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EmJae
Sep. 21, 2009, 12:20 AM
I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to tack. I know the quality of leather can be drastically different, but I can't figure out why bridles are so expensive sometimes! Is there a functional difference between the brands?

So, I was wondering, what bridle is your favorite and why?

Sparkling_Sunset
Sep. 21, 2009, 02:12 AM
I have a Gatsby for my hunter bridle. Not really what I had in mind, but hey, for $25 (including matching laced reins!) at my local tack store's clearance sale, how could I pass it up? :) And it's not some cheapy-cheap Made-in-India bridle for that price, either-- it's made in England from English leather, and it's actually really nice now that I oiled it and used Leather Therapy on it ONCE. Nice and supple! The Smart Pak bridles are supposed to be nice (even the $50 Plymouth ones), but I haven't actually seen them. KL Select or their (slightly) less expensive spin-off, Red Barn Bridlework, are VERY nice, even before they have any oil on them, but they are (In my opinion) expensive at $220-375 (sometimes more). I have a couple of BEAUTIFUL Schumachers for my dressage bridles (complete w/stunning crystal browbands), but I bought those on clearance from Dover (I never could have afforded them otherwise, at $500 a pop!:) ) Vespucci, even though it is quite pricey, is, in my experience, not very good. They feel like cardboard in the store, and don't hold up. For close to $300 (excluding reins), I would expect MUCH better than what they are.

RockinHorse
Sep. 21, 2009, 06:46 AM
Favorite hunter bride?

I can't think of any hunters I know that have gotten married ;)

The quality of the leather has a lot to do with the price. What I look for, and like in a bridle has a lot to do with what I want it for and the horse that will wear it. As an example, for a schooling bridle, I might want a little more durability and for a show bridle I might want a little more refinement.

Treasmare2
Sep. 21, 2009, 06:57 AM
Antares is nice and come in the padded crown version and flat leather crown which fits so beautifully....sets off a pretty head like the padded ones can't.

BAC
Sep. 21, 2009, 11:02 AM
I guess my favorites are my Antares, for the gorgeous leather and details and I also like the hardware they use, it polishes up so beautifully with just a cloth. My Hadfields is beautiful too, I especially like the rich mahogany color of their leather.

And while it is less expensive and I know some people have had problems wit them, I really really like my plain, padded Edgewood.

vxf111
Sep. 21, 2009, 11:05 AM
If money is no object? Hadfield, all the way. Style and craftsmanship.

I also LOVE my Herve Godignon and CWD bridles. Love the quality of those as well. The HG especially has some NICE details that other bridles do now and the cut/fit is excellent on my horse. I have an Arc that is also nice. And for every day us, rely on the Edgewood and have not been disappointed (love all their options in terms of reins, martingales, lengths for things etc.)

I have a major bridle fetish!

BAC
Sep. 21, 2009, 11:34 AM
I have a major bridle fetish!

Me too, I think I caught it from Lucassb. ;)

woweezowee
Sep. 21, 2009, 01:26 PM
I've had 3 Edgewoods and now have a Hadfield. They are expensive but last FOREVER -- especially because I have a schooling bridle and then the Hadfield for shows.

SkipChange
Sep. 21, 2009, 01:31 PM
Edgewoods and Hadfield are both very popular top end bridles.

Me, I'll stick to my less expensive but still excellent quality Beval ($300 but I paid $150). I also am OK with Showmark and like Collegiate for a low-end ($100) bridle.

lesyl
Sep. 21, 2009, 01:57 PM
I can't think of any hunters I know that have gotten married ;)

...
I know hunters who married, but I don't remember them wearing leather. :)

I too struggle with knowing who makes what tack and which are a good value. One of the horses I am riding has a Vespucci. It is ok, but I don't see it as that different from Bobby's. Disclaimer here is that I have an educated eye, so any tips to improve my understanding are welcome.

EmJae
Sep. 21, 2009, 02:25 PM
Apparently I'm a little slow, but what's the difference between a "plain raised" or "padded" bridle?

BAC
Sep. 21, 2009, 02:42 PM
Apparently I'm a little slow, but what's the difference between a "plain raised" or "padded" bridle?

