Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Biggest Bridle Dilemma

only the best problem ever
Well that escalated quickly. I bought my first dressage saddle (in years) like 9 months ago. I rode in a jump bridle for a while, then got a beautiful PS of Sweden dressage bridle.

And then I had one bridle for MONTHS.

That's pretty good for me.

Then I sort of accidentally started shopping for no good reason. I wanted one bridle, bought a different one, then bought the one I wanted and sold the first one I bought, which left me with two net dressage bridles.

But that's ok, right? One to school, one to show. Or one with a flash and one without. Or one with sparkles and one plain. One with a spendy bit and one with a cheap one. There are so many justifications for two bridles.


But then I found a TOTAL STEAL on a VERY FRENCH dressage bridle. I tried to be strong but Redheadlins was like "omg buy now" (even though she always says no) and Alyssa (who also always says no) apparently doesn't get up at 6am on Sundays to go online tack shopping with me. Lives?! Who has those. So what I'm saying is you should blame my friends for the fact that I now posses three black leather bridles.

And admittedly, that's enough to do dressage in for like ten years and still have enough left to make a dominatrix outfit, sooooooooooo that coupled with the fact that my bank account and I are currently not on speaking terms means I need to thin the herd.

Except I can't.

So that's where you come in. Please help me decide which beautiful piece of sexy strappy leather gets the heave-ho.

PS of Sweden
bridle profile
Bachelor #1: The PS of Sweden Dressage bridle.

This bridle sports the big, wide, flat, non-fancy noseband look that I love. I really love huge padded stuff, but Courage's tiny face just can't take it.

This bridle runs the balance of huge and looks good on my horse. It has the comfort padded monocrown.

Fun fact: this is a lower end PS bridle, so the leather quality is my least favorite of the three.

browband snaps and topline charm
The browband clips on and off, which is super fun for changing up our look and the throatlatch is completely removable, which is brilliant when it's cold and I want one less buckle to play with. This is a crank-style noseband and there is a completely removable flash. I actually don't care for the attachment (and my horse doesn't go in a flash), but it's another option.

I love it.

Red Barn Capriole
Bachelor #2: The Red Barn Capriole bridle

Style-wise, this model is actually fairly similar to the PS bridle. Again, it's a wide padded noseband, but it's fairly flush with the face, so it doesn't completely overwhelm my little OTTB.

It has a comfort-padded monocrown, crank, flash. The flash strap is removable, but the little attachment loop stays put. You will note the shocking lack of sparkles, but this can be remedied.

This is a pretty basic bridle in a lot of ways--it doesn't have any really unique features outside of the padded, modern look. It does offer nice quality leather that's promising to break in quite well and it feels very durable. It's very correct for the modern show ring.

I love it.

Antares Dressage Bridle
Bachelor #3: The Very French Contestant. 

I call him Antares.

I bought him as a resale project (obstensibly), but the more I touch him, the more I want him. This is a whole different look for me.

We still have the padded monocrown and the built in flash (strap removable). We've added fancy stitching on the browband and noseband--very subtle, but visible up close.

We've added French leather. We've added a throatlatch that buckles on both sides, which I guess makes it easy to replace? Dunno, but seems like a feature worth mentioning.

Antares (it's his name) has very refined cheek pieces and elegant hardware. He doesn't have a crank, which means slapping a standing martingale on for occasional shenanigans is within the realm of possibilities. (Conversely, I have a jump bridle for this reason, so I don't need this feature.)

And did I mention French leather?

Yup. He even smells beautiful. And his name is on the side of the browband. <3

He even came perfectly adjusted to fit Courage. A sign? Yes.

I love him.

I don't know where that leaves us. I would really like to get down to two dressage bridles, but I cannot choose which one doesn't get a rose.

I probably ought to sell Antares, because he has the best resale and isn't my usual look, but I also named him and maybe it's time to change things up around here. I have a little horse with a little face. Maybe he can wear less leather.

Conversely, the PS and the Red Barn are very similar looks, so maybe it makes more sense to only keep one of those? In case you're keeping score, they all have padded monocrowns, flash attachments, are competition legal, and fit fine. Two out of three have padded cranks, but I don't crank down my cranks. Courage goes in a loose cavesson.

Ideas? Thoughts? What looks best? Want to buy one and end my suffering?



  1. Oooooh...what size is the PS? I might be interested.

    1. I should have specified. They're all cob.

    2. And my bank account breathes a sigh of horse has a dinosaur head.

    3. Depending on price (& shipping cost to the great white north) i'd be very interested!
      By the way, this is Kate from Ridig From the Ground Up. My phone won't let me sign in.

  2. I still vote sell redbarn, reason: awkward noseband height. But, really, they are all pretty

  3. Replies
    1. Seconded. The Red Barn looks best on Courage's face in my opinion. I like the slightly raised leather of the noseband, compared to the flat leather of the PS noseband. Obviously, acquire sparkles.

  4. My inner 12-year-old squeals *keepz dem all* But if you really must get rid of one, my vote would be the Red Barn. Between it and the PS I think it's more attractive on C's dainty face. And obviously Antares needs to stick around because expensive french leather.

    That said, if you decide it's the PS that must go, let me know. I know a certain little Pinto that it would look smashing on :)

    1. .... I second that- I also have a little pinto who would like another PS bridle in his collection!

      That being said, I actually really like the Red barn on him- not so crazy about the Antares, but maybe that's because I'm a closet DQ and that one doesn't scream "dressage" at me.

  5. I say let go the Antares. To me (and how I prefer my nosebands) the noseband is missing some structural integrity or something. The flash shouldn't be pulling the nose band down the face, to the point it's looking like a figure 8 when it isn't. I had a poorly adjusted noseband for a long time and I did permanent damage (stretching) to the noseband when I rode for years with a flash on it. Now it drops down the face even without the flash.

  6. Gotta admit, I don't love the fit or the look of the Antares. In the pic of it on C's head I thought it was a cheap schooling bridle. :X I like the monocrown and all the buckles, but I guess to me it looks like a run of the mill h/j bridle in black. It's just not as fabulous as I've come to expect from you.

    1. Um but it's pretty fabulous to have your cheap schooling bridle be Antares, right?

    2. I have to agree with Amanda, it doesn't look as high quality as the other two, even though it obviously is higher quality. Also, I don't like the fit of the noseband and flash pulling down.

  7. I like the PS the least, but I do like the fact that the flash is totally removable, unlike the Red Barn. You must keep Antares! It's gorgeous!

  8. Not a huge fan of the Antares. The way the noseband sits is a bit off.

  9. Too many choices. As much as I love antares, that is my least favorite. if I didn't see pictures I would have voted out the Red Barn.

  10. Now that you already bought the damn thing, I would keep all three. But I never sell anything. It would be cool to be an octopus and hold all the bridles in all the arms with my suction-y cups!

  11. If Anteres is looking for a new home....

    I have an OTTB mare with a similar head. Plain-ish but still pretty. I remove the flash as well and yes to a loose caveson. Minimal to no bling and I love the subtlety of the stitching. Price?

  12. The noseband on the ps is a bit icky. My choice, sell Antares and change out the ps noseband.

  13. I would sell the Red Barn. I love how the PS looks on Courage with the flat noseband. The Antares, while not quite as pretty fitting as the others is just a dream bridle in general... so...

  14. Ditto with the others on the Antares. That noseband just ain't right.

  15. I'd say get rid of the Antares. Though if Indy had a cob sized head, I would tell you to get rid of the Red Barn so that I could buy it. ;) Seriously though, don't sell the Red Barn.

  16. I agree with the votes to sell the Antares. I don't think it's the best look on Courage.

  17. sooooo..... just saying if you do decide to sell the PS lmk ;)

  18. Everyone is so much pickier (and has a better eye) than me when it comes to bridles.. I'm totally that girl who is a year late on the trends and even if I buy the right brands I can never actually pull the look off.

    My vote is to sell something else and call the third dressage bridle an early Xmas present to yourself? Haha.

  19. Red Barn is probably my favorite. The PS looks a bit blah on him... but I like Antares least. It just doesn't look right on his face.

    Good luck with your decision! I try not to put myself in positions like that. I'm so indecisive about things like that that it hurts my husband to watch me try to figure it out. Lol

  20. I like the Red Barn best, but honestly I love and hate features on all three. Sorta...
    PS: I hate the noseband. Flat doesn't do it for me. But you love it. You do you. The leather looks meh.
    Red Barn: I usually dislike red barn, but I really like the noseband here. Switch out the browband and trim off the flash strap. You have a great bridle.
    Antares: does not look dressage. Fancy stitching bothers me. Love the crown, though...

    So I guess I'm suggesting you sell all but the Red Barn and find something with a raised noseband, awesome padded crown, and nice leather, without a flash strap. Go! Into the wilds!

  21. I love the Red Barn on him. Definitely keep that one. The PS is also nice. I'm not a fan of how the Antares noseband droops down. Maybe it would be better without the flash, but then you essentially have a hunter bridle with an annoying loop. I'd sell the Antares.


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