Monday, March 1, 2010

Tack Tips--Laced Reins, Part One

Laced reins are standard equipment on most hunter type bridles and in this tutorial I will show you how to reproduce them in miniature.

As always, I start by taking a good look at the real item. The main body of each rein is laced with a long, narrow strip of leather forming a row of sideways V's that point away from the bit toward the rider.
This is a small detail, but it's one that never varies. I hate to see an otherwise lovely model bridle ruined by backwards laced reins. You will never see that in the real world...
So be sure that those V's point back at your rider!Notice also that the laced portion of the rein makes up somewhat less than half its total length. The first third of the rein (give or take) may be either plain, flat leather or raised to match the bridle's brow and nosebands. Either way, it will not be laced.When viewed on the horse, the beginning of the laced section typically falls somewhere around the midpoint of the horse's neck.
This is a rule of thumb, not an absolute.
Depending on the horse's head position and length of neck, the beginning of the laced section may be further forward...
or further back.
The main thing is not to get it too close to the bit. I see a fair amount of hobby bridles with reins that are laced nearly their entire length. That's way too much work and looks funny to boot. Remember the laced section is there to provide the rider with better grip. You only need to lace the parts of the rein that might conceivably be held by a rider.

That's it for today--tomorrow we'll build some reins!


  1. good to know. I never noticed which way they point. I'll have to go make sure the couple I have are the right way :)

  2. Laura, I might be making too much of that since it's a nonfunctional detail... Still, it really bugs me to see them point the wrong direction!

    1. On a model horse it may be nonfuctional of course, but on a real bridle, it looks like the "v" could offer a better grip. If the "v" goes towards the horse, maybe your hand could slip forward easier? Like a plow share or ship moves through ground or water? Or v plows on anything. Make sense? Just guessing.

  3. looking forward to part two!

  4. There is just the tiniest suggestion of stitching along the edge of the reins so I'm presuming you don't add stitch marks to the tiny model reins. But, at some point, could you show how to do stitch marks with a pounce wheel? or without, if that's a better way..

  5. I know I've noticed that the lacing points to the rider, but I dont think I ever really *noticed* it. Looking forward to part 2!

  6. Thanks, looking forward to part 2!

    This is what makes you such a good artist, really learning to look at what you're replicating.

  7. Thanks for the tipps! I'm looking forward to part 2 too!

  8. But it *is* a functional detail; think about it - the 'V' pointing towards the rider means that when the horse pulls against the rider's hands, the open end of each 'V' braces the rein against the rider's grip. If they were flipped so the V faced the bit, when the horse pulled, each V would be like a skinny arrow-point, slipping through the hand instead of bracing against it!

  9. I just saw the most beautiful Breyer hunt bridle and I was in shock! Even though it was gorgeous, I knew there was something wrong, I just couldn't place it! Then I noticed... The reins were laced backwards! I literally wanted to cry...