There is an additional layer of leather (this is the padded part) underneath and extending slightly above and below the raised portion of the browband and noseband, making it slightly wider than an unpadded bridle. The word "plain" means no fancy stitching.

spmoonie
Sep. 21, 2009, 07:15 PM
I LOVE My Hadfields! I've also got an Edgewood that is nice (very pretty!), however the leather is no where near as nice as my Hadfields.

candycloud
Sep. 21, 2009, 07:36 PM
I just got an Arc de Triomphe Tribute bridle. I haven't tried it on yet but it's a really nice bridle with a wide noseband and fancy stitching.

EmJae
Sep. 21, 2009, 08:36 PM
Is there a functional difference between a plain or a padded bridle or is mainly for appearance purposes?

Lou-Lou
Sep. 21, 2009, 08:47 PM
I adore my Lex bridle! Fancy stitched, padded. It's just love.

BAC
Sep. 22, 2009, 11:07 AM
Is there a functional difference between a plain or a padded bridle or is mainly for appearance purposes?

You mean is there a difference between a padded or an unpadded bridle, plain just refers to the lack of fancy stitching. Its mostly for appearances sake although if the padded portion is very soft calfskin it may be slightly more comfortable, but its negligible IMO. Padded bridles were very fashionable in the hunter division for a long while and are still popular. Sometimes an unpadded bridle will look better on a horse with a finer face but its really just personal preference.

Oldenburg99
Sep. 22, 2009, 11:12 AM
My KL select bridle that I bought from vfx111:)

vxf111
Sep. 22, 2009, 11:15 AM
Hee hee... that's a great bridle Oldenburg99! I wish it fit my guy a bit better, I would have kept it! :)

Plain/padded/fancy is a matter of style not function. I suppose theoretically padded might be SLIGHTLY more comfortable on the horse if you're CRANKING the bridle tightly, but under normal conditions I highly doubt the horse can tell the difference unless he is unusually sensitive.

who22
Sep. 26, 2009, 12:38 AM
I have a real nice Jimmy's 21st Century I haven't used in a while, but I loooove it. Edgewoods are nice too though.

superpony123
Sep. 26, 2009, 12:58 AM
I love my beval bridle :) it was something like $400 but i got it for about $180 at the big beval sale a few years ago. it was the last pony sized bridle in the store, too :D it's beautiful and supple, strong, and attractive.

Lucassb
Sep. 26, 2009, 04:56 PM
Me too, I think I caught it from Lucassb. ;)

I am so proud. :D

My favorite hunter bridles at the moment are my Jimmy's, my Hadfield's and my Hermes.

Other really nice bridles are Edgewoods, Antares, and some of the older Beval bridles, I think. There is frequently a relationship between price & quality, although one of my less expensive bridles (an Aramas) is truly lovely and I get complimented on it frequently. I also think the leather on the Antares bridles is very, very special and it has held up very well despite frequent use.

spmoonie
Sep. 26, 2009, 05:14 PM
I am so proud. :D

My favorite hunter bridles at the moment are my Jimmy's, my Hadfield's and my Hermes.

Other really nice bridles are Edgewoods, Antares, and some of the older Beval bridles, I think. There is frequently a relationship between price & quality, although one of my less expensive bridles (an Aramas) is truly lovely and I get complimented on it frequently. I also think the leather on the Antares bridles is very, very special and it has held up very well despite frequent use.

WOW! I wish my bridle collection looked like that! :winkgrin:

Lucassb
Sep. 26, 2009, 06:04 PM
WOW! I wish my bridle collection looked like that! :winkgrin:

I admit I have a small problem with bridle shopping. Kind of like Imelda Marcos had with shoes... :lol:

*Teddy*
Sep. 26, 2009, 11:31 PM
I have a major bridle fetish!

Me too!! have 3 el cheapos and looking for a nice one... 4 bridles and no horse isnt bad is it?

paint hunter
Sep. 27, 2009, 10:57 AM
I think I must be Lucassb's long lost cousin. Some people collect fine art, I consider nice bridles to be fine art and in need of serious collecting as well.

