Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tack Ho Memoir: My Favorite Bridles

As blogger Emma pointed out, every time I give y'all a tack room tour, the major bridle players have changed. That fact is as true as ever. HOWEVER. 

I hardly even dare say this, but my collection is starting to find a little stability.

It started with my jump bridle. I had a few different things, none of which I was really happy with. I got a Nunn Finer Figure eight bridle as the result of a trade with a friend when I first got Courage. I ride Courage in a standing martingale pretty regularly, so I swapped the figure eight for a custom race noseband from Ocala Tack Shack (in blue with diamond cutouts, because obviously) and then added in my amazing team spirit custom sparkle browband from Dark Jewel Designs (srsly best sparkle bang for your $ on the market).

Oh, and an awesome custom bridle charm from Straight Shot Metal, because she really is the best at those.

AND because the PS of Sweden Running martingale attachment is GLITTERALLY the best thing EVAR (tm) for those of us who need help from time to time, I also use the PS of Sweden softie reins that are rubber lined with hand stops and PS martingale stops AND CLIPS. I love clips SO MUCH.

It's totally franken-ed-to-death, but I ADORE this bridle. It hits all the high points and is so freaking useful. And gorgeous, in it's own special way. Even when I panic about adulting and clearing inventory, this bridle stays. It's not really sale-able in it's current state and I don't need it to be. It's totally custom to me and if I still have it in 30 years, GREAT.

um hello gorgeous
But y'all have seen my absurd dressage bridle turnover lately. And then Alyssa went and bought another dressage bridle that's GORGEOUS and too small for her horse and she let Courage try it on.

I"ll be honest. I am not a white padding kind of girl. I like it on horses like Valegro and Totilas, but I've just never felt it on a horse of mine. I even had one for a while (like... 5 or 6 years ago, so I forgive you for not remembering) and I just didn't love it.

But this bridle is great. Also not mine.

I briefly considered buying one of my own.

But here's the thing:

it looks good with giant ribbons
I already have this Red Barn Capriole bridle headstall that I LOVE. It's the leather quality I like. It's the style I like. It looks fab on my horse. I got it for a tack-ho-appropriate deal on eBay this summer. It's a crank that I use like a cavesson. It has an option for a flash.

I even had some Red Barn reins I also snagged on eBay that I liked well enough. So like. Whole bridle. Same brand. Easy resale.

But then.

Because I am the ho-est of hos, I regularly (multiple times a week), search for random stuff I kind of want but don't need in the strictest sense. One of those things is reins. I found an unremarkable listing on eBay for "dressage reins". The essentials were all what I wanted (rubber lined, hand stops, rolled fronts, hook studs) and there was one tiny clue in one dark picture that was either really clever advertising or more likely, a missed opportunity on the seller's part.
can you see it?
I figured it was a $40 gamble I was willing to take. Glad I did. So glad.

(Well, at least I was glad until the first time I tried to put them ON anything and realized the the dimwitted Frenchies who put them together apparently have NO IDEA how to cut holes for hook studs that ACTUALLY WORK. I mean. People in India who have never seen a horse and use crappy ass leather can do it better than D'yon. Omg. It took two of us 15 minutes and an ungodly amount of swearing just to get them on. They are now staying on that bit. FOREVER.

I mean. I can now get them on and off, but that first time is not an experience I'd care to repeat.)
i give myself A+ for iphone pictures

All that was well and good (and long and drawn out), but it's still just another black dressage bridle like all the other ones.


This past summer, I ordered sparkles for it with the longest wait time I have EVER ENDURED for ANYTHING. Topline Leather has been on my radar but out of my price range for YEARS. But then I was up too late one night and so was she and I know her from back when she used to blog and OOPS THAT HAPPENED.
it's so beautiful
I have the worst time visualizing anything anyways and then she totally improvised and improved everything (with my knowledge/consent--she didn't just go totally rogue on me). I saw the pictures and REALLY liked it.

And then it got to my house and OMG YOU GUYS.
It's perfect.

I have now almost fully Franken-bridled my dressage bridle and I'm happier with it than ever. I guess that's the secret for me? Instead of buying nice things, throw a bunch of unrelated ass-backwards stuff together and I will love it forever.


  1. franken-bridles are a way of life that i fully embrace lol. and that glitter-encrusted browband is pretty much gorgeous!

  2. Glad to see my franken-bridle ways are rubbing off on you. I've taken to calling them "fully customized bridles". Now I just need new cheek pieces for my snaffle...

  3. I need to stop reading your blog! I'm on overload with I WANT!!!! Sooo bad for my wallet when I'm hoarding for a saddle.

  4. I will just live vicariously thru you, mkay? Are we good with that?

  5. My favorite bridle is my first double bridle. My trainer had finally deemed me worthy of riding my horse in a double bridle, but at that time I couldn't afford to purchase one. My trainer had a trunk full of spare bridle parts in her office, and said that if I could assemble a double bridle out of the parts in the trunk, I could have it. Of course, I jumped on that offer, and in an hour or so I had my very first double bridle. It was a mess of mis-matched parts, but I used it for years until I could finally afford to buy one. I still have it, even though I retired it years ago. It hangs in a place of honor in my living room with the bridle number from my very first dressage show on the browband.

  6. ha ha ha I love it! Love all the glitter and how you mix and match!!

  7. That browband is STUNNING!!! I need one. For my hunter. Tee hee :)

  8. Yay, sparklez!
    P.S. Still going to keep texting you random craziness, so consider yourself warned. ;-)

    1. Blargh! That's the pic with the extra text box in the UL corner, lolz!

    2. I forgot to download the other one! And yeah, you're stuck with me forever now. HAHAHA.

  9. I wish the Ocala tack shack nosebands came in purple. :(


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