Our first item in our new bling tack category is our exclusive hand-dyed, hand-braided bling barrel racing reins.
Years ago I bought a similar pair of reins at a barrel race in Mississippi. I loved the soft feel of the nylon rope and the color selection was amazing - it took me forever to decide on a pair. The first time I used them back home, a friend of mine went crazy over them and begged to buy my new set. I searched online to see if we could order a pair but could not find them anywhere.
Being the crafty sort that I am, I decided to see if I could make myself a pair so I could sell the ones I purchased to my friend. After lots of trial and error with different types of rope and dye, and lots of research to find hardware that would not rust or corrode, I came up with a pair I liked and gave them to my official tester - my good friend Foo. At the time, Foo was riding a super powerful barrel horse named Larry and we reasoned that if they were durable enough that Foo and Larry couldn't break them, they were safe for anyone.
Foo and Larry - and our very first set of handmade reins.
That was nearly 10 years ago and I am pleased to say that Foo still owns and uses those same reins today.
As soon as we started using our reins, it seemed that everyone wanted them and I sold them at shows and online for several years. Some of my more memorable orders were for a 10-person drill team in Texas, and awards for barrel racing associations in both Arkansas and Alaska.
After starting a new, very demanding job in 2010 I was falling behind on orders and worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. The decision to quit making them was made final for me when I was no longer able to find the rope that I used and could not find a suitable replacement.
This year when Sassy Cactus was born, I stumbled across a new supplier and took a chance and tried their rope and happily it was exactly the same as I had used before. We've been selling ready made sets at shows this summer and they are now available online here: Custom Dyed Hand Braided Bling Barrel Racing Reins
Sassy Cactus will be introducing more bling tack as we get closer to Christmas shopping season and continuing into spring for show season next year!