Some of my favorite bridles are: Dover Wellington, Edgewood plain padded raised (have the 5/8" nose band version but decided it was a bit too narrow so have stepped up to the 3/4"), almost 20 year old Beval New Canaan (still looks beautiful, loaned it to a junior showing at her first A show this weekend), Arc de Triomphe Vivaldi, Beval Newport padded (runs pretty small and has 5/8" cheekpieces, not my favorite), Nona Garson padded fancy stitched (a little too red in color and the stitching is a little too obvious for me, but I like the leather). I just got a CWD on sale but haven't decided how well I like it yet. I also found a Crosby XL several years ago with a thick padded noseband. I liked the leather and it looked good on a rather large headed beast who was going to a jumper show last year (not my critter).

I want to see the new Antares in person because in the Smartpak catalog the crown piece looked rather "heavy" in relation to some of the cheekpieces.

EBay has been a very bad thing for me as I am a collector and it is against my nature to pay retail prices. We really must start a therapy group. Perhaps we could call it "bridle collectors anonymous"?

BAC
Sep. 28, 2009, 01:01 PM
I want to see the new Antares in person because in the Smartpak catalog the crown piece looked rather "heavy" in relation to some of the cheekpieces.

Antares now offers a traditional, unpadded crown piece too. :yes:

Equinoxfox
Sep. 28, 2009, 01:05 PM
Just Love . Love . Love the Jimmie's and the Edgewood Fancy stitched , padded . ;)

RugBug
Sep. 28, 2009, 01:11 PM
I'm the antithesis of Lucassb and vxf111:

No matter how I try, and how much they make me drool, I can't wrap my brain around $400 for a bridle. My 20 year old Moritz bridle that has been my show bridle and schooling bridle for all my years of riding is on its last leg and I want to replace it with something nice, but I don't think I can do it. I look, I touch, I fawn...and then I go buy something that costs less than $100 for bridle AND reins.

vxf111
Sep. 28, 2009, 01:14 PM
I love beautiful bridles. It is my single favorite horse-related item. I would never DREAM of spending $400+ on something for myself but for a bridle, if it's QUALITY, absolutely. I love, love the feel/smell/look of a high-end bridle. And they last forever if you take care of them.

I am happy with my saddles. Have opinions on leathers. Prefer some boots to others. But NOTHING rings my BELL like a beautiful bridle.

It's my fetish ;)

BAC
Sep. 28, 2009, 01:34 PM
I'm the antithesis of Lucassb and vxf111:

...and then I go buy something that costs less than $100 for bridle AND reins.

:eek: :eek:

And yet with proper care a really good quality bridle will give you so many years of use as well as pleasure, and what better way to show off an attractive horse, especially in the show ring.

I get compliments on my bridles all the time, people are always asking me what the secret is to my tack cleaning and I always tell them that I started out with such a nice product to begin with, it can't help but look good, even when its dirty. And I use mine for everyday riding, just because I enjoy them so much.

DMK
Sep. 28, 2009, 02:14 PM
I think my conversation with the tack shop this weekend sums up Hadfields. I have a couple schooling bridles, and I've started harvesting parts to make up some bridles for Mr. Tiny Head With a Big Forehead, so an old hadfields noseband/browband/cheekpieces (circa 1994) is on a bridle with a different crown. I was putting a nameplate on that crownpiece and bought in the bridle, and the manager was suitably impressed with the quality of a 16 year old bridle that had been relegated to work bridle status about 10 years ago. She told me if I was ever tired of the noseband, they'd love to display it as "why" Hadfields costs more than average. Of course it's her bad luck that the bridle probably has another 15 years in it, easy.

I do remember the show bridle I had before that one (it was the first hadfields i bought) - the old bridle was popping at the seams and the buckle holes on the noseband were all stretched out. And it was a nice top of the line crosby, which in it's day (late 80's) was not a cheap bridle by a long shot. But it was looking "aged" after 6 years.

RugBug
Sep. 28, 2009, 02:20 PM
:eek: :eek:

And yet with proper care a really good quality bridle will give you so many years of use as well as pleasure, and what better way to show off an attractive horse, especially in the show ring.


