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View Full Version : Spinoff: so who does sell nice tack?



Coppers mom
May. 20, 2010, 10:27 AM
After all the posts about brands that vary so much in quality, aren't sized correctly, or aren't the right quality for the price, I want to know something before I go out and buy a new bridle: Who does sell quality tack?

Warnings and raves?

Mine:
Vespucci: Not as nice as the price indicates, huge variations in quality, way oversized.
Edgewood: Bleeds, doesn't always darken, and whoever is at HQ is crazy.

Nunn Finer: Very nice quality, IME. Oils nicely, comes soft, sized correctly, with the breast plates running a bit small.

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 11:05 AM
I really love my Antares bridles - their leather quality is amazing and the sizing runs pretty true, IME.

It's hard to go wrong with Hadfields bridlework although it tends to run QUITE small. (I go a full size up when I buy their bridles.)

I've also posted on here a bunch of times about how much I love my Aramas wide noseband bridle. It's wonderful quality, especially for the price, and is holding up as well as my more expensive tack.

My others that I really like: Jimmy's, (if you can find one from before they outsourced production elsewhere) Dyon bridles (particularly for the jumpers, as I think they tend to be a bit over the top for the hunter ring,) and the Herve Godignon models are pretty, particularly the Paris model. My Hermes bridle is older but always gets compliments, even though it is quite old school, being simply fancy stitched, not raised nor padded. I don't have any CWD bridlework but have admired it on friends' horses.

I also have a T de T figure 8 bridle with clinchers that is WAY over the top - but I absolutely love it. You have to ride like a rockstar if you use it, though. It's pretty blingy.

The only one in my collection that I really *don't* care for is my New Cavalry. The quality is fine but I can't stand the color - it's got a tint of red that I really dislike. And really, for that price you think they would put a buckle guard on the noseband. Grrrr.

Tha Ridge
May. 20, 2010, 11:26 AM
I don't own a CWD bridle but one horse I've ridden lately has one and it's gorgeous!

I've also never had a bad experience with any piece of Edgewood tack I've ever owned, although I'm sympathetic to those who have.

NorthFaceFarm
May. 20, 2010, 11:41 AM
Love CWD.

BAC
May. 20, 2010, 11:47 AM
I own and love my Antares, CWD and Hadfields bridles, and also like my Edgewood a lot too. I would recommend any of them, depending on your price range.

I have a Beval Heritage and considering its price, I don't think it compares in quality to the others I have mentioned.

Lucassb is the tack expert, I would buy anything she recommends. ;) In fact I bought my Antares sight unseen based on her recommendation and its gorgeous.

mvp
May. 20, 2010, 12:04 PM
Of the bridles you can find now?

I'd add Legacy Tack/The Country Saddler. Beautiful old skool new market color made to your specs if you like.

And Lucassb-- hatin on the New Cavalry? I know that company started getting strange with the manufacturing, but with the leather, too? NC was, after all, the Company That Started It All. Square-raised, raised reins, the first bridle to break the $300 mark and send prices spinning out of control...

Come Shine
May. 20, 2010, 12:10 PM
Richvale Saddlery in Ontario.

BAC
May. 20, 2010, 12:11 PM
Of the bridles you can find now?

I'd add Legacy Tack/The Country Saddler. Beautiful old skool new market color made to your specs if you like.

And Lucassb-- hatin on the New Cavalry? I know that company started getting strange with the manufacturing, but with the leather, too? NC was, after all, the Company That Started It All. Square-raised, raised reins, the first bridle to break the $300 mark and send prices spinning out of control...

Lucassb's New Cav is beautiful, I love the slightly reddish tint it has, one of the reasons I bought an Edgewood.

I was going to suggest The Country Saddler based on all the good comments from people although I have no personal experience with them.

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 12:17 PM
Of the bridles you can find now?

I'd add Legacy Tack/The Country Saddler. Beautiful old skool new market color made to your specs if you like.

