View Full Version : Are there any real advantages to having a show bridle?

Mar. 29, 2009, 11:42 AM
My horse has just one bridle. It's a good one, but not fancy at all. I can see advantages to having show only saddle pads, and show girths, but no advantage to having a show bridle. But I want one, and a matching martingale too. Your input would be appreciated. Thanks!

Mar. 29, 2009, 11:51 AM
Perhaps it would be nice if you are showing every weekend or every other weekend, but if you only show once a month or less, It would be hard to let a new, fancy show bridle sit in your tack room/tack trunk.

Mar. 29, 2009, 11:56 AM
Yep! I used to show my horse in different bits for different classes (a pelham for the flat, Snaffle type thing O/F) and it was so much more convenient to have a second bridle. Especially when we were the last ride before the hack. It was always hectic to pull off her bridle ringside, change bits, and put it back on before we went in.

But just to have a different bridle for shows only, if you keep the same bit for each round, it may not be a good idea. Your show bridle will be less broken in and probably less comfy for your horse. Honestly the judge won't be able to tell if your bridle is a schooling or show bridle, so long as its clean, matches, etc.

I guess it's just personal preference- the only true advantage to having a show-only bridle would really just be not having to clean it the day before a show :)

Mar. 29, 2009, 12:15 PM
I never had just show bridles but each of my horses have two bridles. One for flatting (with a plain full cheek) and one for jumping (bit varies with horse). I usually use both at home at some point depending on the situation.

A lot of times I would end up showing a horse in their 'flat' bridle and reserved their 'jumping' bridle for those days when they were a little more up then usual for whatever reason. There were also days when I would flat them in their 'jumping' bridle...usually the first day of a show as a little insurance against new environment silliness. It's a nice system, though. No hassle of changing bits out for just a class or two.

All of my bridles were high quality edgewoods that I used/use at home and at shows. I take obsessive care of my tack so I saw no need to have just show bridles when my at home bridles were just as nice. If your bridle is nice quality (as in functional, in good repair, etc) there really isn't a need for a show bridle unless you just want one to have it.

Mar. 29, 2009, 01:27 PM
I usually have a "show" bridle thats nicer than my at home schooling bridle because I've used the heck out of my old show bridle and it becomes my schooling bridle (by worn the heck out of, I mean still safe and sound, just scratched, gotten chewed etc) and we continue! I started out with just one...but heck...I'm a bridle ho now...I've got 10 or so bridles and one unstarted filly!

Mar. 29, 2009, 02:28 PM
Each horse has their own show bridle, actually I keep 2 show bridles for each (as I tend to use different bits every so often). Its a luxery, not a necessity. I have shown in a schooling bridle before. As long as the tack is clean and matches the horse well, judges dont care.

Mar. 29, 2009, 02:35 PM
I had a show and schooling bridle for each of my horses, just because the trend is the fancy stitching on the show bridles and my schooling bridles are plain, one is braided on the nose and brow. I would show every weekend. I sold my show bridle/martingale/girth that was my pony's because I am selling him and I just show in my schooling bridle. I clean it up the night before but I ride him in just a plain d ring everywhere, so I have no need for any switching. I dont think it really matters as long as it all looks presentable. Afterall...showing is to flaunt your best, right?

Mar. 29, 2009, 02:48 PM
Darn! You folks sound like my husband. Where are the enablers out there?

Sing Mia Song
Mar. 29, 2009, 02:58 PM
Oh, here I am! [waves hand]

It's much easier to have a show bridle. I am the queen of leaving things behind, so if my show bridle is clean, ready to go, and packed securely with the rest of my show stuff, it's one less thing to worry about.

Also, daily use can take a toll--horses chew on reins or throatlatches, the leather gets excessively pliable and doesn't hold its shape--whay, there are myriad reasons why you would want--nay, need--a show bridle! :yes:

Green Acres
Mar. 29, 2009, 03:48 PM
I'm here to enable you!!! I like to have a separate show bridle, too. I don't show much (hopefully will be showing more this year) but then I can keep one bridle nice and clean just for showing. My schooling bridle is cheap and I wouldn't dare show it in.

Besides my horse loves to chew on the reins which I don't allow but he seems to sneak the rein into his mouth when I'm leading him to the ring. I sure don't want him destroying his show bridle by chewing on the reins. Also when I put his bridle on there are some days he will grab what ever he can get in his mouth whether it's the bit, noseband or cheek piece.

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:16 PM
If I'm using a flash or similar I don't want it to stretch out my better bridle.

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:17 PM
I'm also one who likes to keep a show bridle clean and ready to go. It's just one less thing to worry about at the last minute. As long as it's already broken in and you're using it with some regularity and keeping it cleaned and conditioned, your bridle shouldn't need daily use to stay soft.

I'd like to say I clean my bridle after every use, but that's not always the case, and here in the summer it gets really hot and humid and my boy sweats a lot so I'd rather not expose my nice show bridle to that kind of wear. Also, accidents do happen and I'd like to lower my chances of damaging my good bridle.

Plus there's theft to consider. I know I can leave my schooling bridle in my locker at the barn, and even though it's decent, I don't worry so much about it going missing. I'm in the market right now for a new $$ show bridle and it will definitely be coming home with me after every use.

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:23 PM
I have a show and schooling bridle for a few reasons:

My show bit is a baucher, but I use a d-ring snaffle at home.

I event currently and went from a dark brown saddle to a light brown jumping saddle and black dressage saddle -dark brown bridle is still in great condition, just does not match.

I can clean my show bridles, put them in my trailer a week or more in advance of the show and still ride my mare without worrying as much about 'last minute' cleaning.

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:28 PM
I have two bridles
my schooling one is super cheap and pretty ugly. If something goes wrong around the barn and something breaks, I would be much happier replacing my $30 schooling bridle than my arc de triumphe show bridle.

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:49 PM
I have alot of babies that I ride and the last thing I want is them chewing on my reins, or stepping on reins and breaking them. The wear and tear on an everyday bridle is not something I want to put on my $500+ Edgewood. If a bridle is broken in well and well oiled then not having daily use will not affect the suppleness of the leather. In fact, mine is like butter.
As far as my schooling bridles, I actually use a nice dressage bridle most of the time....it has a loop for a drop nose band if needed...and it has rein stops if I want to put a running martingale on...plus I love web and rubber reins! :)

Mar. 29, 2009, 04:58 PM
i have a show bridle because my saddle is antares buffalo calf (kind of a caramel color). how does this relate? lol because the bridle looks newer/is used less (though definitely oiled and saddlesoaped etc), it's still on the lighter side of brown and at least in the same color ballpark as my saddle.

i hate tack that doesnt match. pet peeve. i never knew my saddle would stay so light forever - its turned out to be quite a conundrum!

Mar. 29, 2009, 06:19 PM
I can clean my show bridles, put them in my trailer a week or more in advance of the show and still ride my mare without worrying as much about 'last minute' cleaning.
To me, that is the primary advantage.

I am willing to spend MORE on my schooling bridles than my show bridles, because they get much more use.

Mar. 29, 2009, 06:31 PM
I really think that unless you're showing every weekend, a fancy show bridle wouldn't make much sense unless you use it everyday. Me? I use mine all the time, and it's a nice beval heritage. i feel like it wouldnt look as good as it does if it let it sit around and only used it when i show, because it wouldnt get nice and soft and worn in quite as fast.

What I suggest is to either go get a new bridle and put yours on consignment/sell it on ebay, or if your bridle has decent basic parts like reins and headstall, go buy a fancy stitched noseband and browband, it'll dress up the bridle. (just make sure they match the style of your bridle)

so, in my opinion, even if i had tons of extra $$ laying around, i think i'd rather just have one bridle per horse, double function. it just makes more sense to me; then again, if i were showing several times a month all year, it would be different. but i generally go to one or two shows a month, and i don't need a show bridle.

