View Full Version : black or brown on a chestnut? (photos up!!)

Sep. 17, 2009, 06:50 AM
My pony is bright orange chestnut with a medium sized white star and I was wondering what you guys think is the best color for chestnuts.

His work bridle is black with white padding, which I think looks nice on him - I like the contrast. My saddle is brown though, so I'm thinking I should get him a brown bridle for showing. The problem is, I don't really like brown bridles with white padding, but I love the white on him as he only has the star, if he had a blaze, I'd want no white on the bridle.

I can borrow a black saddle for showing, but I'd prefer to use my own as it fits him better.

Do you think chestnuts look better in black bridles or brown bridles?

Padding or no?

Pictures of chestnut heads with bridles on would be appreciated to compare.



Sep. 17, 2009, 08:01 AM
I dont have any pictures, but there was a stunning chestnut at WEG in vegas that was decked in matching brown tack (as in it was very close to his coat color) that i thought was stunning! Far better than any black tack on chestnut that i had ever seen.

But i think that would be the key, that it match the coat color as close as possible. Havana wouldnt look as nice. I have a chestnut with flaxen and chrome that i would LOVE to put brown on, but just bought her a black saddle as it finally fit... So my pretty picture in my head of brown tack is out.

Maybe white padding on a browband, but i think it would look silly on the nose. Frankly, i dont care for white padding on black bridles, though it looks sharp on black. I think that is a personal thing. I did have a bridle long ago that was a light brown/chestnut color with white padding and used it on a cremello gelding, and amazingingly enough, it was very pretty. But he also looked nice in black, so it really didnt matter... :) I had bought that bridle at Green River Tack for $35 i think, had a crank, hated the laced reins, but no fancy stiching like a hunt bridle or anything, it was a sharp bridle and after i soaked it in some oil, it was really soft. Not sure if they still carry it, i think it was a Prince bridle. That was YEARS ago, but might check there, for the price, it wouldnt hurt to buy it and try it on just to see how it looks. It was a nice bright chestnut color, so might even match well, but depends on how light your saddle is.

Sep. 17, 2009, 09:16 AM
Are you a crossover from the hunter world??? They are always asking about what color breeches and shirt and coat, etc for my xxx color horse. In dressage, it's the training that's importan. Use what you have on him. No one is going to say, "Ohhhh look at that awful brown bridle with white padding on that poor horse, she should have put a black bridle with a ruby browband on him". They might say, "Nice horse, too bad she can't sit the trot", or whatever.

Sep. 17, 2009, 09:28 AM
Yeah, Tiki, I hear you! :)

But it is fun to dress them up! Personally I would do black on a chestnut but if your saddle is brown and you want to match when you show then you need brown, whatever shade looks good on him, I wouldn't care if it didn't match perfectly as long as it wasn't too different.
As far as schooling shows --- I don't care so much as long as it fits.

Sep. 17, 2009, 09:39 AM
My two daughters and I all have chestnut mares. Didn't plan it that way. It just happened. Oldest daughter is a hunter and her mare looks very nice in the brown tack as does my youngest daughter's mare. I am a dressage rider and I really like the black tack on her. I think it all depends upon what you like and can afford. There are some nice blingyer (ok, not a word and definitely not spelled right) black dressage bridles out that are fairly inexpensive. One line is Ovations. I am with you though I like my saddle and bridle to match. So with that in mind how about a brown bridle with the fancy stitching?

Sep. 17, 2009, 09:51 AM
I think chestnuts look good in either color scheme, but the hard part about brown tack is getting a bridle and saddle in the same color brown.

Sep. 17, 2009, 11:01 AM
If you already have a brown saddle, get a brown bridle. It's as simple as that = ) A saddle is MUCH harder to fit. No reason to change everything up for a show. I would just get a simple brown bridle (no white padding, but I really don't like white padding on any horse with any bridle color, haha, so I may not be the best judge). For some bling, just get a clincher browband in brass or something like that. You can find them for quite cheap.

Sep. 17, 2009, 11:51 AM
I prefer black on my chestnut boy

Sep. 17, 2009, 12:19 PM
I love brown on chestnuts - so instead of white lining for the bridle how about getting a flashy brow band? :cool:

Sep. 17, 2009, 01:00 PM
BROWN.....Hands down! I have a chestnut WB and a Fjord. The Chestnut looks fabulous in brown and the Fjord is fabulous in black.

One thing to consider if you go with brown..... If/when you want to sell your tack, the market for brown is much, much smaller, so it's more difficult to sell.

Shrunk "N" Da Wash
Sep. 17, 2009, 01:39 PM
BLACK! I hate brown on chestnuts.... actually I hate it on any color.

Sep. 17, 2009, 01:48 PM
Brown on a chestnut is so much more tasteful !

see u at x
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:00 PM
I think the whole brown look is really sharp - especially if you go with a cream colored shirt, saddle pad, etc. and then do the dark brown dress boots and chocolate colored jacket and helmet. My chestnut is a deep red color and I think she looks fine in both colors, but I tend to favor the whole brown look on her. When I hit the lottery :lol: she'll be all decked out in brown. I completely understand wanting tack to match (I'm the same way), but I've shown with a brown saddle and black bridle before. It wasn't a biggie and nobody mocked me for my tack...perhaps my riding, but certainly not my tack! :D

Sep. 17, 2009, 04:28 PM
I just stick with black, as its so much easier to find!

One of mine is a bright copper chestnut, including mane and tail, with beautiful wide, even blaze and one hind sock. I think he looks stunning in dark havana and oakbark, but its just too hard ($$$) to find a short flapped dressage saddle in those colors. If I could, I'd have him in Oakbark tack, white pad with dark chocolate or chestnut trim, dark chocolate coat, boots, and helmet, and white breeches and shirt. I love the crips combination of dark chocolate and white much better than with cream.

My other is a deeper chestnut, not quite liver, but he has tons of black in his mane and tail. White star and blaze. He just plain looks stunning in black all around.

Sep. 17, 2009, 05:57 PM
I prefer black on my chestnut boy

me too most of my tack is black but i do have havanna tack as in dark brown

Sep. 17, 2009, 06:23 PM
I personally like brown tack and have a brown saddle and brown bridle and chestnut mares!






Sep. 17, 2009, 06:39 PM
Edgewood, what brand of bridle is that in your first two pics? Lovely!


Sep. 17, 2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks for all the replies!

Lovely pics edgewood (gorgeous horsey too!), I never really appreciated brown on a chestnut until I saw those pics :)

I have a brown bridle in my tack shed, so I'll put that on, take some photos and do the same with the black bridle so I can compare. Maybe I'll get some photos up later for you guys' opinions.

I'm not a cross over from hunters, I'm in Australia and I do a bit of everything.

I know tack matching isn't as important as training and ability, but it's good to have everything matching and looking nice. :)

Thanks again for all the replies

(I think I still secretly love chestnuts in black!)

Sep. 17, 2009, 07:05 PM
Rubianna, my chestnut diva, wears black tack. One of these days she might even get some rhinestones!!! Frankly, black is easier to find and if a piece breaks, the replacement will match. It seems as though you often have to special order brown tack and that is too much of a pain in the neck for me.

Truthfully, color doesn't matter. So long as your tack is clean and fits your horse well, you are all set.

Sep. 17, 2009, 08:37 PM
Edgewood, what brand of bridle is that in your first two pics? Lovely!


Yes, I love the bridle in the 1st 2 photos!!:yes::yes: That was my most recent purchase and it is much nicer than the other bridle.

Anyway, I got it at VTO Saddlrey and it is a Courbette Snake Bridle (the brow band has a squigly stiching). I think that it looks lovely on chestnuts! Although I am debating about getting a blingly new brow band to match that bridle so that I can mix it up some:D from here

Sep. 17, 2009, 08:54 PM
(I think I still secretly love chestnuts in black!)

Here are two pics of my red dun QH in black tack. Lots easier to find, IMO!



I would have gotten a black bridle w/ white piping (and still may!) but this was the first nice, simple one that actually FIT his little head.

(Still secretly looking for a reasonably priced and understated green or purple blingy browband :winkgrin:)

Sep. 18, 2009, 07:49 AM
The Snake Bridle is pretty, i like it too. Although, whatever you are riding her in i think is SUPER sharp regardless of what brand because it matches her color so closely. It just blends in and you can really focus on how lovely the mare is. I also think that depending on the horse, black can make their heads look bad. My black bridle on my chestnut makes her lovely refined head look like its big and chunky. Granted, i need a narrower noseband, but cant find one in a crank and that is what she likes as the extra padding doesnt rub her raw like a regular noseband does... Sigh... So i'm stuck with ugly chunky black noseband on a small petite face...

Thanks for posting pics Edgewood! Now you make me wish my new saddle was brown... :(

Sep. 18, 2009, 09:34 AM
but I would match your saddle, whatever the color of the horse. Because it is "traditional" you can ALWAYS go with black and it be OK, but I don't think mixing tack colors looks good, it looks like you just put something on that was hanging close by and that you did not go the extra mile in getting ready for the show, kinda like going in the class with muddy boots.

Sep. 18, 2009, 09:43 AM
Thanks Edgewood, I love the look. I currently need a new bridle for my chestnut girl, and all my tack is black. But I think I may get a new saddle soon, and there are a lot of really nice used brown saddles out there...so will have to wait on the bridle until I decide on the saddle.


Sep. 19, 2009, 03:31 AM
Your boy looks gorgeous in black LuvMyDressageQH - he's going very nicely too!

Here are some photos of my boy in brown and in black.

(These are not the bridles I will be showing him in, they're just to compare colors)



Let me know what you think!

Sep. 19, 2009, 08:11 AM
She's cute too.

Sep. 19, 2009, 11:30 AM
Cameo, I prefer the brown tack on your horse. For one thing, it is simpler. The black bridle looks a bit much gear, but also the high contrast with the bright chestnut makes one look at the tack and not his cute face!

but I don't think mixing tack colors looks good, it looks like you just put something on that was hanging close by and that you did not go the extra mile in getting ready for the show, kinda like going in the class with muddy boots.

haha. Just make sure, if you do mix tack colours, that they are clean and you ride well enough that no-one is going to notice what the horse (or you) are wearing!

Sep. 19, 2009, 11:32 AM
i like the brown WAY better on that bright of a chestnut! :)

Sep. 20, 2009, 09:37 AM
thanks for all your replies.
I agree with you - I'm going with the brown :)

Sep. 20, 2009, 10:29 AM
No contest. The BROWN wins by a mile!

BTW...very cute pony :)

Sep. 20, 2009, 07:58 PM
IMO, dressage is about the appearance of understatement. Less is more.

So whatever tack is less eye-catching, would look best.

Sep. 20, 2009, 08:02 PM
They have black bridles with brown padding so it would still "match" the saddle but eventually even black saddles turn brown from the sun.