Let’s Talk Rein Length


Let’s talk rein length, shall we? To me, rein length is really important. When we’re training a horse, we are, or should be, teaching them to search for the release. We do it with our feet, and even with our seat, so why do most barrel racers not do it with their reins? Maybe it’s just a simple case of not knowing better. We all want to do right by our horses, this I know!

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Reins are used for so many things when it comes to riding our horses. Though, ideally the reins, should have three purposes:


Collecting the horse for any number of maneuvers.


As a back-up for your seat. Reins should not control the speed on my horse, any more than necessary.


finally, Steering.


If our reins are too short, how is the horse supposed to find the release? Watch any performance event with a horse, and you’ll see reins go from long to short, based on the rider’s hands. We like to say, “long arms, short reins!” when it comes time to gather the horse up for a maneuver.

In the video below, I show you what happens when you constantly have your horse on a short rein, and why it’s not ideal. Long before I rode with Mecate reins, I used to warm my horses up in split reins, and switch to a competition set-up prior to making my runs. I did this specifically, so my horses could feel the release. We wouldn’t enjoy being pressured up all the time, so why is the horse any different?

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These are a set of competition reins with a sharpie marking the position for each horse.

I hope this look into my thoughts on rein length gives you some good ideas, and helps you in your journey! — Jenn

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