And Lucassb-- hatin on the New Cavalry? I know that company started getting strange with the manufacturing, but with the leather, too? NC was, after all, the Company That Started It All. Square-raised, raised reins, the first bridle to break the $300 mark and send prices spinning out of control...


Lucassb's New Cav is beautiful, I love the slightly reddish tint it has, one of the reasons I bought an Edgewood.

I was going to suggest The Country Saddler based on all the good comments from people although I have no personal experience with them.

Oh you guys are funny. Yes, I hate the NC. The quality is fine - and you would be hard pressed to find more stitches per inch, plus it is a TRUE square raised which is hard to find anymore. The only other one I've seen that is true square raised is my (old) Beval New Canaan, made when that caramel color was an innovation. And no longer available, sadly.

I just don't care for any hint of red tack on my black horse. It was fine on my older bay fellow (for whom it was purchased.) Doesn't help that I also don't care for the plain square raised look on the black horse's head; it's just not flattering at all. I only keep it because I'm kind a sucker for a pretty bay horse, and keep thinking I might have another one someday.

But what I *really* want is a fancy jumper to put that figure 8 on. :D

I'd agree that Wayne (Country Saddler) does a nice job too.

BAC
May. 20, 2010, 12:24 PM
plus it is a TRUE square raised which is hard to find anymore. The only other one I've seen that is true square raised is my (old) Beval New Canaan, made when that caramel color was an innovation. And no longer available, sadly.

I just don't care for any hint of red tack on my black horse.

You know I have been looking for a true square raised for ages, why don't you sell me your New Cav?

I do agree about black horses though, that is the only situation when I don't care for reddish leather. Your NC is quite dark though, even with the red tint.

There is no point having a figure 8 without a jumper to put it on, I think you should buy a second horse. :lol:

STA
May. 20, 2010, 01:15 PM
countrysaddler.com

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
May. 20, 2010, 01:52 PM
Arc de Triumph

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 02:01 PM
You know I have been looking for a true square raised for ages, why don't you sell me your New Cav?

I do agree about black horses though, that is the only situation when I don't care for reddish leather. Your NC is quite dark though, even with the red tint.

There is no point having a figure 8 without a jumper to put it on, I think you should buy a second horse. :lol:

LOL, you can have the NC if you really want it. I have no use for it, really. But it's a horse size, don't you need a cob?

I have worked diligently on darkening the NC and I imagine most people would call it mahogany now. But that faint reddish tone drives me crazy.

As for the jumper... my goodness, don't encourage me. You are as bad as Mr. Lucassb (who said, "good idea, you should get a jumper, sounds like fun") when I asked him what he thought. I keep trying to remind myself that I barely have time to ride the one I have, never mind two!

mvp
May. 20, 2010, 03:10 PM
LOL, you can have the NC if you really want it. I have no use for it, really. But it's a horse size, don't you need a cob?

I have worked diligently on darkening the NC and I imagine most people would call it mahogany now. But that faint reddish tone drives me crazy.

As for the jumper... my goodness, don't encourage me. You are as bad as Mr. Lucassb (who said, "good idea, you should get a jumper, sounds like fun") when I asked him what he thought. I keep trying to remind myself that I barely have time to ride the one I have, never mind two!

Lucassb and BAC-- we should really get a room. But damn! Sell the NC to me... or trade it for my unoiled, shop-worn only but cob (on the small side) original New Canaan. Talk about useless but too pretty to give up. I should start a thread of that theme. The tack addicts would come out....

Otherwise, I have only seen Country Saddler stuff brand new. I think the leather would make it oil up and last beautifully for a very long time.

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 03:23 PM
Lucassb and BAC-- we should really get a room. But damn! Sell the NC to me... or trade it for my unoiled, shop-worn only but cob (on the small side) original New Canaan. Talk about useless but too pretty to give up. I should start a thread of that theme. The tack addicts would come out....

Otherwise, I have only seen Country Saddler stuff brand new. I think the leather would make it oil up and last beautifully for a very long time.

