I like to think I'm generally a pretty fast learner, but this week I'm feeling like an idiot. I've been struggling for months now with letting the reins slip. I've been using web reins with stops, and try as I might, even when I'm holding a stop in a death grip, Willow manages to pull the reins through my fingers, especially in canter. I've been thinking to myself, somewhat vaguely, "I guess I just need to strengthen my grip," and "Someday Willow will be lighter, and this won't be such a problem." And, of course, holding the reins in a death grip has been doing nothing for relaxation through my arms and hands.
So, late last week, I had the epiphany that you're probably all shouting at me through your screens: rubber reins! I visited Tack N Up and found standard web reins with stops, but they have rubber woven throughout. They're great because there's no added bulk. I also bought some extra-grippy gloves they had.
Five minutes into my first ride with my new equipment was when I realized what an idiot I've been. With no effort at all, I was able to maintain my rein length. After ten minutes Willow realized pulling the reins through my fingers was a no go, and she stopped trying. She was lighter and more put-together at the end of my ride, and my arms and hands were fatigue-free.
Think I'll get a second pair to use with the double bridle.