Monday, August 13, 2012

Managing Mecate Reins

I received many e-mails about riding with Mecate's. I'm chalking that up to the new found popularity of trail riding and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA). There is no mystery to Mecate's, they are simply one piece or continuous reins which some know as roping reins, although they have a built in lead or get down rope.  It is more common now to see Mecate's made from rope, such as yacht braid, as opposed to the traditional horse hair.

When asked me how to hold the reins I am not trying to be a smart aleck when I reply "pretty much the same as you would any one piece reins." At this stage of my life I believe that making things simple is usually the best way to do most things. And if thats makes me a simpleton, then so be it.  In fact, I'm pretty sure my wife refers to me as "the simpleton" who resides in her house.

Anyway, I shot a couple of short videos to demonstrate how I hold and manage Mecate reins which I make out of 7/16ths inch or 1/2 inch dimater yacht braid or rapelling rope. I tend to use about a seven and one half foot long reins, counting the slobber straps.  I hold the reins together in one hand, with about a 14 to 18 inch loop of excess reins, and my hand generally down, knuckles up and palm pointing towards the horn of the saddle. This is what is comfortable and works for me.

I think a common mistake is to have the reins too long where your hand or hands have too much reins to manage and you could run out of room trying to make contact through the bit. In the video below, I'm riding Roy, my old team roping horse, who I like to talk about because he's such a good horse. Twenty eight years old now and having overcome a broken broken coffin bone on a back foot, he's pretty much been a children's and novice horse for the past 8 years. So now I ride him gently and ask little of him.

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