Starting at the top:
|Courage with a normal crown|
There is nothing wrong with this kind of crown piece. It's worked for decades and horses are pretty much fine with them.
|Courage with a padded monocrown|
And someone else said, "I don't think horses really care, but their owners will. MARKET THIS SHIT."
It's called a padded monocrown.
Instead of two separate pieces, the cavesson hanger is merged with the crown and there's padding on the bottom. Do horses care?
I don't know. Mine haven't. I do like these in the winter time because long winter hair can't get pulled when it's caught between the straps.
That said. I really and truly haven't noticed a difference. At all.
And I specialize in sensitive horses. Your mileage may vary.
|contoured padded monocrown|
It seems like a good idea. I did contact Brita at justbridles.com (love that site!) and she said that she gets a lot of returns on the contoured models because they can rub if they don't hit the ears just right. She doesn't have that problem with non-contoured crowns.
I've never had them rub, but I go through bridles at kind of an alarming rate.
|Mojito and the comfort crown|
Now let's move down the horse's face:
And yeah, I get pretty excited about these. There are three different kinds.
The first is sewn. You sometimes see this on double bridles, but mostly only in old photos. It's super safe and very tidy looking, but good luck ever changing your bit or cleaning your bridle. These are a remnant of a different era. I'd steal a picture for you to see, but I just don't believe in stealing. Google it if you're curious.
|Cuna with hook studs|
"My biggest issue with them is that they can fail unexpectedly and at the worst possible time, and because they are hidden, you have no idea when they might be ready to go. I've had two sets of reins fail in the last year - both times, the hook just pulled out during a ride. Both bridles had been disassembled and cleaned completely within a month of failing, and I check over equipment condition pretty carefully when I do that. I had no idea there were problems with the hooks. With buckle ends, it's easy to see all the hardware and leather, so it's easy to check the condition of all the parts.
"My other big complaint is that they tend to be VERY hard to get apart. Granted, I don't have super high-quality bridles, but for the most part they are well-oiled and broken in... but they are STILL very hard to get apart, especially when it's cold. Since I'm currently in a position of switching out bits on a regular basis, this is an extra pain in the butt."
Yeah. Not much I can add to that. Thanks JenJ!!
If you aren't up for sewn and are disenchanted with hook studs (and don't ride hunters), there is another option! World, meet buckle ends.
|Courage has buckles|
There are so many bridle options. I sure hope you have half as much fun reading this as I do writing it. Crown pieces and bit attachments are just another piece of the puzzle. At the end of the day, you have to figure out what works best for you and your horse. I'm just trying to cover available options so you can make an informed decision (and/or spit fire at me in the comments. I like that too.)
Next time, I'll talk about bridle brands, leather quality, and common myths. :-D