But my Moritz lasted my 20 years and it was less than $100 when I purchased it. It's a decent bridle and is just fine for the show ring. I bought another one 7 years ago when I purchased my first horse and it still looks great and serves double duty as show/schooling bridle. Sadly, my trainer let Mr. Horse get it in his mouth twice and there are now chew marks on the throatlatch and reins. Very sad because it fits Mr. Horse like it was made for him (all buckles line up, etc)

I do LOVE the feel of very high end bridles...but I'm starting to be of the opinion that "show quality" is nonsense. :lol: Most decent bridles that receive good care are "show quality." Afterall, the only person whose opinion matters is sitting in a booth and never gets closer to your bridle than maybe 15 feet (going by in a hack class or down the outside line)...unless you are in a class that models. :winkgrin:

BTW, I have the two Moritz's which are quite nice for their price. I have a $90 Ovation that's pretty decent and a Craptacular something or other that was $100 and WAS not worth the money at all.

BAC
Sep. 28, 2009, 02:37 PM
...and is just fine for the show ring. . . .

I do LOVE the feel of very high end bridles...but I'm starting to be of the opinion that "show quality" is nonsense. :lol:

"just fine" is just not good enough for me. I want to love both the looks and the feel of the bridle I am using. And as you yourself admit, that feel is so nice. I agree about "show quality" though, I have an Antares, Hadfields, Beval Heritage and Edgewood (as well as some less expensive bridles) and I use all of them for everyday riding, its just part of the pleasure I get when I'm riding. VXF and Lucassb will understand.

Van Gogh
Sep. 28, 2009, 02:53 PM
I LOVE my edgewood's (yes plural- I too have a crazy bridle buying fetish..... although I wish it was for buying bridles on sale..... I seem to just buy them- expensive or not :no:)

I just bought a Rodrigo Pessoa bridle that has the wide noseband..... I really really like it so far! Wasn't very expensive either..... Like $275 with reins...

I like the Bobby's padded bridle for a cheapy.

HATE Vespucci - had several that were poor quality- one broke while a student was riding.... and haven't been impressed with Aramis (not sure on the spelling) but it never darkened enough and it fits weird- has a funny stretched out brow band

BAC
Sep. 28, 2009, 03:00 PM
I LOVE my edgewood's (yes plural- I too have a crazy bridle buying fetish..... although I wish it was for buying bridles on sale..... I seem to just buy them- expensive or not :no:)

www.laurenstacktrunk.com (http://www.laurenstacktrunk.com) has great prices on Edgewoods, the best I have found except for ebay and her customer service was great too.

Rebecca at www.premiertackoutlet.com (http://www.premiertackoutlet.com) discounts high end bridles also.

RugBug
Sep. 28, 2009, 03:05 PM
VXF and Lucassb will understand.

Oh, I understand, believe me. I just refuse to buy into it. :lol:


If I had the discretionary income to buy expensive bridles, I just might. Afterall, there really are some lovely bridles out there. And there's nothing like the feel and smell of good leather. Do they look that much better from judge's distance away? IMO, no. :D And that's what keeps me from buying them.

(I also don't necessarily think the quality is THAT much better to justify the price. Maybe I'll have to eat my words some day. Who knows. Don't worry...it's sort of an attitude thing with me. I'm also currently pissed about the prices of riding helmets. Prices in general for stuff for 'english' disciplines is WAY out of control.)

vxf111
Sep. 28, 2009, 03:12 PM
I don't like the feel in my hands of stiff/non-supple leather. And since the reins sit in my hands the entire time I ride (barring calamity) and my other tack does not (saddle, leathers, etc.) I am fussier about the quality of my bridles. I also just don't like the way a non-supple bridle sits/hangs on a horse's head and I can pick that out in a crowd.

Now, not every supple, beautiful bridle has to cost $800! There are plenty of good quality, more afforable bridles. And there are expensive bridles that look like crap to me! I just can't abide by non-soft, even toned, well finished, well fitted bridles. I don't care if I paid $100 or $600, for me it's about how they look and feel.

I have KL Select bridles that are on the same quality scale as my really expensive bridles, and those KL Select bridles were only around $200. I have an older Harry Dabbs bridle that I paid maybe $100 for. It is like BUTTAH and is one of my all time favorites. I just don't have anyone it fits (it's very skinny square raised and horse sized, my current rideable boys all need big thick oversized bridles). I had a $450 Prestige bridle and it went back because the quality was crap. I don't like the feel/finishing of the Tad Coffins or the styling, and they're expensive. For me it's not about the cost, it's the quality.

