From Endurance to Dressage
A few weeks ago, I asked for some feedback on the Thinline reins. My laced reins, which I've really liked for Speedy, suddenly started causing a gnarly callous on my left hand. It hasn't gotten any smaller since then and might have actually grown.
Once I realized that the callous was being caused by my reins, I switched to a pair of cotton web reins. I have quite a few sets from which to choose. They're cheap and usually come free with a bridle purchase. They've served their purpose, but frankly, they suck. No offense to anyone who actually likes them.
After perusing what felt like every U.S. web site, I discovered that The Dressage Pony Store, owned by my friend and fellow rider Valerie Gabriel, carries the Thinline Reins cheaper than anyone else - $95.00. I placed my order. Valerie had the reins in the mail the next day. The day after that, they were attached to my bridle. How come the big online tack shops can't package and ship that efficiently? Riding Warehouse excluded, of course.
As soon as I unpackaged them, I knew I was going to be ordering a second pair for Izzy's bridle. Don't even touch a pair unless you've got a hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket; they're that nice.
The reins have a wonderful cushiony grip, almost like the gel handle on my whip. They're not tacky or sticky or grippy in the same way rubber reins can be. Which I actually like, so I am not at all surprised that I like these.
I have not one single negative thing to say about the Thinline Reins, but depending on your particular preferences, these might be considered too thick. I love them, but I can see how someone with smaller or finer hands might find them bulky.
Thinline sells these reins with a variety of options, most of which Valerie carries at the Dressage Pony Store. I went with hook and stud ends as they look cleaner in the show ring. I also wanted the hand stops. The reins aren't slick, but I am used to the stops, so I made sure to choose that option. Oh, and even though the Dressage Pony Store is for well, ponies, Valerie carries the reins in pony sizes and a standard 60 inch length which is what I bought.
Both the bit and buckle ends of the of the reins are leather. And while it's probably not the most luxurious leather ever made, I liked the quality. I bent the leather part of the reins back and forth and was pleased that it didn't get that crackled appearance you see in cheaper leather.
I am not sure that a piece of tack can improve ones riding, but I think these have. I felt like I was able to take a more solid hold of the rein without the feeling of holding Speedy by a thread. It may be that as his ability to sit and collect is improving, he may be feeling heavier in my hand right now - hence the callous. I don't think so though. I think I am developing as a rider and communicating differently through the rein than in the past.
Overall, these reins are well priced and unbelievably comfortable in the hand. As soon as I have a couple of extra bucks, I am for sure ordering that second pair for Izzy's bridle.
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%