Tuesday, June 12, 2012

d.i.y.: reins

I love my orange beta reins. But they're slick when they're wet. Slippery reins and a strong horse are two things that don't mix. With summer and sweaty horse and hands, I needed an option.

I had ordered some nice beta grip reins. They were inexpensive and not custom. I really liked the feel, but when I'd need to really choke up on them (see strong horse referenced above) I kept grabbing the section where grip was sewn to regular. Not a fault of the reins, but of Major's disappearing neck, which goes from long and graceful to short and high-headed when anxious.

A friend tried my reins and loved them (her horse isn't an idiot). She kept them and I ordered some beta-by-the-foot and decided to try making my own. $20 to try versus $80+ for custom, my stubborn cheapness won out.

"They" (the internets) say you need an industrial sewing machine and fancy stuff. I say I have super strong outdoor thread, needles and my old Makita drill. This little old drill just keeps going. I have a more powerful one for "real" jobs, but for small things it's perfect.

Way better than a sewing machine. My sewing machine is old, from the 60s. It was my Grandmother's, and I've had it for 15 years, probably used it 5 times. Great machine, even if it takes me half an hour to remember how to thread it. I can paint, tile, do basic plumbing and electrical, use all forms of power tools, but a sewing machine just puts me in fits.

Beta is tough stuff. It has an internal core of something I'm too lazy to look up, so drilling with a tiny bit gets you through easier than just a tough needle. You probably could use just a needle, but pliers are your friend when sometimes the needle just gets stuck. I marked with a ruler and pen where I needed to drill. I did glue the two pieces with some super glue, figured it couldn't hurt. (anyone see the Mythbusters show with superglue recently? It was awesome! They suspended a station wagon with 7 drops of glue!)

I made my reins ten feet long, which I already know I like. The grip section is seven feet of that. Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. For a $20 experiment, not bad. Does it look like a drunk monkey sewed them? Yup. Do I care? Nope. Will they work? I'll see!


  1. Very cool...where did you get the beta? This looks like something that would be worth experimenting with. And I totally relate to the sewing machine thing...I try to avoid it whenever possible.

    1. I got the beta (and original orange reins) from www.colleensstuff.com. Good customer service, she makes a few stock items and has the beta by the foot. I'll see if the experiment was worth it!

    2. That's great, thanks! I use super-grip beta reins and love them, so the idea I could make my own for drastically cheaper than what I paid for them is very exciting.

  2. Those reins look great! I prefer the rope ones myself.
    Anyway, I was trying to figure out how to email you, but didn't see a link.
    I am Kim: most used email is lambkins10@yahoo.com if you want to link up.
    Got my little haflinger settled in yesterday and you can see by my blog what occurred.
    I am looking for some-one to do a few short easy trail rides with to start with in about a month, but I don't have a trailer...there apparently is a trail where I board at that leads over to the lake. I know when conditioning for endurance one needs to move on out for the most part.
    So send me an email if interested.

    I love your blogging.


    1. I'd be happy to go on a ride. I think horses should have many talents, and while Major is good at fast pace, he can also mosey along with the best if them! He is pretty fearless, we take out new horses often.