Mar. 29, 2009, 07:03 PM
I use my nice "show" bridles every ride. I keep them clean and take great care of them, and I want them to be broken in and comfortable for the horses, so I use them. :)

Mar. 29, 2009, 07:16 PM
Oh i am a big Bridle HO!!!! i have a schooling bridle and show bridle for each of my 9 horses!!! some even more than one of each if they do different disciplines. hunter vs eq or jumpers. just bought the lead line pony his show bridle yesterday i find it's easier to have them all packed in the trailer and ready as well as show and schooling martingales the pretty ones are for show and kept clean the schooling ones tend to get the chew marks and mismatched nosebands. also most of my horses get different bits show vs schooling somtimes for different riders as well yikes i could have many for one horse i guess i could have a worst fetish don't even get me started on horse show clothes:eek:

Mar. 29, 2009, 07:35 PM
I know I'm supposed to clean my bridle after every use, but that doesn't seem to happen. My show bridle, on the other hand, does get cleaned when I'm finished with it and put right back with other show gear.

It's so much easier to have a set of show items pre packed and clean that you can grab and not have to worry about forgetting something.

Plus, it's always good to have a spare bridle.

Mar. 29, 2009, 08:02 PM
Thanks for all the input. Here's a link to some photos, the jumping one being taken yesterday. I really don't know if a new bridle makes that much difference, but I was sure proud of my boy. This was our first time doing the 3' Hunters and Eq.


make x it x so
Mar. 29, 2009, 08:11 PM
I use a different bit at shows for the most part, so that's one reason I have a show bridle. I also think it's easier than cleaning the regular bridle EVERY SHOW, the show bridle stays pretty clean. and I HATE cleaning bridles.

Mar. 29, 2009, 08:18 PM
My horse has 2 schooling bridles because I have 2 schooling bits and I am to lazy to switch bits and I don't care if the bridles get dirty. And he has 2 show bridles. His eq bridle w/ the pelham and his hunter bridle w/ a dee. It is just easier and I always forget things for shows so I know that his bridles are always in the trailer beacuse they never leave the trailer.

Mar. 29, 2009, 09:07 PM
Thanks for all the input. Here's a link to some photos, the jumping one being taken yesterday. I really don't know if a new bridle makes that much difference, but I was sure proud of my boy. This was our first time doing the 3' Hunters and Eq.



Separate show bridle is nice to have, especially since schooling bridles can get so much wear and tear. Plus it's good to have a back-up for when Fancy Pants McGee steps on his reins :winkgrin:

Mar. 29, 2009, 09:22 PM
Thanks for all the input. Here's a link to some photos, the jumping one being taken yesterday. I really don't know if a new bridle makes that much difference, but I was sure proud of my boy. This was our first time doing the 3' Hunters and Eq.

He's darling!

Unless your present bridle is ratty or doesn't match your saddle or something, the only "difference" is convenience. Our best show bridle is thirty years old, extremely high quality, worn in beautifully so it's soft and supple.


We don't use it as a primary bridle because of my penchant for inadvertantly breaking things, plus it's much easier to grab it and go for a Saturday early a.m. class after hacking Friday night if it's already clean and ready. Saves time.

I don't like going anywhere without a spare, anyhow. Again, penchant for breaking stuff. :winkgrin:

Mar. 29, 2009, 09:40 PM
I have two snaffle bridles, one for show and one for schooling. Mr. Mouth has a tendency to chew on things and this saves the show bridle. This also enables me to have a schooling bridle with a brass clincher browband and rubber reins for a little fun. As others have said, it's nice to have the bridle already clean and ready to go. I do actually clean my bridles after each show so they are ready for the next time.

Only one pelham bridle as I don't use it all that often at home and I am the only one that touches it.

Mar. 29, 2009, 09:40 PM
I used my Hadfield for every day and showing for years, but received a Bobby bridle for Christmas a couple years ago and now use that for daily riding and save the Hadfield for showing only. It is nice to have my show bridle clean and ready to go (I show quite a bit).

Hopeful Hunter
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:53 PM
NOT necessary, but very convenient.

I keep my show gear packed and ready to be loaded into my truck and trailer all the time. It's the only thing I own that IS actually cleaned after use and put away ready to go :-).

For me, who HATES mornings, it's worth it for the convenience. I can pack my truck up early, and I know exactly what bags need to go, and I even have specific places in the truck/trailer WHERE they go (yes, I'm an anal retentive control freak queen...it works for me). Separate show tack (saddle pads, girths, helmet/gloves, clothes, bridle, etc) makes life much easier and lets my frantic self be a bit less stressed.