<LAUGHING>

We did have a tackaholics anonymous thread for quite a while, IIRC...although I seem to remember a fair amount of enabling taking place after page one or so.

The original Beval New Canaan's were stunning. I wish they hadn't disco'd them. The caramel leather turned into a really awesome mahogany with one oiling and had that perfect balance of soft-but-not-mushy hand to it. They are still my all time favorite reins and I've been known to swap them onto other bridles for special occasions, something I would *never* do otherwise.

mvp
May. 20, 2010, 04:03 PM
<LAUGHING>

We did have a tackaholics anonymous thread for quite a while, IIRC...although I seem to remember a fair amount of enabling taking place after page one or so.

The original Beval New Canaan's were stunning. I wish they hadn't disco'd them. The caramel leather turned into a really awesome mahogany with one oiling and had that perfect balance of soft-but-not-mushy hand to it. They are still my all time favorite reins and I've been known to swap them onto other bridles for special occasions, something I would *never* do otherwise.

Beval's said that they couldn't get a consistent supply of the New Canaan leather. If you think back, you'll remember some being yellowish-- which required courage and old skool oiling knowledge on the buyers part while Edgewood's version of New Market produced at the same time was more orange and set the standard. At other times, the New Canaan leather was yellow-not-enough-cream-in-your-coffee color. I think the stitching could also range from beige to yellow. Apparently people freaked out.

I wish I had a horse-length set of reins in New Canaan to go with mine. I did settle for a more orange but New Market pair of Beval reins. When I get the pin-head horse, I'm hoping these can be made to match.

I think the tackoholic thread should have pics.

BAC
May. 20, 2010, 04:12 PM
Well I think I will be moving off the pony soon and moving on to a full size horse, who will need a horse size bridle. And all of mine are cob size except the Beval Heritage, which is definitely not my favorite, or the Hadfields, which does of course run small, even though its horse size. I want to be prepared. ;)

BeeHoney
May. 20, 2010, 06:18 PM
I've had the most consistent luck with:

CWD-my favorite for bridles. Amazing! Except that my CWD show bridle is SO amazing that it's like a wedding dress, not many occasions are special enough to use it!

Antares (though I'm not as crazy about their bridles for a hunter)
Arc De Triomphe
Nunn Finer-consistently nice, but not crazy about the styling (great schooling tack)
And...Smartpak-I've gotten a couple of their lower end bridles & other tack for breaking/schooling and they are NICE, nice, nice for the money. I'd not hesitate to use them at a show if the weather was too wet for my higher end bridles to be out and about :) The bridles seem to be wearing great so far.

The ones I don't like so much:
Beval hasn't struck me as super consistent, though admittedly most of the Beval stuff I have I've gotten off ebay, so maybe I've gotten rejects. B/c for sure I've seen some fabulous beval bridles, it just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me to own one.
Dover brands--solid, well priced tack, but not fabulous. Sometimes doesn't wear well, even their pricy stuff.
Crosby--inconsistent quality.
Edgewood--only if I get it for a steal on ebay.

Fun Size
May. 20, 2010, 06:55 PM
Hates: Ariat. Too many problems, no consistent vendor policy on returns for defects (even when you have an OK from ariat directly!) and stuff that is made in China.

Love: My crosby bridle (I must have been lucky on that one!), CWD anything, La Mundial tall boots, Treadstep Half Chaps. :D

TheOrangeOne
May. 20, 2010, 07:07 PM
I think Hadfield's makes hands down the best quality bridle out there. I know the sizing runs small, but I got my horse size on sale and it fits my regular to large sized horse OK.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs102.snc1/4561_1183135818277_1224674239_30509558_6540514_n.j pg

I wish the browband were longer for sure, and I think the crownpiece could be longer but not necessarily the cheekpieces. I'm on the second or third hole for the noseband and about halfway up for the throatlatch. Little snug but looks fine unless you are scrutinizing it like a tack ho looking at her own horse. (myself being the example) It has held up so well, still looks like it just came out of the box, except for the reins which superstar there somehow tore in half, so the repair is visible.