I also think a bridle really makes a cute face pop, and as much as I say I don't buy looks-- I only own cute faces ;) so I like to see a very attractive bridle on them to set them off.

RugBug
Sep. 28, 2009, 03:30 PM
I also think a bridle really makes a cute face pop, and as much as I say I don't buy looks-- I only own cute faces ;) so I like to see a very attractive bridle on them to set them off.

I agree. I tried so many different bridles on Show and the best was still the Moritz. Plain, no padding, havanna. I never found anything that made him look better than that bridle.

You keep buying those bridles, vxf111. I'll keep being tempted by them when you re-sell them down the road. The only thing that has kept me safe so far is that I feel like I HAVE to try the bridle on the horse before I buy. It's a good thing you're across the country from me. :winkgrin:

vxf111
Sep. 28, 2009, 03:32 PM
you know I would let you try them and send them back! LOL!!!

nelson
Sep. 28, 2009, 05:24 PM
I may be old school, but I have to say that my favorite bridles are still the New Cavalry bridles. The workmanship is second to none, and they will make whatever combination of padding, stitching raised surfaces you want. The website is tough to find - here is the URL:

http://www.newcav.com/

I also recently purchased a Pessoa wide noseband bridle that I thought I would end up using primarily at home. I really like it, and have actually ended up using it at some shows. It's very pretty, and has me pleasantly surprised.

Good luck in your search!

IngenueP
Sep. 29, 2009, 09:23 PM
Edgewoods and Hadfield are two of my farorites, also, CWD and Arc de Triumphe, they are really expensive, but i know from personal experience that they really do last, a little more then some cheaper oner, but worth it.

Lucassb
Sep. 29, 2009, 09:56 PM
Well, I am glad to know I am not the only one with a bridle fetish, LOL.

I will say the only bridle I have that I really *don't* much like is my New Cavalry. It's a simple plain raised snaffle bridle but the color has that very slight reddish tint to it and I just don't love the leather on it the way I do on my other tack. I keep thinking it will improve with age (the older NC's that I've seen are quite lovely) but this one is now maybe 6 years old and hasn't grown on me at all. :(

spmoonie
Sep. 29, 2009, 10:04 PM
I admit I have a small problem with bridle shopping. Kind of like Imelda Marcos had with shoes... :lol:

I completely understand! Someday, I will have a bridle collection like that! Next on my list is the Herve Godignon Athena, and then maybe an Antares or Jimmy's; whichever I can find cheapest. Funny thing is, I've only got one pony and have now spent more on tack than his original purchase price. In fact, I may have doubled it, or even trippled it. :winkgrin:

shoponee70
Sep. 30, 2009, 11:29 AM
I love Edgewood and those Arc de Triumph bridles. I have just found a less expensive alternative. There is a new bridle called Red Barn. Great brown color with fancy stitching and padding. Looks great on my big boy.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 30, 2009, 01:44 PM
Actually, I think the bridle is a very important part of horse-showing! I really notice nicely fitted tack, if it is nicely cared for and if it SUITS that particular head.

I don't like the current trend towards buckles on the reins and bit ends of the cheek pieces (that face out instead of the traditional) as I think it adds fussiness and takes away from the lovely eye looking through the bridle. I also see tons and tons of cheap, shiny, hard leather tack in the stores these days - it looks like it would never soften up and hard leather must be irritating to the wearer.

I just love a nice bridle, to look at and to use and they don't have to be the most expensive out there.

Phlash's Mom
Sep. 30, 2009, 08:37 PM
I have a Arc de Triumph bridle for my TB that I bought from VTO a couple of years ago during their after-Christmas sale. I love, love LOVE it - gorgeous leather, and it looks awesome on my guy. I use it as an every-day bridle, and it's held up beautifully!

BAC
Oct. 1, 2009, 04:10 PM
Funny thing is, I've only got one pony and have now spent more on tack than his original purchase price. In fact, I may have doubled it, or even trippled it. :winkgrin:

Well then you really need to buy a second horse to wear all the tack you have accummulated, it only makes sense financially, otherwise you are really "wasting" money. :lol: