Back at the beginning of August I finally purchased a new pair of reins. I had been putting off buying a new pair as my old reins were literally molded to my hands! I had tried a few different brands from bridles I had picked up over the years but as the old faithfuls deteriorated, I just wasn’t happy with the feel of any of them.
That’s why taking a chance on the Henry James Saddlery V-Grip Hybrid Rubber Reins was a gamble for me. There was a big chance I wouldn’t like them but after 2 months I can safely say that I do and I’ll tell you why.
Having browsed through the options available I chose the V-Grip Hybrid rubber reins with leather stoppers in full size. Although I nearly purchased the Smooth Eventer Hybrid, but for some reason I was drawn to the other pair.
I personally liked the idea of the Bio Grip with larger pimples as opposed to the other options available. I also wanted something that would help with grip and control (especially cross-country) so the leather stoppers were also a selling point.
Delivery and Packaging
Being a UK based company, I was aware that the reins would probably take a little longer to deliver than if I had bought something here in Ireland. In saying that, the reins arrived exactly one week from the day I ordered them, so I was pleased with that!
They arrived in a lovely parcel (a nice surprise to find on my bedroom floor as the postman had shoved it through my window!!). It was wrapped in brown paper & blue ribbon. I was very impressed with the care taken in their packaging – it made opening the box a little bit more exciting, despite knowing it was only a pair of reins inside!
Quality & Value for Money
The English Sedgwick leather is beautiful & clearly of high quality. It’s smooth and has a lovely polished look and feel to it. I opted for Havana to match my tack. I wasn’t disappointed as the colour is extremely rich. What I really liked was the raised leather detailing and stitching along the edges, which I thought gave them a high quality finish.
The reins are attached to the bit by billets rather than buckles, which is another preference of mine. I think it makes the over all look of the bridle neater.
I paid £35.99 in total – £29.99 for the reins plus £6 for the shipping, which at the time was €41 in total. I genuinely think this was very good value as they come in way below the RRP of similar products available from Schockemohle and Stubben (I have a pair of similar reins from one of the above that I will never use cross-country again!). I also believe they are on par when it comes to the quality.
Take away the shipping cost to Ireland and you really do have a bargain.
What were they like in use?
The reins are slightly wider then what I’m used to but I found the leather stoppers really made me aware of my tendency to allow the reins to slip through my hands, especially at home when schooling. Giselle was not impressed that I was focusing on not allowing this to happen! It also made me more determined to take up a better contact instead of allowing Giselle to lull on a long rein for the first 20 minutes (*cough* entirety) of our work.
I only had the reins a few days before heading to Millstreet Internation Horse Show back in mid-August. I might have a tendency to allow the reins to go long on the flat, but when show jumping I have to shorted up otherwise Giselle would be gone with the wind!
This is where I found the reins most effective. I was able to shorted up, and keep a steady hold at the same length, where as before I would have found with my old reins I would be adjusting my rein length between jumps all the time.
The Henry James website stated “Our Hybrid reins come with billet ends, are super flexible and suitable for riding in extreme, wet and cold conditions.” I think this is a fair and accurate description. I’ve been cross-country, to the beach, loads of shows and I cannot fault them.
I’m just back from a 3 week break and I did find getting back on a bit strange with the thicker rein, but I think that’s just in my flat work until I get back into a routine again. In hindsight, the Smooth Eventer reins may have been a better option for me as they are described as “thinner” but overall, I am extremely happy my choice.
Here’s a link to the Henry James Saddlery website: Click here
And here’s a link directly to the reins in question: Click here
On and end note – I also realllly like the look of their bridles.. It’s worth checking them out as an alternative to some of the bigger more marketed brands.
I think that I could find a reason to purchase a new one… I’m sure I need a spare bridle, don’t I?!
(I think what I really need is to win the lottery!!)