Thursday, February 2, 2017

Uisce Saddlery: Custom Bridle Work Review

This past summer, I got an itch to have a cool, colored-padded, contour-fitted, super-magic-amazing dressage bridle for Courage. The obvious choice for that in the dressage world is of course, Otto Schumacher.
pictured: not otto
You know--big, patent, fancy, custom shit. Oh, and it's like $700/bridle and you have to go through their rep system because heaven forbid a mere plebeian learn how to click the order button. It's like going to Oregon and not being allowed to pump your own gas, except in this case, I'm in BFE and there's no rep to help me even if I did want to talk to someone. Which I don't. Eff off, Otto.

Construction and Service

I asked around and got pointed to a small Irish shop called Uisce Saddlery, based in Ireland. I am the worst at custom anything because I hate options, so I looked through the gallery until something leaped off the page at me and then emailed to ask how much it would be and if there was shipping to the US and just sort of get a feel for the process.

I got a prompt, polite reply in fluent english (hey, you never know) by the saddler herself (holla Elaine!) with specific answers to my questions. She was also conversant in standard sizing, inches, and US dollars, which I find very useful because my interest in understanding foreign currency is around zero. I will google the exchange rate. That is all.

I don't order full custom much, so this was kind of an experience. Elaine doesn't just glue some trim on an existing caveson--she makes each piece from scratch.

The gallery and her happy customs told me she could do more fancy custom stitching and etc, but I liked what I saw and I had an itchy trigger finger. I had a paypal invoice in my inbox within an hour or two of initiating the conversation and when I paid, there was a note indicating about a 10 day wait depending on what was ahead of me in line.
threw it on a bridle i had sitting around :-) 
Best part? Ten days later I thought I might send her an email just to check my order status since I hadn't used her company before, but when I got home to do that, there was a package from Ireland sitting on my porch. Oh, AND when I emailed to say thanks, she apologized for not sending tracking. Geez. Polite much?

Fit

I told her Courage was a pretty standard cob size, she sent me her standard measurements, and because I'm a dork who has C's measurements memorized (but not my own, go figure), I knew it would work. I also needed it made sans flash because SOMEONE hates them.
dress up=always a good idea
The measurements were accurate the the piece fits true to size. If I had it to do over, I might have her bump the caveson hangers back a quarter inch each side just because I'm picky, but it looks fantastic and gets tons of compliments. I LOVE the cutback around the bit. Courage has a small face that does well with a big caveson, but there isn't room for that + a bit, so this is an ideal solution.


Durability

This is a funny topic with strap goods. I love my some French leather, but I really don't think the Antares/CWD/Devoucoux/insert French here strap goods are worth it for the asking price (but by all means, hit the used market). They don't hold up the bestiest and they just aren't as substantially nicer than everything on the market the way the French saddles are.
we don't understand
Then there's things like Stubben strap goods, which everyone is like "oh they last forever", but like... it's shit the whole time so does it really matter? Wouldn't you rather it just died and went away? I would. I hate shitty strap goods. They're the worst.
experimenting with bonnets
Anyways. Uisce is neither French nor German, so I guess the last two paragraphs weren't super relevant. The point is, it's nice English leather. It takes a little breaking in, can handle daily wear, and still looks good. Yeah, it's not French but it will outlast the mustachioed bastards oh and let's talk about price...

Value

Remember when I inquired by email originally with some specific questions? See the thing with the world of custom shit is that you can get anything you want; you just have to be willing to pay for it. A lot. And while I spend an obscene amount of money on Courage, I'm just not the sort of person who drops $$$ without thinking about it and planning for it and all that. I'm blue collar. What can I say?

So yeah. Custom colored, custom stitched, custom made piece of leather shipped to the US. What do you think she quoted me?
oh yeah and that other blue bridle also
$65.

Not a joke.

I... really don't know how you could say no to that.

(Note: price current as of fall 2016, so be advised that currency fluctuates and I'm not a rep and if you're reading this post years later, you need to get your own number).

Likes

Oh, everything. Love the color. Love the cut. Love the design. Love the non-crank. Love the custom options. Love the service. Love it all.
yup

Dislikes

Ummmmmm well it's exactly what I wanted, which is exactly what it was advertised to be and I had an exceptional customer service experience. I'd be hard pressed to find anything to really dislike about it.
mmm sexy

Conclusion 

If you need fun colors, custom sizing, bold accents, and affordable pricing, I really don't know how you could do better. The look maybe isn't for everyone, but I'll definitely be ordering from Uisce Saddlery again. 10/10 positive experience would recommend.

PS If you want one of these in purple (I DO!!) and have a stupidly tiny horse (alas. sob.), Teresa has one for sale. Contact her for details.

42 comments:

  1. So they have a "build a bridle" option.. and my nearly-full custom bridle with reins would be a whopping $280, with all the custom stitching and padding of my dreams. Archie does have a birthday coming up...

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear god, she has bitless bridles.

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    2. Right? It's a rabbit hole of awesome and affordable.

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  2. omg stop i have too many bridles already but wtf that looks freaaking amazing....UGH you blog people are bad news for me :) HA HA it looks great on Courage though!! :) enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. No such thing as too many bridles. Only not enough outfits.

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    2. i am not looking it up i am not looking it up (Been saying that all day long). OMG i think it really is gorgeous. I love my eponia and my ps sweden but...MAYBE I NEED MORE HORSES YES THAT IS IT (HA HA HA HA) you and 1900facepony are the worst worst enablers. But I just cant quit you. :)

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    3. wait someone has one in purple? Surely you jest!!? Cob?? or pony size?? I have a qh with tiny cob head LOLLOL

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    4. SAY IM A BIRD

      and yes. I'd buy it but too small for c.

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  3. I need to inquire if she can get teal, but I simultaneously do not want to do that because I will buy things and I already have a bridle problem... However, yours is absolutely stunning and looks epic on C.

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    Replies
    1. I think of it as a bridle solution.

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    2. Teal looks smashing on your ladies... #musthappen

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    3. She found me silver. And not just here's a silver I found, but sent me 4 or 5 different silver options. Just sayin...

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    4. Stahhhhp I'm going to have to email her and then try to explain to my husband why each horse needs like 6 bridles 😂 haha

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    5. Sorry hijacking thread (EventingSaddlebredStyle I dont know how to contact you off this blog but want to hear more about your purple majestic bridle:) HA

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    6. Martidoll, you can email me at eventing.saddlebred.style at gmail

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  4. This is awesome - great find! The work looks fantastic!!

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    Replies
    1. I really like it! Can't wait to be out of this horrible winter and cripple-status thing so I can use it more.

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  5. Love everything about this and your supermodel!

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  6. Wow the price alone is worth it but then add on great customer service and a quick turn around and I'm sold. I'll put this on my list for future needs. Gem has a petite face that is inbetween most cob and horse sizes so custom helps us out a lot.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah basically I just need to think up something new to order. I have nothing bad to say about this transaction.

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  7. I am so so so happy to see this review! Elaine is amazing - as you know! - and I hope this brings her more business :) I am waiting on pins and needles for my new noseband which should be here any day.

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  8. What a good deal and it looks like it fits wonderfully

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  9. Replies
    1. Haha I know it's not your cup of tea but I appreciate your pity comment.

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  10. ENABLER!!! *runs to website to *maybe* order one for Hampton*

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    Replies
    1. I will text you about this excellent idea.

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  11. Replies
    1. It's surprisingly achievable ;-)

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    2. Don't tempt me, Frodo!
      I will definitely keep this in mind, though...;)

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    3. But you couldn't do great evil so....

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    4. Hmm, probably not, but I'd have to also order a custom horse to fit it. That might require some rather creative magic all of its own.

      *the three horseless bridles I already own don't count. Obviously.

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  12. I've been looking for a new jump bridle for Theo, something I can use for the local circuit. That Australian nut leather with white willow leaves stitching and brown padding would look fetching with my jump saddle and be subtle enough to not get my bum thrown out of the ring . . .

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    Replies
    1. Subtle and fetching. ;-) you might have too much style for hunters, haha.

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  13. I will admit that I can't personally get on board with colored tack. That said how awesome you found someone that can provide the product you want at a great price and with amazing service.

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  14. You mentioned them once before and I've been stalking the website regularly ever since. I can't really justify it... but probably within the year there will be some custom schooling bridles in the tack room. #enabler

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  15. I'm doing my taxes tomorrow for the sole purpose of seeing if I can buy a new bridle. You are a terrible influence.

    ReplyDelete

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