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I really don't like biothane so far - what are good alternatives?

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  • I really don't like biothane so far - what are good alternatives?

    I'm just starting out, switching from LL dressage and pleasure, to endurance. I've had all leather bridles until today. I picked up an inexpensive biothane headstall to use with the hackamore I wanted to try out. We had an awesome ride, the hackamore is a hit and I'm so excited about it, but I really hate the biothane. It was "warm", as in the upper 40's but she was sweating under the headstall when I don't think that's normal for her. Am I being a newbie/wimp, and is this something I should just get used to? We went through a lot of mud an water, and yeah, I can wipe it down and it looks like new but wiping down leather isn't too horrible of a chore. What about the nylon type of head stalls? Are those not acceptable? This is a wider strap too, which I wasn't thrilled with so maybe a more narrow bio-ish (non leather) material exists, that I'm not familiar with. Do I have to use beta or biothane, or will I regret using leather?

    I have some other newbie questions, not sure if I can ask here or if I should start specific threads. One relates to going alone for my first LD later this summer - is solo for a first timer, doable? I've emailed every mentor on the lists online and haven't received any response...I swear I haven't been pesty!

  • #2
    I'm not a fan of synthetic leather. I find it either too stiff and hard or so soft it doesn't hold up.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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    • #3
      You might like beta better than biothane -- it has a matte finish and is much more pliable, but just as easy to clean. Like most things, you get what you pay for, so if you got a cheap biothane headstall, then you got cheap materials My personal recommendation is for Taylored Tack. Yes, it's expensive, but the material and workmanship are both top-quality and will last for years. My horse is like the Princess and the Pea, doesn't hesitate to tell me if something he's wearing is uncomfortable, and he has no complaints about his bridle and breastcollar. And they look beautiful, too

      As far as going to your first LD solo, it's certainly doable, but I think you're more likely to have a positive experience if you can partner up with someone. I went to my first LD solo, with basically no idea what I was doing, and I was lucky enough to pair up with someone about 5 miles in, and we did the rest of the ride together. I think it was much more positive for me than it would have been otherwise.

      I'm not an official AERC mentor, but I've been competing for 4 years, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you have -- feel free to PM me. Also, if you're on facebook, AERC has a very active group where you may be able to find people in your area to ride with.
      RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        The one I bought is really soft - softer than my best leather, and of course I bought black (it will take some time to switch to colored anything, I'm sure!), and it looks like leather with white stitching

        - I have no idea if it will hold up though.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks BHLH! I think what I have must be beta...but cheap beta . I'll check out your recommendations on Taylor and the FB page. I really appreciate it!

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          • #6
            I do not like biothane, et al for a bridle or reins. And yes, I have endurance ridden, now doing trail only the past couple years.

            I still use leather. Nothing wrong with leather. Leather lasts a long time.

            So since you want an alternative to biothane, how about leather!

            Everything I used for endurance and dressage, I am using now in my gaited trail horse. And that is leather. Black leather btw.

            My current horse does not like plastic fake anything. It is all wool, leather, metal. No fake stuff. She definitely let me know this. So I was definitely not going to buy biothane, et al. I do however have a beta breast collar and she is ok with that. It is black, and matte finish, so it still looks like leather.

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            • #7
              You're welcome! And welcome to endurance! It has its wackadoos, like any other equestrian discipline, but for the most part, I have found endurance people to be a very friendly, helpful, and welcoming bunch
              RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                rmh, my horse doesn't seem to either. I can't do the rubber backed girths at all, it has to be leather or fleece (although it can be fake fleece, thankfully for that). More than that though, *I'm* not wild about the fake stuff, I just prefer leather....but all of the cool endurance bridles are made of everything but leather.

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                • #9
                  hundredacres, I was the same way, until summer came along. That much sweat takes an awful lot of elbow grease to clean up and keep the leather looking nice and feeling supple. Add in mud, rain, splashing in creeks, etc, and I'm a convert. I love being able to dunk all my tack in a bucket to clean it, especially when I'm tired at the end of a ride
                  RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Hmmmm, I can see that. I'll keep an opened mind - this is all so new to me still and I'm going to need experienced people like you to show me the light .

