How to Hold Roping Reins

No matter what event you compete in, there’s no denying the value of having good, high-quality reins. When it comes to roping reins, there are many factors to consider when selecting which ones to use. In the video below, Dennis Moreland visits with PRCA Calf Roper Ryan Thibodeaux, of Stephenville, TX about the differences in roping reins. Ryan also shows us how to hold the rein, and your rope coils, to ensure a successful and balanced roping run starting from the moment you back into the box.

An important aspect to consider with roping reins is what kind of attachment you want to connect the reins to your bit. Some roping reins have metal snaps or clips, and others have leather connectors or slots that fasten over rawhide knots. Personal preference determines what kind of attachment to use. Reins with snaps are the easiest and quickest to take on and off your bridles. Ryan says he prefers reins without snaps because they don’t jingle. He also prefers roping reins that fasten with rawhide knots because they look so good on a horse.

When deciding between a rein that’s a ½ inch wide vs 5/8 inch, Ryan says it depends on the size of your hands and how much feel you want to have in that rein. “A younger person or those with smaller hands might prefer the ½ inch rein while a larger handed person would likely prefer the 5/8 inch rein so they can feel the rein a little more. It’s all personal preference” says Ryan.

Having the rein, the right length, is important from the time you back into the box until your run is over. Ryan demonstrates the way he holds his roping rein in his left hand with his hand closed and thumb facing upwards with a pinky and ring finger between each side of the rein. He explains, the fingers between the reins allows you to apply pressure on each side separately, to straighten your horse out and balance him in the box.

Once your reins are gathered and held correctly in your hand, Ryan explains what the “bubble” in the rein is, and how you can adjust the size of the bubble depending on the length of your horse’s neck and how much contact you like with your horse. When it comes time to put it all together, Ryan also points out how it can be helpful to adjust the size of the bubble so that you can hold your rein hand correctly in the area above your saddle horn. This gives you room to pull back if needed, instead of starting with longer reins that can’t be pulled any further back because your rein hand is already so far back it can’t pull back any further. You also don’t want your rein so short that you’re constantly pulling on your horses’ face.

“Once a run starts, you can’t get any rein back, but you can always give a little,” says Ryan. “I always like to be right above my saddle horn, that way if I need to go forward, I can give my horse his head, but I can always bring him back.”

We hand cut and hand finish high-quality roping and barrel reins that have the feel, durability, and the look you want and need. To find out more about what rein would work well for you, give us a call at 817-312-5305 or email us at dmtack@vrfmail.com.

Dennis Moreland Tack is a full-line manufacturer of handmade tack and we’re here to help you!