BUT...it's not necessary. So if budget is an issue, as long as your schooling bridle is clean and workmanlike, it's fine. Now, mine is black - with a browband inset with silver and purple beads, and a purple happy mouth bit, so that really won't do in the hunter ring, so I have an excuse...

Mar. 30, 2009, 01:45 PM
I find it convenient not just because I can pack earlier but because I can leave a stonger bit on my show bridle -- My gelding's show bridle was less expensive than his schooling bridle (It's a Bobby's, so it has the right look for the hunter ring, but only cost me $80 new including reins) -- That's also a benefit with a young, mouthy horse -- At home he only wears his bridle for a few minutes before/after our ride -- At a show, I may end up holding him for a while, and he's more tempted to eat his reins -- I don't need to be getting upset by him ruining some expensive reins before we head into the show ring --

Mar. 30, 2009, 04:12 PM
Mmmmmm... mostly it feeds the bridle addiction. :lol: I get all my bridles really cheap, anyway (by bargain hunting for quality, not paying less for imported crap), so my schooling bridles are of similar quality to my show bridles.

The biggest difference for me, I guess, would be my concern with fit. I'm okay with a schooling bridle not fitting perfectly (obviously, nothing that would be a safety concern, but things like cheek pieces being a bit too long), but I'm pretty anal about my show bridles. I do everything I can to make sure that buckles all line up perfectly and in the perfect spot, etc. I'm also less picky about how well the color of my schooling bridles matches my saddle. Oh, I also like to use different reins for schooling, too.

It is also nice to have the bridles ready to go, without needing to be cleaned.

I will echo what someone else said about flash attachments - I don't want the cavesson of my show bridle stretched funny by a flash!

Mar. 30, 2009, 05:16 PM
I have a schooling bridle and a show bridle. For me it is nice to have two bridles because I school and show in different bits. Since I show on a regular basis, I don't need to ride in my show bridle to keep it soft. My schooling bridle is getting pretty gross though, so I might buy a new schooling bridle or start schooling in the show bridle. It's nice to have the two, but not necessary.

Mar. 30, 2009, 05:21 PM
I ride in my 'nice' bridle every day. I am funny about changing tack at the last minute just for shows. I like my things to be nice and soft, broken in and worn so they are comfortable to me. Some new-ish reins that only get used 4 times a year would throw off my ju ju, and we can't have that.

La Gringa
Mar. 30, 2009, 06:46 PM
If you show a lot, there is an advantage in that if you break your schooling bridle, you will still have your show one for the shows.. and it is kept clean and ready to go at the shows.

When I was young starting out I had one bridle for schooling/showing.. but as I got older and rode more and showed more, I had 2. I used my old show bridle as my schooling and got a new show bridle just for shows.

I also like to have different bridles at home for different bits or uses, flatting/dressage, one with a noseband flash or something, and one for jumping. If I have multiples like that though they are cheap bridles or used.. that I get at the local tack exchange.

I also have a separate bridle for lunging.. also a schooling cheaper bridle.

Mar. 30, 2009, 08:11 PM
i always have a show bridle and schooling bridle.
the show bridle is my really fancy bridle. my schooling bridle is nice (due to getting it off the sales rack at bevals) but not as nice as my show bridle. i like knowing that its clean and ready to go the night before a show!

Mar. 30, 2009, 09:57 PM
Thanks for all the input. Here's a link to some photos, the jumping one being taken yesterday. I really don't know if a new bridle makes that much difference, but I was sure proud of my boy. This was our first time doing the 3' Hunters and Eq.


Here let me enable...

A fancy horse like that needs a fancy bridle! A fancy show bridle to show off that beautiful head! Go for it!

I have a plain schooling bridle that was a show bridle about 15 years ago and a newer padded fancy stitched show bridle. I loff looking all spify in my matching fancy stitched bridle and martingale!

Mar. 31, 2009, 01:39 PM
Yeah I have to agree... I am one to have my nice nice show bridle even if I am showing 2 shows to 10 shows always clean, packed and ready for wear! My horse shows in a different bit too.