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 10:29 PM
Well I think I will be moving off the pony soon and moving on to a full size horse, who will need a horse size bridle. And all of mine are cob size except the Beval Heritage, which is definitely not my favorite, or the Hadfields, which does of course run small, even though its horse size. I want to be prepared. ;)

I think being prepared makes perfect sense. Good idea!!

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 10:33 PM
Beval's said that they couldn't get a consistent supply of the New Canaan leather. If you think back, you'll remember some being yellowish-- which required courage and old skool oiling knowledge on the buyers part while Edgewood's version of New Market produced at the same time was more orange and set the standard. At other times, the New Canaan leather was yellow-not-enough-cream-in-your-coffee color. I think the stitching could also range from beige to yellow. Apparently people freaked out.

I wish I had a horse-length set of reins in New Canaan to go with mine. I did settle for a more orange but New Market pair of Beval reins. When I get the pin-head horse, I'm hoping these can be made to match.

I think the tackoholic thread should have pics.

You know, I only heard about the yellowish stuff - I never saw it in person. I was lucky and got the first caramel NC that was sent to a tack store owned by a friend of mine as a demo. She didn't care for it (!) and sold it to me, and I used it as a show bridle on my TB horse for a couple of years. It doesn't fit my current guy nearly as well, but the quality is so super that I refuse to part with it.

I could see a tackaholic thread with pics... sounds like fun!

mvp
May. 20, 2010, 10:36 PM
You know..... the problem with nice bridles is that they won't die.

Oh sure, they still look good 15 years later. But so many people show in close-to-new bridles now that you really have to have some intestinal fortitude to do the right thing and ride in the good quality tack that was worth all the hype and money in the first place because it would last.

And then you can't buy new stuff.

I'm brewing up a thread idea. Just hang on.

Lucassb
May. 20, 2010, 10:38 PM
You know..... the problem with nice bridles is that they won't die.

Oh sure, they still look good 15 years later. But so many people show in close-to-new bridles now that you really have to have some intestinal fortitude to do the right thing and ride in the good quality tack that was worth all the hype and money in the first place because it would last.

And then you can't buy new stuff.

I'm brewing up a thread idea. Just hang on.

I love my older bridles and use them all the time. But, as BAC can attest... it has not stopped me from buying new ones.

It's a little bit like Imelda Marcos with shoes. What can I say?

vxf111
May. 21, 2010, 11:03 AM
Tack-a-holic checking in. Bridles... one of my weaknesses!!!!

For everyday schooling, I don't think you can beat the Edgewood. I have been blessed not to buy any of the (apparently floating out there) crappy ones. I believe they exist, just haven't bought any myself. Good quality, durable, oils up to a nice color. Good sizing options. Used to s-t-r-e-t-c-h a lot, but my new ones have not. Can be bought in pieces. Attractive looking. I also had a not-that-expensive Harry Dabbs bridle that held up beautifully. Back back back in the day I had an "Essex," I don't recall who made it but it cost maybe $75 and was Edgewood quality. KL Select also makes a nice quality schooling bridle.

For show, I love my Beval Heritage. But have been scared off by Beval quality recently. I have a CWD that is like BUTTAH. So pretty-- I can't bring myself to use it. It might have the nicest quality of all the bridles I own and it's quite generously sized. Another "too buttah to use" bridle is my Herve Godignon. And THAT one is the WRONG size (horse size, all my horses need oversized). The styling is really unusual and the leather is beautiful. I've been very happy with the Arc De Triomphe. Have had a couple of those and been thoroughly pleased. One of the Arcs did spot when wet for the first week or so but a couple of oilings resolved that issue.

