I'm on a search for a comfy bridle for my sensitive ottb filly. Right now I'm using the only bridle I have that fits her and it's a cheap schooling bridle that is very stiff. She isn't pleased with the stiffness and she's getting increasingly more unhappy with it on both her pole and her nose. She isn't big on nose bands period though. She does loosen up eventually but she's very stiff through her head and neck. I'm trying to keep it at $200-250. She was just vetted and teeth where just done and she was given a rave review from the vet.
The Smartpak bridles come out pretty soft with the initial oiling, from what I have read of their reviews.
I got one for Christmas and I was very impressed with the quality of the leather on the Harwich. In addition, the padding on the crown piece, browband, and the noseband seemed very soft and comfortable.
I have a vespucci for schooling, its ok...but not worth the price in my opinion. I have an aramas for a show bridle, its also padded on the crown, cheaper than the vespucci and MUCH better quality leather, butter soft.
Thanks for all the suggestions! She also likes to cock her head to the side. She just seems over all fussy. Since she's young I just ignore it and work on getting her coming through from behind but if I can make her happier with a different bridle I will.
I haven't locked into a discipline with this girl yet. Just letting her tell me what she enjoys. My mare I just retired was a hunter, hence why I'm here, but I also enjoy eventing and dressage. I'm flexible, so I just want to hang out with this sweetheart of a girl and do what she wants lol.
The Dy'on bridles are beautiful with padded crown pieces and gorgeous brass fittings. My boy loves his!
But way out of the OP's price range. I would avoid Vespucci's, not worth the money IMO, they stretch and leak glue. I would try the Smartpak bridles. A friend bought the M. Toulouse Platinum padded bridle and I was surprised at how soft and supple the leather is, plus your sensitive mare might like the comfort crown too. http://intecperformancegear.com/M.-T...pid-4027p.html
I agree with BAC about the Vespucci bridles - although I've never had one personally, I've seen a few that friends purchased and was unimpressed, not to mention there have been quite a few threads on here complaining about poor quality/customer service issues.
You might want to check PTO for good quality bridles at discount prices - Rebecca often has lovely tack and her service is excellent. That way you might find a top quality (Antares, CWD, AdT) bridle that is still in your price range. Bridles are one of those items where you really do tend to get what you pay for, and if your horse is very sensitive, it's worth getting tack that she is comfortable in. My super sensitive guy does very well with his Antares bridle, and I'd certainly recommend them. If you are persistent you can probably find a used headstall at or near the price you specified, even if you have to put a less expensive brand of reins on it.
********** We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
The Micklem is a very comfortable bridle for a TB. It is unconventional looking (thus probably not suitable for showing hunters) but my somewhat fussy TB mare likes it better than the other bridles I tried with her (Jerry's Harness, Arc de Triomphe, and an inexpensive Dover bridle).
"The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky