The perceptive equestrian will be very aware of how their reins feel in their hands. Some riders like a thinner, softer rein for a connection to their horse’s mouth, and some riders like the feel of a heftier rein if they are riding cross country or riding a strong horse.
Traditionally, hunters wear a laced leather rein which gives some grip and security. The standard width is 5/8” but ½” and ¾” are available. Event and jumper riders often prefer a rubber rein or a web rein that has rubberized threads woven into it. A word of caution; the rubber can be sensitive to certain fly sprays and grooming products and can deteriorate and become very sticky. Dressage riders prefer either a leather or web rein with hand stops. Or riders using a Pelham bit or Weymouth bridle with double reins, it can be helpful to have the top rein or snaffle rein slightly wider than the curb rein. A 5/8” top rein and a ½” curb rein are a good combination to make it easy to distinguish between the reins.
Whatever your choice, please inspect your reins often for signs of wear. Remember to dismantle your bridle and remove the bit for cleaning. Look closely at the buckles or hook studs. These areas are subject to damage from saliva, and abrasion from the bit, as well as the occasional horse who can get the ends of the reins into his mouth and chew on them. A broken rein can cause a disastrous accident, so repair or replace them when you see any sign of damage.