Split reins are made from a variety of materials (leather, synthetics, cotton, etc.), and come in a variety of lengths, widths, and weights. Split reins are usually the preferred choice of working cowboys and cowgirls. Below are split reins for sale on eBay
Please scroll down toward the bottom of the page for good things to know before buying split reins.
Below: Leather split reins
What Are Split Reins?
Split reins are a piece of equipment used for communicating with a horse while it is being ridden. Split reins are actually two separate, individual reins that are used together, with one rein on each side of the horse's neck. Each rein attaches to the bridle and extends from the bridle to the rider's hands to help communicate such things to the horse as when to stop, turn, speed up, slow down, and more.
Reins can also be a one-piece or one rein-style that extends from one side of the bridle, over the horse's neck, and down to the other side of the bridle.
Below: Split reins. When a rider dismounts a horse and intentionally leaves one split rein on the ground it is often a cue for the horse to "ground tie," or to stay there until the rider returns.
Which type of reins a rider uses, split reins or one rein, is a matter of personal preference. Split reins are commonly seen in the Western riding disciplines, although some Western riders might use one rein. Split reins are heavily preferred by most working cowboys and cowgirls.
Weighted Split Reins
Weighted split reins have extra weight in them, either toward front end (the end that attaches to the bit) or the back end (the ends that hang down the side of the horse). The weight, regardless of which end it is located, is intended to help that end of the reins hang more quietly. Not all split reins are weighted; it's a matter of personal preference.
In the photo below of a single split rein, the #1 shows the front end of the rein (the end that attaches to the bit). The #2 is the the opposite end of the rein, the part that hangs down the side of the horse.
If you look above the #2 where the arrow is pointing, you will see that the rein is cut thicker for several inches to give this end added weight. Whether or not split reins are weighted (at either end) is a matter of personal preference.
This is a close-up from the photo above, showing the part of the rein that is cut thicker to give it added weight.
Split Reins - Good Things To Know Before You Buy
- Are the split reins new or used? By far, most of the ones we've seen are new, but you will occasionally come across a used pair.
- What are the split reins made of? While they have traditionally been made of leather, other materials like synthetics and cotton are now also commonly used. Every material has its pros and cons. Leather split reins, for example, have a "feel" many riders like and they don't collect dirt, grass, leaves, stickers, etc. when riding through brush, but they usually require occasional conditioning. Reins made of synthetic materials or cotton usually don't require conditioning, but some riders don't like their feel and they might collect dirt or debris.
- How long are the reins? The length of split reins varies, so make sure you don't get a set shorter or longer than you wanted.
- If the split reins are longer than you want and they're made of a material that's easily trimmed (like flat, unbraided leather or nylon) you might be able to trim them to the length you want. However, if the reins are braided or woven you might not be able to trim them easily or neatly.
- How wide are they? How thick? The width and thickness of split reins, along with what they are made of, will determine the "feel" of the reins during communication between horse and rider.
- How do the reins attach to the bit? Do they tie on, use Chicago screws, snaps, etc? Some people prefer to tie their reins to the bit because they like the feel this gives them when they communicate with a horse. Some folks like the looks of Chicago screws, while still others like snaps so they can quickly switch the reins from one bridle to another.
- If the reins come with snaps, do you like the type of snaps? Are they too big or too small for your preferences? If necessary, can young hands or arthritic fingers work them easily?
- What color are the split reins? Leather can come in dark or light oils, and synthetic materials or cotton can come a wide variety of colors.
- What will the shipping charges on the reins be? On eBay the shipping charges are often free, but not always.
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