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                    • #11
                      I use good ol' leather for all disciplines, myself. I do have a nylon halter-bridle combo- now some years old, a now deceased horse won it. But I hardly ever use it.

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                      • #12
                        Hundredacres, I PM'ed you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a Tekna bridle that I bought for endurance. I cut the cavesson off to use a hackamore (very easy to do without ruining the bridle, no lumpy parts remaining). It's much classier IMO than the flat beta or biothane, and the boy seems to like it fine. I have the Tekna reins too which are perfect for my smaller hands. It's still synthetic, and I haven't ridden since June due to surgery and pregnancy, so no idea how much sweat it will create in cold weather. But its fabulous for hot weather where you don't want to ruin your good leather tack. I've actually considered selling my nice leather bridles and replacing them with Tekna because the Tekna is so nice. I would have no issues showing dressage in it at all.

                          If the sweating behind the ears in winter bothers you, a sheepskin halter fuzzy is an option. Get a couple intended for nosebands as they have the velcro so you can swap them out easily when they get dirty.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Grace, I PM'd you back. Thank you!

                            HB, those Tekna's are super nice looking...I really like that look. And thanks for the tips on the fleece too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Taylored Tack made me a Hunter-style bridle out of Beta that looks really good. Beta is almost identical to Tekna, from what I can tell (sweating-wise anyway.) I like the Tekna stuff too, it's just not substantially different from Beta, IMO.

                              My horse is also sensitive...I use a cotton quilted pad and mohair string girth on him...people are a little weirded out by the mohair Dressage girth (it was custom, my trail saddle is a Wintec Isabelle with the blocks taken out.) but no rubs and it is by far the best thing we've tried. We tried a bunch of synthetics prepping for our first LDs, but that cotton pad and string girth were definitely the winners.

                              As for tack, my horse goes in a rope halter (nice cotton braid) and a snap-over bridle. The Biothane on the bridle is pretty minimal that way, just cheek pieces and a browband. He also wears a Biothane breast collar, but it's not padded, so again, pretty minimal coverage and it doesn't make him sweat. The biothane bridle and breastcollar don't fit my horse too snugly.
                              Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                You guys realize I now have to sell my old tack in order to buy all the things I'm finding from your recommendations? (thank you!)

                                ETA: I just got an email from a mentor from the AERC site who I emailed a couple of weeks ago. Yay!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I have to ask - what is the difference between beta and biothane? I see on teh Tayloted Tack site mentioned, that they use both (I've see it elsewhere too) and you choose colors, but which is which?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Hought makes really nice beta tack as well- these super grip reins are incredible, soft and gentle to the hands yet you can hold on even when soaking wet and slimed with sweat/mud. And they don't break.

                                    http://www.hought.com/endr.grip.html

                                    I can't say I ever noticed that horses sweat more under beta vs. leather? perhaps your horse just isn't used to slightly warmer temps yet, and was sweating because of that, not because of the material?

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by wendy View Post
                                      Hought makes really nice beta tack as well- these super grip reins are incredible, soft and gentle to the hands yet you can hold on even when soaking wet and slimed with sweat/mud. And they don't break.

                                      http://www.hought.com/endr.grip.html

                                      I can't say I ever noticed that horses sweat more under beta vs. leather? perhaps your horse just isn't used to slightly warmer temps yet, and was sweating because of that, not because of the material?



                                      Oh, I love those! No buckle in the middle either - I hate buckles that get caught in the mane.

                                      Wendy you may have a point. I'm wondering if it's just because I'm paying attention since it's new to me, I noticed the sweat. I really do want to give the stuff a try now, after seeing so may great resources.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If you like leather, there's no reason not to stick with leather!
                                        And you can definitely solo on your LD. It's good for you and the pony to move along independently. There will be a lot of different folks to temporarily hook up with and that can work better than being married to one riding buddy for the duration.
                                        www.lisapreston.com

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