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Bartville Bridles..?

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  • Bartville Bridles..?

    I learned about Bartville Harness Shop from posts made on this forum. I recently requested a catalog and it just arrived the other day. I've heard (again, via this forum) that Bartville is the manufacturer of Nunn Finer stuff. The Nunn Finer bridles are very attractive in my opinion, and I wish I could say that I think that the Bartville bridles are just as fancy.. but I can't! Not because I dislike them, but because the photos in the catalog are so dark and small! I was hoping someone on here who has seen the bridles in person could tell me if they are just plain bridles, or if they have the extra padding and finishing touches that the Nunn Finers have. I am absolutely sure that the Bartville stuff is of superior working quality.. but I was wondering if they nixed the attractive extra touches. Of the Nunn Finer stuff, I really like the Lamplight to give an idea of what I was attracted to.

    I appreciate any thoughts on this! I don't live near either BOB or Bartville, so I so therefore I can't compare them myself. Thank you in advance!! :
    The Laughing Fox - Quality Used Saddles and Tack

  • #2
    I own a few and they are wonderful. Made even better bc they are 1/2 price and I know I am supporting Eli's family.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    • #3
      Though I've never purchased a complete bridle from Bartville, everything I have gotten from there (breastplates, multiple sets of reins, martingales, Fig. 8 noseband, etc.) looks EXACTLY like what is sold in BoB -- same bit of fluff on the fig. 8, same brass hardware and elastic inserts on the breastplate, etc. In those case, they are the exact same thing, it's just whether you buy them direct from the source (Bartville) or pay BoB's markup so you can deal with customer service over phone and e-mail, see the professional photos in the professional catalogue, and pay to have the goods shipped from Bartville down the street to BoB before they are shipped to you. Your choice.
      I evented just for the Halibut.


      • #4
        k... how do I get a catalog?


        • Original Poster

          Thank you so much for the responses.. It's pretty much what I expected to hear My hunch was that they were exactly as attractive - no question about quality. I have to say though, after I called and spoke with Eli on the phone when ordering the catalog.. my heart was kind of sold. Such nice people, and you just know they take pride in their product and in pleasing their customers.

          Yay! I can't wait to order! Thanks so much guys!

          TSH - Just give them a call! Their number is 717-529-6992 - you need to call between 8-8:15 AM because of their schedule (they are Amish, so I assume this has to do with their availability to a phone). They do have an answering machine, but it's worth it to try to catch them.
          The Laughing Fox - Quality Used Saddles and Tack


          • #6
            I too have Bartville products in my tack room that are EXACTLY like the NF goods, BUT I don't think Bartville makes 100% all of the Nunn Finer strap goods. They do make the vast majority, but basically if you don't see it in the catalog they don't make it (the exception would be custom goods, which of course would not appear in the catalog). If you see something in the catalog that looks like a poorly-lit picture of the Lamplight bridle but is obviously identical to the Lamplight bridle, then order it--you won't be disappointed. But if you don't see that piece of tack in the catalog, don't order something else and hope it will magically morph into the Lamplight bridle. What you see is what you get, but what you see will also be a lot nicer than the dark and ugly pictures in the catalog.
            Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


            • #7
              They are exactly the same, and the best part is that if you need a custom bridle. They will measure and asemble it for you. I have a Hafie, who has pony reins, they made them on the spot. Cobb check pieces, oversized horese nose band and horse brow band. It was hilarious putting it all together. But it fits perfectly, and I did not pay anything extra. I will go there in a flash if I need any tack.
              Memebr of Charlie Horse Riding Club.


              • #8
                Don't forget, Eli died last month so don't ask for him when you call.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                  Don't forget, Eli died last month so don't ask for him when you call.
                  But his son, Eli, is there. (I don't know if he is Eli, Junior, or not.)


                  • Original Poster

                    Oh, that's sad.. obviously I'm really new to Bartville so I don't really know the structure of the store ownership or about the family that owns it.. but I did speak with an Eli just last week so that must be the son. Well, I THOUGHT it was an Eli, then part of the time I wondered if I had heard the name wrong because when the person on the other end repeated it again later in the conversation it sounded like "Levi". Hmm.. Is there a "Levi" there, too?

                    Anyhow, very, very nice people.
                    The Laughing Fox - Quality Used Saddles and Tack


                    • #11
                      and its such a hoot to shop in person.
                      being lucky enough to be w/ reasonable driving distance
                      I love to take out of state clients horse shopping over there to buy a halter for that "New Horse" I hope to sell them.
                      Almost all the time they end up buying tons of stuff.
                      Saddlery Liquidaters in VA is also a great place..its HUGE and more breeches of any discipline/color/size you can imagine as well as jackets under 1 roof.
                      Besides all the other gear, western, event, dresssage, H/J and polo
                      And some of teh bargains are phenominal.


                      • Original Poster

                        UncleWiggly - thanks for the tip about Saddlery Liquidaters!
                        Yes, I guess I spoke with Levi.. earlier in this thread when it was mentioned that there was a main guy named "Eli" I thought that yes, I must have heard the name wrong.

                        Anyhow, I really wish I could shop there in person... but I don't even have family in the area to use as a cover for making the long trip!
                        The Laughing Fox - Quality Used Saddles and Tack


                        • #13
                          The Bartville people are THE nicest people to deal with! Levi is so careful with each order.

                          They offer service like you don't find anymore.

                          They will custom make anything. I think the stuff that they make is beautiful and it will last forever.

                          They also do repairs on anything, even stuff they didn't make.

                          If you can't call between 8-8:15, just leave a message and they are great about calling you back.


                          • #14
                            Don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm not sure that the bridles are exactly the same. When I as shopping for a new bridle, because of what I had read on this forum, I excitedly drove out and checked them out in person and compared them with the Nunn Finer bridles and didn't find them to be exactly the same. Unless John Nunn gets on here and says so, I'm thinking that the rumor that the bridles are one and the same, is just that--a rumor.

                            Granted the goods are wonderful and the service great at Bartville, but the bridle leather and the stitching isn't identical. They also sell Thornhill, which is nice, and I found a single Crosby browband, which I bought in lieu of a whole new bridle.

                            It doesn't make sense that the same bridle would be available right up the road cheaper.

                            Don't bash me now--I'm just sayin'. If anyone has proof that the goods are "exactly" the same, let's hear it. I'll go buy one


                            • #15
                              Bartville DOES make the Nunn Finer bridlework.

                              Whether they have slightly different designs/leather that they use for their "home" line versus what they send to BOB-- that I don't know. But I can say for SURE that Bartville is making the Nunn Finer pieces.
                              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                                Bartville DOES make the Nunn Finer bridlework.

                                Whether they have slightly different designs/leather that they use for their "home" line versus what they send to BOB-- that I don't know. But I can say for SURE that Bartville is making the Nunn Finer pieces.
                                Ditto. I've held up a Bartville custom bridle to a Nunn Finer custom bridle, and it is the same exact thing except one has a NF stamp on it.

                                Whether they make ALL the bridle work for Nunn Finer, including the fancy stuff, is a matter of debate (as I discuss above). But they do make the vast majority of it.

                                And it makes perfect sense that the same bridle would be available cheaper from the supplier. It's called buying direct from the supplier and thereby cutting out the middleman's advertising/infrastructure/markup.
                                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                                • #17
                                  The whole point of my post was that I had wanted exactly the same bridle that you buy at BoB, and you guys are backpedaling now by saying that the bridles may not be the same (leather, design, etc) afterall, which is my point.

                                  I said the bridles are not "exactly" the same, meaning quality of the leather, finess of the stitching, and that's what I was looking at, and that's what I was seeking. Other people may be disappointed by this too.

                                  Case in point: I bought a nice, supposedly Stubben, bridle many years ago (the one I'm replacing). It's nice and has held up well--even has the split crown that is predominantly made by Stubben. However, as I looked more carefully at "real" Stubbens over the years, I began to realize that mine was a great knock-off but not the real thing. I'm really not a tack snob--just thought I had a Stubben 'cause I had heard they were good.

                                  My observation is that you're not going to get the "exact" Nunn Finer Event Bridle that sells at BoB at Bartville. You are saying that you do but do not back it up with anything more than your say-so. With all due respect, please give me the proof (facts) that one can buy the Nunn Finer Event Bridle bridles at Bartville. I'm anxious to hear--I really am--I'm leavin' for Bartville tomorrow.



                                  • Original Poster

                                    For what it's worth, with the information that I've gathered on this thread earlier (which prompted me to give Levi a call), I still assumed that the products might be slightly different.. slightly, at most. Even in the dark catalog images, the bridles look nearly identical. Even still, I wouldn't fault them or be surprised if they are slightly -as in minutely - different, just on the premis that they wouldn't be identical to those ordered by a customer of theirs. Some of the differences, I've discovered though, make the Bartvilles even better than the NFs.. little things, like each one having the option of brass fittings at no extra charge, even their 'plain' hunt style bridle. I'm sure you could even custom order one with fancy hunter-style stitching if you wanted to, for only a little extra.

                                    I am a big fan of NF and BOB, and will still continue to buy from them. However, in this instance I will believe that they are the suppliers, even if I only have circumstantial evidence.. if for any other reason than just being really impressed with customer service.
                                    The Laughing Fox - Quality Used Saddles and Tack


                                    • #19
                                      FWIW - I have never held up a NF bridle next to a Bartville bridle! However, looking at the photos that are online and the fact I was just at Bartville 10 minutes ago - they are very, very similar - size of the buckles & stitching especially. The detail stitching on the browband & noseband look the same as well but the best way to tell would be to have both new bridles side by side.

                                      ETA - it is the Nunn Finer Custom Event Bridle that I am referring to...not the dressage bridle, galway or any of the other bridle lines

                                      BUT it is a great deal of fun to run into John at Bartville when he is there picking up a load of NF equipment! (FWIW my family has known John since I was tiny and BOB was at Dell's farm) There are usually furtive darts around the aisles and mumbled conversations with Eli & Levi after he says hello to us...all the while pretending none of us know why he is there!

                                      The breastplates, the halters, the stirrup leathers, the reins, the martingales - all of that equipment is the same.
                                      Last edited by Tasker; Mar. 11, 2009, 05:56 PM. Reason: Whooops
                                      Watermark Farm
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                                      • #20
                                        I have a friend who lives up that way and buys all her tack from Bartville. If she hadn't told me where she'd bought it, I'd have assumed it was BoB. Some of it is nicer, even.