Bridle & Tack Suggestions:New to Dressage!
I am new to this forum and am looking for some advice/pictures!
I have been riding in a western saddle, trail, pleasure and colt starting for about 30 years, and have recently started working/interning with a Classical Dressage Trainer Manuel Trigo, using PRE's, Lusitanos, Azteca's and Spanish Dressage style tack.
I would like to start practicing basic dressage exercises at home with my young Morgan. He is very athletic and light and talented.
He is green and mostly just does walk/trot in western saddle at this stage.
I have a trainer to start us with Dressage basics and lessons, as I hope to advance him to work with the Classical Dressage Trainer in the Spanish Style in the spring.
I am getting a used Wintec Isabell 17.5 Dressage saddle, which has the tools for changing out wither size, irons, girth and dressage pad.
I need some suggestions on bridle, reins, and beginner bit, and anything else I may need to get started for this stage.
I saw the thread on books as well...but welcome any foundations, magazine or website suggestions.
I am planning on joining the Lightness Foundation and depending on how well we do together, maybe some amateur showing.
This is all new to me, and really need work on my seat and balance, while learning how to utilize new gear.
Thanks for the help!! :D
Any basic black snaffle bridle would be fine to start out with. I prefer not to have a flash or crank noseband, but I know that the flash in particular is popular, and have heard that it can be useful with a young horse to keep them from developing a habit of gaping.
Reins are a bit of a personal choice. I like the braided leather reins, while others like plain leather, or rubber coated, etc.
As for bit, a loose ring single or double jointed snaffle of medium thickness. I like the KK Ultra, KK Ultra 2-Type, or the Myler Loose Ring.
I second the KK ultra or something similar. I prefer plain reins , with stops sewn in. I prefer no flash.
I have a Jerry's Harness hand made in US bridle. It is clean, simple and well made. in great condition after 12 years of use.
I like the Sprenger Dynamic RS bit a lot and I prefer rubber lined reins. For the bridle it really depends on what you want to spend.
I ride my Andy x in a Wintec Isabell and a cheap leather bridle. I have toyed with the idea of getting him a new one, but the leather is broken in nicely now, looks just as nice as a bridle costing a few hundred dollars and he goes well in it. It's a black Kincade Hanoverian Bridle and it cost me $60.
I prefer the padded leather reins, but I also have a set of plaitted leather ones that I use too. I ride him in a full cheek eggbutt snaffle, I also have a loose ring french link snaffle that I ride my other horse in.
For starting out you certainly don't need anything fancy. As others have said, a plain snaffle bridle will be fine. However regarding a flash attachment, I actually prefer to use them Than not on a young or green horse. Contrary to popular belief they are not to strap the jaw shut, but to assist in stabilising the bit - the more stable the bit, the quieter the mouth.
As for a bit, you may need to play around with a few options in the snaffles. I like a loose ring French link as I find the majority of horses go kindly in it. Some do prefer a single joint, or a fixed ring. I find the loose ring gives a better feel as a rider.
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I'll chime in though the suggestions are already there but just a couple thoughts. I sued to use rubber reins until it got to the point they would rub though my gloves...admittedly part of that was my horse pulling on my hands (different story there) but also I didn't like the way they looked when the rubber divets wore off..they just looked old..like a pair of shoes that have the sole worn away. I still prefer leather reins, standard laced, but am having difficulty locating them in black at a cost I deem reasonable. I am not going to pay $200 for a set of black reins just because they are deemed "for dressage." My current bridle has the web reins with the leather hand stops sewn in..I can't stand reins with the running martingale stops for dressage and wonder why, even bridles designated as "dressage" bridles have these stops attached to the reins. I have the flash on my bridle but the horse doesn't need it. It is loosely applied just to keep it lying smooth..the reason for using it is I don't like seeing the tab for the attachment just "hanging there"..its just a visual preference.
As for bit, loose rings are the usual starter bit for dressage; french links allow the bit to lie better on the tongue. If you are using a snaffle of some sort on your western bridle, a bit similar to the one being used would also be a consideration. In my case the horse was being ridden in a standard D-Ring snaffle as a hunter type when I bought him but he goes fine with that bit in dressage. I am going to try a loose ring with him in any case but was just waiting until we got to know each other a little better (energy and trust wise) before swapping things out.
Thank you all for your suggestions! Really helps narrow the choices!
I found a KK Ultra Gold 5" Aurigan French Link Loose Snaffle, used for $50.00 which I think I will snatch up... and there is a 5"1/2" Sprenger D Ring French Link used 100., as well as a KK Ultra D Ring at same used price/size.
I have to measure his Jeremiah Watt Sweet Iron Snaffle, but I am sure it is 5".
I have a few Snaffle Bridles saved from Ebay, and there was one on Equestrian Collections I thought looked nice, and affordable with webbed reins at $45.00..
Horseware Mio Bridle and English Snaffle Bridles | EQUESTRIAN COLLECTIONS.COM
I can always get used leather reins to switch out.
I am going to google the Jerry Harness though ;)
I also ordered a few books, Centered Riding, In Hand, and Dressage 101
I am excited to go on a new path!
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