So I was able to get a set of romals - traded a friend of mine and they arrived today. I was concerned at first that they were too short, even for Remy, but I used them tonight and once he was in frame they were just about perfect.
But... they have snaps. I hate snaps on reins. It didn't seem to bother him, but it drove me batty. I don't see any way to take the snaps off to put a different end on the reins, but I don't know how they're constructed either.
I got a quick pic tonight. Is this something a leather repair place could do or am I going to learn to live with it?
Please don't think I am being snide, but those are not romals. In fact the correct term in "closed reins with a romal". They are closed reins. The closed reins normally have a slider or keeper of some sort. They are braided from the middle down to each end, where there is usually a snap of some sort. Frequently there are decorative buttons or ferrules, and there may even be weights, to enable the rider to signal the horse with a very slight movement, such as just closing the hand more firmly around the reins. One folds them in half and there is a keeper which slips over the 'end', making a loop. This is where the single romal is attached. It hangs down on the off side of the horse, and is held in the rider's other hand.
If you don't plan to show, you can modify them however you want. If you plan to show you need to follow the rules for your horse's breed/type of riding.
These are very nice romal reins.
You may not need that kind if you are not a serious trainer for that kind of riding, but it gives you an idea of what a neat braiding and mounting job is, so you can evaluate other reins for at least good serviceability:
If you like the reins you have, you can add a bit more firmness to them by oiling them heavily.
That will darken them also, but that would be fine.
As for the snaps, you could cut them off with a cutting wheel on the grinder, or some strong, big wire cutters and then add a piece of matching or white braided loop with a button, as in these romal rein ends: