they're a close second. I think I prefer the heft of the Micklem reins, but these aren't bad. The Micklem rubber was pimpled while Bobby's have more of a ropey look. I don't know if it is simply that my Micklem reins had worn out, but the new reins seem to be grippier.
The Micklem rubber reins I have came with hook ends which irritate me while Bobby's rubber reins came with buckle ends. I know they don't look as nice, but buckle ends are so much easier to undo for cleaning or bit swapping.
While the leather ends aren't luxurious, the quality of the leather wasn't too bad. I gave the leather a couple of bends back and forth and was happy to note that the leather didn't get that dry skin look. Even so, I gave the leather parts of the reins a quick wipe down with Passier's Lederbalsam.
Bobby's rubber reins are also a good length. They're about 6 inches longer than the Micklem reins which is good as Izzy is a pretty big boy. I like that extra bit of room.
Elinor, over at Dressage on a Dime, gave me the best idea. Did you know you can cut the rein stops off? I swear, this was a new idea to me; it never occurred to me to do that.
Will these last? I don't know, but since I don't hate them right off the bat, I'd buy them again.
So tell me: what is your rein preference?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%