The Hadfield quality looks lovely. But I have big headed horses so they don't seem like they'd work unless I custom ordered. Haven't been willing to do that when I know I could get an Arc off the shelf and be just as happy. And when I have, what 5-6 brand new unused/unoiled bridles sitting around just waiting for me to get off the "they're too pretty to use" pot and oil them!? ;)

It took me a long time and several recommendations from people I trust (including Lucasb) but I feel ready to give the Aramas a go for a schooling bridle next time I need one. It's just hard because I've never seen one in person and the color they start out makes me a little gunshy. But I am ready to take the plunge next time!

pattnic
May. 21, 2010, 12:59 PM
Lucassb and BAC-- we should really get a room. But damn! Sell the NC to me... or trade it for my unoiled, shop-worn only but cob (on the small side) original New Canaan. Talk about useless but too pretty to give up. I should start a thread of that theme. The tack addicts would come out...

Wait, what?!?! Cob sized New Canaan... trade for a New Cav?!!? I have a New Cav... and a horse size New Canaan that doesn't really fit...

RE: The Actual Topic - I honestly am not all that impressed by Hadfield's. The leather itself is like butter, but I find the stitching and construction to be uneven and subpar for that price.

I do like Aramas bridlework; Edgewood I prefer prior to the "changing to new leather that's easier for our sewing machines" thing.

I've been pretty happy with my Beval bridlework, all of which I had purchased used (or on sale)... though, I think that if I had purchased it new (or not on sale), I might be disappointed in it for the price.

Honestly, I'm a sucker for just about anything square-raised (which is probably why I have a New Cav and New Canaan, neither of which are the right size - they're square raised!)

PS - Can I please be in this room, too? :winkgrin:

redlight
May. 21, 2010, 05:32 PM
"I do like Aramas bridlework; Edgewood I prefer prior to the "changing to new leather that's easier for our sewing machines" thing."

Interestingly enough, their old leather was Sedgwick. Maybe their new source for hides is the reason for the inconsistency in leather quality? Read that about the sewing machine thing and I'm not buying it. You can do highly detailed stitching with Sedgwick leather.

headsupheelsdown
May. 21, 2010, 06:04 PM
I haven't seen or owned anything by Stubben that hasn't been fantastic quality!

mvp
May. 21, 2010, 06:30 PM
I haven't seen or owned anything by Stubben that hasn't been fantastic quality!

Really? I'd say the opposite, or at least that it's a matter of taste. I find their leather (like so much German cowhide) to be thick and stiff. I could be wrong as I'm not a serious or recent student.

Lucassb
May. 21, 2010, 06:44 PM
I haven't seen or owned anything by Stubben that hasn't been fantastic quality!


Really? I'd say the opposite, or at least that it's a matter of taste. I find their leather (like so much German cowhide) to be thick and stiff. I could be wrong as I'm not a serious or recent student.

I have to agree with mvp on this one. I have never been a fan of Stubben strapgoods; the leather has always seemed kind of coarse to me.

vxf111
May. 21, 2010, 11:57 PM
Really? I'd say the opposite, or at least that it's a matter of taste. I find their leather (like so much German cowhide) to be thick and stiff. I could be wrong as I'm not a serious or recent student.

Too thick and clunky for my tastes. Very durable though!

RugBug
May. 22, 2010, 12:21 AM
Agree about the Stubbens. They might look decent on the tack shop wall but they always seem to be stiff and "new" no matter how much they are oiled and used. Blech. oh..and they have that red tint to them that I really don't care for.

I'm thinking of giving the Aramas a try for my TB. I haven't yet because I'm not sure what the wide noseband will look like on him. He has a fairly delicate head.

Lucassb
May. 22, 2010, 12:29 AM
Agree about the Stubbens. They might look decent on the tack shop wall but they always seem to be stiff and "new" no matter how much they are oiled and used. Blech. oh..and they have that red tint to them that I really don't care for.

I'm thinking of giving the Aramas a try for my TB. I haven't yet because I'm not sure what the wide noseband will look like on him. He has a fairly delicate head.

I think you will find the Aramas suits a fine headed horse. My guy has a pretty refined head and I love the look: