Side Reins - The Side Rein

The Side Rein

Side reins are made of leather or webbing, sometimes with added elastic, and have several rings or holes for buckles along their length. They are easily adjusted. Some designs have adjustable buckles and attach to the bit with a snap, other designs run through the bit ring, then fold back on themselves and snap to their own rings.

Side reins may be completely of solid material, or they may have an elastic or rubber ring insert. Each design has its advantages and disadvantages. Designs with elastic have more "give" to them, which is useful for sensitive horses or horses that throw their heads. Elastic inserts must be used with caution, however, as some horses learn to lean on them. Solid side reins are the older, classical design, give the horse a more solid contact to work into and discourage leaning, but must be adjusted with greater care because their lack of give may upset a sensitive horse and, particularly if too tight, may provoke rearing, headshaking and even panic in some animals. Side reins with a rubber donut provide some give, although not as muct as elastic and so discourage leaning. However, they are heavier and are prone to bounce when the horse trots or canters, which does not provide as steady a contact as the solid or elastic-insert side reins.

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