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Take it off if you like as long as you are using a curb bit or the like otherwise if you pull on the reins it could pop off altogether... You see this done alot with western horses because when pressure is applied to the curb the headstall tightens so it will not fall off.
 

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The first photo, I believe, actually shows a browband headstall, not a one-ear. I really like browband headstalls because they stay on well.

One ears (with or without the ear piece) can go flying off. I've seen it happen several times. All the horse has to do is give a good toss of the head. So unless you are keeping constant rein contact (not generally done western) you can still loose the bridle even though the rein contact on a curb bit will tighten the bridle. Does that make sense?

I own one one-ear that I really like (because it has silver on it) but all my other headstalls have a browband. Otherwise they can just toss their head at a fly and your one ear can go flying. So I dunno, feel free to try it. Especially if you have a nice horse that won't take advantage of you if you happen to loose the bridle.

It is a mystery to me, however, that one-ears are as popular as they are. Maybe it's just because I ride trails and they aren't as practical for that. Maybe if someone just rides arenas or does shows, you can go go for the one-ear look and not worry about loosing your bridle.

You know how sometimes a sweaty horse will do a full-body shake? That can send your one-ear (or no ear) flying too. So I like browband headstalls myself.
 

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I am right on par with TWR^^. I have seen them lose the bridle way to many times to ever not have a browband/throatlatch myself. However, if you really want to, you can take it off, there is no harm in that, it just isn't as secure as a browband. Sometimes you can get other sized browbands to put on your bridle at the tack store, or if you are handy with stitching or copper rivets and the appearance isn't quite so important, you can take some old scrap leather and make a bigger one. I made this bridle completely from scratch for John because I didn't have one that would fit him at the time.
 

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Allie, you are more than welcome to him!! He is quite the big s**t head. He seems to be getting bigger every day and I thought his growing was supposed to be slowing down. Though I am looking forward to being in a position where I am making more money so that I can afford a custom saddle that will fit him. If you want to ride him while I'm waiting though, have at him. ;p
 
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